More fruits and veggies

I got some blood test results back, and neither my B12, liver or lipids looked good. Consider that after 5 years on Paleo (eating also offal), I should have buttloads of B12. But nope! I’m actually anemic due to it!

And my lipids are even worse than they were in 2012. Quite obviously, plain highish-fat Paleo, just doesn’t work for me. I will always follow the Paleo advice of not eating grains, sugar, or processed oils, but not including legumes, lots of fruits, rice, fermented dairy, and white potatoes, doesn’t sit well with me. Not anymore. My gut needs the starch, and this has been evident since I switched to Pegan less than a month ago.

fruits-1

So now I start my day with lots of whole fruits or a smoothie (I limit smoothies to once a day only, due to having acellular carbs when mashed — bad for you in the long run).

breakfast

Tonight, I prepared some Greek spinach pie, with kale and chard from my own garden. I added no feta cheese or olive oil as the recipe demands, I only added the various greens and rice.

chard-and-kale

Butternut Squash with Chicken of the Woods mushrooms

Oh, wow!

Chicken of the woods wild mushrooms seem to be the most amazing mushrooms I ever had. I got them at eBay for $20 (80 gr, dried). They truly taste like meat! In my opinion, that’s the healthiest “meat” alternative for veg*ns, and not all these terrible soy-based processed cr@p, or even worse, that seitan nightmare.

I re-hydrated about 6 of them and cooked them with butternut squash tonight. The whole dish was absolutely amazing with the fresh herbs from my garden. Highly recommended.

Ingredients
* 1 small butternut squash, peeled, cubed
* A small handful of rehydrated chicken of woods, porcini, or chanterelles
* Oregano, savory, sage, mint, rosemary to taste, preferably fresh
* Salt & pepper to taste
* 1/3 cup olive oil
* Juice of 1/2 a lemon (optional)

Directions
1. Place and mix all ingredients into a small baking pan, with 1/2 cup of water. Cook on 400 F (205 C) for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Vegetable Soup

Since we moved in this new home last year, which has a larger backyard, I planted a small garden. I planted mint, kale, chard, savory, cilantro, parsley, arugula, radishes, and a few more things. Here are some pictures of my kale, chard, and savory.

garden-1

garden-2

garden-3

Here’s a basic recipe on how to make some soup, with whatever vegetables you have around. This was my mainly-asparagus soup yesterday. When you buy asparagus, you can cut them in half, steam the upper, softer part and eat them with some butter, while you can use the bottom, harder parts in the soup.

soup-1

Ingredients
* Greens (e.g. kale, chard, spinach, sorrel etc)
* tubers (e.g. 1 potato or yam)
* roots (e.g. carrots, kohlrabi, parsnip, turnip, rutabaga, etc)
* veggies (e.g. cabbage, pepper, asparagus, leeks, zucchini, tomato etc)
* 1 onion
* 3 cloves of garlic
* 2 cups of bone broth (pastured animal for the Phase 1 of the diet, or salmon head thereafter)
* salt & pepper
* Juice of 1 lemon

soup-2

Directions
1. Wash/peel, and cut roughly the veggies. Add them all in a big pot, along the broth, under low heat.

2. When liquids have reduced to half, about 40 minutes later, turn off and remove from heat.

3. Use an immersion mixer, and turn them into a smooth soup. Add salt, pepper, the lemon, and optionally, paprika or ginger.

4. Serve hot, and let the rest in the pot to get cold, before you refrigerate or freeze it.

Variation: On step 4, open a white bean can, wash and strain them, and add them to the hot soup.

Tuna Salad & Mayo

In my pesco-vegetarian diet I try to avoid tuna and octopus for ethical reasons (tuna because it’s being tortured before it’s killed, and octopus because it’s super-smart), but at today’s picnic there was no avoiding tuna. I always buy the Wild Planet brand, which is dolphin-safe, and plainly, the best tuna I ever had, with lots of DHA in it.

In this post, I also mention how to quickly make the most amazing, fresh mayo, without having to deal with industrial seed oils and additives.

tuna-salad

Tuna Salad:
Ingredients

* 1 can of good quality tuna
* 1 Tbspoon of mayo (see below for recipe)
* 1/2 stalk of celery
* 5-6 grapes
* black pepper
* 1 romaine lettuce

Direction
1. Drain the tuna, and place on a bowl. Cut into smaller pieces using your hands.

2. Wash the celery and grapes, and cut them very thinly. Add them to the bowl.

3. Add the mayo, black pepper, and mix well using a spoon.

4. Serve on romaine lettuce leaves, or refrigerate for up to 1 day.

tuna-salad-2

Mayo
Ingredients
* 1 pastured egg
* juice of 1 lemon
* 1 tspoon of French mustard
* salt & pepper
* Pinch of sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)
* 1 cup of light olive oil

Direction
1. Add all ingredients in a tall pitcher, and using an immersion mixer, mix for about a minute.

2. Use, or refrigerate for up to 4-5 days.

Fritters

Fried vegetables is a nice snack or dinner, but it still needs to eaten only on occasion. We had this today on our picnic. The great thing about this recipe is its versatility: you can add any kind of root or tuber, along with some veggies.

fritters

Ingredients (makes 8 fritters)
* 1 egg
* 2 zucchini, shredded
* 1 carrot, shredded
* choice of other shredded roots/tubers: potato, yams, turnip, parsnip, rutabaga, kohlrabi
* choice of “riced” veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, peas, onion (optional)
* 2 tablespoons of almond flour (optional)
* salt & pepper
* 1 teaspoon of paprika (optional)
* 2-3 tablespoons of shredded cheddar (optional)
* 1/3 cup of avocado oil

Directions
1. Add some salt on the shredded zucchini, and set aside for 10 minutes. Afterwards, using your hands, squeeze as much water from it as possible. The less water you have there, the better the fritters will hold together.

2. Add all ingredients together in a big bowl (except the oil), and blend together well. Start forming burger-size patties.

3. Fry with some oil under medium heat for a few minutes, until well browned underneath, and then carefully turn them and fry for a few more minutes. Remove to a kitchen towel (to absorb the oil) for a few minutes, and eat hot or cold.

Jackfruit Pulled “Pork”

Here’s another way to lie to yourself that you’re eating meat, hehe… Although to be honest, it’s a recipe that holds on is own. Some people have reported that it tastes like chicken, but I think that it tastes more like artichoke, rather than meat.

jackfruit

Ingredients (for 2)
* 1 can of jackfruit in water (not brine or syrup)
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
* 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon of onion powder
* other spices of your choice
* 1 Tbspoon avocado or olive oil
* 1 cup of vegetable broth
* 1/2 cup of gluten-free, low sugar, bbq sauce (or make your own)

Directions
1. Drain the jackfruit can and rinse in a colander. Cut out and discard the woody triangle end of each piece.

2. Using your fingers, or two forks, “pull” the “pork” apart. Add the spices, and coat well using your hands.

3. Place in a frying pan, with a little of oil, and cook until all juices have evaporated, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the vegetable broth and the bbq sauce, cover the pan, and cook until all juices have evaporated and the mixture resembles that of a pulled pork, about 30 minutes.

5. Serve hot, in romaine lettuce leaves, or in oopsie buns, along a coleslaw.

Raw Lemon Cheesecake

I’m not big on desserts, but I bit the bullet this weekend and I made one. My JBQ, who dislikes cheesecake ferociously, surprisingly liked this raw, nut-based version! Be aware, it’s extremely filling. I personally kept out 2 pieces, and froze the rest.

vegan-cheesecake

Ingredients (serves 8-10)
Filling:
2 cups cashews
1 cup macadamia nuts
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup raw honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup of coconut oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

Base:
1 1/4 cup pecans or walnuts
6 large medjool dates
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
pinch of sea salt
a little bit of vodka or other liquor (optional)

Some lemon zest

Method
1. Soak the cashews and macadamias for 4 hours, and then rinse well.

2. Add all the “base” ingredients in the food processor, and process until they all look like small crumbs.

3. Using your hands, press the mixture into an 8″ springform tin, and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

4. Melt coconut oil, and add it to a blender along all other “filling” ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy.

5. Pour the filling into the tin evenly, sprinkle the lemon zest on top, and place in the freezer for an hour or more.

6. Cut into pieces, and store in fridge or freezer and use as-needed.

Bean Burgers

I’ve been salivating over the idea of bean burgers for a few months now. Finally, tonight I bit the bullet and I made some. And they were amazing. Even my French husband, who is a (gluten-free otherwise) meat eater, loved them.

beans

Ingredients (makes 7-8 burgers)
* 1 can of black beans
* 1 can of garbanzo beans
* 1/3 cup of almond meal
* 1/2 of a large onion, chopped
* 3 tbspoons of avjar pepper spread (get it at Trader Joe’s or Amazon)
* 1 tbspoon of garlic powder
* 1/2 tbspoon of Sriracha or other hot sauce (to taste)
* 1 tspoon of ginger
* a handful of cilantro, chopped
* avocado or olive oil for frying

Method
1. Drain the beans, run under cold water, and drain again.

2. In a large frying pan, add some oil, and fry the onion until almost transparent, about 4 minutes.

3. Add the cilantro, and avjar spread and continue stir-frying for another minute or so.

4. Add the beans, and stir-fry until most of the liquid has gone, about 3-4 minutes.

5. Place all fried ingredients in a large bowl, and let cool for a few minutes.

6. Add the ginger, hot sauce, garlic powder, and almond meal, and using a potato masher, start mashing the mixture.

7. Using a measuring cup, measure about 1/2 cup of the mixture, and then form burgers using your hands.

8. Add some more oil in the frying pan. Fry under medium heat for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown underneath, and then carefully turn the burgers and fry some more.

9. Remove from fire, and place on a kitchen towel. You can choose to freeze some of the burgers after they got a bit cold.

10. Assemble your burgers: lettuce wrappers or oopsie buns, cheese, mustard, ketchup and your hot bean burger. Enjoy!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

This is the best version of the well-known in the low-carb circles, cauliflower pizza. The original versions were using cauliflower as-is, and mozzarella cheese, which resulted in an extremely “mushy” pizza. This version retains much less water by cooking the water out of the cauliflower first, and using a hard cheese type.

This version also holds together better than the mozzarella version, so that the crust is freezable for future usage. This is why the recipe below is for 4 crusts, and not 1. You prepare these once, maybe a weekend afternoon, and then you can have pizza available almost immediately in the future! I could even argue that if it’s just you in your household, you can cut the baked crust in two, and freeze it / re-bake it as halves, because this pizza is super-filling (due to being high-fat)! My husband barely managed to go through half of the pizza, and I managed only 2/3s of the other half.

pizza2

Ingredients (makes four 10″ pizza crusts)
* A large cauliflower head (largest you can find)
* 445 gr (1 lb) of thinly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
* 4 large pastured eggs
* 3 tbspoons almond meal or 2 tbspoons of psyllium husk (optional)
* toppings of your choice (e.g. pizza sauce, then pizza cheese like mozzarella/provolone, then mushrooms, anchovies, bell peppers, onions, olives, squeezed pineapple, artichokes, greens etc)

Method
1. Cut the cauliflower into 4. Put 1/4 of it in the food processor and run it using the S blade. Run it until the cauliflower resembles small grains (smaller than you would cut it for cauliflower rice).

2. Place the cauliflower into a large pan, without any oil, and under medium heat, cook out the water. It can take 10-15 minutes to do so, stir often.

3. Transfer to a big bowl, and let cool.

4. Continue steps 1-3 with the rest of the cauliflower parts.

pizza1

5. Add 1/4th (about 110 gr) of the cheese in one of the bowls, 1 egg, and the optional 1 tbspoon of almond meal. Mix well together using your hands, and you will see now that the mixture holds together.

6. Put some parchment paper on to a pizza baking pan (I bought two of them), transfer the dough on it, and shape it using your hands. Make sure the edges are not too thin, or they will burn out too fast.

7. In a preheated 400 F (205 C) oven, place the pizza crust, and let it bake for at least 15 minutes. Using a spoon, lift it slightly, to see if it has baked underneath or not.

8. When it has baked well underneath, remove from the oven, turn upside down, throw away the parchment paper, and here is where you make a choice:
– A. You add the toppings (sauce, cheese, veggies) and bake again for another 8-10 minutes. Eat hot!
– B. Put back as-is in the oven (without toppings), and bake until the bottom is golden brown too. Remove from the oven, let cool well, and then freeze it in a large plastic bag in the freezer (make sure it’s placed completely flat). When you want to bake them in the future, preheat oven to 425 F, let the dough to slightly unfreeze, place your toppings, and bake for at least 10 minutes.

9. Do steps 5-8 with the rest of the cauliflower. Enjoy your future pizzas!

pizza3

Note: While this is a healthier pizza overall, it still contains obscene amounts of cheese. Especially Parmesan, with its high natural MSG, could create problems to some people.

Crabcakes

One of my favorite foods, are crabcakes. Here’s the version I use. Fat-free and vegan versions are included below.

crabcake-2

Ingredients (makes 4-5 large crabcakes)
* 1 egg (optional)
* 1-2 small cans of real crab meat (or a can of jackfruit for vegan)
* 1 tpoons of home-made mayonaise
* 1 tspoon mustard
* paprica or chili powder to taste
* salt & pepper to taste
* 2 Tbspoons of olive or avocado oil (omit for fat-free)
* 1 medium potato
* 1.5 cups of chopped vegetables that consists with any of:
– onion
– carrot
– celery
– green pepper
– red pepper
– peas
– 1 clove of garlic
– parsley or cilantro

Method
1. Peel and cut the potato into small cubes. Start frying them in medium heat, until 75% done. Stir often. For a fat-free version, just add a bit of water instead of oil.

2. Add the chopped veggies and cook everything until about 80% done. Main objective here is to remove their water than completely cook them.

3. Remove from pan, set aside, let cool. Add the crab meat in the pan, until most liquid has evaporated from it too. Set aside too, separately from the veggies.

4. Add the veggies into the food processor, and process them lightly until in “rice” consistency.

5. Add everything in a large bowl (crab, veggies, spices, mayo, mustard). Here, you can optionally add an egg too.

6. Work the mixture with your hands for 20 seconds, and then shape it like small burgers.

crabcake-1

8. In a large frying pan pour a tbspoon of olive or avocado oil and heat it up in a medium heat. Using a spatula transfer your cakes to the pan to fry. For the fat-free version, simply transfer them in your oven on 350 F, for 15 minutes or so, turning once (use a baking sheet and parchment paper).

9. In the frying version, after about 3-4 minutes or after it’s gotten golden brown, turn the cakes around carefully, and cook for another 3-4 minutes — or until golden brown.

10. Serve hot, with tartar sauce or mayo, and with vegetables of your choice.

Note: For a vegan version, use half a can of jackfruit instead of crab: rinse and drain the jackfruit, remove and discard the triangle stem, and on step 3, cook with some water for 10 minutes on the pan until that has completely evaporated. Add it in the food processor along the veggies in step 4. The rest is the same.

Colcannon

One of my favorite Irish recipes.

cauliflower-colcannon1
Image courtesy of OurLifeInFood

Ingredients
* 1 head cauliflower (or 2 yellow yams, or 2 rutabagas, or 3 parsnips)
* Splash milk or kefir
* 1 leek, chopped
* 1 cup of thinly sliced cabbage
* Chives
* 1/4th stick butter or ghee
* salt & pepper

Method
1. Cut the cauliflower in florets. Boil it for 10-15 minutes until soft. Strain it, place in a large bowl, add the splash of milk/kefir, and use an immersion mixer to puree until smooth. Season with salt & pepper.

2. Add the leek and cabbage to the pan with butter. Cook for a few minutes until all of the vegetables are softened.

3. Mix in the pan the puree with the veggies. Cook enough to heat through, sprinkle with chives, and serve.

Variation: Make it even more interesting by also frying some thinly sliced mushrooms in step 2, and adding a bit of lemon at step 3.