small update and Sauerkraut recipe

I have an appointment with Dr. Gray on January 28th at noon.

I don’t know why all of a sudden they were able to get me in sooner, but I’m glad.

We’ll find out what’s going on with the Cerebral Spinal Fluid Pressure.  Hopefully, she will be able to get something straight.  Even leveling things out a little would help a lot.  3-4 attacks a week are driving me crazy.  (as you all know.)

On a side note.  I made Sauerkraut today….well I started the making of Sauerkraut today.  I thought I had pictures of it from the last time I made it but I can’t find them.  : (  So I didn’t take any today.  But I will tell you what I did.  It is so easy!!  (especially if you have a food processor) *this recipe was inspired by the recipe for Raw Sauerkraut in the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.

Sauerkraut

  • 1 head of Cabbage
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons of Sea Salt (I use 1, but the original recipe called for 2)

Peel off a few of the out leaves of the cabbage head.  Save these you will use them later.  Chop the head into small enough pieces to fit in your food processor. (be sure to remove and discard the stalk. I really like the center of the stalk, I always just gobble it up.)

Slice up the cabbage in your food processor with your slicing blade. (if you don’t have a food processor you can do this by hand, but it will take a while, you have to cut it up really small.)  Transfer the cabbage to a bowl and toss with the salt.

Here’s the really hard part if you don’t have a food processor.  Remove the slicing blade from the food processor and put in your little plastic blade.  Return cabbage to food processor in small batches just smashing it up and making it all juicy.  (if you don’t have a food processor you need to just keep smashing he cabbage with a mallet until you get a lot of the juice out.  Of course, this is a great way to get your frustrations out.)

Just spoon your juicy cabbage into a clean jar, and cover with those outer leaves you saved from the beginning.  Press the mixture down so the is some juice covering the leaves.  This won’t be hard.  Keep in a dark dry place for 3-7 days, I like to keep mine in my pantry.  (I do put the lid on the jar, but I don’t tighten it.)  Every day you need to press it down some more so even more juice will cover those leaves.  (eventually the leaves will start to just fall apart, don’t worry about it.)  The original recipe says to start tasting it after about 3 days, mine tastes nasty that soon.  Just smell it, if it smell like sauerkraut, then taste it.  If it taste like you like, then put it in the refrigerator the slow/stop the fermentation process.  If you get a funky scum on the top of your sauerkraut, just spoon it off.

I use a wooden pestle from a mortar and pestle that I have to press my mixture down every day.  Since I don’t use this mortar and pestle any more, I use it exclusively for this, now it smells like pickles.  : )  If you used a pestle made from a different material, or perhaps a mallet, you probably wouldn’t have this problem.

They do make crocks just for making sauerkraut, and I’ve seen much more complicated recipes, but I’ve never tasted better sauerkraut.

I may make it a different way some time, I may even get a fermenting crock so I can make more than one head of cabbage at a time.  But for now, this method does well for me, I just start a new jar before the one in the fridge gets empty.

(If I find those pictures, I’ll post one.  Maybe I will take a picture of the jar I have started at least so you can see what it looks like.)

S.O.L.E. Foods Menu this Week

As I posted on my Gluten Free Greenie Blog I’ve unofficially taken on the 4th Annual Dark Days Challenge from the(not so) Urban Hennery.
The challenge is to make a meal a week during the winter using SOLE food ingredients. (Sustainable, Organic, Local, and Ethical).

This week I made Field Peas in my Slow Cooker, Sauteed Broccoli Raab, and Mashed White Sweet Potatoes.

If you are interested in the recipes please see my post on Gluten-Free Greenie.

Quinoa Pilaf

Quinoa Pilaf - photo by W. Holcombe

Today I decided to experiment with Quinoa. (keen- wa)

I’ve made quinoa before, but just plain and I really didn’t care for it that way.   I often use quinoa flour in my baked goods, but I haven’t tried my hand at making quinoa in a long time.  It turned out very good.  My husband said to make this one as a “Keeper”.

Quinoa Pilaf

  • 2 Tablespoons – Grape seed or Olive Oil (I have a spout on my bottle so I just do a couple of swipes in the pan)
  • 1/2 cup or 3 medium carrots, diced small
  • 1/2 cup or 2 large stalks celery, diced small (remove the big tough ends at the bottom of the stalk, and the greens from the top)
  • 10 – Green Onions, sliced thinly, use about half the green part too. – (I had a big bunch and used about half)
  • 1/2 cup Baby Portabella Mushrooms (this only took about 4 mushrooms)
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Secrets Amino Acids (This is GF and Soy Free but if you aren’t avoiding soy you could use GF soy or Tamari sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons of dried Basil
  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 2 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock (I used unsalted Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock, but you could use Vegetable Stock or Broth to make this vegetarian.)

Heat oil in sauce pan.  Add Carrots, Celery, and Onions in pan, sautee for about 5 minutes or until the carrots start to get a little tender.  (they will continue to cook with the quinoa so don’t worry too much about it)  Add the Amino Acids (or GF soy sauce), and basil, then add the Mushrooms and the Quinoa and sautee for 3 more minutes.  Add the Stock or Broth, bring to a boil, then cover pot and lower to a simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until all water is absorbed.  (at least that the time it said on the box, mine took much longer for the liquid to be absorbed.  I ended up taking the top off the pot so the liquid would evaporate some.)  You can tell the quinoa is done when it turns translucent in the middle but it has a little ring around it.

Here’s some interesting information about quinoa.

Quinoa is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family.  It is a species of goosefoot like beats, spinach, and tumbleweed.

Quinoa is higher in protein than any other grain.  Quinoa’s protein is of an unusually high quality.  It is a complete protein, with an essential amino acid balance close to the ideal.

You can find out more about Quinoa at Wikipedia, and Ancient Harvest’s Quinoa Corporations.

So if you are like me and have only tried quinoa plain, give it another try, you might be surprised.

How I made it a better day.

One of the things I do when I’m having a down day is create.  Sometimes I work on my artwork, other times, like today, I create in the kitchen.

Organic Kale from Durham's Farmer's Market

It all started with a bunch of Kale.  I decided I’d try my hand at Kale Chips.  I’ve heard so much about them but I’ve never tried any.

Simply tear the Kale into small pieces, and arrange them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.  I then sprayed them with olive oil.  (I used one of my favorite products, Pampered Chef’s Spritzer)

Bake them at 350F for about 10 minutes.  You want them crisp, but not brown.   I found if I put a little bit larger pieces around the edges and smaller pieces in the middle of the sheet they get ready about the same timeSprinkle them with your flavoring of choice.  Many people just use salt, but you know I don’t eat much salt, so I used a mixture of Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, and a little of regular Mrs. Dash.  Even Stuart liked these, and he has an aversion to most things green.  : )

Then I decided to start a batch of Raw Sauerkraut.  I got the recipe from my new Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.

It’s really very easy, and I hope it turns out.  I’ll let you know in a few days.

Here’s the mess I was making while getting the cabbage the way I wanted it.   You have to pound shredded cabbage and make the juice come out to make Sauerkraut.   I started doing this in a bowl, and decided this was just way to hard for me.  So I decided to try putting the plastic blade in my food processor and let it do some pounding for me.  Then I transferred it to my jar.

I used the mortar from my mortar and pestle to pound the cabbage down in the jar.

I was so surprised at how much liquid there was in this cabbage.

It only takes cabbage and a little salt to make sauerkraut.   I didn’t use as much salt as they called for in the recipe, I hope my cabbage ferments well and turns into some wonderful sauerkraut.

Then came time to fix dinner.  I had some chicken left over from cooking some Split Chicken Breasts with about 30 cloves of garlic in the slow cooker this weekend.   All I did there was oil my crock, then I put the breast in skin side down and threw in all the peeled cloves I got out of one big head of garlic.  Put the cooker on low for a little over 6 hours and that’s it.  The chicken just fell off the bone.

I decided to stir fry up some veggies with San-J Gluten Free Asian BBQ sauce.

I threw these plus some onion and garlic in a wok with the left over chicken and the San-J Gluten Free Asian BBQ Sauce.

We had this over brown rice.  I wasn’t very impressed the Asian BBQ Sauce.  It tasted like I had a stir fry with regular BBQ sauce on it.  It was ok, but it wasn’t the Asian flavor I was looking for.  I don’t think I’ll bother with this sauce again.

After a day of not only feeling creative but also productive, I feel much better than I did at the beginning of the day.

I was very lucky today that I was able to work in the kitchen.  When I have these feelings and I can’t get around enough to really work them out, it makes things much harder.  On those days, I try to write, or read.  Usually, even when I’m not able to walk, if I focus on something up close to me I can usually accomplish something.  Those are the days I’m so grateful I have a laptop, and that I love to read.

What do you do to help when you are having a bad day?

 

 

 

A good and very bad Sunday.

The day started out well.  I still couldn’t hear, but I was feeling ok.  So we decided to take a trip to the NC State Farmer’s Market.  We were on a quest for pumpkins!  We spent nearly an hour and a half picking out the perfect pumpkins for us to decorate, or just use as decoration.  It was much fun.

Since there isn’t any organic produce at this farmer’s market, after we got our pumpkins we decided to make a run to Whole Foods.  Look at the wonderful produce we picked up.  The winter squash came from the farmer’s market, the rest came from Whole Foods.  Most are organic and local, some are just organic, and well, a few are grown conventionally.

On the way home from Whole Foods I started having a vertigo attack.  At the first sign of dizziness I took my medication, but it didn’t really help.  The swaying and bumping in the car was horrible on our 40+ minute drive home.  I will never go that far from home when I’m having Meniere’s trouble.  I should have known better.

Shortly after we got home I started throwing up.  The attack started around 4:30pm and finally stopped around 7:00pm.  Actually this was a fairly short attack, considering I’ve had them last over 8 hours before.   However, it was particularly violent.  I’m so sore and tired today.  I will have to just rest and recover.

Not a great start…

I have a fever today.  Not enough to worry about an infection or anything from the colonoscopy I had yesterday, but enough to make me feel very icky.

So I’m not saying this is day one.  Day one will be the day I start the elimination diet.  However, I am going to attempt to incorporate more exercise in my life every day.  Today, I will at least do some stretching, since I don’t feel well I don’t think a lot of exercise would be a good idea.

I’m finding myself hungry a lot lately.  Nearly every time I eat I end up in the bathroom, you would think that would discourage me from eating, but I get so hungry.  I’ve decided to start eating small amounts more often to see if that works.

I just ordered the book, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, I’ve been reading the authors’ blog and I think that the elimination diet in the book may be very helpful to me.  As I believe I’ve mentioned before, I would prefer to eat whole foods as much as possible.  Nothing can beat home-made food made from the freshest ingredients.

The book should be here some time between October 26 – 30.  I can really get started on trying to figure out what I’m having trouble with at that time.  I downloaded the list of things you can eat on phase one and I think I’ll try to start eating mostly these foods even before the book arrives.  The elimination diet actually starts with a 2 day green smoothie detox, however after my extreme cleanse for my colonoscopy I may not do this part.  I don’t really like green smoothies, I’d much rather just eat the greens.  I’m sure the smoothies are so you can digest the greens easier, but the taste of the greens and fruit mixed just doesn’t hit my taste buds right.

So there’s the plan so far.

A New Me in One Year

I’ve been struggling with my health for most of my life. The past 2 years have been especially trying.

Today I had a colonoscopy, and it found nothing unusual. I’m tired of feeling bad and no one being able to tell me why. I’ve had lower GI problems for over 2 months now, and I’ve gained about 25 pounds in these 2 months.

Tonight I emailed a couple of nutritionist in the area asking if they can help me with an elimination diet to see if there is something in my diet that is causing this havoc.

I also walked around the block for the first time in months.

I should mention that I have many other things afflicting me:
Meniere’s Disease
suspected Celiac’s Disease (I am gluten-free and it has helped me immensely.)
Wheat Allergy
Hypothyroidism
Hypoglycemic
Chronic hip pain (I had a torn labrum twice last year. My orthopedist would like to perform surgery to see if he can figure out what is still causing so me so much pain. I’ve had numerous MRI some with dye, and none of them show anything that can explain the amount of pain I’m having. Note: this is a new doctor, not the one who did the 2 surgeries last year. He thinks my hip-joint could be pinching the cartilage, it wouldn’t show up on the MRI because you are in a relaxed position. My muscles and tendons are also too tight, even though I’ve had a lot of PT.)

This blog is going to follow my life over the next year, and my attempt to get healthier.