Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Articles of Honour

Articles that are just so good, I want to send you directly to the source.

Magnesium: The Lamp of Life
If you've read my writings on magnesium, you'll know immediately that this article would be quick to make it to the list. It explains the links between magnesium deficiency, insulin and muscle tension.

There's an ah-ha moment when the reader realizes... of course this explains the link between diabetes and celiac, which commonly occur concurrently. It also explains why so many of us gluten sensitive people (perhaps people who malabsorb due to gluten) have chronic muscle tension and type-A personality headaches that magically disappear when we get rid of gluten.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Perfect Pie Crust

Sorghum and Vanilla Potato Vodka

I must admit that usually I like to write something nice and long... and maybe add a few photos... definitely quoting a bunch of science abstracts.

Today, however, I defer to The Smitten Kitchen (link below). Though not necessarily gluten free, this article brings a great deal of good advice to the table.

One of the pie crust tips I will definitely be using is the vodka tip.

Every year, I buy a fair-sized bottle of potato vodka and drop a few vanilla beans in it. This is my own version of 'vanilla extract' for baking days. It is this vanilla flavoured vodka that I will be using to make my pie crusts this Christmas.

For the flour, I must admit to getting tired of using rice flour. My daughter has decided that she doesn't like the flavour of quinoa... and so I will defer to a mix of sorghum, amaranth and arrowroot.

Also, I'll defer to lard for my crust and save any of our dairy splurges for the fillings... like in a pecan pie, for instance.

2 cups sorghum
1/4 cup amaranth
1/4 cup arrowroot
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons powdered demerara sugar (yes I buy full sugar and powder it myself with a coffee grinder)
(I'd use date sugar instead if I could get my hands on some.)
3/4 cup cold organic lard
1/4 cup cold vanilla potato vodka
1/4 cup cold water

Mix dry stuff all together.
Add half of the dry mix to the lard.
Cut the lard into half the dry mix.
Add the rest of the dry mix and continue cutting the lard.
After the mix is very well crumbled, shape into two balls and refrigerate until firm.
Roll between rolls of plastic and place into pie dish.
Sandwich this dough between two pie dishes (must be clear or light - not dark dishes).
Place pie dishes upside down in oven and bake at 200 F until done (check every 10 minutes).

I'll try for the photos later today... if I can find my camera.

Smitten Kitchen - Pie Crust 101
Fermented Sorghum: gluten free bread
Is Sorghum Safe for Celiacs?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Soup Broth

Soup broth is an absolute staple in any home. No matter where you are in the world, you will find soup broth in all diets and all cultures.

Once you learn how to use it, an art that is largely forgotten in today's world of packaged foods, one realizes that it is, by far, the most flexible, nutritious, and all encompassing ingredient in the kitchen!

Read here about vitamins and minerals regarding soup broth and why the timing of this recipe is so crucial: Soup Broth: Basic Science Things and Thinks

In all recipes, we are simply dumping everything into a pot, bones MUST be included.

The pot must be simmered for 3 hours.

I prefer to keep a crock pot plugged in and every Wednesday in our house, right now, is pork roast night. I salt and pepper the roast and drop in some sage leaves from my garden. Then we eat a fair bit of the meat off the roast that night for dinner. What is left over, gets covered with water and has 1/2 a head of cabbage added to it. Crock Pot Heaven

Chicken Broth: Plain

1 small chicken
1/2 head of cabbage
water: enough to cover the chicken

Chicken Broth: Lemon (preferred when making Aveglemono)

1 small chicken
4 lemons
water: enough to cover the chicken

Beef or Pork Broth: plain

1 small bone-in roast
1/2 head cabbage
water to cover the roast

Fish Broth: plain

1/2 pot of fish (bones and all)
1/2 head cabbage
water to cover

Simmer for 3 hours either in a pot or a crockpot.

Strain and store. (I use large glass canning jars, filled about an inch from the top and then placed in my freezer.


gravy base
rice cooking liquid (instead of plain water)
reduced and mixed with balsamic vinegar for meat rubs or salad dressings
much, much more...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Smoothie

The story behind the development and how we use our smoothies is here.

Banana Orange Smoothie: feeds 3 children

1 large banana
10 frozen grapes
1/4 cup nut milk
4 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons raspberry jam (no refined sugar - sweetened with pear juice)
pinch of sea salt

Pop it all right into the blender until well blended.


strawberries instead of o.j. concentrate (awesome vitamin C source)
coconut milk (metabisulphite free if you're not on SCD and want to use a canned version)
mango instead of raspberry jam
date sugar instead of honey and/or frozen grapes

There are other inumerable substitutions that I've made over the years depending upon what I thought the children needed. For example, if they haven't been eating enough carrots, I might add some carrot juice into the mix in place of some of the milk of choice. If I felt they hadn't had enough sea food to keep their iodine levels up and healing levels at their best, I might add some pureed sea veggies (arame is the mildest).

Six years into our special diet, we've done a lot of work establishing which vitamins help us get better after being glutened (which doesn't happen often anymore but does still happen).

So at this point I know what we need, crush them with a mortar and pestle and add them in. Our vitamin regimen might not be good for others, so be aware that my vitamin regimen is not for other people to use but to give an idea of what happens in other homes.

Please also be aware that we do these only occasionally now, for one or two days. This is not an every day thing or it could be harmful:

50mg B vitamins
25 mg zinc
150 mg mag. citrate
1000 mg evening primrose oil
3000 mcg B12 methylcobalamin

Please note, once again, that these amounts are not my suggestion for anyone. They are high, therapeutic doses that we do only occasionally and when our systems are particularly stressed.

I suggest that other people consult with their doctors about what they should be taking. As with all vitamins, there are risks for overdosing that are not to be overlooked. Please see the sources I've listed below.


Liver Damage Caused by Drugs (Niacin)
Zinc Overdose (this also refers back to how important your phils are)
Magnesium Overdose
Vitamin C
Vitamin C Overdose
Epsom Salt Baths as Cerebral Palsy Therapy

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Plant Oils Versus Lard

Notes and references

I bought a large bag of pork fat from my organic farmer so that I could have chemical free lard for my family. What will I use it for? Easy... stir fries, pan seasoning, deep frying and old-fashioned icing for my cakes and tea breads. (Is that last one a surprise? Well, true enough... it keeps better and hold better than a dairy based icing recipe will.)

The bag of fat pieces was about a foot in circumference and stood almost as high as my waist.

I got a big pot out, cut the pieces so that I could fit as much as possible into the pot, set the heat to medium and let it boil/simmer for a whole day. (Make sure there is no water content left or it might not set properly and will have a shorter shelf life.)

I used an old pillowcase to remove the chunks that would not boil out and any sediment.

(I bleached this pillowcase and keep it in my kitchen drawer under my cotton dish towels, using it for straining almost anything, deep frying lard, jellies, juices, etcetera. When done, I just throw it into my bin of cloths that need to be washed and/or sanitized - yes, I do use bleach for this - and then pop it right back into my dishtowel drawer.)

After pouring the hot lard (be careful!) into several glass casserole dishes with lids, I placed it outside on my back deck in the freezing cold temperature. I read that the faster it cools, the creamier the consistency. Truth be told though, I did wait for it to cool for a while before pouring. I thought that I'd be willing to risk less creaminess for safety (in case of spillage).

What I ended up with was smooth, beautiful, creamy lard, free of bht and any other toxins that are in store-bought, non-organic lard.

I sliced it into one pound blocks, keep one in the fridge and store the rest in the freezer. I'm good for the rest of the year now!