We’ve Moved! :)

Yaay!  Our new site is up!  Please visit http://www.simpleandmerry.com.  If you were Following my posts, or getting an email every time I post, you will need to re-follow at the new site.  (You can do this by clicking on the little “Follow” Tab in the Right bottom corner.)

Thank you so much!  🙂

Its a Little Crazy Around Here!

I need to apologize because now that I am a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner – I need a website!  The process of transferring a blog over to a website is more complicated than I realized.  I am aware that many of the links don’t work, and that it is a little chaotic – please bear with us!  We will have the new one up in a day or so.  Thanks so much for your patience!  Mary 🙂

Apple Cookies! (AIP / 21DSD)

I have a love/hate relationship with sweet things.  I love sweets, and sweets hate me.  🙂  This is not entirely true – and I do feel that I have already made significant progress with my sugar cravings/addiction… and that sweets CAN be a healthy part of a good diet, when handled properly.  But it IS wonderful to reset one’s taste for sweet things.  To be satisfied with less.  To taste the sweet in things that we couldn’t before.  So I’m doing the 21 Day Sugar Detox!  I got the book, by Diane Sanfilippo – and I am loving it!  I highly recommend it! 🙂

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I’m on day 6.  It is going well so far!  I really do miss sweet things, though!  And I miss baking!  Being on the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol – I can’t have nuts, seeds, eggs, nightshades, or dairy – which makes it a little difficult.  Add on that I have to watch my histamine intake – which takes out bacon, bananas, and spinach (plus others!) it isn’t Quite as much fun, but alas!  🙂

 I’m going to start posting recipes that are complaint with both the 21 Day Sugar Detox, AND the Autoimmune Protocol.  You will find a special Tab for it in my recipe section.  *I do use some seed spices, such as cumin – if that is a problem for you, please omit.

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So, I mentioned that I missed baking – and remembered this Apple Spice Cookie Recipe.  Just omit the raisins, and you are good to go!  I admit that they are not super sweet – but that is kind of the point, and they are quite satisfying.  🙂  I recommend you play around with the spices – if you can tolerate them!  Maybe add some lemon zest, cardamom, some fun extracts, play with the flavors!  Add a few slices of apple to the top, and sprinkle with cinnamon.  And enjoy 🙂

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And this is a picture of the batter – in case you were wondering 🙂

Shampoo and Conditioner

I have tried “No ‘Poo” – which is using baking soda and vinegar for shampoo and conditioner.  It was awful!  It does seem to work for some people, but not for me!  But I just don’t like unnecessary chemicals, and shampoo is expensive!!

So I tried all sorts of combinations of Dr. Bronners, honey, tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, you name it!  Its been kind of miserable, to tell you the truth.  And when I resorted to regular shampoo, my face was dry and itchy.

But I think I found something!!  It works great on both my husband and myself.  It suds up and feels clean, but moisturizes my dry scalp at the same time – which I attribute to the jojoba oil and aloe vera gel in the mixture.  I love it!  Let me know if you try it – click here to see the shampoo recipe.  I made it, loved it, then couldn’t find the recipe on the internet, but Finally found it!.  Hopefully I’ll have it for good now! 🙂  I mix it up and put it in sports water bottles.  It is quite watery, but it doesn’t take much!!

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And I have been using this next recipe for conditioner!  It makes my hair brush-able and soft, even if it isn’t quite like real conditioner.  I measured quite loosely, so no need to be exact.  I just use the “Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse” part of the recipe – you need to scroll down a bit to see it,  Click here to see the conditioner recipe.

Enjoy! 🙂

Autoimmune Protocol Plantain Pizza!

Egg, dairy, grain, nightshade, coconut, nut and seed free pizza/focaccia/flat bread!  🙂  This is really quite yummy – and much easier to make than regular pizza.  It is a flat bread, with a doughy consistency that pleases me tremendously.  My inspiration for the recipe came from The Paleo Mom’s Plantain Crackers.  They are so good, if you haven’t tried them! 🙂

Here are some things to note:

  • This works the very best with a Vita Mix.  It is smoother, and has a better consistency.
  • Made with a food processor, it is not quite as pretty, but tastes pretty much the same.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and fresh rosemary for focaccia.
  • If you CAN have tomatoes, pepperoni, and cheese, use tomatoes, pepperoni, and cheese.
  • Topping ideas: mushrooms, onions, any veggies- really, sausage, artichokes, spinach, seasoned hamburg, little pieces of steak…
  • The pizza may turn very dark if you don’t use the lemon juice/apple cider vinegar.  It is a reaction from the baking soda, but it does not effect the taste.
  • IT BENDS!!  Make it plain and use it as a wrap!! 🙂  It bends best slightly warm or room temp….
  • The consistency is Not good when cold.  Throw it in the toaster oven or microwave if eating leftovers.
  • Enjoy! 🙂

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Crust:

4 cups peeled and cubed GREEN plantain pieces (3 or 4 green plantains)
1-3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 to 1 cup water
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

Vita Mix Instructions:
1. Place all ingredients in your Vita Mix, starting with 1/3 cup water.  If you want it super garlicy, add the 3 cloves – the one clove just covers the plantain flavor.  (Which isn’t entirely bad!  Feel free to use no garlic.)  Make sure the  black tamper is in the lid.

2. Puree starting on low, and working higher, using the tamper to push down the plantain.  You want it to be smooth – and add more water as necessary.  You want to add as little as possible, but some plantains seem drier than others – in the end, it always tastes good. 🙂

3. When it is smooth and well pureed, spread “dough/paste” on a parchment lined or greased cookie sheet.

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4. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle veggies, meat, or whatever toppings you please.

5. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

007The pepperoni part is for my husband. 🙂  He can’t do dairy either, but wouldn’t that be good with cheese!!?  🙂

Food Processor Version:
1. Put your plantain and garlic in the food processor.

2. Process until it is in small pieces and scrape down.  Make sure it is uniform.  You don’t want to bite into a chunk of garlic!

3. Add the remaining ingredients, starting with 1/3 cup of water.  This recipe will very likely need more than that.  Process, scrape the sides, process, scrape sides.  But make sure it is as smooth as possible!

4. Move up to step 3 in the Vita Mix version and follow instructions from there. 🙂

003See, the food processor version is not quite so smooth.  ^^^

011It bends!  Make it plain and use it as a wrap!! 🙂  *It does Not bend well when it is freezing cold, though!  The consistency isn’t as nice as it is when it is room temp.

This recipe was shared on Pennywise Platter. 🙂

Chicken Fingers with Blueberry Ginger Dipping Sauce

I made The Low Histamine Chef’s recipe for baked apples with blueberry sauce.  It was delicious!  I highly recommend it.  The blueberry sauce has so much ginger, you really need to eat it with something else, or it is too strong.  It was great with the apples!  But  I immediately thought of chicken fingers. So I made some simple, crispy chicken fingers and used the blueberry sauce to dip them in!  (Or spread on them…)   And it works great! 🙂  This is my take on it:

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Blueberry Ginger Sauce

2 cups frozen blueberries
1 Tbs. Fresh grated ginger (this is quite spicy!  Feel free to use less, but I love it!)
Pinch of sea salt
Squeeze of lemon

1. Place ingredients in a saucepan.  Simmer on very low until it defrosts, then turn it up to medium heat until it forms a nice sauce.  Season how you wish.

2. Set aside to cool – and make the chicken fingers.

 

Chicken Fingers:

12 chicken tenders (raw)
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/2 – 1 tsp. sea salt (depending on how salty you like them)
dash pepper

Oil for sautéing (coconut oil, lard, butter/olive oil)

1. Heat the oil in a large saute pan.  You want the oil to be about 1/8″ thick.

2. While it is getting warm, mix the tapioca starch, salt and pepper in a little bowl.

3. Dip the chicken tenders in the bowl, individually.  You do not have to make them wet, they are already moist and the starch will stick to them.

4. Lay them in the hot fat – they should sizzle when it lay them down.  The trick is to have it hot enough to cook through before it burns, but you want it nicely brown.  Flip over after you can see the chicken is about half-cooked through.  (If they get brown too fast, and they aren’t cooked through – you can finish them in the oven…)

5. I cook 6 at a time in my skillet – but whatever your pleasure.  Serve with the blueberry sauce.

6. Enjoy your simple and lovely colorful meal! 🙂

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Maple Crispies

I think these may even be better than the pumpkin spice cookies of my childhood!  They are amazing!  I used oven baked neck pumpkin, but I’m pretty sure canned pumpkin, baked butternut, probably even mashed sweet potatoes – would work just great!  And if you want them extra zippy – add a dash of black pepper or some grated fresh ginger!  Let me know how it turns out if you do! 🙂

The Maple Crispies are entirely optional, but they are SO good!  Just drizzle the Real Maple Syrup on the unbaked cookies, and it will bubble away and get crisp while the cookies bake.  🙂  See the bubbled crispiness in the picture below?  That is crispy maple candy.  🙂  Happy Fall! 🙂

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3 cups unsweetened coconut (Or 1 cup melted coconut cream concentrate)
1/2 cup pumpkin or squash puree
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 full Tbs. black strap molasses (not optional!) 🙂
1 heaping tsp. cinnamon
1/2 (heaping) tsp. dried ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

Maple Crispies:
Drizzle of Real Maple Syrup
Cinnamon
Sea Salt

1. Place the 3 cups of coconut in an 11 cup food processor with an “S” Blade, and process for 5 minutes.

2. Turn the machine off, and let rest for 5 minutes.

3. Turn the machine on, and process again for 5 minutes.  The coconut should be liquefied at this point.  If you are subbing the melted coconut cream concentrate, start here.

4. Add the remaining ingredients.  Process until it comes together, scrape the sides down, then process again.

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5. Place by tablespoonfuls on a cookie sheet.  Mine was lined with parchment.  I made about 12 – if you make them a different size, just adjust the baking time.

6. To make the maple crispies – drizzle maple syrup on the raw formed cookies.  If you let it drizzle down the side onto the parchment, it is so delicious.  The more maple you use, the more crispies – but too much makes them hard to handle.  Add a sprinkle of cinnamon and the tiniest sprinkling of sea salt on each cookie.

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7. Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes.

8. Wow!! 🙂

This recipe was shared on Pennywise Platter.  🙂  And Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable! 🙂

Old Bay Chicken Wings

These are just Soooo good, and Soooo easy!  And Everyone loves them!  Ernie and I first had Old Bay Wings while visiting Frederick, Maryland.  These are just as good! 🙂

I can find pastured chicken wings at our Farmer’s Market for relatively inexpensive – so it is a great option for us. 🙂  And you can use whatever spices you wish.

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1 sheet tray with sides, preferably lined with parchment paper
As many chicken wings as you can comfortably fit on the tray, preferably pastured
Old Bay and Sea Salt

1. Place chicken wings on the parchment lined sheet tray.  The parchment will make cleanup So much easier! 🙂

2. Sprinkle with as much Old Bay and Sea Salt as you like.   (I don’t bother cutting the wings apart – but you can if you wish!)

3. Bake at 350 for one hour.  Flip over and sprinkle the other side with Old Bay and Sea Salt.

4. Bake at 350 for another hour.  (This is a natural baster – the skin fries in its own fat, which makes it nice and crispy!) 🙂

5. Enjoy the crunchy crispy yummy wings! 🙂

Use Up Your Nightshades: Ratatouille

We Moved!!  Yes!  That is why you have not heard from me in So long!  And since the timing was a bit off, Ernie and I lived with his parents for four weeks.  This turned out to be a blessing in many ways, and we are SO grateful to them for their hospitality!  Having said that, all parties are very happy to have our own space, in the end.  We are SO enjoying our new home, and see my new kitchen? 🙂

015And the other side of it:

014I’m so grateful that my husband insisted that I have a spacious kitchen!  Happy Happy Days!

SO, on with the recipe.

I have many memories of ratatouille – my dad Loved it, and so did I!  My mom and sisters and I would make huge batches every fall, and freeze it for the winter.  We would leave it in the oven while we were at church, and serve it with lots of oozey cheese.  So yum!  So my CSA basket has been full of tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers – as typical for this time of year.  Plus, everyone has been giving them to us, which is great!  I even ate some tomatoes this summer, but my joints are a bit sore, and my face is a little inflamed, so its time to stop.  Ernie has no problem eating nightshades, so I thought I would play a “Use up the nightshades” game.  This recipe is not exact – just use them up however you wish!  It is so easy, so delicious, and so easy to give away.  It is highly nutritious for those who do well on nightshades.  Feel free to change any of the amounts – its all good! 🙂

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Ratatouille

2 Tbs. Coconut Oil or oil of choice
2 onions, peeled and rough chopped
2+ bell peppers, seeded, rinsed and chopped (feel free to add a hot pepper in!)
2 eggplants, peeled and chopped
5+ tomatoes chopped, or a can or two of canned tomatoes, salsa, tomato juice, anything you need to use up
4 or 5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
A generous sprinkling of basil and oregano (at least a few teaspoons each if dried, or a good chopped handful of each if fresh)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Melt coconut oil in an appropriate sized pot.

2. Add chopped onions, cook until they start to become translucent.

3. Add everything else, and simmer for several hours.  You just want to make sure the eggplant is cooked until tender.

4. Adjust the seasonings, and serve, freeze, or give away!  I served it on a bed of spaghetti squash.

5. Enjoy! 🙂

 

Cinnamon Crumb Cakes

As a child I loved to make breakfast.  Making breakfast was my quiet, alone time of the morning before my siblings and parents woke up.  I would make eggs or sausage and toast, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, french toast, coffee cakes, pastries, you name it!  I loved it!  And all from scratch.  My present food restrictions keep me from eating most of these tasty baked goods – and the other day I was thinking about how much I missed a good crumb cake.  (There is a lot you can do with nuts, seeds, and eggs as far as a gluten replacement, but without them you are quite limited.)

It made me a bit sad, but then I had a thought!  It ended up looking something like this:

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And it made me feel so much better! 🙂

If you are familiar with my recipes, you will know that I grind coconut, or use melted coconut cream concentrate frequently in my baked goods.  It just does everything that I want it to do, so beautifully!  (My original inspiration on this subject came from: Creamy Coconut Chocolate Chip Macaroons – but I’ve taken it to the extreme, clearly! :))

The coconut cream concentrate, however, it is NOT to be confused with the coconut cream at the top of a can of coconut milk.  Just so you know. 🙂  Here are some links that would work: coconut cream concentrate, coconut manna, coconut for grinding (super fine, or add a little extra).  It is also important to note that these do not set up until they cool.  They will be soft when you take them out of the oven, and this is just fine!  They have a lovely consistency after sitting on the counter for half an hour.  🙂

And I can honestly say that they are better than any crumb cake I’ve ever made – even in my pastry chef days. 🙂

Cinnamon Crumb Cake:

4 cups fine shredded, unsweetened coconut
~OR~ 1 1/3 cup melted coconut cream concentrate (see above)
1 Tbs. Maple Syrup
1 healthy pinch sea salt
1 generous teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup Maple Syrup
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbs. vanilla plus enough water to make 1/4 cup

1. Put 4 cups of coconut into your 11 cup food processor.  Let process for five full minutes.

2. Let the food processor rest for five minutes (so it doesn’t over heat.)

3. Turn on for an additional five minutes.  It will be quite liquidy and you will hear it splash.  (At this point, you could use the melted coconut cream concentrate – 1/3 cup for the topping, and 1 cup for the batter.)

4. Remove 1/3 cup of the ground coconut liquid, put it into a small bowl, and add the 1 Tbs. Maple Syrup, the pinch sea salt, and the cinnamon.  Stir until it comes together – it should look like this:

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5. To the remaining ground coconut, add the 1/4 cup maple syrup, the sea salt, baking soda, and vanilla/water mixture.  Turn on until it forms a thick batter.  I usually scrape down the sides once, then run it for a few more seconds.

6. Drop the batter into 8 or 9 muffin cup liners (they Must be lined!) 🙂  Sprinkle the topping on top.  If you would like to add some fruit between the batter and the topping, go for it!  Just note that these do not bake for super long, so I found the fruit wasn’t baked through.  (So if you use apples, you might want to use ones that are cooked already – I’ve tried them with mangoes, which were lovely!)

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7. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Cook them until they are light brown, but don’t expect them to be firm.  When you remove them from the oven, just leave them in the pan for 30 minutes.  Then remove them, and let them finish cooling.  They stay soft, but firm up nicely as they cool.

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8.  Enjoy!! 🙂