Shrimp and Asparagus (AIP Friendly)

Simple easy AIP compliant dinner. Shrimp and asparagus (both on sale and both with coupons!) sauteed with onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, basil, fresh lemon, and a oilve oil/coconut oil mixture. #aipdiet #simplecooking  #healthyeating #dinnertime #blog | September 21, 2017 at 08:23PM

Simple easy AIP compliant dinner. Shrimp and asparagus (both on sale and both with coupons!) sauteed with onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, basil, fresh lemon, and a oilve oil/coconut oil mixture. #aipdiet #simplecooking #healthyeating #dinnertime #blog

For this dish I used 1 small bag of large raw frozen shrimp (Shelled) and 1 bag of microwavable frozen asparagus.

Directions:

Microwave frozen asparagus for 1/2 the  cook time stated on the package. Drizzle pan with olive oil and coconut oil.  Add frozen shrimp (do not defrost) and partially cooked asparagus to the pan.  Season with 1/2 large lemon (squeezed) and garlic powder, onion powder, and salt – to taste.   Cook until shrimp are done.

Easy, Quick, Delicious, Healthy.

*Nut Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Nightshade Free, Sugar Free – AIP Compliant*

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The AIP Diet – A new adventure for my health and for my stomach

I have Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease, and most people probably know that, because I am pretty vocal about it.  I know the condition is fairly common and often easily treatable, mine never has been.  Even when the doctors tell me that my blood work is “within range,” I rarely feel like myself and constantly suffer from a broad range of related symptoms. More information about my autoimmune disease and my symptoms have been written about in previous posts (and I am sure I will post on that topic again).  However, I do want talk about food and its relation to Hashimoto’s and my health.

I have been on a gluten free diet for several years after discovering that this is often recommended for Hashimoto’s patients. There are lots of articles out there that talk about why gluten is bad, but basically eating gluten makes my body attach my thyroid more than it already is doing.  Here is a decent article on the topic: Gluten and Hashimoto’s Disease.  When eating a gluten free diet, I find that my symptoms are reduced somewhat and that my flares occur less often.

I was doing good as of last year was down to my pre-diagnosis weight!  I was so excited!  Then there was some major stress in my life and my thyroid levels over the last year have been going down and down.  I am up to 200 mcg of Synthroid a day!…my symptoms are all over the place, and my weight is back up to where it was at its highest (pre-pregnancy).

I have decided that something needs to change and I need to try something new.  I am looking for a new doctor and I am hoping to find a Functional Medicine Doctor that my insurance will cover, but in the meantime I have decided to take on the Auto Immune Protocol Diet.

I have been reading a lot about this Protocol and I am very optimistic that I will see positive results.  This protocol is often prescribed by doctors for patients with autoimmune issues and leaky gut.  I have been pulling my information from a number of sources, but my go-to has been Paleo Mom.  She gives a great overview of the protocol here.

What is the AIP diet?

The goal is to detox your system of foods and substances that often cause reactions.  The foods allows and disallowed are easily found online and Paleo Mom has some great reference charts.  This strict protocol is to be followed for a minimum of 30 days (although many people find that they are still symptomatic and need to follow it for longer) and then start reintroducing foods in a limited and specific way.  By reintroducing foods slowly, it should be easy to recognize which foods cause symptom flares.  Foods that cause a negative reaction should be removed and kept out of the eating plan for that individual.  The ultimate goal is to finish on the paleo diet with the addition of limiting food that that specific person also reacts too.

Wish me good luck and strength of will to stay on the AIP wagon!

Breakfast for Dinner and Tales of a Helpful Toddler

Last night was the first night in a long time that I cooked dinner for my family.  I love to cook and I normally cook quite often, but Michael had been out of town for a bit and then my Mother-in-Law had a heart attack (more about that in another post) and as a result we have been back and forth to Little Rock (to visit the hospital) and Michael has been staying at the hospital a lot too.

Michael was home last night and I wanted to cook, but I had forgotten to set anything out to defrost.  I was left to ponder what I could fix for dinner fairly easily and with what I had on hand and ready to cook.

I decided on Breakfast for dinner –  a fairly regular meal at our house.  I thought about what I would include and decided on gluten-free biscuits, scrambled eggs, and sausage links.  Now generally Michael prefers bacon or at least sausage patties, but all I had was sausage links, so he was just going to have to make do with them.

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The kitchen quickly becomes a disaster area when I am cooking!

Genevieve saw me in the kitchen and wanted to help.  She climbed up in her learning tower (we found this at a Rhea Lana’s sale for so cheap!), and asked to help me.  She first pointed to the sausages and told me that she wanted to eat the “hot dog,” which was so cute!  I told her that they were sausages and she then told me that she wanted to eat the sausages, but I told her they had to cook first (much to her disappointment).  She then helped me cute the biscuits.  When I started breaking the eggs to scramble them, she asked if she could crack the eggs.  I wouldn’t let her crack the eggs because I didnt want to fish all the shells out.  She got so made at me that she ran out of the kitchen saying that she was going to go “tell daddy that you are doing it wrong!”

When dinner was finished cooking, we all sat down to the table to eat.  It was such a treat for us all to eat dinner together, since it had been so long.

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I ate my biscuits with honey…yum!

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Want to know how to make these amazing gluten-free biscuits?  I use this recipe from Maebell’s blog.  It is the best gluten-free biscuit recipe I have found.  I generally tweak it by adding 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum, cooking in a glass 9×13 casserole dish coated with melted butter, and I cook them a bit longer – 15 to 20 minutes (finishing with the broil setting to get a golden color on top).

Morphing a Gluten Free Cake Mix

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake mix
  • 1 pkg chocolate fudge jello pudding mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 stick butter (melted)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk (add a couple extra tablespoons if the mix is too dry).
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

Mix all ingredients together and spoon into a oiled bunt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

The batter is VERY thick and will not pour.  This batter will need to be spooned into the pan.

Notes: This cake is one of the best cakes I have ever made, regarding texture.  The cake was very moist and held together very well.  It was fluffy.  I was afraid it would be dense because the batter was so heavy, but this cake is very light and springy.  I even cut it while it was hot and it didnt crumble at all!  I will say that it did not taste overly chocolaty.  I think next time I make it, I will add more cocoa powder.



 

 

Creamy Ground Turkey Casserole

In my effort to purchase minimal groceries this month (and try to use up what we already have), tonight’s dinner was an experiment.  However, it turned out to be a very  tasty experiment.

 

Ingredients:

1 lb of ground turkey

3 Cups minute rice (We use Minute Brown Rice)

1 1/2 Cup Chicken broth

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp chopped garlic

1 Yellow Bell pepper, chopped

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Cup sour cream

1 pkg Cream Cheese

1 Can diced tomatoes in juice

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded cheese

1/2 8oz can of tomato paste

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Saute onion, bell pepper and garlic in the olive oil for a couple of minutes and then add the ground meat and Italian seasoning. Keep cooking until meat is browned.
  3. Add sugar, salt, , garlic powder, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste and keep cooking for a few more minutes (you want the flavors to blend together).
  4. Then add the cream cheese and sour cream and cook until melted into the sauce.
  5. Put the dry rice into a 9×13 casserole dish and pour the chicken broth over the top.
  6. Pour meat/sauce mixture on top of rice.  The sauce does not have to completely cover the rice.
  7. Top with the shredded cheese of your choice.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  9. If there is too much liquid in the casserole then remove the foil and cook another 10 to 15 minutes.

 

 

Snack Mix Using Mike’s Seasoning

Dry Mix

 3 cups rice chex

3 cups corn chex

3 cups cherios

1 cup party peanuts

2 cups pretzel sticks (we use Gluteno’s)

2 cups cheese crackers (we use Van’s)

Seasoning

3 tablespoons worchestershire sauce

1 stick butter + 2TBSP, melted

1 tablespoon onion powder

3 tablespoons Mike’s seasoning

Optional: 1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Directions 

Mix dry seasonings into the melted butter.

Mix dry ingredients together and then drizzle 1/2 the seasoning mix over it. Stir well. Add the remaining seasoning slowly while continuing to stir. 

Once evenly coated put in a sheet pan or large tossable aluminum pan. Spread out as thinly and evenly as possible.

Bake at 250 for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes.

Cool well before storing.

 Yogurt Popcicles

Homemade Yogurt Popcicles 

This recipe is super simple. It’s a great alternative to ice cream. I like to give these to my toddler because I can control the ingredients and the sugar.

Ingredients:

  • Whole milk yogurt – plain (Stonyfield Organic is our choice)
  • Pureed fruit or fruit/veggie blend
  • Honey (optional)
  • Popcicle molds

Directions:

1. Prepare a fruit puree (see my previous posts for suggestions) or use a preprepared baby food pouch.

2. Spoon 1/2 Cup of plain yogurt into a bowl.

3. Add fruit puree to yogurt. Add as much as you like -to taste. I normally use 1/4 cup, but have used as much as 1/2 Cup. 

4. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of honey, depending on the sweetness of your fruit.

5. Spoon  into popcicle molds and freeze.

I normally use whatever fruit I have that is getting close to the end of its life.

Favorite flavors: 

  • Strawberry, blueberry, and blackberry
  • Peach and banana 
  • Cherry and strawberry 
  • Peach and mango

Favorite popcicle molds:

These are fun shaped silicone molds. Silicone molds make them very easy to come out (even without running under water). I really like these molds for toddlers and small children because they are much smaller than standard sized popcicles.

Zoku individual popcicle molds (Amazon)

Koji popcicle molds (Target)

Fruit and Oat Muffins

Tonight I tried out a new muffin recipe that was recommended to me in one of my mommy groups.  I was looking for a healthy full size muffin, because Genevieve has started preferring full sized foods.  She has been refusing my mini muffins, but at a recent family reunion, she ate half of a full sized one.

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Tonight I tried the “Straw-nana Muffins” posted here. While I used the base of this recipe, I did make a few modifications, which I will share below.

When looking for a “full sized” muffin recipe tonight, I had a few requirements.  I wanted to use up an over-ripe banana that was sitting in my fruit bowl, I wanted to use oats, and I preferred the recipe to be gluten free (I eat gluten free, but my daughter does not).

The original recipe called for 1 cup of mashed strawberries, which I did not have.  I substituted a mix of apple, peach, blackberry, and cherry and used my Ninja food processor to “mash” and mix them.  The original recipe also called for 1 cup of chopped strawberries to be folded in the dough just prior to baking.  I substituted blackberries for strawberries and only used about 1/4 cup.  Also, the original recipe allows the choice of coconut sugar or maple syrup – I chose to use coconut sugar. I did add 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil to my finished mix- just because.

Once I had my batter deposited in my silicone liners, I topped them with a dried fruit and seed mix to make the tops pretty.

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Dry Ingredients:

2 cups oats – processed into “flour”

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:

1 cup fruit – mashed

1 1/2 over-ripe banana

2 eggs – beaten

1/2 teaspoon coconut oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately and then together. Spoon into a silicone lined muffin pan.  Top with dried fruit and seeds. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes (mine were closer to 20) or until they can pass the toothpick test.

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