Friday, February 16, 2018

Revisiting Liver: A Necessary Evil

You're absolutely right. That is not liver in that photo above. That is stew meat. You can use either grassfed lamb or beef in this amazing stew.

So what's stew got to do with liver?

It's my secret weapon for incorporating dastardly liver into my healthy eating plan. If you love liver, stop reading. You don't need this secret weapon. But if you're like me and cannot abide the stuff, read on for the most amazing nutrition hack of the century.

Bay leaf, rosemary, basil, sage and thyme. Peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, eggplant, onions, tender grassfed beef or lamb. And the secret that thickened the sauce: liver puree. Yes, you heard right. LIVER. I finally found the perfect way to disguise liver. Puree it with water, okra, fresh parsley, tomatoes, celery and onions and use it as the base for your stew. Undetectable (I swear) and oh so rich and savory.

A few posts back, I wrote about liver and why it's important to get at least 4 oz a week. I was still searching for solutions to my liver dilemma in that post. My dirty rice recipe I came up with to disguise liver was good, but nowhere near as amazing as this recipe.

It's important to find grassfed organic liver. The liver processes toxins and you don't want to be eating a sick, toxic liver from a commercially-raised cow that has been eating grains that are toxic to its health. For beef liver, I can go down the road to the farmstand of our local grassfed beef purveyor who I know on a first name basis, and I can pull a pound of liver out of his freezer and leave my $3.50 in the jar (they still go on the honor system there). That'll do me a whole month at 4 oz a week. You can't do that. But...I know how you can order the best grassfed liver from a cattlewoman I know. Email me at and I'll put you in touch. Her cows are grass-fed and grass-finished. Primo stuff. She will ship it to you on dry ice.

If you need motivation to incorporate liver into your life, think about all that Vitamin A and Vitamin B-12 and iron and a host of other essential, healing, life-enhancing nutrition in such a small serving of relatively inexpensive grassfed beef. Did you know that liver is so nutrient rich, it can be dangerous if you eat too much of it. But four ounces a week is perfect.

You can get your 4 ounces in 2 bowls of this stew and never even notice you are eating liver. It makes 8 servings (large bowls) and 2 bowls weekly satisfies your essential liver needs, so if you freeze your leftovers (2 bowls worth in each freezer container), you will have enough for a month.

I started out making it with beef, then I realized I also needed to incorporate more lamb into my life. Lamb is the number one highest food source of the zinc most of us are deficient in other than oysters and lamb is much less toxic than oysters. It also has less saturated fat, more omega-3 and more CLA than beef. A 4 oz serving will give you almost 50% of your daily B-12 RDA and around 30% of your necessary selenium and niacin.

Livery (not) Lamb Stew (or Beef)

Ingredients for the puree that forms the basis for your sauce:

16 oz. grassfed sauteed beef liver
1 raw purple onion, quartered
2 organic roma tomatoes
2 stalks celery, cut in large pieces
1 cup raw parsley
1 cup chopped okra (frozen or fresh)

Stew ingredients:

2 lbs. grassfed lamb (or beef), cut in chunks
4 large red potatoes quartered with skins
4 stalks celery, cut in chunks
2 large yellow onions quartered
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large bell peppers (any color or mixed colors), chunked in large pieces
8 organic carrots unpeeled and WHOLE, not sliced
2-4 cups sliced mushrooms
1 small eggplant, chopped in small chunks
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (leave one sprig whole for each serving)
1 tbsp dried sage (or 2 tbsp fresh)
1 tbsp dried thyme (or 2 tbsp fresh)
Your favorite fresh, dried or pickled hot pepper to taste plus one whole small pepper for garnishing
1 cup bone broth (preferably homemade)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar or red wine
Two tbsp beef base (I like Organic Beef by Better Than Bouillion)
Salt and pepper to taste (black pepper and cayenne)

Put soup pot boiling with water with 2 tbsp of Better Than Bouillion Organic Beef Base.

Cut raw liver and lamb (or beef) into chunks and season meat strongly with your favorite seasoning for stew meat. I use salt, black pepper and cayenne, sometimes a little garlic powder and celery salt. Sautee chunks of lamb and beef liver in a black iron skillet on low to medium heat until well browned, deeply carmelized. (High heat cooking increases cancer-causing HCAs, so you'll have to cook the meat longer on a lower heat to get the browning normally obtained with high heat.)

Add chopped yellow onion to deglaze pan. When some of the onions are carmelized, add 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar or red wine. Pull out liver and set it aside to cool. Add mushrooms to meat and onions in black iron skillet. Add bone broth as needed until mushrooms are sauteed and have absorbed flavors fully.

Pour lamb/onion/mushroom mix (along with brown gravy) into boiling water in soup pot. Plan to slow boil for at least an hour, preferably two hours.

While soup pot is slow boiling, take your liver you set aside earlier, and cut it into chunks. Add it into a food processor, blender or Ninja, together with 1 cup water, raw okra, purple onions, roma tomatoes, parsley and celery. All raw. Pour pureed liver and veggie mix into boiling soup pot.

Continue boiling until the hour or two is up. Add water as needed to keep your stew at the right consistency as it boils down.

Add eggplant, herbs, carrots, celery, quartered onions and bell peppers. Boil until carrots are tender (30 minutes at least). I like leaving my carrots whole. It adds a rustic French country touch or something. It's unique and artsy and keeping them whole preserves their flavor more. It makes for a beautiful presentation to have a whole carrot placed diagonally in each bowl of stew. It also helps you keep track of your carrot servings (since they are a rather high carb vegetable).

At this point, taste the stew. Some of the seasoning from your strongly seasoned meat will have dispersed in the stew, but you may need to add more. Salt, pepper, herbs - get it to where you like it.

It's possible you may not have browned your meat and onions enough, and your stew may not be brown enough for you. Normally people make a roux (but I'm trying to stay away from wheat and gluten). It's so bad for you so please don't add roux to this healthy stew. If it's not brown enough, use an old trick my mother taught me. Put two tablespoons of sugar in that black iron pot and cook it until it carmelizes then turns almost black. It won't taste like sugar anymore, and that almost black liquid will add depth to the color of your stew. It will be such a negligible amount of sugar in such a large stew. I don't know which is worse - roux, chemicalized Kitchen Bouquet or sugar. I've also heard you can brown tomato paste in the oven and it will serve as a homemade browning agent, but I've never tried that. If you try it, let me know how it turns out. It sounds like the healthiest option.

Add potatoes. Boil for another 15-30 minutes until potatoes are tender.

Remove bay leaves and serve with sprig of fresh rosemary in each bowl and a small hot pepper (optional). Two bowls will supply your week's worth of required liver intake.

Please comment below on whether or not you could taste the liver. I really want to hear back from you on this one.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Add a creamy dipping sauce and a rich little dessert to your life to lower that insulin spike after a meal

It looks like it, but no, it's not hummus.
I've been reading everywhere about how insulin is what drives obesity. When your blood sugar gets high, it spikes the insulin response. Bringing down blood sugar is key to reducing insulin and thereby losing weight.

Is that not scrumptuous looking?
When you're diabetic like me, blood sugars can get high even if you eat no sugar at all. I was fasting the other day, hadn't eaten in a couple of days, and I checked my blood sugar and was amazed to see it was over 150. AFTER NO FOOD IN DAYS.

That's just downright wrong - but it runs in my family.

So that means even if I'm eating no sugar, I have to find other ways to bring down my blood sugar.

Since I always have a tendency to overeat, even if I'm eating protein, too much protein actually converts to glucose. Even if I'm eating vegetables, veggies have small amounts of carbs but those carbs add up if you eat too many.

I know, I know. Eat less. That's the root of my problem. I have a hard time eating less. After 55 years, it's a given, I think. So it's important I stay away from sugars and carbs.

Besides, even if I'm eating NOTHING (as we've already seen), my blood sugar is high. So no matter what I eat or don't eat, I need to come up with hacks to limit blood sugar spikes and insulin response, especially after meals.

From all my research, I've learned there are four hacks that will help with this:

(1) ceylon cinnamon during or after a meal will markedly lower your blood sugar (not cassia cinnamon or common cinnamon you buy at the store because it can dangerously thin your blood and cause other health problems if eaten in excess)
(2) nuts (especially almonds) before a meal will lower insulin response by 30%
(3) apple cider vinegar before a meal will lower insulin response by a whopping 40%
(4) fiber fiber fiber in the meal is also key to lowering insulin response

There are also certain foods that seem to be especially good for diabetics that you should eat ALOT of to lower blood sugars and limit insulin response:

Vegetables but especially Cruciferous Vegetables - I've read so much research on these, it's too much to summarize (just eat them). If you have thyroid issues, though, there is some concern about cruciferous vegetables hurting your thyroid (especially if you have an iodine deficiency). Cooking seems to minimize that risk. Brussel sprouts are one cruciferous veggies that studies say don't seem to have that affect on your thyroid. I have a hypothyroid condition, so I focus on eating brussel sprouts (cooked) just in case.

Raw cacao powder - Eaten 5 times a week, this stuff can lower risk of heart event by 57% (most diabetics die of heart attacks). It is a major source of magnesium (which most diabetics are deficient in) and is good for blood sugar control all around. It's also brain food. Dark chocolate is all the rage. This is the source. No sugar, no dairy, no added ingredients, no processing. Just 100% raw cacao. We're not talking cocoa powder (that's heated and processed). Cacao.

Healthy fats from avocado and coconut - I also limit olive oil because I've read that so much of it is fake. Plus even if it's real, you destroy it's value by cooking with it. I eat olives instead. Can't fake an olive. So coconut and avocado are my go-to healthy fats. I did recently decide to splurge on a high-end expensive extra virgin olive oil to use raw in my special creamy sauce in this post. Email me if you want to know where I got it and why I think it's the real thing. As for butter, I love butter but limit butter because I don't really trust that butter sold as grassfed really is grassfed butter, then there's the whole issue of A1 vs. A2's all too much for me to sort out.

Okay, so what's the takeaway?

Well, I need to eat nuts preferably almonds right before a meal. I also need to put some apple cider vinegar into a cup of water and drink it right before a meal. I need to eat brussel sprouts every day. Cinnamon after every meal. Fiber, fiber, fiber. Cacao powder at least 5 days a week.

Should be simple, right? I never do any of it. I hate the taste of ACV. I never want to eat a handful of almonds right before a meal. Cacao powder? Have you tasted that awful, bitter stuff?

So I had to come up with a plan to make it enjoyable, palatable, enticing... Moreover, it had to be do-able, easy, like clockwork.

So I came up with a master plan:

(1) Avoid processed, packaged or fast food. Always.

(2) On a daily basis, eat mostly veggies (focus on greens and cruciferous veggies) and limited fish/meat with healthy fats.

(2) Only eat fruit a couple times a week and focus on low-carb, low-glycemic index berries like raspberries and blueberries. Occasionally, have fig, red grapefruit, green papaya, melon, kiwi or plum.

(3) Eat half an avocado mid-morning, every day, to make sure I get it in. I love avocados, so that won't be hard to do.

(4) Mix ceylon cinnamon in MCT Oil (a derivative of coconut oil that is most easily digested and super good for diabetics) and keep it in the fridge. Take a tablespoonful of it after every meal. Easy-peasy.

(5) Write down a meal plan that includes all the things you're supposed to be eating that are good for you and that you like. I'll share my meal plan with you in my next post.

(6) Make as many of these meals in advance and freeze them. For instance, I want to try to eat cooked mixed greens several times a week. I can take out individual portions when I want to eat them, which means I'll eat them more frequently. There are certain soups I want to eat once or twice a week, so I can make batches in advance and freeze.

Still left with the problem of how to get in that blood-sugar lowering apple cider vinegar and that awful bitter cacao powder. How to make SURE I eat almonds and brussel sprouts on the regular.

So I decided I'm going to cook a big batch of brussel sprouts every week and keep them in the fridge. I'm going to eat a few of them at the start of every meal. I'll just pull four or five of them out of the storage container and heat them in the oven.

Then I had a thought. What if I had a delicious sauce to dip them into. I'd be that much more likely to eat them. Then I pondered: what kind of sauce could be rich and creamy and tasty and incorporate all kinds of healthy ingredients that I need to be eating anyway? Like almonds and apple cider vinegar? Then if I ate the brussel sprouts with the sauce before each meal, I'd be getting fiber, ACV and almonds all in to lower my insulin spike after eating.

Now when I say I'm a modified keto/paleo meal plan, it's because I eat more carbs than they allow. Granted, it's in the form of low-carb veggies, but it still adds up to more than the 20 carbs recommended for pure keto. I am more slow-carb than strictly low-carb. I only eat the carbs (like veggies) that are so full of fiber they produce a slow and low blood sugar rise.

I'm also different from keto in that I believe we need fruit. Not often - and erring on the side of lower-carb fruits, but fruit nonetheless. Couple times a week.

I also am a proponent of the musical fruit. I like the idea of beans, but very small amounts, I also believe beans must be soaked and sprouted to neutralize anti-nutrients. Perfect time to eat those beans is before a meal (all that fiber to blunt your insulin response) for that slow-carb idea.

So I wanted to incorporate beans into this mock hummus sauce. But not strictly chickpeas. They are so high in carbs. So I did some research and decided yellow lentils were a better choice. They rank second highest among all beans for high ORAC (antioxidant) levels, but they are among the lowest in carbs. So I put both chickpeas and yellow peas into this recipe. I buy my lentils and chickpeas already sprouted and keep them in my pantry. I boil and mash them as needed for recipes like this one.

By the way, there are 45 total carbs in a cup of chickpeas, but only 40 in lentils. If you subtract fiber and look at net carbs, you have 33 net carbs in a cup of chickpeas and 24 net carbs in the same amount of lentils. Less carbs, more fiber. Eliminate those carbs wherever you can. Black beans have 41 total carbs and 26 net carbs and have the best nutritonal profile probably, but I didn't want a black hummus. I make black bean soup occasionally. Green split peas are even higher in fiber and lower in carbs, so I make a split pea soup occasionally. I like white beans too, but they are higher in carbs, so I make white beans very rarely. They're so wonderfully high in fiber. One cup of white beans provides 75% of your daily fiber needs.)

Most people think you need beans and rice to make a complete protein, but beans and nuts also make for a complete protein. So normal hummus - and my mock hummus - are almost like eating meat. :)

Creamy Mock Hummus Dipping Sauce for Veggies

4 tbsp organic sprouted raw almond butter
4 tbsp organic sprouted raw tahini
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil (make sure it's the real stuff)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 small garlic clove chopped fine (or more depending on how much garlic you can handle)
1 cup mashed cauliflower
1 cup mashed sprouted organic yellow lentils
1/2 cup mashed sprouted organic chickpeas
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tbsp dried or 2 tbsp fresh parsley

Mash with a fork or mix in a food processor until creamy.

Email me at if you want to know where I order these ingredients.

I have no trouble eating this as an appetizer before every meal. This recipe should be divided into 4 servings. So you can eat some before lunch and before dinner one day, then again the next day. I can't imagine you'd want it before breakfast. Double the recipe if you want it to last you four days. You can dip our roasted, carmelized brussel sprouts or ANYTHING in that. Any meal you eat after that will register lower blood sugar and a lower insulin response. Tons of ACV, nuts (almonds and sesame seeds), fiber and healthy fat.

THEN COMES THE MEAL. Can you believe it? We get to eat MORE.

A sample meal after this might be a piece of wild-caught salmon with asparagus and homemade hollandaise sauce. Or how about caesar salad and a seared herb-crusted chicken breast?

Now, for dessert. End you meal with a spoonful of cinnamon/MCT oil we talked about earlier. That will break your savoring of your savory part of your meal. It will help you to stop eating actually. Shortly after that, you will be wanting something dessert-ey. But we don't want sugar of course.

That's where that awful, bitter cacao comes in. I was determined to fit it in somehow.

Dark Chocolate Mint Berry Ball

8 tbsp (1/2 cup) organic sprouted raw coconut butter (melt on low heat)
8 tbsp (1/2 cup) organic sprouted pumpkin seeds, ground
1/2 tart apple pureed with skin (eat the other half while you're making this)
6 tbsp organic raw cacao powder
6 tbsp raw unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)
2 tbsp organic blackstrap molasses
1/2 tsp ground stevia leaf (the real thing, it's green)
1/8 cup fresh chopped mint leaf or 1/2 tsp dried mint or 1/8 tsp mint extract (optional)
1 tsp real vanilla extract

Extra coconut flakes ground to powder for rolling the balls (optional)
Blueberries or raspberries (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together and form into into little balls wrapped around a blueberry or raspberry and lightly roll the ball in ground coconut flakes. Then freeze them on a cookie tray. If it's too "wet" to form into balls, add more ground pumpkin seed or coconut flakes into the mix (whichever you enjoy more). It will firm up once it freezes. Once they are frozen, throw them into a freezer container or bag for storage and pop one out when it's time for dessert.

If you don't like mint, leave it out. If you don't like coconut, leave out the flakes but still use the coconut butter. You won't taste the coconut as bad. If you don't like berries, just roll up a chocolate ball and leave out the berry in the middle.

Everything in there is good for you. It isn't very sweet but it makes you feel like you've had dessert (and chocolate dessert at that).

I can live with this kind of eating if it keeps me from getting my feet amputated from diabetes.

Just sayin.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Superfood Pizza? Yeah, buddy.

I read tons of recipes for various low-carb, gluten-free pizza crusts. The one I finally settled on was originally inspired by a blog post in I liked her idea of using a hard cheese (she used parmesan) to make a cauliflower pizza that you can actually pick up with your hand. She's got some great ideas and great recipes. Check her out.

I like to include two other hard cheeses - pecorino romano (for the CLA) and aged gouda (for the K2) - wherever I can, along with sprouted sunflower seeds (for Vitamin E). So I adapted. I also like a fluffier pizza dough, so I added baking powder and the flax seed gel made from soaking flax seeds. It's a way of adding more egg without adding more egg. I also added salt and Italian herbs and took out the onion powder. In the end, our recipes are very different, but sugarfreemom was my inspiration.


1 1/2 cup cauliflower rice (pulsed cauliflower)
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
1/4 cup grated aged gouda
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup ground sprouted sunflower seeds
1/8 cup dry whole flax seeds with 1/2 cup water added to soak (soak 5 hours before making pizza)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pink himilayan sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp each of dried oregano, thyme, basil and rosemary
1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Pulse raw or frozen cauliflower florets into what looks like cauliflower rice (or buy frozen cauliflower rice). Pour onto deep baking dish. Heat cauliflower in the oven for 10 minutes to remove moisture (longer if you used frozen cauliflower).

Mix together all other dry ingredients (NOT egg and gelatinous soaked flax seed) in a bowl while cauliflower is drying in oven. When your cauliflower looks dry, sprinkle this dry mix evenly over dried cauliflower in oven and stir it together until somewhat mixed. Let the cheeses melt into the other ingredients.

Remove warm "dough" from heat, allow to cool a bit, then place it back in mixing bowl and stir in scrambled raw egg and soaked flax seed.

Line your 12 inch round pizza pan with parchment paper. Sprinkle a mix of sunflower seed dust on the parchment paper (as though you were flouring it). Place your "dough" in the center of the parchment paper then use another piece of parchment paper on top of the "dough" to flatten it to the edges of the pizza pan. You can choose to form a raised edge for your crust or leave it flat.

Bake the crust for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.

Add your favorite pizza sauce (I spoon sauce from a glass jar of organic spaghetti sauce I keep on hand) then a layer of shredded organic mozarella.

Time to add your favorite ingredients. For a my superfood pizza, I add raw watercress or spinach, mushrooms, onions, bell pepper, anchovies, green olives, black olives and pickled artichoke. Then I come back with a sprinkling of more grated mozarella.

Place it back into the oven for 15 minutes to heat your toppings, pull it out, slice it  and enjoy!

Why is this a superfood pizza? Most of us are deficient in Vitamin E, CLA, Vitamins B-12, D and K2, and we never get enough veggies. We hardly ever eat healthy olives, raw onions and peppers, or artichokes.

The sunflower seeds in the crust give you Vitamin E. The gouda and pecorino romano give you Vitamin K2 and CLA. It's got tons of veggies and among the healthiest veggies out there. It's meatless and has superfood anchovies (with Omega 3s and Vitamins B-12 and D) instead of pepperoni or sausage.

It's ah good-ah pizza pie.

Selecting not-so-simple Salmon

Salmon really isn't simple.

Farmed salmon (the big thick fatty pale orange variety most of us buy) is NOT good for us, they are now saying. It's actually bad for us. Better to eat no salmon at all than to eat farmed salmon. Most restaurants, by the way, serve farmed salmon.

Wild-caught Alaskan salmon is outrageously expensive and now they are saying alot of it is fake (and dyed that bright reddish-orange color). Canned wild-caught salmon is probably most likely to contain real wild-caught salmon, but what to do with that bony, sticky mess in the can other than salmon patties and they're full of breadcrumbs (not good either).

Think there are no solutions to the salmon quandary? Have no fear, the fat lady is here...with some salmon solutions.

First of all, find a really good source for your wild-caught fresh or frozen salmon and spend what it costs to get the good stuff occasionally. Don't know your local fish markets or if you shop online for fish sent on dry ice, but I'll leave it to you to discern how to find real wild-caught salmon. Just know that most of it is fake, and do your homework.

If you can't do that - or in between the times you spring for the good stuff - canned salmon with the bones is actually not a bad choice if you have the right recipe for healthy salmon patties.

A few cautionary notes:

(1) Now, don't buy canned pink salmon. Buy canned wild-caught red Alaskan salmon that is caught in Alaska and processed in the USA. It should say that on the can.

(2) Remember, you want the bones. They're one of the healthiest things about canned salmon.

(3) The only downside of canned salmon is whatever chemicals are in the can linings (even BPA free can linings have yucky chemicals), but if you discard the liquid, hopefully you can minimize the contamination in the salmon meat.

The Healthiest Salmon Patties Ever.
12-15 oz. wild-caught salmon (drain liquid)
¼ cup cauliflower puree
1 tbsp coconut flour
2 tbsp ground sprouted sunflower seeds
2 tbsp soaked flax seeds (after soaking)
¼ cup finely diced onions
¼ cup finely diced bell pepper (any color)
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 egg or 2 egg whites
Your favorite salmon patty seasonings
Chopped fresh or dried parsley (some like more, some like less, just sprinkle it in til you're happy)
Optional: Sliced almonds pressed on top to make it fancy

I know I need to eat cruciferous veggies regularly, so I use cauliflower pureee in all kinds of things - from gluten-free pizza crust to faux mashed potatoes. I make a big batch of it and freeze it in ice cube trays then put cubes in a big ziploc bag in the freezer. I take them out as I need them. 2 cubes will make 1/4 cup of cauliflower puree when it melts.

Sunflower seeds are the highest food source of Vitamin E which we're all deficient in, surprisingly. I buy sprouted sunflower seeds online (sprouting neutralizes anti-nutrients in seeds, nuts and legumes) and grind them in a low-heat coffee grinder I reserve for grinding seeds and nuts. I keep coconut flour in a container in the fridge and try to use it sparingly but it's a handy keto flour in small amounts. (I don't like to use too much coconut).

I soak some flax seeds every couple of days and keep them in a jar in the fridge and try to sneak them in wherever I can. You can't really sprout flax seeds, but soaking them helps neutralize the anti-nutrients.

If you don't like to use eggs, increase the soaked flax seed to 4 tbsp and it can serve as an egg replacement and binder.

Get the whole mess of it mixed together - including those bones. Depending on what size salmon cans you bought and whether you put 12 or 15 ounces of salmon in there, you may need more coconut flour to hold it together. Add coconut flour until it's got the consistency you like (but don't add too much).

The issue of seasonings...why am I not more specific? Because everybody thinks they (or their mom or granda) knew best how to season salmon patties. Maybe they use Old Bay seasoning or lemon pepper or special herbs or just plain salt and pepper. Just use whatever you would normally use.

I like to pan fry my salmon patties in a coating of avocado oil on a black cast iron skillet then let them cool on a bed of natural (not dyed) paper towels. As I fry a batch, I transfer them onto a platter in the oven, keeping them warm.

I freeze leftovers in a big Ziploc bag and pull them out when I want one (just heat it up on a cast iron pan in the oven or stovetop). Having them available like that makes you more likely to get your serving of salmon (and essential Omega-3s) into your routine.

By the way, this recipe is gluten-free, grain-free, keto, paleo and primal. It can be organic too if you use only organic ingredients.

It's not nut-free or seed-free, though. If you need to get the nuts and seeds out of it, replace the flax, coconut flour and sunflower seed with an equivalent measurement of ground psyllium husk and an extra egg. Get the completely natural unflavored psyllium husk at your local health food store (don't get the flavored kind made by Metamucil). It won't be quite as good, or nutritious, but it will be healthier than most things people put in salmon patties. 

Have you heard of the new keto/paleo thing of replacing breadcrumbs with ground fried pork skins? I bet it's good, but I don't think that can qualify as healthy in any reasonable universe. :)

NOTE: You can also used smoked salmon which comes in glass jars, but there is plastic lining that probably contains BPA on the inside of the lid which probably still leaches chemicals into the salmon, but not as much. Downside: no bones to mix in the salmon patty so much less calcium.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Creamy, savory turkey pot pie recipe transformed into...healthy soup?

Holiday turkey leftovers are just around the corner, and who doesn't love turkey pot pie? But all that gluten in the crust and all that cream and butter in the soup... It's not exactly what we need to add to our calorie store after we've been stockpiling calories and fat for the entire holiday season.

So I figured out how to make turkey pot pie healthy. I swear I did.

The best thing about turkey pot pie is the thick, creamy, turkey-infused goodness of the gravy, right? I always thought to myself, growing up, that I could eat it with a spoon, forget the crust and vegetables. So getting that part of the recipe healthy was going to be the hardest...

I started that sauce by boiling my whole turkey carcass in a huge stock pot for hours and hours, together with the leftover celery, onions and apples that I had roasted with the turkey. Then I added more celery and onions into the stockpot. Everything was falling apart by the time I was done.

I took the carcass out and picked all the remaining meat off of it and set it aside. Then I used my colander and a slotted spoon to pull out everything solid from the stockpot. The celery and onions and apple went into my Ninja (or you can use a food processor or blender) for pureeing. And the meat I sorted through. If I found a piece of cartilage or other funky looking parts, it went into the Ninja for pureeing with the mushy veggies. Cartilage and other soft parts off the carcass are good for you, but can only be tolerated if we don't see or bite into them. Only the perfect pieces of meat would remain as chunks in my turkey pot pie. Nobody wants to bite into cartilage, right? Since I didn't have a whole lot of funky meat, I threw some of the perfect meat into the Ninja with the veggies. Pureed it right up. It look whitish, the mixture did.

That's when I realized. Oh my Christmas stars! Pureed meat, onion, celery and apple would be the thickener for my creamy gravy, so I wouldn't need to use as much - you guessed it - CREAM in my creamy gravy. Huge calorie cut right there. And pureeing turkey made the creamy gravy taste oh so rich and turkey-infused. Since I tend to err on the side of Paleo leanings in my thinking, I do not think cream and butter (if organic and pasture-raised) are the villains they are supposed to be. Still, one doesn't want to overdo cream and butter, no matter how health-enriching they may be. Small servings of healthy fats are adequate for chubby little Paleo-afficiandos like me.

So I added my puree of turkey parts, onion, celery and apple back into my turkey stock simmering on the stove. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough puree to thicken it into a thick cream suitable for turkey pot pie, but it looked perfect for a creamy soup. Then I realized what I was making: turkey pot pie soup. I googled it. Sure enough, I wasn't the first person to think of it, but all the versions out there were too rich and so unhealthy.

I gazed into my bubbling creamy soup (which still had not a bit of cream in it) and felt so superior. I tasted a spoonful of it. It was already good with nothing fattening added. No packets of powdered chemical-laden artificial turkey gravy mixes. No flour. No multiple cups of heavy whipping cream. Just thickened with veggies from the stock and turkey.

But it needed a bit more savory-ness.

So I got out the sage and the savory, some thyme, a single bay leaf, basil and a touch of rosemary. Added some sea salt, some fresh cracked black pepper. And I let her simmer.

Then I washed some whole organic carrots, left the skins on, cut off the ends, and dropped them in the soup whole. Have you ever done that? It's so unusual and artistic to have whole fat long carrots floating like logs in your soup. And when you serve a bowl of soup with a lovely long carrot in it and your guests cut into the carrot with a spoon, they notice how much of the carrot flavor was retained in the carrot. I did it once in the interests of saving time (and being lazy too), and I do it all the time now. If whole carrots are too extreme for you, do half-carrots. You'll love the flavor when you cut into them.

I chopped celery up fine and dumped in a bowl (in addition to the pureed liquid celery already in there and the hours that former celery boiled in the stock). Can you tell I like a celery flavor to my soup?

And I love big fat chunks of onion, so I cut up a bunch of onion chunks and tossed them in (added to the pureed onion already in there). I chopped up some shiitake and oyster mushrooms too.

When the carrots were tender, I added a small amount of chunked potatoes and the cubes of turkey meat I'd cut up and set aside after boiling the stock. I also added some yellow squash I had in the fridge.

When the potatoes were tender, it was just about done. Then a bag of frozen bright green sweet peas went in at the end (canned ones have an awful army-green color and are mushy).I dolloped in some organic butter and organic heavy cream. Not much. Just a dollop. So it was the perfect thickness, whiteness and creaminess I wanted, with some butter grease floating on top so it looked more fattening than it was (appearances are everything).

Now, I'm gluten intolerant, so no crust was needed for me. I could have made a gluten-free pie crust, but I didn't. Google gluten-free pie crust, if you want to make small ones to go on top of your bowls of soup. Or you could make miniature gluten-free biscuits and toss them on top.

I didn't bother. I ate it like soup. Bowl after bowl. Full of warm nutrition. A souperfood soup truly.

I'd made a huge soup so we ate on it for a few days, and it got thick toward the end after being reheated a couple times. So at that point, I poured the thick remains into two pie plates and threw a crust on top of it and baked it for my grandsons who actually love the pie-aspect of turkey pot pie.

For those of you who like recipes with actual measurements, here you go - and remember this is a big soup, so cut it in half or by a third if you wish.

  • 12 cups turkey stock (after boiling your meaty carcass,onions, celery and apples)
  • 3 cups puree (mixture of meat, cartilage, onions, celery and apples pulled out of stock)*
  • 12 carrots, left whole or cut in half
  • 6 celery stalks, sliced in chunks
  • 3 onions, in large chunks
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms (shiitake and oyster or your choice)
  • 10 sage leaves, chopped
  • 5 basil leaves, chopped
  • 4 tsp of dried thyme
  • 4 tsp of dried savory
  • 1 tsp of dried rosemary
  • 4 tsp of dried sage
  • salt and pepper to taste (using sea salt and cracked black pepper)
  • 4 small peeled potatoes, diced small
  • 4 cups leftover turkey, cubed
  • 1 small bag frozen sweet peas
  • 2 cups yellow squash, cubed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (pasture-raised or you can use coconut cream)
  • 3 tbsp organic, pasture-raised butter
  • top with fresh parsley and fresh sage
*In the photo above, the turkey was roasted with other veggies. Only puree onions, celery and apples for your thickening puree mix. They puree into a whitish, creamy texture and have the right flavor for this soup. Do not puree carrots in that mix or you will have an orange soup. Don't puree darker green veggies or you will have a greenish tinted soup. You are going for a white/beige cream-based look for this soup. BUT you can add chunks of any vegetable you like into the soup. Some people like broccoli, zucchini, asparagus chunks, cauliflower, or starches like corn (non-GMO). You can also puree cauliflower to thicken the soup further. Some people like white beans in a soup like this. I've soaked and sprouted white beans in the past and then pureed them as an alternative thickener for a cream soup. It tasted too beany. But a small amount of pureed white beans might be just what you want for additional thickening to this soup. Or just have them loose, swimming about in the soup.  I left corn and beans out because they are so fattening, and this is (lest we forget) a weight-loss blog. (Sweet peas are high-sugar fattening starch, I know, but I left the sweet peas in because it's just not turkey pot pie without bright green sweet peas. Use half a bag if you want to minimize their calories).
  1. Boil your turkey carcass in about 16 cups of water in a large stockpot (it should cook down to 12 cups)
  2. Throw in any leftover onions, celery or apples you may have roasted in the turkey carcass (if none were roasted, add two whole onions, six stalks of celery and two apples to your boiling stock)
  3. Boil for as many hours as you can (you're making healthy bone broth actually by boiling that carcass)
  4. Use a slotted spoon or colander (with a handle) to scoop out all the veggies and meat
  5. Set meat aside and cube as soup cooks
  6. Put those boiled onions, celery and apple into blender or Ninja or food processor
  7. Separate out pieces of cartilage off carcass or loose pieces of unsightly meat and add to boiled veggies in blender
  8. Puree meat and boiled veggies from stock and pour puree mix back into simmering stock as your healthy creamy thickener instead of flour, gravy packets or excess use of cream
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste
  10. Add in carrots, chunked onions, celery and mushrooms
  11. When carrots are tender, add potatoes
  12. When potatoes are tender, add cubes of turkey meat (you add it late so it won't fall apart)
  13. Add your bag of frozen sweet peas
  14. Let the peas and turkey cubes heat through
  15. Add your cream then your butter last
  16. Taste and add more seasoning if needed
  17. Garnish top with fresh flat leaf parsley or sage (or both)

Eat your heart out - and be thankful it's so heart-healthy that you can actually indulge to your heart's content. Let me know if you liked it.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Liver? How to get recommended four ounces down (and no it's not another liver pate recipe).

Me and liver? It's just not going to happen in this lifetime. You neither?

I've consulted all the recipes...adding bacon to my liver and onions...deep-frying liver (which kind of defeats the healthy-eating purpose of eating it at all)...slathering it with a french cream and balsamic vinegar glaze (again, defeats the purpose). I love the smell of it cooking. I love the gravy and onions on top of grits (not that I should be eating corn grits anyway since grits mostly come from GMO corn).

I would just leave the idea of liver alone, but that nutrient profile is so alluring. All that Vitamin A and Vitamin B-12 and iron and a host of other essential, healing, life-enhancing nutrition in such a small serving of relatively inexpensive grassfed beef. Liver is so nutrient rich, it can be dangerous if you eat too much of it. Stick to just four ounces and you'll be just ducky (but don't do foie gras from duck or goose livers because they fatten them horribly and they are not good for you or the goose or the gander).

Grassfed beef liver is the way to go. I can buy local, totally natural, grassfed liver for $3.50 a pound. That's less than a dollar a week to supply basically all my needs as far as grassfed beef goes. Everything else I eat from the butcher's freezer is just for pleasure and not essential. Great thinking, right? Except I can't get the four ounces down.

Four ounces, that's all we need to eat each week, and I can't stomach even an ounce of it. I even tried just nibbling it between my front teeth in tiny amounts, but it took forever to get an ounce down and it was still decidedly unpleasant to me. Liver pate? Forget it. No matter what seasonings you use, I can't swallow it.

But never forget that I'm Cajun, and I can make anything taste good. It's in my genes.

While I was nibbling and gagging at today's attempt at liver and onions (it was deep-fried, sliced thin, cooked with bacon and slathered with that cream and balsamic vinegar glaze), I suddenly remembered my momma's rice dressing or "dirty rice" from my Louisiana childhood. I could see my momma's face, laughing and shaking her head at me.

Momma would always remark on how I would gobble up that dirty rice without one complaint. It was no secret that it had all kinds of chicken livers and gizzards ground up in it. She couldn't understand why I would eat those livers--plus gizzards to boot--but not her prized calves liver and onions. I couldn't explain it. It just wasn't yucky in the same way.

That's when I decided I need to try mixing ground calves liver instead of chicken liver in a new Cajun dirty rice recipe.

So why not just eat rice dressing with chicken livers each week? Well, I can get grassfed calves liver a lot cheaper than pasture-raised organic chicken livers by the ounce, and beef liver has a much higher nutrient profile.

But there's another reason. I tend to think you have to be really careful with liver and make sure it doesn't come from a "toxic" animal.  To tell the truth, I don't trust that organic pasture-raised chicken in the grocery store is really organic and pasture-raised. So I'd have to buy lots of local chickens raised by people I know and take one liver from each to meet my weekly liver quota. It takes roughly 7 chicken livers. I can't eat 7 local chickens a week just to get the livers I need.

For beef liver, I can go down the road to the farmstand of our local grassfed beef purveyor who I know on a first name basis, and I can pull a pound of liver out of his freezer and leave my $3.50 in the jar (they still go on the honor system there). That'll do me a whole month at 4 oz a week. Or I can make a big pot of dirty rice and feed the whole family their week's worth of liver in a few servings. Dirty rice is a great side to just about any meal. It can even be a main course.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be working on the perfect recipe for Cajun "dirty rice" or rice dressing (whatever you happen to call it). Calves liver has a much stronger (repugnant) flavor than chicken liver, so it's going to take some doing to get it just right.

Keep coming back to the post until the perfect recipe has been added. I'll also notify you on my blog's Facebook page when the recipe is ready. If you haven't yet liked my Facebook page, go here and like the page and you'll get my Facebook post notifications:

I'm going to deliver a classic Cajun dirty rice recipe, but I'm also going to try a version of dirty rice that uses cauliflower instead of rice. I'm also going to make my momma's beloved eggplant-rice casserole using a mix of beef liver and ground beef.

Stay tuned, liver lovers. (Not!)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


I wasn't planning on cooking anything for the blog that night--hence I had to hurry up and snap a terrible photo right  before I ate what just may be the most amazing mock cornbread in the world ever.

And I made it with no recipe by complete accident.

It has absolutely NO corn in it (GMO or otherwise), is gluten-free and is made up of sprouted ancient grains like amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat with a dash of tapioca and brown rice flours. All organic. All sprouted.

And it was moist, not crumbly at all, absolutely to die for, melt in your mouth, sliced easily, and I swear it almost slid out the pan with no oil needed on the cast iron skillet. Perfection--by accident!

I promised I'd do a post soon with the recipe, then I drizzled that beautiful perfect wedge with organic blackstrap molasses and it was like having cush-cush and Steen's but a healthy version (my Cajun readers will know what I'm talking about). In other words, it was good eating for being so healthy! 

And it got better every day. It was best on the 3rd morning. I just stored it in the oven, like my mother always stored her cornbread.

I told you to be on the lookout for my best-mock-cornbread-in-the-world-ever post and here it is:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Mix following dry ingredients well:

1/2 cup sprouted buckwheat flour
1/2 cup sprouted oat flour
1/2 cup sprouted amaranth flour
3/4 cup sprouted quinoa flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour (tapioca is made from a root and doesn't need to be sprouted)
1/4 cup sprouted brown rice flour
2 tsp baking powder (I like Rumford's aluminum-free)
1 1/2 tsp salt (or 1 tbsp pink salt coarse)
1/2 tsp baking soda (I only use Bob's Red Mill, and there IS a difference)

3. Mix wet ingredients as directed below:

1/4 cup organic butter (half a stick) or coconut oil or avocado oil (but I like butter)
1/2 cup organic milk or buttermilk
3 large eggs (can replace with 1/2 cup soaked flaxseeds with gel)
1/6 cup sweetener (I use organic succanat or organic sugar or honey since it's such a small amount and I think organic sugar is much healthier than artificial sweeteners)

Melt butter then cool, add milk, sweetener and then eggs.

4. Pour wet mix into dry ingredients and mix well with a spoon, careful not to over mix.

5. If batter doesn't look wet enough to you, add more milk. If it looks too wet, add extra amaranth or quinoa flour until it looks right to you (you know what a cornbread batter is supposed to look like).

6. Heat your black iron skillet on the stove. If it is well seasoned, you won't need any butter to oil it, but if it is dry or new, oil it with butter. Pour your "cornbread" batter into the skillet. It should sizzle slightly as you pour it in.

7. Move skillet into preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes until golden brown.

8. Cool for 10 minutes then slice, serve and enjoy.

One of my friends asked why I couldn't just make cornbread with cornmeal since it's easy to find organic cornmeal. I explained that corn is fed to cattle to fatten them up. There's a reason for that. There's a reason the sweetener used in almost everything bad for you is high-fructose CORN syrup. Corn is notorious for fattening us up.

Basically, regular cornbread is a carb. This cornbread is primarily a protein. Everybody knows how important protein is in the morning.

The ancient grains used in this recipe are not really grains, but rather seeds, and they are high in protein (except for brown rice and oats and they are superfoods). Because all grains, nuts and seeds are chock full of anti-nutrients, it's important to sprout them before making them into flour. I buy this flour that is made with sprouted, organic ingredients. Once sprouted, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice and oats are all superfoods, high is soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients. It's basically nutrient-bread, not cornbread.

Some people ignore me when I talk about how important it is to use sprouted grains. I honestly would not eat grains at all if they weren't sprouted and organic. They are bad for you. I swear. I can give you links to all the articles. If you don't know where to get sprouted organic flours like these, just google it or email me and I'll send you links. There are a variety of sources. Email me at If I don't answer you back quick enough, comment on one of my blog entries. That should get my attention. :)

Oh, one final note: I wouldn't advise eating my mock cornbread at night. It wakes my brain up. The first time I made it, it was at night and I couldn't sleep after eating it. I thought it might be because I was so excited I'd come up with such a great mock cornbread. Nah. It's got to be one of the ingredients--or the combination, I don't know which. But it's perfect for breakfast if you want your brain operating on all gears. You'll be amazed. Please write to me and tell me if it has the same effect on you. (As an aside, it doesn't just get your brain moving, if you know what I mean. No, no, not that. Although maybe... I'm talking movement in the bathroom, not bedroom, but you never know. It might wake everything up.)

Let me know what you think of it and if it gets you moving!

P.S. Add a half of a miniature can of mexicorn, some peppers (red bell pepper, jalapeno and serrano?) and your favorite mexican cheese to make Mexican Cornbread. What ? I'm telling you to add corn? A few grains of corn in your cornbread won't kill you...