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...

Sunday, July 9, 2017

For the love of sauce...

What is so enticing about the photo above? You may not register it--except unconsciously--but it is that tiny drip coming off the right side of that delectable morsel of grilled steak. Rare steaks drip like that...but not everybody likes their food dripping blood.

That's why sauces got invented. They hook us into the ancient, primordial connection between our appetite and dripping blood--while catering to our squeamish modern sensibilities.

I love sauces. Food tastes so much richer with a sauce. The other day, they had the most scrumptuous tuna steaks on sale at the local grocer, and it made me think of a sauce I particularly loved that I'd eaten years ago. That tells you something--when a sauce is memorable from YEARS before. Of course, it could just tell you something about me. :)

The problem with sauces, for a fat girl, is that they are usually fattening or unhealthy in some way (full of chemicals, processed, unhealthy additives, too much sodium, too much cholesterol, etc.). I just knew this sauce couldn't have been good for me. It tasted too good.

But while I was eating that tuna steak (sauceless), I couldn't stop savoring the remembered flavor of that unforgettable sauce. So I emailed the restaurant where I'd eaten it. They were closed for renovations and from a quick scan of their online menu, they no longer served the grilled tuna dish anyway, but the corporate office got back to me with the recipe (in gallons). I did the math and brought it down to two cups of sauce (roughly).

The crazy thing's not unhealthy.

It's awesome on grilled tuna so I imagine it would be good on any fish, but I'm going to try it on all kinds of things.

Beware, though, of one issue with this sauce. It's got beer in it. Now I put beer in my barbeque sauce (and sometimes in my gumbo) and I put wine in all kinds of things. Cooking with alcohol is normally not a problem because the alcohol cooks off and only the flavoring remains. It normally doesn't even bother recovering alcoholics (though you should always ask). Problem with this recipe is, you don't cook it. That's live beer in there. Now, I'm not a drinker but I don't have a problem with a splash of beer in my sauce. I respect, though, that you might. Your faith might be the reason, or maybe you are a recovering alcoholic, or someone in your family could be. Either way, just beware. Usually when people are substituting something for beer in a recipe, they use a vegetable broth. You could try that if the beer is a problem.

Have a go at it and let me know what you think. The recipe is simple.

The Unforgettable Sauce

Light Beer (your favorite brand)
3/4 cup

Soy Sauce (I like San J's organic wheat-free tamari)
3/4 cup

Colman's Dry Mustard
1/2 cup

Extra-Strong Dijon Mustard (I like Sir Kensington's organic brand)
1/6 cup (or more to taste)

Whisk it together and that's all there is to it. It's especially lovely topped with chopped green onions.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Go meatless, go raw (go bra-less, for that matter) every chance you get...

I read this recipe on the website of The Natural Food Market in Midland, Texas. I have a friend who lives there, and I was looking for a place that offers fresh vegetable juices. I shared the info with her, then I absconded with this recipe for you. I googled the recipe trying to find out where it came from... I found all sorts of variations. So I took a few liberties with this recipe and made it my own. Try it and let me know what you think. This is a great raw and meat-free meal.

All-Raw Thai Coleslaw

The slaw:

1 ripe mango, cut in small diced cubes
1 head white cabbage, shredded
1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
1 cup carrots, shredded
1/2 cup green onions
1 handful cilantro leaves
1 handful torn basil leaves

The Thai dressing:

2 tablespoons raw honey (or 1 tbsp and few drops stevia)
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
1 large clove raw garlic
1 tablespoon red chili pepper (fresh)
2 tbsp Braggs Amino Acid
1 cup raw almond butter (or raw almonds)--with either being sprouted
Himalayan sea salt to taste

Garnish with whole raw sesame seeds and whole raw cashews (preferably sprouted)

Cut the mango into small cubes. Shred the cabbage and carrots. In a Vita-Mix or high-speed blender, puree the honey, lemon juice, ginger and red chili. Add the raw almond butter and blend at low speed to combine, to get a thick, cake batter-like consistency. Add water to thin if necessary. In a bowl, mix the cabbage and the raw almond butter dressing mixture really well. Add the raw cashews, sesame seeds, cilantro, basil and mango pieces. Stir well but don't overdo. Top with a few leaves of cilantro and basil and a few pieces of mango and/or carrots for colorful garnish.

Here's a great source for sprouted nuts and sprouted nut butters, all organic. If you call or order, tell them Donnagail sent you. Maybe they'll send me a bag of nuts or something. Click on this link: