Monday, February 26, 2018

The Whole 30 Update

The hardest part of the Whole 30 is breakfast. Now that I have added another 30 days without eggs, harder than ever.

The first thing I do is think of all the folks who didn’t get breakfast this morning. OK, this is not hard.

Then, I think of what I might order for breakfast when I go out. Air.

Then, I concoct some unusual thing. Today, Kitchen sink veggie hash with carrots, sweet potato, celery and asparagus, sautéed in ghee. A little salt and pepper. Mmmmm.

Yesterday: Whole 30 compliant chicken sausage and cooked apples.

New idea: when I come home from the market with bags of veggies, prep them for use right away. Then, no excuses. It’s still fridge full of ingredients, but, particularly at breakfast time, I need all the help I can get.

Today’s Added Value:

Oven Roasted Sugar Free Tomato Ketchup

4 cups fresh chopped Oven Roasted Roma Tomatoes*
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon finely minced white onion
1 clove garlic, finely minced (or juiced)
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon hot mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 whole clove

Chop cooled tomatoes anyplace in a three quart saucepan.
Add vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, salt,
celery salt, mustard powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper,
and whole clove; whisk to combine.

Cook on low, uncovered, until mixture is reduced by half
and very thick, about an hour.

Smooth the texture of the ketchup using an immersion
Blender for about 20 seconds. Ladle the ketchup into a fine
strainer and press the mixture with the back of a ladle to strain
out any skins and seeds. Transfer the strained ketchup to a
bowl. Cool completely before tasting to adjust salt, black
pepper, or cayenne pepper. Refrigerate.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

30 firm but ripe Roma tomatoes
Olive oil
About a teaspoon each of thyme,
rosemary & oregano
Kosher Salt

Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise. Place cut side up on 2
Parchment-covered sheet pans. Drizzle liberally with olive
oil. Sprinkle with salt and herbs. Place in 200! oven for 5-8
hours, depending upon the degree of dryness desired. The
idea is to simply dry out the juices. If you go too far, the
tomatoes get leathery. The perfect dried tomato will have a
consistency much like sun-dried tomatoes.







Friday, February 23, 2018

Veggie Stock

Clear Vegetable Stock

Makes 4 quarts

2 carrots, cut in large chunks
3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
2 large white onions, quartered, skins on
1 head of garlic, halved
1 each rutabaga, parsnip, turnip, halved
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
4 quarts water

Brush and clean the vegetables and place in a large
stockpot over medium heat. Add about 4 quarts water. Toss
in the bay leaves and salt and allow it to slowly come to a
simmer. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer
for 3 hours, partially covered.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into
another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock
immediately or if you plan to store it, place the pot in a
sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover
and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze in containers.

Dark Vegetable Stock

Makes four quarts

Use this stock when a deep color and strong, smoky
flavors will enhance the recipe, like a vegetarian version
of French Onion Soup. It can be kept for up to 5 days in the
refrigerator, or frozen for up to 2 months.

2 yellow onions, unpeeled, quartered
6 shallots
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 carrot, washed,
brushed and cut in half
six stalks celery, cut in half
2 each parsnips, turnips, rutabagas,
washed, brushed and cut in half
5-6 quarts water
salt and pepper
lemongrass stalk

Preheat an oven to 400!

Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet. Toss lightly with
olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast,
turning the vegetables at least once during cooking, until
the vegetables are well darkened on some surfaces, about
55 minutes, using parchment preserves the pan.

Transfer the vegetables to a large stock pot and fill with
water. Bring barely to a boil, then reduce the heat to low
and simmer uncovered without allowing the water to

bubble, for about 3 hours. Don’t ever boil any stock—the
protein particles will start to separate and fall apart, making
the stock cloudy. The stock should be deeply colored and
very aromatic. Add more water if necessary. Strain through
a fine-mesh sieve into containers. Let cool. Cap tightly,
and refrigerate or freeze.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

DIY - Almond Milk and more

Roasted Chicken
Chicken Stock
Aioli
Almond milk
Ketchup with no sugar

What do these items have in common?
I make them. Especially now, during the Whole 30.

Day 22. According to The Whole 30 habit research, after 66 days this will become a habit. 66 days.

I am committed to the Whole 30 as an elimination diet because I would like to know, once and for all, what, if any, and of course there are many, foods or beverages I ingest that cause or aggravate inflammation.

I have paid lip service to being gluten free for several years, falling off that wagon regularly with some flimsy excuse or other. “I had to make bread for so and so.” “Whosiwhatzit served me a flour tortilla and of course, I had to eat it.” You know. I even heard myself say, “I will just be good. I don’t want any food to become the enemy.”

Right.

I won’t go into the Whole 30 (visit their website, buy the books) but when I checked it out, I knew it was for me. A little heavy on meat for the 30 days, and I don’t care what they say, drinking coffee black IS hard, no not hard like birthing a baby, but the program made sense.

So far? Shortest version is, chronic pain is reduced substantially, I am sleeping better, my heart does not pound at night, I do not need the pillow between my legs at night to relive the pain in my back.

Enough said about all that.

Today’s Added Value: Almond Milk

Almond Milk is so easy, it’s ridiculous. Don’t buy almond milk, and if you do, read the labels. Almonds are often not even a primary ingredient.

Pour two cups raw, whole organic almonds into a bowl and cover them with filtered water. Cover the bowl with cheesecloth and let stand at room temperature overnight. Drain and rinse the almonds and in batches, run them through the blender with equal amounts of water. The less water you use, the richer the milk. Pour the batches into a nut milk bag (available at most organic markets) and squeeze like you’re building your pecs.

Really. Too easy for words.

Almond milk keeps about four days.

Monday, February 19, 2018

A Lampshade



In the back of a studio closet lives a large, trendy shopping bag of elegant, mostly never-worn clothes, passed on to me by a friend for quilting. The bag pulses with treasures: embroidered silks and shimmery jackets, voluminous wrap around silk pants that unfold to four yards of fluttering fabric.

The muse took me to the closet. La Muse loves closets. There are so many boxes to stir up in there. I was writing a post about making ketchup without sugar and she grabbed me by the collar and reminded me of a lampshade frame in that same closet, just calling out for a makeover. Why then? I don’t know.

My eyes lit on a blouse of blue/purple/red shantung silk embroidered around the neck and down the front with flowers and tiny sequins.









Before I knew it, the silk was ironed, the panel templates were made and my scissors were gliding through the fabric just as if I knew what I was doing. 12 panel strips cut and glued onto the wire frame and grosgrain ribbon hides the seams.



Next step is to let La Muse tell me where and how to apply the embroidery pieces. Stay tuned.















Monday, February 12, 2018

Valentine Greetings


Little is known of the early Saints Valentine (I hear there were at least eleven), but some 18th century historians believed Valentines Day was invented by the holy Christian fathers to supersede yet another pagan holiday, Lupercalia, which, on the Ides of February, purified the city and its people of evil by sacrificing a goat or dog, among other unsavory rituals. One article reports a certain Valentine to have burned at the stake on February 14th. Nice. Others say Geoffrey Chaucer thought up Valentines Day in the 1300s for his book, Parlement of Foules, making the feast day of February 14 special for lovers.

Whatever. I have been hand-making Valentine cards since the third grade, when I could fit all materials, including small blunt plastic scissors, into a shoe box with my paper dolls.

Wow. Studio in a Shoebox! In the third grade! Maybe that was the real beginning.
Since a small child, hearts and echinacea flowers have been my symbols. I have doodled the echinacea during arithmetic class, Geometry, in meetings, while on the phone. I test new pads of drawing paper by drawing this echinacea on the first page.

But hearts… hearts symbolize everything important to me: that relationships are everything, that God is Love and versa visa,* that communicating love enhances all relationships thereby making the world a better place.

My creative communications heroine is Alyson Kuhn of Carmel, San Francisco and the globe, who travels about her world sharing with others the art of communication. By mail. Snail Mail. You know, with paper and everything. Paper, pens, related stamps, little surprises inside, and sentiments straight from the heart.

Which takes us back to Valentines and greeting cards in general. Valentines, Thank you notes, condolences, love notes, get well cards.

Create Your Love Note Kit

In my 2018 GB’s Love Note kit, situated on the counter for easy access. This kit does not fit into a shoebox.

Envelope template and many 4x6 envelopes cut from colorful magazines, gift papers and sheet music (Use label for address.)

Scissors (sharper)
Double Stick and Magic Tape
construction paper
heart-shaped patterns
magazine cut outs
Hot Glue Sticks and Glue Gun
Gold leaf
40 Rubber Stamps & stamp pads

Card stock in colors and high quality papers for the cards, cut to 4x6 and fold-able 8x6
Handy paper cutter for above
Bone folders
Pens
Tiny photos, cards and items to slip into envelopes
Postage
Extra stamps of relevant sameness (old postage, etc.)
labels

The Love Note kit provides opportunity for a quick response to someone grieving, a love note to a far away beau, an acknowledgment of a sibling’s birthday. The kit is about giving a moment to create something tangible that someone else will receive in the mail and hold in their hand. Anyone can send a thank you email. By taking the time to make a little perfect thing for whatever occasion, I feel like I am sending that person a hug, that it means something, that for a moment, when the envelope is opened, love pours into the hands of the receiver.




*Richard Farnsworth’s character Evo in the Movie Resurrection

Monday, February 5, 2018

Chicken Stock


Good Soup begins with the stock, which really begins when you cook the chicken, and of course, it all begins before that on how the chicken was raised. So, good chicken stock begins with the chicken.
Find a good one. Organic. Raised on a happy farm. Perhaps the farmer sang it a lullaby before sending onto its maker and thence, my dinner table.

Then you roast the chicken.

Stock

Opening my freezer to see quart containers and iced cubes
of stock feels as good as a closet full of clothes, gas in the
car, a stacked cord of firewood.

Clear Chicken Stock

Makes four quarts
1 chicken, plucked and washed
2 carrots, cut in large chunks
3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
2 large white onions, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved
1 each: rutabaga, parsnip, turnip, halved
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
3 quarts water

Brush and clean the vegetables and place in a large
stockpot over medium heat. Add about 4 quarts water.
Gently place whole chicken in the pot. Toss in the bay
leaves and salt and allow it to slowly come to a simmer.
Lower the heat to medium low and gently simmer for 1
hour, partially covered.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into
another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the
stock immediately or to store it, place the pot in a sink
full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Use the
chicken meat in a finished soup.

Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.


Dark Chicken Stock

1 chicken, cut in pieces
2 carrots, cut in large chunks
3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
2 large white onions, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved
1 each rutabaga, parsnip, turnip, halved
Dried herbs
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
3 quarts water

Cover two baking trays with parchment. Place chicken
pieces on one, the vegetables on the other. Coat with olive
oil, salt and herbs. Roast in 350! oven for about an hour.
Remove from oven and cool to a handling point. Place
roasted chicken pieces and vegetables in a large stockpot
over medium heat. Add about 4 quarts water. Toss in
the bay leaves and salt and allow it to slowly come to a
simmer. Lower the heat to medium low and gently simmer
for 3 hours, partially covered. Be careful not to boil the
stock. This causes the protein bits to separate and cloud
an otherwise beautiful stock. Remove from heat and cool
slightly before the next step.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another
pot to remove the solids. Use the stock immediately or to
store it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to
cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one
week or freeze.