Spaghetti

Basically, spaghetti is a “no” on every level of AIP. Noodles, no. Tomato, no. Parmesan, no. So tonight, with a little help from the internet, I made Zoodles and Nomato Sauce. As I made this sauce, and of course taste tested along the way, I thought there was no way my kids (and husband) were going to eat this. Zucchini – not a kid favorite. Beets – not a family favorite (except me..). Funny red colored sauce. Nope, nope, nope.

Imagine my surprise when after the initial, tentative tastes, my family tucked in. And ate. And called it good. I did let the kids put Parmesan on it; Keith got none. And just for future reference, two “zoodled” zucchini is not enough. We ran out of zoodles. (Did I mention my kids don’t like zucchini?). I did add ground beef to the sauce, because what’s spaghetti without meat? Maybe some Italian sausage next time.

And there will be a next time. My family requested it. Wonders never cease.

Some other meals from the week:

Biscuits and gravy

White chicken chili

fried chicken

Valentine’s Day

Was a sorry affair at the Crawford household. Thursday’s are super busy days. So this morning, in the spirit of love, I made these:

I’m on a quest to find a GReAT AIP pancake recipe and this one comes close to fitting the bill. It does call for baking powder, for which I subbed cream of tartar. The Tigernut flower (thanks Bonnie) added a nutty flavor reminiscent of whole wheat.

Now off to dishwasher shopping. The fun never ends, but at least our bellies are full.

Meals galore

It’s an AIP foodie post. I am unapologetic. Only for people with windows. For some reasons pictures don’t show. I’ve been trying to remember to take pics of the food I’ve made. Tonight’s menu was Pad-see-ew with cucumber noodles.

It was actually quite tasty! There was nothing remaining! And I made Keith a brownie (AIP friendly of course). I did tweak the recipe for the frosting… I added a bit of whipped coconut cream to it! Yum!!!

Yesterday, I made philly steak wraps. I kind of just made up the recipe after looking at several examples. It turned out pretty good and Keith can wrap them in coconut wraps while the kids used regular tortillas. The “slaw” was just cabbage, apple cider vinegar, and a bit of honey.

Quite tasty as well. I needed a meal Keith could grab and go with, since Levi had a hockey game.

Salmon patties have become a family favorite as well. This works well since we have salmon in the freezer. 🙂 tomorrow I plan on making a stuffed flank steak for V-day and some grilled asparagus. I wonder if I could do the flank steak roll on the grill? May have to try that!

Anyway, it’s going ok here in week 3. I’ve been experimenting with some ingredients and Keith has found a love for sweet potatoes that he didn’t have before. Also, for breakfast, I premake a hash. It consists of the AIP sausage, a slice or two of bacon, whatever root veggies I have handy, some turmeric, ginger, onions and mushrooms. Levi loves the AIP sausage and Keith doesn’t complain about the hash. It keeps disappearing so I guess he likes it…. 😊

The adventure continues

As with any adventure, there are great times and not so great. Tonight’s meal was mostly great … a lovely moose stew and biscuits. My family called them cookies…they did lack the fluffy nature of biscuits and, well, were rather chewy. 😂 but they’re not cookies!!! I was a little leery of the stew recipe but it turned out pretty great.

The biggest problem I have with AIP is that it’s awfully inconvenient. I miss picking up a pizza on nights like Friday when we have a swim meet and a hockey game and the family is literally running in different directions, not to mention going from 90* to 10* in a matter of minutes. But I regress. I miss the convenience of ready made food.

Instead, I ran home from school, threw chicken legs on the grill, packed a swim bag, cut fresh vegetables and fruit, fixed hair for under the swim cap, retrieved chicken legs and fed kids, reminded Levi to pack his homework, hockey bag and gear up, loaded kids in the car, loaded a meal in the car, and drove off to swim. In the space of an hour – give or take. Keith met me at the meet and ate there. The kids continued to eat there (luckily, everyone else was eating too). However, the smell of hotdogs and nachos wafted up to us as I saw both my husband and son longingly drool in their direction.

I spent the weekend prepping food for the week ahead. As soon as a batch of kale chips came out of the oven, I watched my daughter and husband take handfuls of crispy chips and “munch, munch, munch…” off with a trail of green crumbs and an empty wire rack. Cue sweet potato chips, which at least lasted through the Brown Bears game Saturday. Sadly, by the end of SuperBowl, naught but a few crumbs remained. So much for snacks during the week! It’s Monday night and no kale remains. Very few sweet potato chips have survived. And Keith’s tool box? Devoid of snack food.

This weekend, I play in a co-Ed hockey tournament in Homer. I’m not sure how the family is going to survive…

Adventures in AIP

Chocolate mousse (avocado, Carob, honey)

It has been a seriously long time since I have blogged. And, quite frankly I most likely won’t keep it up this time either. With the advent of social media, it’s much easier to stay connected with FaceTime and Facebook than by trying to write lengthy blogs. Alas, they have their limitations as well. For now, I want to document a new adventure that my family has embarked upon, albeit, some more willingly than others. This new adventure entails putting my husband on a diet. At 5 foot five and 130 pounds all wet, he doesn’t exactly need to lose weight. But weight is not the focus; health is.

AIP stands for autoimmune protocol. Keith has autoimmune diseases. Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) are both autoimmune diseases, and he’s already had one major surgery as a result of the degeneration from the arthritis. It was shortly after marriage in 1999 that he was diagnosed with PsA. Less than 5 years later, he was on the operating table with a C1-C2 spinal fusion. Needless to say, our rheumatologist suggested we treat his arthritis very aggressively. In 2001, he went on his first DMARD, Enbrel. Since then, he has been on several, as well as a steroid injection (ouch), methotrexate, and a myriad of other drugs to combat symptoms. Enbrel worked the best for the PsA swelling, but did nothing for the psoriasis. Humira worked for the psoriasis but not the PsA. Methotrexate made him physically ill and, quite frankly, since we were pregnant when he was on it, one cranky ill person in the family was quite enough. All this to say, I’m a believer in modern medicine. But modern medicine is failing us. It has not produced any lasting changes, It has merely kept the wolves at bay. Keith is swelling more. His dose is increased. He’s on another medicine. It’s time for a change.

I have, in my own experience, changed my diet to cure myself when modern medications failed. A recurrent yeast infection, brought on by the use of a strong antibiotic for strep throat in college, could not be cured even with multiple doses of diflucan, the gold standard for yeast. My midwife suggested I read “The Yeast Connection” and I did – and then, as disbelieving as I was, I followed a strict no sugar (not even natural sugars in fruits and veggies) and no yeast diet, and added an oral probiotic. Medication failed, and a short termed diet change “fixed” me. I never again had such a problem. After a monthish, I was able to reintroduce sugar and bread, and never again have I had an issue with recurrent yeast infection. (Knock on wood!)

So what is AIP? There’s a plethora of resources online that you can read. But the gist of it is this: something irritates the digestive system, perforating it to allow “toxins” through that the immune system overreacts to, producing an autoimmune response. In short, leaky gut. The theory is that diet change can allow your body to repair itself and quiet the immune system. I know that this is a gross oversimplification. What is not simple is the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP):

  • No nuts & seeds
  • No legumes
  • No nightshade (potato, tomato, pepper)
  • No dairy
  • No eggs
  • No grains
  • No alcohol
  • No additives or sugar
  • No fun (wait! was that on this list?)

What can we eat? (Yes, we. We are doing this, not just him.)

  • Meat
  • Veggies
  • Non seed herbs and spices
  • Fruits
  • Fats
  • Non-grain based flours in moderation (cassava, coconut, tiger nut)
  • Natural unrefined sugar: honey, maple syrup.

I used to know how to cook. Most people who know me would say I’m a pretty good cook. People call me for advice on cooking. People ask for my recipes. On the AIP, my pantry staples are unknown, foreign substances. Why does baking powder contain grains (corn starch)? Why does chicken broth, for heavens sake, have sugar???? And beef broth. And veggie broth? I went sugar free 20 years ago. I read labels then, too. I don’t remember broth containing sugar! Everything packaged has added sugar. Lunch meat. Sugar. Sausage. Sugar. Bacon. Sugar. Corned beef. Sugar (and pepper).

This is why I am making everything from scratch. This is why I am relearning to cook. We are 6 days in – only 7ish weeks to go. I am dragging them with me. The kids are allowed to cheat, when dad is not around, on anything in the pantry not AIP friendly. But – from day one on, I told them that I am not making non-AIP compliant purchases. So enjoy while you can. And hello to all the new foods and flavors we are trying. Like tonight’s menu (the pic was an afterthought-oops!):

    balsamic-strawberry grilled chicken breast – courtesy foodbymars.com
    Celeriac root (celery root) mashed non- potatoes
    Green salad with balsamic vinaigrette (AIP)
    Dessert: chocolate mousse (grandma Deb) -avocado, honey, Carob, coconut oil

Or last night:

  • Salmon patties (suggestions on AIP binders welcome – coco flour and arrowroot not effective)
  • Roasted Jicama, rutabaga and green beans
  • Guacamole (lime, salt, cilantro)
  • Fresh veggies

We are learning a whole host of new ingredients, techniques, and flavors. Some experiences are better than others. Don’t try to mash jicama. Just don’t. Trust me. However, jicama hash makes a great breakfast. Waffles stick to my waffle iron. (Healingautoimmune.com) But they tasted good. Sausage is surprisingly easy to make. And tasty. And at $2.49 for ground pork, cheaper than the additive laden alternatives. Arrowroot powder thickens quickly. Gelatin is … weird. Cauliflower rice does not taste like rice; but the texture is quite nice. Food is bland without pepper. Bump the herbs. A lot. Turmeric turns your fingers orange, and your clothes yellow, but thankfully washes easily. Kale chips make a great snack at work for my snacky husband – who complains of perpetual hunger on this diet. The kids miss grains. My first venture into coconut milk yogurt was a failure. Kombucha is brewing where my often emptied flour canister resided. Sauerkraut is fermenting as I type. And fresh vegetables and fruits are not cheap in January in Alaska.

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Levi building his FT Duster. With some help from Thekla. The FT Duster is made by the great people at Flitetest. The FT Duster is a RC foamy of a thrush crop duster, IE Dusty from planes.

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Week 1 of MI to AK

About 1000 miles through the UP, Northern WI, and Into Minnesota. So far, so good. People love to stop us and talk about our Alaska plates and give their stories, either how they’ve been there, have a relative, or want to go. When we get somewhere with WIFI I will upload our map progress so far.

Lesson 1: The Gander Mountain tent we wanted to love just wasn’t as good as needed. I don’t like rain on my head. And random holes appearing after a week of use doesn’t bode well for the next 5 or so weeks. Thankfully, GM accepted the return, promptly emailed me a shipping label, and we are on our way to trying tent #2.

Lesson #2: FedEx freight in Duluth gets an D for customer service. FedEx express in Duluth gets an A++ for going above and beyond. Thank you kindly, Bret. I appreciate your service.

Lesson #3: Kids do not like confined spaces for 12 hours, even with a stop at the park, grocery stores, and tent shopping. 6 hours seems to be optimum. It tends to go downhill from there.

Lesson #4: Kolorz 2 Dye 4 in Marquette, MI kindly washed my hair for free while we were at the laundromat next door. Awesomeness. 🙂

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