Well, I’ve done it! I have officially been on the Autoimmune Protocol for almost three weeks. I’m just starting to feel the benefits – I have more energy and ability to do things, even though I’m still tired, and one of the biggest pluses is that I can read harder things and for longer amounts of time! When college algebra starts clicking in my brain, then we’ll really know it’s working, hey?
I probably consume too much fruit, but I’m trying to survive mentally as well as physically, so whatever. One of the hardest things, though, has been no chocolate. I mean, it’s kind of essential to my well-being! I’ve found a few ideas that use carob instead of cacao, and I think I’m starting to get the hang of making things more chocolate-y.
Or my taste buds are forgetting what real chocolate tastes like.
Isn’t it funny how that happens? When you can’t have things, you forget what the real versions of those foods taste like, and it gets easier to eat the fake stuff. Eventually, you stop craving the foods you can’t have. Most of the time.
Those fries smelled really good the other day, though.
I’ll probably never get over fried food. (Southern girl alert!)
These oreo copy-cats were inspired by Minimalist Baker’s raw, vegan oreos. When I made that recipe, I was thinking ahead to AIP. I played with the recipe in my head, and decided that I could make an AIP version without too much trouble!
The first go was amazing! It turned out a little too coconut oily for my taste, though.
Well, in between my first two batches of these, I made some really amazing carob chips based off of a recipe that used palm shortening instead of coconut oil. It was amazing, and something that I hadn’t thought of before! Palm shortening usually makes me think of that cheap ‘buttercream’ on storebought cakes that is just soooo disgusting.
But this worked!
In this recipe, the amount of fat you use is up to you. Less fat makes significantly less, and tends to crumble, but the flavor is a lot richer. I would make an amount somewhere in the middle.
Place all ingredients except coconut butter in blender/food processor and process until completely combined.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread cookie dough approximately 1/4 inch thick. Cut with doughnut hole cutter. Let chill until hardened. (This is a good time to make coconut butter if you make your own.)
Pry each piece up. Spread with about 1/2 t. coconut butter and place second cookie on top. Repeat until all cookies are filled. Let dough warm up and re-use.
Enjoy with a cup of Sipping Streams Tea Company's Northern Serenity.
So I have a bit of an obsession with hedgehogs… and I love chia, and I wanted to make my mint truffles a little more truffle-y. These happened!
One of the recipes that’s been on my allergy Pinterest board for a long time has been these Avocado Mint Meltaways. Mostly because they were intriguing and minty and had chocolate. But for some reason, I wasn’t content with just following a recipe. Go figure.
I wanted them to have more substance than the original recipe, because when I snack, it’s not usually for a light snack, but for substance. And I decided not to coat them in chocolate, because – let’s face it – I’ve been going through our cocoa powder waaaay too fast.
Oh, the pictures. The teacup was a 13th birthday present from friends, and it’s still my favorite. It makes me think about springtime and violets and light swirly clothes and perfect temperatures! And we’re back to that time of year! The spring breezes are even affecting us up here, and, though I looooove winter, I’m getting excited about spring!
These go perfectly with the weather, though. I like the fresh, cold taste of the mint and xylitol combined with the pretty pastel green. It’s kind of like meltoff running through a mossy creek bed… or maybe I’m just weird in my mind.
This was my first time playing with melting xylitol, and I want to try to make actual candy with it sometime. I melted it and then drizzled it over the top of the truffles.
What recipes remind you of spring?
Directions: Makes 15
We’re heading out to the west Yukon River for a week, so the blog will be quiet for a bit (now that I've gotten into a bit of a routine with it!) Before I go, though, I have another delicious meal for you.
One of my very favorite food blogs is MinimalistBaker.com – check it out, her food is AH-MAZ-ING and easy! A recent post of hers that landed in my inbox was this Spicy Korean Cauliflower Wing recipe. That one didn’t take long to make it to the table! But I had to reformulate the gochujang sauce recipe into something that I can eat. At that point, it probably wasn’t even recognizable as gochujang, but it was GOOD. The whole recipe was amazing, in fact, and my family is begging to have it again!
The sauce in the recipe was obviously going to be quite spicy, which is not up the alley of everyone in my family, so I backed off on the red pepper and used chili powder. The result is a fairly sweet sauce with a nice umami background and a bit of a kick.
I kept the rest of my red pepper sauce in the root cellar, with the intention of making the following recipe. When we were staying with our friends in CA over Thanksgiving, I found that the easiest way for me to eat was to store pre-cooked vegetables and meat in the fridge, mix them into various servings, and cover it with avocados and amazing sauces. (When I start my AIP diet, I plan to use a variation of this technique, and I’ll share that with you once I implement it.)
This sauce, is indeed amazing.
We had some leftover REALLY GOOD moose round roast that I used for this, but you could use any meat you choose. Just make sure it’s tasty. Or omit meat entirely for a vegan meal.
This recipe is paleo as-is, but to turn it into AIP, substitute a different sauce. That’s something I’ll be working on in the fairly near future, so keep your eyes on the inbox! (Actually, don’t, that’s bad for your eyes and brain and basically all of your body.)
It also makes a really good, easy lunch to pack. I steamed a whole sweet potato and all our leftover broccoli for this, and of course you have your half avocado. It’s as good cold as it is hot, so you don’t even have to corrupt it with microwaves!
If you have a family who tries to steal your limited-diet food on a regular basis like mine does, you may want to make extras of this recipe. I had to fight hard to keep this one to myself!
1. Steam sweet potatoes and broccoli for 10 minutes.
2. While vegetables are steaming, add all sauce ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
3. Place steamed vegetables into bowl. Slice avocado and add to bowl. Add meat, then place sauce on top.
I had a different post I was planning to publish this week, but a couple of days ago, my sister mentioned Pi Day was coming up. Nerd me went, “Oh, yeah, how’d I forget that?” Of course, the answer is easy – I forget everything.
But I digress.
In 2017, we only picked about a gallon of wild blueberries. It was a very sad year of blueberry harvest. We have picked up to seventeen gallons in a couple of days. So these are very special blueberries, and we had saved them for a very special treat.
This recipe is based off of one that we’ve used for a long time – one that converted me to liking goat milk, in fact. One of my favorite variations included a meringue on top and roasted macadamia nuts nuts underneath the crème layer.
This was one of the very first recipes that I began working on converting when I began my limited diet.
In other words, it’s good.
Funny things, holidays. We almost never do stuff for holidays besides the Big Four. Like, when did we start celebrating Pi Day? And then we have St. Patrick’s Day coming up.
How did that even become a thing? Much less a national holiday?
My siblings have already been running around the house singing the Irish National Anthem. No doubt The High Kings will be added to the mix soon. I think it's Allergy Girl #2 who has initiated the unfamiliar holiday mania...
Anyways, blueberry crème pie. The crème layer is best when made with a sweeter, milder dairy-free milk like coconut or almond. If you use flax or cashew like I did (the only milks the allergy duo in our house can both have), I strongly recommend adding the stevia to the crème. It will help cover up the slightly stronger flavor.
It definitely has a light, spring-y, happy flavor – but the warm temperatures have once again disappeared, and the snow is falling again. We are at 72 inches and counting!
I love the snow – it’s so beautiful, and it blows my mind that the fact that every. Single. Snowflake. Is different! All of that six feet of snow out the back window, spreading across thousands of square miles, and every snowflake is unique! What an amazing Creator I serve!
Back to the pie: it is paleo, refined sugar free, dairy free, and easy! Have fun!
BlueBerry Crème Pie
Serves 8 Oven @ 325* F
1. Mix gelatin and water, let sit for five minutes
2. Place dry ingredients in dry carafe of blender or food processor. Grind into a smooth paste, then transfer to a medium bowl.
3. Add coconut sugar to gelatin egg, and then add the mixture to your nut paste. Thoroughly mix.
4. Press into pie plate. Poke the crust with a fork, then bake for 15 minutes. This is the only use of the oven, so you can turn it off. Let cool to room temperature.
1. In a small pot, whisk milk, arrowroot, and coconut sugar constantly over low heat until it begins to thicken. Turn off heat and continue to whisk until it becomes custard-y.
2. Once thickened, add vanilla and stevia, if desired. Cool to room temperature.
1. Mix all ingredients in medium pot. Simmer while stirring until thickened. Let cool to room temperature.
1. Spread crème evenly in pie shell. Sprinkle with tapioca or arrowroot starch. This helps the layers stay distinct.
2. Spread blueberries over top, gently. Viola! You have made a blueberry crème pie! Store in the fridge, preferably uncovered to avoid condensation.
For the record, the circumference of my pie is approximately 24 inches.
Hi everyone, I’m back! I would apologize profusely for my absence, but as it was caused by myriads of auditions and other school deadlines, I feel slightly justified.
But it has been stressful! And for this girl who is not supposed to be stressed (hahahaha) it hasn’t helped with my health at all. Physical or mental.
You know what always helps in stressful situations? C-H-O-C-O-L-A-T-E. Except… when you’re worried that you’re spending too much of your family’s precious resources on something just to make you feel better…
I can’t just buy chocolate. If it’s something I can actually have, it’s going to be expensive. And I mean EXPENSIVE. Like over $5 for a 2-oz. bar. It’s ridiculous.
I messed around with making chocolate with cacao butter, since often coconut oil chocolate will make me feel kind of sick.
But cacao butter is expensive. And at the rate that I was consuming chocolate the last couple of weeks, that just wasn’t fair when I wasn’t the one actually buying the butter.
And if I was, I wouldn't be making it.
So it was back to the coconut oil.
I spent a couple of tries on it, but finally figured out a recipe that 1. doesn’t taste much like coconut and more just like normal chocolate (if you’re really sensitive to coconut flavor, don’t quote me on this one) 2. doesn’t make me feel sick! and 3. has no artificial sweetener.
Winning all around on this one!
Oh, the espresso? Growing up in a family where gourmet desserts are the norm, I learned early on that coffee in small amounts brings out the chocolate flavor without adding any of its own! I figured that would probably help my flavor problem out – and it did.
This, sadly, is NOT AIP. Which is bad, because we’re talking about putting me on AIP. So I’ll start messing with that next. Always love a challenge! Well, when I feel up to it.
Melt coconut oil. Whisk in cocoa and carob powders until smooth. Add vanilla and espresso powder. Pour into mold (I used a silicone muffin tin). Let cool. I just leave mine outside, since it's well below freezing. You could just put it in the fridge, if you have one!
And then go sit down somewhere and take a moment to breathe and enjoy it. A good book always helps with that!
I love India. I love the people, I love the food. The loud music, not quite so much. But I’ve spent many years learning the lingo of Indian cooking, and usually turn out a couple of curries a week. It’s a good thing my family likes curry!
About two years ago, I was making goat cheese by the gallon, and when I was given a Really Amazing Cheese Book, one of the first recipes I tried was paneer, an Indian cheese.
Fortuitously, within a couple of days of making that cheese, a recipe landed in my inbox – Palak Paneer. Hm, what’s palak? Since I had the cheese to use, I decided to give it a shot.
Turns out, it’s my favorite comfort food. This dish has a milk base, with cooked greens (usually spinach) and tomatoes, ground together and seasoned lightly. Okay, my dad was skeptical when I proudly served the pot of thick green-and-white liquid with spices floating on top. But my whole family approved of it! I think the best part is the toasted cumin/butter that goes on top.
I froze a bunch of leftover garden greens this year – outer cabbage leaves, lots of kale, broccoli leaves – to make palak… and then got put off of dairy. And stuff like that just doesn’t taste the same with coconut milk, y’know?
About a week ago, Mom picked up some flax milk. I was really nervous when I tasted it, because I dislike flax. But it was wonderful! In fact, so far, it’s the most accurate imitation of milk that I’ve tasted.
So, not being a sweet or strong-flavored milk, it was perfect for the base of a palak. But we had stewed moose that needed to be used, and palak is typically a vegetarian dish.
I decided to simply make a curry that had similar elements and flavors to a palak. It turned out delicious! I used kale stalks that we had in the freezer for my green component, but you could use any ‘green-tasting’ vegetable, and it would work fine. (Sorryyyyy... I promise to make a real palak recipe soon!)
This is so easy to make – you can literally whip it up in 15 minutes, barring rice cooking time. Or you could just skip the rice and eat it as a soup! I love eating this on a snowy or rainy day. It’s so warm and comforting, and, I don’t know, the flavors are just perfect for that sort of day.
And you can use a meat other than moose. I won’t judge, really. We can’t all be so fortunate. :)
1 ½ lb. stewed moose meat (or beef)
2 lb. fresh or frozen green vegetables
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 c. flax milk
½1/2 t. cumin
½1/2 t. chili powder
½1/2 t. dried cilantro
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt to taste
Lightly sauté vegetables until thawed and softened. Add all other ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve over rice or as a soup. You can serve this with all sorts of decorations. I added pickles, you could put cheese or chopped cilantro on top!
Confession time: I hate sunflower seeds. Like, really hate. I got sick on sunflower seeds after church on Sunday when I was little, and I have gone through phases of despising or at least disliking them ever since.
Now this is unfortunate for someone who can’t eat normal nut butters. My mom is constantly trying to get me to eat sunflower seed butter, but just the thought of eating that makes me sick.
We arrived home (yay!) this last week from an extended road trip in the Lower 48, but, as excited as I am to be home, we don’t have the access to foods that I can readily eat like we did Outside. On top of that, food here is expensive and the clock is ticking for our normal food co-op. So, at the moment, our house is more or less devoid of foods that I can eat.
Except for those sunflower seeds. And pumpkin seeds. And coconut. We have lots of those.
But I have to do something. I’ve been eating quinoa for breakfast and we usually have something involving meat, potatoes, or quinoa for dinner, but otherwise…
So I decided to cave to Mom’s insistence that I get over my dislike of sunflower seeds. But I knew I’d really have to hide the flavor in order to make anything palatable.
I started by making this sunflower butter. While the majority of it is sunflower seeds, it has helpers, too. Chocolate, for example. Chocolate makes everything better. Which is bad, since I can’t have most chocolate.
But I digress.
I like my nut butters to be very spreadable, but not to the point of runny. This butter spreads nicely at room temperature, and firms up to the consistency I like on crackers when it’s refrigerated. And it tastes good!
This sunflower seed butter would go well with some nice sandwich bread, if you’re lucky enough to be able to eat that. I like eating nut butters on rice crackers, and I intend to do some experimentation on making rice crackers in the near future.
Or you could swirl it into ice cream. That actually is a good idea… But that's another post.
This year, my extended family spent Christmas at my grandparents’ house. Christmas is always a hard time of year for my diet, because I want to eat all those wonderful gourmet foods that my mom has been preparing for years and years. But put me in a place where other family members are preparing the food and I’m a good four hour drive from the nearest ingredients that I might be able to use to make some good copycats and… I’m going to have problems.
One of my favorite Christmas cookies that Grandma makes has always been her anise cookies. As I was sitting there moping about not being able to eat that initial tray of gluteny cookies and chemical-and-sugar-laden chocolates, Mom suggested that I try I make something I could eat. At this point, it would be good to mention that this was the day after an 18-hour drive, and I was more than exhausted and not in a good mood. In other words, I was just trying to make everything harder on myself. But I took out my limited stash of ingredients that had arrived from Vitacost, and sat down to figure out what I could make.
A couple pounds of flour. Check. Chia seeds. Check. Gelatin. Check. Xylitol, coconut sugar, maple syrup. Check. We had some palm shortening, and of course basic things like baking powder and salt. Grandma had some extracts.
Oookay. Mom and I talked through making cookies. Apparently it’s a 4:2:1 ratio of flour, sugar, and fat typically. So I dove in and followed that.
As I looked through the various flavorings I had, I decided to do the anise cookies. Super simple and taste really good. Okay, I want them to look as pretty as real anise cookies. So I decided to use xylitol as my sweetener, since it wouldn’t add any ugly brown color to the cream-colored cookies.
They turned out delicious! They’re a little more dense than the typical anise cookies, but the flavor and texture was overall very nice. I was glad to add a little of our traditional Christmas to my limited menu for those days.
Note: Make sure that your 1-to-1 gluten free flour has xanthan gum in it. If not, you'll need to add 1/4 t. of xanthan gum.
INGREDIENTS Oven @ 350* F
1 c. 1-to-1 gluten free flour
1/4 c. xylitol
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 c. palm shortening
1/4+ c. water
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. anise extract
In a small bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, cream palm shortening and xylitol. Add anise extract. Mix dry ingredients into the wet, 1/3 c. at a time. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough feels similar to silly putty when you roll it.
Cover baking sheet in parchment paper and roll dough into pecan-sized balls. Place 1 1/2 in. apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until mostly firm to the touch. Let cool, or eat warm!
Around two years ago, I had the great idea of starting a food blog called Through Fire and Water. The inspiration for the name was twofold. Firstly, It was based on the passage in Isaiah 43:1-2, “But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.” Secondly, I was obsessed at that time with baking artisan bread (fire), and have been a tea junkie (water) since the National Bible Bee in 2009, when I drank my first cup of Earl Grey (albeit from a tea bag).
Well, times have changed slightly since then. There’s a bit more of the fiery trials and less of the bread, and if anything, the amount of tea I consume has probably gone up a bit. I’ve acquired dozens of food allergies, including gluten, dairy, eggs, and beans, and those and many other symptoms seem to indicate that I have an autoimmune disease. At the same time, my trust in God has been strengthened, because through everything, even the days I feel like I am going to die or the days where I just don’t want to eat because I’m tired of trying to cook about a dozen foods in an interesting way, He always helps me bear it.
Since that first fateful day of allergy testing, though, I've begun to experiment with making things that I can eat - and not only the mundane stir-fries and soups, but also the things that I've loved for years and years, chocolate being the main component of many! Yes, I'm a bit of a chocolate fanatic (dark chocolate forever!), and I've already been able to make some pretty decent truffles, cakes, and candies. Not being able to eat cane sugar makes life difficult, though. Entrées, on the other hand, are hard to motivate myself to make. My dear friend Joo suggested starting this blog in order to help motivate me to get more creative, which means that this will hopefully be beneficial to all involved!
So this blog probably won’t contain much in the way of yummy, delicious, gluten-y bread or cheesy treats, but it will have recipes and ideas to help those of you who have restricted diets. It will have posts on the things that I’m learning that pertain to health, which will hopefully help anyone who comes along and reads this blog.
My hope is that my adventures in nutrition and health will be both a help and an inspiration to anyone who is suffering or knows someone who is suffering from health problems, physically, mentally, or spiritually.
I grew up eating my Mom's amazing gourmet cooking. And then something happened. Almost two years ago, I became very sick. After lots of testing, the types of food I could eat became very, very limited. My mission now is to try to make good, affordable, easy, allergy-friendly food! All of my recipes, therefore, will be gluten free, dairy free, bean free, egg free, and cane sugar free. Most of my recipes will be paleo, Whole30, and/or keto friendly.
I am not (yet!) a certified nutritionist of any sort. Anything I say about health or nutrition is simply from my own research, and I would advise you to research before taking any of my advice.