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!
I grew up eating my Mom's amazing gourmet cooking. And then something happened. 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.