Following our trials and tribulations as we attempt to remove all grains, many starchy vegetables and most sugars from our diet while maintaining our love of good food! We strive to make all of our recipes GAPS and/or SCD compliant. Note: We didn't know about "Grain-Free Gourmet" when we chose our name. We are not affiliated with those good folks.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Vanilla Extract

I use a lot of vanilla. It makes smoothies taste special. Mixed with peanut butter and honey, it makes an instant candy-filling-like treat. I like it in chai, and in coconut cappuccino. It's indispensible in most baked goods. When using coconut milk, oil, flour or flakes, I find it necessary to really up the amount of vanilla in order to get the flavor. Organic vanilla is expensive, so I am making my own extract.


1 oz. (about 6 or so) vanilla beans
750 mL vodka (1 standard bottle)


Split vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Pour a couple of ounces out of your vodka bottle to make room for the vanilla beans. Place split vanilla beans in bottle. Store in a cool, dark place, shaking every so often, for two or more months. When it is ready, it will be a deep caramel color and will smell delicious.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Holiday Candy

I made several different kinds of candy for my kids for Easter this year, and this recipe was both the easiest and the one they liked the most. It is very versatile and would work well for any holiday or special occasion, or simply a fun treat. This is also a great recipe to have the kids help with. The recipe comes from Julie Mathews' workbook entitled "Cooking to Heal", that accompanies her book "Nourishing Hope for Autism". This book gives a wonderful overview of the various diet options used to treat Autism Spectrum Disorders, as well as much more detailed and advanced information for those who have been doing special diets for awhile. I highly recommend her book.


1 c. coconut butter
1 tsp coconut oil
1-2 T honey (or to taste)
flavoring extract of choice (optional)
natural food coloring (optional)


Put the coconut butter into a food processor (it will be chunky), and pulse briefly to break the chunks into smaller pieces. Heat the coconut oil just enough to melt and add it to the food processor while on. Add the honey and extract, and any coloring that you are using. Taste and adjust flavors if needed.

Pour the mixture out onto waxed paper and place another sheet of waxed paper on top. Roll with a rolling pin to flatten to anywhere between 1/4 and 3/4 inch, depending on preference. Place the flattened mixture in the fridge to cool and harden.

The recipe suggests taking it out and cutting it into squares at this point. This would work fine, but I personally feel that the candy is somewhat plain and would benefit from a little extra attention. I used mini cookie cutters to cut it into Easter-themed shapes. I also added the option of natural food coloring as that would also make it look much more appealing.

Depending on the flavors, colors and shapes used, this recipe would adapt easily to any holiday. The texture of this candy is very similar to chocolate, and for those of you following the blog who aren't doing the GAPS diet you could add cocoa powder to this to make your own chocolate candy easily.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Crab salad

One of my personal survival strategies when doing a special diet is to remember how wonderful simple meals, using high quality ingredients, can be. Some of our recipes are very time consuming or require planing ahead, and it can be nice to have a few simple, elegant options for those nights when you just don't feel up to anything more complex.

To make this meal, which was a favorite of mine before this diet, I simply make a green salad with lettuce and tomatoes and dress it with a tangy vinaigrette dressing. I then place the shelled crab on top and it is just wonderful that way. This would go well with Teri's now famous onion torte (see earlier post), or some form of GAPS-bread made into garlic bread. I will update this post when I accomplish that! But then, since crab season is coming to an end, that may have to wait...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Zucchini Noodles with Pesto

It seems that Easter brought out the sweet tooth in us, so I thought I'd post something savory to provide some balance. I made the noodles by following Elaine Gottschall's recipe from Breaking the Vicious Cycle, which were actually easier to make then I was expecting. I also wanted to note that nether of my kids liked this dish at first, but after serving it several times, now they both love it. It is a good reminder that adapting to a special diet can be a process and not to give up on something too quickly.

To make the noodles, you will need 1-2 medium sized zucchini per person. Wash them, trim them and remove the outer peel. Then, to make the noodles, stick a skewer through the center of the zucchini to hold it and shave off slices from top to bottom while turning it.

There are several ways to cook these noodles. Elaine Gottschall says to pile them onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes at 215 degrees. This has worked well for us, but I do recommend mixing them around at least once during this time. Other people have reported success with sauteing them or boiling them.



4 oz basil leaves
1 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp salt
2 (or more) cloves of garlic
honey to taste (optional)

Combine in food processor and blend. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. This pesto is somewhat thin, which we don't mind, but you could thicken it with nut butter, coconut, or white beans (if you are at that point in the diet). I have found that cashews work well in place of pine nuts. As for oil, olive oil is traditional, but can be bitter, and there is no cheese to offset the taste. We used macadamia oil with great results.

Blueberry Ice Cream

2 14-ounce cans (3 1/2 cups) coconut milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup blueberries (I used Trader Joe's Organic Wild Blueberries - their tiny size is ideal for ice cream because they won't make marble-sized ice cubes in the dessert)
Optional: Honey to taste


Note- for this recipe, I used my Cuisinart electric ice cream maker. You have to start the day before to allow the custard to chill completely, and to allow the ice cream bucket to freeze. Other ice cream makers may have their own requirements.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the coconut milk SLOWLY over low heat. At no point during this recipe should the mixture be allowed to boil, or it will curdle, so watch the custard carefully.

Beat the eggs until they are light and bubbly. When the coconut milk is hot, slowly pour about half of the mixture into the eggs WHILE beating the eggs. Then pour the egg mixture back into the pot, WHILE beating the coconut milk in the pot. If using honey, add at this point.

Add the blueberries. The mixture will turn light purple. Continue stirring the mixture while it continues to heat and gets thicker. If you see a bubble appear (the early signs of boiling), remove from heat immediately. Stir in the vanilla.

Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the blueberries. Store the blueberries in a separate container in the fridge (you will add them back into the ice cream when it is done churning). If you add them at the beginning, they'll all fall to the bottom.

When the mixture is completely chilled and the ice cream maker is ready, churn the ice cream according to the mixer instructions. It took about half an hour in mine. Add the blueberries after the ice cream is thick and almost completely done. The blueberries should distribute themselves nicely throughout the custard. Best served immediately, as the mixture will freeze into a solid block if you place it in the freezer.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sunflower Cake

This cake is very simple, with no fancy frills, and would make very good muffins. I think it would also work well as a layer cake.  It is moist and spongy and has the texture of a bran muffin. I have heard of a place in town that sells sunflower shaped cake pans and intend to get one to jazz this up.

2 1/2 cups of soaked sunflower seeds
2 T coconut oil
1/3- 1/2  cup honey
4 eggs
2 tsp cinnamon

optional, will make it "spongy-er"

1/2 tsp baking soda
1 T apple cider vinegar


First, I ground the sunflower seeds into a smooth paste in the food processor..

Then add the other ingredients, including the baking soda if you are using it, but not the vinegar yet. Blend it all until the mixture is well combined, then ad the vinegar if you are using it and blend a little more to mix.

Pour this mixture into a greased 8x8 baking dish or 9" cake pan..

Bake for 50-60 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Knife inserted in center should come out clean when done.

Note- I haven't tried this, but with the addition of the right spices, this cake might make a nice gingerbread.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Banana Caramel Sticky Buns

I was going for muffins with a streusel topping. That didn't work out so well, but they came out like caramel sticky buns, and they were fabulous. I asked my non-GAPS husband if these weren't the "best thing ever", and he replied enthusiastically that yes, the were "the best thing ever!"

One problem I had was that the butter from my topping oozed out all over my oven, creating a smoking mess. Partly that's because I only topped half of the buns since my six year old wanted plain banana muffins (so double high topping). Partly it was because the sticky part of sticky buns is actually supposed to be on the bottom (while baking. You flip them onto a tray when they come out of the oven). I am going to cook them that way tomorrow, and I'll let you know how it works out.

Ingredients for buns

1 Large very ripe banana, mashed
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup melted butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Ingredients for topping
(These measurements are approximate. It should taste great raw, so feel free to experiment.)

1 cup chopped crispy pecans or walnuts (from Nourishing Traditions or WAPF)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. coconut flour


Makes 12 buns.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix all ingredients for buns with a wire whisk. Pour into a well-greased muffin tin or use silicone liners (I think paper would stick too much).

Mix all ingredients for topping with a fork. Crumble topping on buns.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through. Cool for about two minutes then immediately remove from muffin tin to a wire rack to finish cooling. You will have to scrape the topping back onto buns as you remove them, but the topping will set-up as they cool. Hot caramel can burn skin badly, so please be careful.

Easter Menu Ideas

I know this is last minute, but some of you may still go out shopping today :) I am sorry that I haven't posted anything in a while, but my computer is currently fried. I'm hoping to have something workable in the next couple of weeks. Thankfully Sierra and Tracy have been stepping up to the plate (so to speak) in my absence. The following are ideas only. I'm not suggesting one would make everything listed below :)


Coconut Cappuccino
Banana-Pecan Caramel Sticky Buns (recipe will be posted today)
GAPS-friendly sausages
Poached eggs with hollandaise
Egg, onion, cheese (if you can have) and sausage or bacon casserole made in the slow-cooker overnight (pre-cook the meat, lightly beat the eggs).
Fruit salad


Veggie Tray with homemade ranch dip (I use all homemade mayo as the base, since I can't have sour cream or creme fraiche yet)
Muttachar (curried boiled eggs)
Deviled eggs
Garlic curls (shoots) sauteed in butter
Asparagus wrapped in GAPS-friendly ham slices with hollandaise
Minted fresh (or frozen) pea soup (cooked with onions, chicken broth, salt and pepper--thickened with coconut milk)
Fruit soup (puree fresh or thawed fruit with a bit of water, honey, vanilla and coconut milk and chill until serving time)
Rack of lamb (or lamb chops) with mint sauce or herbes de provence
Sauteed baby carrots with butter and freshly snipped chives
Pinot Noir


Peanut Butter Pie
Lemon Chiffon Pie


SCD "Almond Rocca", I made mine with a mixture of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and dessicated coconut shreds instead of almonds. You can use any nut/seed combo you like. I also poured it into some silicone molds that I have to make a nicer presentation.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Apple Cinnamon Cake

This is a sweet variation on Teri's wonderful onion torte,


2 TBSP butter or ghee
2 ½ cups finely chopped apples and or pears
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup ground sunflower seeds
1/2 cup ground pumpkin seeds
1-2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)
1/4 cup butter or ghee, melted
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt
3 eggs
1 TBSP cider vinegar + enough water to equal 1/3 cup liquid
2 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt 2 TBSP butter in a 10-inch cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed, oven-proof skillet. Saute the apples and pears until translucent and a bit golden brown. Keep the pan on low to keep it and the apples hot when you add the batter.

Put the nut flour, ground seeds, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into the mixer (fitted with whisk attachment) and mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs and butter and beat briefly. Turn the mixer to high and pour in the vinegar/water mixture and the vanilla. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom. Continue to beat on high for a minute. The consistency should be like cornbread batter, maybe a little thicker, but NOT sticky or heavy. If it is thick like peanut butter, add more water.

Pour batter immediately into pan. Fold in the apples with a rubber spatula, then smooth the top and place into the hot oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean (moist is OK, but no batter should appear on the knife). Serve hot with butter or homemade hazelnut ice cream.


Baking soda is SCD-legal, but not GAPS-legal. The vinegar in the recipe neutralizes the baking soda, so shouldn't cause a problem, but if you wish you can omit the baking soda and vinegar. Keeping these two ingredients in gives a more soft, moist cake.

Using a coffee grinder to grind the seeds gives a finer flour then using a food processor.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Egg Flower Soup

The basic technique of this soup is very simple and is suitable for the intro diet early on, once whole eggs are tolerated.


1/2 c sliced shiitake mushrooms (about 5)
1/2 red bell pepper
2-3 green onions
1 stalk celery
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 quart chicken broth
1 egg


 Heat the stock in a saucepan.  While it is coming to a boil, slice or chop the vegetables so that they are in small pieces, and set aside.

Add the ginger and toasted sesame oil to the stock.  Once it comes to a boil, add the vegetables and cook until they soften, about 10 minutes.  Once the vegetables have cooked, remove them with a slotted spoon back into a bowl. 

Break the egg into a small bowl and lightly beat it.  Stir the soup with one hand so that it is swirling around in a circle, and slowly pour the egg mixture in with the other hand. The speed with which you stir and pour will determine how thin and long the egg strands become.

Once all the egg is poured in, remove from heat and add the vegetables back in.  Add salt if needed (this will depend on how salty the chicken stock was).

There are many versions of this recipe which mostly vary depending on which vegetables you add. Other additions include peas, chopped onion, meatballs, tomato slices, a little dry white cooking wine, dash of vinegar, and chili oil.

TJ's Sensational Chicken

6-8 chicken leg/thigh quarters
2 large lemons, ends removed and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 large onion, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds and separated into rings
6 Tbsp butter
lots of salt and pepper (to taste)


I used my 4 quart covered corningware casserole dish. I placed the chicken in an even layer on the bottom of the dish. My two year-old dotted the top with pats of butter, the lemon rounds, and onion rings. She sprinkled a generous amount of salt and pepper on top. I covered the casserole dish and put it onto my gas range over a very low flame. The flame was so low that it did not rise above the edge of the burner where the gas comes out. The chicken cooked this way for about 5 hours. The house smelled wonderful and to my surprise the chicken had turned a medium brown, was falling off the bone and had produced a rich, dark, meaty broth that had the essence of buttery roasted chicken and lemon. I had big plans to make this chicken into salad for sandwiches, but it was so good right out of the pan that we consumed it as is over three meals. It reheated beautifully and the sauce was delicious over the Stuffing in a Pan. The stuffing recipe will appear soon!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Turkey Chestnut Stuffing

I love turkey with chestnut stuffing. Shortly before starting the GAPS diet I stockpiled chestnuts in my freezer in anticipation of all the wonderful bread or rice stuffing that I was hoping to eat alongside turkey. Needless to say, I am now working on re-purposing said chestnuts in a more GAPS-friendly way. I have found that the stuffing works alright if I simply stop after sauteing the veggies, herbs and chestnuts in butter, but it still needed something. I had some dark turkey meat left from making meat stock and it occurred to me to try combining the stuffing and turkey into one fabulous dish- "two great things that go great together". Here it is:


1/2 c butter or ghee
1 onion, diced
3-4 stalks of celery, diced
salt to taste
2 tsp rubbed sage leaf
1 tsp thyme
2 c chestnuts, chopped
1-2 c turkey meat, cut into chunks


Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet. Add the onions and saute about 5 minutes, until they become translucent. Add the salt and spices.

Add the celery and continue to saute until soft. Then add the chestnuts and turkey and stir until heated through. Adjust seasonings and serve hot.

For a more "rice-like" version, you can add a grated cauliflower instead of the turkey.

Lamb Shoulder with Braised Onions

I am thinking of having this for our Easter dinner, it looks delicious! Thanks Tracy!

Braised Lamb Shoulder with Onions

Several pounds of lamb shoulder (with the bone)

2-3 large onions, depending on the size of your pan

As many cloves of garlic as you can possible handle


Salt and Pepper

½ cup of water (divided)

This dish is all about prep work and starting early. Do not attempt to make this dish half an hour before dinner. Lamb shoulder is a tough but immensely flavorful piece of meat that will turn fork-tender for you if you allow it enough time to cook. This makes an elegant dish that is suitable for company or a holiday dinner. We enjoyed it for New Years Eve with company. Plan at least 3-4 hours in the oven, and at least half an hour of prep time. This would be perfect for a crock pot, but I like to use my large 4-quart covered casserole dish in the oven because it makes the house smell so good.


MEAT: In a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan, fry the lamb shoulders in generous amount of olive oil over medium-high heat. The purpose of this is to get them nicely browned on both sides. As they finish browning, lay them into the casserole dish. When all of the shoulders have been browned, pour ¼ cup of water into the pan and use a spatula or flat whisk to scrape all the browned bits off the bottom, making a flavorful broth. Pour this over the meat in the casserole.

ONIONS: For those in a hurry, it is perfectly acceptable to simply slice the onions, brown them a bit in olive oil, and dump them over the meat. Make sure to rinse out the pan and scrape up the brown bits to add to the casserole dish. For company, I like to take a little more time with my onions. I slice off the tops, and carefully peel down and remove the skins, leaving the root end intact. I then lay the flat side of the onion (the top you sliced off) on the cutting board and carefully quarter the onion, slicing through the root end each time, so that the onion quarters don’t fall apart. The root end, if you are careful, will hold them together. Heat some olive oil in the frying pan and carefully lay the quarters in the oil (cut side down). Give them time to get a nice brown on them, and then carefully turn them to brown their other cut side with a spatula. Gently place them in the casserole, on top of and around the meat. Make sure to rinse out the pan with ¼ cup of water and add the onion “broth” to the casserole.

SEASONINGS: I add rosemary (at least ½ tablespoon). I have a rosemary bush so I usually add two sprigs that are at least 4 inches long. Also toss in several cloves of garlic (5-10, depending on how much you love garlic.) Make sure the garlic is around the sides of the meat, or touching the bottom of the pan. Salt and pepper the meat to taste, and place in a low oven (300 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 3-4 hours. Or you could put it into a crock pot on low in the morning, and it will be ready for you by dinner time. The meat is done when you poke it with a fork and it falls apart.

OPTIONAL: We are on a yeast diet, so are avoiding fungus. However, you could add whole or quartered mushrooms to the dish or any other vegetables that you like, such as carrots.

This dish produces a tremendous amount of meaty-flavored broth. It is lovely served with bean and turnip mash, onion torte, and a fresh green salad. (Note- while turnpis were recently moved from the SCD legal to SCD illegal list, many people report eating them with no trouble. This seems to be issue of personal choice).

Navy Bean and Turnip Mash:

Rinse, pick over, soak overnight, and drain 2 or 3 cups of navy beans. Boil them in heavily salted water until very tender/mushy (at least an hour to an hour and a half). Peel and quarter several turnips, so that you can have equal parts beans and turnips. This is no rocket science, just eyeball it. Boil the turnips and 3 or 4 cloves of garlic in heavily salted water until very tender. (Note: if you are using canned navy beans, you may be able to simply drain the beans, and then boil them along with the turnips.) Drain the beans and turnips and garlic, and process them in a food processor with lots of butter and fresh herbs (I used parsley, oregano, and some thyme that we had growing in my mom’s herb garden). I had to do mine in batches because it made so much. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve by making mountains of the mash and then forming a crater with your fork to fill with the meat juice.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pork Ribs with Coleslaw

My kids love pork ribs, and since they are inexpensive, we love them too. Pork ribs can handle a lot of flavor so I wanted to find a way to really "jazz them up". I came up with this recipe today and it was a real hit! It went very well with coleslaw, and had I had time, I would have made a pot of collard greens and Teri's onion torte (to stand in for biscuits) as well.


2 1/2 pounds of pork ribs
1 onion, cut into slices
1 lemon, cut into wedges
5 cloves of garlic, crushed (or more!)
2 T butter, ghee, or animal fat
2 tsp grated ginger
1 bay leaf
2 star anise pods
1 tsp prepared mustard
2 T Apple Cider Vinegar
3 T honey
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
salt and pepper to taste


Put the onion slices on the bottom of a large dutch oven or large oven-proof pan with a lid. Place the meat on top, and put the lemon slices and garlic around the meat. Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the meat. Throw in the bay leaf and the star anise.

In a bowl, mix the fat with the remaining ingredients, just enough to blend- it can still be chunky. If you can have tomato, I'd add at least 1 cup of tomato sauce or several T of tomato paste at this point. If you like your food strongly flavored, you may want to go a bit heavy on the spices.

Spoon the mixture over the meat and and spread it around. Do not add extra liquid- plenty of liquid will cook out of the meat, onion, and lemon. Cook on low for 3 hours. Adjust seasonings before serving.

This dish goes very well with cole slaw.


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