BBQ Kale Chips

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After watching a few cooking shows this morning, (Has anyone seen Baron Ambrosia?  So silly and ridiculous I laughed till I cried.) I found myself craving a crunchy, flavorful treat.  It seemed like every dish that was featured on the shows was something I couldn’t have.

My menu idea for Kale Sausage & White Bean Soup was a bust the other night when I realized we had gone through the batch of sausage I had made to make GAPS “biscuits” and sausage “gravy”.  More on that another time, but as I was already omitting the beans, I gave up on the soup idea.  Who wants plain old kale soup?  Not I, and I know my husband would have wondered why I was giving him a bowl of his least favorite vegetable boiled in water.  The promised Lemon Olive Oil cake my kids were expecting never happened that day, either, because I found that we had no back-up eggs in the fridge.  Despite my begging and pleading and divvying of kitchen scraps, our chickens refused to lay any more that day.  Sigh.  Some days are just like that.  I don’t even remember what we ended up eating that night for dinner.  I have been trying to remind myself every day since, however, that I still had a bag of kale in the fridge that needed to be used.  I was very glad it was there this morning when I decided I needed something to snack on.

Some Facebookers were discussing BBQ flavored potato chips in a post the other day which had me strumming my fingers until I gave up on finding a way to get them and went ahead and ladled myself another bowl of beef broth.  So…kale chips+a BBQ potato chip craving=BBQ Kale Chips!  Thanks to a little bottle of smoked paprika I was able to get what I wanted.

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I forgot how much kale shrinks in volume as it roasts when I chose to use a full teaspoon of salt, so they were a little on the salty side.  My husband didn’t complain about that, he took full advantage of my mistake, but he did do a little whining about the kale-full aftertaste, as did I.  But kale chips are allowed on GAPS, potato chips are not.  Nor are they allowed on any other healthy eating plan that I know of.  But someone please, PLEASE correct me if I’m wrong.  😀

Ingredients:

8 cups of washed, trimmed kale leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp. (or less) Himalayan salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper.  I ground it on the course setting of my grinder and loved every spicy bite on the finished kale chips.

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

1 T granulated garlic

1 T smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. chili powder

Method:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Lay the kale out on a sheet pan.

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Generously drizzle with olive oil to keep the leaves from scorching.  Toss well to coat.

Mix together seasonings.

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Sprinkle all over the oiled kale.

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Toss well to coat.

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Bake for 10 minutes.  Stir.

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Bake for another 10 minutes.  Stir.

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Bake for 5 minutes and stir.  The kale on the outside crisps before the leaves on the inside.  Mix then around to keep them rotating.

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Bake for 5 more minutes or until all the leaves are crisped.

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Cool and munch!

Almond Milk

Howtomilkanalmond

Grasp almond firmly, pointy side down, between thumb and index finger.  Squeeze.

No, no.  Just kidding.  We have completely switched from cow to almond milk over the last year, though there have been times of weakness when we’ve switched back over for a little while.  During Christmas is one example, when I get too busy to milk almonds and we decide that nothing goes as well with holiday baked goods as cold cow’s milk with that plasticky (or sometimes waxy paper carton tasting) flavor.

But why did we switch?  I have heard too many bad things about cow’s milk, particularly the effects of homogenization on the milk and how this affects the cardiovascular system, and can’t ignore all the health benefits that almonds provide.

I haven’t always made almond milk myself, either.  In fact, I prefer Blue Diamond almond milk, in all it’s creamy sweet goodness, better than my own.  It is full of things I don’t think we need in our diet, however, so I make sure I find time to grab those almonds by the utters every few days to replenish our supply.

But enough with the milking jokes.  Here’s how I really do it.

Step 1:  Soak 1 1/2 cups of raw almonds in water overnight to help them swell and release all of their creamy nutrients when it comes time for milking.

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Step 2:  Drain the brownish water that is produced during the soaking process.

Step 3:  Grind the almonds to a pulp in a high powered blender or food processor, adding water as needed.

Step 4:  Here comes the milking part.  Strain the almonds through cheesecloth, a clean t-shirt, or, in my case, a jelly bag on a metal frame.  Add 2  to 2 1/2 quarts of water, stirring almonds as the milk drains until the liquid runs clear.  My jelly bag is tall enough to hang over a pitcher.  Squeeze the almonds until all the liquid has run from them.

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Now here’s where you can get creative.  I spread the wet almond meal onto a sheet pan and leave it in a warm oven until the almonds are dry.

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Then I grind them into almond flour.

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Almond Meal Pancakes

Or you could just use the moist almonds immediately to bake with.

Or you could put the moist almond meal into a container in the fridge for a couple of days until you are ready to use it.

Or you can grind them further and add honey or sugar to make a sort of marzipan.  I have done all of the above.

You can also get creative with the milk itself.

009 Before we started on the GAPS Diet, I was thickening each batch of almond milk and adding in nutrients by mixing in a few tablespoons of Vanilla Spiru-tein shake mix and crushed, chewable probiotics.  My husband loved it this way because it tasted most like commercially produced vanilla almond milk.  Since starting GAPS, I just add in the probiotics.  I have also made a sort of almond kefir by adding probiotics and letting them grow in the yogurt maker overnight.

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I am still working on perfecting my method, however, and will be using yogurt culture the next time I try it.  I’m hoping to have almond yogurt when I’m finished.

So there you have it.  It was such a mystery to me when I first heard of almond milk that I felt silly when I realized how simple it is to make.  So if anyone else out there is clueless when it comes to making almond milk at home, I hope my little post will prove helpful.

Spicy Blood Orange Glaze

2013-02-03 19.01.37 It sure has been a great weekend!  We got the snow we were hoping and wishing for.  No sooner had I clicked “publish” on my last post than the snow started coming down hard.  We had enough for a hike in the snow soon after, and a pretty good snowball fight.

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I usually see this low-hanging branch in time to swing under it, but with my hood on I couldn’t and it got me right between the eyes. That’s what I get for taking my hiking stick and whacking snowy branches as soon as my husband was below them.

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When we woke up this morning, we realized it had snowed all night as the weather man had predicted.  Love that he was right for once!

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It was perfect for sledding…for a while.  It started melting very quickly, but not before we were able to build a snowman and slip around a little in the slush.

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He’s an angry snowman.

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Whoops! Poor kid. He needs a real snowboard and some fluffy snow. He’s totally outgrown that little red thing he’s had for years.

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He calls this his “Epic Fail” and says failing is much more fun than succeeding. But seriously, the poor kid had to deal with only a little bit of melting snow. He did manage to have two pretty good runs.

We hurried to dry off, clean up, and warm up so we could take a drive before all the snow melted.

2013-02-03 12.19.06 By the time we got home with our Super Bowl Sunday groceries, the snowman was thanking his lucky stars to still be standing.

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The boys said this was the most “epic” pose a snowman has ever taken. I agree. He’s the only one I’ve ever seen defy gravity.

We had a quick lunch of 1905 Salad, minus the ham, tomatoes, and worcestershire, with roast chicken.  Then I started marinating pork “ribs”(lean pork loin cut in strips to simulate ribs) for the people in the house who are watching their animal fat intake, along with a rack of beef ribs.

I goofed off for a few hours before putting the ribs in the oven.  While they baked, I tried to make a mock potato salad using cauliflower, but, no surprise, it was awful and I think I’ve gone and wasted an entire head of cauliflower, kind of like the head of cabbage we tossed into the compost this week following the whole sauerkraut making fiasco.  At least my mid afternoon acorn squash snack was perfect, or I’d be thinking that I should steer clear of spherical produce for a while.

The bbq sauce had to be as GAPS friendly as possible, so I stuck to only ingredients we have already been using for a while.  Oranges, mustard, chili powder…

The sauce, which ended up more like a glaze, was just what our ribs and “ribs” needed for us to feel like we were eating something we weren’t supposed to, though it is hard to ignore the bowl of Doritos on the coffee table that our boys are splurging on tonight.  It’s okay.  I can keep pretending they are not sitting in all of their corny cheesiness right behind me as I type, because there is a new package of 90% dark chocolate waiting in the pantry for me.  Not entirely allowed on GAPS, but I held off as long as I could, dadgummit!  A girl NEEDS her chocolate!  Just one square.  I promise.

Ingredients:

The juice and zest of 2 clementine oranges

The juice of one blood orange

1 T spicy brown mustard

1/4 tsp. Himalayan salt

1 T chili powder

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

Method:

Zest and juice the oranges.

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Isn’t blood orange juice pretty?

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Combine all ingredients.

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Simmer to reduce for app. 10 minutes.

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Brush on.

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