Grain Free Tortillas

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Yes, I’ve been MIA again.  Life just seems to get busier every year.  I’ll spare you the details for now but I just wanted to share something I thought was so exciting.  Grain free tortillas!  I’ve made versions of this with coconut flour but coconut flour has a very distinctive flavor that I like in baked goods but not much else.  These tortillas are soft, elastic and pliable with a neutral flavor.   Aren’t tortillas really about what you are eating them with??  These stayed together, didn’t get soggy and weren’t grainy.  Can you tell I’ve tried several different versions?  I’ve been doing a lot of reading about gut health, our microbiota and  increasing dietary fiber.  I’m certainly guilty of not having anywhere near enough soluble or insoluble fiber in my diet for years and years on end.  And I’ve paid the price.  So in my quest to rectify that I’ve been trying out new foods to work with.  Plantains were on that list.  Plantains have about 57 grams of carbohydrate for a medium green one.  Yes, that’s a lot but I’ve never come close to eating a whole one in one sitting anyway.  Of those carbs 4 grams are resistant starch.  Resistant starch is a type of dietary fiber that we are unable to digest.  It travels down to our large intestine where our bacterial army does it’s magic.  That starch/fiber is what our gut bacteria feed on.  If we don’t feed our micro flora they don’t tend to stick around and proliferate.  We can take probiotics but unless we feed them they are transient and temporary.  Why is our gut bacteria important?  Well, It’s what keeps us healthy.  80% of our immune system is in our guts.  It drives our metabolism and those bacteria are the producers of butyrate.  Butyrate is a byproduct or waste product of our bacteria feeding on the resistant starch.  That butyrate is used by our bodies as energy.  It is also a powerful inflammatory in our guts, it helps decrease gut permeability and because that starch isn’t digestible by us but by our bacteria there is no spike in our blood sugar.  Actually, resistant starch improves insulin sensitivity and reduces blood sugar. Amazingly, it has a “second meal effect” meaning that it helps control your blood sugar for the following meal as well as the meal in which it was consumed. Resistant starch is associated with a decreased risk of colon cancer and may help with weight loss due to its ability to decrease blood sugar spikes post meal.  It may help decrease appetite and help to maintain lean muscle mass.

Anyway, back to the recipe.  These are the reasons I am excited to find a way to enjoy plantain.  Now to the recipe.  This was super fast and easy.  You will need a high powered blender and a large nonstick pan.

Ingredients:

1 green plantain

2 eggs

2-3 T milk or water

pinch of sea salt

coconut oil for the pan

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Peel and slice the plantain.  Add it and the eggs and salt to the blender.  Blend until smooth. Add just enough milk to thin out the batter so that you can pour out the batter into a thin layer.  Water may work just as well if you are dairy free.  Heat pan and enough coconut oil to lightly cover the bottom.  Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the hot pan and swirl the pan or use the back side of a spoon to spread the batter into and 8-10 inch round.  Cook on medium heat until the bottom side is lightly browned and then flip to brown the top side.  When finished lay it on a plate covered with a paper towel.  Repeat for the rest of the batter stacking them on top of each other with paper towel in between.  These were great warm with a little butter (has to be Kerrygold!) or dipped into olive oil.  I added some Italian seasoning to one batch and it was great.  Next time I will try some herbs de provence.  Cumin and coriander might be good too.  When they are completely cooled the paper towels can be removed and these can be stored, covered in the fridge.  Warm slightly in the microwave for a few seconds to enjoy them later.  They are just as soft, elastic and pliable the next day.

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Cabbage Rolls – Paleo Approved

Paleo Style Cabbage Rolls

You simply have to try this.  It is a teeny bit time consuming but worth every minute.  The cabbage rolls I remember – and it’s been a really long time – were stuffed with white rice and ground beef.  These cabbage rolls are stuffed with ground beef and cauliflower rice so are therefore low carb, GAPS legal and paleo approved.  I did all the work the night before.  I made marinara from scratch, as always.  I suppose you could buy a jar or two if you are short on time but the sauce is great and has no weird ingredients so I think it is worth the effort.  I stuffed the cabbage rolls, put them in my crock pot, covered them and put them in the fridge overnight.  In the morning all I did was cover the rolls with the marinara and set the temperature to low.  I came home to an unbelievable aroma and a dinner ready to be devoured.

Paleo Cabbage Rolls

1 large head of green cabbage

Remove core and steam entire, intact head of cabbage in 1-2 inches of water for approximately 5-8 minutes.  Set the cabbage in the water core down.  There is a fine line between over cooking the leaves and leaving them still too stiff to be pliable.  It is probably easiest to steam for 5 minutes, allow to cool enough so that you can peel off the outer leaves and then stem for another couple of minutes to soften the inner leaves.  When you have the leaves soft but not too cooked and separated, set them aside.

Marinara

2 T olive oil

1 large onion chopped

6-7 cloves of garlic, minced

2 stalks of celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 can tomato paste (6 oz)

1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz) or 2 cups chopped fresh

1 tsp dried basil

1 1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 cups stock/bone broth, preferably homemade (I happen to use pork because that’s what I  grabbed out of the freezer. Beef or chicken or whatever would work too)

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

2 tsp red wine vinegar/or fresh squeezed lemon juice

Heat large saute pan and add olive oil.  Add onion, celery, garlic and carrots.  Instead of hand chopping these I just put them all in the food processor using the S blade and made it into a fine meal consistency.  It doesn’t really matter because you are going to blend the final sauce anyway.  Saute until veggies are soft, approximately 10 minutes.  Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil, oregano and stock.  Simmer, covered for about 30 minutes then remove from heat.  Add red wine vinegar/lemon juice.  Start mixing the filling for the cabbage rolls now (See next section).  When you are done making the filling and the marinara has cooled a bit, use a stick/immersion blender or even food processor to blend your sauce to a smoother marinara.

Filling

1 large finely chopped onion

2 T bacon grease or other fat of choice

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tsp Italian seasoning (this should be only herbs with no fillers or preservatives)

1 1/2 lbs of ground beef (I used grass-fed)

1/2 large head of cauliflower, grated in food processor (I guess this could be done with a box grater but I value my knuckles and time)

1 egg

2 tsp sea salt

black pepper, however much you like

Saute onion and garlic in saute pan with fat.  Cook until onions are starting to brown and are soft.  In a large bowl combine raw beef, onions and garlic with remaining ingredients.  Mix well.   Using your hands is easiest.

Assembly

Fill each cabbage leaf with about 1/4 cup of filling.  Roll into cylinders and tuck flat edges under.  Some of my smaller leaves were still a little stiff (this is why I think the steaming should be done in two steps) so the edges were not tucked.  It didn’t matter.  I just wedged the looser ones in between the tighter ones.  I did all of this the night before and placed them in my crock pot, covered them and put them in the fridge overnight.  In the morning, well mid morning, I pulled them out and covered the rolls with all the sauce.  I set the crock pot to low and left the house.  I came home to dinner ready and an absolutely amazing smell.

Changes Coming to GfRealFood

Crickets…crickets… It’s been real quiet here at gfrealfood.  I’ve had a lot to think about lately.  Last December my husband and I went grain free.  We have been gluten free for more than 4 years and I personally have been dairy free for most of that time too.  I had been having some weird symptoms that my PCP and neurologist couldn’t find a cause for.  Within about 2 weeks of eliminating grain, dairy, all forms of sugar other than small amounts of honey or coconut sugar and all processed foods, I felt like the old me.  Every single symptom vanished.  I had energy, I felt happy and calm and had no physical complaints.  Life was good.  We even made it through Christmas following the plan.  Then in February we decided to have a blow it day.  Bad idea.  That day became a week.  And that week became….You get the idea.  It’s a very, very slippery slope.  Within days of going back to our old ways (although we were still gluten free and I remained dairy free) every single last symptom came back – with a vengeance.  I felt sure that my issues were food related.  I started seeing an allergist in March.  Turns out I was right.  I didn’t think I had allergies or intolerances beyond gluten and dairy.  I was stunned to find out I have a lot.  Finding out that I am allergic to corn put me into a serious funk.  I knew corn was in everything.  I read labels.  What I didn’t know was that it is in EVERYTHING.  I have come to believe that if it comes from a food manufacturer (i.e. in a box, bag, can, jar, bottle etc) and has more than 2 ingredients in it – it has corn in it.  Even my beloved bacon has corn in it in the form of sodium erythrobate.  Xanthan gum is corn based and it is used in a lot of gf baking and in many things as a thickener.  When we initially went gluten free I thought that was rough.  In hind site it was a piece of cake compared to eliminating corn.  The list of things that corn can be found in is FOUR pages long.   I am told that corn is, hands down, the most difficult single ingredient to eliminate.  It’s even in toothpaste, toilet paper, plastic cutlery, plastic bags and the list goes on and on.  What makes it even more difficult is that because corn is not on the FDA’s list of top allergens it doesn’t have to be listed on an ingredient label.  Thanks to the fact that our government subsidizes the corn industry it has found its way into nearly every product.  I wasn’t done feeling sorry for myself when I found out on my next visit to the allergist that I am also allergic to soy, coffee (ok, just shoot me now), citric acid (just try finding canned tomatoes without citric acid), dairy and brewers yeast (which is found in all vinegars and all alcohol – extracts included.)  Along with these there is a considerable list of things that I showed a slight reaction to that I am supposed to eat only once every four days.  Things on that list included: eggs, chocolate, almonds, cashews, peanuts, onion, bakers yeast…you get the idea.  So this all would explain my lack of posts here.  I have been completely stumped for ideas on what I can eat.  On the plus side of all this: it’s a great weight loss plan.  😉 

So what’s my plan?  Starve to death?  Resign myself to feeling like garbage for the rest of my miserable life?  No.  It’s GAPS to the rescue.  If you haven’t heard of GAPS please click on the link.  I could not do it justice to explain it here.  Anyway, I have hope and I am going to give it everything I have got to make it work.  I bought the book and as I was reading through it and was feeling totally overwhelmed, my favorite food blogger announces that she will be offering a GAPS cooking class.  Surely it was a sign.  I enrolled.  The first class (all are online) was released yesterday.  I can not believe the amount of work and information that went into this.  I feel like the cost of enrollment was a steal. 

So back to the changes to my blog.  From now on all recipes will be free of grain, corn (technically a grain), soy, dairy, gluten, brewers yeast and sugar.  All will be “full GAPS legal”.  If I am able to reverse some or all of these food allergies then this list will shrink in time.  For now though I am going to have to stick with these limitations.  Will this blog still be something that interests you?  I hope so. 

Anyone else have multiple food allergies?  Does anyone here have success with reversing them?  If you have any experience with this or with GAPS I would really love to hear from you.