Paleo Bachelor Chow

Bachelor Chow in a Bowl with a little Chili Sauce on top

Bachelor Chow in a Bowl with a little Chili Sauce on top

This recipe is basically unstuffed stuffed cabbage or unballed “meatballs with gingersnap gravy” (I kid you not.) It’s a descendant of kraut rulle, kohl rouladen, fleischklosse, and kraut spiess. All its Eastern European great-grandparents have had their influence on it. It definitely has plenty of cabbage and some tomato, and it’s a good way to cram in a lot of veggies. And for further veggie coverage, I eat it over spaghetti squash, or a bit of sweet potato, or zucchini “noodles”. If I’m not needing the super veggie boost, I might have it over a bit of white rice, or stuffed in a spring roll (rice) wrapper. I also douse mine with fish sauce, a little vinegar, and sambal oelek (a chili sauce) but my husband isn’t as big a fan of that deliciousness so I leave it out of the pot.

We always get at least 4 to 6 meals out of this recipe. Double it for some great bachelor chow to freeze for later. I often chop the cabbage, carrots, and apple in my food processor especially if I make a double batch – it’s a lot of cabbage. The carrot and applesauce give it a sweet nod to its heritage but leave either or both out and add another tomato if you want it less sweet.

Paleo Bachelor Chow

Ingredients
• 1 pound ground beef
• 2 TB oil/fat (olive oil, coconut oil, lard, or a mix)
• 1/2 medium onion, chopped
• 3 cups shredded cabbage (about half of a medium to large head; if you coarsely chop by hand use 4 cups or a bit more)
• 1/2 of a green pepper, chopped (frozen is fine, about half cup.)
• 4 large tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped or half a 6 oz. can tomato paste
• 1 apple, grated or 1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened, of course)
• 1 large carrot, grated
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
• 1/8 tsp cinnamon
• 1/8 tsp ginger
• a pinch of ground cloves
• 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
• Dash pepper

Prepping the veggies

Prepping the veggies

Condiments as desired
• fish sauce
• chili sauce
• whole fat yogurt
• rice vinegar

Directions
1. In a large skillet or pot, warm your oil or fat for a bit over low to medium-low heat, then add chopped onion and let cook for about 5 minutes or until the onion gets mostly translucent.

2. Add in the beef, breaking it up by hand as you put it in or by chopping up a bit with your spatula. Add the green pepper too. Cook and stir it until all of the beef is looking done, doesn’t have to be browned.

3. Add the cabbage, tomatoes (unless you’re using paste, then wait on that), carrot, and apple (or applesauce) to the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste if using it instead of tomatoes, and stir in lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, spices, salt and pepper.

4. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until cabbage is tender. Eat it.

(I published this to Cron-O-Meter as just “Bachelor Chow” – please let me know if you can or can’t find it, thanks!)

Glutenfree Buckwheat Belgian Waffles

This is the recipe I have been making for myself a couple of times a month since I got my ultra-stupendous Belgian Wafflemaker. Here she is:

Waring Waffle Bot

And look how beautiful this waffle is! It’s healthy to boot, has crispy edges, tender interior, giant pockets to hold butter, syrup, or berries and yogurt in this case. (Click on the photo to see it larger, it’ll make you drool.)

BuckWhtWffl

This recipe involves soaking the flours again. For a better of understanding of why to soak your grains, seeds, nuts, and flours, read this, and this and possibly follow some of the links if you want more.


Make it, eat it.

Glutenfree Buckwheat Belgian Waffles

The soaking ingredients:

1 cup buckwheat flour*
1/2 cup almond flour**
1 TB coconut flour***
1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup warm (not hot) water

The rest of the deliciousness:
3 eggs
1/2 TB baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 – 3 TB melted butter
2 tsp vanilla****

12 to 24 hours before making your waffles, mix all of the soaking ingredients and leave covered on your countertop – do not refrigerate.

When you’re ready to make your waffles, add all the other ingredients to the soaked ingredients and mix well. I tend to sprinkle the baking powder and soda over the top of everything so it mixes in more easily since I can’t mix it in with the dry ingredients. I also sometimes pre-beat or whisk the eggs a little bit just for ease.

Pour the recommended amount into your waffle iron and prepare to be wafflified!

I get four (sometimes a bit more) 6.5 inch waffles on my awesome new Belgian wafflebot. Ok, I *wish* it was a wafflebot but it’s still a great waffle maker.


* I prefer Dakota Prairie Dark Buckwheat flour. They also have a Light Buckwheat flour which has a less strong buckwheat taste. Dakota Prairie flours in general have a finer mill than some of the other brands I can get locally. I was so ecstatic when I made these waffles with their flour and got much better results.

** I buy the Honeyville Almond flour. Again, it’s a better mill than others I have tried.

*** I have Tropical Traditions coconut flour. I haven’t tried any others. I like to add a bit for the fiber and for how it absorbs moisture but my tummy doesn’t let me add in larger amounts – moderation in coconut flour for me.

**** Leave out the vanilla for savory waffles that you can use as sandwich “bread”.

Baked Cream of Buckwheat with Peaches and Blueberries

This. is. delicious. In my humble opinion anyway. I don’t eat the gluten-free oats available to us celiacs – I haven’t had good luck with the quality or my reaction so I was super excited to find Cream of Buckwheat satisfies my chewy-oatmeal-breakfast craving. I played with baked oatmeal recipes and proportions to get this version. I have also done it with apples and cranberries, just apples and cinnamon, just frozen mixed berries but I will hold off on giving you proportions for those, however, because buckwheat takes more moisture to cook up than rolled oats and the moisture content between the various fruits is inconsistent.

Baked Cream of Buckwheat with Peaches and Blueberries

The evening before –

Mix the following three ingredients in a large mixing bowl, they should make a relatively thin layer on the bottom of the bowl. Cover with a plate and leave setting on your counter overnight.

• 3/4 cup cream of buckwheat cereal
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 2 TB plain yogurt

In the morning –

Preheat your oven to 325°F

Add these ingredients one at a time to those in the bowl and mix each time (I do them in this order and think it mixes more evenly but maybe I’m delusional):

• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 X-large or Jumbo egg, already whisked
• 1 TB melted butter
• 1 can (15 ounces) sliced peaches in juice, drain & reserve juice, chop peaches
• 1/4 cup of reserved peach juice
• 1 cup frozen blueberries

Pour mixture into a buttered 13″x8″ (or thereabouts, 11″x7″ with longer cooking time, I’ve done a loaf pan too).

Sprinkle on top:

• 1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes or until top is lightly browned and the middle is set up (no liquid floating on top.)

Depending how hungry you are, this might make 4 to 6 servings. :) I serve mine in a bowl and melt a bit more butter on it and then top with some real maple syrup. Om nom nom!

Baked Cream of Buckwheat with Peaches and Blueberries

Baked Cream of Buckwheat with Peaches and Blueberries

Nourishing Buckwheat Almond Waffles

When I found out I had celiac disease (about three years at this time), I gradually went to eating fewer and fewer grains and flours. I basically ended up eating a Paleo-type diet by accident. I just felt better and lost weight more readily not eating any flours. ANY. Of course, it turned out a lot of people were already smart to eating unprocessed foods, cutting out the gluten, and eating coconut oil. Somehow I had navigated to the same place just by individual experimentation. I saw a lot of improvements in my health overall and continual weight loss. Granted, a breast cancer dx doesn’t sounds like an improvement but we don’t know that my diet didn’t help prevent the spread of what I did have. Also, as a sufferer of dermatitis herpetiformis, the celiac skin disease, I found it necessary to limit my iodine intake but then iodine deficiency is a big risk factor for breast cancer along with being an older mother, only breastfeeding one child, working in smoky bars in my youth, past obesity, and a few other risk factors. Was I low in iodine for a couple years? Probably. Don’t try this at home, kids, even if the doctors don’t listen to you and won’t do the tests. (Decades, fer feck’s sake, DECADES I tried to get help with my skin…!)

Fast forward to me getting into a normal weight range so my body started handling some refined foods (any flour is technically refined, “whole grain” or not) with a little more flexibility, also being a HUGE fan of buckwheat, I started looking into working with buckwheat flours last year. So much so that when I set up this blahg, I chose the name “buckwheatgf” (just “buckwheat” was taken of course….) Buckwheat has potential nutritional benefits that I’m extremely interested in now. Mammary tumor reduction? Hells yeah! Lower blood glucose levels when cancer loves glucose? Double hells yes. I’m also a fan of Stephan Guyenet, a neurobiologist/obesity researcher who is a staunch proponent of soaking and fermenting grains and legumes to improve nutrition and digestibility, of “traditional eating” (think foods our great-grandparents ate), and who writes wonderful reviews of medical studies in these regards. All these factors led me to thinking of soaking or fermenting the buckwheat.

So, buckwheat is delicious! Ok, if you don’t already like little savory buckwheat blinis with sourcream, caviar and dill on them, or soba noodles in dipping sauce, you might be skeptical but I have always liked buckwheat (and liver and onions too). Inspired by this recipe, I worked out a way to make something similar while meeting my particular needs and working with what I usually have in my kitchen. This recipe achieves some really nice foodie affects: the texture of all the flours is more delicate and moist because of the long soak, the almond flour is less “grainy” like it usually is in almond flour recipes, and these have a sourdough flavor too. I love it!

(added 12/16/12 – See the new version of this recipe I’ve been using for months in the Belgian wafflemaker here.)

Nourishing Buckwheat & Almond Waffles

At least 12 hours and up to 24 hours before you want to make waffles, thoroughly mix these first four ingredients in a bowl, cover and keep on your countertop:

1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup almond flour
1 cup yogurt (that’s plain yogurt, full fat ideally)
1 cup water

When it’s time to make the waffles, heat up the waffle iron.

Mix the next ingredients into the bowl of soaked flours:

2 extra-large or jumbo eggs (or 3 medium or large*), whisked
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tablespoon melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

Now you can make waffles (or pancakes I’m sure). I butter my waffle iron even though it’s “non-stick”, so do as you need to with yours. If your batter is a little too thick, add water a teaspoon at a time until you reach desired thickness. Conversely, if it seems too thin, I recommend adding a teaspoon of arrowroot starch at a time until desired thickness.

My current waffle iron takes a third cup of batter in each side – mine makes two 3.5 inch by 4 inch waffles. I am excited to tell you that I ordered a Belgian waffle iron (via my credit card rewards, I have obtained more good kitchen appliances this way…) and when it arrives, I’ll try to get some pretty photos. (How do all these food bloggers get such pretty photos?!?!)

*I use 2 duck eggs from a lightweight breed but these tend to be larger than chicken eggs. Local free-range chicken eggs I can get are generally much smaller and definitely a ratio of 3 chicken eggs to 2 duck eggs is applicable for those. Store-bought eggs of extra-large to jumbo come closer to the size of my duck eggs.

edit 8/1/12: My Belgian waffle maker arrived last night. I was so excited that I put some flours to soaking before bedtime. I cleaned, heated, and treated the new waffle iron this morning and finished up my batter, poured it in, flipped it. I almost cried (but didn’t!) when the timer went off and I opened up that wafflemaker and my waffle stuck to the iron and completely split in two! ugh! I turned it off because I had a big cleanup ahead of me. I plugged in my cheap ($10), old waffle iron and the result was not as bad but the waffles were still too delicate and coming apart a bit. So I figured somehow my batter was thin (was it humid yesterday? did I space out while measuring and add too much water?) so I added a teaspoon of arrowroot and sure enough got waffles that didn’t completely fall apart.

Little Waffle on the Prairie


Dang it was good! So, I think besides whether I messed up my liquid measurement last night, I also used Bob’s Red Mill buckwheat flour but previously had been using Dakota Prairie buckwheat flour. I suspect some difference in starch content. I will play with this recipe some more to see if I can get a more universally useful one, maybe a bit of coconut flour or something. Plus, I want the big damn pockets of the Belgian waffle!

“My blood test was negative therefore I don’t have celiac disease”

Your blood test was negative? That sounds good. Did you consult a gastroenterologist about your gut pain, fatigue, or anemia? No? oh. You let your general physician interpret your results? I see. What if I told you that you still don’t really know if you have celiac disease or not?

We are always reassured by doctors about how great the latest test is, how sensitive and accurate, etc. until a better test comes along, whatever ailment. But, as it turns out, the tTg is not the be-all-and-end-all of testing for celiac disease and definitely not for catching gluten-sensitivity or any preventative measures or pre-celiac intolerance. (Celiac disease is defined by intestinal damage that’s already happened; you can’t find it before it happens so there’s no good definition for preventing it yet.)

100 w/Severe Damage

Pretend the group of 100 stick figures on the right are 100 people with severe small intestine damage from celiac disease. Take blood from each of them and run the typical celiac blood tests. Most labs use the anti-tTg test which looks for Anti-tissue Transglutaminase Antibodies. These antibodies represent immune system attack at the level of the intestinal lining. There’s a minuscule chance that some other disease besides celiac will give a positive tTg so if you have a positive on this test, you most likely have celiac disease. But if you have a negative on this test, does that mean you definitely don’t have celiac disease? No.

See how I divided these 100 celiacs into one group of 23 at the top and the other 77 at the bottom? Those top 23 people, who still have severe small intestine damage, have received a false negative on their tTg blood test. Those people have severe damage in their small intestines! (“Severe” means this leads to massive lack of absorption of nutrients, high risk for cancers esp. of the bowels, etc) Almost a quarter of celiacs with severe damage are being missed when using the tTg.  Will they still get diagnosed? That depends on many things, doesn’t it? Whether their doctors understand that the tTg is not perfect is a big factor I should think. I know several people who have symptoms, go and get the blood test, get a negative and then proclaim themselves not celiacs only to go on with many possible symptoms and getting diagnoses like IBS, fibromyalgia, and the like. Get yourself to a good gastroenterologist, pronto!

Here’s another group of 100 stick figures people who have celiac disease but only partial damage to their small intestines, this means it’s spotty and might even be tricky to find with a few biopsy samples. Give them the same blood tests, using tTg as the main indicator of celiac disease. See the large upper group of 67? That’s how many will get false negative blood tests using tTg.  Only the lower group of 33 will be correctly identified as having celiac disease if only the tTg is relied upon.

100 w/Partial Damage

In my extended family (first and second degree relatives) we have three diagnosed celiacs: one by positive tTg and biopsy, one with negative tTg but positive biopsy, and one by high tTg plus her relationship to the previous two and improvement on the gluten-free diet. We have another self-diagnosed gluten-intolerant in the ranks but her daughter had the high tTg with no biopsy so we accept the self diagnosis. In other members of my family and in my circle of friends and acquaintances, there are so many possible symptoms but their GPs are relying on the tTg and I don’t think that’s the best choice in many cases. There are no small intestine biopsies being done on symptomatic individuals related to celiacs. There are no biopsies being done on the lesioned skin of family members with first degree relations to celiacs who have dermatitis herpetiformis. Drives me nuts. No wonder there are still two and a half million undiagnosed celiacs in the USA alone, for any 200 people with severe and partial small intestine damage, 90 are very likely not getting diagnosed – nearly half will not get diagnosed if we rely solely on the tTg. If I had more time I’d make those top 67 on the right have little frowny faces.

I will grant you that some of those 100 people on the right might get negative biopsies too. The small intestine, if laid out flat, is as large as a tennis court so getting a biopsy of exactly the right spots of damage just might not happen. In that case, some patients still might be encouraged by a gastroenterologist to try a gluten-free diet and then based on the response to that get a diagnosis or not. The GPs and gastros I’ve seen so far are all supportive of using a trial on the gluten-free diet to assess a patient.

Why not just try a gluten-free diet, you ask? Ok by me. I don’t have a problem with that as long as you really and truly do the diet to the letter: learn where hidden gluten is and avoid it. Don’t eat in restaurants often, don’t eat the french fries fried in the same oil as the bloomin’ onion, don’t eat the tortilla chips fried in the same oil as flour tortilla chimichangas, don’t assume that soy sauce is just made of soy. I could go on but just do the research.  And know that if you go on a gluten-free diet you will not be able to get valid testing in the future without eating a lot of gluten for quite a while.

I am extrapolating from this research that only looked at 115 known celiacs so there will be some variation. But how much? And are you willing to risk your health or your child’s health on that variation? It’s your call.

And guess what? There’s a newer test. And so far we’re told it’s better than the tTg at detecting celiac disease. Or not. In short it’s called the DGP (a little longer: IgA/IgG-DGP.) If you have an endless supply of money, you could try that test.

I don’t think there are often easy answers to the question of whether a person with symptoms has gluten intolerance or not. A good gastro will have you try a gluten free diet if he/she is paying attention to all the research on celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. I hope you find a good one.

Giving Gluten-Free Food to Celiacs in Need

I picked the title “disaster kitchen” not because of natural disasters but because of the usual state of my kitchen after I go on a cooking bender. However, I live in the Missouri River Basin in North America and the entire region is experiencing flooding on an enormous scale. People are having to evacuate from their homes and some will be living in shelters – school gymnasiums and the like – for months to come. There is only so much physical work I can contribute to assist in these times but I have another way too: I give gluten-free food supplies to charitable organizations. When I’ve spoken to representatives, they always anticipate a need for items such as this. Allergen free items aren’t something all contributors think about but some of us really understand the need. I don’t wish to get into debate over whether this is the sort of thing to be worrying about at such a time. The gluten-free diet is medically necessary for people with celiac disease. You wouldn’t deprive a diabetic of their insulin shots and blood glucose monitoring during emergencies if you could help it. You wouldn’t give a peanut butter sandwich to a kid with a peanut allergy. This is not different.

Even if you live somewhere outside of the current disasters in the US, please consider donating gluten-free packaged foods to local food pantries and shelters and if you are in the area, please consider helping out with gluten-free and other allergy free items.

My list of stuff that’s going in to Red Cross today:

  • EnerG Wheat-Free Gluten-Free crackers
  • Annie’s Homegrown Rice Pasta Mac n Cheese
  • Kinnikinnick Pancake and Waffle Mix
  • Food Club Rice Squares Cereal (store brand Rice Chex)

Do you fufu?

Fufu, a traditional West African food, is a yummy dough-ball that you can eat as one big dumpling or multiple dumplings with stews of various sorts – peanut or goat stews being traditional. There’s more detail and history in the wikipedia entry. I’ve only run into fufu as naturally gluten-free though I’d bet it’s made with wheat flours sometimes in horrible desperation. My favorite is half plantain flour and half yam flour. This is real yam flour not sweet potato flour, though that should work similarly but with a stronger flavor. I live in the middle of nowhere, USA and I can get yam flour at Asian or International grocery stores regularly so I bet you can find it too. It can also be made from fresh plantains and yams but those are harder for me to locate.

This is so easy to make –  though if you’re like me, your kitchen will still be a wreck after making it.

Plantain and Yam Fufu

  • 1/2 cup plantain flour
  • 1/2 cup yam flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups water, plus
  • 1 to 2 Tb butter, margarine or coconut oil

In a small to medium size saucepan, bring your water to boil. Have another quarter to half cup of hot water available to add in if needed.

Add both flours, 1 TB butter and salt to boiling water and then start stirring, keeping the pot over low heat. Keep stirring until the flours come together into a smooth dough. Taste. Add a little more butter or hot water to achieve your desired consistency. Just taste it, check the texture, you’ll know what you like. Remove from the heat and plop it into a bowl and pour your stew over it. Or form into balls or gnocchi-like dumplings and serve those in your stew – your choice. I favor the little dumplings.

These are also tasty tossed with butter and cinnamon sugar.  I’m fairly sure you could substitute potato flakes or tapioca for the yam flour – the plantain flavor will be a bit stronger but I’m told this is the Cuban way. You can use all plantain flour too.

These are delicious with Crockpot 365’s Pomegranate Beef which is actually Gluten-Free Goddess’ Pomegranate Beef.

p.s. I’m pretty sensitive to starchy carbs and I don’t find this dish to be too much of a rollercoaster ride for me but no guarantees for paleo/scd eaters since this is illegal. And, no, this isn’t local eating either. But when civilization collapses I do think I could make dumplings like this out of potatoes and sweet potatoes, or corn and potato or old shoes and feathers, or whatever… pounding away with a big mortar and pestle, all day, pounding…pounding…