We have never had such a bountiful harvest from our strawberries. It's wonderful! To be able to go out into the garden and pick fresh organic fruit is a very satisfying experience to start with, but then the taste is far better than anything you will ever buy in the supermarket.
So with a glut, having shared them out as much as we can, we are now trying to see what we can do with them. In case you are stuck for ideas I have put together this little info sheet with the best of the ideas I have come up with so far. Remember my rule - nothing tricky, fiddly or time-consuming, as I haven't got time! Plain, simple, honest good food with the minimal preparation. Thankfully, if you have grown your own strawberries, they will need minimal prep. any way, as they won't be covered in nasty chemicals. Of course - that's providing they haven't all been gobbled up - after all they are delicious on their own with honey and cultured cream!
Incidentally, the other day I was chatting with a lady about the virtues of organic food v. shop bought - especially ones grown yourself and she said that someone had said to her, that if the insects won't even look at the food as all it's goodness has been killed off by chemicals and poor farming methods, then what good will it do our bodies? I found it an interesting thought!
I've been playing with my chocolate recipe again and it's improved - well the family say it has and they have given it the thumbs up!
So here are the results of my latest search. I haven't tried them all yet, but I will be soon. It's not easy finding recipes to fit the above criteria and which are not on dodgy websites, but these seem to.
If you are doing GAPS, then use honey as the sweetener and omit the chocolate chips (sadly for now!). A simple recipe and one that is set to become a favourite with us.
Star rating: 5
You could use milk kefir in place of coconut milk.
A bit more fiddly, but still do-able.
Star rating: 3 as more fiddly
For GAPS, substitute carob for cocoa powder.
Star rating: 5
No-bake, but you don't get many for your efforts. I'd double the recipe!
Star rating: 2 as fiddly and does not make many
Star rating: 5
Based on peanut butter.
It says it makes 6 big bars, but I think 16 small bite sized bars is better.
Star rating: 4 as takes a bit longer to make.
So simple! Very delicious!
Star rating: 5
Basically just dried fruit and nuts. I'm going to experiment with different kinds of nuts/dried fruit.
Star rating: 5 - very easy
We are congratulating ourselves for having survived another two weeks travelling around while still staying true to the GAPS diet. No easy feat! This year was a lot easier than last, mainly because last year we were just transitioning off of the introduction diet and had reintroduced some foods too soon, but didn't realise it. Our week was taken up coping with all manner of digestive problems as a result! This year was much more relaxing in that respect. Also, I was already in a good routine before I went and I managed to just simplify the meals a little so that I wasn't cooking all day long!
We did have more bought treats this year - lots of Nakd bars and packets of Urban fruit! We were pleased to find two new flavours of Nakd bars that we can eat in a local health food shop.
Whatever your 'diet', if you are seeking to eat more naturally, you will have to cook more on holiday than the average person, especially if you are on a budget. If you are planning to travel, don't panic, it's very do-able.
We were fortunate because once more the kitchen was very well equipped. We didn't know that when we left home as we had never visited this cottage before. even so, I didn't take much that I didn't need.
On the GAPs diet, the slow cooker is an essential piece of luggage. I have bought a little 3.5 litre model just for travelling. It is very compact and I can make 2 litres of broth in it at a time. I made one change to my routine while away. Whereas I would usually, at home, make the bone broth and then cook the vegetables for soup in the broth on the hob, I put all the vegetables in the slow cooker and so the soup just needed blending and it was ready to go. This saved a lot of time and I will be doing it more at home now too. It did mean that all the vegetables, including the onion, were boiled, but a small price to pay for more time relaxing!
The hand blender was also essential. From whipping up banana pancakes, to blending soup or hot chocolate and smoothies, it was in constant use.
I ordered as much as I could from the supermarket who delivered to the door the evening we arrived.
I rang butchers in the area ahead of the holiday to check availability of bones and good quality meat. We had to have supermarket meat for the first two days of the trip, but managed to get meat by Monday and bought a weeks worth as it was some distance drive away. Grass-fed meat is not essential on the GAPS diet, but it is good to source the best quality you can get and most supermarkets aim to breed/rear/ and sell meat as cheaply as they can and so their practices, though legal, do not always produce meat that will properly nourish the healing body.
Similarly with vegetables. I was unable to find local veg. and ascertain prices ahead of time so we had it delivered from the supermarket. As for meat, it is not essential to have the best organic and/or local quality, but for the healing body that needs maximum amount of nutrients, supermarket veg. is best avoided as again it is grown to maximise sales and not for goodness, often with poor farming methods aimed at squeezing as much out of the land as possible and relying on unnatural means to raise produce, thereby resulting in nutrient deficient fruit and vegetables. Unless you know that you can only tolerate organic produce, then it doesn't harm to have lesser quality food some of the time. You can only do your best.
I took my own salt/pepper/herbs etc. and herbal teabags.
Other items I found indispensable, included: my large roasting tin, for roasting the chicken for Sunday lunch, to roasting numerous squash 'chip's' (basically packets of frozen butternut squash from the supermarket!); various plastic containers of different sizes - I leant the hard way that it is not a good idea to try and travel with glass jars, though preferable as they do not leak chemicals into the food. I have done so in the past without incident, but I won't again! I also took tin foil, plastic bags for food storage, and my American measuring cup was also handy.
Both my milk and water kefirs travelled well. I packed them in a large cool bag, without an ice-block, and transported them in plastic containers, rather than their usual glass. Remember to burp them en route if the weather is hot, so keep them handy for this purpose.
Being organised is definitely the key to a successful holiday food wise. Plan the menu ahead, order the food to match the menu. Plan for easy meals so that you are not spending all day in the kitchen. I found that the family were not overly worried about what they ate as the excitement of being away took their minds off food! Plus, they were happy as long as they had their Nakd bar every day!
Leave nothing to chance, so that you are not left having to compromise. We did however have to compromise a little on what else we took with us, in order to fit the cooking things in the boot!
Just as a treat!
I was given the above box by Son 2 - locked up with a padlock. He likes making boxes and filling them with home-made items for birthday's so that was no surprise. However on opening the said box I was surprised. There, in individual cup-cake cases were what looked like splodges of uncooked cake batter. He laughed as I looked in utter amazement. How had he made them without me knowing? What were they? Were they edible, did they need baking? I didn't dare come out with too many questions as he was watching for my delight (as well as enjoying my amazement!) . So in fear and trepidation I cautiously scooped a little on my finger and licked. Wow! It was delicious. Creamy, smooth, melt in the mouth texture. At this point he informed me that they were his own invented GAPS 'Chocolate Melts'.
He kept them over night in a cool bag with an ice-pack so that I didn't discover them in the fridge, so they were very squidgy and we couldn't wait to firm them up, naughtily eating one before breakfast! I made him make them again this weekend and we tried freezing them. They didn't go quite hard but they were firm and definitely melted in the mouth.
Here is the recipe:
So I thought I'd share the recipe with you. The raspberries just make the chocolate a little more special. We served it with sour cream without the raspberry sauce. Do as you please.
Here they are, our recipes for gluten free bird-watch biscuits. I've made two sorts, both delicious but one makes a soft cookie and the other a cookie with a crunch. Choose which you prefer, or try them both!
Get ready to count the birds next weekend. See the RSPB website for more details:
It had to be ginger - it's a warm comforting winter flavour!
These are not crisp and crunchy, but are definitely more-ish, seeing as I couldn't keep the Sons from trying to nab yet another one. They are not sweet, so hopefully will suit my diabetic readers, but the ginger and cinnamon make up for it.
1/2 cup nuts - I used mixed nuts
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup milled chia seed. I bought mine already milled, but you can whizz it in the food processor or in a smoothie maker/coffee grinder.
1 oz butter
1 egg, on the smallish side
2 oz dried fruit - either dates/raisins I used raisins
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Place the nuts in a food processor and blitz until finely ground.
Add the chia seed and coconut flour.
Add the butter and whizz until combined.
Add the egg and mix again.
Add in all the other ingredients.
Whizz until it sticks together in a big ball of dough.
Cut 2 large rectangles of greaseproof paper. Put the dough on one and place other on top. Roll it until about 1/4 inch thick.
Remove the upper paper and lift the flattened dough onto a baking tray and then put the tray in the oven.
Bake at Gas 4, 180 C, 160 C.fan, 350 F. for about 18 - 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Slice the cookie into however many you want - small or large - we made little ones.
Leave to cool.
Store in an air tight container, if there are any left.
Where to buy chia seeds: Health food shops, or supermarkets or online here. Supermarkets tend to be very expensive.
Grain free Mince Pie Muffins:
1 cup diced courgette
1/2 up coconut flour
1/4 cup (2oz) butter (solid)
rind of one unwaxed lemon
1 Tablespoon fresh pressed orange juice
1 desert apple finely chopped
4 oz currants/raisins (the amount is not overly important, a cupful will do)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Peel, slice and chop the courgette and whizz it in a food preocessor until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the coconut flour and whizz to combine.
Add the butter, whizz again.
Add the eggs and whizz until mixed in.
Add the fruit and spices and baing soda
Mix one last time.
Spoon into 12 muffin cases (if you are fortunate, you might get 13).
Bake for 25 mins. Gas 4, 180 C. 160 F. fan. 350 F.
I can imagine them served warm in custard........ MMmmmmm! Best warm from the oven.
Store in the fridge.
Grain free 'Mince Pie' Tartlets
You need a crust for these. I have used this one here, but you can use any grain free crust recipe you have.
Expect it to be a swishy mixture, not a hard ball of dough but you should be able to scoop a teaspoonful into each cupcase and then gently flatten it with your fingers. My crust was more like a crust layer at the bottom, rather than coming up the sides of the tartlet, but if you double the crust recipe you can make a proper looking pie case.
1/4 cup butter
2 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
4 oz currants/raisins
rind of 1 lemon
rind of 1/2 orange
1 tablespoon freshly pressed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
Once the crust is baking, melt the butter in a pan. Then mix in the eggs. I whisk them to get them evenly mixed in. Then add all the other ingredients. Stir well and divide between 12 tartlets.
Bake for 15 mins Gas 6, 200 C. 180 c. fan, 400 F. The middle mixture should be firm, but wacth the crust doesn't burn - it will go brown round the edges. Keep your eye on it!
Serve with sour cream - if desired.
We had to come off nuts for a while to see if one of us was reacting to them, and so I've been baking more with coconut flour. I don't like using too much of it as it's expensive. Neither do I like using 6 eggs - coconut flour recipes all seem to need lots of eggs. So I experimented, and came up with these. I hope yours turn out like mine and you like them as much as we do! I initially made them with our funny squash that we still haven't identified, but fortunately they work with courgette too!
Makes 12 muffins
1 cup courgette, peeled and diced
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup butter, salted, or if unsalted add a pinch of salt
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp baking soda
Rind of 1 large lemon finely grated - preferably organic an not waxed
1/2 cup butter
Rind of one lemon grated (preferable organic and not waxed)
2 generous Tbsp. honey
1. Put the courgette into the food processor and blitz it - scrape down the sides as necessary until it resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Add coconut flour and blitz again to combine.
3. Add butter and blitz until mixed in thoroughly.
4. Add honey and eggs and mix to combine.
5. Add bicarbonate of soda and grated lemon.
6. Put mixture into muffin cases.
7. Bake at 16o deg (fan oven) 180 deg, or Gas 4 for 25 minutes, until well risen and golden on top and firm to touch.
To make the icing, grate the lemon rind into a bowl, add the other other ingredients and mix until smooth.
So then I started having ideas... now what can you do with toffee???
While I was thinking I came across the toffee biscuits recipe - they weren't called toffee biscuits, but basically you make toffee as a base to add in the other ingredients, so they got nick-named toffee biscuits and got an impressive 10/10 from all the family.
I then tried my own idea and came up with the toffee power bars, packed with seeds and goodies. Son 2 is usually very reserved in his praise of anything I concoct, but again they got a resounding 10/10. See what you think and see if you can improve on them! Get creative!
Try just making toffee first: Mix about equal amounts of honey and butter in a pan, bring to boil and keep stirring. The longer it boils, the hotter the mixture becomes and if you have a cooking thermometer you can take it to the desired stage, soft ball, soft crack/hard crack. I have got one, but hadn't used it on this occasion and it probably boiled for the best part of 5 minutes and it was hard crack. I poured it onto a metal plate to cool and had a slab of the most wonderful toffee!
If you only let it boil for a minute then you can have a lovely caramel sauce to pour over ice-cream or just with sour cream to pep up a desert for a special occasion.
Adapted from 'The Unrefined Kitchen' recipe for No-bake cookies:
Place 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 1/4 cup homey in a pan. Bring to a boil and boil for exactly 1 minute. Take off the heat and add in 2 cups of desiccated coconut. Once cool they should harden if left in a cool place and can be stored in an airtight container.
Toffee power bars
This is a recipe for you to play with. You can add in whatever you fancy - as long as it's GAPS legal if you are on GAPS, if not, keep it natural.
1/3 cup butter (3 oz)
1/3 cup honey
Put into a saucepan and cook on moderate heat until the butter has melted and it starts to bubble. Keep it bubbling and keep stirring for 2 minutes. You can go longer if you want a really crisp toffee experience, but this is nicely chewy.
Then mix in your add-ins. I used
1 small packet of mixed seeds (about 200g) I soaked mine first and dehydrated them in the oven but it won't change the outcome if you don't soak them.
1-2 tbls cocoa powder, raw or normal
1 tbls cocoa nibs
About 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
Spread the mixture into a tin. Use the size tin you have. Obviously the larger it is the thinner the biscuit (but you can always cut them wider!!). Once they are cold put them in the fridge to set.
Then put them in a box and keep them in the fridge.
We've just discovered raw cacao nibs. I bought these to liven up Son 2's birthday cake in place of chocolate chips - they certainly worked, adding a nutty chocolatey sensation.
They are rather bitter being totally unprocessed, but you won't notice that when mixed in to these bars. You can use them with granola too (Mmm, now what about guilt free chocolate chips for breakfast? Sounds wonderful. Son 1 will approve I know!)
Are they good for you? Well among other benefits, they deliver a whacking portion of your daily needs for magnesium and potassium. So yes, eat on!
Chocolate chip cake bar
From the name alone, chocolate bark doesn’t sound particularly appetizing. Chocolate bark is actually a sheet of chocolate that is usually covered with nuts, dried fruits, candies or even additional pieces of chocolate.
So I was just simply delighted when first I found coconut butter and discovered coconut butter bread
( http://www.lovingourguts.com/coconut-butter-sandwich-bread/ ), and then discovered that instead of using expensive coconut butter, or making my own which is rather time-consuming...Oh wonders of wonders, I could go to the Co-op or Sainsburies (UK) and buy creamed coconut (BlueDragon https://bluedragon.co.uk/products - nonorganic but 100% pure coconut) or the health food shop has the 'Biona' organic creamed coconut (http://www.biona.co.uk/product-272-4.html) .
With a little research, I find that these two products are interchangeable, if not the same thing. See these links for proof. It seems the only difference is the price. yesterday I found a small jar of coconut butter in the health food shop for £4.99, while in the same shop a packet of Biona creamed coconut was only £1.79.
One of the biggest problems I have is interpreting American ingredients into English equivalents. But it works as I've tried making my own coconut butter and using creamed coconut to make coconut butter bread and the result was the same.
I then discovered coconut bark. Now to us English folk, that sounds really strange, but I found this definition of bark:
So I was thrilled when I found a recipe in my new GAPS cookbook called Coconut Bark. (The heal your Gut Cookbook by H. Boynton and M. Brackett).
Putting together the two ideas I came up with:
1/2 cup creamed coconut
3/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (raw cacao is best)
A little honey - until sweet enough to mask the bitter chocolate
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl over simmering water until melted. Stir well to combine.
Pour into a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Leave to cool then place in freezer to harden.
Break/cut into small pieces and store in freezer.
Take out and enjoy!
Ok it is rather coconutty in flavour but it also has a slight caramel flavour. I reckon you could add raisins and nuts if you liked.
The Family love it - so they have a ration of a small piece after lunch on Sunday! Just like the old days - but much healthier of course! Of course, I like it too!
So what else can you do with creamed coconut?
Well, basically, use it as a milk substitute, but it is best strained, otherwise it has a rather grainy texture.
So I have made proper custard with egg yolks, honey and vanilla, or cheese sauce with just the eggs and salt and mustard and cheese. So we almost had lasagne without the pasta for tea one day.
I'm looking forward to finding more uses for it as we progress through the diet!
Full GAPS Diet
GAPS Intro Diet
GAPS Intro Stage 3
GAPS Intro Stage 4
GAPS Intro Stage 5
GAPS Intro Stage 6
GAPS Intro Stages 1 And 2
Preparing For The GAPs Intro Diet
Snacks And Treats