GAPS Party Menu
Son 2 had a birthday last week, and for the first time since starting the GAPs diet, we had twelve people to entertain. Not many, ok, and all family members, but lots of worries like how would they cope with our food? Would they wish we had all the sugary things we are famous for? Would there be enough to go round?
Thankfully the answer to all of these questions was YES! Like so many other folk have reported, there were many appreciative comments (genuine I think) about how satisfying the meal was and how simply delicious the spread was. Even the non-GAPS youngsters went back for seconds and thirds.
So having spent so long worrying what to serve, this is what I came up with. It was very simple fare, as I was also entertaining Grandparents for the weekend too and didn't have much time for elaborate preparation beforehand. It was all bite sized finger food.
Salad - see photo above:
A bowl of lettuce of varying kinds
I could have provided a salad dressing but didn't think many would take it, so didn't.
cheese cubes (lots needed as very popular)
mini pizzas - enough for one each (made from intro diet almond bread muffins, topped with tomato puree and cheese)
Cubes of meat loaf which I called 'sausage meat'. I made this the week before and froze it until the party.
Boiled eggs cut in half (I did 6, a half slice each and that seemed enough)
A Roast chicken cooled and sliced.
A quiche with and almond crust. My dear Mother made this for me which helped a lot.
'crackers' made from butter and ground almonds as per the GAPS diet handbook.
Strawberries and cream (standard for non-GAPS guests) with honey if needed
CHOCOLATE BIRTHDAY CAKE from Megan's Grain free and loving it book.
Chocolate bites (see here)
I have another one in three months time - time to go and think up some more ideas!
I have written these with the GAPS diet in mind but if you are not doing the GAPS diet, then you can easily add in potatoes and other non-legal GAPs foods.
Before we started the GAPS diet I regularly made salmon bake, placing salmon at the bottom of a casserole dish and spreading thinly cut, partly boiled potatoes on top spread liberally with cheese.
Obviously the potatoes had to go, and for a while, the cheese. But now cheese is back in this is so simple and enjoyed by all. Use fresh or frozen salmon as you like.
Wild Salmon, enough for the number you are cooking for
Carrots - enough for the people you are baking for.
Cheese - the more the better if you can tolerate it.
1 cup (8 fl oz) Milk Kefir or one 13.5 oz tin of coconut milk- optional
Salt and pepper
1. Place the salmon in the oven - follow the directions on the packet if using frozen salmon.
2. While this is cooking (usually about half an hour) prepare and boil the carrots.
3. When the carrots are done, remove the fish from the oven. Place it in the bottom of an oven proof casserole dish. If you want to use milk kefir, the pour some over the fish now. Then layer the carrots on top and spread with cheese. Place back in the oven until brown and bubbling and the salmon is flaky. (Use potatoes if non-GAPS)
4. Serve with plentiful vegetables of your choosing. You could roast some squash and onions at the same time. (Just peel the onions and place them in the dish whole, they cook very quickly)
You could pour some cream over the fish before placing the carrots on top if you are non-GAPS.
You can cook the fish in a cheesy sauce made out of milk kefir (other milk substitute), cooked squash/pumpkin to aid as a thickener, with cheese to taste and seasoning. Layer tomatoes on top instead of carrots. I tried this the other night and Sons still don't know what was in the cheese sauce, but they licked the plates clean. See photo above.
Another nice easy dish with little washing up! (Always a winner with me!)
Ingredients: serves 4 adults
2 oz saturated fat
1 large onion
mushrooms (any quantity)
1 stick of celery
3 chicken breasts cut into small pieces or left over cold, cooked chicken
Salt, pepper, herbs
1. In a large iron skillet, or conventional frying pan melt the fat and gently brown the chicken to seal it.
2. Then add the onion and mushrooms and any other ingredients (like frozen peas, celery etc...)
3. Once they are soft, add in a jar of organic tomato Passat.
4. Add seasoning.
5. Stir it all together and cook for further 15 mins, or until the chicken is cooked through. (I often take one of the larger pieces out and cut it in half to check there is no pink showing.)
6. Serve with plentiful vegetables. I always include either squash, carrots or swede for extra carbohydrates.
2 cups chicken stock instead of tomato, with 1 tbsp. tahini and 1 tbsp. heaped peanut butter. Bring stock to the boil with the chicken and add the nut butters and mix into a smooth paste.
20z lard or other fat
1 large onion
mushrooms - any quantity
1 lb beef mince/lamb mince or cold, cooked beef/lamb/chicken (cold meats won't need browning
1 jar organic tomato Passat (at least 500g)
cheese - quite a lot, but again no set quantity, you can you use more or less as you like.
salt, pepper, other herbs as you like., e.g. basil, oregano
1. In a saucepan, melt 2oz of fat (lard, tallow, ghee etc...), then add onion and mushrooms until soft and tender.
2. Remove into a baking dish. Add the mince and brown it.
3. Add one jar of organic tomato Passat, 1 tsp salt, a sprinkle of basil and bring to the boil.
4. Add the mushrooms and onions back into the meat sauce. Season with salt/pepper and herbs.
Taste it as you season until it tastes right.
5. Put a layer of sauce on the bottom of the dish and sprinkle liberally with cheese. repeat this until the meat has all been used and end with a thick layer of cheese.
6. Bake in the oven Gas 5, 190 deg/ fan 170 deg for 35 mins.
7. Serve with plentiful carrots/mashed squash/greens/peas etc.... and sauerkraut/sour cream
Variation: you can add other vegetables to the mince - carrots, peas, celery..
I have since heard by word of mouth that you can use flattened leeks as sheets of 'lasagne'.
Also you can make cheese sauce with milk kefir instead of milk mixed with mashed (cooked) squash/pumpkin with grated cheese added and salt and pepper to season. I'm going to try this tonight!
Liver and bacon
Organ meats are wonderful sources of vitamins and minerals and one of the best sources of iron. Dr. NCM suggest GAPS patients eat lots of them. This is an easy recipe loved by my family even before we started the GAPS diet.
Ingredients: Serves 4 adults
4oz lard or other saturated fat
1 large onion
300g liver (we use lambs liver) cut into small pieces
3 lambs kidneys, cut up (the butcher will do it if you ask)
1 jar organic tomato Passat (at least 500g)
salt/pepper/herbs e.g .basil/oregano
Prosciutto - at least 4 slices, more if you like more. (non-GAPS people can use bacon rolled up)
1. Melt 2oz fat and soften the onions.
2. Place them in a casserole dish and set aside.
3. Melt the remaining fat and brown the liver and kidneys.
4. Add the tomato Passat and bring to the boil.
5. Season (taste to see if it's right)
6. Pour the meat and sauce over the onions and mix well.
7. Place pieces of prosciutto over the top of the sauce.
8. Put in the oven and cook for 35 mins GAS 5, 190 deg/fan 170deg
9.Serve with other vegetables as desired
Our new patch - weeds covered with a thick layer of manure, then covered to kill off weeds ready for next season. One strip prepared for sowing this year - using the 'no-dig' method.
We have done this for a year now, and it seems to be working. Last years crop was excellent. It has also been lovely this year to take off our covers to find the soil ready to plant without the labour intensive deep digging that we have done in previous years. Weed growth did seem to be less too last season, an added bonus of only minimally disturbing the soils eco-system. Learning to use a hoe was the best thing we did last year. It made weeding so easy and even pleasurable!
We do try to rotate our crops from year to year too and I keep a diary of what was planted where each year to facilitate planning.
What will you grow? No space, then do what you can. Herbs grow well on windowsills and we are finding we are using far more fresh herbs than ever to flavour our food on the GAPS diet. Tomatoes will grow well on balconies or decking as long as they have plenty of sun. Blueberries will grow happily in containers, as will strawberries. Allotments are great if you can afford one and it is near enough to travel to frequently during the growing season. We seem to be very fortunate to live in an area where the allotments are very cheap (£28 for the year - or £14 for a half plot).
If you are just starting out then grow reliable crops. Onions have always done well for us, as have beetroots and runner beans, without much overseeing, although beans need a lot of watering. Brassicas (the cabbage family) tend to need more care and protection from caterpillars and can just be that bit trickier to succeed with. Grow the things you will eat lots of. Squash, leeks and spring onions are new to us so a bit of an experiment.
We have tried peas, but you need a lot of plants to produce a meals worth! Raspberries, strawberries and rhubarb will just come up every year and just appreciate a bit of manure each season, and clearing/pruning at the end. Of course fruit trees are easy as long as you don't let them get too big and unmanageable.
If you haven't started planting, then don't panic.. there is still time. Choose carefully. It is generally cheaper to grow your own from seed, although if you only want a few plants of each sort, then it may be better to go to a garden centre and buy them ready started as small plants.
Our original patch with some onions already growing well. Three weeks ago this ground was too wet to dig and plant, being heavy clay. Now it is very dry and hard to dig! But clay is good as it retains its nutrients.
We have just returned from our annual vacation, a week in a self-catering cottage in Wales. Amazingly, we didn't compromise at all on our diet. We made most of our own food, except for the very kind hospitality of a couple of good friends. We had bone/meat broth twice a day, with fermented cream and milk and water kefir daily, and sauerkraut too.
I thought some might be interested to know what equipment we took, and our menu plan for the week. The aim was to stick to the diet, while trying to make preparation easy. We did treat ourselves to more fruit than usual. We go to the same cottage each year, so we had an advantage in that we new what equipment is in the kitchen and it is a well stocked kitchen with baking trays and casserole dishes and several different size saucepans. We made use of all of these.
Before we went, we planned our menu. We also researched local butchers and farm shops where we could get supplies. I then ordered a grocery drop from a supermarket for some basics, like cheese, butter, loo rolls and things we would need for the first weekend. We did compromise on the quality of some products, but we felt it was a small price to pay for a holiday, keeping to the allowed foods.
It wasn't easy walking past our favourite fish and chip shop, or all the ice-cream parlours, but we managed. It wasn't that we were hungry, just the old associations of what accompanies a holiday. On the whole we were well fed and full.
The equipment I found helpful (obviously for four (adult) people).
A small 3.5 litre slow cooker. This was essential for making our broth every day. It went on each evening and was ready for breakfast the next morning as broth and I made the rest up into soup, put it in a flask and took it out with us for lunch.
A hand blender
Four flasks - I had 2 one litre flasks and two 500 ml flasks. One of the larger ones was full of cream souring every day, the other large one contained soup. The smaller ones came in useful for extras, like transporting milk kefir that was soured.
At least 6 jam jars for the milk kefir - I have two on the go at once, two in the fridge waiting to be drunk and two spare jars for the next 'swap'.
Three 1 litre clip top jars, for storing cream/soup etc...
Quite a number of medium size plastic boxes. I had intended to use them as packed lunch boxes, but they got used for storage instead and I should have taken picnic plates as well.
This did require careful packing, but was manageable in a family size car.
Food I took with me from home included:
organic tomato Passat (could have got organic tinned tomatoes from the supermarket)
dates (in case I couldn't find any, but found a date block in a supermarket.)
2 batches of milk kefir souring,
2 batches of water kefir in process
1litre jar of sauerkraut
2 jars of organic tomato passata
I discovered that the supermarket sold packets of frozen butternut squash, so we availed ourselves of a couple of packets to make life easier. Plus we discovered Nakd bars some of which only have allowed ingredients, so although expensive, they made a convenient journey snack. Do check the ingredients though as not all Nakd bars are GAPS legal.
I made 'Lara bars' into little 'nut balls' and took them for the journey, along with nuts and raisins (not hydrated as I don't have a dehydrator) and a batch of banana cookies. Then I made more as time allowed to keep us sustained during the week.
The slow cooker was on over night each day, ready for broth with breakfast and to quickly make a batch of soup to put in a flask for our picnic.
Most days, this was the same, eggs and salad with a mug of bone/meat broth/soup. Son 1 discovered pork belly slices and so he had those a couple of times for variation as he decided to go off squash pancakes and eggs! We followed this with a bowl of milk kefir and fruit (e.g banana slices, blueberries)
Lunch and Tea:
Lunch (on journey): Boiled eggs, salad, soup from a flask prepared that morning before travelling.
Tea: Fish pieces (cod for us) with roasted butternut squash and peas and broccoli
Stewed apple and sour cream
Lunch Roast chicken, roast squash with broccoli and mange tout.
Warm fruit salad, with dates, orange, banana, kiwi and apple (or other tolerated fruits) with
Tea Soup, with boiled eggs and cheese and salad
Sour cream with fruit
(A kind friend invited us for lunch and tea, so I didn't actually make these, but I think they would make an easy Sunday meal if I had to prepare it myself.)
Lunch Pork belly slices from the local farm shop with salad and tomato and mushroom soup
Tea Beefburgers (home-made) and carrots, broccoli and cauliflower served with plenty of butter
or other tolerated fat
Stewed apple and sour cream with 'toffee bars' (kindly made by our friend!)
Lunch Roast chicken slices (I roasted a couple of large chicken breasts), almond bread, salad and
Tea Salmon topped with cheese with cheese crisps, (mounds of cheddar on a baking tray in
oven until they turn crispy, allow to cool until hard).
Chocolate avocado pudding
Lunch Quiche and salad with pea soup (I had found some bacon ribs to make stock with in the local
Fruit and cream
Tea Lasagne - mince in tomato sauce with layers of cheese between, served with carrots and
green veg. as preferred.
Stewed apple and cream
Lunch Beef slices from the butchers, home-made with no additives other than salt with salad and
Leek and onion soup
Tea 1 lb Pork mince mixed with onion and sage, pressed into a dish and baked for 35 mins 170
(fan oven) served with sauerkraut and veg including either carrot or butternut squash or
Frozen raspberries (from supermarket) defrosted, with honey and sour cream
Lunch Turkey slices from the butchers with no additives other than salt, with salad and sauerkraut
Pea and squash soup
Tea Chicken legs roasted with carrots and broccoli and peas and prosciutto
Raspberries and sour cream
Saturday: (travelling home)
Lunch More beef slices - we liked them so got more for easy meal on journey home), with salad
and boiled eggs
snacks Nakd bar and coconut cookies, nuts and raisins
Tea (at home) Salmon and roast squash (had a packets of both in freezer) with frozen peas
strawberries and sour cream (bought a packet on way home, but could just have had
any fruit or frozen fruit stocked up before we left.)
Final word of advice
Holidays involve changes of routine and possible digestion of non-allowed foods from eating out etc...
I would advise against eating any new foods in the week prior to your departure, so that you are not dealing with reactions just as you start off.
Then expect to be de-railed! Don't be alarmed with an increase of bathroom trips, return of symptoms, etc... just keep watching what you eat and try and stay within allowed foods. If you get tummy bug, you will have to try and go back to plain intro foods for a few days until it settles, but otherwise hang on in there until you get home. You may then still have to go back to the intro for a few days to get back in gear, but in our experience, things settled again once we were at home. A GAPS holiday is not easy!