Category Archives: Whole30

Hobos

The Favorite HoboHey there!  How are ya’?  Good to have you drop by!  Do you make these?  Hobos.  Probably my kids’ favorite summer meal.  Super easy and leaves the kitchen pretty darn spotless.  Not to mention a great way to work through the ground beef you have boatloads of when you buy beef in bulk!  It is also a GREAT recipe to let the kids help with, layering on vegetables, sprinkling on spices, tearing off aluminum foil, and folding up the foil.

We use onions, potatoes, carrots, and ground beef.  But you can use sweet potatoes, green beans, chicken, pork, or mix and match!  We do these on the grill for great flavor and low mess, but you could also do them in an oven, too!  My kids don’t eat sweet potatoes all that well, so I usually opt for potatoes.  I peel them, which deprives them of some of the mineral nutrients, but right underneath the peel are “lectins.”  Lectins can lead to increased intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”) and some people have sensitivity reactions to lectins.  Since I’m working hard to reverse some of these issues (with finally some fair success, I think), I choose to peel them if I eat potatoes.  Also, for a make-ahead meal, these could be prepped ahead of time and stored in the fridge until ready to cook.  Or cooked ahead of time and reheated in the oven.

Here is how we make our hobos or “hot pockets.”

Hobos

This makes five packets for me, but it could EASILY make more!  I just get lazy.

2 pounds ground beef (grass fed beef imparts some extra health benefits)
1 and 1/2 onions, sliced into circles or as desired
1/2-1 potato or sweet potato per person, sliced
1 carrot per person, peeled and cut into coins, not painfully thin, but not so thick it takes them forever to cook
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder, optional
Onion powder, optional
Olive oil, just enough to lightly coat the vegetables
Aluminum foil
Parchment paper, optional (I recently learned to use it to minimize aluminum transfer to foods cooked in foil.  Compliments of salixisme.wordpress.com)

1.  Mix all of your vegetables together in a large bowl.  Toss with just a little olive oil to coat, and sprinkle if desired with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders.  I found if I don’t use a tad of oil, the vegetables want to stick to the foil or parchment.

2.  In a medium-sized bowl, place your ground beef.  Season it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste.  I probably use a teaspoonful of salt, 3-4 shakes of ground pepper, and a couple shakes each of garlic and onion powder.

3.  Lay out large rectangles of aluminum foil and line with parchment paper if desired!

4.  Place a pat of ground beef (remember this makes 5 pats for us, but it can easily be divided into more) on each rectangle of aluminum foil.  I push the pats down into irregularly shaped patties.  Top with the mixed vegetables.

5.  Fold the packets such that all the contents will stay enclosed, or draw up all the sides like a “hobo” bag.

6.  Place on hot grill for about 20-30 minutes.  (Sometimes I cheat and open one up, checking to make sure the beef is done as I like it.)  If you make them in the oven, it takes about twice as long.  You just want to make sure your carrots and potatoes are tender and the beef is done.  Steam escapes when you open so be very careful!

7.   Remove from heat, and serve in packet or transfer onto a plate.  I usually divide one in half for each of my kids.

8.  My kids like to top with mustard and ketchup.

Family “gustar” report:  100% success (5/5 of us)!  When a friend asked about what in the world to do with all of her ground beef, I suggested these.  Her family of six loved them, too!

Certainly hope you’re having a great week!

photo (7) Hobos

~~Terri

How Do You Eat That Vegetable? Kohlrabi.

 

Kohlrabi Collage

Vegetable Series: When we changed our eating two years ago, I resolved to be afraid of no vegetable. Not knowing how to cut it or cook it was NOT going to keep it out of my cart. For a long time I’ve wanted to do a series of posts on all the different vegetables we have tried and what we do to the poor things. May you, too, vow to try any and all vegetables in your supermarket! Go get ’em, tiger.

So far we’ve hit artichokes, rutabagas, and jicama in “The Vegetable Series,” all vegetables I only learned to make AFTER our family’s big eating change.  Today we’re going to add kohlrabi to the pot.  Kohlrabi takes me back to my high school, big-hair days.  I first (only) ate it at the house of one of my best friends, fresh garden-picked kohlrabi, sliced and eaten raw with a sprinkling of salt, with all her family gathered around the table.  Fun times.  Her mom was a cardiac nurse.  No wonder they ate kohlrabi.  But YOU don’t have to be a cardiac nurse or doctor to know the advantages of kohlrabi!  Uh, uh.

Terry Wahls’, MD reversed her debilitating multiple sclerosis using a vegetable dense (also meats, fruits, and other food components) diet.  One of her “rules” is that sulfur-rich vegetables must be eaten every day, about 3 cups worth.  Kohlrabi counts as a sulfur-rich vegetable, which helps regenerate a necessary pathway for dealing with “toxins”, called the glutathione pathway.  Sulfur-rich vegetables are also important for mitochondrial function, enzyme structure and function, and dealing with heavy metals.

Coal + Rob + Bee = Kohlrabi

Geesh.  Learning to pronounce the names of some of these vegetables requires more effort than learning to eat them.  So to start off, the vegetable called “kohlrabi” is pronounced to my ear like these three words combined:  coal + rob + bee.  Which is different from how I was pronouncing it before this post, a cross between what you get for Christmas if you’re naughty and a Jewish teacher of the Torah:  coal + rabbi.

A wee kohlrabi plant in our garden.  You can just see the bulb forming.  Darn rabbits about ate all the leaves until we sprayed them with red pepper mixed in water and put out cute little flower wind-catchers.

A wee kohlrabi plant in our garden. You can just see the bulb forming. Darn rabbits about ate all the leaves until we sprayed them with red pepper mixed in water and put out cute little flower wind-catchers.

Kohlrabi is a member of the same family as cabbage, Brussels, and cauliflower, the brassica (or cruciferous) family.  In fact, its name is German for cabbage (kohl) and turnip (rabi). (1)  (If you like languages, then think about “cole slaw.”)  Although it looks like a root vegetable (such as beets or carrots), it grows as a bulb above the ground.  I want to point out that cruciferous vegetables may interfere with thyroid hormone and iodine utility, however, some of my reading suggests that if you have enough co-nutrients, like selenium, this may not be a problem.  So hopefully I’ll get a post out about this as I work through the iodine posts.

Good.  Good.  How do you eat them?

Without a doubt, my favorite way to eat kohlrabi is raw.  It tastes like a radish without the spiciness and is every bit as crunchy.  However, like many, many vegetables, you can steam it, roast it, grate it for a slaw, stir-fry it, or throw it in a soup.  Fear should cause no restraint here.

How do you prepare them?

Chop off the greens.  If the greens are still fresh looking, you can sauté or steam them as you would spinach or any other green you like.  (If you’re not sure how to make greens, leave a question in the comments, and I can throw out some ideas.)  If they are not fresh looking, and you want to use them anyhow, then wash them up and toss them in some broth you may be making.  If you want, discard them.  I’ve started composting this year, so my wilted greens go here.  (I even Googled chemtrails a week or two ago.  I am so lost.  No going back now.  Please can I have my aluminum deodorant back yet?  🙂 )

Deeply peel the bulb.  Wash kohlrabi, and then start peeling.  There is a fibrous outer layer that you want to completely remove.  You can see the fibers running along the bulb, so it’s pretty apparent how deep to cut.  I use a paring knife to peel them, rather than a potato peeler, and I hack off the ends because they’re hard to peel.  Once it’s all peeled, slice it up and eat it with some salt.  Or cook it up however you choose.

Kohlrabi keeps well unpeeled in the fridge, although the leaves do not.  I’ve had mine in there before for a week or more (admittedly really a lot more).  The leaves only last a couple of days or so.

Do your kids like it?

Yes.  All three kids (girls aged 10, 8, and 5) liked kohlrabi raw.  My husband, one daughter, and I all liked the kohlrabi roasted.

Recipes ideas and recipes from other sites:

Roasted kohlrabi:  I have made roasted kohlrabi where I chopped the kohlrabi into small cubes, Cut kohlrabi for roastingadded chopped onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and olive oil to moisten, spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and roasted at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius) until golden brown.  It looked like roasted potatoes, but they were not a bit starchy and had a bit of the cabbage family bite.  Three of us liked it (out of 5), but next time I would mix it with a starchier vegetable like sweet potato or butternut squash for depth of flavor and texture.

Mashed kohlrabi:  Instead of mashing cauliflower or rutabaga, try mashed kohlrabi.  Steam the kohlrabi until fork tender (boiling it may make the mash more soupy).  Place in a small food processor or blender or mash by hand with oil of choice (bacon drippings, butter, or olive oil would be good choices depending on your preferences and tolerances), just a bit of oil at a time until you get the consistency you want.  Add salt and pepper to flavor.  If you’re fancy, add some roasted garlic.  (I am not fancy, but I almost always make the effort to throw some garlic cloves tossed in olive oil to roast in the oven while I’m preparing a mash.  I think the roasted garlic makes “mashes” of any kind taste that much better, especially if you don’t/cant’ use butter and milk.)

Kohlrabi soup:  This uses dairy and flour, but these pesky ingredients can be easily substituted with coconut or almond milk and arrowroot powder for those with intolerances.

Asian Kohlrabi slaw:  Sesame oil and rice wine vinegar are the only flags I see for some folks with intolerances here.  If you tolerate those, this slaw looks perfect!

Kohlrabi curry:  We make curry like this a lot, but I’ve never used kohlrabi.  Next time I have some sitting around, I’ll not hesitate to throw it in the skillet.

Closing

If you’re proud that you or your family has tried a new vegetable, even if it’s not “exotic” or “out there,” leave a comment.  I’d LOVE to hear about it!  Broadening the taste buds certainly seems to help when it comes to “healthy eating.”  And look around you.  Listen to those around you.  Perhaps even look at yourself.  Humanity and society cannot afford to continue down the horrific nutritional path that is now common practice.  Processed foods HAVE to go.  Work on it.  If you don’t try, it will NEVER happen.  And trying isn’t just serving it once, and saying, “They didn’t like it.  They won’t eat it.”  That is NOT how you learned to ride a bike.

~Terri

Source:
1. (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/09/discovering-kohlrabi-its-a-vegetable/)

Related Posts:

Jicama

Artichokes

Rutabagas

How Do You Eat That Vegetable? Jicama.

Vegetable Series:  When we changed our eating two years ago, I resolved to be afraid of no vegetable.  Not knowing how to cut it or cook it was NOT going to keep it out of my cart.  For a long time I’ve wanted to do a series of posts on all the different vegetables we have tried and what we do to the poor things.  May you, too, vow to try any and all vegetables in your supermarket!  Go get ’em, tiger.

JicamaJicama root Edited

If you’ve had Spanish, remember the letter “i” is always pronounced like an English long “e.”  So ideally, it’s pronounced “HEEK-ah-mah,” but annihilating language, like vegetables, is always fun and “HICK-ah-mah” will work too!  Honestly, you don’t have to know how to say it (or even cook it) to eat this crunchy root vegetable.

Texture:  It’s a very crunchy vegetable that reminds me of the crispness of a water chestnut.  Or maybe a crisper and juicier potato, as it is actually very moist.
Flavor:  Slightly (and only very slightly) sweet and a bit nutty.  Its flavor is not very pronounced at all so it lends itself well to being a filler in stir-fries, salads, and salsas.
Preparation:  There is nothing to it.  Wash the skin under warm water.  Peel the brown skin off like you would a potato.  Then, depending on what you’re going to use it for,  slice it into long slices like carrots, small cubes like you would for potato salad, or grate it as for cole slaw.
Uses:  My kids prefer it sliced and raw, cut like carrots, and I have to admit, its crunchiness is delectably lovely.  But you can also toss it into a stir-fry like you would water chestnuts, roast it with onions and garlic for an hour in the oven, or my absolute favorite, mix it with fruit and lime juice and make a unique fruit salad.

Jicama and fruitWhat do I usually do with it?  I make a lime juice based jicama fruit salad or salsa that I think is very refreshing on a hot, summer day served as a side at any summer picnic or barbecue.  I think the key is lime juice and any good sweet fruit, such as mango, strawberries, or pineapple.  Sometimes, depending on the fruit used, you may need a little sweetener of your choice.  Be fancy if you want and add in onion, cilantro, or mint to give it the flair!  (Please note:  If you are following a special diet, please see my notes at the end of the post.)

 

Jicama Pineapple Mint Salad

  • 2 jicama roots, cut into 1/4 inch sized cubes (or smaller if you would like)
  • 1/2 pineapple, cut into pieces as small as or smaller than the jicama (I used the store’s pre-cored pineapple with juice in bottom of container and added the juice for sweetness)
  • 4 tablespoons of lime juice
  • Blueberries, about 1 cup
  • Mint, about 6 small sprigs, chopped finely
  • A touch of sweetener to taste if needed. I used a little orange juice but maple syrup, honey, or Stevia would work. (And I think there is no shame in adding just enough to sweeten it to your liking.  No shame.)

Mix all ingredients together and allow to chill, letting the flavors meld together.  And remember, this would be great with ripe, sweet mango instead of pineapple or as is with some ripe, sweet, in-season strawberries tossed in.  Some people like to dash in chili powder or red pepper.  I like that, too.  But no matter.  Go on.  Try jicama.  Live a little.

 

Family “gustar” report:  3/5 of us gobbled up this jicama salad, two adults and one adventurous child.  Of the two culinary-cautious children, one will eat plain jicama slices and the other spits jicama in the trash.  So there you go!

While the Experts Quibble, Eat Whole Foods

We here in the States are heading into a much-needed summer.  Summer is a great time to commit to a whole foods diet!  The produce is abundant and flavorful!  Barbecue grills lend themselves wonderfully to easy, flavorful meals.  The weather brings about desire for fresh, simple foods rather than the heavy, rich comfort foods of winter.  If I could implore you once again to look at the items you place in your cart at the supermarket–are the items as simple as they can get?  Are most of them label-free?  The experts will argue about the best diet for the human body.  You let them.  Until they figure it out (which will be never), know that the BEST diet is based on simple, whole, real foods that YOU mix, match, and create masterpieces from and which allows you to feel your best.

~~Terri

Vegetable Series:

Rutabagas
Artichokes

 

Note:  Jicama is not suitable for the GAPS and SCD diets.  People with FODMAPS and SIBO should take caution, too.  But each person’s GI tract is different!  Although I have to lay low (even “no”) on cauliflower and asparagus because of FODMAPS, jicama and I get along okay!  Jicama’s sweetness comes from inulin, an FOS–and FOS can be problematic to GAPS/SCD/FODMAPS/SIBO patients.  However, I think that jicama’s inulin can be a great addition to GI health once symptoms are improving and foods are being reintroduced!  But no matter, be patient, patient, patient, and eventually things slowly do improve!  Although, I adhered to GAPS for 18 months, I have transitioned into allowing more foods (while keeping all the other premises) and paying close attention to any symptoms.  I am much happier with the diversity.  But it took a couple of years, and I’m still working on it!

 

Iodine, Post 1

Iodine All Boxed Up

As far as most of the medical community is concerned, iodine has been boxed up in its cylindrical Morton’s salt-box (with that cute umbrella girl on it) and shelved–as if there is nothing further to know or learn about it.  Not so.

SaltFor iodine, I want you to be aware of three ideas:

1.  Iodine deficiency is insidiously on the rise in developed countries and putting people, particularly women and children at HUGE risk.  (Pregnant or pregnancy-eligible women need to take note.)  Many US doctors are not aware yet of this re-emerging problem.  We took care of “severe” iodine deficiency, and now years later, mild iodine deficiency is invisibly in our midst, wreaking its damage without our awareness.

2.  It’s not just the thyroid that needs iodine, but brains, immune systems, prostates, and breasts, too.  (Ahem, you got some of those, don’t you?)  I know my knowledge-base had a huge gap here regarding iodine, and therefore, I assume other medical doctors (I’ve asked a few too) and people in general may be lacking information in this area as well.

3.  There is a fear of iodine supplementation and excessive iodine intake because of the risk of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.  There are different camps of thought.  Who is right?  Who does know yet?  Debatable.  Regardless, many people aren’t even getting the bare minimum amount.

Could I be iodine deficient?

A resounding, “Yes.”  Iodine deficiency was believed to be a resolved health issue in the US, but as I research, I see an insidious re-emergence of iodine deficiency in places such as the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.  And I also see a lack of knowledge in standard health-care providers about the re-emerging deficiency.  In pharmacy school and medical school we were taught that iodine deficiency was remedied in the United States by the implementation of iodizing salt back in the 1920s.  Job accomplished!  No more goiters!  No more cretins (infants who are severely affected by iodine deficiency)!  Celebrate and no more worries, right?  Not so fast…

Apparently, somewhere in the realm of 38% of the world’s population is still deficient in iodine.  Thirty-eight percent seems awful high to me, especially considering the nefarious effects on unborn fetuses.  Looking at a few developed countries, the United States, Australia (New Zealand included in one of the citations), and the United Kingdom, each has pockets of iodine deficient populations (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).  Increasingly, studies are showing iodine deficiency in modernized countries where iodine deficiency was presumed to be eradicated, yet I hear little hubbub about it, despite the potential gravity of the consequences!  This bothers me.  Apparently and quite sadly, iodine deficiency hasn’t yet made the consciousness of mainstream practicing medical doctors, like deficiencies of vitamin D and folate have.  Why?  I think because we rested on the laurels of “curing” severe iodine deficiency maladies.  But laurels shrivel and decay, and the world changes and moves on.  Changes in our food sources and practices greatly affect our iodine levels.

Why would a problem that we had “taken care of” Iodinebe re-emerging?

Why is iodine deficiency re-emerging?  As with almost all things, it’s due to multiple hits in our iodine intake.  Take a look!  Do any apply to you and your family?

1.  Cutting down on salt use for health and also cutting down on other iodine-rich foods.  People are following medical advice to cut down on salt, and therefore using less iodized salt.  Also, egg yolks contain some iodine, but people have been told to cut down on those, too, due to cholesterol concerns.  Seafood contains iodine, but we’re told to limit seafood due to mercury concerns.

2.  We eat out lots more and we eat more processed foods–and iodized salt is not used in these foods.  The commercial-grade salt used in processed foods and in restaurants is usually not iodized.  I repeat:  the salty foods you eat from a box or at a restaurant are (most likely) not iodized.  So none of the salt in Ruffles potato chips or from McDonald’s French fries counts toward your necessary iodine intake.

3.  Switching to sea salt and shunning iodized salt.  Sea salt does not contain enough natural iodine to prevent iodine deficiency.  It may have traces of iodine, but not nearly enough!  Sea salt, unless specifically stated to be enhanced with iodine or seaweed, does not provide you with enough iodine.  It is not a good source of iodine.

4.  Iodine deprived soils.  Some soils have always been low in iodine content (plants don’t need iodine to survive but they take it up if it’s in the soil), especially in areas away from the sea or under cover of mountain ranges.  Some soils have become depleted of iodine with use and lack of iodine restoration.  Plants grown in coastal areas should theoretically have more iodine in them, but lately there is a huge emphasis on eating locally so this could contribute to iodine deficiency, as well.

5.  Changing from iodine based dough conditioners to bromine based dough conditioners.  Iodine used to be used (specifically iodate) when making bread products.  Now a form of bromine, bromate, is used, although its use is being discouraged. (6) Not only does this provide LESS iodine, but if you look at your periodic table, you’ll see that iodine and bromine are in the same group of the periodic table (halides).  So bromine will actually compete with iodine in the body and “displace” iodine from necessary body reactions.  I will try to explain this concept in more depth later because it is so intriguing.  The same holds true for fluorine and iodine competition. (7)

6.  The iodine amount in iodized salt is not uniform.  The amount of iodine in a carton of iodized salt is not uniform.  Sometimes the top of the carton of salt has less iodine than the bottom of the carton.  Some brands do not contain as much iodine as others.  The amount of iodine in a box may wane over time.  These idiosyncrasies often have to do with the chemical properties of iodine which will allow it to “leach” out of the carton. (7)

7.  Changing dairy-farming practices.  Dairy is touted as a good source of iodine because the cows are frequently given iodine-supplemented feed and their teats are washed prior to milking with an iodine antiseptic to kill bacteria.  However farming practices are changing and dairy cattle may or may not be receiving these interventions now.  (When I bought milk and butter from the dairy farmer yesterday, I asked her about this.  Her cattle are all grass-fed and she does not use an iodine-based cleanse for the teats.  So I cannot imagine that the milk is rich in iodine that we personally buy, although it will be rich in vitamin K2 at the moment and butyric acid because it’s spring-grass eating time!)

8.  Choosing organic milk over conventional milk.  Organic milk usually has less iodine than conventional milk due to the cows being grass-fed.  (9, 10)

Points to be eventually covered in Iodine Posts

Iodine is a big topic that I don’t want to undermine, so I will break it down into several posts.  A few months ago, I thought iodine’s role was limited to prevention of goiter and keeping enough thyroid hormone around.  That is all true, but there is so much more to iodine’s story, and some parts haven’t even been unraveled yet!  Take home points that I will eventually cover in iodine posts, but probably not in this order. (If you are pregnant, able to be pregnant, or nursing, I urge you to start reading about iodine today, and don’t wait for my posts to roll out.  Here is a simple article to get you started:  Iodine Deficiency Common in Pregnancy, Docs Warn.):

  • Do I need iodine?  Absolutely.  Can’t live without it.  Function poorly with too little of it.  “But what’s it do?  What’s it for?”  That is a bit challenging to answer.  Kind of like, “What’s the sun for?”  Is it for the trees?  The flowers?  Your vitamin D production?  Your food production?  Light?  Energy?  What aspect of our lives does the sun not touch?  What aspect of our health does iodine not touch?  Whether it is through the effect of thyroid hormone, which is composed of iodine, or direct effects we’re just now learning about, the body needs iodine.  So it’s your job to make sure you know where you can get it.  I will go over where to get iodine in future posts and “what it does.”
  • Iodine deficiency is increasing for multiple reasons in developed countries, and I’ll bet money that you are affected by a couple or more of the reasons no matter what your health and food choicesNo diet group is allowed to snicker here or stick their noses in the air.  Many people are just not getting the iodine they need, and if they are, there’s a good chance that the body’s use of iodine is being interfered with by food and health choices they maybe haven’t even considered.  I will go into food and environmental factors that may be interfering with your body’s use of iodine.
  • Our childbearing women and their offspring for sure are hit VERY hard by an iodine deficiency.  Women, did your obstetrician prescribe you a prenatal vitamin with iodine in it?  If not, did your obstetrician ask you if the prenatal vitamin you chose has iodine in it?  I will go over why women of childbearing age, their fetuses, and their children NEED adequate iodine.  SADLY, these populations seem to be the most iodine deprived!
  • Prostate, breast and immune health are starting to be linked to iodine.  I will do my best to present some of this information.  Much of it is newer, not well understood, and not well accepted.
  • Iodine is important in brain health!  Low IQs, increased ADHD, and apathy have been linked to iodine deficiency.  We have studies to support this, and I will present those for your perusal.
  • Iodized salt is not the devil.  Iodine deficiency is a devil.  I know so many of you treat processed, iodized salt like the plague.  But there is a reason why The Morton Salt Company iodized their salt here in the States, and it helped immensely!  I can’t underscore that enough.  I guess I don’t really care if you shun iodized salt, I just want to make sure that no matter who or where you are, that you are aware of the body’s need for iodine and you take measures to get you and your family some good source of iodine.  For many, the simple answer may just be adding iodized salt back into their diets.  Others lean toward seaweed.  Still others rely on supplements.
  • Do I need to take high doses of iodine?  Not sure.  That might fall into the “voodoo” realm.  (Voodoo is my tongue-in-cheek word for food and health related things I see that I’m just not sure about.  I used to call diet changes “voodoo.”  I don’t anymore, but it took a lot of reading!)   Tread cautiously.  I will eventually talk about how some people use high doses of iodine and what the proposed benefits and risks of this are, particularly fibrocystic breast disease, prostate cancer, and a touch on the big topic of thyroid disease.  The turf here is largely uncharted and uncertain.

Eat well to live well.  Make sure you’re getting an iodine source.  And lastly and importantly, my blog posts are never intended for use of diagnosis, evaluation, or treatment.  Hopefully you’ll use them as stepping-stones to learn more about the topics I present and be able to have a conversation with your favorite healthcare provider.

 

~~Terri

1.  Are Australian children iodine deficient? Results of the Australian National Iodine Nutrition Study.  Li M1Eastman CJWaite KVet al.  Med J Aust. 2008 Jun 2;188(11):674.  (Abstract link.)

2.  The Prevalence and Severity of Iodine Deficiency in Australia.  December 2007.  Prepared for the Population Health Development Principal Committee of the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Committee. (Full text link.)

3.   Iodine deficiency in the U.K.: an overlooked cause of impaired neurodevelopment?  Bath SC1, Rayman MP.  Proc Nutr Soc. 2013 May;72(2):226-35. doi: 10.1017/S0029665113001006.  (Abstract link.)

4.  Iodine in Pregnancy: Is Salt Iodization Enough?  Elizabeth N. Pearce.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. Jul 2008; 93(7): 2466–2468.  doi: 10.1210/jc.2008-1009  (Full text link.)

5.  http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-HealthProfessional/

6.  http://www.newsweek.com/five-controversial-food-additives-83551

7.  Iodine Nutrition: Iodine Content of Iodized Salt in the United States.  Dasgupta PK, Liu Y, Dyke JV.  Environ. Sci. Technol. 2008, 42, 1315–1323. (Link to full text.)

8.  Iodine concentration of organic and conventional milk:  implications for iodine intake.  Bath SC1, Button S, Rayman MP.  Br J Nutr. 2012 Apr;107(7):935-40. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511003059. Epub 2011 Jul 5.  (Link to abstract.)

9.  Essential trace and toxic element concentrations in organic and conventional milk in NW Spain.  Rey-Crespo F1, Miranda M, López-Alonso M.  Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 May;55:513-8. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2013.01.040. Epub 2013 Feb 4.  (Link to abstract.)

10.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130704094630.htm

How Do You Eat That Vegetable? Artichokes.

Artichokes Vegetable Series:  When we changed our eating two years ago, I resolved to be afraid of no vegetable.  Not knowing how to cut it or cook it was NOT going to keep it out of my cart.  For a long time I’ve wanted to do a series of posts on all the different vegetables we have tried and what we do to the poor things.  May you, too, vow to try any and all vegetables in your supermarket!  Go get ’em, tiger.

Did you try a rutabaga?  Not yet?  Well, you’re going to get behind in this vegetable series!  Today we’re talking about trying an artichoke!

Just Steam ‘Em!

Now a fresh artichoke was new to me for sure!  Canned artichoke hearts?  Yes.  Artichoke and spinach dip?  Absolutely.  But never a fresh artichoke!  Once upon a time, my daughter and I  were shopping the produce aisle when the artichokes caught her young eye.  She began asking and begging me to buy some artichokes.  Here I am, The Vegetable Queen, making excuses to not buy those artichokes for her.  I don’t know what to do with them.  We may not like them.  They’ll go bad in the refrigerator before I figure out how to use them.  But my hypocrisy galled and sickened me, along with a smirking customer bystander who mockingly reassured me they were “quite easy to make…just steam them.”Steaming artichokes

So we bought those artichokes and we winged it!  I didn’t even look up how to make them or eat them.  I just steamed them like the good lady in the produce aisle said to do.  I’m going to tell you how we made them and ate them.  I don’t think it’s “the right way.”  But silly-sally on that.  The right way.  Pshaw.  Just get the blasted vegetable cooked.

I want you to know up front, artichokes are a process to eat–but in a good way.  Like a “family-popcorn-night” fun kind of way.  Not at all like broccoli or cauliflower where you slap it on the plate, get your fork out, and gobble it all up.  We have a lot of fun sitting around the kitchen table eating our artichokes as a family.  I hope you’ll give them a try!

Choose artichokes that are closed rather than open as they are fresher.  Also, don’t be afraid of purple markings which indicate that the artichoke received a bit of a frost in the field, which will make it more tender and flavorful.  (You can see those purple “blush” marks from frost on my photo up there.)

Steamed Artichokes

What you’ll need:

  • As many artichokes as you want.  I usually do one per person.
  • A mechanism to steam the artichokes.  I use a pot with a steamer basket and lid.
  • Oil of choice to dip the artichoke in.  Most people use butter, but we used olive oil.  Some use mayonnaise.
  • Salt to sprinkle or dip the artichoke in.

Wash artichokes.  Place artichokes (careful of any sharp spines that may prick you) in your steamer pot and steam for about 20-30 minutes.  You know they are done when you can pierce the base right above the stem easily with a fork or knife.  Allow to cool enough to handle and serve!

No cutting?

What?  No cutting?  No chopping off the tops?  No clipping the spines?  Nope.  Go ahead and do that if you want.  I don’t care.  But time is a premium commodity for me, and I’ll bet it is for you, too.  Since making these the first time, I have tried chopping the tops.  I noticed no difference with chopping the tops or not chopping the tops.  I have never clipped the spines on the leaves, although it looks really snazzy that way.  The spines soften up in the steaming process and cause no issues.  So I don’t clip those either.

(Note:  Most sites will tell you to cut off the top, trim the stems, pick off the lower hard petals, shear off the spiny tips of the petals, put some herbs in your steaming water, brush with lemon juice, and so on.  I know that may make them “better”–but what good is “better” if you never make them because that’s way too much work? And the kids love them this way–and so do my husband and I?)

So how do we eat them?

There are three parts to eat:

  • The creamy pulp at the end of each petal.
  • The artichoke heart.
  • Artichoke petalsThe stem, if you wish.

With an artichoke, you literally pull each petal off, one by one.  Dip the pulpy, whitish end of the petal in oil (or butter or mayonnaise) and sprinkle it with salt. Then, pull the end of the petal between your front teeth to scrape off the white, soft, creamy artichoke pulp.  Keep an empty plate in the middle of the table to put the artichoke refuse on.   Repeat this process until you get to the choke, a fuzzy-thistly topper to the artichoke heart.

The fuzzy choke (not edible) on top of the artichoke heart (deliciously edible).

The fuzzy choke (not edible) on top of the artichoke heart (deliciously edible).

Peeling the choke off of the artichoke heart.

Peeling the choke off of the artichoke heart.

At the choke part, you need to carefully separate the choke from the heart.  My kids always hand off their artichokes to me expectantly when it’s time for the choke to come off their artichoke.  I use a knife to carefully lift off the choke in one piece.  If it doesn’t separate well, I just use the knife to slice off the choke, but you lose a little of the delicious artichoke heart.  Whatever you do, don’t eat those thistly fuzzies.  They are not good.  Dip in oil and sprinkle with salt.

At this point, the great stuff is gone, but the top of the stem is often tasty and edible, too.  If not, and it’s too fibrous, your artichoke party is over.

The Lazy Answer:  I Don’t Know

Dr. Goulet, my intense and fierce general surgery staff doctor back in the day, always barked at us, “Don’t tell me ‘I don’t know.’  That’s a lazy answer.”  (Ow.  Trust me.  We learned to never say “I don’t know.”)  So don’t be lazy.  Don’t be cowardly.  It is JUST a vegetable.  Add to your vegetable repertoire!  Try artichokes, and then go back and try rutabagas!  I don’t care.  Try whatever you want, but break out of your spinach, carrot, and broccoli rut!  And don’t let “I don’t know how” ever be your ball and chain.

~~Terri

More in the “How Do You Eat That Vegetable?” series:

Rutabagas

Jicama

How Do You Eat That Vegetable? Rutabaga (Swede).

Rutabaga and Winnie the Pooh

Vegetable Series:  When we changed our eating two years ago, I resolved to be afraid of no vegetable.  Not knowing how to cut it or cook it was NOT going to keep it out of my cart.  For a long time I’ve wanted to do a series of posts on all the different vegetables we have tried and what we do to the poor things.  May you, too, vow to try any and all vegetables in your supermarket!  Go get ’em, tiger.

Ever try a recipe from this blog?  Check out this humorous story my friend shared with me.
My good friend’s sister:  “I made spaghetti squash spaghetti from your friend’s blog.  She said her kids loved it.”
My friend:  “Yeah?”
My good friend’s sister:  “It was horrible.  And she said it was one of her kids’ favorite dishes.  Mine didn’t look anything like hers.  I don’t know how that can be a favorite!”
My friend:  “Huh.”

Flash forward several months.

My good friend’s sister:  “You remember that spaghetti squash I said I made?”
My friend:  “Yeah.”
My good friend’s sister:  “Well, the rutabagas got put in the wrong spot at the store.  It was a rutabaga I made, not spaghetti squash.”

Well, that explains that bad recipe experience!  When I heard this story, I had not ever tried a rutabaga.  I decided to do Rabbit (from Winnie the Pooh) homage and prepare some rutabaga!  And for those that don’t know, that top photo shows a rutabaga, not a spaghetti squash.  (Wink.)

Rutabaga Mash

1 rutabaga
1 carrot
1/4 cup oil of choice (bacon drippings are our favorite, but olive oil would work, too)
2-4 cloves roasted garlic, depending on size of cloves
Olive oil, a drizzle
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Get the garlic cloves a roasting!  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).  Leave the garlic cloves in their skins and just drizzle with a tiny amount of olive oil to just moisten a bit in a small oven proof bowl, pan or ramekin.  When the oven is preheated, shove the garlic in there while you prepare the rutabaga.  Roast it about 10 minutes.

2.  Wash and peel the outer skin of the rutabaga with a potato peeler.  Wash and peel the carrot while you’re at it.

3.  Chop the rutabaga into about 1-2 inch (2.54-5 cm) pieces.  It’s easiest to cut it in half and then lay the cut half flat on the cutting board before attempting to cut the rest.  On its flat side, it won’t move around on you so much.  Taste some raw rutabaga out of curiosity.  Mmm, okay.  Not bad.  Cut the carrot while you’re at the cutting board into circles about 1/2 inch (1.3cm) thick.

4.  If you haven’t removed the roasted garlic already, do so!  Set aside and let it cool while you steam the rutabaga and carrot.

5.  Steam the rutabaga and carrot together until fork tender soft.  (You could boil them, but the mash is too wet for my taste this way.  I have one of those adjustable steamer baskets that fit into any pot size.  I love it.)

6.  Transfer the steamed, fork-tender rutabaga and carrot to a food processor.

7.  Time for the garlic cloves.  Make sure the garlic cloves aren’t too hot!  Hopefully by now they’re not.  Peel the skin off of the roasted garlic.  Place the roasted garlic in the food processor, too.  (I don’t cut off the little woody nub, but you could cut it off with kitchen shears if you want.  My food processor blends it in really well.)

8.  Add 1/4 cup of melted oil/fat of choice.  (Again, we like bacon drippings best, but olive oil, tallow, palm shortening, lard, or butter would work well here.)

9.  Blend until whipped in your food processor.

10. Serve warm as a side dish!.

Normally I give a family report as to how the rest of the family liked it.  But everybody else had eaten and I was cooking for me!  I liked them.  They were soft and whipped nicely.  Not as starchy as a potato or sweet potato.  More FODMAP friendly than whipped cauliflower.  A good side dish.  Kids will be more likely to eat this if you read about Rabbit’s rutabagas in Winnie the Pooh.  Or maybe when they ask what it is, blithely say, “Oh, some mashed carrots.”  Know your crew to plan your tactics.

Give us YOUR best rutabaga treatment!  And if you haven’t tried a rutabaga, throw one in your grocery cart next trip.  It’ll  keep a long time in your fridge until you get the energy and gumption to cook it up!

~~Terri

Cut rutabaga Roasted garlic Cut rutabaga and carrot Mashed rutabaga

 

More in the “What Do You Do With That Vegetable?” series:

Arthichokes

Jicama

Almond Flour Biscuits

This biscuit recipe is a great addition to your repertoire.  The biscuits are great with butter and jam!  Or just jam!  They can be sliced in half and made into Gluten free biscuitssausage sandwiches or used for biscuits and gravy! Crumble them up, top with your milk of choice and some lightly sweetened sliced strawberries, and you’ve got strawberry shortcake!

I’ve served these when I host coffee for the homeschooling moms and at holidays in place of rolls.  They are easy enough that my daughters made them for me for Mother’s Day one year, placing them daintily on a lovely plate with the jam in an adorable glass bowl.

My sister requested the recipe yesterday and this is an easy way to share it, not only with her, but with you!

Almond Flour Biscuits

(Makes about 12 biscuits, depending on the size)

2 and 1/2 cups of almond flour (I prefer Honeyville, but Bob’s Red Mill or another blanched almond flour will work fine for this recipe.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius).

Mix all ingredients together very well in a medium-sized bowl.  (Alternatively, you may feel free to mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl, beat the eggs a bit in a different bowl, add the wet ingredients to the egg bowl, and then mix all the ingredients together well.  I use the one bowl, mix-well method and I’m happy with the turnout.)

Use a tablespoon to drop about 12-15 rounded mounds onto Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.  They don’t really expand out much so you can place them fairly close together without worry.  If you make them too large, they don’t get done in the middle.

Bake until lightly browned or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a biscuit comes out clean.  Depending on how your oven bakes and biscuit size, this could take anywhere from 12-20 minutes.  Do not overbrown.  Watch closely.

Allow to cool before attempting to slice.

Variation for savory biscuits:  Add 1/4 cup of diced onion and a teaspoonful of garlic powder.

Family “gustar” report:  A very good report.  Everybody likes them, even a finicky brother-in-law who gets very nervous when he hears the words “gluten-free.”  (However, they don’t like the savory ones as well.)

Wishing you all the best in all the things that count! ~~Terri