Going Paleo {Paleo + CSID Part 1}

Sausage, Egg, and Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet{EveryDayPaleo.com}
Within a few weeks of finalizing A Place to Start Without Sugar or Starch for printing, I started noticing the word “paleo” popping up on my favorite food blogs and on cookbook covers in the health food stores. After researching dozens of other diets that involved a low-carb approach, I honestly did not feel like looking into one more. In the long run I did want to refine my CSID approach, but time and other resources were lacking.
Knowing I was close to eating as healthy as possible with my CSID diet plan, I figured I needed to master the meal planning for my family first. Then I would look into this paleo thing in time and see if it would work in light of CSID.
In my last post I mentioned that I needed to focus on my own health and well-being, which I am still working on. However, with Parker’s eczema worse than ever and my migraines lasting more than 5 days, I was feeling desperate for a natural, long-term approach to our health. We had compromised our diet due to time and money constraints. But I was feeling so lousy, it made it hard to utilize what resources I did have in the best way possible. By this time I had made a note to take a closer look at the paleo diet. After all the compromising of processed foods into our diet, I figured we didn’t have much to lose. Something had to change.
First, though, I had to kick the migraines. I decided to see a chiropractor since the last thing I wanted was to add another medication to my nightstand. I had worked hard to remove most of them over the past 18 months. And I knew pills were not the answer to repairing the imbalance in my body. They were just giving me temporary relief.
I was fortunate enough to visit a chiropractor who uses a whole body approach to healing. From what I gather, he sees his care as just a part of the overall lifestyle change anyone needs to feel well. I had long believed in the theory of chiropractic care, but had not sought treatment since the onset of my Fibromyalgia symptoms back in 2011. I was in too much pain back then to consider getting adjusted.
After a week of treatment and a few tests, the Doctor concluded several things about my state of health.
1. My “normal” was so far from actually feeling well, I couldn’t comprehend what well felt like.
2. I have moderate scoliosis, and impairments in the top and bottom of my spine.
3. With an aggressive treatment plan, plus diet and exercise changes, I actually have a chance to feel great for probably the first time in over 20 years.
Parker was also assessed and the Doctor believes his eczema and his headaches are due to issues in his skeletal system. He doesn’t claim to be able to reverse the CSID, but does believe once Parker is aligned properly, it is possible his overall health will improve drastically.
The chiropractor also fully believes the paleo diet is part of the solution.
That was my tipping point. I needed to set aside my own theories and trust that someone with over 20 years of experience treating people successfully could have the answers I had been searching for.
My first step would be to look into paleo and see if it would work for us in light of CSID. It only took a few minutes for me to see how similar the diet is to CSID-friendly foods. Though Parker and I are in a state of distress, we are not presenting major digestive symptoms. Considering this confession, this is my plan for our family:
1. Since we have already been compromising with starches and grains, I am not going to be concerned with included higher-starch foods from the paleo menu such as cashews, pecans, and winter squashes.
2. I am going to wean us off of most of our digestive enzymes. The paleo diet includes mostly digestive friendly foods, so as long as we include a plentiful amount of raw fruits and vegetables, we should not need help digesting most of the foods. The exception will be to include Sucraid with the sweeter fruits allowed, such as papayas and melons, or dried fruits.
3. We will all be removing some of our most favorite foods over time. The idea is that if we eat 80-90% paleo most of the time, we can occasionally “cheat” with few ill affect. On the other hand, literature on paleo suggests the longer we comply with the permissible foods, the less we will want to eat the forbidden ones. For our family this will mean:
  • No more chips. Even organic corn which is a staple.
  • No more peanut butter. I don’t eat this as I prefer almond butter, but the hubby and kids are going to find this a hard one to completely eliminate.
  • Cutting back virtually all dairy products. Ouch! I really love my butter,cheese, and half&half!
  • No more sprouted grain bread. All grains, including corn are off the table.
Essentially Paleo includes all vegetables (except potatoes), all fruit, nuts and seeds, and animal protein such as eggs, chicken, turkey, pork, and beef raised in a healthy environment with a grain-free diet.
Paleo excludes grains (including corn), legumes (peanuts, peas, and green beans included), beans of all kinds, and dairy products. The books I reference below go into much more detail about why. Since I am a novice at this, I will not attempt to explain it myself.
4. The great thing, however, is we are already 80% there with my CSID diet approach. It will require planning and always having quick snacks on hand such as nuts, fruits, hard-boiled eggs and sliced-up veggies. My food dehydrator will probably be working overtime between drying fruit and making beef jerky.
5. By not purchasing organic dairy products, sprouted grain baked goods, gluten-free cereals, and organic peanut butter, I will save a lot of money that will go to purchasing grass-fed beef, and fresh fish and poultry.
Here are a few of the family-friendly Paleo resources I have found so far. I will be purchasing the electronic versions of the cookbooks soon and can’t wait to get started!
If, as a CSID family, you see the potential in applying the paleo diet to your household, please let me know! I will be posting recipe testimonies and linking to recipes or other resources as we find success.

If you are new to the CSID diet, or you or your child have been recently diagnosed with CSID, visit the brand new website www.CSIDcares.org for a complete description and direction for managing CSID.

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The Importance of Limiting Harmful Starches

Even though some situations where starch is tolerable, it is important that each family learn to master the CSID diet without starches. Every day our discussion groups reveal variations to how much and which types of starches appear tolerable for us or our CSID children.

However, a CSID diagnosis is rarely (if ever) confirmed without the child or adult presenting symptoms. These symptoms are a sign the body is suffering. This suffering is the result of undigested food in the gut. Undigested food harms the lining of the intestines, and can irritate to the point of causing tears in the lining of the intestines. This “leaky gut” can also result in allergies to foods that have made their way in the blood stream through these cracks. Once the gut is healed, some of these food particles may have a chance to be properly digested and the “allergy” will eventually diminish. Of course, this would be on a case-by-case basis. For us, Parker had to eliminate dairy for quite some time and now has it all the time without issue.

I came into knowledge of this process through a combination of my own research into various digestive problems and solutions as well as from insight from several professionals in the field of digestive health. The conclusion being not all starches are created equal. Some can cause great harm, especially to a weakened system that is irritated and sensitive due to months or years of undigested food wreaking havoc.

There has been a lot of talk about starches on the Facebook and Yahoo CSID groups lately. I sense a push from parents trying to find ways to incorporate starches into their children’s diet. Everyone has their opinions about the best way to go about it, but I would like to take moment to emphasis the fact that some starch-based foods should be eliminated to avoid possible long-term problems. Starchy foods that do not offer any nutritional benefit should be out. Overly processed foods should also be eliminated or reduced to an occasional basis.These include foods that come from white flour and that include artificial sugar. Most grains, even whole, still promote the growth of harmful bacteria, which can manifest as various symptoms, including behavior problems.This theory is based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) approach which reveals that undigested carbohydrates cause the most harm by feeding harmful bacteria and promoting fermentation. Another result from including harmful starches on a regular basis is acidosis, which requires a strict ph-balancing process to reverse.

There is a way to incorporate essential carbohydrates in the form of “safe” starches once the starch-free diet has been mastered and symptoms are no longer present. See my other posts relate to STARCH & DIGESTION for more details on assisting with the digestions process and choosing easy to digest foods.
When I use the word “safe” I mean to imply that my research suggests these foods have a lower likelihood of causing digestive distress while also providing maximum nutrition.

These “safe” foods include:

  • almond and coconut-based foods
  • soaked dry white beans such as baby lima, navy, or northern
  • lactose-free dairy such as butter, heavy cream, and homemade yogurt to serve as thickening or fillers
  • incorporation of plain yogurt to promote helpful bacteria product
  • 100% organic, sprouted-grain
  • low-carb/sprouted grain wraps and buns (on a limited basis, taken with Food Enzymes
My family has also experienced success in the occasional use of brown rice pasta and red potatoes (2 foods which are NOT endorsed for SCD) — but always with food enzymes! 
What I have also found is that there are many other digestive diseases and illness that have a direct correlation with the excessive eating of sugars and starches. Even though doctors and scientists do not know the direct cause of diseases such as Crohn’s or colitis or in some cases, Celiac; the recommended dietary approach often involves the elimination of starches, sugars, and sometimes lactose. Continuing to consume harmful carbohydrates in light of CSID or other digestive ailments can result in additional digestive disease and in some cases, stomach or colon cancer.
In the end, I will not promote or endorse suggestions for foods that do not line up with my personal approach to remove what harms and add what helps. I do not pretend to follow this diet 100% of the time, but I feel listing exceptions just confuses parents, especially those who are new to the diet. By incorporating my knowledge of the best of CSID-friendly foods, the SCD approach, digestive supplementation, and a pH balanced goal I have found our family experiences maximum health, energy and overall well-being.

White Bean Turkey Chili

The secret to making this chili belly-friendly is to soak the beans overnight in distilled water. Soaking releases enzymes in the beans that would otherwise cause gas and bloating.

Yield: About 10 1-cup servings

Ingredients: 

1 pound mixed dry white beans–Northern, White Navy or Baby White Lima (makes about 4 cups cooked beans)
1 pound lean ground turkey
32 ounces Campbell’s Tomato Juice
2 celery stalks, chopped3
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped (contain 3.02g sucrose per 100gr–Sucraid may be required)
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional, contains starch)
1/2 onion, minced (Sucraid recommended)
3 tablespoons chili powder (may contain maltodextrin depending on source)
2 tablespoons cumin
sea salt and black pepper
red pepper flakes (optional)
Other vegetable options: chopped zucchini, sweet bell peppers, olives

Directions:

  1. Soak beans overnight.
  2. Drain water from beans, rinse well and boil in fresh water on medium heat until soft (about 2 hours)
  3. Add celery and carrots and simmer on low heat. Add more water if needed to prevent burning.
Sauce (can also be used as taco sauce for taco salad)
  1. Meanwhile, cook ground turkey in a large frying pan (keep juices and fat)
  2. Add onions and optional garlic and saute for a few minutes
  3. Add chili powder, cumin and sea salt and black pepper to taste
  4. Stir turkey with seasonings for about 1 minute
  5. Add tomato juice simmer on low heat for 15 minutes
  6. Drain out most of excess water from beans and veggies, depending on how thick you like your chili
  7. Add turkey/chili sauce to beans. Stir and simmer20 minutes or more, allowing sauce to thicken if desired.
  8. Serve with a little shredded cheese and sour cream.

Holiday Recipes for CSIDers

For some of us the thought of holiday foods brings more than memories of the joy of gathering and baking alongside family. It brings thoughts of fear and pain for us or our children, beyond a temporary indigestion or weight gain. 
Every year I tell myself I need to post holiday recipes in October and every year, my life gets chaotic and I fail! This year is even more challenging as I now have a day job at an office so I do not have as much flexibility. Luckily, I work from home on Fridays, so before I “clock in,” I am putting up this post, hopefully in enough time to give you some ideas for your Christmas, or other winter holiday meal. 
Though the causes of our digestive issues are very different from those facing Celiac disease and gluten-intolerance, we must also avoid all foods containing gluten due to their high starch content. However, most of the pre-packaged gluten-free foods are still off our list due to the higher starch content of alternative flours. As a result, our digestive-friendly flour of choice is almond flour, which also provides more protein, vitamins and minerals than other gluten-free flours.
I am privileged to share just a few of the digestive-friendly versions of the holiday recipes I grew up with. Keep in mind, these recipes are holiday treats and aside from being easy on the tummy, they are by no means low in calories!
First, here are the links to the holiday recipes I have managed to post in recent years. Following will be a few more recipes I have had, but due to not having a great picture, have not posted. However, I assume you would prefer a recipe without a photo in lieu of no recipe at all! In addition, if you have your own holiday recipes, please share them with me and any photos you have! I will gladly post them here as well as give you FULL credit for the recipe! I only ask that the ingredients contain no artificial sweeteners and that starch content is minimal (almonds or coconut preferred) to avoid conflicting with my suggested food lists. 

Holiday Swedish Cardamom Mini-Loaves

Apple Pie with Almond Flour Crust

CSID Recipe Substitutes for Holiday Foods

Almond Bread Stuffing

Just as with traditional stuffing, baking separately from the turkey will result in a slightly-drier result. I use all the ingredients from my mother’s recipes aside from replacing dried bread crumbs with my homemade almond-bread variety.
Ingredients
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (Sucraid required for CSID)
4 stalks celery, finely sliced
2 medium apples (Granny Smith are best), peeled and chopped
3 cups crumbled and dried Plain almond bread (recipe below)
2 TBS dried parsley flakes
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1.         Mix together all ingredients and stuff into turkey cavity. Bake turkey as directed.
2.         OR grease an 8×8 glass dish with butter and bake stuffing separately at 300◦F for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Plain Almond Bread

Make this bread a day in advance and air-dry crumbs for best results.

Ingredients
½ cup plain yogurt
½ cup grapeseed oil
2 eggs, separated
2 TBS melted butter
2 ½ cups blanched almond flour
½ tsp sea salt
1. Whip eggs whites until stiff. Set aside.
2. Blend remaining wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls and then combine well in a large bowl.
3. Fold in egg whites until mixed thoroughly.
4. Bake at 350˚F for 50 minutes, covering with foil the last ten minutes to prevent excess browning.
5. Cool, and slice into 1-inch cubes. Spread onto a cookie sheet, cover with a paper towel and air dry overnight. OR place in oven heated at 200˚F for 20 to 30 minutes or until crumbs begin to brown slightly. 

Ginger Snaps
Making gingerbread men was one of my favorite holiday activities! This recipe brings back memories in this almond-flour-based variation. The dough can also be refrigerated, rolled out between layers of parchment paper and cut into gingerbread men if you so desire. Just keep in mind to bake evenly and slowly to prevent burning.
Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients
3 cups blanched almond flour
1 TBS ground cinnamon
1 ¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ cup grapeseed oil
½ cup honey
1 TBS pure vanilla extract
¼ cup gluten-free molasses (Sucraid required)
1 large egg
1 tsp lemon zest
1.               Preheat oven to 300˚F and brush cookie sheet with a thin layer of grapeseed oil. 
2.               In a large bowl, combine almond flour, cinnamon, ginger, sea salt, baking powder, and cloves.
3.               In a medium bowl, mix grapeseed oil, honey, vanilla, molasses, egg and lemon zest well with a wire whisk.
4.               Stir together wet and dry ingredients until well blended.
5.               Scoop tablespoon-size portions onto cookie sheet one inch apart.
6.               Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Transfer cookies 

from baking sheet to a cooling rack immediately.

Gingerbread Ornaments/Cookie Variation: Add a tablespoon of coconut flour to dough, and roll out dough between sheets of parchment paper. Lift the top sheet and cut out gingerbread men, stars, angels, snowmen, etc. Using a straw, create a hole at the top of each cookie. Using currants, raisins, or glucose-based candies, add eyes, buttons, etc. Remove excess dough and carefully place cookies and bottom sheet of parchment paper on a high-quality cookie sheet (I use stoneware for even baking) Bake at 300˚F  until hard, but not burnt. Cool completely. String ribbon through the hole for gingerbread ornaments!

Green Beans in Mushroom Sauce

I made this recipe for my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner this in 2011. All of the adults, including my daughter with CSID, absolutely loved them! They will be on our list of traditional Holiday recipes from now on.
(S)= Sucraid required 

Yield: 8 servings 

3 cups fresh green beans, steamed until bright green
1/4 cup butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (S)
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced and chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional) (S)
2 tsp sea salt
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1. Sauté onion in on medium-high heat in 2 tablespoons of butter until translucent. Add mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms begin to brown.
2. Add wine and salt. Cook for five minutes and reduce heat to medium-low.
3. Add whipping cream, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens.
4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350˚F and grease a large casserole dish generously with remaining butter.
5. Place steamed green beans into casserole dish. Pour mushroom cream sauce over green beans.
6. Bake until bubbly. Top with sliced almond and grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve.

Mashed Cauliflower (Fake Potatoes!)

For best results, serve this in a bowl, as it tends to turn out a bit runnier than traditional potatoes. However, the taste of these fake potatoes trumps consistency any day. This side dish goes well with pork chops, turkey meat loaf, or grilled chicken breasts. 

Yield: 8 servings 

Ingredients
2 fresh cauliflower crowns
2-4 TBS butter (to taste)
1/4 cup (more or less) heavy whipping cream or cream cheese
Real Salt or sea salt and pepper to taste
Optional: Add a slice or two of Havarti cheese or hard grated cheese
1. Boil cauliflower in a large pot until you can easily slice a fork through the crowns. Drain.
2. Combine butter, whipping cream and cauliflower in mixing bowl. Using electric beaters, mix on medium speed until creamy.
4. Add salt, pepper, and serve warm with additional butter, or gravy (recipe on next page).
Gravy-optional

Yield: about 6 ounces

2 TBS meat drippings
1/2 cup water
1 TBS wheat free tamari sauce
Real Salt and pepper to taste
1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small pan on medium-low heat.
2. Stir constantly until thick and smooth. Serve immediately or batch and freeze for later use.

Low-Starch, Low-Sugar Holiday Recipes

I will be publishing a post very soon that links to all of my own holiday recipes. For now, Whole Foods has several gluten-free recipes that may work for many CSID families. Remember to calculate total starch by subtracting fiber and sugar amounts from total carbs. As always, Sucraid, Isogest and/or Food Enzymes are recommended with all meals to ensure maximum absorption and minimum work from the body’s digestive system:

(Note: Individual tolerance levels of starch vary per case, please make sure you understand starch limitations before trying these recipes)

Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Pears
{Estimated 14 grams starch, 12 grams sugar (mostly fructose) per serving}

{Estimated 0 grams starch, 7 grams sugar (fructose/sucrose in apples) per serving}
{Estimated 13 grams starch, 1 gram sugar per serving}

Cranberry Lemon Cupcakes

gluten-free sucrose-free Cranberry Lemon Cupcakes
The key to these moist and semi-sweet cupcakes is whipping the egg whites separately. I have been doing this with many of my recipes lately and the results are fantastic!
 
Yield: About 20 cupcakes
 
Ingredients
3 eggs, separated
3 1/2 cups (350 grams) finely ground, blanched almond flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup (250grams) plain yogurt (use homemade if you need lactose-free)
1/2 cup agave nectar (fructose) OR 3/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (no sugar added)
zest from 1 Meyer lemon (about 1 Tablespoon)
1 cup fresh cranberries
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 300˚F  (150˚C)
Grease 2 muffin tins with butter or coconut oil. Do not use cupcake papers as the almond flour tends to stick to the paper. 
 
1. Whip eggs whites until stiff, set aside.
2. Combine the almond flour, salt, baking soda, ginger and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl.
3. Using an electric mixer, blend the egg yolks, yogurt, agave, vanilla and lemon zest until light and creamy.
4. Add egg yolk mixture to almond flour mixture and mix until well combined.
5. Fold in eggs whites and cranberries.
6. Scoop batter into muffin tins, filling each about 2/3 full. If you run out of batter, add water to the empty muffin cups to prevent burning.
7. Bake for 45 minutes or until a metal knife inserted into the center of cupcake comes out clean.
Cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to ten days. Enjoy!

Breakfast Crepes

This crepe recipe is suitable once almond flour has been successfully introduced to the diet.
Yield: 10, 10-inch crepes
6 eggs
1/4 cup blanched almond flour<!–[if supportFields]> XE “almond flour” <![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>
2 tablespoons coconut flour<!–[if supportFields]> XE “coconut flour” <![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>
1/2 cup coconut milk (Thai Kitchen canned works the best)<!–[if supportFields]> XE “coconut milk” <![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>
2 tablespoons coconut oil<!–[if supportFields]> XE “coconut oil” <![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>
2 tablespoons honey or 1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice, nutmeg or cinnamon
2 tablespoons freshly ground flax seed (optional if no signs of digestive distress)
Butter or coconut oil<!–[if supportFields]>XE “coconut oil” <![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–> for cooking
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor aside from the butter for cooking. Blend on high for one minute.
2. Heat a 10-inch skillet on medium-high heat. When a dab of butter sizzles, pan is hot enough.
3. After oiling, pour approximately two tablespoons of batter into skillet, quickly rotating with the handle to coat pan evenly. You may need to experiment with the proper amount as too much or too little will cause the crepe to crumble upon turning. (If batter seems too thick, try blending in an extra egg to thin.)
4. Cook until bubbly and edges cook through. Using a wide spatula, carefully turn crepe over. Cook second side for just a few seconds. Slide crepe onto a cool plate. Repeat.
Filling Variations
–Ricotta cheese and sliced strawberries or mashed raspberries (my favorite)
–Jam made from pure, low-sucrose<!–[if supportFields]> XE “sucrose” <![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–> fruit such as raspberries or grape. Top with Daisy Sour Cream and sliced berries

Cheesy Cauliflower with Chicken and Green Beans {mini-meals #1}

It’s funny how limited options can spark needed creativity! There has been recent discussions on the Facebook groups about how expensive managing the CSID diet can be. I want to offer some encouragement to those of you with limited resources in the areas of time and money. One thing I have learned over the years is to keep it simple! Kids can be very picky, and it can be discouraging to spend time and money on preparing food they refuse to eat. From my own experience, my recipes come from blending what is familiar while exchanging foods that typically contain sugar or starch for those that do not.

One of the foods I have recently been using a lot of is cauliflower. Although some people find cauliflower may cause gas, I have learned that if you chop up fresh cauliflower and let it sit for about 10 minutes, the enzymes that cause gas are released. Ever since I started using fresh cauliflower, everyone in my family has been able to eat it without issues.

I am working on several recipes which include the combinations of cauliflower and ground/minced turkey for my “mini-meals” guide to inexpensive and simple meals. But for today, I wanted to share my most recent creation (picture to come soon) made in my attempt to create a macaroni and cheese type side dish. Keep in mind I am still experimenting with ingredient portions, but this is a rough version of the recipe in progress. If you find alternative ingredients or portions to work better for you, please share them by commenting.

To make the entire meal, begin with frying 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken tenders or about 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in butter or olive oil. Place 2 cups of frozen green beans in a small pot with  1 cup of water. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat until water boils. Turn off heat, and let green beans finish cooking in the heated water, without overcooking. (Hint: Chop up cauliflower and let it sit to release the enzymes while preparing the chicken and green beans if you are concerned about irritation.)

For the Cheesy Cauliflower you will need:

1 head fresh cauliflower (organic if possible).

1/2 cup (4 ounces) pure sour cream (I use Daisy brand since it does not contain food starch or maltodextrin)

1/2 cup (4 ounces) grated sharp or medium cheddar cheese

1/4 cup fresh grated parmesean cheese

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

1) Cut off base of cauliflower and discard. Chop cauliflower into 1-inch pieces. Let sit for 10 minutes. Place in a vegetable steamer. Steam for 15 minutes or until a butter knife easily cut through cauliflower florets.

2) Set steamed cauliflower aside and drain the water from the bottom half of the steamer pot. Add sour cream, cheese, parmesean cheese, butter and salt to the pot and return to stove on medium-low heat. Using a whisk, stir mixture until cheese melts.

3) Add steamed cauliflower and mash and blend it into the cheese sauce. Add sea salt and a dash of black pepper if desired.

4) Serve either over chicken and green beans casserole-style, or serve separately depending on personal preference.

When I served this to my family last week, I cut up the cooked chicken into bite-size pieces and stirred the chicken and green beans into the cauliflower. The blend of flavors was amazing and it tasted very much like a  pasta and cheese casserole.

Estimated Cost and Servings:

6 servings

cauliflower $1.50

cheese $3.00

parmesean cheese $1.00

green beans $1.50

chicken $4.00

Total Cost: About $11 or less than $2 per person

Cranberry Coconut Burst Cookies

These sweet and tart cookies are completely sugar-free, starch-free, gluten-free and wheat-free. This recipe makes 3 dozen cookies, so you may want to reserve the dough in the freezer for later use.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies
Ingredients
3/4 cup (6 tablespoons) butter at room temperature
1 cup honey OR 3/4 cup agave
1 Tbsp grated lemon peel
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

2 cups blanched almond flour
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tsp Ener-G baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
8 ounces fresh or thawed cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease cookie sheet with a thin layer of butter.

Instructions
1. Combine butter, honey, lemon peel, vanilla and eggs and mix for 5 minutes using an electric mixer.

2. In a separate bowl, blend almond flour, coconut, baking powder and sea salt. Add to wet ingredients and mix on medium speed until combined. Stir in cranberries.

3. Using a melon-scoop or large spoon, scoop batter onto cookie sheet, making 1 dozen cookies at a time.

4. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes. Then carefully place cookies on a cooling rack using a small, metal spatula. Cool completely.

5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Apple Delight Pancakes

Inspired by the Apple Pancake recipe in “Grain-Free Gourmet” by Jodi Badger and Jenny Lass, I added more eggs and zucchini to stretch this recipe to serve 4-6 instead of just one. This recipe contains no flour, and is delicious with sliced strawberries, a sprinkle of cinnamon and drizzled honey for a topping. This recipe is dairy-free if you use almond milk and grapeseed oil options.

Yield: 10-12 pancakes
Ingredients
1 apple, peeled, cored and grated
1 zucchini (about 8 inches in length), peeled and grated
8 brown, organic eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or homemade, lactose-free yogurt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (no sugar added)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
butter or grapeseed oil for cooking
honey, cinnamon, and sliced organic strawberries for topping if desired
Instructions
1. Place grated apple and zucchini in a cheesecloth or cloth jelly bag and squeeze out excess water. You should have about one cup total after draining.
2. Using a medium-sized mixing bowl, add drained apple and zucchini, eggs, almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk thoroughly until mixture begins to froth.
3. Heat a small frying pan on medium heat. Using 1/4 cup, pour one pancake at a time onto heated pan. If you have egg rings, you can make perfect circular pancakes. If not, simply use the spatula to scoop egg batter into a circle as it begins to cook.
4. When edges begin to cook, flip pancake to seal in second side. Gently press spatula onto pancake to release excess liquid. Flip pancake once or twice more, continuing to press out liquid until both sides turn a deep golden brown.

5. Slide pancake onto warmed plate, and continue to cook the remaining pancakes. Serve with suggested toppings or discover your own depending on your dietary needs.