Friday, 30 March 2012

Spring and Summer GAPS Recipes

This will be my first summer on GAPS so I'm a little daunted by the concept of eating most things cooked, warm, whatever.  I'll continually update this post with good summer recipes, until I get around to organizing my posts in the links above.

Asian Style Chicken Salad - No Lettuce

Slice mushrooms, snow peas, bell peppers and/or carrots, cooked chicken breast (in my case, from a roasted chicken), onion, ginger, garlic.  Put in a small pot, add honey, fish sauce, bacon fat, salt and heat through.  Can be eaten right away or put in the fridge for a salad the next day.  (You may want to strain it if you do this.)

Thai Style Arugala Beef Salad

Arugala has a spicy nutty flavour that, to my surprise, blended nicely with the other thai flavours.

  1. Prep a bed of arugala on a plate.  Top with some chopped mint.
  2. Fry/roast/grill a thin slice of beef.  Add a squeeze of lime on the beef.
  3. Fry mushrooms, onions and any other veg in copious amounts of garlic, some dried chilli, and some fat.  (I used chicken fat.)
  4. Add some cashews and thai fish sauce to veg to taste.  (Cashews marry nicely with the nuttiness of the arugala.)
  5. Top arugala with beef and veg. Add a dash of lime and thai fish sauce.  Chill and serve cold.  (It gets cold pretty quickly anyway.)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Elegant GAPS Brunch

This is almost an intro brunch, except for the cheese, I guess.

Top a bed of scrambled eggs with a layer of Swiss cheese, a small grilled salmon fillet and chopped fresh parsley and chives.

Alternately, top a bed of parsley with sunnyside up eggs, flake the salmon on top, and garnish with cheese.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Meal planning ad nauseum

In an effort to eat local, organic, GAPS, frugally, that it?  think so.  Anyway in an effort to do all that I've started this year to do a quarterly meal plan.  What I do, is plan out a month's worth of recipes, no repeats, for the particular season, using mainly veggies that are in season for that time of year.  I repeat that monthly plan three times, and then make another one for the next season.  This is why I'm temporarily fed up with meal planning.  So I will use this post to remind myself why I do it.

In general:
  • Theoretically, this lets me shop farmers markets and order organic meat in advance so I don't have to forage for it every week.
  • Realistically, it's a guideline, so that when I'm short of ideas I can just sub in a few recipes if I feel like it, grab my standard grocery list for that week and go. 
  • Ensures that you vary your flavors over the course of the month.  It's easy to get into a rut of roasted meat and buttered veggies on GAPS.  This makes sure I'm mixing up the flavours by eating thai, korean, middle eastern etc.  Laced with broth if possible. :)

When you're cooking for one:
  • The usual trade off here would be the convenience of planning ahead versus the battle over foods that family members like or dislike.  I just have to come up with 30 recipes that look good to me.  
  • I only have to come up with 30 recipes.  Lunch is always last night's leftovers. I don't have to plan for four people's lunch bag the next day.
  • A typical package or bunch or unit size for produce is often too much for one person, e.g. bunch of spinach, pack of mushrooms.  If I'm using something like that, I can plan two meals (which is actually four meals) for that week containing that ingredient.
  • It lets me plan to eat according to my menstrual cycle.  I generally eat lightly at some points and more heavily at others.

Enough meal planning!

Normally I love the weekly ritual of planning meals and making my shopping list. I look for one-pot type recipes, or search for recipes that include the main and the side, or try to complement the main with the side. Normally I just need five to seven recipes each week because I cook a 2 portion dinner at night and then pack up the second portion for lunch the next day.

But I had a busy Saturday and I wasn't in the mood to meal plan before I went grocery shopping. I just wanted to go out and get it done!  This is a bad plan even if you're living on premade frozen food, but it turns out it's relatively easy on GAPS, probably because the choices are so limited. Here was my strategy:

  1. Arrive at store unprepared, with no mental list and no paper list
  2. Cruise the meat and fish section and select 5 protein sources (I picked up an organic chicken, which counts as at least three dinners for one person, ground beef, rainbow trout and salmon)
  3. Walk through the veggie aisle and select 5 main veggies (for me today, this was kale, cucumbers, snow peas, cauliflower, zuchini)
  4. Now that you know what your main veggies are, go back through the veggie aisle and pick up accoutrements for flavor and color (I needed onion, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, bell peppers, tomato and mint)
  5. Pick up the standard stuff you buy every week - eggs, kefir, whatever.

I should mention that this works so well because I'm lucky enough to live in a city with a great local chain of markets that focus entirely on real, fresh food.  They actually defeat the standard "shop the edges of the grocery store" rule because the centre of the store is about five aisles of produce.  And the produce always looks great.  How often does kale just leap off the shelf at you?

So with this, I've come up with the following meals for the week

  • zuchini mushroom lasagne with broth based tomato sauce
  • mashed cauliflower with roast chicken legs
  • trout with kale and orange pepper poacked in chicken broth
  • chicken breasts stir fried with red and green pepper and mushrooms
  • minted cucumber salad with grilled salmon and grilled yellow pepper
Not bad for an ten minute dash through the store! 

My next post will talk about my other strategy for meal planning.  And it will explain why I did NOT feel like doing it today.