Sunday, August 29, 2010

Easy Peasy Mustard and Cream Steak Sauce

Whoa! I shudder when I think of how good this tasted on our steak last night. I must give my compliments to America's Test Kitchen for the recipe, although I modified it a bit to serve my WAPF principles.

To start, whenever I cook a grass fed steak, I rub on the seasonings and let it sit for about 30 minutes to come to room temperature. When the pan is ready and hot, I BUTTER THE STEAK, not the pan. That way I can get a good sear on the steak without burning my butter. And we all know butter is better, right?

After removing the steak I let it rest for 10 minutes or so before cutting into it. This is the time to make the Mustard Cream Sauce. You will need

1 shallot - minced - about 2 tablespoons (I did not have a shallot so I used a couple of green onions)
1 1/2 Tablespoons dry white wine
1/4 Cup chicken broth
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 Tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard (I used plain Dijon)

You want about 1 T fat from the steak in the skillet.
On low heat, add the shallot and cook stirring frequently until it begins to brown - about 2-3- minutes.
Add the wine and increase the heat to medium high, simmer rapidly, scraping up the browned bits on the pan bottom until the liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 30 seconds.
Add broth and simmer until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the mustard and remove from heat.
Add the cream and season to taste with Celtic Sea Salt and pepper.

I used some cream that was starting to sour and it was perfect. But, I am looking forward to making it with fresh cream, too. I don't think I can do the wrong thing with this winner.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

A holistic healing cat story

My husband Preston and I are quite fond of cats and share our home with 7 of the little darlings.

It is my practice to do a head count every morning upon waking, every evening before bed and even when I come home after being out for several hours. Last Wednesday (10 days ago), I realized around 4:00 in the afternoon that I had not done my morning head count and had not seen Casey (one of the twins!) all day. I looked around the house and called, but no Casey. I went outside and called (we have a fenced, cat-friendly yard), but no Casey. When I came back into the house and there he was looking all sleepy. I picked him up to cuddle him (which he loves) and he cried. Then I realized he wasn't sleepy but feeling poorly.

I examined him to find a bump below his belly in the groin area. It was very large and tender and he would not let me feel around it. I went into action making our bedroom a "sick-room" and brought in a litter box, food and water and put him on our bed. He stayed there for the night, getting worse and worse.

The next day I was able to see the bump/lump better. It was huge! I thought I could see a tiny hole - like from a bee sting. I was looking for two holes from a pair of fangs as the little sweetie has brought us a black snake the previous week - still squirming and very much alive.

So, I thought the lump needed to be aspirated and I called a nearby Western medicine vet and took him in. It is my practice to use Western vets for diagnosis and then bring them home for holistic treatments. In this case, I thought intervention was called for.

The Vet examined him (and ignored my comment about a bee sting hole) and stuck in a needle to aspirate. But nothing came out. Well, a little did, enough for him to put on a slide to look at under a microscope. He came back all solemn telling me it was not pus but very large white cells that he could not identify. I remained calm.

He said we needed to test him for Feline Leukemia/Aids since I did not vaccinate and the lump could be from one of those "death sentence" diseases. And, he recommend exploratory surgery. It would be a big deal to cut that lump out and it could be cancer. I remained calm.

He told me my other cats were at risk for
FeLeuk and Aids and I should have them all tested and vaccinated. NOT! I remained calm.

I thanked him and paid him my $40.00 and took my baby (who was a total champ throughout the whole process, never uttering a sound) to the car. Before I left the parking lot I called a Homeopathic vet I use that lives near
Ocala and left a message.

An hour later Dr.
Wessner (352-245-2025) called me back and I gave him Casey's recent history. He told me to give him two homeopathic remedies (that I had on hand), some plant-based enzymes to help his body absorb the material in the lump and he was sending me another remedy that I did not have.

Within 15 minutes of giving him the two remedies, Casey rolled over on his back - his favorite position and one I had not seen him in for 2 days. With that, I took the opportunity
to place a hot water bottle on the lump. He remained on his back, but repositioned himself to clamp his leg over the bottle. Look at that picture! There is nothing more adorable than a trusting animal.

I kept up the hot water bottle and about 4 days into this the lump started draining. He licked it all the time. When he wasn't licking I was applying the bottle (which causes the material to liquefy and drain). He was the best patient.

We went on this path for days...a week really. I gave him the remedies, plus the enzymes, plus some powdered Vitamin C. At its' zenith the lump was the size of a half a plum; huge for a 14 pound cat. He did have a set back where I thought he felt worse, but the next day he rebounded and started getting happier and happier and becoming more animated. Last night he actually gave Preston his "high cry"... his cry asking to be put up high on a set of bookshelves - one of his favorite places. I was worried about the jump down so he remained four on the floor for the time being.

He is still recovering. The lump is almost gone. He prefers our bed (his sick bed) for deep resting, but purrs easily and is moving around a lot. Has never lost his appetite completely but has lost some weight.

The upshot of this story? Imagine where I would be today if I had followed the first vets advise? My sweetest of cats would be recovering from surgery, our wallet would be quivering and I would never forgive myself for putting him through those traumas.

So, please don't let a vet (or any doctor) scare you into the action they advise without seeking other consultations...the first being your gut. That is why I remained calm...I knew he was not that sick! I also know what I do to keep him healthy (like not giving him vaccines). I also knew I had Dr. Wessner in my back pocket!

It took a little more work and a lot of trust by Casey, but I expect him to be giving us his "high-cry" for many years to come!

Follow up

It is now 2 weeks since I took Casey to the Western vet and then called Dr. Wessner, my holistic vet.

The swelling was completely gone after about 11 days from the first dose of homeopathics recommended by Dr. Wessner. What remains now is a little area bare of hair (from his licking) and two perfect little scabs.

Looks like a snake got him. Again, I am so glad I decided to follow a holistic path instead of the horrors of surgery and more.

Casey is feeling 100% himself. I saw him prancing in the yard yesterday and he has given us his "high cry" everyday. WHEW!

Feel free to call Dr. Wessner (352-245-2025) and share his number with your friends and family. Tell him Casey (and Cynthia) sent you.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Easy and oh, so good coconut flour bread

I want to thank Jenny of Nourished Kitchen (one of my favorite blogs) for posting this very easy recipe. I love coconut bread, especially slathered with a ton of butter (as if it isn't full of enough fat already). A slice of this bread with raw, grass fed butter and I am good to go for hours and hours with high energy and mental focus. Try it sometime. Ask me where to find the best coconut flour.

Jenny writes:

About thirty-five to forty percent of Nourished Kitchen readers purposefully avoid gluten or grains entirely either because of a diagnosis of celiac disease or out of dietary preference. So, this post is for you – a beautiful coconut flour bread for all those grain-free readers, or just any of you looking to enrich your diets with wholesome fats and high quality protein.

Coconut flour is remarkably versatile, and I like to use it in otherwise starchy recipes where its spongy, dense and moist texture really shines. It soaks up liquid readily and just a little bit of coconut flour goes a long, long way. In most recipes, coconut flour is paired with several eggs and a good amount of fat, both of which contribute valuable vitamins and a favorable fatty acid ratio to the dish you’re making – in this case: coconut flour bread. By comparison to grain-based flours, coconut flour is richer in dietary fiber, protein and fat which makes it a particularly helpful flour for those that must be mindful of their macronutrient intake levels (which is probably all of us.)

Coconut Flour Bread

Composed of just five simple ingredients, this grain-free bread is remarkably satisfying. Though the bread is made from coconut flour, its flavor is only slightly reminiscent of coconut and it offers a beautiful dense crumb similar to coffee cake but without the cloying sweetness. While you could undoubtedly use this coconut flour bread to prepare sandwiches, I think its dense crumb coupled with its very faint coconut flavor would make it the ideal bread for a nutrient-dense and protein-rich French toast.

Coconut Flour Bread: Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup ghee (see sources), plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 6 eggs
  • up to two tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt

Coconut Flour Bread: Equipment

  • stand mixer, food processor or mixing bowl and whisk
  • loaf pan

Coconut Flour Bread: Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine coconut flour, ghee, eggs, honey and 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt together.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together until they form a smooth paste with no clumps.
  4. Grease a loaf pan.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the loaf pan, and bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes.

YIELD: 1 loaf

TIME: about 5 minutes (preparation), 40 minutes (baking)