Welcome to Lexie's Kitchen & Living. I'm glad you stopped by and hope you enjoy the five years of recipes and ramblings collected here.

The inspiration for this site was my son. To learn about our journey to restore his intestinal and neurological health read here

Follow a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free diet? Take a peek at my cookbook.  

 

 

 


 

  

 

Thursday
May032012

Burgers with Liver 

As I write this I am wondering how many will have glanced at the title of this post and hightailed it on to the next food blog. So, let me just say ... if you're still here, kudos for your bravery, your curiosity—whatever it is that has compelled you to read—in my best Paul Harvey voice—the rest of this story.

Today I welcome back my friend, Certified Nutrition Consultant, and Autism Diet Specialist, Julie Matthews. In a recent email exchange, Julie and I spoke of our mutual admiration for Dr. Terry Wahls. One thing Dr. Wahls encourages is the consumption of one serving of organ meat per week to fuel your mitochondria.

Truth be told, I have NEVER eaten organ meat. I think it's not just a mental thing with me, but a practical thing. I have no clue how to prepare organ meat—much less how to make it palatable. Well, Julie is here to show us how. Watching her video sold me. "Kid's love 'em," she assured.

So last week I did it. I practiced a little mind over matter and gave these burgers a go. I whizzed up the chicken liver I pulled out of an organic hen (purchased at Costco) and hid it in a pound of ground beef. Oh the sneaky smile I had plastered on my face as I watched the boys gobble down those burgers. Ha!

 

Julie Matthews | Guest Post 4
Kids Love Liver: Burgers with Liver

Believe it or not—and most parents do not—kids love liver! In my experience of working with thousands of children with autism (some of the pickiest eaters), overwhelmingly they love my Burgers with Liver.

For you squeamish parents out there, why eat liver?

Liver is rich in many nutrients. Because it's an organ with so many jobs, the liver stores a large number of nutrients for its many needs. Liver from chicken, beef, lamb, or a grass-fed or pastured animal contains high levels of iron, vitamin B12, folate, vitamins A and C, and zinc.

In the spirit of wanting more families to eat liver, I’d like to share my kid-approved “Burgers with Liver” recipe from Cooking to Heal with you. I know this dish may not sound tasty but these burgers are delicious.  Time and time again, parents tell me that their kids say, “These are the best burgers ever!”  No one will know they are eating liver.

Burgers With Liver

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Low Oxalate | Paleo

Ingredients:

1 pound GROUND BEEF
2-3 ounces organic LIVER
1-2 teaspoons ONION POWDER
1 teaspoon SALT
ROSEMARY, WHITE PEPPER, or other SPICES

Directions:

  1. Add liver to food processor and blend until smooth. Remove any bits/strings of liver that are not thoroughly blended.
  2. Mix liver with remaining ingredients and form into patties.
  3. Cook as usual—in a pan, on the grill, or as desired. I prefer cooking them until they are well done.

Notes:

  • Diet Compliance: Gluten-Free/Casein-Free, Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Low Oxalate Diet, Feingold Diet without herbs and spices except salt.
  • White pepper is low oxalate.

Julie's Past Guest Posts Here at Lexie's Kitchen

Julie Matthews | Guest Post 1: Nourshing Hope for Autism
Julie Matthews | Guest Post 2: Food Matters for Autism
Julie Matthews | Guest Post 3: Food Allergies, Sensitivities and Autism
Julie Matthews | Guest Post 4: Limit Sugar for Good Health

Julie is a  Certified Nutrition Consultant and Autism Diet Specialist based out of San Francisco, California. She offers consulting in-office and around the globe via Skype. Follow her on her blog and learn more about the services she offers at Nourishing Hope.

Friday
Apr272012

How to Make Coconut Butter

 

Coconut Butter: Easy to make and a great substitute for peanut or almond butter!If you love coconut butter, raise your hand!

Coconut butter is a densely nutritious spread made from whole, raw coconut flesh and is loaded with medium-chain fatty acid-rich oil, dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. I've been using it as a spread on toast, much the same as I would peanut butter or almond butter.

One of my readers and suppliers on Etsy, Claudine, and I had an email exchange recently on the best way to make coconut butter. We love brands like Artisana and Tropical Traditions, but knew there had to be a way to make it from scratch.

We tried blitzing coconut flakes in a food processor.

No go. Not smooth enough.

Then tried a mini batch in a coffee grinder.

No good. That just resulted in coconut meal.

We both have Blendtecs and considered ordering the Blendtec Twister Jar specifically designed for thick blending. But we didn't want to fork out the money. That's when we agreed that adding liquefied coconut oil to our blend could possibly be the trick.

And it was.

This stuff is unbelievably easy to make in a high-powered blender such as a Blendtec, OmniBlend or Vitamix.  You can sweeten it, add some cocoa powder, or leave it as is. This recipe yields a coconut butter that remains spreadable at room temperature.

Coconut Butter

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free (exception of coconut) | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Vegan | Raw | Paleo

Makes:  2-1/4 cup
Prep Time:  4 minutes

Ingredients:

5 cups shredded COCONUT, unsweetened (not reduced fat or fat free)
1/3 cup COCONUT OIL, liquefied

Directions:

  1. Add 3 cups coconut and oil to high-powered blender.
  2. Blend on high until smooth, scraping sides as needed.
  3. Add another cup of flakes and blend until smooth.
  4. Add final cup of flakes and blend on high until super smooth, 1-2 minutes.
  5. The mixture will be runny. Pour into airtight container and transfer to fridge to firm up.
  6. Store at room temperature or in fridge.

How to Use Coconut Butter

This week I turned to my dear Lexie's Kitchen Facebook followers for ideas on how they use coconut butter. Here's what they said:

Deanna: Oh man a million things. I love coconut butter cookies (recipe here)

Suzanne: I mix it with cocoa powder and put it on coconut milk ice cream or banana soft serve. I also love it on sweet potatoes.

Maggie: I'm dreaming of a frosting that's made of coconut butter...

Rachel: Whipped with some maple syrup, vanilla, and a little extra coconut oil makes a really good frosting! I also use about a tablespoon blended into about one cup water as the "coconut milk" in my smoothies.

Deanna: I do what Rachel does, too - sub it with some warm water for coconut milk (in a pinch). I also ALWAYS make it from scratch. I've never bought it already made.

Monique: It's great to thicken up Thai curries :)

Alta: I eat it with a spoon. I've also used it in cookies (like a thin nut butter) and while making a "frosting" for cinnamon and orange-cranberry rolls. But honestly, eating it with a spoon is best.

Jenn: Brown rice krispy treats. Use the coconut butter instead of marshmallow.

Leanne: Frosting for cupcakes!

Kelly: I just mix coconut butter, cocoa and date paste together for a sweet paleo treat...not exactly a recipe but it hits the spot.

Audrey: As part of the ingredients in opera fudge (white).

And Love it Too: I have used mine in sweet potato mash, on top of shrimp (when my shellfish allergic child was away at scout camp),  and in place of butter on grain-free pancakes and waffles.

As for me, coconut butter gives these crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside maple macaroons a double dose of coconut goodness.

Thanks for all the great ideas!

How do you make and use coconut butter?

Tuesday
Apr242012

How to Make Nut and Seed Flours

Elana of Elana's Pantry has some incredible almond flour-based recipes in her Almond Flour Cookbook. If you haven't tried them, make a batch of Elana's Chocolate Chip Cookies. Out of this world and egg-free, too!

I think Elana put Honeyville Food Products on the map when recommending their almond flour in her cookbooks. It is a superb flour; nice and light. Because it's a mail-order product, I stock up and buy five pounds at a time ($30 plus shipping). The only problem is that if I run out halfway through a recipe I can't just run to the store and pick up more. So, that's when I whip out my three dollar Goodwill find—a Braun coffee grinder.

Here I compare storebought almond flour to a small batch I ground up myself. Had I used blanched almonds, my flour would have looked exactly like Honeyville's.

With these flours, I proceeded to make two batches of Elana's gluten-free Snickerdoodles—from this cookbook—one with the freshly ground almond flour and one with Honeyville's. Once again, no difference—in taste or texture.

If you do a lot of baking with almond flour, it's probably best to keep a bag of Honeyville's on hand. However, if you only use it occasionally and in small measures (1-2 cups at a time), then give making your own a try.

And there are tons of other flours you can grind up at home, too!

My coffee grinder is an older model of this one and has become one of the most essential gadgets in my kitchen. If you have one hiding in the depths of your cabinet, pull it out, dust it off, and start grinding away!

Grind Nuts and Seeds into Flours and Meals

Here are some of the nuts and seeds I grind regularly in my coffee grinder. Wonder if your favorite nut or seed will grind? Just experiment. You might stumble upon the next great "flour!"

Chia Seed: Due to Miles' egg intolerance, I bake with chia eggs. To make a chia egg I grind white chia seeds in the coffee grinder and mix with water (here's a post on chia and how to make a chia egg).

Flax Seed: Another great foundation for an egg replacer and a nice flour to add to baked goods. What to make with it: Kim Wilson's Soaked-Grains Flatbread over at Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen is incredible!

Pumpkin Seed: Makes a great flour. I throw some into my pancake batter for added protein. What else to make with it: I've been wanting to try Maggie's Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Walnuts, Cashews and Pecans: A great addition to baked goods. With softer nuts like these, be careful not to over grind or nut butter will be the result. What to make with it: Grain-Free Breakfast Porridge over at Diet Dessert and Dogs.

Hazelnuts: An alternative to almond flour. What to make with it: My Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Egg-Free Hazelnut Brownies.

Almonds: What to make with it: Any of Elana's Pantry's almond flour-based recipes!

Buckwheat and Quinoa: A great addition to baked goods. Some prefer to sprout/soak, dehydrate and then grind.

Spices: And don't forget to use that coffee grinder for grinding up whole spices like cumin, coriander, peppercorns and small pieces of cinnamon stick.

How to Grind Nuts and Seeds into Flour and/or Meal:

  1. Fill a coffee grinder 1/2 to 3/4 full (maxmium) with raw nuts or seeds.
  2. Grind until you have a nice, fluffy flour.
  3. If the grinder sounds like it is slowing down, check to see if a nut or seed is lodged under, or stuck on, the blade. Dislodge and off you go.
  4. Repeat until you have the amount your recipe calls for.
  5. Pick out chunks and grind again or toss.
  6. Sifting the flour is optional, but ensures a consistently fine flour. I picked up a gently used turn-handle flour sifter at Goodwill (is it any secret how much I love that store?) much like this one. It worked like a charm to sift out the larger bits of hard nuts like almonds. Avoid the multiple screen style sifters like this one. I tried one and it made for a big headache.
  7. Store any unused flour in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Notes:

I suggest purchasing a separate coffee grinder for this task. I have not repeated it hundreds of times and don't think it would damage a grinder, but at the same time I don't want to be responsible for damage done to anyone's precious coffee grinder. :) Grind flour at your own risk.

Monday
Apr162012

Easy No-Cook, Grain-Free Breakfast Porridge 

Photo courtesy of Diet Dessert and Dogs.

This week I was hoping to post a new yogurt recipe that's been in the works. Alas, sigh ... I ran out of a key ingredient in the final test round.

So thank you, Ricki Heller, for coming to my rescue and sharing a fabulous recipe for a no-cook, gluten-free, grain-free porridge. I have been making this regularly for months now—so good, and the kids love it, too!

Ricki is a whole foods chef, recipe developer and writer. Her blog, Diet, Dessert and Dogsfeatures stories about anti-candida living with over 600 whole-foods recipes free of wheat, dairy, eggs or refined sugars—plus regular commentary from her two adorable dogs. Her cookbook, Sweet Freedom, is the only Canadian book recommended by Ellen DeGeneres on her website. Ricki lives just outside of Toronto with her husband and two “girls.”

Ricki and I share similar tastes and it's a sure bet that I will always find a great recipe on her site that fits my criteria. She was a lifesaver during our time on the Anti-Candida diet—and still is! If that is a realm you are venturing into, you will want to bookmark Diet, Dessert and Dogs right now.

In addition to the many recipes you'll find on her website and her hardcover cookbook, Sweet Freedom, Ricki has published three e-cookbooks, all of which are gluten-free, refined sugar-free, egg-free and dairy-free, with many grain-free options, too! Support a blogger ... order yours today:

Anti-Candida Feast Ebook

Desserts without Compromise Ebook

Good Morning! Breakfast Ebook

 

____________________________________________________________________________________

Guest Post: Breakfast Porridge by Ricki Heller

One of my favorite childhood comfort foods is oatmeal. I mean, who among us has never tasted a big bowl of steaming, thick and sludgy oatmeal? Add a splash of milk and a sprinkling of brown sugar, perhaps an additional scattering of raisins, and you’ve got a hearty breakfast enjoyed by hoards of children the world over.

I do still love my oatmeal, but these days, I often opt for the grain-free kind. That’s right: following a grain-free diet does not mean you have to forfeit that bowl of rich, creamy morning goodness! This recipe for almost-instant, nut-and-seed based porridge is so much like “the real thing” that you could even fool your family (but you want to let them in on the secret so they can appreciate all the amazing nutritional value in this cereal—and compliment you on your culinary sorcery!). And the beauty of this breakfast is that it doesn’t have to cook on the stovetop the way true oatmeal does.

Feel free to top your cereal with berries or other chopped fruit, raisins, or toppings of your choice; this recipe is very versatile.  However you prepare it, you’ll be guaranteed a full serving of pure winter comfort in a bowl.

Easy No-Cook, Grain-Free Breakfast Porridge

This porridge is quick and easy, and infinitely variable: use sunflower or hemp instead of the pumpkin seeds; substitute another favorite nut instead of the walnuts; include the coconut or omit it, as you wish. It is suitable for all stages of the Anti-Candida Diet.

To tempt you and show you how chock-full of goodness this porridge is, here are the ingredients you will need. For the complete recipe, click here and you will be redirected to the original recipe over at Diet Dessert and Dogs.

Ingredients:

Unsweetened Coconut Flakes or Shreds
Raw Pumpkin Seeds
Raw Flax Seeds
Chia Seeds
Raw Walnuts
Cinnamon
Hot Water
Vanilla Liquid Stevia or Coconut Sugar
Coconut or Nut milk
Fresh Berries or Dried Apricots

Directions:

For measurements and directions, visit Diet Dessert and Dogs.

Note:

You can make a large batch of this cereal in advance and store it in single servings in the freezer so it's ready to go when you need it: defrost overnight in the refrigerator and enjoy!

Tuesday
Apr102012

Raw Cultured Cashew "Cheese"

Feeling adventurous? How about fermenting some Raw Cultured Cashew "Cheese"? It's so easy!

Where is Alton Brown when we need him?

If I could, I would sit down with that man and pick his brain about cultures. And I don't mean cultures in the anthropological sense, but rather those ubiquitous one-celled organisms we call bacteria—the stuff that makes cheese (and feet) stinky and yogurt tart.

Recently, I've been working on another yogurt recipe (to come next week!), but in the interim have dabbled in the making of cultured nut "cheese." I used a recipe from Carmella Soleil that I found in her book Deliciously Raw: Easy Recipes for the Omni Blender. The book accompanied my high-powered Omni Blender which BTW really busted a move on this here cashew cheese. Just look at the smooth texture! 

 

All You Need to Make This Cheese

Carmella also blogs over at The Sunny Raw Kitchen. A very similar recipe to the one in her book can be found there. All that's required to make this cheese is:

  • Raw Cashew Nuts or Macadamia Nuts
  • Water
  • Allergen-Free Probiotic Capsules 
  • Cheesecloth

The recipe can be found here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Carmella's recipe online calls for rejuvelac. Further on down in her notes she mentions that water can be used in place of rejuevelac. Rejuvelac is a general term for a fermented liquid purported to improve digestion of food. It is commonly prepared using whole wheat, rye, quinoa, oats, barley, millet, buckwheat, rice and other grains. If you are gluten-free, stick with using water for this recipe and/or use rejuvelac made from a certified gluten-free grains. I just used water. Easier peasier.

Once cultured, you can enjoy your "cheese" as is or mix in herbs, spices, salt—whatever you want! There's a world of possibilities. I think I stuck to thyme and dill and threw in some salt and nutritional yeast. Voila, spreadible, edible cheese. Next go-round I'm thinking pepper jack!

The Million Dollar Question

"So, how does it taste?!"

Well, quite like cheese actually—like cream cheese or that Alouette stuff. Kinda blew my mind. My husband approved. I took a batch to a barbecue last week and even our friends liked it. 

For the probiotic I recommend Ther-Biotic® Complete by Klaire Labs. I am checking around for a non-dairy cheese culture to experiment with next time—don't even know if one exists ... do you? I'll let you know what I find. The culturing time depends on how warm your house is and how "ripe" you like your cheese. I opted for a milder cheese.

Another Recipe to Try

Here's another recipe that comes by way of The Urban Poser. I have not tried it but it looks divine! I mean doesn't the name say it all? White Wine Pecan Cashew Cheese Ball!

Happy cheese making!