Saturday, March 16, 2019

Book Review - French Kids Eat Everything


Image result for french kids eat everything

Upon the recommendation of a good friend, I started reading this book.

And then I kept talking about it, and so my husband read it.

And then this morning I made a recipe from it.  And later this week I plan on making 3 more.  And I am shocked at how all these classic French recipes can be easily adapted for LPLD!

I have adored French food for years - the small serving sizes at restaurants, yet perfectly plated and beautifully displayed; the outrageous ingredients to try; the rich flavors; the smooth sauces.  I can't speak French to save my life, which is a challenge for traveling there, but we have had many lovely trips outside the main city centers where we can get by and enjoy the food.

French Kids Eat Everything opened my eyes to the day-to-day aspects of French family life- quite similarly to my favorite parts of living in Germany for 3 years.  Some of my favorite parts of travel include going to local markets, watching families of various cultures at playgrounds, and eating the foods that are everyday staples there.  Because of this book, my husband and I have been working on enjoying cooking instead of unconsciously thinking of it as a chore, setting the dinner table more thoughtfully so that we don't have to get up during the meal, sitting at the table for meals instead of rushing through a meal to dash off to our next thing to do, and talking with our girls about how their food looks, smells, tastes, and feels in their mouths.  I hope to remember this book to reread in a few years, after its lessons have faded from my memory.

In the meantime, we are trying some of the recipes.  This morning I made pain d'epices for breakfast (I used skim milk and MCT oil instead of the butter), this afternoon with lunch we plan to have Sophie's Spinach Surprise soup before our egg sandwiches, and later this week I want to try Baby's Vichyssoise.  Eventually I will buy some endive and learn to cook with it.  Maybe I can make a quiche more often (crustless, and with lots of egg whites), and the stuffed tomatoes sound good, too.  I have big plans!  And I am so surprised to find the soups are so fat free!  They are basically just pureed steamed vegetables.  I'll let you know how they go.

Pain d'epices!  Just don't ask me to pronounce it, it won't be pretty.  But tastes like gingerbread, yet it has rye flour!
I have been working to lose the baby weight from my 3 month old recently, and reading this book definitely has helped.  I think its lessons would benefit anyone trying to eat better.  Changing our mindset to enjoy and actually relish good food, rather than just view it as a utilitarian fuel, seems to satisfy a deep desire that is essential to being human.  That desire being filled in other, disordered, ways leads to mindless overeating and mindless snacking, which never really satisfy.  But sitting down to a meal, carefully (but still often quickly!) prepared, with good company, and considering each attribute of every bite is immensely satisfying, and helps me not WANT to snack or overeat.

I highly recommend the book and wanted to share.  Even though many French flavors use significant amounts of fat, oil, and lard, they are also expert at displaying the other flavors of food.  I will keep looking for good LPL-friendly French recipes!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Banana Bread

My kids LOVE banana bread and it makes for an easy breakfast.  I like to soak my grains anyway, so that means I do most of it the night before, then do the final mixing step while the oven is preheating in the morning, then go back to bed until the timer wakes me up.  It's just as special as pancakes or waffles to my kids, but a WHOLE lot less work.

I have modified this recipe from Nourishing Traditions, one of my favorite cookbooks.

3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups skim buttermilk/kefir/yogurt

Combine the above and let rest for 12-24 hours.  24 hours will apparently give fluffier bread, but I always forget to get it soaked that long.  In a separate bowl, combine, mix, and refrigerate:

3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 c MCT oil
2 ripe bananas, mashed thoroughly

If you don't have any nice ripe black bananas, place whole yellow bananas in a 350 degree oven for 10 min; it will turn them black and sweet, perfect for this bread

After 12-24 hr, mix the two bowls together, along with 2 teaspoons baking soda.  Pour into a 9 inch loaf pan and top with a few pecans or walnuts if desired.

Bake at 350 for 1 and a half hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean.



Thursday, February 7, 2019

Bibimbap

Have you ever wished you had more Korean food in your repertoire?  Well if you're anything like our family, you will after you try this meal.  I was inspired to make it when one of my favorite bloggers wrote about it here.  When we make it for the kids, it's very un-spicey, but each individual can turn up the heat as desired.

So it's a bowl of rice, with various vegetables with different flavors on top, with some thinly sliced meat, and a nice runny egg on the very top to slowly ooze its 5 g of fat all over everything else with deliciousness.  We like to use pork loin for extra low fatness, and it's all just so tastey!

Here's a rundown of some vegie toppings you could use:
~pickled cucumbers and carrots (cucumbers cut into coins, carrots sliced with a peeler all the way through to be nice and thin; soak for a few hours in a mixture of 1/4 c sugar, half white vinegar, half water, and ta da! it's pickled!)
~kimchi (storebought, or it's basically spicy sauerkraut if you want to make it yourself, it's not too hard)
~sauteed spinach (we toss ours with a little Korean barbecue sauce we have on hand, but basically a little Asian flavor of any sort will do)
~bean sprouts
~sauteed mushrooms (shiitake are good and flavorful)

For the meat, we sliced the pork loin thin, and set it to marinade for a few hours.  The marinade for a whole loin was:
1/3 c brown sugar
1/2 c soy sauce
1/3 c white wine vinegar
1/3 c lime juice
1 T garlic powder
1 T ginger



We pass some gochuchang sauce around for the grownups or others who tolerate spiciness well to add as desired, but really it belongs in the meat marinade in the first place, oh well.  Our kids love getting to put together their own bowls, then we put the egg on top as the piece de resistance, and it's delicious and healthy and low fat!



Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Homemade Pizza Recipe


One of my proudest moments of a parent is hearing Monica declare, like most any 5 year old, that pizza is her favorite food.  I love that I can make a pizza that she loves, even with LPLD.

I haven't had luck with finding a crust that we like that's store bought, especially with low to no fat.  Instead, once a month I'll make a big batch of this sourdough pizza crust, bake them, and freeze them in a big plastic bag.  I have a sourdough culture living in my refrigerator that I really only use for this recipe.  I'll start 'feeding' it and letting it grow on the counter for a week prior to when I know I'll have time to make all those crusts.

When it's pizza night, all we have to do is take one out of the oven, cover it with our homemade all-purpose tomato sauce, sprinkle on the nonfat cheese, then top with mushrooms, pineapple, ham, chicken, olives, bell peppers, tomatoes, sautéed onions, or anything else sitting in the kitchen that sounds good!  Bake it as listed in the crust recipe above, and it's delicious.  Crisp crust that doesn't sag under the weight of all those goodies.  Very low fat.  Yum!

Half pepperoni pizza for my non-LPLD daughter, and half Hawaiian with fat free cheese!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

CREPES!

Crepes are by far the girls' favorite food in the world.  My husband is a master at making them, and he'll make them at least every other weekend.  We try to save them as a special Sunday, Lord's day, kind of food.  But they are good all the time!

This is the basic recipe.  We make a double recipe to feed our family of 5.  We like the mix of half white and half whole wheat flour, as Luke finds them much less tear-able (like all white flour would be) but not too thick and hearty (as all whole wheat tends to be).

2 eggs
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1 T coconut or olive oil

Mix the above ingredients.  Whisk well.  Prep your pan by heating it on medium, once warm add a splash of coconut or olive oil (you don't have to eat the first crepe if you have LPL, you won't need more oil for cooking), wait for that to warm up.  Pour batter into the heated and prepped pan and tilt it to coat the pan with a thin layer of batter.  As soon as the crepe looks dry, flip the pan upside down onto a serving plate and pour more batter in!  We keep the plate covered by a large pot lid to keep them all warm, but you could also keep the plate in an oven set to 'warm.'

It took us many months to perfect our technique.  But even messed up crepes are rather delicious...

Makes 6-7 large crepes.  24 g of fat for the whole recipe, so 4 g of fat per crepe (17 g total if you count coconut oil to be half the fat, then 3 g per crepe).  So we try to keep the filling all non fat, which isn't hard!

Ideas for the filling:
  • the classic is a wedge of lemon squeezed over the crepe, then a spoonful of sugar sprinkled on tap of that, and folded into quarters.  Yum!
  • chocolate syrup with fresh fruit (strawberries! blueberries! bananas! kiwi!)
  • cook down frozen fruit or firm fruit (like apples or pears), adding water or juice and some sugar, to make a pie-filling like deliciousness...
  • canned pie filling!  Tart cherries especially!
  • savory - any nonfat cheese combination with lean lunch meat, maybe with roasted peppers, asparagus, oh man, the combinations are limitless...
guten Appetit!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

PrEtZeLs!!!

Pretzels are ubiquitous to Germany.  They are sold in every bakery, at most festivals, and many food stands.  And there's a reason: they are delicious!

Pretzels save us on a regular basis - a fresh pretzel is reliably extremely low fat, and my girls will gladly accept one as a special treat.  We are going to miss these when we return to the States!

Or will we?  Pretzels are amazingly easy to make at home!  They have yeast but don't have to rise.  They have to be both boiled and baked, but it's not as hard as you might imagine.

Super cool pretzel-lovers
So give it a try!  Make them with salt, or coat them with cinnamon and sugar for dessert (I recommend dipping in cinnamon sugar after baking, not much of the flavor comes through if you dust them beforehand).  Here's my go-to recipe, with great explanations and videos, or here's their recipe copied for a quick reference:

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Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction:
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) warm water (lukewarm-- no need to take temperature)
  • 1 packet active dry or instant yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil (warmed and liquid) or MCT oil
  • 3 and ¾  - 4 cups (460-500g) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Whisk the yeast into warm water. Allow to sit for 1 minute. Whisk in salt, brown sugar, and melted butter. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon (or dough hook attached to stand mixer) until dough is thick. Add 3/4 cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add 1/4 - 1/2 cup more, as needed. Poke the dough with your finger - if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 3 minutes and shape into a ball. Cover lightly with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. (Meanwhile, I like to get the water + baking soda boiling as instructed in step 6.)
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Get out 2 baking sheets, I prefer stoneware.
  4. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into 1/3 cup sections (to make 12 pretzels)
  5. Roll the dough into a 20-22 inch rope. Take the ends and draw them together so the dough forms a circle. Twist the ends, then bring them towards yourself and press them down into a pretzel shape. (or make letters and silly squiggles with your kids!)
  6. Bring 1/2 cup baking soda and 9 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Drop 1-2 pretzels into the boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Any more than that and your pretzels will have a metallic taste. Using a slotted spatula, lift the pretzel out of the water and allow as much of the excess water to drip off. Place pretzel onto prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle each with coarse sea salt. Repeat with remaining pretzels.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Pumpkin Muffins

Adapted from this recipe.

If I can find a way to get vegetables into breakfast, I consider myself a pretty accomplished mom.  So this recipe, with a good amount of pumpkin and all whole-wheat flour for lots of good fiber, plus molasses to increase the iron levels of my daughters, is a favorite - even more so because my girls love them!  A warning, though - they only love them if I put pretty decorative pumpkin seeds on top.  Presentation is everything, I suppose!  I've even served them with cream cheese frosting (made with fat-free cream cheese) for a special occasion, breakfast or dessert.

Low Fat Pumpkin Muffins

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda/ baking soda
  • 1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup MCT or coconut oil
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (half a can)
  • 1/8 cup pumpkin seeds (I think 3 seeds per muffin is perfect)
Combine dry ingredients.  Add wet ingredients.  Pour into greased or papered muffin tins (we like to have the girls 'paint' each cup with coconut oil using a pastry brush).  Mix well, and spoon promptly into the muffin cups such that each is one half to three-quarters full.  Top with a few pumpkin seeds for decoration.  Bake at 350 F/ 180 C for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let rest in muffin tins for 5 minutes (if you can resist eating one right away) before removing.