Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Another Way to Make Bone Broth!!

This is an addendum to my original post on bone broth, which can be found here

Y'all know how much I love bone broth!!

I have always made it in my slow cooker, but I recently decided to try it out in my pressure cooker.  While making it in the slow cooker is usually convenient--I either start early in the morning or late at night to accommodate that 12 hours of cooking--there are times when it's a hassle for me.  So I decided to try it out in my pressure cooker.

Now my large slow cooker is 6 quarts.  And my large pressure cooker is 8 quarts.  So I found I'm able to make even more broth in my pressure cooker than I can in my slow cooker--that's an added bonus! But of course that will vary depending on what size YOUR slow cooker & pressure cooker might be.  (I actually have 2 of each--my slow cookers are 3 quart & 6 quart & my pressure cookers are 4 quart & 8 quart)

*Place the chicken bones/parts, water, & vinegar in the pressure cooker & let it sit for about 30 minutes.
*Add the rest of the ingredients, with the exception of the parsley.
*Seal it up & heat over high heat until it comes up to pressure.
*Cook for 60-90 minutes, depending on how strong you like your bone broth.
*Turn it off & let the pressure drop down.
*Open, add the parsley, close it up, let it sit for 30 minutes.
*Then strain & store.

One added benefit I found--in addition to being able to make MORE broth--was that I found the fat rose to the top of the jars of broth when I placed them in the refrigerator.  So then I was able to easily remove the fat (you can save it & use it for cooking if you like).  When I've made broth in my slow cooker I've never seen the fat separate from the rest of the broth.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Holiday time: keeping it fun AND healthy!!

The holidays can really pack on a lot of calories.  I do love to bake but this year I decided to try to keep things healthier, while still keeping it fun for the holidays.

Thanksgiving was our usual--turkey, stuffing (we used Glutino brand), mashed potatoes, Hawaiian yams, & gravy.

But for Christmas, when my family came over, I came up with a plan to keep it both fun & healthy!

We smoked a whole chicken & made a gluten free version of Jack Daniel's sauce for it.  We also served a green salad & steamed potatoes with it.

But I chose to have this as an appetizer table set up for snacking.  I bought it all & washed & chopped it all, but my wonderful husband actually set this up for me & I think he did a fabulous job!

Not to mention, this is also really fun for kids.  My son adores trains (what child doesn't??)
so I was hoping it would encourage him to try some healthy foods.  And I am excited to report that he did try jicama for the very first time!!  That was a big moment for us.

My niece & nephew were visiting also, but I can't remember if they tried anything new or exciting simply because it was a train!

I did also make deserts (a spice cake, which was Jesus' birthday cake, & bolitas dulces--a Peruvian desert), but I think we all had a very modest portion & mostly snacked on these healthy appetizers.  And I certainly didn't mind all the healthy leftovers I had in the house afterwards!

So I encourage you to be willing to think outside the box for holidays & find ways to make food fun & healthy at the same time!!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy Anniversary!!

My intention is to write a blog at least once a week.  I apologize for falling behind due to the busy-ness of Christmas and New Years!!

But I'm back & I'm here to talk about a celebration of sorts.  You see, I am celebrating my 3rd anniversary.  As some of you know, I've been married to my wonderful husband for over 10 years now, but I'm referring to my gluten-free anniversary.  I will forever remember this anniversary, as it has affected my life in a huge, huge way.

For anyone reading this that might be fairly new to the gluten free diet or considering embarking upon a gluten free diet: please know that the first year will be filled with mistakes, but with those mistakes comes learning & growing & most importantly learning how to minimize repeating those mistakes.  In the future I hope to post some blogs to help with learning these things.  

Before I embarked upon a gluten free diet, I was convinced that I was dying a slow & painful death.  And in all certainty, I am sure that would have indeed been the case had I not launched myself into a gluten free diet.  

I really wouldn't have cared, except that I had a very young son that needed me.  I couldn't bear the thought of dying & not being there for him.  That was the fuel that kept me fighting even though my body grew weaker & frailer with each passing day it seemed.

In all honesty I did not believe that I had an issue with gluten.  And neither did my husband.  But I was struggling with Interstitial Cystitis horribly & my health was, in general, declining severely & rapidly.  My doctors had no answer for me.  Being a nurse, I am very good at medical research & I was searching & searching for some sort of hope.  It seemed that no matter where I began my search I kept coming to the same point in the search were I would quit that search & start a new one.  That same point that I kept coming to was gluten.  

My motto was "to leave no stone unturned" in my quest to save my life.  So I felt I had to rule out this gluten issue before moving forward. I truly thought it was a waste of my time & so did my husband.  It was somewhere in the first week of December 2012 I started my trial gluten free diet.  I was planning to remain gluten free for a couple of months & then reintroduce gluten & note my body's response.  In the last week of that same month we went out to eat at a restaurant.  I remember it well, as it was my very first time trying to eat gluten free in a restaurant.  The waiter even offered me couscous, which I was well aware was NOT gluten free.  I did well, though, up until desert time.  Then my husband had these creme brûlée mini tarts.  I adore creme brûlée & my husband told me to eat it, just to leave the crust behind & only eat the filling.  I knew nothing about cross contamination at that time & I went for it.  And I was very soon in so much pain I couldn't believe it.  I knew in that moment that I could never ever again eat gluten.  

In January or February I removed gluten from my son's diet as well, since he had been struggling with digestive issues since he was a baby & he had stopped growing.  He has been strong & healthy & thriving ever since.

In the past 3 years I sometimes can't believe how much I've learned about gluten, celiac disease, cross contamination, etc.  I am forever learning about these things.  I have also come to believe that my father had it as well.  He died of pancreatic cancer at a fairly young age.  I've learned that this is a common ending for undiagnosed (or diagnosed but non-compliant) celiacs.  And I do recall him having chronic digestive issues & migraines when I was a child.  

So if you're new to the gluten free diet or contemplating it--just do it, just go for it.  Stay gluten free for a month or two & then reintroduce gluten & monitor how you feel.  That is the basis of any elimination diet.  It takes longer for gluten to get fully out of our system than some other foods though, so you do need to commit to a month or two at minimum.  

And if you have any questions, feel free to contact me--here on the blog, or on Instagram, or you can email me at
Have a blessed 2016 my friends!!