Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

deep dish pizza titles web large size

My daughter just turned 14, and she requested I make Chicago Style deep dish pizza for her birthday.  I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting pizza recipes. Our family favorite is this one I developed after our first trip to Naples. I’ve also done a breakfast pizza.  More recently I posted a Grilled Pizza recipe in a guest post for Traditional Cooking School. But those were hand-tossed crusts that needed to be crisp/chewy. The deep dish crust is a different texture – a little biscuity, and definitely thicker. I also wanted wanted to incorporate a little sourdough to up the nutritional content as well as the flavor of the crust. Usually deep dish pizzas are all about the fillings and the crust always seems a bit lacking.

IMG_4272 web large watermark

What I came up with was a pizza with a slightly tangy, toothy crust piled high with plenty of toppings smothered in a chunky tomato sauce. I’ve given you a recipe for sausage with peppers and onions or mushrooms, but you can use your own favorites. Just remember to saute any vegetables first or they may release too much liquid while baking and make things soggy.

Crust:

2/3 cup sprouted cornmeal or organic cornmeal

3 cups spelt flour or organic whole wheat flour

2 Tablespoons sourdough starter

2 teaspoons honey or sucanat

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 to 1 1/3 cups water

1/4 cup olive oil

Toppings:

1 lb shredded mozzarella cheese

8 oz shredded provolone cheese

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 lb. Italian sausage

4 oz fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup thinly sliced onion

1/2 cup thinly sliced green pepper

2 8oz cans organic tomato sauce

1 cup organic diced tomatoes

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp raw honey

1/2 tsp garlic powder

a pinch of sea salt

olive oil

For the Crust:

Combine the cornmeal, flour, sourdough starter, 2 tsp honey and about a cup of the water in a large mixing bowl. Allow this to rest (also called the autolyze stage) for about 30 minutes. Then add in the oil, salt and any more water needed to make a smooth but still stiff dough. Using the dough hook or your hands, knead the dough for 5 minutes. Cover and allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 8 hours or as long as 24 hours. The longer you let it sit the more nutritious your crust will be, however it will also develop a more sour flavor – so it is a balance between the two.

For the Toppings:

Combine the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, 1 tsp honey, garlic powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. Saute the sausage, mushrooms, onions and peppers in a large skillet until the sausage is done and the vegetables are tender. Combine the shredded mozzarella, and shredded provolone in a bowl.

To Assemble the Pizzas:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Generously coat the bottom and sides of two deep dish pizza pans with olive oil. I use a stoneware pan like this, but you could also use a 10″ or 11″ cast iron skillet like this if you don’t have a deep dish pan. Divide the dough in half and gently press the dough across the bottom and at least halfway up the sides of the pans. You don’t want it too thick on the bottom or it will be soggy and not cooked all the way through, but you do want it high enough on the sides that it will contain the deep layers of toppings.

Sprinkle 1 cup of the mozzarella mixture across the bottom of each crust. Divide the sausage mixture evenly between the two pizzas and spread over the cheese. Divide the remaining mozzarella mixture between the two pizzas, and then divide the tomato sauce mixture spreading it evenly over the toppings. Sprinkle the shredded Parmesan over the top of each pizza.

Bake the pizzas for 30-35 minutes at 425 degrees or until the crust is a deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Remove the pizzas from the oven and let them rest, in the pan, on a cooling rack for ten minutes. These pizzas are superhot and if you eat them right out of the oven you will do some damage to your mouth! The resting time also lets the filling firm up enough that when you slice it everything doesn’t just run all over the pan.

Chicago Stye Deep Dish Pizza
Author: 
Recipe type: deep dish pizza
Cuisine: Italian-American
 
Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • ⅔ cup sprouted cornmeal or organic cornmeal
  • 3 cups spelt flour or organic whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sourdough starter
  • 2 teaspoons honey or sucanat
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 to 1⅓ cups water
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Toppings:
  • 1 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 oz shredded provolone cheese
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 4 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup thinly sliced onion
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green pepper
  • 2 8oz cans organic tomato sauce
  • 1 cup organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • olive oil for the pan
Instructions
  1. For the Crust:
  2. Combine the cornmeal, flour, sourdough starter, 2 teaspoons honey and the water in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Allow this to rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Add in the oil, salt and any more water necessary to make a smooth but still stiff dough.
  5. Using the dough hook or your hands, knead the dough for 5 minutes.
  6. Cover and allow the dough to sit out at room temperature for 8 hours or as long as 24 hours.
  7. The longer it sits the more nutritious it will be, but also the more sour the flavor - find a balance that works for your family.
  8. For the toppings:
  9. Combine the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon honey, garlic powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  10. Saute the sausage, mushrooms, peppers and onions in a large skillet until the sausage it done and the vegetables are tender.
  11. Combine the shredded mozzarella and shredded provolone in a bowl.
  12. To Assemble the Pizzas:
  13. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  14. Generously coat the bottom and sides of two deep dish pizza pans with olive oil.
  15. Divide the dough in half and gently press the dough across the bottom and up the sides of the pans.
  16. Keep the bottom crust evenly thin so it will cook completely.
  17. Sprinkle 1 cup of the mozzarella mixture across the bottom of each crust.
  18. Divide the sausage mixture evenly between the two pizzas.
  19. Divide the remaining mozzarella mixture evenly on top of the sausage layer.
  20. Divide the tomato sauce mixture spreading evenly across the top of each pizza.
  21. Sprinkle the tops with shredded parmesan.
  22. Bake the pizzas for 30-35 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
  23. Remove the pizzas from the oven and let them rest in the pan for 10 minutes - do not skip this step!
  24. Slice the pizzas and enjoy.

IMG_4273 web large watermarkWhen you’ve had enough turkey leftovers and feel like calling out for pizza, try this deep dish pizza instead. Have you ever made deep dish pizza before? Leave a reply and tell us your favorite toppings. Use the media buttons at the top to Pin this for later or Tweet to friends.

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Foods For Immunity

Guest blog post for Raisin’ Acres Farm. Amy shares her journey to finding healing foods for her family.

A little more than ten years ago my family began making major dietary changes that have resulted in much better health for all of us. Up to that time my children were prescribed antibiotics several times every year for ear infections and upper respiratory infections, I had my share of bad colds that seemed to last forever, and one of my children had chronic constipation that disrupted our family life for three years. Today, more than a decade and two children later, we are free from medications and sicknesses are no longer the rule. My youngest, born about 7 years after our diet changes, has never had medication of any kind, nor has she ever been to the doctor for a sick visit.  read more….

amy chicken stock with titles

Simple Squash Soup with Sage

sqash soup 1 titles

One of my privileges is to be a Weston A Price Foundation chapter leader.  I get to meet lots of friendly people, spread the word about healthy food, and schedule interesting speakers who teach us about all kinds of interesting things. Last month my friend Pam Wesley, who is a certified GAPS practitioner at Flourish Nutrition Centre, spoke to our chapter about the differences between the GAPS diet and the traditional diets of the Weston A Price Foundation. She also cooked this amazing soup and brought it to share with everyone.

I made the soup this weekend and shared some with a neighbor and shared the rest with my chapter co-leader, Steve Moreau, when he came over for dinner so we could plan out the chapter activities for the next couple of months.

Usually when I make soups from winter squashes I use butternut, but Pam had used acorn squash which gave the soup a different texture. I got wild and crazy at the grocery store and bought a buttercup squash just to try it out. I’d never had one before and turns out I’ve been missing something great – the buttercup flesh is thick and velvety when it is cooked and the soup came out so creamy!

squash at publix with labels

This soup is appropriate for the maintenance stage of the GAPS diet, or if you leave out the cream you can have it during the intro stage as well. The egg yolks are optional, but add extra vitamins and minerals.

Simple Squash Soup with Sage

5 Tablespoons sweet cream butter

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 lbs fresh winter squash, peeled and cubed

4 cups homemade chicken stock

3 egg yolks

1 cup heavy cream

fresh sage, minced

sea salt

freshly ground pepper

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven. Add the onion and saute until tender. Add the squash and the stock, simmer until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Use a blender, food processor or immersion blender to puree the soup to a velvety smooth texture. Return to the pan. Beat together the egg yolks and the cream and add to the soup. Heat gently but do not boil. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with fresh sage and swirl in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and serve.

Simple Squash Soup with Sage
Author: 
Recipe type: soup
 
This GAPS friendly soup is delicious enough to serve to company.
Ingredients
  • 5 Tablespoons sweet cream butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 lbs fresh winter squash, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream (preferably raw, not ultra-pasteurized)
  • fresh sage, minced
  • sea salt
  • pepper
Instructions
  1. Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a large pot.
  2. Add the onion and saute until tender.
  3. Add the squash and the stock, simmer until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Use a blender, food processor or immersion blender to puree the soup to a velvety smooth texture.
  5. Return soup to the pan.
  6. Beat together the egg yolks and the cream in a separate bowl, and add to the soup.
  7. Heat gently but do not boil.
  8. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Sprinkle with fresh sage and swirl in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and serve.

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The High Cost of the Value Meal

value meal titles

A few weeks ago I shared the picture below on the Well Fed Family Facebook page. It received a lot of comments ranging from those who were disgusted to those who really wanted to know how it was possible to eat well when you didn’t have a lot of money.

too poor to be healthyWhen I mentioned that I had once blogged about how if someone was willing to just cook for themselves they could eat organic potatoes and grassfed beef burgers for less than the price of a fast food meal. Several people asked if I’d repost the article. So here it is, updated with current prices and including some recipes. I’m also going to post more budget-friendly recipes here on Well Fed Family that are healthier and cheaper than eating off the $1 Menu.

The High Cost of the Value Meal

It’s been 10 years since filmmaker Morgan Spurlock released his documentary Super Size Me where he eats 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, exclusively from McDonald’s. It’s doubtful anyone really thinks they are getting a healthy meal this way, however we still choose it all too often, eyes wide open to the detriment to our health and our children’s health. Why? Because often we perceive these foods to be inexpensive, a good value for the money and time spent. Some go so far as to say they cannot afford any other kind of food; that they are victims of the food industry. I’m here to show you nothing could be further from the truth.

Is a value meal really as cheap as it seems?

Let’s look at two common meals from two familiar fast food chains. Then we’ll compare costs with what we’d spend if we prepared these meals at home. I’m using restaurant prices from Fast Food Prices and grocery prices from my own personal grocery receipts from stores here in the metro-Orlando area where I live.

 

chickfila 1Meal 1:
Chick-fila original 8 count nuggets plus waffle fries and a sweet tea:
Items purchased individually total $6.59, purchased as a meal combo $5.95

The Chick-fila chicken nuggets are a favorite with most of the little kids I know. It’s the same chicken recipe as the original chicken sandwich, but cut into finger food sized pieces. Reading the actual ingredients might shock a few playgroup moms to discover they are seasoned with mostly MSG (monosodium glutamate – a known neurotoxin ) and sugar plus over 15 other ingredients. By the way, if you order the sandwich instead of the nuggets you might want to know there’s no actual butter on the “buttered bun” and the pickle chips contain 9 more ingredients in addition to cucumbers including two chemical preservatives and two petroleum-based artificial colors.

The waffle fries are made with potatoes but also include GMO canola oil, TBHQ, anti-foaming agents plus a little dextrose (sugar) and some color enhancers. All total it looks like about 8 ingredients not counting the salt.

Thankfully the sweet tea is simply water, sugar and tea. whew!

Cost breakdown for Chick-fila meal:
4oz of chicken nuggets for $3.25 is $13/lb.
4 oz of waffle fries for $1.65 is $6.60/lb.
15 oz of sweet tea for $1.69 is $14.36 per gallon

Mcdonalds 1Meal 2:
McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese, medium fry, medium soft drink:
Items purchased individually total $7.17 or purchased as a combo meal $6.39

The Quarter Pounder with cheese is a McDonald’s staple. I have to say the burger itself isn’t bad – 100% beef, salt and black pepper. The bun, however, has the usual suspects in any factory-produced bread, things like GMO soybean oil, yoga mats, and several other chemical conditioners and preservatives. The burger toppings add more chemical preservatives, plus a hearty serving of high fructose GMO corn syrup in the ketchup.

The fries are worse here than at Chick-fila with three kinds of GMO industrially processed oils including trans-fat filled hydrogenated soybean oil, plus the usual chemical preservatives and anti-foaming agents. Interestingly these fries are vegetarian, but they contain “natural beef flavor” made from hydrolyzed wheat (a hidden source of msg) and milk.

trivia mcdonalds fries

As for soft drink ingredients… Do I really need to tell you what’s in these? Do yourself a favor and just order water.

Cost breakdown for the McDonald’s meal:
Quarter pounder with cheese is $3.89 which is $15.56/lb
4oz fry is $1.79 or $7.16/lb
21oz soft drink is $1.49 or $9.07/gallon

Here’s the “I told you so” part:

Making chicken nuggets or hamburgers isn’t rocket science. If you can follow the directions on a box of Easy Mac, you have the cooking skills to make these things at home.

Easy Nuggets or Chicken filet:
Cut your boneless/skinless chicken breast into whatever size/shape you want, stick it in a ziplock bag along with ½ cup flour, 1 tsp garlic salt, 1 tsp black pepper and shake it up. Fry the chicken in a skillet over medium-high heat with some melted butter until it’s brown all over and done on the inside – about 8-10 minutes per side. Voila! Chicken nuggets!

Fries are super easy as well if you make them in the oven. Use one large potato for each person being served. Cut the potatoes lengthwise into 8-12 wedges. Toss with melted butter or olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 475 degrees in a cast iron skillet for best browning and crunch, or just use any baking pan or stoneware pan. It takes about 20-30 minutes. If you want to kick up the flavor of your fries then crush a clove of garlic into a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. When the fries come out of the oven drizzle this garlic oil over the hot fries with a little more salt. Wow!

Sweet tea: Bring 1 quart of filtered water to a boil. Add two teabags and allow to steep for ten minutes. Sweeten to taste and serve over ice.

Hamburgers: Use 1 pound of ground chuck to make four burgers. Each burger will be ¼ pound pre-cooked weight. Mix 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1 tsp of black pepper into a pound of ground chuck. (preferably grassfed or antibiotic-free) weigh out ¼ lb of the ground beef mixture and use your hands to shape it into a pattie. My mom likes to use the plastic lid from a quart yogurt container to help make the right size and shape to fit a bun. Grill or pan fry on medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes per side until done to your liking.

Make your own buns with just flour, water, egg and yeast following this recipe from King Arthur Flour.

Soft drinks: like I said earlier, don’t even go there. Drink water. Learn to make kombucha or water kefir. Make your own lemonade if you want.

Ok, so what’s the bottom line on our homemade chicken sandwich meal?

Conventional boneless/skinless chicken breast is $5.49/lb. I like to buy the non-GMO verified/antibiotic-free chicken which is about $7/lb for breast meat or $5.50/lb for thighs (which I think taste better.) However if you have a little skill with a knife you can buy bone-in chicken and remove the bones yourself. This saves you money and gives you the side benefit of having bones leftover to make homemade broth (instead of buying those expensive cans of broth – more money saving!) Boning your own chicken saves you another $2-$3 per pound.

Organic russet potatoes are $1.79/lb
Tea bags are about $4 for 100.

Cost breakdown for homemade chicken nugget meal for one serving:

$1.75 for chicken meat
.45 for potatoes
.08 for teabags
$2.24 is the grand total.

This leaves you between $4-$6 less than the purchase price at the fast food restaurant. This leaves plenty of change with which to buy the extra ingredients to make it from scratch and still have some leftover money to put in the savings account. (You only use a fraction of the flour, salt or olive oil so the per-serving amount cost from those ingredients is still very small.)

Bottom line on the Quarter Pounder meal?
Grassfed beef prices are high, but going down as the demand for this healthy meat increases. Right now I can get it for $7/lb from my grocery store. (I also have access to bulk beef and can get ¼ of a whole cow for about $6/lb. meaning steaks, roasts and ground beef are all the same price. This doesn’t have bearing for this argument unless you have a deep freeze, but the fact remains that you can get good prices on this kind of high quality meat if you know how.) Regular feedlot grocery store ground beef costs even less, and is still better for you than meats processed with nitrites, msg or preservatives. I’m sticking with grassfed beef because it proves my point just fine for this argument. This means our quarter pound burger is about $1.75.

Cheese: if you own a knife you can make your own cheese slices. Buying pre-sliced cheese is a waste of money and usually you can get much higher quality cheese if you buy it in a chunk. A good grocery store brand is Cabot. 8oz for about $3 means .38cents for a 1oz slice. (btw you can get Cabot for about half that price if you have a Sam’s or Costco membership. The big warehouse membership stores often have high quality cheese, even raw cheese, for very reasonable prices.)

Soda – remember, we aren’t drinking this, but for comparison’s sake you can purchase a 2 liter of soda for $2 or less. 2 liters = roughly 64 oz. That’s about 3 cents per ounce making your grocery store soda roughly 48 cents per 16oz glass.

Cost breakdown for the hamburger meal for one serving:

burger 1.75
cheese .38
soda .48
fries .45
$3.06 is the grand total.

Making it at home saves you between $3-$4, that’s plenty of cash leftover to more than supply funds for pickles and ketchup.

Feeding a Family of four?
Using the prices on our example meals you would spend $25.56 for McDonald’s or $23.80 for Chick-fila. Food for thought – feeding a family of four from Chipotle is $26.60 even if you ordered the most expensive thing on the menu for everyone, but it is quite a bit healthier with all of the vegetables, beans and quality meat choices. Feeding this family homemade organic/antibiotic-free versions of the fast food meals would cost between $8.96-$12.24. Now tell me you don’t have enough money to eat healthy.

determination to eat well quoteSave even more money by preparing Taco Stew, Rosemary Garlic Grilled Chicken, Cheesey Parmesan Fish, or Creamy Turkey and Brown Rice Soup for your family.

Here at Well Fed Family we post recipes all the time. Frequently they are very budget friendly, because that’s how we eat in our own homes, too! Subscribe to our newsletter (use the link at the upper right of this page) and we’ll send you more recipes and tips for healthy living each month, plus you get a bonus free e-book on how to make your own homemade ice cream! Follow us on Facebook or Pinterest for even more recipes and ideas.

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How to Start a Bulk Food Co-op

How-to-Start-Bulk-Food-Co-Op-GNOWFGLINS-mainBig chain warehouse stores aren’t the only ones to offer the power of buying in bulk. Individuals and families can harness this power when they join with other like-minded people to form a private buying club: a co-op. The age of internet commerce and communication makes buying even nutrient-dense foods, chemical-free personal care products, and non-irradiated spices easier than ever.    Read more on my October guest post for Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS.….(click here)

Taco Stew

taco stew titlesThe whole family loves this recipe. I made it a few months ago when we had several teens over for dinner and they all raved about it. One sweet young lady even asked for the recipe – I love it when kids feel empowered to cook!

The ingredients are simple. This is a great example of how you can take inexpensive real food and make something delicious, nutritious and not break the budget. You can splurge on the grassfed ground beef because the rest of the soup costs so little. I’d estimate the cost per serving, if you soak and cook your own beans from dried and make your own homemade broth, to be less than $3 per serving. Definitely a meal you can be happy about!

Taco Stew

Ingredients

1 lb. grassfed ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, pressed

olive oil or butter for the pan

2 Tablespoons no-MSG taco seasoning (make your own and save even more)

4 cups homemade chicken or beef broth

2 small zucchini or yellow squash, diced

2 cups cooked black beans

2 cups (or one 15oz can) diced tomatoes

1 cup frozen corn kernels

1 cup salsa

1/2-3/4 teaspoon sea salt (depending on how salty your taco seasoning is)

For topping:

shredded cheese

diced avocado

sour cream

non-GMO verified tortilla chips

Preparation

Heat oil or butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and ground beef and saute until beef is browned. Sprinkle with the taco seasoning and stir well to blend. Add the broth, squash, beans, tomatoes, corn and salsa and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Taste and add the remaining salt if needed. Serve with the cheese, avocado, sour cream and chips if desired.

Taco Stew
Author: 
Recipe type: soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4-6 servings
 
Healthy and family-friendly, this soup is easy on the budget while remaining nutrient-dense.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, choped
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • olive oil or butter
  • 2 Tablespoons no-MSG taco seasoning (homemade is best)
  • 4 cups homemade chicken or beef broth
  • 2 small zucchini or yellow squash, diced
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 2 cups (or one 15oz can) diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup salsa
  • ½-3/4 teaspoon sea salt (depending on how salty your taco seasoning is)
  • shredded cheese
  • diced avocado
  • sour cream
  • non-GMO tortilla chips
Instructions
  1. Heat oil or butter in a large pot over mdeium-high heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic and ground beef and saute until beef is browned.
  3. Sprinkle with taco seasoning and stir well to blend.
  4. Add the broth, squash, beans, tomatoes, corn and salsa and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Taste and add the remaining salt if needed.
  6. Serve with cheese, avocado, sour cream and chips if desired.

 

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Cheesy Chili Chicken Salad

cheesy chili chicken salad titlesIt was the 80s – Girls Night Out meant dressing up in punk rock and mini skirts with big hair and blue eyeshadow. For us it also meant going to Ryan’s on Opelika Road for Cheesy Chili Chicken Salad. This was back when chicken fingers were a new thing, so you know it was a long time ago! The salad was huge. It came in a giant bowl ringed with tortilla chips and filled with chunks of chicken fingers, kidney beans, cheese, olives, lettuce and Ryan’s special creamy chili dressing. This recipe is my rendition of that awesome meal-in-a-salad that takes me back to those crazy nights with the girls.

Cheesy Chili Chicken Salad

Dressing:

1/3 cup full fat sour cream (I like Daisy)

1/3 cup mayonnaise (I usually buy Hain’s)

1 chipotle chile, canned (save the rest in a ziptop bag in the freezer for next time)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

juice of one lime

1 teaspoon sea salt

Salad:

4 cups shredded crisp lettuce such as romaine

3 cups chopped roasted chicken

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cups cooked red beans

1 cup shredded cheddar or colby cheese

1/3 cup sliced ripe olives

1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 cup frozen organic corn kernels, thawed

sliced avocado for garnish

non-GMO tortilla chips

Dice the chipotle chili very finely (wear gloves and don’t touch your eyes!) Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.   To prepare the salad, combine the lettuce and remaining ingredients except avocado and chips in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving and toss gently to coat. Garnish with avocado slices and serve immediately with tortilla chips.  Mini skirts and big hair optional.

Cheesy Chili Chicken Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: main course salad
 
Spicy creamy cool dressing coats this meal-in-a-salad filled with chunks of chicken, beans and cheese.
Ingredients
  • Dressing
  • ⅓ cup full fat sour cream such as Daisy brand
  • ⅓ cup safflower mayonnaise such as Hain's
  • 1 canned chipotle chili in adobo, reserve other chiles for another recipe
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Salad:
  • 4 cups shredded romaine
  • 3 cups chopped roasted chicken
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups cooked red beans
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or colby cheese
  • ⅓ cup sliced ripe olives
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 cup frozen organic corn kernels, thawed
  • sliced avocado for garnish
  • non-GMO tortilla chips for serving
Instructions
  1. Finely mince the one chipotle pepper.
  2. Freeze the remaining peppers for another recipe.
  3. Combine the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
  4. To prepare the salad, combine the lettuce and remaining ingredients (except avocado and chips) in a large bowl.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving.
  6. Toss gently to coat.
  7. Garnish with avocado slices and serve immediately with tortilla chips.

 

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3 Things You Can Do for Your Kids (including talking about this uncomfortable topic)

Here are three tips from Jordan and Steve to make your kids stronger and healthier on the inside:

1. Share this chart with your kids

Get the conversation going about “going” in your house. Change the meaning of “potty talk” and open up a dialog about healthy bathroom habits at an early age. Your kids can track their own health just by knowing what to look for when they potty. It’s normal and healthy to poop, and kids are naturally curious, help to focus them in a healthy direction.

Does your Poop Stack Up?
Source: SolvingLeakyGut.com

2. Eat an abundance of fermented foods.

Serve them everyday. Make it normal at your house to have them around, and lead with your example as you eat them every day. Start with SCD yogurt, kimchee, kefir, sauerkraut, and pickles. Let your kitchen be a place of exploration.

3. Let them play in the dirt.

Soil contains millions of beneficial microbes, especially near the top where the plants grow. Plants need a healthy, diverse probiotic community just like we do. In addition to contact with a wide range of immune-strengthening microbes, getting outside to play in the dirt gives kids sunlight (vit D) exposure, exercise and fun.

Which tip is your favorite? Tell us about it in the comments!

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What You Need to Know About the Most Common Cause of IBS

digestive small and large intestine titlesThis blog is for informational purposes only. Some links may be monetized.

An estimated 60 million people in the U.S. have something called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), the symptoms of which can include anything from bloating, pain and discomfort, diarrhea and/or constipation, heartburn, and nausea. . IBS is not so much a disease as a “catch all” term used by doctors to categorize people with similar symptoms. According to Dr. Allison Siebecker as many as 84% of all people with IBS have Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO) as the underlying cause of all their troubles. Interestingly, as many as 70% of people with fibromyalgia also have some form of IBS, and so it isn’t surprising that a study done at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that 100% of fibromyalgia patients (42/42) studied also had SIBO.

What is SIBO?

It is becoming much more common knowledge that people need beneficial bacteria to keep healthy, in fact these beneficials outnumber our own cell 10:1.  Just exactly where these helpfuldigestive system image with little bugs critters are isn’t quite as clear to most people. A small amount can be found all throughout the entire digestive tract from the mouth to the other end, but the majority should be in the large intestine and colon. The small intestine, whose job is to host most of the digestion of our food, shouldn’t have a large bacteria population. Having too many bacteria in the small intestine would get in the way of all of the digestive enzymes and other digestive chemicals while slowing down the whole process of absorbing the nutrition and moving along the leftovers.  The small intestine uses powerful muscle contractions, called peristalsis, to mix digestive enzymes with the food and to keep it all moving along smoothly into the large intestine. When this is slowed or halted bad things can happen.

The small intestine is super-important because it is technically the first place where your food actually enters into your body. Your mouth, esophagus and stomach are actually still part of the “outside” since all they do is crush and mix the food with chemicals to break it down. Only in the small intestine does our dinner begin to filter into us giving us energy and nutrition. So the small intestine has a huge responsibility – it has to figure out exactly what part of our food is safe and healthy, and what part needs to get passed along and eliminated. Proteins and fats are the main things digested in the small intestine, this includes all the fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D & E; and the protein-related vitamins like zinc and many of the B vitamins. It is critical that your food is broken down correctly and then continues to move on through instead of slowing down or stopping there in the small intestine.

Anything that slows down the movement, or motility, of the small intestine brings with it the potential to cause SIBO.  When your small intestine gets overrun by bacteria that aren’t supposed to be there you feel bloated; you also don’t absorb the nutrition from your food no matter how organic or healthy it is.

Dr. Siebecker explains that there are many events which could bring on SIBO including a bout with food poisoning, stomach flu or traveler’s diarrhea. Other triggers can be scleroderma (where you skin or connective tissue hardens), Type II diabetes, hypothyroidism, abdominal tumors or any kind of abdominal surgery that produces scar tissue around or on the small intestine. On her website, SIBO Info.com, Dr. Siebecker gives an extensive list of symptoms and related diseases to help you figure out if you might have SIBO. There are also medical tests you can have your doctor give you, one is the Lactulose Breath Test. Another is a urine organic acids test.

So what do you do if you have SIBO?

Dr. Siebecker, as well as functional medicine practitioners like Chris Kresser, use four different approaches to healing depending on the age of the patient and the severity of the symptoms. The first strategy is to go on a carbohydrate-restricted healing diet such as GAPS or SCD. This is because carbs, especially sugars, grains and beans, are favorite foods for the SIBO bacteria. It is especially important to be gluten-free while you are trying to eliminate SIBO.

Next, depending on how severe the overgrowth is, there are special antibiotics, such as rifaximin, that target primarily the SIBO bacteria. If someone doesn’t want to take antibiotics, or if their overgrowth is not severe, there are also specific herbal remedies that have antibiotic effects. Some of the more common ones include cats claw, wormwood, goldenseal, pau d’arco, olive leaf extract, garlic, barberry, and Oregon grape. If the overgrowth is extremely severe practitioners might recommend something called an elemental diet which is a liquid formula of free amino acids to keep any stress off the small intestine while also eliminating anything that would feed the bacterial overgrowth.

Treatment doesn’t work overnight. You may feel relief from your symptoms very quickly, but you have to keep going with the treatment, especially the GAPS or SCD diet, for several months until your body has time to heal. After undergoing treatment for SIBO it is also common to relapse unless you fix the underlying problem that caused it in the first place. (such as a diet of refined carbs and processed foods) It is very important to stay in tune with your body, monitor your digestion and make sure you don’t get constipated or have diarrhea again. Dr. Siebecker gives her patients special supplements to keep motility going smoothly. Taking ginger each day to keep food from just sitting in the stomach is one of her recommendations.

What about probiotics?

Everywhere you look you see probiotics added to all kinds of things. Probiotics are definitely important to supplement, especially from lacto-fermented and naturally cultured foods, but people with SIBO need to read labels carefully and not choose any probiotic that also contain a PRE-biotic. Pre-biotics can aggravate SIBO because they are made from the same kind of carbohydrates that feed the unwanted bacterial overgrowth. According to Chris Kresser you also want to avoid taking any probiotics that have D-lactate-forming species like Lactobacillus acidophilus. Unfortunately those are some of the more common species in many probiotics. Saccharomyces boulardii, on the other hand, is a good strain to look for when taking probiotics for SIBO. All of this is why it is always important to work with a practitioner and not try to self-treat SIBO. It’s tricky to kill off some bacteria while supporting others and also not do any more damage to your digestive tract.

For some people staying on a permanent low FODMAP, gluten-free diet can keep them SIBO-free.

Dr. Siebecker has a new book coming out soon. Visit her website and sign up for her newsletter to receive news on the book, and to learn lots more about SIBO. She also recommends A New IBS Solution by digestive disorders researcher Dr Mark Pimentel as a great resource for further reading.

Maybe SIBO is part of your puzzle. Ask your doctor or practitioner to find out more.
Use the social media links to Pin this for later or share with friends on Facebook and Twitter. Leave a comment here and share your journey with SIBO.  We’ve linked up with Wellness Wednesday, come see the other posts shared there, too.

 

Peach Almond Breakfast Cookies (GF)

peach almond breakfast cookies titleI goofed this week with my menu planning and grocery shopping – I never got anything for breakfast and now the kids have been foraging every morning for something to eat, never thrilled with my suggestions to just eat the leftovers from dinner the night before.  My son will make himself eggs, but my daughter doesn’t like them, she’s more of a sausage or muffin kid. On top of all that I ended up having to empty and defrost the refrigerator trying to find a mystery water leak. So this morning as I was tossing unidentifiable baggies of this and that I uncovered some almond flour and some frozen peach slices. It’s the little discoveries that get my creativity going. These breakfast cookies are what we ended up eating. I fed some to the contractor who is here working on the guest bathroom (did I mention that mom, dad and two teenagers – including a teenage girl – are all sharing one bathroom right now?) I had intended for them to be scones, but they ended up more like batter than dough so soft cookies it is.

Peach Almond Breakfast Cookies

2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour

2 eggs (preferably from pasture raised hens)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup melted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 peach, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease or parchment line a baking sheet.  I like to use a food processor to whirl everything up, but you can certainly do this by hand in a bowl. Place the almond flour, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla and melted butter in a food processor and process until mixed. Add the soda, salt and ginger and mix again. Finally add the peaches and pulse just until combined. You don’t want to chop them so much that you don’t have little juicy bits of peach left in the cookie.  Spoon the batter onto the prepared baking sheet using about 2 Tblsp for each one. Leave some space between them as they will spread more during baking. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden around the edges. Remove to a cooling rack. Freeze any leftovers and you can heat them up in a toaster later.

Peach Almond Breakfast Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: breakfast
 
Soft almond flour cookies with peaches and vanilla, all real food ingredients and plenty of protein for a quick breakfast.
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups blanched almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 peach, pitted and diced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease or parchment line a baking sheet.
  2. Place almond flour, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla in a food processor or mixing bowl.
  3. Mix well, and then add in the baking soda, salt and ground ginger.
  4. Mix well again, and then add the peaches and pulse gently to just mix.
  5. Spoon onto prepared baking sheet using about 2 Tblsp of batter per cookie.
  6. Leave space between each one as they spread more during baking.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
  8. Remove to a cooling rack.
  9. Freeze leftovers and reheat in a toaster.

 

peach almond breakfast cookies

 

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