Sunday, May 15, 2011

Baked Potato Bacon Soup with Dill Cheddar Biscuits

Normally I try to tell a bit of a story to go a long with my posts, but this time it’s going to be short, sweet and very much to the point.

This weekend I spent a great day with my Mom shopping around Chemainus and Ladysmith. We had heard great rumors of the good window-shopping and antique shopping in the area and were not disappointed. During our extensive shopping excursion, we took a break at Bean Time in Ladysmith. They make a fantastic southwest chicken salad, which I’ve enjoyed many a time, but this time I was jealous of my Mom’s lunch. She had their cheddar dill muffin with bacon potato soup. The muffin looked sooooo good.  So once I got home I decided I needed to make my own version and a grain free / low sugar version at that. So here is my recipe. They are both quite quick and easy and very very tasty.

Dill and Cheddar Biscuits
-based on Elana Amsterdam’s Drop Biscuits

2 ½ cups Almond Flour
½ teaspoon Sea Salt
½ teaspoon Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Dill
1 teaspoon of Stevia Leaf Powder
¼ cup Grapeseed Oil
2 large Eggs
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a medium sized bowl mix the first 5 ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs and lemon juice. Add the small bowl to the large bowl, add cheese and mix well with a spatula. Spoon mixture onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 18 minutes.

Baked Potato and Bacon Soup

10-15 small Red Potatoes
6 slices of Hertel’s GF Bacon
½ bunch of Green Onions
2 cups of Pacific Organic Chicken Broth
½ cup of Lactose Free Milk
¼ teaspoon of Dill
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Boil potatoes in a large pot until tender. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile fry bacon and set aside. In a powerful blender (Vitamix in this case) add all of the ingredients, set on high and let cook for 5 minutes. Mixture should already be hot from boiled potatoes.  Pour mixture out of blender into bowls, dollop sour cream and a dash of dill on top for dramatic effect and consume!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Seasonal Allergies and Pineapple Ice Cream

Coughing, sneezing, itchy throat and watery eyes. … does any of this sound familiar to you? That’s right, it’s allergy season for all you seasonal allergy sufferers, myself included.

Growing up on the North Coast of BC our summers lasted about 2 months, if that. There was a lot of clouds and rain and I’m pretty sure one summer while I gallivanted off to Scotland with a friend and her family, my Mom recorded 2 days of sunshine the whole time I was gone. So pollen season is much shorter in Northern BC then it is in other places … especially compared to Vancouver Island where it is green year round and they have an annual bloom count in February! My old hometown would have been buried in snow in February, never mind trying to count how many flowers are out.

But here on the island allergy season is a different story. It starts in February and, for me, it doesn’t end until around October. At one point I developed a nasty cough that just wouldn’t go away. The doctors eventually said it was due to my allergies and the fact that it’s green year round here. My allergies had moved from annoying sneezes into my lungs as a persistent cough.  So I started to take allergy shots. They helped big time, but were a huge inconvenience having to go to the walk in clinic, wait for 30-60 minutes just to get my shot, and then wait another 30 minutes to make sure I didn’t go into anaphylactic shock.

One day I had my shot and they asked if I noticed any symptoms. I was feeling a bit of heartburn, but innocent me had no idea that was related to an allergic reaction and said no. They Okayed me to leave and I drove home. On my way home I noticed that it was getting harder to breathe and that I was wheezing. I knew at that point I was having the allergy symptoms I wasn’t supposed to be having and kept on driving to the emergency room. Of course, the reaction was mild so by the time I saw someone I felt fine, but they pumped me full of meds anyways and then sent me home. After that, I was not allowed to take allergy shots again.

I didn’t realize how much the shots were helping until I went off of them. The next allergy season was awful. I had to stop riding my bike to work because by the time I got there I was almost ready to turn around and go home with the sneezing fits and exhaustion. Everything I love to do is outdoors, and I quickly became a hermit. I even had to get an air purifier for my home. 

This year I wanted to prevent that from happening so, having exhausted traditional routes I decided to see a naturopath and pursue acupuncture. My visit with the naturopath yielded surprising results.  After filling out a survey of symptoms she noted that one group of symptoms was related to sugar intake and that sugar affects how well your kidneys and adrenal glands work. My Dad is diabetic and I definitely show borderline symptoms, so she suggested managing my sugar. She said that this would address some other issues including allergies and female symptoms. Apparently the adrenal glands control the release of cortosol, your body’s response to histamines, so if you can make your adrenal gland s healthier you can lessen the allergy response. It also controls hormones and trust me, my hormones have been going haywire the last few months and I’ve been wondering how my boyfriend puts up with me during those times.

So knowing that some people consider naturopathy hocus pocus (like my boyfriend) I decided to give it a shot anyways. What harm can come of trying to eat well?  I’ve been trying to lessen my intake of grains and sugar and been getting acupuncture on a regular basis and feel like my symptoms are getting better. I still have to take antihistamines, but they last longer and my annoying coughing/sneezing has lessened when I am not on my meds. I also noticed that last month I wasn’t AS cranky as I have been. Don’t get me wrong, I had my episodes, but they weren’t as insane as they have been recently. It’s still too soon to tell if this is really going to work, but so far it feels right.

One other thing my naturopath talked me into trying is something called Pollenguard. It’s exactly like taking allergy shots, only it’s liquid taken under the tongue and then swallowed (sublingual).  Apparently it’s been very effective in Europe for the last 15 years and is just catching on in Canada. Since I know my allergy shots helped, until I reacted to them, I am going to give these drops a try. They are supposed to be much safer than shots and can be done at home. In Canada if you want them, you have to go through a doctor or naturopath, but if you’re interested in them there website is here: I just started them yesterday so I don’t know if they work yet, but man will I be excited if they do.

And now for the completely unrelated recipe to go with this post. I recently purchased myself a Vitamix Blender from Costco and couldn’t be happier! As such, I’ve learned how to make a very yummy Pineapple Ice Cream that I’d love to share with you.

Pineapple Ice Cream

1 whole Pineapple, cubed and frozen overnight
½ cup of Sugar (or 1/3 cup Agave syrup or Honey)
1 cup of Lactose Free Milk (or Almond Milk)
1/2 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

Place in Vitamix Blender and blend at high speed until 4 humps form … roughly 30 seconds. Don’t over blend or it will start to melt. Serve and enjoy!