Thanks for visiting our blog! My mom taught me that a good meal, made from scratch, can solve just about everything.The recipes on this blog are gentle on tummies, tasty, weight-loss promoting, and can be made without a fuss. Most of them are free of gluten, dairy, corn, and sweeteners. Best of all, they help those that eat them become more patient, more loving, and more kind. Please, keep in touch! Thanks again for visiting.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Gluten Free Wild Sourdough Bread Day Whatever

Isn't it bubbly and beautiful!? Let's start out by saying I have not remained as devoted a starter mother as I was in the first week. After removing the dates, I have only fed and stirred it when I've thought of it every few days. Thankfully it has thrived on neglect and bubbles up enthusiastically the morning after it is fed. 

How to feed your "mature" sourdough:
In a fresh jar, combine 1T brown rice flour and 2T filtered water. Pour in the starter and stir thoroughly. Cover with a fresh cloth. (Note that putting the new flour in the bottom of the jar is not absolutely necessary but in the long term it helps prevent problems). 

I baked my first sourdough roll today! It was crusty on the outside and fluffy on the inside. I didn't add any commercial yeast or leavening agent, so the fluffy crumb was all thanks to our friend the starter! It tasted delicious-- almost a flavor like a cheezit. I had fermented it 36 hours. Woohoo!! The recipe I used was 1 T fresh ground raw buckwheat groats (whizzed them in a blender), 2 T starter and about 2 T water. Yep, I forgot to add salt. I'm going to start another batch today to bake tomorrow. I need to check how much salt to use and try it with a bit less water so it isn't too doughy. I also need to improve on my "faux French bread oven" technique a bit. We're getting really close to a delicious sourdough roll you can replicate in your oven, folks!! Huzzah and hooray and stay tuned! :)

Jello Jigglers

I made some tasty jello treats yesterday.

I was inspired by Wellness Mama's healthy gummy bear recipe, but of course made a honey-free version to be as light on the blood sugar as possible. While delicious, the end result didn't seem gummy enough to qualify as "gummy bears." I'll need to do some further testing on these to get to that point because I love gummy bears! But meanwhile, I didn't mind eating half a batch with my breakfast this morning, so I'll share the current recipe with you. Note that this makes a lot! You may want to halve the batch especially if you are hoping it will fit in your silicon molds. 

3 T dried unsweetened hibiscus flowers (I got mine at a Mexican grocery)
3 1/4 c water
1/2 c gelatin
1/2 t salt (or more to taste)
2 T lemon juice
Liquid stevia to taste (I used 8 drops)
Flavor extracts to taste (such as lemon oil and orange oil)

Boil hibiscus flowers and water, and allow to cool (I brought mine to a boil before leaving the house, and it was cool when I came home). Strain to remove flowers and heat 1/2 c to boiling. Combine 1/2 c cooled liquid with the 1/2 c gelatin by pouring slowly and whisking vigorously. Add the boiling liquid and continue whisking, then finally add remaining liquid. I made 3 flavors by dividing the batch and separately adding raspberry flavor, orange oil and lemon oil. I used only the tiniest amount of flavoring (1/8 t perhaps) and it wasn't enough. If you are flavoring the whole batch, add slowly and taste it as you go, but I bet you could get away with 1t flavoring. 

Chill in glass dishes or silicon molds overnight. Wellness Mama suggests greasing the molds with coconut oil, but I skipped that for this light treat. Enjoy!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pumpkin Pie-- no sweetener added

Dear Friends,
Here is a family recipe the my dear partner developed for me, since sugar and I really do best if we each go our separate ways. ;)

If you have been on a sugar-free path for a while now, this pumpkin pie might taste just as you remembered it. If you have recently given up sugar and it doesn't taste enjoyably sweet, pop it in the freezer for 30-90 days and your tastebuds will find it sweeter next time. For THM gals, this is an E recipe.

Without further ado, here it is. It's crustless. Blend everything and bake at 350 until the center doesn't jiggle. You can bake in a pie plate, ramekins or anything in between.  Enjoy!!

1 1/2 c pumpkin puree (1 can) 
1 cup sweet potato (baked and the allowed to sit at room temp 8-12 hours) 
1/4 t cloves 
1 T cinnamon (or more) 
1 1/2 t powdered ginger 
3/4 t salt 
6 egg whites (or 4 whole eggs)
1 1/2 c light coconut milk (or almond milk)

I hope you find yourself richly blessed today.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Gluten Free Wild Sourdough Day 3

The sourdough was starting to fall by nighttime tonight, and was looking a bit dry-- see how it's coming away from the sides of the jar? It's time to get it more food and a fresh home. 

For the curious-- a sideview of how much it's risen. Wow!

First, place 1T brown rice flour in a fresh jar. 

Pour the starter into the jar with the flour, holding back the dates in the old jar. Swirl 2T filtered water in the date jar to rise yeast off the dates.

Pour the water into the flour / starter jar. Stir thoroughly with a clean spoon. Cover with a fresh cloth. Read it a bedtime story...  just kidding. :)

By the way, our starter is currently at about 1/2 c total (unrisen state). It contains 5T brown rice flour and 8T water. I'm noting this so I can use it to calculate nutrition facts later. 

Gluten Free Wild Sourdough Day 2.75

See the glorious bubbles! My starter loved its morning meal and is trying to rise. Zippideedoodahh! I never lose the excitement and magic of this process. It is just so fun how it unfolds. This would be a great project for bread-loving homeschoolers. :)

The top of the starter is also mounded and somewhat hilly:

I couldn't be more pleased with its progress! Check the next post for what to do at the end of day three. I'll just be here, ogling at it while I knit Christmas presents. ;)

Gluten Free Wild Sourdough Day 2.5

We have bubbles folks! 

And, after a bit of stirring, 10 times more! 

It's hard to capture on IPhone but they are covering the surface. I'm adding one T of brown rice flour for a bit more food for our baby yeasties. That brings the total current proportions to 4T brown rice flour, 6T water.

Gluten Free Wild Sourdough Day 2

Not much changed from day 1 to 2 in my sourdough pot, except that it got really thick at the 24 hour mark so I added 3 T of water. I wondered if the yeast colonies were getting bigger on the dates but told myself it was probably just rice flour.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gluten-Free Wild Sourdough Day 1

Making gluten-free sourdough bread is easy and fun, and the final product is delicious. It tastes a bit sharp and cheesey, which a dairy-free gal like me really appreciates.

Many THM gals have asked me for my gluten free sourdough bread recipe. I love to be of service so I'm glad they asked, but I was a little bit intimidated by the prospect because my recipe is still under development and I just shelved it for a couple years. After some consideration I decided to start my sourdough starter again and track my progress on the blog. That way, gals (and guys!) can follow along on the day-by-day process and hopefully I can just put the finishing touches on the recipe to make sure it turns out as delicious and well-textured as it should. 

So for day one, you'll need organic brown rice flour, filtered water (if available) and 2 whole organic dates. 

I use the dates as a source of wild yeast. If you look closely at this zoomed in picture, these dates have some tiny white specks on them-- little colonies of yeast. The date on the right is more uniformly covered (except on the raised wrinkles) with a purplish film. This is all called bloom- wild yeast that has been attracted to fruit. The bloomier and white-speckled-ier you can find them, the better. I've seen traditional recipes that use grapes for this purpose but grapes didn't work for me. The dates you see in the picture are not very bloomy but they were the best I could find and they'll work out okay. I also see dried figs covered in white bloom sometimes-- you could try that if you couldn't find bloomy dates.

Measure equal parts brown rice flour and water and combine in a straight-sided jar. Mix well. I used 3T of each.

Plop in those dates.

Push them down with a spoon until they are fully submerged.

Cover loosely to keep out dust. Put in a warm, cheerful place. Stir morning and night, more if you think of it, to keep water and flour well-mixed. Sometimes I call my sourdough starter my "chia pet" because I will bound out of bed in the morning to see if it has come alive yet. After a few days, one morning you'll lift off the cloth and find your starter is exuberantly bubbling away-- how exciting!-- and you'll be ready for the next step.

By the way, I think you could try non-organic but sometimes the chemicals prevent healthy sourdough growth. Since you're investing your time and patience, set yourself (and your starter) up for success if you can. 

Have fun and let me know if you have any questions!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Nourishing Chocolate Pudding (S)

This chocolate pudding feels like a huge treat, yet doesn't contain any sugar, dairy or gluten. With nearly 10g protein, it is a balanced meal replacement if you ever need to be able to grab a breakfast-to-go out of the fridge, and it makes a wonderful nourishing snack that will keep you going for a few hours. It also makes great pudding pops-- a treat I am nostalgic for after family vacations in the early 1990s. :)

Here's how I made it:

1 can Thai Kitchen light coconut milk (13.66 oz)
1 can pure water (reuse coconut milk can and skip the measuring cup)
5 T "sweet chocolate" (recipe below)
1/2 t salt
1 T vanilla
4 T almond meal
2 T unflavored gelatin powder
4 egg yolks

Heat and whisk all but last two ingredients in a saucepan until steamy. Gradually sprinkle gelatin powder in while whisking. Crack eggs and put yolks in a glass or metal measuring cup (reserve whites fpr another use). Pour some of hot cocoa mixture into egg yolks and whisk thoroughly, then whisk back into saucepan. Continue stirring until mixture is glossy and uniform. Pour into four 1c jelly jars. Add lids and cool in a sinkful of water. Jars will seal but must be stored in the refrigerator. Bon appetit!

Nutrition Facts per Serving: 
Protein: 9.4 g Fat: 15.8 g Usable Carbohydrate: 3 g

Sweet Chocolate
1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t stevia powder
Combine ingredients in a large food storage container and shake very well to distribute stevia thoroughly.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Peanut Butter Coco(a) Frosting

This recipe is perfect for if you need a little treat at that certain time of the afternoon. It also can function as frosting. It is SO easy and good! To make it you'll need sweet cocoa powder-- just combine 2c cocoa powder with 1t stevia. For THM folks, this is definitely an S treat! 
1 T sweet cocoa powder
1 T peanut butter (I like fresh ground)
1 T light coconut milk
Stir ingredients together with a fork. Mix very well until it forms a ball, then eat as a decadent treat. If you want a thinner consistency, add more coconut milk. Bon appetit! This makes a thick frosting; of course it's pretty brainless to calculate how to make a larger  or smaller batch. ;)
The whole batch (3T total) contains 6 g usable carbs and 11 g fat.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Crunchy, Flavorful Chips!!!

This recipe was given to me by my friend Amy. It languished on my desk at least 6 months, because I kind of doubted that kale chips could ever have the proper crispy / melt-in-your-mouth consistency. Well, I was wrong!  I learned this only because Colette grabbed hold of the recipe and made some for a mentor who had mentioned that she loved kale chips. Since I was the first up the next morning, she asked me to taste them and unplug the dehydrator if they were done. They are amazing! Thankfully, that batch did not sublimate under my care, even though it was my job to deliver them (phew!). They were well-loved by the recipient, and  the very next day I headed to our coop to pick up the ingredients to make my own. As a former potato chip lover, I am thrilled to have a healthier, dare I say tastier substitute!

They don't take too long to prepare, though they are kind of a special treat since the ingredients are pricey. Once they are in the dehydrator, we leave them overnight (longer than 6-8 hours).

I pass along Amy's wisdom here:
-make sure to use only curly kale! (Dinosaur kale yields dinosaur-skin chips)
- reduce the apple cider vinegar and water by half
-nama shoyu is soy sauce; use your favorite kind
And here is the recipe. For people following THM it is an S. Many thanks to Chrissy for developing this wonderful recipe, to Amy for sharing it, and to Colette for getting the ball rolling! :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

From Overeating to Over It in 16 Do-able Steps :)

I have had some challenges with overeating in my adult life. It started when I gave up on my dream of becoming a professional flutist at 18 (no coincidence), and it can reappear if I lose hope about my now rekindled musical life. Once it appears, however, it's a dangerous feedback loop that doesn't need much  prompting from my life to continue. If allowed to get worse, it's like a fast-moving train-- hard to slow down. 

Thanks to God I am in a good place about food now and so I want to share what has helped me so that others will not suffer as much. Overeating seduces us into thinking it will comfort us but in fact multiplies our pain. So, let's do the things we know will help-- even if we don't really want to be inconvenienced by changing. ;)

Here is my list of suggestions in no particular order:
1. If something makes you feel addicted, don't eat it. For you, that food is poison. Often times we are most addicted to things that either send our blood sugar up or contain elements we cannot digest (when undigested food enters the bloodstream through an unhealthy gut, it can act as an opioid in the brain). For me the main foods I do not eat are conventional sweets (including honey, sugar, coconut sugar, agave, and maple syrup). I also don't eat dried fruit, corn, white flour (even gluten free) or dairy except fresh off the farm. This is a lot easier to do for me than eating these foods in moderation-- which for me is about as easy as winning a Jello wrestling match with Hulk Hogan. Oh that is a TERRIBLE image. But then again, so is overating.
2. Come up with treats that YOU like. For example, I have started making sweet chocolate swirl-- combining stevia with cocoa powder (1 t to 2 c)-- when I have a hankering for something sweet I make coconut oil freezer chocolate, pudding, or a shake. Or, I'll do the same ratios but use cinnamon instead, and put it in coconut milk pudding with fresh berries.
3. Drink your water. Being hydrated improves circulation, which increases the flow of fresh oxygenated blood to your brain so you freak out less. Because freaking out and eating too much are definitely related, no? I drink more water than most people think is normal but I don't care. It works for me. I've heard the guideline, "one ounce of water per pound of body weight." I usually do a little bit less than that but it's a good place to start. I have a half-gallon water bottle that I finish drinking twice a day-- once before lunch and once before dinner. 
4. On the subject of the benefits of oxygenated blood, exercise does this too! And even better if you're out under the sky and breathing fresh air. Cardiovascular exercise reduces anxiety and depression and if you add in weight training, the benefit is more profound. I like the exercise routines in the book Body for Life but PLEASE don't follow his nutritional advice. Yikes. 
5. Sometimes when we are tired we eat to keep ourselves awake. So, go to bed early!
6. Baby rats whose mothers give them plenty of licking and grooming after a traumatic event are much more resilient. Resiliency means keeping your hope, which in turn helps you keep your promises to yourself. So, can you give yourself more loving and careful grooming? I am not the queen of fancy hair but even a nice neat French braid makes my day feel better. I also like to make myself homemade, inexpensive body care products like face wash and lotion (check a Janice Cox book out of your library). It only takes an extra moment each day to make me feel loved and pampered. Along the same lines, if you have a sweetie or pet, snuggle more!
7. Okay, I may lose some folks here but cod liver oil is good for the brain. I take a teaspoon every night and it helps keep me in a good place. I like Green Pastures brand cinnamon tingle, and have also in the past used Nordic Naturals orange. Make sure to balance out your cod liver oil with plenty of other good fats in your diet. 
8. Now on to the silly. When we go into panic mode and prepare to overeat, we are living in a very primitive part of the brain. Lecturing won't help. Big words won't help. Threats of future demise definitely will make it worse. This part of the brain wants to make things better NOW and it knows how. It is not creative. So, talk to it as if it were a two year old. Find a way to sum up what you want to accomplish in two words if you can. It's embarrasing to say, but right now my words are "remember, no snot!" because conventional dairy, which I'm newly avoiding- makes me sneeze.
9. Take a good probiotic. The one that I take is ProBio by Enzymedica. I never really thought probiotics made a difference until I took this one. Somehow, having more good guys in my gut than bad helps me crave the bad stuff less. ;)
10. Write down what you want a normal, good food day to look like for yourself. If you get goofy and write it in rhyme or draw little pictures to accompany it, so much the better. Put it up on  your fridge. It's okay to update with a new version when things change. In fact the sooner you do that the less likely you'll be to derail in a transition. I feel secure knowing what to expect, and motivated by the vision of what I'm aiming for. For example, here's the last line of mine: "And late at night, when hunger you dread- take cod liver oil to clear your sweet head." It makes me smile and keeps me from late night noshing when I should be sleeping. 
10. Good fat is good. Even if you're trying to lose weight, you should still eat fat. If you have that full, happy and warm feeling at least once every day, you'll be more likely to thrive. I also LOVE bone broth, and it gives me that same feeling.
11. Processed food is engineered for humans to crave it-- by scientists paid lots of money-- and then advertised by marketing folks paid lots of money. Think I have enough willpower to resist all that and eat processed foods in moderation? You're right! I don't. And that's to say nothing of how cheaply that food is produced to compensate for all those salaries. So, instead of buying processed food, I make everything from scratch from yummy ingredients. Before you run out of the room screaming that you don't have time, let me assure you that this is doable. I don't have a lot of time either, nor a lot of money, but I've learned I must prioritize good food properly prepared-- if I don't, I'm sure to waste both money and time making poor choices. I spend a total of total of 5 or 6 hours a week on food prep- less than an hour a day, and on busy days I'm often just dumping a jar of soup into a pot and heating it up-- then feeling VERY satisfied and lucky when I eat it! I try to always keep broth, soup, and washed salad ingredients in the fridge. It makes me feel secure; I know I'll always be well-fed. I am less likely to overeat if I have nourishing food available to me. If I want variety, I'll roast a chicken or scramble an egg.
12. Make friends with your Idonwannahaftas. We all have them- multiple ones on many subjects. Take them out into the light of day, and let them battle each other out. For example, one in my life is: Idonwannahafta carry heavy water jugs to work, but Idonwannahafta drink gross-tasting water, and Idonwannahafta struggle with anxiety & eating too much while I'm there. So I guess, Iwannahafta carry that water after all. Let yourself whine and want to be passive but keep whining until you get to the heart of your true purpose-- what you really DO want.
13. Pray. Ask others to pray for you when you need it. My sisters have pulled me out of many a ditch by doing just that, and it's an honor to share that gift. God really loves you and knows you and can tell you exactly what you need to hear and learn.
14. When you see a big list like this, breathe. You have your whole life to learn and experiment and find out what works for you. Try one thing and see if it makes your life better after a few days' commitment.
15. If you're stuck in an overeating cycle, the first few days of non-crazed eating are the hardest. Do what you need to do to make it work. I have been known to plan a healthy, sweet-tasting sugar free snack per daytime hour for a day or two, if I need help jump-starting my process. This is temporary and worth it if it gets you back on your feet!
16. For further reading, here are some ideas. I'll need to log on to a computer to activate these links-- I'll do that when I can.

The book I most recommend on the subject is Martha Beck's <a href="url"></The Four Day Win>

I also recommend learning more about nutrition from the Weston A. Price Foundation: 

It has a depressing title, but if you read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration on the Gutenberg website, you're eyes will be forever opened-- and you will be inspired by its message of hope:

This Weston A. Price Healthy Baby Gallery is also fun and inspiring. It is full of pictures and descriptions of the impact that real nourishment can have on little ones. For example, here is a description of one sweet boy: "He loves virtually everybody and reaches out to the world in total joy." Wouldn't you like to have such a sweet nature? What works for them, can work for us! I find that eating with care really makes it easier to be a person of love and good character. It also helps me sleep through the night. ;)

For sustainable and healthy weight loss, harness the principles of Trim and Healthy Mama (though I don't eat all the ingredients they include).

Good luck and let me know how it goes! And if you have ideas to add please post in the comments-- I need all the help I can get in this life! :)


Scrumptious THM Buckwheat for One with Sweet Cinnamon Swirl

(Dairy-free, oat-free, gluten-free, sugar free, THM E meal)

So, I'm still loving Trim Healthy Mama. There are a few negative blog posts about it right now but I haven't had a problem with tweaking things a bit to accomodate my ultra-purist traditional foods approach. Maybe because I was gluten, dairy and corn free for so many years, recipes containing ingredients I avoid don't faze me. I'm grateful to Trim Healthy Mama for helping me out of some dark woods and holding the vision of nourished and truly healthy mamas everywhere! 

All that said, it does take a little time to do the math and make traditional foods favorites THM certified. So here is a cheat sheet for an amazing breakfast that more or less fits the guidelines, AND a delicious sweet cinnamon recipe that you can use liberally without risking the unpleasantness that is too much stevia in one place at one time. ;)

I'm going to introduce you to one of my faves: hot cereal made from raw hulled buckwheat groats. It has been my most-often-appearing breakfast for years. It's full of protein (actually a seed not a grain I think, but don't quote me), packs a nutritional punch (B vitamins, niacin, thiamin, magneseum, phosphorous and manganese), and is of a most lovely chewy, fluffy texture. It is as easy as can be to prepare- just bring it to a boil and shut it off, and it will be ready for you when you get out of the shower. When ground in dry form in the blender, it yields my favorite type of gluten-free flour, nothing like what you buy in the store. 

If you've had a bad experience with it before, please don't panic. There are lots of ways to prepare it and many are dry, mealy or strong tasting. This recipe is none of those things. If you are dubious, just bring your 1/3 c measuring cup to your local bulk foods section and get enough to try this once. 

And as for the sweet cinnamon, when I started out on THM I used truvia- I made my own homemade. It was a good crutch for ditching sugar, but it brought back some corn-allergy symptoms for me so I discontinued it. I was So Sad to not have a workable way to sweeten foods. I like to cook off the hip, and that wasn't working for me with stevia. It's just so sweet it can be hard to manage. Even the little tiny scoop that comes with it is way too much for most things I make and causes a not-tasty experience. I also had trouble with stevia flash mobs, in which the sweetness in one treat would vary from one mouthful (unsweet) to another (whoa nelly, too sweet!). One night, when I couldn't sleep, it came to me. Eureka! I needed a new bulking agent!! Why not use food!? So sweet cinnamon swirl (and its fraternal twin, sweet chocolate swirl) was born.

I pray you find joy and balance in you life and nourishment, as I have. And I sure hope you'll enjoy this breakfast!

Scrumptious THM Buckwheat for One
1/3 c raw hulled buckwheat groats (not toasted kasha)
1 T chia seeds or almond meal
1 T gelatin
1 c water
1/4 t salt
1 t apple cider vinegar
Optional: 1/12 of an apple, finely chopped, or 2 T fresh cranberries whole or chopped (not dried or swetened please)

Before bed, combine all ingredients except fruit in a stainless steel or enamel pot. In the morning, stir once, add fruit, bring to a boil and turn off. Let sit at least 15 min. When serving, generously sprinkle on sweet cinnamon swirl to taste.

Sweet Cinnamon Swirl
1/2 c cinnamon
1/4 t powdered stevia (I used Now Better Stevia)
Combine in a small jar and shake well. Then, use as a topping, or in recipes that call for cinnamon that you also want to sweeten.

Nutritional Details 
15 g protein
38 g carbohydrate with apple / 37 g carbohydrate with cranberries / 36 g carbohydrate without fruit
4.8 g fat

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Zucchini Noodle Carbonara

Welcome to our blog! I kept meaning to post a momentous "this is our first blog post!!!" message, but it was getting in the way of me posting anything at all. I just had a delicious enough dinner to merit a post, so I'm boldly going forth without further introduction. You'll get to know us as we go. :) Thanks to two tangents ahead- one about Trim Healthy Mama, one about the household division of labor- you'll know us at least a little better by the end of this post. Feel free to skip the tangents and proceed to the recipe at the bottom of the page. We're easygoing sorts.

So, my dinner. Yum.  Who knew a meal of two zucchinis could be richly creamy in texture and super full of flavor? I was inspired to attempt it because it fits well with the wonderful principles of Trim and Healthy Mama, a book that has been helping me to regain my figure (so far I've lost 5 pounds in 15 days, while feeling great, eating a lot of delicious food, and having tons of energy).  Yaaay! 

In a nutshell, it's a Jekyll and Hyde approach to eating. Ms. Jekyll enjoys a low carb, high-in-healthy-fats diet. Ms. Hyde is the lowfat queen. The one thing they have in common is a commitment to going easy on the blood sugar. After one eats, the other doesn't chow down for 3 hours. In between are surprisingly yummy and nutritious snacks that are both low in fats and low in carb (I promise to share my scrumptious chocolate pudding recipe in a future post). Colette (not her real name) is not using this approach- she is a sweet skinny little minnie and it would interfere with her passion for granola. But she's always happy to eat half of what I'm having, so I surreptitiously make double of whatever it is I'm fixing for myself. ;)

One of Colette's many talents is growing vegetables. She has two community garden plots, one here in town, one 20 minutes away. When in the garden, Colette loses track of time and gets delightfully lost in her work. It can be 104 degrees, and she will not notice. Let's just say I do notice, so I am usually left at home for the benefit of both of us. Our deal is that she grows the veggies, and I wash / dry / store / prepare / preserve them. This summer so far I have reveled in bumper crops of baby bok choy, arugula, lettuce and basil. Now it is zucchini season. Woohoo! For reasons (recipes) you'll soon appreciate, I truly love zucchini. So, I'm super excited to have a free and abundant source of it.

One recipe that I hadn't tried yet was for zucchini noodles, popular with folks on the GAPS and SCD diet (which I used all last year to heal from gluten and dairy allergies). It always sounded a little questionable to me. Zucchini can be watery and low on flavor when not carefully paired with other yumminess. I pictured folks drenching zucchini noodles in so much tomato sauce they "almost didn't notice" the lack of traditional pasta. That sounded like too many tomatoes and a less than amazing experience to me. 

My dubiousness faded this week, when I housesat for some dear friends. Their gorgeous home on a breezy hill was the perfect place to spend a 95 degree plus week, and I had the chance to gobble down all their back issues of Cook's Illustrated. It was there that I spied a spaghetti carbonara recipe and inspiration struck. Super zowie, that was it! Even though we ate it only a few times, I had very fond memories of that dish from childhood.  I hoped that this would help zucchini's sweet nature shine with the radiance it deserved. 
The zucchini noodle (low)carbonara I created lived up to these high expectations, and I am delighted to share the recipe with you here. Since I am not at home tonight, I only made enough for myself. I love it so much, though, Colette is sure to have the chance to experience it soon. 

Zucchini Noodle Carbonara (serves one)
2 small zucchini, washed and peeled
Salt to taste
3 T onion
1-4 cloves garlic
2 T fat or oil (I used lard rendered from local, organic pigs)
1 egg yolk
2 T powdered parmesan
1 t fresh thyme leaves (3 or 4 small stems)
2 t fresh oregano leaves
Black pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

With a vegetable peeler, peel zucchini into fettucine-esque pieces until you reach the seedy core. Discard the core. Toss zucchini noodles with sea salt (not more than you'd want to eat- we're not rinsing it off later). Place in a strainer to drain and set aside, returning to squeeze the moisture out periodically. By the end of this, total volume is much less- maybe half what it was when you started. 

Meanwhile, dice the onion very finely. Heat the oil or fat (bacon fat would be the most traditional and yummiest!) in a heavy skillet. While oil is heating, peel garlic. After a few minutes, toss one piece of onion in the pan. When it is hot enough to sizzle a bit, add the rest. Mince the garlic and add it, too. Cook and stir until onion is soft and translucent and garlic is golden on all sides.

Remove the herb leaves from the stems and chop the oregano leaves. All at once, add the wrung-out zucchini and the herbs to the pan. Add black and cayenne (just a tiny bit of cayenne!) peppers. Saute and stir until it all looks and smells very tasty.

Meanwhile, combine the egg yolk and around 1 1/2 T of the parmesan. Stir a little zuke mixture in to heat it up, then combine it all in the pan. I didn't cook it on the stove much, but one could (recommended for store-bought eggs). I just removed from heat and let it sit a bit, allowing the heat of the pan to permeate.

To serve, garnish with remaining parmesan. A chopped red cherry tomato would have looked smart on top, but I admit it was so tasty I hardly noticed the lack of diverse color in my presentation. It had a nice spring in its step from the garlic and cayenne, tasted like summer, and was truly decadent. Don't tell Colette I licked the bowl... she rightly considers that uncivilized. :)

Buon appetito!