Homemade Chocolates (Adaptable to Health Restrictions)

If you have any allergies, sensitivities, or an autoimmune disorder, it’s sad to walk through a candy aisle. Gluten can be pretty straightforward to avoid sometimes, but corn, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, toxic sugar substitutes, nuts, and soy are absolutely difficult to avoid. You may wind up eating no chocolates or candy bars, period.

I am trying my darndest to avoid soy, but I cannot find chocolates or desserts without it. Even tapioca pudding has soy lecithin! When I searched for soy-free chocolate online, I found $5 bars. That didn’t include shipping, either.

Saddest discovery of all was that my absolute favorite, Lindor truffles, all have soy. So I’ve been making my own. They even melt in your mouth as beautifully as those store-bought truffles I love!

The basic gist is to blend equal parts of coconut oil and cocoa, then add desired flavors. Too much cocoa makes it bitter, too little is weak, and no one I know relishes the taste of plain coconut oil. Try to get a coconut oil that is as unprocessed as possible. Brands like LouAnna favor bright white appearance, at the cost of making their product rancid and lacking full health benefits. ShurFine baking cocoa suits me, but if you can afford high quality or even organic, get it.

Okay, let’s get to it.

  • 1/2 C Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 C Baking Cocoa
  • 1 T Raw Honey or Pure Maple Syrup
  • Pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt

Optional additions like Sea Salt, Chili Pepper, or a few tablespoons of Coconut Milk are nice, too.

Fill a bowl with boiling water, and set your mixing bowl on top of that, or use a double boiler.

Whisk all ingredients together in the warm mixing bowl. Spoon into ice cube trays and flash freeze. Dump into a container and keep refrigerated.

You don’t have to sacrifice health to enjoy the good things. Make the good things better! Have fun experimenting!

Thanks to Lesley Rubinoff, “The Holistic Health Genius” for getting me started on this idea.

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Cast Iron Chicken Pot Pie

Everyone was so quiet during supper; it must have been good! Since I made this up on the fly, the following recipe has general, not necessarily accurate measurements. Use of personal judgement is encouraged.

Filling

2 Chicken Breasts, diced

1 bag mixed, diced vegetables

Dill, Salt, and pepper to taste

Gravy

4 T. Butter

1/3 C. Flour

4 C. Milk

Crust

2 C. Flour

1 tsp. Salt

2/3 C. Butter

6 T. Cold Water

  • Fry the filling ingredients in the cast iron pan until chicken is cooked. Set aside in a bowl.
  • For the gravy, melt the butter in the pan until bubbly and whisk in the flour. Gradually add the milk and let bubble. Pour into the bowl of filling.
  • Combine all the crust ingredients and press into the bottom and sides of the cast iron pan, keeping back a palm-full of dough. Mix the chicken and gravy and dump into the crust. Roll out or hand press the remaining dough into shapes; place on top of the pie.
  • Bake @400*F till browned, around 20-30 minutes.

Need to skip the gluten and dairy?Almond flour, rice flour, almond milk, and coconut oil substitutes would taste good, too.

I hope you try out this Cast Iron Chicken Pot Pie. It’s so good you’ll want to skip the pre-packaged stuff from now on!

Shalom, y’all!

Meal Preparation

Once we got home from a run to town, I put the fresh vegetables in a bath of water and vinegar to soak. When I threw vegetables straight into the refrigerator, they wouldn’t be seen again until they were beyond use. Putting them directly into the sink is now my first rule to prevent waste of money and food.

Moved them around, soaked, rinsed, drained, etc.

Still gotta eat, even on grocery day. The beef, carrots, and celery had already been prepped last week. All I needed was to dice a potato or two, fry it all in coconut oil, blend in some rice flour and water, and we had a quick stew supper.

Getting things going. Starting a salad while mixing beef with a variety of vegetables and spices into jars for storage.

Beef was already cooked, so I fried up some T-bacon bits to add to the green salad and to the chicken salad. Prepping meat means that I can stretch one or two pounds of beef and a couple of chicken breasts to last all week. This is more important now that we have four households using a beef at once.

Stirring up some potatoes au gratin. Butter, rice flour, half and half, and cheddar cheese will make a sauce to drape over sliced potatoes. Not sure precisely when I’ll serve this, but the seasonings will have a day or two to permeate the whole dish while it refrigerates.

Baking chicken to use in two meals.

Ready to bake when I need potatoes au gratin.

Chili chicken salad and chicken casserole ready and waiting for tortillas, bread, rice, or potatoes. Those decisions are still open to spontaneity.

I seem to have forgotten to get picture of the eggs boiling. (Because a visual of pot of eggs makes any blog post better!) A batch of boiled eggs provides us with to-go breakfasts, snacks, and something extra for salads. Boil in salt water for about 12 minutes (I’m over 4,000 ft elevation), cool, and refrigerate in a separate carton. I can peel a boiled egg fast by cracking one end and then rolling it on the counter under my hand with firm, gentle pressure. The shell slides right off.

A crock pot of rice will be used for breakfasts and adding to prepped meals. Now we need tea for tomorrow.

Sweet tea, chicken salad…

Large green salad, yes my kids go through a lot of milk, beef&rice, pizza toppings, extra potato slices for frying, carrot sticks…

Boiled eggs, veggies for omelettes, T-bacon, eggs…

Chicken casserole starter, hummus, borscht starter, and potatoes au gratin. I’ll have to wait till the avocados are ready to make the guacamole.

“Shine your sink!”

Time to kick back. Goodnight!

The Best Benefits of Meal Prep

  • Save money.
  • Save food; No waste.
  • No running out of an item before I get to use it in particular meals at the end of the week.
  • Overall better management of products I normally only buy once a week. Driving an hour round trip to the store with three littles is not something I do every other day.
  • Flavors have a chance to meld together. You know how some leftovers taste better than the original meal? This method can bring out the best taste the first time.
  • I don’t have strapping, starving, twin boys tugging at me while I’m trying to use a knife before every meal. Most of my cutting is done once a week while they’re asleep.
  • Helps reinforce my meal planning habit.

The Downside

  • I don’t know when to pause to keep from overdoing it. When we go in hung-ho, we tend to burn out. Once in a while I should sit down for two minutes to drink some water and regroup.
  • I am not available to read many bedtime stories. Considering I’ll have more time and less suppertime stress for the rest of the week, it may be a fair trade off.

What is your meal prep rhythm like?

Menu Planning

Keep It Simple

This month, I have been refreshing my FlyLady Babysteps with FlyLady Diane’s videos. It doesn’t feel like much effort, but after a couple of weeks I looked up and found that the house was pretty well running itself. It is astounding to see a little diligence go so far.

Today’s video covered Menu Planning. The purpose is not to have a pretty, well-made, printed plan in styled font. Grab a cup of tea, set a timer for 15 minutes, and think about what you want to fix.

I commonly plan only three suppers a week. The rest is easily filled with leftovers and pantry goods on hand, or with meals at relatives’ homes. The first time I wrote a list of go-to meals, I scribbled ideas on a sticky note and stuck it on one of the pages in a page protector in my Control Journal. I still use this years later. See? It doesn’t have to be perfect.

For breakfast, we usually stick with various egg combinations. As long as there are eggs, T-bacon, and a few fresh veggies in the fridge, breakfast is covered. Husband picks cereals and toast for more variety.

Then for lunch, I keep bread, lunchmeats, cheese, salad, hummus, chopped veggies, guacamole, corn chips, salsa, a batch of boiled eggs, and canned soups stocked. These can be mixed and matched from day to day, like grilled cheese and tomato soup, chips and sandwiches, chef salads, or a large finger food plate. Some of these items are great snacks to have on hand so you can dodge the cookies calling in the afternoon.

This plan developed over time, so don’t rush yourself trying to get everything just so. Meal planning is meant to make life EASIER! Just take 15 minutes, and scribble down what you want to do this week. That’s it. Try it out!