Category Archives: Recipes

Alzheimer’s Recipe: Green Smoothie Mix

Another of Quinten’s neurologist’s suggestions for possibly slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s was to increase the number of green leafy veggies into his diet. I have not been great about getting him to eat them. I’ve found that salads seem to bother him and he’s had such awful belly issues anyway that I haven’t been as diligent as I should be. We took a break from the smoothies for a long time but I’m trying to get them back into our diets now. Here is how I do them:

Green Smoothie Mix

2 5 oz packages kale

2.5 cups frozen blueberries

5 medjool dates, seeded

3 bananas

Fill a blender (I use a Vitamix) with baby kale and about 1/2 a cup of water.

Blend, using tamper to push the kale down toward the blades. When you are finished it will look like this:

Continue adding kale and blending until you have used both packages of kale. At this point, I turn my Vitamix up to high and blend for a few seconds to make sure the kale is well blended. Pour kale into an ice cube tray and freeze.

Peel and freeze the bananas in chunks placed on waxed paper. The waxed paper is important. If it’s not used, you will end up chiseling the bananas from whatever you’ve frozen them to.

Once everything is frozen, it’s time to assemble the smoothie mix. Remove the kale from the ice cube tray. You may need to warm the tray up a little under warm water.

Divide the kale ice cubes, banana chunks, frozen blueberries and dates between 5 sandwich bags.

Place each of these baggies into a large freezer bag and freeze.

To use, place contents of one baggie and 1 cup of milk (we’ve used coconut and regular whole milk) and blend until smooth. One serving per bag.

What I really like about these smoothies is the amount of greens I can get into one serving since they break down so much. I’ve also done other greens instead of the kale such as spinach and leaf lettuce. I think I’m going to keep ordering a variety of greens to replenish my freezer stock.

Here are a few links to articles which talk about the importance of leafy vegetables for the prevention of Alzheimer’s:

Livestrong

ABCnews

Science Daily

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Thanksgiving Prep: Dressing

I absolutely refuse to stuff my dressing into a bird. Even typing that sentence makes me gag a little. The resulting stuffing is a big pile of goo in my opinion–and not food. Yeah….I really do have texture issues. So much so that even regular dressing made with bread is too soggy. My solution is to make dressing with brown rice instead. Celery would be a good addition to this dish and if you want to add it, I would do about a cup or so of chopped celery but I’m allergic so you will find it missing in my recipe. This recipe freezes well.

Brown Rice Dressing with Cherries

1 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped (Craisins also work well here and are small enough you can skip the chopping)

1/2 large onion, chopped

4 TB butter or bacon grease

2 cloves garlic, minced

12 oz chicken broth

1 tsp sage

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

Bring 4 cups water to boil in saucepan. While you are waiting for the water to boil, pour the rice into a mesh strainer and rinse the rice under cool water. Once the water in the saucepan has come to a boil, dump the rice in, stirring until it comes up to a boil again. Once the rice is boiling, cover and turn down the heat to low. Cook, covered, for 45 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, chop the onion and cherries, and mince the garlic. When the rice has finished cooking, remove from heat and set aside.

In large skillet, melt the butter and cook the onion until it just starts to brown. Add in the minced garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Finally, add in the cherries and spices and cook for another couple of minutes (by now, it will smell amazing).

Remove from heat and stir in the rice, adding in enough of the chicken broth to moisten to taste. Adjust spices  to taste and pour mixture into a greased 2 quart baking dish.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until heated through.

To freeze: allow dressing to cool to room temperature, then cover and freeze. Remove from freezer the day before you want to bake it and allow to thaw in refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator about an hour before you plan to bake it and bake as above.

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Thanksgiving Prep

I thought that I would share my Thanksgiving plan with you over the next few days instead of documenting what we ate. With a family this size, planning and cooking as much as you can ahead of time allows me to enjoy the holiday instead of being locked away in the kitchen for the entire day. Granted, there’s still lots left to do on the big day but it is so, so much better.

My friend, Anne, has a terrific make-ahead recipe for mashed potatoes that I used last year and plan to do the same this year. My only changes are to skip the parmesan cheese (I have parmesan haters here) and to use organic ingredients.  These really are terrific mashed potatoes and I love having the potatoes crossed off the list ahead of time. I seriously suck at making gravy (consistency is never right—it’s either jello or soup) but can get her recipe to turn out each time I’ve made it—and it tastes good.  Again, my only changes are to use organic ingredients and homemade broth from the freezer. I plan to make both of these recipes after my next shopping trip on Friday.

Today, however, I am going to make the cranberry sauce. Homemade cranberry sauce is super easy and tastes so much better than the crap from a can. I also love the color of homemade cranberry sauce.

Cranberry Sauce

Begin by picking over the cranberries and discarding the super smushy ones. Rinse the berries and pour into a saucepan. I had 2 7.5-oz containers of cranberries and ended up picking out about 1/2-3/4 cup of berries.

To the cranberries, add 1/2 cup water and 1/2-3/4 cup honey and bring to boil over medium heat.

While I waited for the cranberries to boil, I filled a pint jar with boiling water. As the cranberries begin to get hot, they will start to pop. Once boiling, continue cooking and stirring over medium heat  for about 5 minutes, or until the cranberry sauce is nice and thick. Remove from heat and smash with a potato masher to make sure all of the cranberries have popped.

My kitchen is freezing this morning–as you can tell from all of the steam in this picture!

If the sauce is too tart at this point, add additional honey to taste. Pour into jar(s). I ended up with a pint jar plus a little.

Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.

Honey-Sweetened Cranberry Sauce

2 7.5-oz. containers organic cranberries

1/2-3/4 cup honey

1/2 cup water

Begin by picking over the cranberries and discarding the super smushy ones. Rinse the berries and pour into a saucepan. To the cranberries, add 1/2 cup water and 1/2-3/4 cup honey and bring to boil over medium heat. While waiting for the cranberries to boil, fill a pint jar with boiling water and set aside. As the cranberries begin to get hot, they will start to pop. Once boiling, continue cooking and stirring over medium heat  for about 5 minutes, or until the cranberry sauce is nice and thick. Remove from heat and smash with a potato masher to make sure all of the cranberries have popped. If the sauce is too tart at this point, add additional honey to taste. Pour into jar(s).

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Alzheimer’s Recipe: Coconut Chocolate Squares

When I mentioned on Facebook a while ago that I used coconut oil to supplement Quinten’s diet with foods which have shown to improve symptoms, a friend mentioned that a friend of hers made “fudge” to help her mother.

We’ve recently made the decision to stop using the Axona after Quinten began complaining that it was burning his stomach. Since we have seen progression in his symptoms after adding the Axona, the doctor agreed that it would be a good decision to stop giving it to him. However, I still think coconut oil is a good idea so I’ve come back to the “fudge” idea again. I couldn’t remember what the proportions were so I did a Google search. I found the doctor who has been instrumental in researching treatments for her own husband who has Alzheimer’s and an article with recipes (I do not agree with a lot of what CBN puts out there but the recipe is easy to find).

In our quest to clean up our diet, I also wanted to make this recipe with the best possible ingredients I could afford.

 

I ordered the coconut oil from Amazon, but have also used coconut oil from Swanson Vitamins  as well. The chocolate is the chocolate I picked up from my co-op the other day. The brand is Alter Eco and I love that it is soy free and only contains 4 ingredients. It is expensive (I paid over $4 a bar the other day) but so, so worth it. Most dark chocolate makes me gag but not this one. I think it’s going to be my new chocolate bar to order in bulk. 🙂

The tray to the right of the chocolate is Wilton’s square chocolate mold. The mold is nice and flexible to get the squares out once they are solid.

Since I am using a chocolate bar instead of chocolate chips, I like to weigh the coconut oil to match the weight of the chocolate.

 

I am a perpetual dieter, so already have a food scale:

 

Place the chocolate (chopped) and the coconut oil in a saucepan and melt over low heat. While you are waiting for it to melt, grease the mold with coconut oil.

 

The coconut oil will melt before the chocolate. Keep on low and continue to stir until the entire mixture is smooth. The mixture will be a lot runnier than you think it should be but, I promise, it will work out.

 

It look me several tries to get that shot–it was that runny.

Quinten requested macadamia nuts this time, so I roasted 10 on a baking sheet at 350 degrees until the nuts are toasted (about 10 minutes). Once they are toasted, I roughly chopped them.

And divided them between the silicone squares

Pour the chocolate evenly among the silicone squares and carefully place in the freezer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the chocolate from the silicone. You will need to push each square out. The heat from your hands will easily melt the chocolate. Quickly place each chocolate in a freezer safe container and store in the freezer.

I give Quinten one of these after breakfast every morning to replace the shake (Axona) he was drinking. I’ve read that some people are also giving them to their loved ones another one in the afternoon to keep their levels steady. Since it does melt so fast, I have Quinten place the chocolate in a sandwich baggie to keep the chocolate from melting all over him.

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Day 8

We made it one whole week (plus one day) incorporating the 100 Days of Real Food principles!! No fast food, no soda, no sugar (except in the few things like previously homemade jam and that which is included in chocolate chips and spaghetti sauce), no junk. And, other than the fact that we are at the end of the grocery week and running out of staples, it really has been a good week.

Things I’ve learned this week:

  • We go through * a lot * of food in a week! Holy cow!!
  • I did not buy enough fruit and veggies to last the week
  • I use a lot of onions when I cook
  • My kids have forgotten the thankfulness lessons from when they were younger and need a refresher course. They complained A LOT. Given the fact that the youngest are 15, I am seriously unhappy about that.
  • My kids were eating a lot of junk (turns out mom and dad were too) that didn’t register with me since it was such a common occurrence.
  • I can’t eat popcorn anymore. Even the organic stuff gave me a belly ache.
  • It takes much more time spent in the kitchen to cook this way
  • I am thankful I buy in bulk. I ended up using quite a few items out of the pantry
  • I am more than happy to pay $6 a loaf of bread after reading this. Gross, huh? Given the fact that I am highly allergic to feathers, it’s no wonder walking down the bread isle at the store makes me want to vomit from the smell.
  • It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be

Tomorrow will be a challenge sticking to the plan. The girls have a dentist appointment in the morning and since we are trying to conserve gas this time around, I will be going grocery shopping after their appointment instead of going today. I’m hoping we will be able to find something healthy while in town since we will be there at lunchtime and I am out of bread. We’ll see if I end up with any extra time tonight to make some.

Here is what we ate:

Day 7 (Wednesday)

Breakfast:

Eggs cooked in bacon grease, slice of banana bread, coffee

Lunch:

Peanut butter and jelly, water

Snack:

½ soy-free chocolate bar

Dinner:

Bacon-Wrapped chicken breast (recipe to follow), spaghetti with alfredo (to use up cream that was about to go bad), and a green salad with dressing

Day 8 (Thursday)

Breakfast:

Eggs cooked in bacon grease, slice of whole wheat bread, coffee

Lunch:

Almond butter and jelly, dehydrated organic apples, water

Dinner:

I plan to make this and serve a green salad and dressing with it along with home canned beets that my mom brought up for me the last time she visited.

Snack:

I plan to roast some almonds, allow them to cool and mix with chocolate chips.

Recipe:

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts

Oven: 350

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half

1 (8 oz) package Applegate Farms bacon

Salt, pepper, and smoked paprika

Wrap one piece of bacon around each of the 8 pieces of chicken and place in a baking dish with the ends of the bacon on the bottom so they will stay secure. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.

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Day 6

I still feel pretty good about our first week so far. We are obviously short on fruit and veggies but I figure that will all get worked out as I’m able to add more to my grocery budget. The last few months have been tough but things do look like they are improving—at least on paper.

Picking up where we left off last post:

Day 5 (Monday):

Breakfast:

Pancakes and coffee

Lunch:

I made a simple soup with the rest of the chicken broth I made this weekend plus the rest of my onions, several carrots, and some penne pasta. This was topped with a bit of parmesan and served with cheddar crackers (recipe to follow), Bubbies sauerkraut, fresh raspberries, and black tea.

Dinner:

Pressure cooker roast, quinoa, green salad with dressing

Snack:

Caramel Corn

Day 6 (Tuesday):

Breakfast:

Pumpkin pancakes

Lunch:

PBJ on whole wheat bread

Snack:

Banana Bread

Dinner:

Spaghetti and noodles with whole wheat bread and butter

Recipe:

 

Cheddar Crackers

So many of the crackers in the store have long lists of ingredients–even the ones labeled organic. I found this recipe in my recipe box. It’s been so long that I’m not sure who the author is. My picky girls loved these and have been asking me to make them again.

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I used Kerrygold)

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp smoked paprika (my addition, the original recipe called for a dash of cayenne and skipped the hot pepper flakes. I like both)

dash Aleppo pepper (or hot pepper flakes), to taste

3/4 cup flour

Mix the butter and cheddar together. Stir in the remaining ingredients until a dough forms. It takes quite a bit of mixing to get all of the ingredients incorporated. Shape into a log that is 1-inch in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled (approx. half an hour). Remove from refrigerator, unwrap, and slice into thin slices. Bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until just starting to brown. Cool before serving.

 

 

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Dark Chocolate Custard with Salted Caramel Sauce

Today is Quinten’s and my anniversary. 23 years! Since money has been so tight lately, I hadn’t planned to go out for dinner like we normally do. Instead, I planned a simple lasagna dinner and wanted to find a truly decadent dessert to make up for staying in. I think I succeeded, if I do say so myself. The caramel sauce takes time but the flavor is worth it–it could be a Starbucks caramel copy (and my girls are already making plans for the leftovers in their coffee in the morning). The amount of cream in this recipe is staggering so there are no plans to include a calorie count. Ever.

 

Dark Chocolate Custard with Salted Caramel Sauce

Serves 8

Dark Chocolate Custard

1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

¾ cup milk

½ cup sugar

3 TB cocoa powder

Up to ¼ tsp salt, to taste

4 egg yolks

1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips

1 TB vanilla

1 TB salted butter

Measure 1 cup of chocolate and pour into a large mixing bowl. Place a fine mesh sieve over the bowl and set aside.

Heat the cream, milk, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat stirring often until just before the mixture boils. Beat egg yolks well in small bowl while cream mixture is heating. When cream mixture is hot, remove from heat and slowly whisk in enough of the cream mixture into the eggs until the eggs are warm (about a cup of the cream will need to be added). The key is to add the hot mixture slowly enough to keep the eggs from scrambling.

Once the egg mixture is warm, pour it back into the saucepan and stir well. Continue cooking over medium heat until the mixture boils, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and pour through the sieve in the mixing bowl. The sieve will catch any lumps or bits of cooked egg leaving you with a creamy consistency. The hot custard will begin to melt the chocolate in the bowl.

Stir the chocolate and custard together and allow to stand for a couple of minutes to allow the chocolate to melt completely. Stir in the vanilla and butter until everything is completely mixed. Pour into 8 small containers (I like to use 4 oz. mason jars) and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Salted Caramel Sauce

 2 TB salted butter

2/3 cup dark brown sugar (I used light brown in the pictures and think that dark would give it a better flavor)

¼ tsp sea salt

½ cup cream

½ tsp. vanilla

¼ to ½ cup additional cream

Mix together the butter, brown sugar, sea salt, and ½ cup cream. Bring to boil over medium heat. Continue cooking and stirring over medium heat until caramel reaches firm ball stage. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and enough of the cream to make a thick sauce. Allow to cool to room temperature, adding more cream if needed, before drizzling over custard.

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