My sweet celiac and youngest, Izzy

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving and Arsenic and all that stuff....

I know you are thinking I poisoned someone at Thankgiving dinner by the title of this post.:) But everyone escaped with their lives.  Sorry it's been so long since I last posted, Thanksgiving literally took it out of me and left me exhausted.  Our menu was great, our friends were amazing and probably better behaved than family would have been (LOL:)) and my sweet babies had an amazing and fun time playing with a ton of friends.  I actually got to eat a HOT meal, with everyone else, and was able to sit around the table and gab with friends, watch football and relax!  I think that equals a perfect holiday:).  Everyone enjoyed the food, the fried turkey was amazing and there were 3 refrigerators FULL of leftovers even with people taking some home!  Ok, so I don't know how to not cook for an army.  I could have fed a 3rd world country on our seconds.  Perhaps that is what I'll do once the kids are all off:).  I had two recipes that I turned into round two recipes.  One was Shepard's Pie made with leftover turkey, gfree gravy and leftover veggies and I made a version of white chicken chili with some more turkey instead of chicken.
Recipes will be at the end.

Onto the arsenic part of this.  On the TODAY show this morning the consumer reports study has come out on the juice we give to our children and it is VERY disturbing.  Dr. Oz did a lot of reporting on this earlier this year and got shot down on many things during his testing but surprise, surprise...he was guest star on the TODAY show this morning with exactly what he thought and what he said previously.  Not that I am totally surprised but why is arsenic in any amount allowed in our food supply?  It puts us at a much greater rish of cancer and other major chronic illnesses even at the smaller level.  It absolutely amazes me that there are not more people concerned about this.  The old adage of well we've been doing it for years and everyone is fine is not ok anymore.  We are not fine.  There is more cancer in the human population than ever reported and growing in numbers that you cannot even comprehend.  And it's due to plain greed.  If the companies would core the apples they are using, the seeds have high levels of arsenic naturally, alot of the problem would be solved.  But they don't want to hire another person to core the apples or have a machine to do it.  It's not just apple juice though, it's grape juice and several others and if you did not already know this, there is an acceptable level in our drinking water as well.  This is just not acceptable.  Obviously filtered or bottled water eliminates some of the exposure and Organic juices as well as when you can verify that the apple juice concentrate is from USA (this is a difficult task as some have the concentrate imported then the juice is made here) you are a little safer.  This is a larger issue though.  The almighty dollar is making all sorts of companies make decisions that are not in our best interest.  Chicken plants breed chickens without beaks or feet and sometimes without feathers so that they don't have to hire someone to pluck, debeak or break apart the chicken.  Seriously?  How can that be good for us? That doesn't even begin to talk about the hormones or antibiotics that are injected.  Buy organic as much as you can, be a pureist when you can ( buy a juicer, soda maker, food processor, bread maker when you can and make your own), use local farmers for meats and produce when you can or be very selective where you buy.  Even in a crazy, out in the middle of nowhere place, like I live in there are options.  Stop supporting McDonald's and support your kids health. 

PS, another note on additives in our foods for those that are not gluten free: King Aurther is the only flour on the market that is non-bromated flour and if you are not sure what that means: it's an additive to flours I could go on and on with things in our foods...
King Arthur also makes a lot of G Free producst and flour blends!

OK, enough of that tangent.  I'll include some article links at the end of this as well.

SO, Christmas is upon us.  I've done most of my shopping , addressed almost all the Christmas cards and partially written our family letter.  I've wrapped the things that have come in, decorated most everything except the outside.  Things are moving along quite nicely.  I can say, it feels a little weird this year.  I let the kids decorate the tree while I supervised from the kitchen and made dinner.  I broke down when I pulled the stuff I had shoved in the attic willy nilly on a quick trip home from the hospital at almost Valentine's Day and couldn't find everything and thought of where we were this time last year.  I think I was so stressed last year and went through so many things this year I had to suck up and not react to emotionally that it's all built to a head that is waiting for New Years Eve to arrive so I can finally take a deep breath and start the new year in a new way.  But my sweet angels are so excited and enjoying every second of Christmas and it's contagious! It's so sweet to see how excited they all are.  We told the big girls that their main present is a destination present.  This year we are leaving this lovely Arkansas town for one of my favorite places on earth...NYC.  We will spend a week in this amazing city and embrace everything that it holds.  That will get me back in the mood for sure.  Ice skating in Central Park, shopping, eating, seeing my cousin and her family and seeing my sister and her family who are driving in from MD. It is a trip that is very needed this year to celebrate how far we have come in such a short period of time. 

Dr. Oz and TODAY show links: you can go to his home page for the main parts of the article remember it's not just apple juice either!

Leftover Shepard's Pie- traditional Shepard's pie was made with lamb but I typically make it with either lamb, ground turkey, beef and NOW leftover fried turkey:)

  • 1 1/2 lbs leftover turkey, either runn through the food processor or hand shredded

  • 1 onion chopped

  • 1 TBSP olive oil

  • 1-2 cups vegetables - chopped carrots, corn, peas

  • 1 1/2 - 2 lbs potatoes (3 big ones)

  • 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)

  • 1/2 cup leftover gravy (usually I use either gfree beef broth, mushroom soup, or gravy of some sort)

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (GF)

  • Salt, pepper

  • 1 Peel and quarter potatoes, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes).
    2 While the potatoes are cooking, heat olive oil in saute pan.
    3 Sauté onions until tender over medium heat (10 mins). If you are adding vegetables, add them according to cooking time. Put any carrots in with the onions. Add corn or peas either at the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat has initially cooked.
    4 Add meat and sauté until no longer pink or if using leftovers until warm. Add salt and pepper. Add worcesterchire sauce. Add half a cup of gravy and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more gravy or broth as necessary to keep moist.
    5 Mash potatoes in bowl with butter, season to taste, add coconut milk as needed to moiten.
    6 Place meat, veggies and onion mixture in baking dish. Distribute mashed potatoes on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well.
    7 Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown. If you want to add cheese at the end, the last 5 minutes is perfect.

    White "chicken" Chili- or replaced with leftover turkey:)

    1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapeno peppers (optional and I don't include when the kids are eating)

  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth (GF)

  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast or leftover turkey

  • 3 (15 ounce) cans white beans

  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)

  •  1/2 bunch cilantro chopped (1/4 C)

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Slowly cook and stir the onion until tender. Mix in the garlic, jalapeno (if using), green chile peppers, cumin, oregano and cayenne. Continue to cook and stir the mixture until tender, about 3 minutes. Mix in the chicken broth, chicken or turkey and white beans. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the mixture from heat. Top with the cheese and cilantro. Serve warm.               

    For a little more depth I will occasionally add a can of Rotelle tomatoes/onions/chilis as well, it does spice it a little more but I like it!


    1. Do you think ground chicken/turkey would work in the chili? Looks good! The arsenic thing is very unsettling! Good for you for getting decorated and in the mood!

    2. Hey sweetie, so sorry I missed this comment. YES you can use either of the ground forms of any protein you want honestly. We use ground turkey so much. I love it instead of red meat!