Category Archives: Food Reviews

What You Need to Know About Key Limes

Working with Key Limes

Today let's talk about Key limes. How are they different, you are probably wondering. What is their appeal? Let's go through a comparison of Key limes vs. Persian limes one aspect at a time.

Size

The Key lime is small, while the Persian lime can be double or triple in size. Due to the small size of the Key lime it can be a challenge to remove the juice. In a minute I'm going to tell you a tip I used that worked great! I found that I needed six Key limes to get four tablespoons of juice.

The amount you get from your Key limes will depend on how juicy your limes are. My six limes weighed 4 ounces, and once squeezed produced 4 tablespoons of juice. If you are planning to make the Key Lime Cupcakes recipe that I'll be sharing next week, I would suggest weighing your Key limes when shopping. If the six you choose weigh 4 ounces, you should have enough juice. But you may want to buy extra, just in case.

Price & Preference

Typically in the United States, the Persian lime will be less expensive since it is preferred by Americans. Now according to an article at the LA Times about Key limes, this preference is mainly due to a historical weather incident. They state that at the turn of the century a hurricane in Florida wiped out most of the Key lime plantations, and when the farmers replanted, they decided to go with the Persian lime which was believed to bear a heavier crop, and more resistant to disease. As a result, we in the U.S. ended up using the Persian lime more than the Key lime. The Key lime is said to be preferred everywhere else in the world.

I shopped for my Key limes at a grocery store chain that caters to the Hispanic community, and the cost for Key limes was the same as the Persian limes, 89 cents a pound.

Species

At one point in time, I wondered if limes were just unripe lemons. I know. Duh. Hey, I'm just keeping it real. I was also surprised to learn that the two are a completely different species. The Persian lime is Citrus × latifolia while the Key lime is Citrus × aurantiifolia.

Seeds & Taste

The Key lime is said to have more seeds than the Persian lime. Most sources state that Key limes are much more tart than Persian limes, some even go so far as to say the taste is bitter. It's important to use the correct lime for the recipe you are following as the two taste slightly different, and can affect the outcome of your recipe. The Key lime is said to more aromatic, with an herbal, fruity undertone, whereas the Persian lime has the citrus-y punch.

 

Key Lime Cupcakes with Raspberry Curd Filling

Next week I'll be sharing a recipe with you for Key Lime Cupcakes, and since I've never used Key limes before, I wasn't sure of how many I'd need for my recipe. My plan was to make my Lemon Poppy Seed loaf recipe, but substitute lime juice for the lemon juice.

I bought one pound of Key limes, and for that one pound, I got 24 Key limes. That ended up being four times the amount I actually needed, but I did manage to find ways to use the remaining limes! (I also made a Key lime dairy-free cheesecake which was D.I.V.I.N.E.)

I grated the rind on some of the Key limes first, since I needed the zest. And then I started to squeeze the little things. My normal citrus squeezing routine was definitely not working for Key limes. I mentioned earlier that I would share a tip with you on squeezing the limes, and I have to say it's a pretty neat little tip. You'll need a garlic press, ideally one that isn't used for garlic, since you may end up with garlic flavored Key lime juice. Which may or may not work to your advantage, for example, if you're making salad dressing or Lime Guacamole, but otherwise, try to use a dedicated press.

keylimes9834sb

I found it works best to cut the Key limes into quarters, than press them into the garlic press rind side up, flesh side down.

Hold the press over a small container to catch the juice and S.Q.U.E.E.Z.E.

I found that it was necessary to turn the garlic press upside down and dump the juice that would be sitting on top of the rind. There are just a few drops, but every drop counts when you're working with Key limes. Besides, if you don't, the juice spills onto the counter top.

keylimes9836sb

I have to admit it was somewhat tedious working with these tiny limes. However, the Key Lime Cupcakes were definitely worth the extra work!

It took me a while to get into a rhythm, but eventually I decided to quarter six limes at a time, then press each quarter, and move on to the next six. It felt more efficient to work that way.

keylimes9842sb

Have you worked with Key limes? Do you have a preference for regular Persian Limes or the Key Limes?

References:

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What is Coconut Butter, Coconut Manna and Coconut Cream Concentrate?

Every time I see a recipe which calls for this product, there are many questions and much confusion. I believe that is mostly due to manufacturer's using different names for the same product. I have seen it referred to as coconut butter, coconut cream [affiliate link] concentrate, and coconut manna.
For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to this product as “coconut cream concentrate”.

What is coconut cream concentrate?

From Tropical Traditions:

“Coconut Cream Concentrate is whole coconut meat in concentrated form. It is sometimes referred to as “coconut butter.” It contains no additives* (not even water). The dried coconut meat is ground very finely, giving it a creamy consistency due to its high fat content, much like other nut butters. Since it is 70% fat, it is a rich source of pure coconut oil [affiliate link]. Note: this is a food, not a cooking oil.”

I can definitely see why there is confusion, even Google is confused:

Google's definition for coconut butterCocoa butter vs. coconut butter

I think someone at Google thought “cocoa butter”. Because cocoa butter is a solid fat used in the manufacture of soap, candles, ointment, etc. When you chill cocoa butter, it turns very hard and solid. However, when cocoa butter is melted, it becomes translucent and could be mistaken for any kind of oil.

In contrast, coconut cream concentrate (coconut butter), when warmed, becomes thick and creamy like nut butter. It is opaque and nowhere near being translucent, and contains a good amount of fiber.

Coconut cream vs. coconut cream concentrate

And then there is the confusion between coconut cream and coconut cream concentrate. Again, two very different products.

Coconut cream is very similar to dairy cream. It behaves in the same way as dairy cream in that the heavier fats rise to the surface. You can skim the coconut cream off the top. When chilled, coconut cream is thick, but when melted has a texture like dairy cream.

Again, warmed coconut cream concentrate will have the texture of smooth peanut butter [affiliate link].

Coconut butter vs. dairy butter

Finally, there is the confusion between coconut butter and dairy butter. Yet again, two different products. When you melt dairy butter, it becomes liquid. As already stated, coconut cream concentrate (or coconut butter) is not a complete liquid, but more the texture of a creamy nut butter.

Substitutes for coconut cream concentrate

You may substitute nut butters for coconut cream concentrate, coconut butter or coconut manna.

Do not substitute any product that turns to a clear liquid when melted, otherwise your recipe will fail miserably.

My favorite coconut cream concentrate, the one I've been using for years is produced by Tropical Traditions*. I have noticed that they now have both phrases “Coconut Cream Concentrate” and “Coconut Butter” on the label. *If you use my link and are a new customer to Tropical Traditions, I will earn a discount coupon and you will receive a free copy of their book Virgin Coconut Oil : How it has Changed People’s Lives and How it Can Change Yours.

Make your own

It is simple to make your own coconut cream concentrate! Simply place unsweetened shredded coconut into a high powered blender or food processor and blend until it turns to a smooth, creamy texture like peanut butter.

Popular brands of coconut cream concentrate/coconut butter/coconut manna:

Some facts about coconut cream concentrate:

  • It contains fiber whereas butter or oils do not
  • When warmed, it has the texture of smooth peanut butter
  • It can be used in place of flour in some recipes
  • It can be used to thicken soups and gravies
  • Mix 1-2 teaspoons water to 1 cup water to make a coconut milk [affiliate link] drink
  • Use as creamer in coffee [affiliate link] or hot cocoa

Have you ever used coconut cream concentrate?

*

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Free Gifts from Tropical Traditions – Quart of Coconut Oil & Mug

tropical-traditions

For the past couple of years, Tropical Traditions has given away a quart of coconut oil before Christmas and this year is no different! All you have to do is put the items in your cart, and then find a few things to purchase that add up to $19 and you are on your way!

Tropical Traditions is also giving us a Tropical Traditions coffee [affiliate link] mug!

If you are looking to just buy close to $19, my suggestion is to buy the shredded coconut and one lip moisturizer. The shredded coconut will work great for making coconut milk [affiliate link], that's my favorite use for it. My favorites of the lip moisturizer are the orange/cinnamon [affiliate link] and the vanilla [affiliate link].

Here are some of my other favorites from Tropical Traditions:

Now hurry on over and get your free quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Storing Cocoa Butter

Make Your Own Cocoa Butter Wafers

Storing Cocoa Butter

I love cocoa butter (my favorite cocoa butter is from Mountain Rose Herbs and this is my affiliate link) but I find myself avoiding using it because it's just so difficult to get out of the container. I find myself attacking the container with a knife, scraping and twisting, trying to get enough out! It's great if you are looking for shavings of plain cocoa butter but so far I've not had a use for that.

The other day I was using cocoa butter and this time I thought I would just put the container into a pan of water and let it simmer for awhile. I really intended to let it simmer just long enough to remove at a few tablespoons, and put the container back into the cupboard. Well, I ended up completely forgetting that I was melting the cocoa butter. Note to self: Next time turn on the stove timer!  I'm just glad I found it before the pan boiled dry because I'm sure the plastic container the cocoa butter is in would have melted and then my cocoa butter would have been ruined.

When I saw that I had the whole container melted (about 8 ounces) I thought it was a great opportunity to rectify the problem I'd been having.

I came up with the idea that you see in the photo above. Just a few days ago I bought some of these ice cube trays with the intentions of making gelatin [affiliate link] cubes for my mom. They have a soft bottom to them so you can just push on them and the cube pops right out.

Set of 2 – Easy Push Out – Ice Cube Tray w/Flexible Rubber Bottom Round shape (Amazon affiliate link)

Each one held two teaspoons. After I had each one filled, I placed the trays into the freezer. About 15 minutes later, they were solid. They popped out so easily!!

I placed the cocoa butter cubes back into the container. Each “cube” holds two teaspoons. No more digging and scraping, or boiling and boiling the container just to get the cocoa butter out of the container. I think I'll be using my cocoa butter more often now that I have it in a more convenient form!

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Diced Bacon

41 Ways to Use Bacon Grease

Diced BaconHow many ways have you used bacon grease?

Bacon grease is a very versatile fat which can be substituted for butter and other fats. It surprises me every time I hear the question, “What can I do with bacon fat?” There are so many ways to use it, and it adds a wonderful flavor to just about anything.

The GAPS Diet which asks me to eliminate certain foods from my diet so I'm going to break my bacon grease post into two parts – the first one being GAPS legal, and the last part will list uses that are not GAPS legal. So if you're doing GAPS, pay no attention to the last half! As you're reading, think of the ways you use bacon grease, and please share in the comments!

  1. Fry your eggs [affiliate link] in it. Fry your bacon, remove. Immediately break eggs into the skillet while the grease is still hot. Tilt the skillet and carefully splash hot bacon grease onto the tops of the eggs. Both sides will be cooked within minutes.
  2. Scramble eggs in it.
  3. Substitute for butter in muffin recipes.
  4. Make mayonnaise replacing some of the oils for bacon fat. Hardens in the fridge and best served on hot foods like a hamburger fresh off the grill, slathered with bacon-mayonnaise.
  5. Saute vegetables in bacon grease.
  6. Make roasted cabbage wedges using bacon grease.
  7. Saute greens in bacon fat: collard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, beet tops, or kale.
  8. Use bacon fat to grease the skillet when making pancakes or french toast.
  9. Fry hamburgers in bacon grease.
  10. Fry chicken strips in bacon grease.
  11. Fry burger toppings in bacon grease: onions [affiliate link], mushrooms, bell pepper, jalapenos.
  12. Make butternut squash fries using bacon grease. Cut butternut squash into fries, coat with bacon grease, bake at 425°F for 20 minutes on one side, turn and bake 20 minutes on the other side.
  13. Instead of mayonnaise, drizzle a teaspoon or tablespoon of hot bacon grease on your burger which is nestled in a bed of lettuce leaves.
  14. Refried white beans. Cook white beans, drain and mash. Heat bacon grease in a skillet until hot, pour in mashed white beans until heated.
  15. Substitute bacon grease for butter when making mashed cauliflower (Faux-tatoes).
  16. Slather bacon grease on your meat before grilling.
  17. Fry apple slices in bacon until tender.
  18. Make bacon dressing.
  19. Use it to grease your skillets or baking utensils before baking.
  20. Make Bacon Aioli.
  21. Substitute bacon grease to make Roasted Brussels sprouts.

Uses other than eating

  1. For horses and dogs with a wound. Apply bacon grease as it will serve to keep the skin soft which will help the wound heal faster. The hair will also grow back faster.
  2. Shine your shoes with bacon grease. Be sure to wipe all traces of grease from the shoe.
  3. Drizzle a tablespoon or two on your pet's food for a shiny healthy coat.
  4. Make a bacon grease fire starter.

Uses for bacon grease that are not GAPS Legal:

  1. Pop popcorn in bacon grease.
  2. Fry potatoes in bacon grease. French fries, hash browns, diced potatoes, potato chips.
  3. Slather bacon grease on hamburger buns and toast in a skillet.
  4. Use bacon grease instead of butter for grilled cheese sandwiches.
  5. Substitute bacon grease for butter in potatoes.
  6. Fry sweet potato fries in bacon grease.
  7. Refried pinto beans are 10 times better when refried in bacon grease!
  8. Use bacon grease instead of butter when making cornbread.
  9. Brush bacon grease on a flour tortilla and bake at 400°F until crispy.
  10. Use bacon grease instead of coconut oil [affiliate link] to make fried rice.
  11. Make white sauce using bacon grease, instead of butter. Especially delicious with diced bacon floating around in the gravy.
  12. Use bacon grease instead of butter to grease the griddle when making pancakes.
  13. Use bacon grease instead of oil in the pancake batter.
  14. Use cold bacon grease instead of butter for pie pastry when using a savory filling.
  15. Use cold bacon grease instead of butter to make biscuits.
  16. Make Chocolate Chip Cookies with Bacon Fat.

This post was included at Fat Tuesday and Motivation Mondays.

Please share in the comments your uses for bacon grease!

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil

The Winner of the Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil

Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil

Thank you to everyone who signed up for the giveaway, and tweeted or shared on Facebook. It has taken me a couple of days to post the winner because I have been under the weather but I'm feeling better now. The winner was chosen by Rafflecopter and I'm very happy to announce the winner of the contest is EW. The entry that EW is signed up for the Tropical Traditions newsletter has been verified by Tropical Traditions and they will be sending out a quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil [affiliate link].

Please remember if you order by clicking on any of my Tropical Traditions links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

Stay tuned for another giveaway!

Thank you again for being a reader of GAPS Diet Journey and following my journey on GAPS!

 

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Review: Celtic Sea Salt Light Grey Coarse Grind

I've wanted to use a more natural type of sea salt [affiliate link] than the commercial brands that I've found at the store. I asked on the list which kind people liked and Celtic Sea Salt® was recommended. Without even trying it, I took their advice and ordered a twenty-two pound bag from the food coop. Buying it in bulk I paid only $2.45 per pound.

Celtic Sea Salt Light Grey Coarse Ground
Celtic Sea Salt Light Grey Coarse Ground

A few nights ago, my son comes out of his room, hands me this little bag of salt and asks if I want to try it. Turns out he brought home this 1/2 pound bag of light grey, coarse ground Celtic Sea Salt several weeks ago, and it is exactly what I ordered from the coop.

So I got to try it out before it arrived from the coop. My verdict?

It's delicious!

I am that person that everyone chides for putting too much salt on my food. I learned that people whose adrenals are fatigued crave salt, so that makes a lot of sense for me.

There is just something about this salt that makes it taste delicious. It also contains several trace minerals.

I bought this grinder to go with the salt: Kyocera Ceramic Fine Mill (this is my Amazon affiliate link). The grinder arrives tomorrow. The reviews on Amazon were favorable for the grinder.

OH, and if you don't have a grinder, it is simple to make salt finer by putting several tablespoons on a cutting board and rolling over it firmly with a rolling pin. The salt crunches into a less coarse grind and is perfect for seasoning individual portions. I hear that people keep a little bowl with salt in it beside the stove to season while cooking which you could use either coarse or once you've crushed it.

Here is a site that tells about the different kinds of salt. And isn't this salt cellar adorable?

Have you tried Celtic Sea Salt? How do you like it?
GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.

Salmon Cubes

Salmon Cubes

This is my results of trying the Salmon Dill Burgers from Elana Amsterdam's cookbook. I halved her recipe to start with, since I was the only one eating. I also didn't add dill or lemon zest as called for in her recipe. I don't like those two flavors and I have tried to give them a chance in recipes over the years and end up ruining the food they were put into. So unless I'm making some kind of lemon pie thing, no lemon zest. And dill is for pickles! 🙂

When the burgers wouldn't stay together, I just began cooking the food as if it were scrambled eggs [affiliate link] or something similar. They were very tasty, and it was a quick way to make salmon. She recommends to cube the salmon into 1/4″ cubes, now I realize I cut 1/2″ cubes. No wonder they didn't stick together.

Salmon Cubes – serves 2

Scrambled egg. Place all four ingredients into a small bowl. Melt butter in a skillet just below medium heat. Dump the contents of the small bowl into the hot skillet. Allow to sit for a minute or two until browned, then turn over to cook on the other side.

I think next time I'll put the salmon into the food processor and grind it a bit to make the cubes smaller, (or maybe just try 1/4″) and maybe I'll be able to form them into patties.

I had leftover Faux-tatoes and Butternut Squash Puree. See my butter floating on top of the Faux-tatoes? Mmmmmm!! Delish!

This was a very delicious meal, and I was actually feeling like I should have stopped about halfway through everything on the plate. The salmon you see in the photo was half the recipe, the other half is in the fridge for leftovers.

GAPS DIET JOURNEY is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. GAPS DIET JOURNEY is an affiliate for several companies and may be compensated through advertising and marketing channels. Therefore, this post may contain affiliate links.