STUARTO’S Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oils


Well, the kitchen has been finished for a few weeks now and I’m getting back into some real cooking. I made a trip yesterday to Stuarto’s Olive Oil and Vinegar store, located on Euclid ave. in Lexington, KY.

I really stocked up and I’m now in the process of cooking a Leg of Lamb, with vegetables, and a sauce that has Black Mission Fig Balsamic in it. This will be served with a salad made from red and green cabbage with a dressing of Coconut Balsamic and Lime infused olive oil.

More about the recipes later and photos.

Here’s one of the roast after it has been browned and had the veggies added to it. It’s now cooking at 325 degrees F.  I’ve used a very large cast iron skillet and it is covered with another cast iron skillet of the same size. Works great for slow cooking.



Here’s a few photos of the new kitchen, which we are really loving. There’s finally enough room for two of us to work at the same time. YEA!

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We have been going through the process of ripping out our kitchen and having it replaced. A small fire in one of the kitchen drawers was the reason for this major renovation. The fire did significant damage to the drawer and the cupboard walls around it.  We are sure it was started by loose matches laying in the drawer, that we thought were in boxes. Some of them must have gotten under a plastic organizer tray that moved back and forth when the drawer was opened and shut. My husband had gotten the shop key out of the drawer, shut the drawer and went out to the shop. When he returned about 15 minutes later, black smoke was rolling out of the kitchen. He found the fire in the drawer and put it out. The underside of the counter top was very hot and charred. ( Just a thought: Place all matches in fire proof containers.)

The upshot is that, the fire and smoke damage was extensive and we are getting a new kitchen.  The work started last Tuesday with ripping out all the cabinets and some of the walls.  We found out on the Friday before, that the work would start on Tuesday, so, I spent Saturday packing up kitchen supplies and sundries and cooking.  The cooking was the really big event.  I knew we would need enough food to reheat or have minimal prep, to last all week.

I started with putting 5-6 pound Pork Shoulder roast into the oven. I put it in a 425degree oven to get it good and brown and heated through as quickly as possible.  After 30 minutes, I reduced the heat to 350 degrees. I cooked it  another hour at this temperature.

I then added several chopped turnips, and a large coarsely chopped onion. It all went back into the oven for another 30 minutes. I then added a large Granny Smith apple cut into large pieces.  I basted all of the vegetables several times with the pan juices.

Everything cooked for another half hour or until the vegetables were all tender and the meat was falling off of the bone.  This made enough meat to eat and to freeze.

I also made up two pounds of ground beef into  “VEGGIE BEEF BURGERS”.  I ended up with eleven burgers. Since it was so many of them, I baked them in the oven instead of trying to fry them. I dredged each burger in some Cassava Flour and put them in a greased baking sheet.  After about five minutes, I turned the burgers so that each side had grease on it. I cooked them for another 10 minutes at 375 degrees.  The burgers are great for breakfast, especially with some of the “YUMMY, EASY CELERY SOUP”




Since I had the oven going, I also baked several red and white sweet potatoes and roasted some garlic.  I put five big bulbs of garlic in a small iron skillet and covered it with a lid.  I let the garlic roast for 1/2 hour. It’s great squeezed over hot broccoli or added to a vinaigrette.


While everything was cooking in the oven, I made up 4 1/2 quarts of “YUMMY, EASY CELERY SOUP”. I put the hot soup into quart canning jars and let the lids seal as it cooled. It keeps quite well this way for at least a week.  It can also be frozen in the jars, but plenty of room needs to be left at the top of the jar.



The soup can be used just as it is. For variety, I like to add a quart of frozen asparagus. The asparagus is from our garden. I cut it up into pieces, blanch it just until it turns dark green, then put it into freezer containers and cover it with the water that it was blanched in. It makes a great soup in the winter.  For those who are not AIP, I recommend a garnish of fresh grated Parmigiano cheese.

Here is the frozen asparagus thawing out in my pot. Yes, the pot is as old as it looks. I’ve had it for 48 years.


Last of all, I made up a big bowl of “WINTER COLESLAW”. 


Now we had plenty of meat, and vegetables to last us through several days of having a torn up kitchen. Everything was ready to just heat up. It sure made a huge difference to both our diet and our comfort to have all of that food ready to go.

The kitchen still isn’t done but there are new cupboards and we have makeshift counter tops made out of old bookshelves.  I also had the old sink and cupboard moved into the laundry room , where it replaced an old laundry tub sink. It’s been a real blessing to have a good working sink. It will also be a great vegetable sink when we start harvesting garden vegetables.

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“FRIED CHICKEN” Gravy and ‘Chicken FRIED STEAK” burgers.



This morning I fixed “CHICKEN FRIED STEAK” for  breakfast. It consisted of my  Veggie Beef Burger that I reheated and then covered with hot “Fried Chicken” Gravy, some Romaine lettuce and a Clementine. It was delicious and quick and easy. I needed quick and easy because the kitchen is totally ripped out and in the process of being remodeled.


I cooked the Veggie Burgers last Saturday, with the idea that I could reheat them after we no longer had a workable kitchen. Each burger had been patted out in Cassava Flour, so when baked them, they formed a nice crust, almost like a chicken fried steak. I fixed up two pounds of hamburger into the Veggie Burgers. That was too much to fry in a skillet, so, I baked them in a 400 degree oven. I placed them on greased cookie sheets.  I turned each burger after about 5 minutes. Total cooking time was about 10-12 minutes.

It’s been great to be able to heat up a burger and top it with some hot “chicken” gravy .  Almost like having Chicken Fried Steak.

The recipe is basically the same as my “EASY YUMMY CELERY SOUP”, except that it has Beef Bone Broth  and some “poultry” herbs added to it.


Makes about 2 1/2 quarts

One whole stalk of celery, chopped

One large onion, chopped

12oz bag of frozen cauliflower

1 tsp dried Thyme

1/2 tsp dried Sage

1 tsp dried Oregano

NOTE: The herb quantities are on the conservative side. More can be added according to taste.

2 quarts of beef bone broth

1/2 quart water  ( if a thick gravy is wanted then don’t add the water)

salt to taste

Beef fat or other fat for browning the vegetables.


Heat the fat or oil in the soup pot.

Place the chopped celery and onion into the soup pot.

Cook the vegetables, in the fat or oil, until they get start to get soft.

Add in the frozen cauliflower.

Continue to cook the vegetables until they start to brown a little bit.


Add the bone broth and water. Let the gravy simmer until all the vegetables are cooked. This only took about 15 minutes.

Process the gravy in a blender, on the puree setting, until it is creamy.  I  have to do this in batches. I poured each batch into a large bowl until all the gravy was processed.  It turned out to be a very pretty light green color.


This recipe made about 2 1/2 quarts of gravy.  I poured it into quart canning jars. If this is more than can be used in a reasonable amount of time, then freeze the extra. It reheats beautifully.


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#AIP #glutenfree

One thing about I’ve learned after going AIP has been how to start looking at spices and herbs in new ways. A lot of my favorite spices and herbs such as coriander, cumin and hot peppers are not allowed on the Auto-immune-protocol since they are all members of the nightshade family and nightshades are strictly forbidden.

Normally, when cooking a tough piece of beef such as a chuck roast, or in this case, beef shank, I would add lots of hot chilies, tomatillos and coriander, cumin, etc.  So what to do when I have lovely beef shanks and I can’t use those ingredients?

I asked myself “What if”( I frequently ask myself this when in the garden, the studio and the kitchen)  I used sweet spices such as cloves and ginger. They both seemed like they would be good with the richness of beef.  So I used, ground cloves, ginger, basil and turmeric along with a good dash of Coconut aminos. Add in some veggies such as roasted beets, carrots, onions and celery and you’ve got a wickedly good, rich stew that will serve several people or give you lots of fabulous leftovers.  Either way it’s worth the time to create this dish.


I started with about 8 pounds of beef neck bones and shanks, that I had in the freezer.  I ended up with about 4 pounds of meat and lots of bones that cooked up into 2 quarts of bone broth, after I had boned out all of the meat.

4 – 5 pounds of chuck roast would be an excellent substitute for the neck bones and shanks.

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Place the meat into a large heavy skillet and let it brown for about 20 – 30 minutes.

Place two medium to large beets into the oven at the same time. Let them roast, in their skins, for about 1 hour.

Once the shanks and neck bones are browned. Take them out of the oven and let them cool until they are cool enough to handle.  Pick all of the meat off of the bones, that will come off. If using a bone in chuck roast, forget this step.

Place the meat into a dutch oven or other large pot, along with:

One large Onion, sliced

3-4 stalks of Celery, chopped

2 large Carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal into several pieces

2 TBL Coconut Aminos

1 TBL Turmeric

1/4 tsp ground Cloves

1/4 tsp ground Ginger

1 tsp dried Basil

(These are rather conservative uses of the above spices but more can always be added later if neede.)

1 tsp Sea Salt or more to taste

Let this all simmer for at least an hour, or more, until the meat is starting to get really tender.

In the meantime, remove the beets from the oven and let them cool.  Peel the beets and dice them. About a 1/2 hour before serving, add the beets to the stew.

Here is the stew as it is simmering with the beets added. Look at that wonderful, rich color!


I served the stew with homemade AIP tortillas, Yummy Celery Soup that had frozen asparagus added to it and a salad of Romaine lettuce, sliced onions, Clementines and a vinaigrette of olive oil and Apple Cider vinegar.

Find the tortillas, the celery soup and the Apple Cider vinaigrette in the February archives. I will also be posting them again.

As with many stew recipes, this one just gets better the next day. It reheats beautifully and can be made ahead for a dinner party.

I am grateful for the expanded way of looking at ingredients that I have been experiencing. It’s making for some very delicious meals.

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#AIP #glutenfree #dairyfree

Knowing that my husband and I were going to be working several hours today, creating a path through some woods on our farm, I decided that this would be a good time to cook up a Lamb shoulder roast and vegetables, that could be slowly braised for several hours in a slow oven.

The roast was browning in the oven while I ate breakfast.  As soon as I finished breakfast, and after putting together a Cream of Celery Soup, I added vegetables to the roast, and water.  The whole thing went into a 325 degree oven and cooked for the several hours that we were working outside. It was wonderful to come back in and know that in a few minutes we would have a delicious, hot dinner on the the table. 

We started with YUMMY Celery Soup. I had Winter Coleslaw leftover, so we used it for the salad. It was a wonderful contrast to the richness of the roasted meat and vegetables. We added a bit of cucumber to the salad just because we had the cucumber and it tasted good.


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Place the lamb roast ( 4-5 pounds) into a Dutch Oven. Let the roast brown for 20- 30 minutes.

Remove roast from the oven and reduce oven heat to 325degrees.


Three large carrots

One medium Rutabaga

One large onion

One stalk of celery

Salt to taste

About 1/8 cup of raisins ( The raisins add an interesting contrast to the herbs without being too sweet. )

About 1/2 tsp of each of the following herbs:




Cover it all with water.  Bring the water to a simmer with the pot on top of the stove.


Place the pot into the oven and cover with a lid. Leave the lid a bit open so the the pot does not boil over in the oven.

Let cook for about 3 hours. The meat will fall off the bone and be very moist and tender. The vegetables are succulent with it.


This is a very simple meal to put together and it was great to be able to enjoy such a delicious meal after working out in the cold weather.

Pork would also work with this recipe.

Serve with a good, hearty red wine for a really special treat.

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