Jen’s Top Ten List To Improve Thyroid Health

Another year’s gone by, and my thyroid levels have stayed great. Optimizing my thyroid function is working. I suspect a lot of these tips are good for anyone- husband Tom and I have stayed healthy all during this flu season. It’s been awesome!

I’ve got a few other posts on the subject too. Find my article on the Green Drink I have every morning, here. There’s also my List of 8 Diet Ideas to boost thyroid health, if you want to check that out too!

grateful_table_thyroid_top_ten_list

  1. Remove Silver Fillings: Consider getting amalgam (silver) fillings out. They contain mercury- ew! (Major endocrine disruptor).
  2. Get Enough Iron: A bit of beef liver can help us get enough iron–it’s the most-absorbed form. I take these liver pills, from grass-fed cows, or even this powdered liver powder, that I mix in with my morning green drink. It’s hard to gag down– I guzzle it as quickly as possible, and I did get used to it. (The powder is the most economical way to get this form of iron.)
  3. Mega-Greens: Spirulina and. Chlorella can supply mega-nutrients–nourishing to the thyroid gland. I have two tablespoons of these powders every morning. Or– these tablets are easier to take.
  4. Super-food Herbs: A mix of various super-food herbs, blended into a jar of protein powder or gelatin, can make it easy to get a natural, extra boost. Just mix some into the morning’s hot drink or protein shake. Ashwagandha Root Powder  is an adaptogen, so it may help the body fill in missing nutrients to improve function. Other good herbs to consider-  Eleuthero root, Astragalus root, Codonopsis root (pretty pricey, but it is an extract), Fo-Ti root (it has rave reviews as a hair tonic and gray-hair-delayer as well), Devils Club bark. More herbs/foods that can fight inflammation (which aggravates so many issues, including thyroid): Nopal Powder and Tart Cherry Powder. I usually mix one or several of these in with the batch of whey protein powder, gelatin, or whatever I’m mixing into my morning drinks at the time. I use one mix this way, instead of several individual scoops of this or that.
  5. Minerals: Some hypothyroid sufferers have noticed great improvement from taking mineral supplements. I prefer whole-food forms of nutrients (we’re less likely to get overloaded on any one mineral this way). One of my favorite natural sources for minerals is Capra Mineral Whey. Maybe it’s because it’s from goats that graze on the mineral-rich grasses of the Capra region. It seems to work. Expensive, but I love this stuff. Also, mineral-rich, hormone-balancing herbs like nettle, yellow dock, horsetail, alfalfa, and rosemary are good to add to the diet too.
  6. Chromium: This is an important mineral to aid thyroid function, but it takes some effort to find great sources. A few ideas: Grape juice (and red wine), and brewer’s yeast are just a few of the many whole foods that do contain some chromium.
  7. Zinc & Selenium: Zinc can be added to the diet by eating beef, lamb, pumpkin and/or sesame seeds. And it only takes about two Brazil nuts daily to get enough selenium.
  8. Cod Liver Oil: Cod Liver Oil can help balance our Omega 3/6 ratio- another plus. Especially if you’re like me- I don’t always eat weekly rations of wild-caught salmon. The capsules are handy.
  9. Pure Water: A “Berkey Water Filter” (or other filter designed to remove fluoride and chlorine) is a good investment. Fluoride and chlorine can potentially disrupt thyroid health. Plus, the water tastes great.
  10. Natural Thyroid Gland Supplement: I’ve been to the doctor pretty irregularly now, since I’m feeling so healthy. I got my thyroid levels checked anyway, fairly recently, and they were fine. The doctor preferred that I would continue with a prescription thyroid, but I’ve been successfully using an OTC thyroid supplement (“Thyro-Gold“) instead. I’ve been using it for three years and have never felt healthier. Getting older, but getting better too.

There you have it- my top ten. It’s working for me–I love it that more people have told me I look younger now than I did ten years ago when I didn’t know I was hypothyroid. AND, I feel younger. Hurrah!

Cheap Kitchen Cupboard Redo

The new year’s almost upon us- thought I’d post a few ideas for “out with the old, in with the new”. So… if you’ are also dealing with old kitchen cupboard shelves made of particle board, this is a real cheap alternative to new kitchen cupboards!

Particle Board Shelving Needs Redo

Organizing- 10 Good Will Boxes!First job: cleaning those cupboards out. I found stuff I’d forgotten about. Like, a bulging can of pineapple that expired in 2005. Not sure when it started oozing pineapple goo onto the cupboard shelf. Shame on me!

Once everything came out of the cupboards, I realized how nasty the shelves had gotten. After all, the shelves are 30-year-old particle board. Nothing like the fancy, wipeable shelves they have now. So… I researched. Contact paper’s not going to stick to that stuff. Plus, the first product I tried was so thin, pots and pans would just tear it up.  But check out the “After” pic! Someone on some forum mentioned using adhesive tiles for such shelving. It was easy enough to put in, and it’s super durable. I’m so excited that the shelving looks way nicer. And… my husband’s excited that it was way cheaper than a whole cupboard-replacement venture.Adhesive Tile Over Particle Board ShelfThe outside of the shelves still looks pretty decent. A friend suggested paint, but I wasn’t too keen on that. My daughter-in-law has had enough bad experience with those for me to want steer clear of that. Yes, she and our son had professionals paint their first kitchen cupboards. Including the finishing protective coat. They still started chipping within the first few years. In their second kitchen, the cupboard were already painted. They looked bright and cheery. The first year. But those too started chipping…

I’ve continued to keep the outside of our old cupboards in decent shape by using citrus oil on them occasionally. It nourishes the wood and brings back the shine. Cheapest redo ever!

Chicken, Moroccan, for 240!

Dijon + Butter on Chicken Breast + Moist!We made a lot of chicken for our annual Women’s Christmas Dinner at church. It turned out great. If you’re planning a wedding or some other large event, this could work! We got 6-oz. portioned, boneless, skinless breast meat, which can sometimes be dry. But… we topped each piece with a mix of butter and Dijon mustard, plus a mix of bread crumbs and Parmesan. Wow- it was perfectly moist and tender with that treatment!

You can find the family-size recipe here, although it doesn’t mention the Dijon-Butter idea...

 

Olives, Raisins, Toasted Almonds, Make Tasty Morrocan Chicken

INGREDIENTS

  • 90 lb. Chicken in 6-oz. size.
  • 5.75 green olives (pitted, no pimento)
  • .75 lb. raisins
  • 2.3 lb. lemon peel, slivered
  • 4.6 lb. lemon juice
  • 1.15 honey
  • 4.3 lb. butter
  • 2.15 lb. Dijon
  • 3.5 lb. bread crumbs (sweet’s good)
  • 3.5 lb. Parmesan
  • 4.4 lb. slivered almonds

PREPARATION

Prep the toppings below; also order 90 lb. chicken (6-oz., portioned). The chicken itself can be laid on trays and prepped the day before.

Up to several weeks ahead, prep olives, refrigerating jars afterward. Slice in quarters: > 5.75 green olives

Also ahead of time, chop med. fine: > 5.75 lb. raisins

Lemon mix can also be prepped several weeks ahead. After slicing the peel into thin strips, heat briefly to a boil: > 2.3 lb. lemon peel, slivered > 4.6 lb. lemon juice > 1.15 honey > 1/2 TBS. salt

Refrigerate the lemon peel in jars.

On serving day, or day before, spread top of raw chicken pieces with a mix of melted butter, mixed with Dijon. Use: > 4.3 lb. butter > 2.15 lb. Dijon

Sprinkle on top of butter/mustard mix: > 3.5 lb. bread crumbs (sweet’s good) > 3.5 lb. Parmesan

Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Also on serving day, mix together the prepared olives, raisins, and lemon peel (including lemon peel juice).

Top baked chicken with the olive/raisin/lemon mixture. Last, top with: > 4.4 lb. slivered almonds

 

Christmas Party Ideas: Yankee Swap/White Elephant with a Twist

Yankee Swap, White ElephantWe’ll be having our 31th annual New Deli Christmas Party soon. We always play a few games, and always do a “White Elephant” (AKA “Yankee Swap” or “Snatchy Christmas Rat”). But we wanted to do something a little different this time around, so below I’ve posted a link you can use to change things up as well.

Not Much New Deli Staff! Christmas 2008

New Deli Christmas 2008 (Stephanie’s taking the picture)

Just for extra fun, I had to post the above picture of Tom, Todd, Tyler, and Rose (plus us), taken back in 2008. My, how things have changed. Ty’s now got a job, Rose is happily married and in college, and we’ve gone from having just a few people on staff, to having 11 employees. Wow!

This might have been the funnest Yankee Swap ever- there were numbered cards with cute little poems on ’em, like,

  • “#1 Lucky you, you’re # 1- You get to start all the fun. So grab a gift and grab it quick.
  • #3. Number 3 it’s plain to see. It’s your turn to pick which gift `twill be. And when your choosing job is through, swap with 1 and then with 2.
  • #7 is a lucky number it seems, You choose a gift that has some green. Poke it, and shake it until you get back. Now trade with someone wearing black.

Etc. Fun stuff!

I had a little trouble finding the ready-to-go directions online. A word search led me to a bogus website that mentioned this fun Yankee Swap, but it didn’t link to anything. (That website did sent me some span emails the next day though- that’s all :/)

So I figured I’d post this, with an easy-to-print Word document attached, for you to print a copy for yourself. This particular list goes all the way up to 50; we only needed 25 numbers when we played, but it’s completely flexible that way.

Here’s the Word document: Christmas Party Ideas, Yankee Swap, White Elephant

Have fun!

Thanksgiving Verse (Desktop Wallpaper Too)

I work up various desktop backgrounds to match the season (or my mood)- see “Desktop Wallpapers” for more. With Thanksgiving coming right up, I thought I’d create one for the verse about Thanksgiving from Colossians 2:7.

I set the Thanksgiving table today. It’s a wise thing for two reasons: #1- It can be done ahead, before the kitchen work gets intense, and #2- The weight of the plates and such help pull any wrinkles out of the tablecloth. That’s right- a no iron tablecloth is my goal!

I made the centerpiece ahead of time too- just rounded up some of garden produce kicking around the yard, plus a few greens. Put all that in a burlap-lined wooden box filled with some mason jars. I added little candles to the jars- pretty! (See bottom of post for a closeup of that).

Let the weight of plates pull wrinkles out of tablecloth!The table looked so pretty, I wanted to create some computer monitor wallpaper out of a picture of it. I found this great Thanksgiving Bible verse to go with it, from Colossians 2:7- “Be strengthened by the faith that you were taught, and overflow with thanksgiving.”

Colossians 2:7 Thanksgiving VerseTo use the picture for a desktop background, click the links below, sized to fit wide or short monitors. Left click on the monitor size you want, which brings you to the actual picture, then right click and choose “select (or set) as desktop background”.

Background for wider monitors

Background for shorter monitors

Natural Tablescape w/produce, burlap, mason jars, candles

Chicken Paprikosh

This is one of the first recipes my son wanted after moving into his own place. I don’t think it’s that it’s the most amazing recipe ever, but that we had a lot of good memories of meals shared, enjoying this dish. Chowing down on a hearty helping of this after soccer practices… that kind of stuff!

Chicken Paprikosh with VeggiesThis dish can be thrown together easy, with some pasta on hand, and a bit of sour cream, chicken, and spice. The sour cream adds richness, but yogurt can be substituted. For a more authentic Hungarian flavor, toasted caraway seeds can be added. Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 to 4 c. cooked, boned chicken
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 12 oz. or so dry fettuccini (or choice of pasta)
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 TBS. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 TBS. chopped, fresh garlic
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • (optional) 1 tsp. toasted caraway seed

Chicken for this dish is best “pulled”, or torn, into pieces, as more sauce clings to it this way. Prepare the chicken ahead of time, or grill 3 or 4 half breasts, to yield: > 3 to 4 c. cooked, boned chicken, pulled (torn) into 1 to 2″ chunks

Also prepare peppers, chopping into 1/2″ diced pieces: > 1 green pepper > 1 red pepper

Grill the diced peppers in very hot skillet for a few minutes, in a little olive oil, with a splash of water to steam them a bit. Set cooked peppers aside.

Cook the following until tender, rinsing, cooling, and tossing with a bit of olive oil to keep it from clumping: > 12 oz. or so dry fettuccini (or your choice of pasta)

In iron skillet or saucepan, mix: > 1/4 c. olive oil > 1/4 c. flour > 1 TBS. paprika > 1 tsp. salt > 1/2 tsp. pepper > 1/2 TBS. chopped, fresh garlic

Slowly add: > 1 1/2 c. chicken stock

Bring mixture to a boil. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Turn off heat, adding last: > 1/2 c. sour cream > The cooked chicken chunks > Diced, cooked peppers > (optional: 1 tsp. toasted caraway seed, crushed)

Serve over the cooked pasta, with a side dish of steamed green vegetables, as desired, for extra color.

Mushroom Soup, Creamy, Gluten-free

We used to make a more traditional mushroom soup at The New Deli, using a roux of flour and butter. But why use flour if you can go gluten-free, and let something else give the soup body?

Now we caramelize a pile of onions in butter until golden, then puree that with some mushroom powder. This porcini powder from Amazon is super flavorful. It’ll last a while, which is good, since it is a bit pricy!

We also tried to make our own mushroom powder, which is what the French use in some of their fancy recipes. It can be made with dehydrated mushrooms (see nomnompaleo’s recipe here), but it was way too much work when we tried to dry our own mushrooms… (I’m sticking with already-made porcini powder!)

Creamy Gluten-Free Mushroom SoupINGREDIENTS

  • 3 lb. onion
  • 2 TBS. minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
  • 2 TBS. (1 oz.) mushroom powder
  • 2 TBS. Worchestershire
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. cream
  • 1-2 lb. mushrooms
  • Optional: fresh thyme
  • Enough liquid to get to right consistancy

PREPARATION

Saute the onion and garlic in butter until golden and somewhat caramelized: > 3 lb. onion > 2 TBS. minced fresh garlic > 1/2 c. butter (1 stick)

Add: > 2 TBS. mushroom powder

Stir mushroom powder in; bring back to a boil, then puree until smooth (in blender, food processor, or with immersion blender).

In hot skillet, brown the fresh, sliced mushrooms in a bit of olive oil, not adding too many at a time, or they’ll just steam. Use: 1-2 lb. mushrooms

Add to the pureed onion mix in pot, stirring until smooth: > 2 TBS. Worchestershire sauce > 2 tsp. salt > 1 c. cream > Optional: fresh thyme > the grilled mushrooms > Enough liquid to get to right consistancy

Serve with a swirl of sour cream or yogurt if desired.

 

 

Hazelnut Orange Pilaf

This rice salad reminds me of fall– the flavors seem warm and comforting!

In the old days (yes, I’ve been cooking a long time), we had to get raw hazelnuts in bulk, with the skins on. That meant roasting them and then rolling them in a towel to get the bitter skins off. A tedious job. Or, my mom had another method, adding baking soda to some boiling water and soaking them in that. How much easier now, that I can just pick some up, already toasted and ready to use, at Trader Joe’s!

Bulgar Wheat w/Hazelnuts & Orange ZestThis is a hearty side dish that goes well with roasted chicken around the holidays. Prepare much of it ahead of time, mixing it all together just before serving. Serves 9.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 c. boiling water
  • 2 c. cracked wheat or bulgar (found at health food stores)
  • 1 c. hazelnuts
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1/2 c. fresh parsley
  • 1/2 c. almond oil (or Virgin olive oil)
  • 2 TBS. frozen orange juice concentrate (or substitute freshly-juiced, and reduced)
  • Zest from 1 orange (or 2 drops orange extract)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 TBS. salt

Prepare the cracked wheat the morning or the night before serving, letting cool in the refrigerator with the lid on, without stirring. Add the following to a large bowl: > 2 c. boiling water > 2 c. cracked wheat or bulgar (found at health food stores)

Cover and let sit 10 minutes before refrigerating. Next, toast the following nuts at 400° for 10 minutes or so, until golden. Rub off skins inside a clean towel afterward (they don’t all slip off; some skin will probably remain): > 1 c. hazelnuts

Chop nuts coarsely, by hand or in food processor, after they cool. (Already toasted, chopped hazelnuts are convenient. If available, skip the above steps.)

Set aside nuts, then process coarsely in food processor (or chop by hand): > 1/2 c. raisins > 1/2 c. fresh parsley

All the above, and the dressing below, can be prepared ahead of time. To serve, mix all the above with a mixture of the following: > 1/2 c. almond oil (or Virgin olive oil) > 2 TBS. frozen orange juice concentrate (or substitute fresh squeezed orange juice, boiled some to reduce) > Zest from 1 orange (or 2 drops orange extract) >  Juice of 1 lemon > 1/2 bunch green onions, chopped > 1/2 TBS. salt

Peach Ice Cream (Peachy KEEN!)

It isn’t surprising that this ice cream tastes awesome. After all, how can you go wrong with sugar, cream, milk, and fresh peaches?! Take it to the next level with organic peaches… so good.

Homemade Peach Ice Cream, EasyI tried a few different sources for good organic peaches, since I just can’t seem to grow ’em in the Bay Area (not in my yard, anyway…). Nope, the ones in the farm box I received at my doorstep were not ideal. And Trader Joe’s weren’t so hot either. Of all places, Safeway had ’em. They must’ve been picked at just the right time- they were so fragrant and delicious.

I had some extra, and we added them to this recipe. I figured it was just a bit healthier since we were adding organic peaches to the mix. And we used organic cream and milk. A treat!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 c. milk
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/3 c. approx. mashed, peeled peaches (about 4 or 5)
  • 2 c. cream
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Microwave 4 minutes, or heat in pan: > 2 c. milk > 3/4 c. sugar

In separate bowl, stir well: > 1 egg

Stir hot milk mix into eggs, stirring well. Microwave 30 seconds, stir, repeat (or reheat in pan just until cooked, but not boiling).

Add to the above: > 2 1/3 c. approx. mashed, peeled peaches (about 4 or 5) > 2 c. cream > 1/8 tsp. salt

Fresh Mozzarella Salad (w/Salt-Infused Garlic)

Some folks think there’s something magical about our Italian dressing at the deli. Well, it’s true that food can often taste better when someone else makes it. But still, why is that homemade New Deli Italian dressing so dang good?!

I think part of it is that the garlic and herbs are mixed together with the salt first. The garlic absorbs some of the salt, and the saltiness dissipates into the dressing. The salt seems to be a vehicle to carry the flavors along.

Sounds kind of mystical! But, try it. If not in the Italian dressing recipe, try on a small scale with fresh mozzarella. So delicious!

Salted garlic + olive oil + fresh motzCostco carries an imported fresh buffalo milk mozzarella that’s deluxe. Or, regular fresh mozzarella will do! Serves 6-8 or so, as a side salad.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • several fresh basil leaves (or sub other green herbs)
  • 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella
  • 6 oz. spring greens
  • 3 tomatoes, wedged

Marinate the garlic in salt, letting it steep for at least five minutes. Use: > 2 cloves garlic, minced > 1/2 tsp. salt

After steeping, add: > 1/3 c. olive oil > parsley > fresh cracked pepper > 1 lb. fresh mozzarella

To serve, put a handful of spring greens on salad plates, top with the marinated mozzarella and tomato wedges.