Thursday, October 28, 2010

Go-To Meal: Homemade Chicken Soup (with or without Dumplings)

When we all got sick, this was the obvious choice for dinner.  The soup simmers all day, ready for dinner that night.  This is perfect when you don't mind if the stove heats up your house.  Plus, if you simmer a pastured chicken all day, the resulting broth is full of nutrients from all the minerals in the bones and organs.

Even in Arizona, we have had a few days where we can simmer soup all day.  This is my tried and true recipe that I have been making for a few years now.

Homemade Chicken Soup
1 whole pastured chicken including neck and giblets, preferably with head and feet still attached (I can't find heads and feet for a good price around here, so I omit)
2 onions, large diced
5 carrots, peeled and sliced into thick rounds
5 ribs celery, including leaves, sliced
2-3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1-2 bay leaves
1 bunch parsley, finely minced
sea salt and pepper

For the Dumplings/Noodles:
sprouted whole grain flour
1 pastured egg
olive oil or Mary's Oil Blend
garlic powder
onion powder
sea salt and pepper

1.  Remove bag of giblets from the cavity of the chicken.  Rinse chicken in cold water and then place into a large stockpot or large Dutch oven.  Add giblets to the pot carefully.  Add head and feet if you have them and they are separate from the chicken body.  Add onions, carrots, and celery.  Cover chicken and vegetables with cold filtered water, leaving at least an inch below the top of the pot.  Add apple cider vinegar and let stand at room temperature for one hour.  (The vinegar draws the minerals out of the bones of the chicken.)

2.  Turn on burner under the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to keep soup at a simmer.  Add bay leaves and salt and pepper.  Let simmer all day long, preferably 8 hours or more.  (Try and start the pot very early in the morning to time it right).

3.  About an hour before you want to serve the soup, remove chicken from the pot, along with giblets and head and feet.  Discard the feet and head and giblets.  Remove chicken meat from the bones and discard the bones.  Cut chicken meat into cubes, or shred with a fork and then return to the pot.  Add half of the minced parsley to the pot, cover and keep simmering while you make the dumplings/noodles.

4.  Make dumplings/noodles.  Combine one cup of flour and the egg in a small bowl.  Add a few tablespoons of oil and mix with a spoon until a dough forms.  Add seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.  For a simple version of the soup, use a small ice cream scoop to drop spoonfuls of dough into the simmering soup to make dumplings.  For a fancier version, or if you like the shape of flat noodles, roll out the dough and cut into small strips with a knife or pizza cutter to make noodles.  Drop into the soup a few at a time to keep them from sticking together.

5.  The dumplings/noodles cook up in only a few minutes.  Try one and see if the texture is what you like.  Serve immediately with homemade crackers floating on top, or with buttered sourdough toast.  Either way, use the remaining minced parsley to sprinkle on the soup for a fresh herb flavor.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday by Kelly The Kitchen Kop.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Go-to Meal: Taco-Seasoned Ground Beef

This is one of my favorite healthy, inexpensive ingredients to use: ground beef.  I buy it in bulk from U.S. Wellness Meats here.  If I could fit 50 lb. into my freezer, I would.  Lucky for me, I have a friend who likes to order with me and we each put 25 lb. in our freezers.

I found a recipe for homemade taco seasoning over at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, and she is right, it does taste just right.  I made a few changes, but it's essentially the same.  I can't tell the difference between this seasoning and the packets I used to buy at the grocery store.  (Except after I eat this real food version, I don't get that sick feeling from the MSG in the commercial kind.  Remember that MSG isn't just in monosodium glutamate.  It is also in hydrolyzed food starch, autolyzed yeast, and citric acid among others.)

I either make tacos out of this recipe or taco bowls.  By using sprouted corn tortillas, shredded raw cheddar cheese, salsa, and cubed avocado, you have great classic tacos with the real food spin.  Or skip the tortillas and layer meat, cheese, salsa, and avocado in a bowl.  You could also add lettuce and diced tomato.

Taco Seasoning
1/2 cup onion powder
1/4 cup chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (this gives medium heat, adjust to your preference)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 cup sea salt
1/8 cup garlic powder
1/8 cup ground cumin

1. Place all spices in a glass jar, then cap and shake to combine.  Use two heaping tablespoons per one pound of ground beef.

Taco-Seasoned Ground Beef
1 pound ground beef, thawed
2 heaping tablespoons taco seasoning

1. Brown entire pound of ground beef over medium-high heat until lightly browned on each side, then break up and cook until no pink remains.  Sprinkle with taco seasoning and optional 1/2 cup water (I don't use it), cover and simmer 5-10 minutes.  Serve.

Unintentional Break, Aaaand I'm Back!

I'm still going on my Eat Fat, Lose Fat goal.  It's Operation Lose Baby Weight!  So far I have only managed to get about 3 pounds off, but I have only been at it about 4 weeks.  Really, I am right on track.  I need to remember to keep going, and not to judge myself.  I haven't posted many recipes lately, because we all got sick for about a week and half, starting with M and then spreading to all of us.

During that time I made a lot of repeats of recipes I had already posted here.  I kept breakfasts simple: either Coconut Smoothies, or variations on bacon, eggs, and toast with milk.  For lunches I kept it easy too: I did a lot of crackers and cheese, or crackers and braunschweiger, with fruit and kefir.  Then there was dinner, which was a lot of chicken dumpling soup and taco-seasoning ground beef bowls.  Those are two of my go-to meals when it comes to time crunches or sickness.

And of course, I kept taking my coconut oil.  It not only helps with weight-loss, but is a very good food to eat when you are sick.  Coconut oil is antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial.  Coconut oil is a tried and true traditional fat, and helps your body detox and regulate.  It made my throat feel better, that's for sure!

I will post my go-to dinner recipes forthwith.  I am glad you are sticking with me, dear reader. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Things M Says (Part 34)

M, looking out the window at the moon: "Hey Mom, do you see Earth's moon?"
K: "Yes."


Friday, October 22, 2010

Green Pasture's giveaway over at Kitchen Stewardship

Kitchen Stewardship is sponsoring a giveaway of Green Pasture's various cod liver oil and butter oil products.  That is the brand we use, and I love it!  If you want a chance at a free bottle of your choice, go check it out here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies (for M)

M has been begging me for chocolate chip cookies.  I had not found a good real food recipe yet, so I didn't have one on hand when he asked.  I spent some time perusing Teh Interwebz for a good recipe to modify, but nothing really spoke to me.  Then I remembered that my sister T has a good recipe in the Martha Stewart Cookies book that I had made before.  So I tracked that one down, modified it with real food and it turned out beautifully!

I haven't been making much food in the past several days, since developing a nasty cold given to me lovingly by my boys.  It was nice to mix up some cookie dough and make the house smell warm and homey while knowing that the next morning my little M would wake up to cookies for breakfast.  I didn't worry about the fact that they were eating cookies for breakfast, and here's why:

I made these cookies, and they were not only good for my kids, but tasted pretty good too.  The recipe yields a flatter, chewy cookie.  The rapadura and homemade vanilla give a nice earthy, carmel flavor.  The cacao nibs give a nice chocolatey crunch.  Enjoy it with glass of crisp, clean raw milk and afternoon snacktime is a big hit.

This recipe makes quite a bit of dough.  Feel free to freeze half the dough in logs wrapped in plastic wrap and then placed in a freezer bag.  That's what I did.

Real Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks (1 cup) grass-fed butter (I used Kerrygold)
1 cup palm shortening* (I used Tropical Traditions, it's made by non-exploited workers)
3 cups rapadura, or other whole sweetener* (I used Rapunzel I bought from Azure Standard)
4 large eggs (I used duck eggs.  Yes, duck eggs!)
3 1/2 cups sprouted whole grain flour (I used soft white wheat berries)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt (I used Celtic Sea Salt)
2 teaspoons baking soda (I used aluminum-free from Food Wise)
1 1/2 cups cacao nibs (I bought these in bulk at Whole Foods)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  In a stand mixer, cream butter and palm shortening until creamy.  Add rapadura and cream together until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  
2.  Into a large bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda.  Whisk with a wire whisk to remove lumps and sift ingredients together.  Add to wet ingredients in stand mixer slowly.  Mix until combined.  Fold in cacao nibs.
3.  Drop by large spoonfuls (2-3 tablespoons) either with a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop.  Space at least 2 inches apart to give them room to spread.  Bake two cookie sheets at a time with racks placed in the upper and lower thirds of your oven.
4.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden.  Remove from cookie sheets and let cool on cooling racks.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Results After Two Weeks

I'm losing weight!  I have lost 3-5 pounds now, depending on which part of the day I weigh myself.  I'm going to continue on with recipes in the Eat Fat, Lose Fat book, as well as modeling my tried and true dinners and recipes to work within the framework I have started.

For example, last night I had grass-fed ground beef flavored with homemade taco seasoning.  I topped it with shredded raw, grass-fed, mild cheddar, salsa and cubed avocado.  Add one cup of milk, and lacto-fermented carrot sticks and all the bases are covered.

(The only thing I would have liked would have been to make my own lacto-fermented salsa like this recipe over at Nourishing Gourmet.)

I'll post new recipes soon.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dinner: Indonesian Coconut Steak, Sauerkraut, Salad, Milk, Macaroon

This recipe for dinner was pretty good.  I made it two nights ago and am just getting around to posting it.  I'm getting tired of coconut-flavored everything though, so tonight I am making a plain ol' grass-fed steak and a green salad with milk and a pickle.  I ate these coconutty leftovers today for lunch, so I'm ready for a savory change.

I will probably make this one again because it incorporates beef stock so nicely though.  That's a big plus.  I am aiming for more calcium in my diet, so bone broths are one surefire way to increase my intake.  I am also drinking a cup of raw milk twice a day instead of once like before I started my Operation Lose Baby Weight challenge.

Coconut Oil:

  • Indonesian Coconut Steak
  • Homemade Sauerkraut
  • Green Salad with Carrots, Celery, and Parmesan Cheese with Basic Salad Dressing

Indonesian Coconut Steak
serves 4
3 tablespoons lard or Mary's Oil Blend
1 large onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 pounds boneless sirloin or skirt steak, sliced into 1/2-inch strips (I used grass-fed NY strip steak from Sprouts, it was on sale)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander (I omitted this, I was out!)
1 teaspoon chili powder
2/3 cup desiccated coconut
2 teaspoons coconut or maple sugar (also called palm sugar)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I also added the zest to add flavor after having no coriander on hand)
1 1/4 cups beef stock
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin, for garnish
2 to 3 small green chiles, seeded and sliced thin, for garnish (I omitted)
small onion slices, for garnish (I forgot to reserve some, so I cooked them all and had to omit these)

1.  Heat lard in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add onion slices and garlic and saute 5 minutes, or until soft.  Add beef slices and saute, stirring, until browned, about 10 minutes.
2.  Stir in ginger, cumin, coriander and chili powder and cook 2 minutes.  Stir in coconut, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and beef stock.  Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced and meat is well coated.  Garnish with slivers of bell pepper, green chiles, and small onion slices.

Basic Salad Dressing

1 cup olive oil (I use Chaffin Family Farms from CA, it's very mild and buttery)
1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg's)
1 teaspoon onion powder
2-3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon sea salt (I use Celtic Grey Sea Salt)

1.  Add ingredients in order to a jar or salad dressing shaker.  Shake together to emulsify and pour over salads.  Store in the refrigerator.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Why I Eat Liver, and Dinner: Liver Stir-Fry, Broccoli, Sauerkraut, Fruit, Milk

Today was a momentous day.  I bravely purchased liver, committed to try liver, and then made it for dinner.  Little did I know that after it came out of the pan, breaded in seasoned sprouted flour and surrounded by diced bacon and browned onions, that I would fall in love.  I know it sounds strange, but liver is delicious.  Liver not only tastes good cooked this way, but is immensely good for you.

Organ meats have been traditionally consumed and revered for their healing properties by our ancestors.  We can learn a lot from the way our forepeople valued organ meats.  The added benefit of looking into the science behind what our ancestors did can help us wrap our heads around incorporating organ meats into our diets.  (Though make sure that you differentiate between studies done on grass-fed organ meats and feedlot organ meats, since the nutritional difference is vast.)

Liver contains all kinds of nutrients, most strikingly a very high amount of vitamin A.  Even the difference between grass-fed red meat and grass-fed liver is striking.  Liver contains over three time more iron, 27 times more vitamin C, over 100 times more vitamin B-12 and folic acid, and that's not even mentioning the vitamin A.  Grass-fed red meat contains 40 IU and grass-fed liver has 53,400 IU!  Liver is also a source for vitamin K2, sometimes called "Activator X" by real foodies and Weston Price foundation folks.  However, chicken liver is much higher in vitamin K2 than beef liver.  Still, liver is good for you.

Vitamin K2 does many things, like promote bone growth and make your teeth grow in straight and strong.  Here is a list of vitamin K2-rich foods, which include chicken liver, pate, grass-fed butter, grass-fed hard and soft cheese, and natto.  I eat all these items except for natto.  But I am determined to try it on a day when I feel especially brave.  My boys love natto, which is very fortunate.  You can buy natto at Asian markets, and they are cheap.  Make sure you buy organic natto, so that you know the soybeans they fermented are non-GMO.

I have been easing into the idea of sauteing liver.  I started by purchasing braunschweiger from U.S. Wellness Meats, which is 60% beef and 40% liver.  Braunschweiger is a nutrient-dense, satisfying organ meat sausage that is wonderful on sprouted crackers and cheese.  Now that I know I have the tastebuds to handle liver, I think I will try some more unusual organ sausages.  Their liverwurst contains grass-fed liver, heart and kidney and looks like a good segue way into even more adventurous organ meat sausages.  Maybe I will even try ordering some head cheese, which contains grass-fed tongue and heart.  Baby steps, my friends.  This is where they can get you to.  This coming from me, the gal who thinks the texture of yogurt is gross.  If I can eat liver, anyone can.

Oh, and my boys loved it.  They happily chewed it, no problem.  Liver is very velvety if you cook it right.  They even asked for more until they were both stuffed.  I know they got their nutrients, and I know that I got mine.

Coconut Oil: two tablespoons taken 20 minutes before dinner in raspberry leaf tea
  • Liver Stir-fry with Onions and Bacon (I cut the recipe in half)
  • Steamed Broccoli with Butter (I was too full to eat this)
  • Sauerkraut (homemade jar was finally done!)
  • Fresh fruit with Coconut Sprinkles (I had half a grapefruit)
  • one cup of raw milk
Liver Stir-Fry
serves 4
1 pound beef or calf's liver, cut into strips
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup sprouted flour, or unbleached white flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sliced bacon, cut into pieces (I did a small dice)
2 large onions, chopped

1.  Place liver in a large bowl with lemon juice and marinate for several hours in the refrigerator.
2.  Pat piece dry and dredge in a mixture of flour, salt and pepper.
3.  In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a heated platter (I used a glass pie plate set on a burner that was warm but turned off).
4.  Cook chopped onion in bacon fat until browned.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on warmed platter/pie plate.
5.  Stir-fry liver in remaining fat until browned on each side, only about 1-2 minutes per side, until medium-rare.  If you overcook, it gets that "liver" taste.  Serve immediately with bacon and onions.

Breakfast: English Breakfast--Eggs, Sausage, Toast, Tomatoes

This breakfast was quite tasty though the sausage I bought was a little too herbaceous, even for me.  R gave me a hard time for it, but he was still glad to have a yummy breakfast besides that.  I'll look for a different brand for next time.

I made this yesterday, and even though I intended on repeating it for today, the thought of all those herbs in the sausage again was too much.  So I made a triple batch of Coconut Smoothies and fed them to the little ones and myself.  R opted for something coconut-free, as per usual.

Coconut Oil and Fermented Cod Liver Oil: two tablespoons coconut oil taken in raspberry leaf tea, and 2 capsules FCLO.
  • English breakfast: sourdough bread, eggs, sausage or bacon, and tomatoes
  • one cup of raw milk

English Breakfast
serves 2

2 ounces additive-free sausage or nitrate-free bacon
2 slices whole-grain sourdough bread
1 tablespoon lard or Mary's Oil Blend
4 eggs
1 tomato, thickly sliced

1.  Cook the sausage or bacon in a cast-itron skillet over medium-high heat.  Transfer to a heated platter and keep warm in the oven on low heat (170 degrees).
2.  Place bread in skillet and then turn so that both sides soak up the fat.  Transfer to platter.
3.  Add lard to pan, fry eggs to desired doneness, and transfer to platter.
4.  Raise heat and cook tomato slices on both sides until nicely browned.  Transfer to platter.
5.  Return bread to pan and cook on both sides until nicely browned.
6.  To serve, place a slice of bread on each of 2 heated plates.  Place eggs on bread and surround with tomato and sausage or bacon.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Dessert On Hand: Coconut Macaroons

When I was cheating last night, I decided to make some macaroons for the boys and me.  On my meal plan it says that I can have a macaroon after dinner, thought I forget which day.  After looking at the store I decided to make them.  I had saved my egg whites from when I made those coconut smoothies, so I was good to go.

I got the Macaroon recipe from my copy of Nourishing Traditions, a necessity in my kitchen.  Full of recipes, sources for hard-to-find items, breakdowns of fats, carbs, and proteins, meal ideas, and deatiled instructions for soaking, sprouting, culturing and lacto-fermenting, it's one of those books you will use forever.  It covers all the basics.  Now I just need to get my hands on the two volume set of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child and I will be busy for a few years!

Nourishing Traditions is the book Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig wrote before Eat Fat, Lose Fat.  The books share a few recipes, but I am glad to own both.  NT has hundreds of recipes and "how to"s, while Eat Fat, Lose Fat has practical meal plans and explanations of how to lose weight.  They complement each other.

A note on ingredients: 

  • Always use grade B maple syrup.  It contains more trace minerals and nutrients.  Also make sure to get organic syrup, since conventional syrup is processed with formaldehyde.  
  • Arrowroot powder is a handy item to use in place of cornstarch or white flour.  It thickens sauces without the phytic acid problem of flour, and replaces cornstarch that is most likely genetically modified. 
  • Try to find pastured eggs in your area, asking the farmer if s/he uses soy in the feed for the chickens, and if the chickens spend their days outside in the sun.
  • Vanilla can be wonderful, and I prefer bourbon vanilla from Trader Joe's.  It's cheap and has a fantastic flavor.  However, I did recently try my hand at homemade bourbon vanilla.  (It was easy!  And very cheap to make.)
  • The cheapest dried, unsweetened coconut meat I have found is at Azure Standard, my online co-op choice.

makes 2 dozen

4 egg whites 
pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups dried/desiccated coconut meat, finely cut

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2.  Beat egg whites with salt in a clean bowl until they form stiff peaks.  Beat in the arrowroot and slowly beat in syrup and vanilla.  Fold in coconut gently.  
3.  Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment.  Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, until lightly browned.  Then reduce heat to 200 degrees and bake for about 60 minutes, or until completely dry and crisp.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Homemade Bourbon Vanilla

I love the bourbon vanilla from Trader Joe's.  So I figured I would make my own and see how it compared.  I love my version, but it tastes different than the TJ's brand.  I recommend either one.

(I may make another batch with rum or vodka, and then experiment with mixing bourbon vanilla into the new batch.  Perhaps a combination will yield a similar flavor to the TJ's bourbon vanilla?)

Regardless, this vanilla is pretty kickass.  And if you want to save money, this is a biggie.  I have also thought that homemade vanilla would make an excellent, frugal Christmas gift.  Get some cute bottles and give the gift of great flavor.  You could even experiment with different flavors.  But remember to start by November!  It takes about a month to get the right flavor.

Homemade Bourbon Vanilla

one bottle good, spicy bourbon (I used Wild Turkey)
6-8 vanilla beans

1.  Pour bourbon into a glass canning jar.  Split vanilla beans down the middle to release all those delicious vanilla bits, but do not cut all the way through.  No need to scrape the beans or do anything else, just put split beans into bourbon and screw on a lid.
2. Put the glass jar in a paper bag to keep light out.  Shake it once a day for 2-4 weeks, to get the vanilla beans to release their flavor.

(Justified?) Cheating

Today's breakfast and lunch were totally legit.  I repeated the same breakfasts and lunches from the last two days, to keep it simple: super scramble, bacon and milk, and then salmon roll-ups, carrots, celery, kefir and kvass.  I even started my dinner out on the right foot: leftover lamb curry.  But then I gave in to something I had been thinking all day.  That I wanted to eat something whole grain that had NOT been soaked, sprouted or sourdoughed.  And I wanted to do it on purpose to get rid of the heavy metals I had been feeling build up in my body the last few days.  Let me explain.

The point of soaking grains, beans, nuts, and seeds is to reduce phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors (this is true for nuts in particular).  Here is a good "how to" on soaking.  And here is one on sprouting.  If you don't soak or sprout your grains, then the phytic acid doesn't allow your body to properly soak up nutrients in the grains, like trace minerals including calcium, magnesium, etc.  It also can pull these good minerals from your body.  You can become depleted of calcium, and have problems with your teeth, for example.  Like me!

I am to the point where I never consume a grain, legume, nut or seed without preparing it properly.  My body takes too much of a beating if I don't follow this rule.  I have been suffering from adrenal fatigue this year, and my body has been hormonally out of whack ever since I conceived E.  I have noticed that the more real food I consume, the better I feel.  I'm not as tired, I have more energy, my emotional ups and downs are manageable, I'm happy.

I have recently started to oil pull every morning.  Oil pulling help pull toxins out of your body.  It helps keeps your teeth strong and plaque-free.  It helps with adrenal fatigue.  Since I suffer from the fatigue and poor tooth health, I committed to oil pull daily.  I learned later, however, that if you have silver fillings oil pulling can cause them to leak heavy metals, like mercury.

I noticed last week that one of my silver fillings was very sore.  I stopped oil pulling for a couple of days, and the pain went away.  I started oil pulling again and the pain returned.  So I decided two days ago to stop for good.  Once my silver fillings are replaced with white ones, I will take up oil pulling again.  The pain was my indicator that my fillings were being affected.  Only after that did I realize that I had been feeling very fatigued the last several days.  I have been affected by this extra heavy metal dose in my body the last few days.

So that brings me back to eating non-soaked whole grains, on purpose, to pull the mercury out of my body.  So I did.  After I had my bowl of curry, I had a bowl of multi-grain Joe's O's with raw milk and a spoonful of rapadura.  Maybe it's the placebo effect, but I have already been feeling better.  I am hoping the phytic acid in the oats and wheat of that bowl of cereal gives me a boost to get the excess mercury out of my system.  Then tomorrow morning I can start afresh, following the meal plan, and not needing a nap. :)

Monday, October 04, 2010

Lunch: Salmon Dill Cream Cheese Roll-ups, Crackers, Celery Sticks, Carrot Dilly Sticks, Kefir, Kvass

That's a really long title, but everything fit onto one small plate.
Coconut Oil: two tablespoons coconut oil taken in raspberry leaf tea

  • Smoked Salmon Roll-Ups With Dill Cream Cheese
  • Rich, Whole Grain Spelt Crackers (soaked)
  • Lacto-fermented Carrot Dilly Sticks and celery sticks
  • Strawberry Kefir Soda
  • Beet Kvass
Smoked Salmon Roll-Ups with Dill Cream Cheese
serves two
6 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried
salt salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces sliced smoken salmon, preferably wild*
(*I found very reasonably priced wild smoked salmon at Trader Joe's, woohoo!)

1. In a small bowl, mix cream cheese with dill and season with salt and pepper.  Spread mixture over salmon slices and roll up.  Chill well.  Slice into 1/2-inch rounds.  Serve with toothpicks, or on crackers.

Rich, Whole Grain Spelt Crackers
1 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3 1/2 cups freshly ground whole grain flour (I have used spelt and whole red winter wheat, both with good success)
2 teaspoons sea salt

1. Cream yogurt and butter together. Add flour and salt and stir to combine.
2. Cover with a towel and a plate, find a warm place to soak 12-24 hours (or overnight).
3. After the soaking period, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
4. At this point you can add any herbs, cheeses, or spices to your dough you might like to try. I have only attempted cracked pepper and parmesan cheese, but it was delicious! The possibilities are endless, but the crackers are truly delicious all on their own. Don't feel you need this step, it is optional.
5. Use white flour, sprouted flour, or arrowroot powder (because each of these options have no phytic acid) to roll your dough out very thin. Use a pastry or pizza cutter to cut dough into small squares or rectangles.
6. Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. You can put the crackers fairly close to each other, they do not spread. You can prick with a fork, but I have not seen much of a need for it.
7. Bake 8-12 minutes, checking every minute or so after 8 minutes have gone by to make sure they do not overbrown. You know the crackers are done when they are slightly brown on the edges and the middles of the crackers look drier.
8. Remove from baking sheet to cooling racks immediately, but be gentle so they do not break. Enjoy!

Lacto-fermented Dill Carrot Sticks
several carrots, peeled, cut into sticks (to fit into your glass jar)
1 tablespoon whey
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried dill
filtered water

1. Put carrots into a glass canning jar, packed tightly.  Add whey, salt, dill.  Then add water to fill the jar, screw on a lid tightly and leave at room temperature for several days.  It's normal for the water in the jar to get cloudy.  Taste after 5 days and see if you like the flavor, if not, wait a few more days and taste again.

Strawberry Kefir Soda
1 package hydrated kefir grains
1/2 cup organic sugar
1-2 tablespoons molasses
1 pastured egg shell, rinsed clean
1 cup diced fruit

Note: do not use tap water, it will kill your kefir grains; do not use Brita water, it doesn't remove flouride and other toxins that can kill your kefir grains

1. Fill a half gallon glass jar with filtered water.  Now pour a little of the water out into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and add sugar to boiling water, stirring until sugar dissolves, and then pour sugar-water back into the jar to fill it up again.  
2. Add molasses to the jar of water and stir with a wooden spoon to mix in.  Gently add water kefir grains and egg shell.
3. Cover with a dish towel or cheesecloth to keep out dust and bugs and so the kefir can breathe.
4.  Let sit on the counter for 1-2 days.  Then, pour contents through a strainer into a new jar.  Discard egg shell.  Reuse kefir grains for your next batch.
5.  With the strained kefir in the new jar, you can now choose a fruit to flavor the kefir.  I like using strawberries.  Add diced fruit to kefir jar, cover again, and let sit at room temperature for 1 more day.
6.  Remove cover and replace with a screw top lid.  Leave at room temperature for a couple of hours to build up fizziness.  Place in refrigerator to stop the fermentation process.

Beet Kvass
2-4 beets, peeled, and cut in a large dice
1/4 cup whey
1 tablespoon sea salt

1. Place beets into a half gallon glass jar.  They should fill the jar about 1/3 of the way up.  Add whey and salt.  Add water to fill the jar.  
2.  Cover with a cloth to keep bugs and dust out, leave at room temperature for 2 days.  
3.  Using a strainer, remove diced beets from kvass.  Then using a screw top lid, transfer to the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process.

Breakfast: Super Scramble, Bacon and Milk

I'm really exhausted today, so I'm just going to post the recipes and expound more on things tomorrow.
Coconut Oil and Fermented Cod Liver Oil: two tablespoons coconut oil taken in raspberry leaf tea, and two capsules FCLO

  • Super Scramble and sausage or bacon (I had bacon)
  • Cup of raw milk
Super Scramble
serves two
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon cream
pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, or one teaspoon dried parsley

1.  Whisk eggs and cream together in a bowl, breaking up the yolks.  Add salt and parsley and scramble over medium low heat until eggs are cooked through.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Dinner: Red Lamb Curry, Watercress Endive Salad, Lacto-Fermented Sour Pickles, Raw Milk

Tonight's dinner was not only surprisingly delicious, but surprisingly easy to make.  When I read "curry" I imagined being in the kitchen for an hour chopping things and doing various steps.  Not so.  And I was so glad, because I am bone tired tonight.  I should mention that it really helped that I didn't need to go to the store for anything either, since I had planned ahead and bought all the ingredients last Sunday.

Coconut oil: 2 tablespoons taken in pomegranate white tea 20 minutes before dinner
  • Leftover red meat curry: I used leftover lamb from Wednesday
  • Watercress Endive Salad with Balsamic Dressing
  • Lacto-fermented sauerkraut: I subbed Bubbie's pickles, since my kraut is still fermenting and Bubbie's uses lacto-fermentation
  • Choice of Quick and Easy Beverage: I drank raw milk, but I could've done kefir or kvass
Watercress Endive Salad
serves 4
2 bunches watercress, stems removed
4 heads Belgium endive
1 head radicchio, or 1/4 head red cabbage, finely shredded
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup Balsamic Dressing
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

1.  Wash and dry watercress.  Remove outer leaves of endive and slice at 1/4-inch intervals.  In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except cheese with dressing and divide among 4 plates.  Sprinkle cheese over salad and serve with dressing.

Balsamic Dressing
makes 3/4 cup
1 teaspoon grainy Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or Mary's Oil Blend
2 teaspoons expeller-pressed flax oil

1.  Shake all ingredients in a small plastic container with a lid.  It's a lot easier than whisking :D

Leftover Red Meat Curry
2 tablespoons lard or Mary's Oil Blend
2 cups leftover beef or lamb, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 can whole coconut milk
2 cups beef stock
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
juice of 1 lemon or 2 limes
1 teaspoon coconut or maple sugar (coconut sugar is sometimes called palm sugar)
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 cup Chinese peas, ends removed and cut on an angle into 1/2-inch pieces (I used sugar snap peas, I couldn't find Chinese peas)

1. Warm lard in a large pot over medium heat.  Add meat and saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, or until meat has browned. 
2.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer until vegetables are tender (it took about 10-15 minutes).


Saturday, October 02, 2010

First Hiccup

You may notice that I never posted dinner on Friday.  That's because I was about to make the Lamb Curry last night when M came out of my room and said that there were ants all over my bed.  It was most unfortunately true.  Blaaahhhh!!  We have had ants bombarding our house for a week now.  They win not win this war, haha!  But I digress.

So needless to say, I spent dinnertime cleaning up ants with a vacuum and doing several loads of laundry.  But do not fear, gentle reader, I improvised a dinner that passed muster with Eat Fat, Lose Fat.  I made eggs and bacon and put them on a sprouted hamburger bun with raw cheese, had a glass of raw milk and called it good.

As far as today goes, I ate the same breakfast and lunch as yesterday.  Coconut Smoothie and milk in the morning, and Hazelnuts, Cheese, Fruit, Kvass, and Kefir for lunch.  Although today I opted for organic strawberries instead of the apple.  So there you go, it's a Real Food Miracle!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Lunch: Crispy Nuts, Raw Cheese, Kefir, Beet Kvass, Honeycrisp Apple

This is my kind of lunch for a hot day: no cooking!

Coconut Oil: taken 20 minutes before lunch in tangerine ginger tea

  • Crispy nuts, I used hazelnuts
  • Raw Cheese, I had raw cheddar
  • One piece fresh fruit, I had a honeycrisp apple
  • One cup spritzer or purchased kombucha, I used kefir and a little beet kvass (I don't know if that's allowed!)
The health benefits of kefir and kvass are numerous.  They are both lacto-fermented beverages rich in probiotic bacteria.  The more probiotic foods you eat, the better your body can balance itself against the toxins and germs out in the world.  This is why so many people in the real food community trouble themselves with homemade yogurt, pickles, kefir and the like.

The good bacteria that grow when you make homemade lacto-fermented foods and drinks are good for your gut.  Most of the probiotics you may have heard of are in the form of capsules at the store or pharmacy.  Ever wonder where they originally came from?  Traditionally fermented foods!  These days the only fermented foods we are familiar with are beer, wine, and yogurt.  There are so many more than that.  And they can be truly delicious.  This is what we need to be truly well.  It is how we evolved.

Water Kefir
1 package hydrated kefir grains
1/2 cup organic sugar
1-2 tablespoons molasses
1 pastured egg shell, rinsed clean
1 cup diced fruit

Note: do not use tap water, it will kill your kefir grains; do not use Brita water, it doesn't remove flouride and other toxins that can kill your kefir grains

1. Fill a half gallon glass jar with filtered water.  Now pour a little of the water out into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and add sugar to boiling water, stirring until sugar dissolves, and then pour sugar-water back into the jar to fill it up again.  
2. Add molasses to the jar of water and stir with a wooden spoon to mix in.  Gently add water kefir grains and egg shell.
3. Cover with a dish towel or cheesecloth to keep out dust and bugs and so the kefir can breathe.
4.  Let sit on the counter for 1-2 days.  Then, pour contents through a strainer into a new jar.  Discard egg shell.  Reuse kefir grains for your next batch.
5.  With the strained kefir in the new jar, you can now choose a fruit to flavor the kefir.  I like using strawberries.  Add diced fruit to kefir jar, cover again, and let sit at room temperature for 1 more day.
6.  Remove cover and replace with a screw top lid.  Leave at room temperature for a couple of hours to build up fizziness.  Place in refrigerator to stop the fermentation process.

Beet Kvass
2-4 beets, peeled, and cut in a large dice
1/4 cup whey
1 tablespoon sea salt

1. Place beets into a half gallon glass jar.  They should fill the jar about 1/3 of the way up.  Add whey and salt.  Add water to fill the jar.  
2.  Cover with a cloth to keep bugs and dust out, leave at room temperature for 2 days.  
3.  Using a strainer, remove diced beets from kvass.  Then using a screw top lid, transfer to the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process.


Breakfast: Coconut Smoothie

Coconut oil and Fermented Cod Liver Oil: 2 tablespoons coconut oil taken in tangerine ginger tea, and 2 capsules FCLO
Breakfast: Coconut Smoothie, and Raw Milk

I really enjoyed breakfast this morning.  The smoothie was smooth and slightly sweet, and not very coconutty.  It is a great quick breakfast.  I even drank it in the car like people on the go do.

Coconut Smoothie

1 ripe banana
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Blend all ingredients together in a blender.  Enjoy!