Jun 28, 2011

Linky Love

- Seasonal Recipe:  Quinoa, Swiss Chard and Feta

- What's for school lunch? What it looks like in 20 countries around the world.

- My Story: Recovery from Celiac Disease, PCOS and Autoimmune Thyroid Disease by Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen

10 Tips for Real Food Newbies

Diet Changes Improve ADHD - A Mother's Story

Jillian Michaels, TV personality and trainer behind the show The Biggest Loser was interviewed by Time - here's one of my favorite snippets:

Interviewer: So what do you think is the number one worst thing people are doing to their bodies right now?
Jillian: Oh my God, they eat processed food and it is horrifying to me! You look at people, they'll be having a sandwich on white bread with turkey. Okay, well, the turkey's probably processed, meaning it's got nitrates in it. And of course white bread doesn't grow white. It's stripped of all its nutrients and all its fiber. High fructose corn syrup: poison. Artificial sweeteners: poison. Artificial coloring: poison. MSG: poison. Nitrates: poison. Unload all those things and you're off to a good start.
How I Healed My Child's Cavity

5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You


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Jun 26, 2011

Banana Peppers Lacto-Fermented

Before I share the how, you need to know the why.

Why I lacto-ferment banana peppers:
My family loves homemade pizza on Friday night.  In particular, my husband loves banana peppers on the pizza in place of nitrate laden pepperoni.  I can't bring myself to consistently buy pepperoni loaded with chemicals or artificially colored banana peppers.

Last summer on a whim, I grew banana peppers. Because we weren't eating them at the rate they were ripening, I decided to lacto-ferment a jar.  Oh my.  They are delicious.  This year I grew two banana pepper plants.

In a previous post, Lisa explains the benefits of lacto-fermentation:

Lacto-fermentation is a traditional method of food preservation in which salt and/or a culture (like whey) are used to inhibit putrefying bacteria until enough lactic acid is produced to preserve the food. The lactic acid is produced by lactobaccili (lactic acid producing bacteria).

The process of lacto-fermentation increases the digestibility of the lacto-fermented food. Because digestive enzymes are increased it also helps to digest other food eaten in the same meal. In addition, lacto-fermentation increases vitamin levels and supports the growth of healthy flora in the intestines. 

Think of this as preserved super nutritious easily digestible raw food. As you can see, this is much more nutrient-dense fair than our modern pasteurized vegetables preserved in an acidic brine of white vinegar (Did you know white vinegar is made from corn and most of our corn is GMO?) Best of all, lacto-fermented vegetables are easy to make and taste great!

How I lacto-fermented banana peppers:

Start with about 15-20 banana peppers, one jalapeno pepper for heat, 3 cloves of garlic and half a sweet onion.  No artificial colors or flavors here.

For whey I used plain, full fat yogurt strained through a coffee filter/strainer contraption.  Whey drips out the bottom and you're left with a thick greek-like yogurt.

Slice peppers into rings.  If you'd like, poke out the inner seeds and make a smiley face.  This of course is not necessary but sure is fun.

Fill a jar with the rings.
Slice the jalapeno, onion and garlic and place them on the top.  The placement is not crucial - they can be mixed.  I just wanted to make sure all my banana peppers fit into the jar.  If I had more room, I would have added more onions and or garlic.

Add 4 T whey, 1 T Real Salt (or other sea salt without added iodine), and fill jar with filtered or non-chorinated water.  I actually used 2 T whey from the yogurt and 2 T of "juice" from a previous batch of kimchi.

Screw a lid on tightly.
Above: peppers immediately after slicing.

Below: peppers after 24 hours - you can see how the color has changed from green to yellow and the liquid appears murkier.  The pressure is building under the lid, too.  This tells me that fermentation is happening!
After 3 days of fermenting on the counter (yes, at room temperature!) I will store this jar in my fridge.  We will eat the peppers on salads, with Mexican food, and definitely on pizza.  In order to preserve the nutrients, be sure to add lacto-fermented foods and condiments after the main dish has cooled.

Recipe Recap:
all of these ingredients can be found currently at a central Arkansas farmers' market
prep time: about 30 minutes - it's easy people!

quart of banana peppers
jalapeno pepper or more
3 or more cloves of garlic
1/2 or more onion, sliced
4 T whey
1 T Real salt
filtered water
quart jar and lid

Let jar sit at room temperature for at least 3 days then store in the refrigerator.

EDIT 09/13: See also this post where I made relish with banana peppers.  Easier, space and time saving.  Win-win.

linked up with The Healthy Home Economist

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Jun 24, 2011

Real Food in My Kitchen

Grassfed beef brisket sandwich topped with homemade cole slaw.

Brussels sprouts tossed in coconut oil, sprinkled with Real Salt, ready for roasting.

Apples sauteed in lots of butter with Sucanat and cinnamon.

Tilapia--buttered, salted, and peppered...

...baked with this topping...

...served like this.

Five pounds of raw cheddar cheese, first shredded, then frozen. And a helper to boot! (Note the bottle of kombucha, aka "'Bucha," in the background. Mmmm...)

Fried rice made with soaked brown rice, cabbage, carrots, green onions, scrambled egg, and soy sauce.

Crockpot lasagna made with grassfed beef, zucchini, spinach, homemade sauce, and plenty of cheese.

Colorful fruits and veggies.

"Paleo" fish cakes.

Soaked muffins.

Grassfed brats with carmelized onions.

Homemade chicken stock made with (creepy) chicken feet.


Kefir smoothies.

Organic popcorn cooked in coconut oil.

Homemade mayonnaise.

Fresh-picked, local, chemical-free blueberries.

Real food in YOUR kitchen? It can be done.


Today is Fight Back Friday!

I am a Food RENEGADE!

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Jun 22, 2011

Soaked Whole Wheat Muffins

So...you've soaked some flour, milk, and raw apple cider vinegar, huh? What can you do with it? First, get a cute helper to unveil the happy mess.

While your helper is staring anxiously at the big bowl of goop she's dying to stir, grab another bowl and beat four eggs in it. Then add something sweet...



Now the two shall meet. Soaked mixture?

Meet your flavor-enhancing pal.

Mix the two together. Or have your helper do it. Ya might even add some coconut flakes. (You can never get too much coconut.)

In the meantime...

Pour the batter up and pop in the oven.

Serve with plenty of butter. (You can never get too much butter.)

The extras can be completely cooled...  (This is my ingenious way of doing that without getting out the cumbersome wire rack.)

...and then packaged for the freezer.** (Twelve muffins fit just right in a gallon-size baggy.)

This recipe, which is entirely tweak-able, is from Gnowfglins.

Know what's goo-OOD in them? Fresh blueberries!

Soaked Whole Wheat Muffins
Makes 2 dozen muffins

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (ground from soft white berries)
1 cup rolled oats
3-4 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
2 cups raw milk
4 pastured eggs
1- 1 1/2 cups Sucanat, Rapadura, or Muscovado
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup virgin, unrefined coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons sea salt
4 teaspoons aluminum-free, non-gmo baking powder

You can add whatever else you may like. I added 4 teaspoons cinnamon to this batch, along with 3 big ol' handfuls of unsweetened coconut flakes. But raisins and chopped nuts are also delish. Or add shredded zucchini, apple, carrot, something like that. (You'll need to add cooking time with these guys.) Or, like I said, local blueberries make any baked treat that much more divine. I mean, right?

Combine first four ingredients, cover and soak overnight or up to 24 hours.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, sweetener, and vanilla. Then whisk in the coconut oil until smooth.

To these "wet" ingredients, add salt, baking powder, and whatever spices you like (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, whatever).

Now add the wet ingredients to the soaked flour mixture. Add any additional yummies like the raisins, coconut, or blueberries I mentioned.

Fill oiled, or paper-lined muffin tin, to a generous three-quarters full each.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean and muffins are gently browned.

Recipe can be halved easily.

**Frozen muffins can be placed on a cookie sheet with approximately two inches between them and reheated in a 300-degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the center is no longer a block of ice (or a cold, wet, mushy glob, for that matter).

Linked up with Kelly at Real Food Wednesday and Works for Me Wednesday.


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Jun 19, 2011

Kombucha Workshop THIS Friday

In this space before we've shared how to make kombucha, talked about the benefits of fermented foods, as well as surprises like bottles shattering in the night from too much pressure.  Some kids love it and ask for it by name.

If you're tired of paying $3.50 a bottle for it at Whole Foods or would just like to try this much talked about fermented tea, join us for a kombucha workshop.  Learn to make this healthful, traditional drink. We'll try to answer your questions and definitely give some away.

When: THIS Friday, June 24 at 6:30pm
Where: Terry Library on Napa Valley in Little Rock
What to bring: a glass jar if you want a free starter (limited quantities - email me to reserve yours - luvmyhub AT gmail DOT com)


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Jun 17, 2011

Beginner Videos

Sarah Pope, the "Healthy Home Economist" is in the process of creating a series of 12 "begginner videos" for the Weston A. Price Foundation website. The first 4 are now available.
These look great!

Homemade Baby Formula
A detailed class on why homemade formula is superior to commercial formulas - even organic and how to make both the milk based and meat based formulas quickly and easily

Traditional Fats/Sacred Foods
A detailed discussion of how Traditional Fats and Sacred Foods confer health and vitality.

Journey Back to the Kitchen
A demonstration of what kitchen equipment and appliances are safe and suitable for Traditional Cooking.

Pantry Intervention
Sarah helps her friend Alma go through her pantry, refrigerator, and freezer to get rid of any unhealthy items and replace with healthier alternatives.


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Jun 16, 2011

The "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean 15"

The Environmental Working Group just released their 2011 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

And the winner for the most pesticide is.......apples.

For a list of the other produce which made the "Dirty Dozen" and for a list of the "Clean 15" click here.

Azure Standard is a very good source of affordable organic apples.


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Jun 15, 2011

Packaging Baked Oatmeal

A reader, Lindsay, commented to ask, "How do you store the baked oatmeal, until you are ready to eat it?"

Interesting that you should ask.  I would have answered differently before today.  I stored it differently than HB, but after seeing her method I decided to try it.

First we both cut into portions.
HB then puts the squares into a gallon ziploc bag, with the two layers separated by wax paper.

Before seeing her genius way, I was individually wrapping each serving in plastic wrap then storing them in a gallon bag.  My way is more time consuming.  It is also easier for little hands to reach in the bag and get breakfast on their own.  Individually wrapped portions are also excellent snacks on the go.

Both storage methods pictured above.

If I make a single portion of baked oatmeal (in a 9x13 pan), then I usually just store it in pan, covered, in the fridge.  It will last up to two weeks in the fridge.

Another tip: often I add another egg to the recipe to give the recipe more protein.


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Batch Cooking - Baking Day

Thus far, we've made 40 whole wheat tortillas, EIGHT batches of baked oatmeal, waffles and four batches of pancakes.   On the stove is a big-o-pot of potatoes for mashed potatoes.

Today's helpers are 13 & 15 year old sisters.  They enjoy helping in the kitchen but especially love the baby time.
Rachel on dish duty; Rebecca with tortillas & HB with pancake batter.
Don't ya love HB's apron?  She gets to wear my son's robot apron since she forgot hers at home.
HB kickin' with 2 waffle makers.
If you're in the market for a waffle maker, HB swears by this one.  The waffles come out crispy, like at Waffle House.  Not that we would know what waffles from Waffle House taste like...
8 batches of baked oatmeal in 4 large bar pans.  We added shredded zucchini to all of them.
EDIT: here's how we packaged the baked oatmeal for the freezer.

The most flattering picture of the day - we're trying to pour coconut oil from a 5 gallon bucket into a measuring cup.

Keepin' it real - and linking to Kelly the Kitchen Kop.
Julie & HB

To see what we made the last batch cooking day - click here.

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Jun 14, 2011

Batch Cooking Part Deux

HB and I are going to be cooking fools again.  She has planned a half-day of baking for us.  We'll be making tortillas, baked oatmeal, and pancakes


soaking overnight L to R: tortillas, oatmeal bake, pancakes

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Thankful Tuesday: Kombucha Explosion!

When we moved into our new house, one of the things I was thankful for was a larger kitchen.  I have 40 doors on my cabinets!  So many cabinets that I'm able to devote an entire cabinet to kombucha making.

This morning I was surprised to find that a liter bottle had exploded overnight.  The kombucha had been bottled a week; I suppose my warm kitchen was too much for the bottle to bear.  I will be refrigerating my kombucha on day six from now on.

I am thankful for a kombucha cabinet - that the mess was contained but more importantly, that no one was hurt.
Bottle shown is like the one that exploded overnight.

Posted with Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday.

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Try It Tuesday: The Root Cafe

The Root Cafe is open!  Head downtown to support a locally owned cafe that serves food from local growers.

Location: 15th & Main
Hours: Tues - Fri 7am-2:30pm
 Saturday 8am-3:30pm

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