Dec 30, 2013

Probiotics Worksop {Lacto-fermenting + kombucha + kefir}

The new year is a perfect time to begin to incorporate new foods to your diet.

You are invited to a workshop on making probiotic foods on Saturday, January 4 from 9-11am.  This is an opportunity to taste a variety of lacto-fermented foods and to learn to economically add probiotic, nutrient-dense food to your diet (even while in college), as well as asking questions regarding traditional foods.  

College students will be having a breakout time to discuss how to thrive in college on a special diet.  It is very important for these students to be able to network and encourage one another on their journey.  Younger students will stay with parent.

We will be making lacto-fermented vegetables that students can prepare in their dorm room, as well as making kombucha, and water kefir.  Because water kefir is growing in its popularity and people on a dairy-free diet can benefit from this drink, we will have different flavors of water kefir to sample that taste kind of like KeVita.

You will go home armed with both a kombucha SCOBY and water kefir grains, new friends in the real food journey, and confident to start making your own probiotics, at college or at home

The teacher is my good friend, Diane Loftness.  She has a wealth of knowledge of real food and healthy living.  Growing up on a farm in Kansas, she has been eating and preparing traditional foods her entire life.  Within recent years she and her family have been eating grain free and experienced healing from eating according to the GAPS diet.

This workshop will be in Diane's home near Conway.  There will be a limit of 10 families. Cost is $25 per person or $30 per family, non-refundable, in advance to hold your spot.  Please email Diane soon if you would like to participate; the last two workshops she hosted sold out: dloftness AT gmail DOT com


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Dec 22, 2013

Beef Curry for the Crock-Pot

Before breakfast, I mixed this up and we enjoyed it for lunch after church.  Delicious.  As written it served 2 adults and 2 children with an adult portion left over.  I guess we were all hungry.  Next time I will double the recipe to ensure plenty of left overs.

--1-2 lbs stew meat*

--1 yellow onion, cut in chunks
--1 can coconut milk, full fat
--1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
--1-2 sweet potatoes cut in chunks
--2T lime juice (about one lime), lemon juice is OK
--2 cloves chopped garlic, or more
--1 tsp curry powder
--1/2 tsp ground coriander
--1 tsp cumin
--1 1/2 T chili paste, or 1-2 tsp red chili flakes - I omitted and served hot sauce on the table for the adults
--1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated or 1 tsp ginger powdered

Mix everything in the slow cooker, cover and turn on.  It will cook in 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.  I didn't add salt because I knew my family likes soy sauce on their curry.  If your family doesn't like soy sauce, or if you don't have a ferment to garnish the top, then add about 1 teaspoon of salt.

Serve with white or brown rice, made with chicken broth.  I also served steamed veggies (a bag of frozen "California Blend") with a generous portion of butter.

*If doubling this recipe, it might be cheaper to buy a small roast and cut it up yourself -or cook the roast and shred it.  Of course you could substitute chicken for beef.

Garnishes, all optional:

-- fresh cilantro
-- soy sauce (fermented, I use San J brand)
-- lacto-fermented banana pepper relish
-- hot sauce
-- chopped peanuts
-- wedges of lime
-- toasted coconut
-- if you like your curry sweet, pineapple tidbits

Enjoy, y'all!


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Dec 18, 2013

Who Needs Cheerios When You Have Real Food?

He's munching on cooked sweet potatoes -the perfect finger food. 

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Dec 16, 2013

I am a Mother Who Serves Raw Milk

In April, we rejoiced when Arkansas joined the ranks of about thirty other states that legally sell raw milk.  

My last two pregnancies I drank copious amounts of raw dairy.  All three of my children drink it.  We are a very healthy family and are rarely sick (never from drinking milk.)  When my youngest was two weeks old, he had his first bottle of raw milk formula, after I realized my milk supply had nearly dried up.  (Thankfully I was able to work with a lactation consultant and re-establish it.)

Did you see the news tonight? David Goins from KARK visited my home to ask about drinking fresh unadulterated milk.  Heaven forbid, I give it to all three of my children!

There are two sides to every coin.  The AAP says stay away from fresh milk, the Wall Street Journal gave it thumbs up.  If you want to educate yourself further about real, fresh milk, there are videos here and this is a great website.  Both advocate drinking it raw.  Do your own homework.  Don't let the media brainwash educate you.

As for me and my house, we consider raw dairy some of the most nutritious food our money can buy.

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Dec 12, 2013

Deceptively Delicious - hiding squash

A generous amount of butternut squash and a few decorative pumpkins (the pie sized ones) have been staring me in the face since oh, about mid-September.  Hello, it's December.  I roasted those babies last week and made a GINORMOUS pot of butternut squash soup.  And had 5 cups of squash/pumpkin remaining.

{Last week my eleven-month old also started sleeping through the night **THANKYOUJESUS!!!** and I feel like I have a new lease on life.}

Some where along my food journey I read Jessica Seinfeld's book, Deceptively Delicious.  The basic premise is you can hide nutrition in certain foods and your children pickiest eaters will never know it. Life ebbs and flows and there are times I do better at nutrition with my family.  With the extra 5 cups of  roasted butternut squash in my fridge, I decided to add a cup or so to my chili.  The family never knew it.  Double bonus for me is that the squash isn't going to waste!  
You could also do this with carrots or sweet potatoes in most red-sauced-dishes.

The sky is the limit as to what you can hide.  In the cookbook Jessica goes so far as to hide a can of garbanzo beans in chocolate chip cookies.

What are you hiding?

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Dec 10, 2013

Deviled Eggs = Perfect Party Food

They need no utensils, are nutritious and many people really like them.
I made them even more nutritious (and tasty!) by adding lacto-fermented pickle relish from this summer.

Take some to your next holiday party.

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Dec 6, 2013

Real Hot Chocolate

It's cold y'all! After a lot of trial and error, I've come up with a hot chocolate recipe that my family loves. And, the best part, this hot chocolate is made with (mostly) natural sweeteners. 

HB's Hot Chocolate
2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (we like Ghirardelli)
1 1/2 cups water
2/3 cup sucanat (or any type of sugar)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon real salt
4 cups whole milk
Heat chocolate and water in a sauce pan just till the chocolate chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Then, add sugar and salt, boil 3 minutes. Lower heat a bit and whisk in milk. Do not heat it to boiling or the hot chocolate will have a skin on the top. Serve with sweetened whipped cream. I sweeten my whipped cream with sucanat and a bit of vanilla. Super yum. Now, I must warn you all, this hot chocolate is not sicky sweet. My hubby and I both love sweets and we both think this hot chocolate is plenty sweet and the whipped cream really sends it over the top. 

Don't these people look happy?? Not pictured is the baby who would really love some hot chocolate, but hasn't had any yet. We like to listen to Christmas music while we drink our hot chocolate. Now go make some memories!

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Homemade Breakfast Cereal

HB here. I love cereal. My kids love cereal. But, I cannot bring myself to buy it mostly because the extrusion process involved in making cereal basically causes the cereal to be toxic. If I want something toxic, I'll eat fast food.  I'd rather not waste my toxins on cereal.  I found a recipe for soaked whole wheat cereal at and decided to give it a shot. There are two videos posted that explain the process of soaking and then preparing the cereal. Part one here, part two and full written recipe here. I watched the videos and made the cereal. It's super simple. Really.

My tips when making this cereal:

  • I soaked soft white wheat flour in buttermilk. Buttermilk is, by far, my favorite soaking medium. Such good flavor. I let them sit for about 6ish hours. It's best to soak grains longer, but I was pressed for time and concerned that our power would go out due to crazay Arkansas weather.
  • I crumbled the cake into pieces about the size of a nickel. There were also plenty of extra crumbs that were really small. I tried to avoid leaving any huge pieces, while at the same time, avoiding grinding the crumbs into powder. (The cakes themselves are delish and would be a great breakfast treat!) 
  • I put the crumbs in two bar pans and baked at 200 for about 3 hours, turned the oven off, went to bed and then turned the oven back on for about 5 more hours. I stirred the crumbs every 2 hours or so.

Here you can see the size and texture of the finished cereal. Not the best presentation, but tastes very yummy. 

The cereal itself tastes a lot like grape nuts, but has a better, less-grainy, flavor. And, the cereal is not nearly as hard on my teeth as grape nuts. My dentist told me that hard cereals, like granola and grape nuts, can cause tooth breakage and chipping. We added raisins and milk to ours and loved it. My older kiddos (pictured below) say they prefer this cereal to granola. Yay for a new, simple, nourishing recipe! Thanks to Sarah at the for this great recipe!

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Dec 4, 2013

Kombucha Workshop

I taught a kombucha workshop tonight and one of the participants drove home with her kombucha scoby buckled into a child's carseat.
Is there interest for another workshop in January?  Email me and I'll add you to a list - luvmyhub AT gmail DOT com.


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Dec 3, 2013

Tools that Make My Kitchen Efficient

These are some things in my kitchen that I use daily and are indispensable for their efficiency.

1.  Quality Chef's Knife 
Did you know you are actually more prone to hurting yourself with a dull knife than with a sharp one?  About ten years ago, my in-laws bought this Global chef's knife for Christmas.  I have used it almost daily since.  You can go to stores, like Williams-Sonoma, and test drive different knives to see which one best fits your style.  I like the way this knife fits in my hand.  Global knives have a reputation for being light and holding their edge.
2.  Wooden Cutting Board
Not long after I started using my new knife, I could tell it lost its edge.  I called the knife store and the first question the employee asked me was, "What kind of cutting board are you using?"  Turns out I was using a glass cutting board and they are horrible for dulling knife blades.  Some people are afraid of using wooden boards because of germs.  When cutting raw meat, I use a plastic board.  For everything else I use wood then simply rinse it with really hot water.  Occasionally I will use soap, or spray it with hydrogen peroxide then rinse it.

3. Sharpies, Masking Tape, and Scissors
These things are not only for the home office.  Sharpies will write on virtually anything: paper, plastic, metal...even your clothes!  My friend, HB, introduced me to the magic of the clickable Sharpie and you don't have to keep up with a cap.

Frequently I will reuse yogurt containers to freeze broth and label them with tape and Sharpie.  Or, if sending several containers of food to a friend, use a sharpie right on the container.

The vintage scissors used in my kitchen have black metal handles.  My family knows if these are found outside the confines of my kitchen...beware!  These scissors are used primarily for quickly opening packages.

4. Glass Jars 
My preference is the wide mouth jar so I can stick my hand all the way to the bottom and clean it but   any jar will do.  My parents used to eat Miracle Whip by the truck loads, oh wait, they still do.  I should say: Miracle Whip used to come in glass jars.  Remember that?  Well, my hoarders parents judiciously saved a few billion jars.  I'm thankful for their forethought to my real food habits.

You can pour hot soups into glass (I don't like to put hot food in plastic).  You can use jars for storage of virtually anything.  Even though you can see what's in a jar I have been known to label it, just for fun.  Instead of the standard issue metal lids and bands that are prone to rusting, I usually replace with plastic lids...on which you can write and erase the Sharpie.

5. Apron
With all the time spent in the kitchen, save yourself time in the laundry room and wear an apron.  Add a string of pearls and pretend you're June Cleaver.  You won't catch me wearing her heels, though.

What have you found increases efficiency?

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