Dec 20, 2014

Deviled Eggs: The Perfect Party Food

They need no utensils, are nutritious and many people really like them.
These were made with pastured eggs (read why you should pay more for super yellow yolks), fermented roasted red peppers and parsley from my garden.  I didn't color enhance the picture.  Instead of using mayonnaise (I was out), I used heavy whipping cream.  Delish. If you preserved lacto-fermented pickle relish this summer, use that, too.

Take some to your next holiday party.

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Dec 18, 2014

Last Minute Local Shopping (for the person hard to buy for)

I went to a "Favorite Things" party recently.  You know, the kind where you bring one of your favorite things wrapped then tell about why it is your favorite.  At our party, we drew numbers to choose a gift then played "Dirty Santa" style and people could steal the gift you opened.  

Three of the favorite things were gift cards.  Of those gift cards, two of them were from local stores that I love: The Root Cafe and The Green Corner Store.  And actually, one of the favorite things I took to the party came from The Green Corner Store (Tammy Sue's Goat's Milk Lotion).  This is really beginning to sound like a commercial, but I really like that store.  My kids love the soda fountain (who doesn't like homemade ice cream?!) and I like to go there when I'm looking for a gift for the person who has everything (except homemade marshmallows!).  You can find some one-of-a-kind gifts there.

Another option for last minute gift giving is to head out to the Hillcrest Farmers Market this Saturday 8am-noon.  Check their Facebook page for ideas.
In addition to summer 2015 CSA program North Pulaski Farms is offering gift cards for the spring.  Now thru the end of the year, buy a five pack of $25 gift cards for only $100!  The cards are valid from March 2015 thru May 2015 and can be used to purchase any products at any of the markets or on the farm.  To order you can call Kelly Carney OR pick them up at the Hillcrest Farmers Market.  The Giant Winter spinach in the photo will be the size of a basketball and ready in early March!

Kelly Carney
North Pulaski Farms, LLC
(501) 240-4233

Happy shopping and merry Christmas!

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Dec 14, 2014

Real Food Hands-On Cooking Class

Start the new year with real food cooking skills!  I will be teaching real food basics on New Year's Day at 1:30pm in my kitchen for the person eager to make baby step changes in 2015.  We will make chicken pot pie and talk and learn along the way.   
Chicken pot pie is a comfort food that many people love.  With a few minor changes, you can make it very nourishing.  It is a recipe that is easy to double and freeze half.  

 Some of the culinary topics covered will be:

- cooking / deboning a whole chicken 
- taste testing: crock pot vs. roasted chicken
- knife skills
- bone broth basics
- creating cream of chicken / mushroom soup from scratch
- making a pie crust from scratch.

Class size is limited to 6 people.  This would be a great class for mom and daughter to take together.  Or a fun gift to give to the person who has everything. 

When: Thursday, January 1 at 1:30pm
Where: my kitchen, near Whole Foods on Rodney Parham
Cost: $25 per person

Email me for additional details and to reserve your spot -- luvmyhub AT

Stay tuned for other classes in January and February.  I will be teaching a couple of classes at Fermentables: one on culturing vegetables and one for kombucha making.


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Dec 8, 2014

My New Favorite Thing

One of my big take-aways from going to the Weston A. Price Conference was the importance of using epsom salts in my bath.  Usually I'm not a big bath taker.  Showers are much faster.  After being at the conference I decided that I would try at least once a week to take a 20-minute bath with 2 cups of epsom salts.  For bonus points, use your favorite essential oil.  

Time and time again I heard people give kudos to this inexpensive additive to your bath (both attendees as well as presenters.)  The below 10 pound bucket came from Sam's Club and was about $7.
Why is epsom salt so good for the body?

The chemical name is Magnesium Sulfate.  Many people are deficient in both magnesium as well as sulfur.  We theoretically could get those minerals from our food... 

- if we didn't have compromised guts from taking rounds of antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals
- if we only ate biodynamic, nutrient-dense, organically raised foods (and no processed foods)
- if conventional farmers used soil amendments other than N, P, and K. (Since the introduction of synthetic fertilizers in the 1950's, magnesium in vegetables has decreased 25-80%.  Buy local and organic when you can.)
- if we lived stress-free lives (Stress influences digestion --upset stomach anyone?)

The skin is the biggest organ.  For better or worse, you are absorbing all kinds of things around you.   When you soak in a bath of epsom salts the body is getting a healthy dose of magnesium and sulfur.

  {disclaimer:  I'm not a doctor or scientist.  Do your own research.  The following is my limited and simplified understanding.}

Magnesium is needed by the body for almost every cellular function.  It is a cofactor for over 300 enzyme systems in the body.  A few of the systems include protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.  If you consistently just don't feel good --you quite possibly could be magnesium deficient.

When you sweat (exercise or menopause), you are loosing a lot of magnesium.  Ever have muscle cramps?

Some people tell me, "Oh, I'm taking a magnesium supplement" (or calcium and magnesium supplement).  That could be helpful, depending on your gut health and the quality of the supplement.  You could also be throwing your money down the proverbial drain if you are not absorbing it.  

You've read in this space before: compromised guts will not absorb as many minerals as a healthy gut. That is, minerals from food or supplements.

People who are extremely deficient in magnesium may find that a transdermal application of magnesium oil helps even better than a pill form.  The higher quality magnesium oils can be expensive.  Epsom salt doesn't break the bank but requires time to soak.

{side note:  several friends of mine swear by Calm and drink it as a night cap before going to bed.  They say it helps them fall asleep and stay asleep.}  
This 4 pound bag of epsom salt from Kroger was only $3.

What about sulfur?

Stephanie Seneff, PhD, argues in this article that sulfur deficiency could be a cause for obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer's and chronic fatigue.  She was a speaker for 6 hours at the conference this year.  She also spoke last year (6 hours on sulfur alone!)  One conferee told me the one big take away he remembers from last year's talks on sulfur was: 

When you’re getting sick-- cold, flu, cancer even! produces sulfur.  The body allows this to stabilize blood chemistry.  Take an Epsom Salt bath to give the body sulfur.  Or eat high sulfur foods (like garlic, onions, broccoli or cabbage). 

Since going to the conference, when family members feel a little under the weather and complain, I send them straight to the tub with instructions to use epsom salt.  My dad says he remembers his grandmother burning a sulfur candle (stinky!) in the room of an invalid.

Does it help?

It doesn't hurt.  It is not expensive.  And it doesn't stink.

Again, I feel the need to say I'm not an expert.  But I heard several people at the conference say that epsom salts (or sufficient levels of magnesium) will help you detox.  The word "detox" is somewhat of a buzz word these days and I confess I'm not sure what all it means or how the body detoxes.  

However, I do know that I want to help my body in every way possible to rid itself of toxic substances.  Another theme I kept hearing at the conference was "the reason we are so sick (as a culture) is because of all the toxins (like heavy metals) that are staying in our bodies and not being eliminated."

If taking a 20-minute bath in epsom salt relaxes my mind and heals my body, I'm in.  Bonus that it's not toxic or expensive.


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Dec 5, 2014

Creative Storage

The lid to the peanut butter that I frequently buy is the same size as a small mouth canning jar.  I store lots of things in jars, including spices in bulk from Azure Standard.  I prefer plastic lids to their metal counter parts because plastic doesn't rust when I send it through my dishwasher.

The ultimate in recycling is actually using something you'd otherwise throw away.


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Dec 3, 2014

Resources for Gut Healing

Increasingly I talk to more and more people who are taking health into their own hands, specifically making huge changes in diet.  And seeing results.

This thrills my soul!  But it can be overwhelming, can't it?

One of my family members has had mystery symptoms for an extended period time.  We have tried countless remedies as well as ruled out many things.

Crazy enough, one of the last things we implemented was removing gluten.  It wasn't as difficult as I had anticipated because I cook so much from scratch and making bread isn't in my routine.

Gluten wasn't the culprit.  Oh, I think removing it from the diet was a good move --at least for a season while we focus on healing the gut.  That family member has been gluten free for about 5 months with plans to go a year without gluten.

{side note:: Even if you are not gluten sensitive, if you are eating grains (primarily wheat) that isn't prepared properly (soaked or sprouted) it is hard on your digestive system.  Not to mention that you will not absorb the nutrients as well if you forgo proper preparation. :: end side note.}

Always looking to learn more, once we started the "gluten-free journey" I decided to borrow a copy of a friend's copy of The GAPS Diet.  Simultaneously, another friend told me that when she was researching GAPS she bought this ebook which spelled out the first 30 days on the healing diet.  I bought the ebook and it was helpful.

Here's a post that has several links to stories of people on the GAPS diet.

Some friends of mine have been following a Paleo diet (basically eating meat, fruit and veggies, eggs, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils but no grains, dairy, or refined sugar) and have found healing from eating that way.  Paleo and GAPS are somewhat similar (GAPS is a bit more complicated intentional about adding new foods to your diet.)  A couple of distinctives of the GAPS diet is copious amounts of bone broth and fermented vegetables.

{another side note:: If you're interested, here is a comparison of Paleo versus a traditional diet compiled by the president of the Weston Price Foundation.  The Paleo Mom wrote a rebuttal here.  I love freedom of press!! :: end side note.}

Other friends, who struggle with leaky-gut or autoimmune health issues are following the autoimmune protocol.  This diet, referred to as AIP, is similar to the Paleo diet mentioned above but is more restrictive.  AIP also removes nuts, seeds, eggs, beans, and nightshades which are tomatoes and peppers among others.

A new-to-me blog is The Paleo Mom and it is very helpful in sorting all of this out.  She holds a PhD and is now a mom who blogs and cooks and writes about science-y things in a language I understand and cooks some more.  Recently I gushed about recipes I've tried from her blog.

Another yummy paleo recipe blog is PaleOMG. (Note: her language may be offensive to some.)

Our gut-healing journey has included lots (daily) of gelatinous bone broth and fermented vegetables.  We have restricted grains, sugar in most forms, and for a season dairy.

I think it is helpful to underscore that we are created uniquely.  Each person has a distinct genetic makeup and cultural background.  Listen to your body.  Do your own research.  Ask lots of questions.  Listen to your body.  Think.  Ask more questions.  Keep a journal of what you eat and how you feel.  And listen to your body.  The body wants to heal itself given the right tools and deprived of toxic junk.

What resources have been helpful for you?

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