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Maple Roasted Carrots

Maple Roasted Carrots

maple roasted carrots

A sweet, comforting side dish, its glory being the subtle sweetness imparted not only by the maple syrup, but also those lovely carrots. I worked on a farm once for a summer (ah, now I’m far enough away in years that I think any memory would be pure nostalgia from that time!) and I loved working in the carrots fields. We had a big crew and it was hard work, and long days, but there were different jobs required by the literal field. There was the person pitch-forking the ground, loosening the soil surrounding the carrots. The people following along behind,  crouching as they pulled the carrots to the earth and creating bundles of them. Everyone taking a second to look up when someone thrust a certain carrot into the air, remarking on its hilarious shape and thinking of the customers who would inevitably buy them. Finally, there were those who would pile up the carrots, grabbing the bundles laying on the dirt and stacking, stacking stacking. When they weren’t, maybe they were distributing handfuls of rubber bands. Farm work is an underappreciated art, and so tough on the physical body, and it was a privilege having that experience for those quick 6 months, when it stayed easy on my body and the commodity of my peers made any (ok, most) weather tolerable. Join this wanna-be hippie in honoring those carrots with this simple side dish, hmm?

Maple Roasted Carrots

  • 4 large carrots, or 6 smaller, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (use honey if following SCD)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (use coconut oil if vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
  • sprinkle of sea salt
  • grind of black pepper

Preheat the oven the 400. Slice your carrots a 1/2 inch wide, at an angle if you’d like to be fancy. Place your baking dish in the oven with the butter in it, just briefly, so the butter melts but the dish doesn’t heat too much. Take out, add the maple syrup and carrots, and toss to coat. Sprinkle the thyme, sea salt and black pepper over, then pop in the oven for 20 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Serves 4.

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Beef Bone Broth

Beef Bone Broth

beef stock

If there’s one thing to switch from store-bought to homemade that will yield both endless flavor and provide deep nutrition–it’s bone broths and stocks. Learning how to make these (which in essence typically means just learning to save up the bones from meals you have throughout the month!) is a simple process, with high return on investment. Bone broth provides our bodies with an easily digestible source of gelatin, collagen, minerals and more–nutrients our bodies need and often do not encounter as regularly as we all might hope! From a nutritional standpoint, this is why we add the apple cider vinegar into the cooking liquid; it helps the initial breakdown of the bones and joints, so we can have as efficient of a cooking time as we can while the pot bubbles away.

Beef Bone Broth

PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: Crockpot: 12-24 hours | Instant Pot: 90-120 minutes
SERVINGS: 3 quarts

  • 2-3 pounds of beef bones, trying to get a variety such as beef marrow, knuckle, rib or neck bones
  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • up to 1 onion, either whole or saved up scraps from other meals
  • up to 2 carrots, same as the onion
  • up to 2 stalks of celery, same as the onion

Combine all ingredients in either a crockpot or an Instant Pot. If in the crockpot, fill to cover with water (can add more or less to accomplish this), turn to low and allow to cook for 12-24 hours. If in the Instant Pot, make sure you haven’t filled past your max fill line (noted along the inside wall of the cooking vessel), set the pot to manual and allow to cook for 90-120 minutes. Once done cooking, you can quick release (might spew some liquid along with the steam) or simply let the Instant Pot naturally release. Transfer to glass mason jars to store both in the fridge or freezer. You can also pour into ice cube trays and freeze, so you’ll always have 1 ounce frozen cubes of the broth to quickly add and melt into any dish (my personal favorite!) Use in soups, braises and stews, or heat up and drink by the mugful with a pinch of sea salt.

 

 

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Braised Kale with Lemon and Anchovies

Braised Kale with Lemon and Anchovies

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I’m an anchovy FREAK. I really noticed it when I was about 13 years old and went gaga for a certain restaurant’s Caesar salad. When I was 17 and saw Jamie Oliver throw anchovy fillets into some hot olive oil and watched them dissolve and flavor that oil, the freak got geek. When I ordered pizza with extra cheese and saw I could get anchovy fillets for a few cents more, I solidified the fact: anchovies. are. the. bomb. So when I put anchovies in butter, when I sneak them into persillade, when I feel happiness knowing there’s a tube of them in the fridge (perfection), and a tin of them in the cupboard (amaze), I revel in letting my freak flag fly. And then I remember–it’s really not that freaky at all. It’s incredibly wholesome, eating a tiny fish. It gives me all those tasty nutrients just like the big catches. I think that’s what keeps me coming back, what I realize–you crave what they can give you. There’s nothing fancy about this dish. There can’t be. It is what it is. Thank goodness.

Braised Kale with Lemon and Anchovies
1 head kale, any variety, stems removed and leaves roughly torn
2 tablespoons fat of choice (I used duck fat–butter, lard or coconut would be great, too)
1 tablespoon anchovy paste (or 4 anchovy fillets from a tin)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped and smashed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon

In a large skillet, heat your fat of choice over medium high. Add in the anchovies, stirring around the hot fat until the anchovies have melted and incorporated themselves. Add in the torn kale leaves, gently tossing as they wilt from the heat. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic, sea salt and black pepper. Turn the heat up to high and cook for another minute or two, until some of the kale leaves get crispy. Take the skillet off the heat, then add the lemon juice and zest. Toss to evenly coat. Serves 4. It might not hurt to sprinkle some toasted and finely chopped nuts over this, but I’m not in charge here.

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Braised Fennel with Lemon Zest

Braised Fennel with Lemon Zest

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Hmm, where does the time go? October came and went, and here the little blog was, missing an entry. I do have a confession to make–I’ve been cooking, and I’ve been posting, but it’s over on Instagram (gasp! sigh! the horror!). Give it a go, folks. Add me. Let’s be friends. Other news? I’ve partnered with Solcana Crossfit and will be talking up a storm over there about all things health and nutrition related.

But, let’s move on. We have fennel to discuss. If you haven’t been a fan of fennel in the past, might I suggest this preparation? Its powerful licorice-y/anise-y flavor when raw subsides into something delicate during this braise. I’d call it sexy, but I may just need to get out of the house more often.

Braised Fennel with Lemon
2 fennel bulbs
2 tablespoons cooking fat of your choice (butter, lard, tallow, coconut oil)
1/2 cup chicken stock
juice of one lemon
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Chop both fennel bulbs into quarters, and slice on an angle to remove the core from each quarter. Finely slice all fennel, either practicing your fine knife skills or using a mandoline set for a thin slice. In a large skillet, heat your fat over high heat. Add the fennel slices and sea salt and allow to cook for a minute or two. When the skillet seems dry, add the chicken stock, stir, turn the heat to medium-high, cover and allow to cook for about five minutes. After, remove the lid, turn the heat back up to high and continue to cook until the fennel gently begins to caramelize. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice, lemon zest and cracked black pepper. Serves 4.

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Beet Kvass

Beet Kvass

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Hey guys: Today is the last post Amy K and I have co-written in our three-part series about the beautiful beet! Our first post explained why beets are good for your liver and how to prepare a beet carpaccio salad, and our second post included a recipe for beet greens pesto. Check ’em out and love up your beets!

Kvass is a drink that is lacto-fermented, traditionally made from grains such as wheat, rye or barley. Beet kvass has its roots (hah!) possibly from Lithuania, where kvass is called gira and more variations abound. Lacto-fermentation is the process in which lactobacillus bacteria proliferate in a controlled environment, in this case the salty solution of water, sea salt and beets. After a few days on your counter, the beet kvass liquid is full of good lactobacillus bacteria and is now a probiotic real food, similar to the more popular bottled kombuchas and kefirs out there in stores these days! The good bacteria have been hard at work while they sit on your counter those few days, primarily changing the natural sugars in the beets into lactic acid, an acid which preserves the vegetables and gives fermented liquids and foods that special tang!

But you might be asking yourself “why eat fermented foods?”

Well, not only does the fermentation process break down nutrients into more digestible forms, but it also produces B-vitamins, enzymes, and a variety of healthy probiotic bacteria. Ever wonder why your stomach gets upset and you go running for the bathroom more frequently when you’re taking antibiotics? It’s because those incredibly strong bacteria-fighting machines kill any and all bacteria that get in their way. That means that although the antibiotics annihilated the group A Streptococcus bacteria hanging out in your mouth that was giving you strep throat, they also eradicated the majority of the trillions of healthy bacteria that call your digestive system “home sweet home”. You depend on those healthy bacteria for your digestive system to work properly!

So pour yourself a drink, sit back and relax, and let the good bacteria settle into their new home.

Beet Kvass

2 medium sized beets
1.5 tablespoons sea salt (or 1 tablespoon sea salt and ¼ cup whey (drain about 2 cups of yogurt overnight in the fridge in a cloth lined sieve with a bowl underneath; the liquid that accumulates under is whey, and the yogurt above? Greek yogurt!)
2 quarts filtered water, or a bit less
2 quart-sized mason jars with lids

Wash and peel the beets. Roughly chop into one-inch cubes. Split the beet chunks into both mason jars and evenly sprinkle half the sea salt into each (or, if you are using the whey, split the ¼ cup between the mason jars and note the reduced salt content!). Fill the jars with filtered water, stopping one inch below the lid. Tightly fasten the lids and shake to dissolve the salt in each. Place in a cupboard or on your counter top for two days. Drink approximately four ounces in the morning. After you have consumed the liquid in the jars, you may add more water (no need to add more salt) and make another batch using the same beet chunks two more times.

Pro Tip: Diluted kvass makes a great electrolyte replacement drink with NO sugar!

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Fresh Ginger Applesauce

Fresh Ginger Applesauce

gingervanillaapplesaucelarge

Mealy, spotty and beat up apples. I won’t tell you how much money I shelled out for a bag of organic apples only to be disappointed by the poor taste and texture. Bummer yuck! Anyway, little brother (well, little is ironic seeing as how he’s 6’5″) suggested applesauce and this Sunday I did just that. Oh, how it had much too long since I’d made applesauce! Can I call up all the local co-ops and ask for their worst apples? Could I get them free if they have a worm or two in ’em? Because bad apples make the best applesauce.

Fresh Ginger Applesauce
3 pounds apples, peeled cored and chopped into big hunks
1 cup water
3 inches fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a large stock pot over medium heat, add the apples and water. Cover and allow to simmer and soften for about 30 minutes. Mash in the pot with a potato masher or immersion blender, or allow to cool a bit and blend to a smooth puree in a food processor or blender. Allow to cool completely. Meanwhile, squeeze the grated ginger into a bowl. Combine the ginger juice and vanilla extract into the room temperature applesauce. Now, for the spoon. Serves 6-8.

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Chicken Stock

Chicken Stock

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I mean, I have the recipe for post-Thanksgiving turkey stock, which is very similar… but I thought I should treat one of my favorite fridge and freezer staples to it’s own recipe. If you use chicken feet, it is very likely your stock will gel once it is cooled–and that’s cool.

Chicken Stock
1 to 2 pounds chicken bones (feet, head, leftover carcass from this week’s roast, saved wing bones, drumettes, what have you and what fits in your stock pot or crock pot WHEW!)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 medium onion, cut in half
2 carrots, broken into a few pieces
3 stalks celery, same as the carrots
12 whole peppercorns
fresh or dried herbs, if you desire (1 tablespoon dried rosemary, or maybe 2 sprigs fresh thyme, you get the point)
2 to 3 quarts filtered water

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker, or a pot on the stove. If using the slow cooker, let cook on low for 1 to 2 days, until the bones are soft. If on the stove, bring up to a boil then let the stock simmer at a low heat while you are home. If in an Instant Pot, set to manual and cook at pressure for 30-45 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally. Stock is done when you feel ready. Strain through a sieve to catch all stock bits, bottle, refrigerate or freeze. It can also be helpful to freeze in ice cube trays and store in a plastic bag in the freezer–then you have 1 ounce cubes of stock to use in dishes that call for just a little stock. Makes 2 to 3 quarts.

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Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes

Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes

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Perhaps a new Thanksgiving tradition, perhaps a sweet little side dish any other day would enjoy. These little cabbages are tossed with grapes and quickly shown to the hot oven. Crispy, soft, sweet, lemony–come here, you.

Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts
2 pounds Brussels sprouts
2 cups grapes
olive oil (or fat of your choice)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400. Meanwhile, chop the ends off the Brussels sprouts and slice large ones in quarters, small ones in half. With the grapes, slice large ones in half and leave smaller ones whole with just a prick in the middle. Mix together and divide evenly over two baking trays. Drizzle with olive oil and toss with your hands to evenly coat. Sprinkle with the sea salt, black pepper and lemon juice. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, tossing the veg halfway. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the lemon zest. Serves 4-6 as a side.

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Bacon Caramelized Onions

Bacon Caramelized Onions

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I mean, they could just be caramelized onions. They could. Or. You could dutifully save your bacon fat like the good blog reader you are. Because let’s be honest… caramelized onions and bacon have some things in common, like your mouth. And since I cried a lot for this recipe, I swear it’s worth it.

Bacon Caramelized Onions
4-5 medium onions, peeled
1.5 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons bacon fat (or butter, or olive oil)
cracked black pepper

Thinly slice each onion into rounds. Place slices in a large skillet set over medium heat. Cook for about 15 minutes with a lid on, stirring once in a while. Take lid off, add in the salt and bacon fat, turn heat to low and cook for another 20-40 minutes, depending on how sweet and caramelized you like your onions. Crack fresh black pepper before serving. Serve in a multitude of culinary arenas–arugula salads, on top of slow-cooked meats (blitz and thin with a little stock and you have an awesome gravy), the base for soups, tossed with cooked spaghetti squash, the finishing dollop on a great burger… anything you like.

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Tropical Sweet Potato Mash

Tropical Sweet Potato Mash

tropicalmash1000

Luckily, winter is just beginning and we have plenty of months to cozy up on the couch with a bowl of these mashed vegetables, spiked with a little garlic and ginger for good measure. Maybe they’re bridging that gap between us in the northern climates and the folks still enjoying ample warmth down south this time of year. Maybe. If not, I’ll go grab some extra blankets.

Tropical Sweet Potato Mash
4 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
6 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup coconut oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
1 inch knob of ginger root, peeled and finely minced
1/2 to 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/4 cup coconut flakes

Place sweet potatoes and carrots in large pot; cover with cold water and bring the water to a boil. Turn heat down to medium-low and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes. While vegetables cook, melt the coconut oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger, turn heat to low, and gently cook for 5 minutes. Do not let the garlic brown! Take the pan off the heat and allow the infused oil to cool a bit. Once the potatoes and carrots are cooked, drain and place back in their pot. Begin to mash, then add the coconut oil with the garlic and ginger. Continue mashing and add the salt and pepper. Finally, begin to add the coconut milk, starting with the 1/2 cup and adding more to create a smooth, delicate texture. Toast the coconut flakes over medium heat until brown and sprinkle over the mashed sweet potatoes. Serves 4-6 as a side.

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