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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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Raspberry Mustard

Raspberry Mustard

insta raspberry mustard

Lactofermented, at that!

What does lactofermented mean, really? That this mustard has been cultured with beneficial bacteria, and it’s good for your stomach! That just a bit of this condiment on the daily or weekly can actually boost your stomach function–not too shabby, and way cheaper than a daily probiotic capsule, right? Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Lactofermented Raspberry Mustard

1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup kombucha vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon raw honey (can also use maple syrup or other natural sweetener)
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 tablespoons whey* (optional)

In a clean, pint size glass mason jar, add both types of mustard seeds (you can play around with the quantities for these. Yellow mustard seeds are more mild in flavor, which brown are sharper and spicier). Combine all remaining ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour liquid mixture into the mason jar with the mustard seeds and stir to combine. Tightly fasten the lid on the jar and allow to sit for 1 day. After 1 day (or so, you can be flexible), pour the contents of the jar into a blender or food processor and blend to your desired mustard consistency–more for a smoother mustard, or less blending for a more whole grain batch. Transfer the blended mustard back into a clean mason jar, screw the lid back on, and allow to sit for another 2 to 3 days. Transfer mustard to the fridge for storage. Mustard will keep for 6+ months in the fridge. Makes about 2 cups.

**want to use whey, but don’t know where to get it? Yeah, you can’t buy it, but you can make it! Take 2 cups of whole milk yogurt, and place in a colander or strainer lined with a clean dishtowel. Put the colander over a bowl big enough to catch the liquid that drips from the straining yogurt. Put the whole thing in the fridge, and allow to strain for at least 2 to 4 hours, or overnight. Save the liquid that drains away from the yogurt, because this is the whey! You can put it in a mason jar with a lid and it should keep in the fridge for up to 6 months. The strained yogurt is now what you would consider Greek yogurt–extra thick and creamy! Eat it as you would any normal yogurt.

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Crunchy Fermented Green Beans

Crunchy Fermented Green Beans

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Oh, lactofermentation. How simple you are, how amazing your benefits! Really, any vegetable can be fermented. This natural fermentation process provides a batch of green beans that snap and crunch with every bite–a perfectly refreshing and snarf-worthy way to get in all the good bacteria and live enzymes fermenting promotes.

Lactofermented Green Beans
roughly 1 cup of green beans, ends trimmed and longer beans cut in half
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 cups filtered water
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon whey (optional)*
1 pint size glass mason jar

Sterilize the mason jar and its lid by running through a hot cycle in the dishwasher, boiling in water (if your lid is plastic, do not put in boiling water), or cleaning with dish soap and hot water. Use clean utensils during this process and clean hands, too!

In a separate container, mix the water, sea salt and optional whey together until all are dissolved. Put aside. In a small bowl, add the garlic, coriander, red pepper flakes and mustard seeds. Use the back of a wooden spoon to gently crush the seeds and smash the garlic a bit. Then add the spices and garlic to the bottom of the sterilized jar. Begin to stand the green beans upright and pack them into the jar until you have just enough so that they’re all standing up against one another. You want them to be no higher than 1 inch below the top of the glass jar. This is so you may leave 1 inch of airspace at the top of the jar during the fermenting process, and also because you want the beans to be fully submerged under the fermenting liquid (brine). Once all your beans are packed, begin to pour in the brine until it just covers the beans. Push any down that try to float up when you add the liquid. Pour the liquid in until 1 inch of airspace is left at the top. If you need more liquid to do this, add some extra filtered water. Screw the lid on, place in a cupboard, and allow to ferment for 3 to 5 days. After this, store the beans in the fridge. They last for at least 6 months refrigerated.

*want to use whey, but don’t know where to get it? Yeah, you can’t buy it, but you can make it! Take 2 cups of whole milk yogurt, and place in a colander or strainer lined with a clean dishtowel. Put the colander over a bowl big enough to catch the liquid that drips from the straining yogurt. Put the whole thing in the fridge, and allow to strain for at least 2 to 4 hours, or overnight. Save the liquid that drains away from the yogurt, because this is the whey! You can put it in a mason jar with a lid and it should keep in the fridge for up to 6 months. The strained yogurt is now what you would consider Greek yogurt–extra thick and creamy! Eat it as you would any normal yogurt.

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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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Curried Cauliflower Rice

Curried Cauliflower Rice

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Oh, good grief! A recipe. And a very simple one at that. Somehow, the monthly post I had intended to create for December slipped past me. Ah, such is life! I hadn’t felt that certain intrigue from a recipe until this one and I just happened to find each other one cozy night a few weeks ago. I threw some spices together, a makeshift curry powder… I was hungry and not in the right mind. Hah! The lighting was glowing and soft–not so great for the harried attempt at a photo (it’s over on Instagram) As soon as I was done rushing together such a silly dish, it happened. The curried rice soothed whatever frenetic energy was buzzing through me. I slowed down. I appreciated the flavors. I felt like I was back, back to me. Funny how a food can do that, huh? I vowed I would recreate it, and so I have. Thankfully, let me tell you, it’s just as spicy and cozy as ever. Whew!

Curried Cauliflower Rice
1/4 cup coconut oil (or butter, or ghee, or fat of your choice)
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 tablespoons curry powder, of your own choosing (I like this iteration)
1 small head cauliflower, grated or pulverized (“riced”) in a food processor

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add in the mustard seeds and allow to roast for about a minute, or until they gently begin to sizzle and pop. Stir in the curry powder, then add the riced cauliflower. Stir to incorporate all of the spiced oil and the cauliflower, turn the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and allow to steam for about five minutes, maybe stirring once or twice during the process. Up to you! Serves 4 as a side.

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Braised Fennel with Lemon Zest

Braised Fennel with Lemon Zest

braisedfennel1000

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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Crockpot Chicken Thighs

Crockpot Chicken Thighs

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Listen. Nothing about this recipe is avant-garde. Nothing has been recreated with a minor, special twist. Nothing. These thighs are purely utilitarian. These get me through the week, my belly content and full. The only reason I snapped a photo with my phone was because I was by myself and they were really, really good and I wanted to share. No photo styling, no image uploading, resizing and editing. They are unctuous and you don’t need many brain cells to make them happen–my kind of recipe these days!

Crockpot Chicken Thighs
2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari (or coconut aminos if you are fermented soy free)
2 tablespoons hot sauce of your choice (this batch included sriracha)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 cup filtered water

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot. Stir and coat the chicken. Set on low for 8-12 hours. Flip thighs halfway through the process if you want. After cooking, and with forks, pull meat apart and remove bones. Eat with abandon.

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Sunflower Seed Spread with Parsley

Sunflower Seed Spread with Parsley

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Ah, Mother’s Day! I welcome the impending afternoon rain today and saw tulips and a few worms on the sidewalk as I walked the pooch. Unopened dandelions in the early morning, tucked fiercely between the cement path and side of the house looked like they were snoozing hard. Every day for the past week, the color scheme of the treetops parallel to the second-floor windows of my apartment shifts. First greys, greys and browns, then out peeked shades of yellow, and today most definitely welcomed chartreuse. Brightness and openness, everywhere. I feel like I can breathe again.

Sunflower Seed Spread with Parsley
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 and 1/2 cups boiling water
3/4 cup parsley, stems removed
1/4 to 1/2 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
zest of 1/2 a lemon
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt

Pour boiling water over the sunflower seeds–allow to sit for a half hour (or simply soak the seeds in room temperature water overnight). Drain water away, then combine the sunflower seeds and the rest of the ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth; taste and adjust seasonings if need be (especially the jalapeno, you want this spread to have a nick kick to it). Spread upon what you desire, a wrap, a piece of meat, maybe dilute with more lemon juice for a vinaigrette to toss with salads, or dip some vegetables straight in. Whatever vessel pleases you. Serves 4-6.

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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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