Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Orange-aid in the Pickl-it Part 2

This orange-aid came out delicious and took just 36 hours to brew.  I now have it in the fridge to enjoy over the next week.  I do recommend taking it in small doses with food to start with if your body is not familiar with this form of probiotic.

But this is a great way to enjoy orange "soda" naturally!  It does get tart over time, so you can always add 1/2-1 cup of sucanat to the jar for a sweeter soda.  

See the full recipe HERE.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cultured Monday! Orange-ade in the Pickl-it!

We have had an over abundance of oranges the past few weeks, so I decided to mix up another batch of cultured orange-aide, but this time in my pickl-it jar.  I'm so curious to see how this comes out and will be sure to post up dates!

When using the pickl-it jars, you do not have to use whey as a starter.  Most ferments are just the item to be fermented and a salt brine.  This is because the pickl-it has a special air-lock to help keep the ferment anaerobic.

I was not sure about not putting any starter in my orange-aid, so I use about 1/4 cup of the liquid from my cultured white peaches.  I'm sure that will get things culturing just great!

My cultured orange-aide:

*2 1/2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
*1 cup sucant
*1/3 cup starter from cultured white peach
*1 gallon of water

Place all in a 5L pickl-it jar.  Allow to sit for 1-3 days.  The longer it sits, the tarter and stronger it will get.

Mine must have risen a lot during the night!  It is bubbling away this morning.  This is after about 18 hours of fermentation time.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Whole Foods Friday - Homemade Cherry Vanilla Pops

*3 cups pitted cherries (fresh or frozen)
*2 cups whole milk yogurt
*1-2 T raw honey

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into popsicle molds.  This should make more than one batch, depending on the size of your molds.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stainless Steel Popsicle Mold

It's summer!!!  And, time to introduce my 2 year old son to some homemade popsicles.  I found this popsicle maker on amazon and am fairly please with it.  The one draw back is that you still have to use wooden popsicle sticks, as it does not come with it's own sticks (as the picture on amazon makes it appear to).

But, it's a better option than using plastic molds and I am hoping to get lots of enjoyment out of the set.  Be sure to check back tomorrow for my cherry vanilla popsicle recipe!

What kind of popsicle molds do you use in your home?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sneak Peak For Cookbook Release Later This Year...

My sister Christy, over at Whole Foods on a Budget, and I will be releasing a cookbook later this year. We are currently in the midst of the photo shoot for the project and are excited to share this sneak peak with you!  Please take a moment to hop over to Whole Foods on a Budget to read more!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

An Excellent Cherry Pitter

Yup it's summer!  And one thing we love in this house is cherries!  I love cherries, but I usually dread the thought of de-pitting my cherries.  In the past it has been a painfully slow and messy job and has deterred me from buying all the cherries I would like to buy.

But, a few weeks ago, I was thumbing through the Lehman's Catalog (love all the fun things in there!) and found this cherry pitter.  At first, I was a bit put off by the price, but finally decided to order it and give it a try.

I'm so glad that I did!  I was able to whip through a few pounds of cherries in no time.  It did take a little getting used to, and it was a little loud, but it worked quite well.  By the end, I was able to just pour the cherries into the hopper rather than doing them one at a time.  It also has a decent splash guard so my area was kept quite clean.   And NO PINK HANDS!  Yay!

As far as I could tell, it got all the pits out.  I have not yet eaten all the cherries I pitted, but the ones that I sampled were pit free.

**UPDATE - There were a few missed pits; 2 that I found in about 3 pounds of cherries.  I'm still happy with the pitter.  Even professionally pitted cherries end up with a few pits, so this pitter is a keeper for me.**

(Featured on GNOWFGLINS, The Nourishing Gourmet)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cultured Mondays - Cucumber Pickles with Garlic

It's Cultured Mondays again!  What do you have fermenting in your home today?  I love using all my fermented items as condiments and snacks throughout the day.  Right now we are enjoying my cultured carrots, zucchini and radish pickles, green beans, and white peaches.

Today I have my cucumber pickles culturing.  I loosely followed Wardeh Hammond's recipe in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Fermenting Foods.  I did not follow the exact measurements, but just used what I had on hand.

I added a bunch of pickling cucumbers (and 2 large cucumbers cut into chunks), 1 head of garlic (cloves smashed a little), 1/2 tsp of black tea leaves, 1 large bunch of dill, and a 3.5% salt brine to my new 5L pickl-it jar.  I'm going to let these brew 3-7 days and see how I like them!  As you can see, even with the glass weights, I still have a few floaters, but I'm not too worried since they are in a pickl-it jar.

(Featured on Healthy Home Economist, The Homestead Revival)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Whole Foods Friday - Our Breakfast Menu

Before I start this post, I want to be clear:  I LOVE my grains!  We eat all kinds in this house; soft wheat, kamut, spelt, rye, barley, teff, amaranth, and oats.  But, I have been wanting to cut back a little on our grain consumption, so I came up with a Monday-Friday grain free breakfast Menu.

It's really easy!

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, we have breakfast shakes.  I put all kinds of things in our shakes.  Here are some ideas:

*raw milk
*EFA oil blend
*green's mix (mine includes alfalfa, wheat grass, beet root, spirulina, cholorella, and spinach)
*colostrum powder (when we are under the weather)
*whey protein
*chia seeds
*pumpkin seeds
*sunflower seeds
*cultured fruits I have made
*cultured ginger root
*lettuce or other salad greens
*coconut milk
*coconut concentrate
*coco powder

It's really amazing what you can hide in a shake.  My toddler eats them with us and it's a great way to get some super nutrition into him.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are my omelette days.  I like to add various veggies to our eggs such as onion, swiss chard, zucchini, and mushrooms.  Sometimes I will add cheese and some turkey bacon or chicken sausage.

Saturday and Sunday are our grain breakfasts.  I love making pancakes, or sourdough breakfast cake, or fruit cobblers.  They are perfect for the weekends.

I would love to hear any other grain free breakfast ideas!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Edible Playdough

I had my first attempt at making play-dough for my 2 year old recently.  In my spare time (yeah, right!), I have had a few seconds to look for non-toxic play-dough. There are a few out there, but they are so expensive, so I decided to make my own edible version.  It came out well, but, I would like to find a recipe down the road that is not so sweet.  Here is what I did:

*1 1/2 -2 cups of peanut butter (smooth)
*2 cups powdered sugar
*1/2-3/4 cup honey

Mix the three ingredients together in a bowl.  I have ranges because not all peanut butter and honey has the same consistency.  Start with the smaller measurements, then add more as needed until you reach the desire consistency.

My son had a ball playing with his play-dough.  I pulled out all kinds of cookie cutters, pie crust cutters, and some springerle cookie molds (you can read more about these HERE.)

These are from William Sonoma and are the best!

Some Springerle forms I have

Do any of you have a version that is not so sweet or any other fun edible play-dough recipe?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sealogica on Sale!!

Due to some legalities, I am not able to do free samples, but I have had so much interest, that I am offering a steep discount for those who want to try a bottle or three pack.

I have the sale price posted and it will last until midnight on Friday, the 15th.  You can order with paypal and the buy now button is just to the right.

Sale ends Friday, so this is a great time to try this amazing product!!


Sealogica Free Samples

I have been quite excited at all the interest in Sealogica.  I am thrilled to have the opportunity to offer this raw, whole food, which is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and so much more!


If I have enough interest, I am going to offer free samples with a small shipping fee.  So, if you are interested in trying Sealogica, please leave a comment in the next few days, as I will be making a decision by the end of the week.

Thank you!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fruit Flavored Water - Make Your Own Vitamin Water; Part 2

I found this idea at The Yummy Life.  You can make your own vitamin water using fresh fruits and herbs.  The Yummy Life has a number of different recipes, or you can create your own (like I did!), with what you have on hand.   According to Monica, at The Yummy Life, the fruit will last for three days.  This water seems to get better the long it sits.  I just keep refilling the jars as we drink the water, and I leave them in the fridge so they stay nice and cold.

I chose not to put ice in my water because we filter our water before we drink it and I cannot make filtered water ice cubes fast enough to fill these jars.  I simply use this stainless steel funnel strainer when I pour out the water.  (I love this strainer by the way; great for filtering tea, too!)

When the three days is up, try adding the fruit to a smoothie (except of course things like citrus, that have the peel - remove that before consuming).

No more boring water around here!  And talk about pretty!  I love opening the fridge and seeing all those colors; I just can't get enough water these days...

For more combinations, check out the post at The Yummy Life.

The combinations I used in these jars from left to right:  orange and lemon with lemon verbena, strawberries, blueberries, and cucumber with mint and sage, white peach with lemon verbena.

(Featured on GNOWFGLINS, The Nourishing Gourmet, Food Renegade, Healthy Home Economist, GNOWFGLINS, The Nourishing Gourmet, The Healthy Home Economist, Homestead Revival, Real Food Forager, Traditional Tuesdays, GNOWFGLINS, The Nourishing Gourmet)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cultured Mondays - Cultured White Peaches

*Update*  These cultured quite quickly for me and I put them in the fridge after just two days.  They were fizzing away like crazy - looked like soda in a bottle!  Thankfully, I had them in my pickl-it so there was no explosion.  They taste great - they lost a lot of sweetness, but have a nice white peach flavor.  My toddler is a big fan!  This is a great way to get fruit in your kids without all the sugar.  While it's not as sweet, it's fun for kids to eat because of the fizz.

I love this time of year!  There is SO much delicious fruit in season and I enjoy experimenting, coming up with creative ways to eat all the different kinds of fruit from the farmer's market.

White peaches are some of my absolute favorites, so I am curious to see how they culture.  I just used cinnamon sticks to lightly flavor this ferment, as the white peach flavor is so delicate that I did not want to overpower the peaches with spices.

This recipe is very simple and easy to make.

*4 white peaches
*4 cinnamon sticks
*1/4 cup whey
*2% saline solution (10g of salt to 2 cups water)

Combine all ingredients and place in 1 liter pickl-it jar, leaving at least 1 inch headspace.  Allow to sit for 3-5 days in a dark place.  I use my kitchen cabinet.  The ideal fermenting temp is 70 degrees, so if it is cooler, it will take longer, if warmer, a shorter period of time.

If you are not using a pickl-it jar, then you may need to increase the whey and make a stronger salt solution.  I highly recommend buying a pickl-it jar(s) for fruit ferments, as you can use a lower saline solution, which is nice for fruits, especially ones like peaches.  The pickl-it allows anaerobic fermenting, which means less bacteria for the probiotics to compete with, thus the lower saline solution.

I'm still a bit new to pickl-it, but so far, love their jars!  I just bought 2 of their 5 liter sized jars and look forward to whipping up some large batches of pickles and sauerkraut in the upcoming weeks.

Featured on Natural Mother's Network, Healthy Home Economist)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fruit Flavored Water - Make Your Own Vitamin Water Part One

I could not resist a sneak peak for making Fruit Flavored Water.  My entire post goes up on Tuesday with some delightful combination ideas.  I was inspired by this idea at The Yummy Life.  Be sure to come back on Tuesday to see what other delicious combinations I came up boring water around this house this summer!

(Above is my watermelon, mint and sage water...just gets better with age!  According to the Yummy Life, the fruit should last 3 days.)

(Featured on Natural Mother's Network, Healthy Home Economist, The Homestead Revival, Real Food Forager, Traditional Tuesdays)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Whole Foods Friday - Bleu Steak and Pear Salad

It's summer and time for some good salad recipes.  My sister Christy, over at Whole Foods on a Budget, shares this delicious Bleu Stead and Pear Salad.  A perfect meal to beat that summer heat!  So, hop on over to Whole Foods on a Budget and read this yummy recipe!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Curried Pickled Eggs

These might sound rather odd, but, really, they are quite delicious!  My toddler loves them and they don't stay around long in this house.  There are many variations out there (I do a beet version too, which produces a beautiful purple egg!), but here is my take on the Curried Pickled Egg.

*10 hard boiled eggs
*1 1/2 cups raw organic apple cider vinegar
*1 cup water
*3 T curry powder
*1/3- 1/2 cup sucanat (optional)

Place your eggs and curry powder into a canning jar (I use a large 6 cup, but if you do not have this size, then two 3 cup canning jars will work just fine).  Pour in the vinegar and water.  That's it - you're done!  

We chose not to use the sucanat in ours, but some people may prefer a "sweeter" curry taste to a more vinegar curry taste, so if you like a bit of sweet, add the sugar.

Let these sit for 3-4 days before you sample.  The longer they sit, the more "pickled" they get.  I have read several opinions of just how long these last, from weeks to months.  Ours are generally gone within 2-3 weeks and we have had no issues with the eggs going bad.

Enjoy!  I hope to post my beet pickled egg recipe soon...

(Featured on the Nourishing Gourmet)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Why Should You Get Your Vitamins and Minerals From Whole Foods?

It's been a few years now since I stopped taking any kind of multi-vitamin or mineral supplement.  Even through my pregnancy with my son, I did not take the pre-natal vitamins recommended by the midwife. Instead, I chose to take whole foods supplements.  I had an incredibly healthy pregnancy and healthy child, not once dealing with any kind of blood pressure, swelling, or anemia issues.

But, why?  Why choose whole food supplements over commercial multivitamins? has a very helpful Q & A session regarding this topic that you can read HERE.  

Here are two of the questions and answers I found to be very helpful:

"What is wrong with isolated vitamins? 

In addition to being synthetic, isolated vitamins are missing all their naturally occurring essential synergistic co-factors and transporters. A synthetic vitamin can stimulate a cell's metabolism, but it cannot upgrade or replace the cell's components with superior, better quality elements. The results? A degraded cell. Nature always packages vitamins in groups. The vitamins work together for better absorption. For this reason, the body responds to an isolated vitamin in the same way it responds to a toxin."

"Are certain synthetic ingredients worse than others? 

Yes. Some vitamins are water soluble, so the flush out of the body quite easily. Other vitamins are fat soluble. The fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E and K. Because they are soluble in fat (lipids), these vitamins tend to build-up in the body's fat tissues, fat deposits, and liver. This storage capability makes the fat-soluble vitamins potentially toxic when consuming high-dose synthetic versions of these vitamins, rather than food-based vitamins that the body knows how to metabolize. Care should be exercised when taking the fat-soluble vitamins, and it is recommended that you avoid the synthetic forms of these vitamins whenever possible.
Also many people are allergic to the chemicals used as a base for synthetic vitamins. Some are toxic, including nicotine, coal tars and alloxal. Avoid toxic ingredients such as magnesium stearate or stearic acid (toxic flowing agents), silicon dioxide (common sand used as an expensive filler that makes the bottle weigh more with the hope that the uneducated consumer will equate weight with higher quality), natural flavors (a common term for toxic MSG used to disguise bland tastes), methylcellulose, carnauba wax, titanium dioxide, and many more. If you are not sure of what you are taking, do not take it! These toxic chemical agents can create significant health problems when consumed over time. The OCA will be posting a detailed list of some of the most problematic ingredients."

The Mayo Clinic also has helpful information regarding this issue:

  • Protective substances. Whole foods contain other substances important for good health. Fruits and vegetables, for example, contain naturally occurring substances called phytochemicals, which may help protect you against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Many are also good sources of antioxidants — substances that slow down oxidation, a natural process that leads to cell and tissue damage.
For these reasons and a few others (I do not like to take hard supplements or ones that have additives like magnesium stearate), I have chosen the route of using supplements that are from whole foods.  

That is one reason I was so excited to start Sealogica.  It is a raw whole food that is loaded with not only all your vitamins and minerals, but your many of your needed amino acids, antioxidants, enzymes, and avonoids, which all work together to provide health in the way that your body is naturally able to utilize.  I love Sealogica because it is easy to give to my family and I have watched my energy levels climb and a few other health issues start to resolve.  If you have any questions about Sealogica or any other questions about choosing whole foods over multivitamins, please feel free to leave a comment. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cultured Mondays: Cultured Galicky Zucchini and Radish Rounds

I had some extra garlic, zucchini, and radishes from my co-op, so I decided to combine them and make some zucchini and radish pickles yesterday.  I can't wait to try these out.  My carrots last week came out nicely.  A mild fizz and nice and soft.  My toddler is a big fan!

My radishes were very large and my zucchinis a bit small, so they made a beautiful combination when sliced together - I used the slicer blade on my cuisinart which made the slicing quick and easy.  My garlic cloves were small and skinny, so I just left them whole.

OK - so here's the recipe.  This made enough to fit in my 1 1/2 liter pickl-it jar.

*5 small zucchinis
*12 large radishes
*1 head of garlic
*2 1/2 % saline solution (19 grams of salt to 4 cups of water)
*1/4 cup whey

Wash your zucchinis and radishes off well, trimming the ends.  Peel the garlic cloves and wash the cloves.  They can be slightly crushed if you want a more garlicky brine.  Slice the radishes and zucchini and add to the pickl-it jar along with the garlic.  Pour in your 1/4 cup whey.  Mix your saline solution, then add enough to cover the veggies and leave 1 inch of head space.  Set in a dark place (I use my kitchen cabinet) to culture for 3-5 days.  The ideal fermenting temp is 70 degrees, so if it's cooler, it will take longer and if it's really warm, it will go faster.  If it's already really hot where you are, try to find a cool spot in your house that is dark, I sometimes use our pantry floor, which stays nice and cool with our ceramic tile.  Culturing is an art - you will soon develop your own techniques that come with practice.

(Featured on the Healthy Home Economist, The Homestead Revival, Cooking Traditional Foods, Mind Body and Sole, GNOWFLGINS, The Nourishing Gourmet)