Friday, November 18, 2011

Some Recipe Link Love (SCD legal)

We loved this pizza tart today!  And these were some of the best banana based muffins I've ever had - Banana Blueberry Muffins.

All my boys (big and little) like these raw cookie dough bites - snickerdoodle.

We've also discovered that lasagne is still delicious using thinly sliced zucchini in place of the noodles.  Yum!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

SCD Recipe Round-Up and Reviews

I've been trying some new recipes and, so far, have had really good luck!

The homemade beef pepperoni that tastes like summer sausage turned out great.  I substituted Celtic sea salt for the "Tender Quick."  We've been eating this with raw cheese, cultured pickles, and fresh fruit nearly everyday for lunch.

I also made SCD yoghurt with organic whole milk and Dannon plain yogurt as the starter.  You can also get a yogurt starter from Azure Standard.  I've been making mine using the oven light as the heat source.  A digital thermometer with an alarm has come in very handy for this.  We have been enjoying this yogurt with just some frozen fruit mixed in, no sweetener at all!  And the SCD website claims that a cup of this yoghurt (properly made) contains over 700 billion c.f.u. (compare that to the 5 billion probiotic I take each morning!).

I've also made this Lemon Poppy Seed Bread.  Mine wasn't nearly as pretty, but it sure tasted good!  Next time I'm going to try it with half the amount of honey, it was very sweet and moist.

Wednesday we had Comfy Belly's Cinnamon Bun Muffins.  Winner!  I made these exactly how she had written, getting 9 muffins out of a recipe.

Tonight we had Comfy Belly's Chili Chicken Stir-Fry.  Yummo!  I served it with 1/2 head of cauliflower fried "rice" (chop the cauliflower into rice sized pieces, then stir-fry with onion in half olive oil/half sesame seed oil).  No leftovers tonight!  And I even had a kid request it for lunch tomorrow!

We've also been eating homemade breakfast sausage using ground turkey mixed with scrambled eggs.  Top with some raw cheese and salsa to make it extra exciting!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Gearing Up for the SCD

With six members in our house, we have our fair share of "health problems."  Chronic sinus infections, chronic fatigue, seasonal allergies, food allergies/sensitivities, and emotional/physical issues from a massive stroke in our adopted daughter.  After reading Cheeseslave and all the benefits she has received from the SCD/GAPS diet, I'm finally going to jump in.  Well, maybe not "jump in"...  I'm not ready to down to the intro diet yet.  We're going to start eating legal foods (the best we can) and phasing out illegal foods as soon as possible.  In my kitchen right now I have four SCD compliant foods fermenting/slow cooking: chicken bone broth, SCD yogurt, homemade pepperoni (that tastes like summer sausage I hear - I substituted sea salt - to replace the all-natural lunch meat that contains sugar), and water kefir soda.  I have coconut flour in my stash and almond meal on my Azure Standard order.  I saw a recipe yesterday for Lemon Poppy Seed Bread that looks delicious! 

Anybody have tips, tricks, advice, favorite recipes for me???

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Weekly Menu Plan


sourdough toast with cultured butter and raw honey; oatmeal with cultured butter and raisins or blueberries; sourdough bread with peanut butter and raw honey or homemade jam; gf english muffins with sunbutter and raw honey, bacon and fried eggs


creamy mac and cheese; sandwiches (sourdough bread, all natural lunch meat, raw cheese, cultured pickles, tomato, lettuce, mustard, soy-free mayo; or peanut butter/sunbutter and raw honey/homemade jam) or all natural hot dogs, carrots and cultured ranch dip, fruit, chips


vegetable beef soup made with leftover roast; pepper steak, brown rice, green peas; taco salad (taco meat, black beans, raw cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, homemade salsa, tortilla chips); gf fried pork chops and gravy, garlic green beans, creamy mac and cheese

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Weekly Menu Plan

I know it's Thursday, but here's the plan for this week anyway!  I'm leaving off the links, because I just don't feel like doing that right now....  It's either this or nothing!






Breakfast: toast, fried eggs, pears

Lunch:  sandwiches, chips, fruit, carrots and ranch

Dinner:  leftovers


Breakfast:  smoothies

Lunch:  hot dogs, raw cheese, cultured pickles, chips, fruit, carrots and ranch

Dinner:  gluten-free pancakes, scrambled eggs


Breakfast:  toast

Lunch:  Dominoes pizza (shhh... don't tell!)

Dinner:  t-bones, oven potatoes, steamed broccoli


Breakfast:  toast, oatmeal, eggs

Lunch:  leftover spaghetti

Dinner:  roast, potatoes, carrots, garlic green beans, coconut flour drop biscuits


Breakfast:  soaked baked oatmeal, bacon, scrambled eggs

Lunch:  chicken salad, crackers, carrots and ranch dip, raw cheese, fruit, coconut flour brownies

Dinner: leftovers

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Product Review: Fresh Pears

I received 20 pounds of Starkrimson pears this month and they are de.lic.ious!  I don't see that particular variety on Azure Standard's website right now, but other pears are available and the first fall apples!  Don't miss out on these great prices for organic/transitional fresh fruit!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Product Review: If You Care Large Baking Cups

I have started using these baking cups for all of our muffins.  Nothing (and I mean NOTHING!) sticks to these babies!  I don't have to clean muffin tins and no muffiny goodness gets stuck to the wrappers!  Now, these are not decorative and would not be a good choice if "presentation" is a factor, but for everyday, at home use, you can't beat them.  And they're only $1.55 for 60!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Weekly Menu Plan

I've been thinking about adding a weekly menu plan to this blog in order to share some ideas of what we're eating during the week.  Obviously, the one recipe or link I may share each week doesn't begin to cover what we actually eat around here.  The blogging thing is not my strong suit, so we'll just give this a trial run...  I'm going to approach this as an "what we actually ate" list instead of a "what we would eat if everything goes according to plan" list.  I'll start with today, Sunday, then (hopefully) add to this post as the week wears on.


Breakfast: leftover baked oatmeal or leftover banana muffins (I used hard white whole wheat flour and sucanat)

Lunch: grilled chicken thighs with homemade BBQ sauce; steamed broccoli with cultured butter, Celtic sea salt, and pepper; baked potatoes with cultured butter, cultured sour cream, raw cheese, Celtic sea salt, and pepper; coconut flour brownies

Snacks: water kefir, fruit

Dinner: leftovers


Breakfast: leftover baked oatmeal or leftover banana muffins (I used hard white whole wheat flour and sucanat); oatmeal with cultured butter; sourdough bread with peanut butter and jelly

Lunch:  sandwiches (sourdough bread, all natural lunch meat, raw cheese, cultured pickles); baby carrots and cultured ranch dip; apple chips or potato chips; fruit

Dinner:  crockpot spaghetti (rating: thumbs down from everyone, bummer...), peas with cultured butter, Celtic sea salt, and pepper

Snacks: homemade vanilla ice cream from a friend, water kefir


Breakfast: oatmeal with cultured butter; sourdough bread with peanut butter and jelly,  oatmeal with sunbutter and raisins, leftover baked oatmeal

Lunch: pigs in a blanket (reviews for these: weird but OK), potato chips

Dinner: smothered chicken with gravy and mashed potatoes (courtesy of my mom!) and steamed broccoli with cultured butter, Celtic sea salt, and pepper

Snacks: strawberry ice cream, water kefir


Breakfast: sourdough bread with peanut butter and/or jelly, gluten-free english muffins with cultured butter and raw honey, fried egg and fresh pears

Lunch: sandwiches (sourdough bread, all natural lunch meat, raw cheese, cultured pickles); baby carrots and cultured ranch dip; apple chips or potato chips; fruit

Dinner: banana muffins (I used hard white whole wheat flour and sucanat) (we seem to have had a lot of ripe bananas lately!); scrambled eggs with raw cheese and salsa


Breakfast: sourdough bread with peanut butter and/or jelly, gluten-free english muffins with cultured butter and raw honey or sunbutter, fried egg and fresh pears

Lunch: creamy mac and cheese (I used rice pasta)

Dinner: chili with raw cheese and tortilla chips


Breakfast: leftover banana muffins (I used hard white whole wheat flour and sucanat); sourdough bread with peanut butter and/or jelly, gluten-free english muffins with cultured butter and raw honey or sunbutter, fried egg and fresh pears

Lunch: sandwiches (sourdough bread, all natural lunch meat, raw cheese, cultured pickles); baby carrots and cultured ranch dip; apple chips or potato chips; fruit

Dinner: hamburger steak and gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans


Breakfast:  sourdough bread with peanut butter and/or jelly, gluten-free english muffins with cultured butter and raw honey or sunbutter, fried egg and fresh pears

Lunch:   sandwiches (sourdough bread, all natural lunch meat, raw cheese, cultured pickles); baby carrots and cultured ranch dip; apple chips or potato chips; fruit

Dinner: lentil stew (super easy, good and filling - everybody liked this, but we're beans and rice kinda people!)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Molasses-Sweetened Soaked Baked Oatmeal

We love this baked oatmeal recipe from Nourishing Days!  It is moist and cake-like, not too sweet, super easy to make and feeds all of us 3 meals.  Gluten-free and flour-free, naturally sweetened.  Now that fall (?) is coming this will be a great, warm breakfast to have on hand.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cultured Lunch Ideas

I got a newsletter from Cultures for Health yesterday and it had an article with lots of great ideas for including cultured/fermented foods into your lunch.  There are several things mentioned that I want to look into.  Just thought I would share!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Creamy Mac and Cheese

Just wanted to pop in and say that the recipe Laura has for Creamy Mac and Cheese is sooooo good!  It is one of the easiest recipes I've ever used.  Maybe even easier than buying the box!  I prefer the taste of rice pasta rather than that of the whole wheat pasta.  Also, one recipe provides 3-4 servings when using it as a main dish for my kiddos lunch.  Let me know if you like it!

Monday, August 22, 2011


About a month ago, Pioneer Woman posted a recipe for Watermelon Granita.  It looked like a wonderful treat for the 100+ degree days we've been having ALL SUMMER LONG...  I had about 1/2 of a gallon of apple juice taking up space in my fridge, so I decided to make granita with it instead.  All I did was pour it into a glass dish, stick it in the freezer, and scrape it with a fork every so often.  Easy.  Simple.  Refreshing.  I loved it, and the kids thought I had made them a marvelous treat!  (Plus, it wasn't near as messy as serving pop-sickles!)  Go forth and make granita!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fresh Green Beans

This summer we had green beans in our garden and were able to enjoy several pots cooked up just like my grandmother.  Delish!  I took notes and measurements during one batch to share with you here.

3/4 lb green beans, ends removed
3/4 lb new potatoes, quartered
4 cups water
1/4 onion, sliced
2 tsp Celtic sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Put all ingredients in a soup pot, bring to a boil.  Boil for 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Simple Egg Salad

This simple egg salad is a cool, nourishing treat during these HOT summer months!  I served mine on sourdough bread with tortilla chips and salsa on the side.  Oh, don't forget some fresh strawberries (or cherries!)...

6 hard boiled eggs
6 tbsp mayo
3/4 cup chopped, cultured pickles
1 tsp mustard

You could always make your own cultured pickles if you have any cucumbers in the garden...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Water Kefir Soda, An Update

I'm still loving my water kefir soda! 

For awhile I started to get overwhelmed with feeding it and bottling it everyday (even though it only takes about 10 minutes), so prior to VBS and a week of being out-of-town I fed it and stuck it in the fridge.  The directions that came with my water kefir grains say that you can use 3-4 tbsp of grains to culture 1-3 quarts of sugar water.  I washed out an old gallon glass pickle jar and decided to try making bigger batches, less often. 

It's working!  When I got my kefir grains out of the fridge I drained of the liquid and put it in fresh sugar water in my gallon jar.  I used 3/4 cup sucanat and 9-12 cups of water (I just pour water in to a line I drew on the jar).  After letting it sit two days (with a quart jar I only let it sit one day, but it seems to be taking longer to work through this much liquid) I bottled it up with a little grape juice and let it sit 18 more hours on the counter.  Delish!  I'm getting 4-5 full bottles every other day and when I run out of bottles (I have a dozen) I'll just stick the grains back in the fridge until I need to start again. 

Just thought this might be helpful for any of you trying to manage your water kefir.  Let me know if this is unclear.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

San Marcos Steak

My sister, Amy, sent me this recipe years ago.  I had forgotten all about it until this week.  It is so incredibly fast and easy to throw together and tasty too.  The original recipe calls for Lipton Onion Soup Mix, but that's full of stuff your body doesn't need, so I've tweaked the recipe using herbs and spices from my pantry.

2 lbs chuck steak (I used tenderized round steak)
2 tbsp coconut oil
8 tsp dried onion flakes
1 tsp onion powder
4 tsp beef base (I like to use Organic Better than Boullion b/c it doesn't have MSG or hfcs)
1/4 tsp celery salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 (14 oz) can Italian diced tomatoes
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or Balsamic vinegar
garlic powder

Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the steaks.  Sprinkle with seasonings.  Pour tomatoes over the top.  Sprinkle remaining ingredients over the tomatoes.  Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Easy, peasy.

Serve with brown rice or mashed potatoes!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Non-Toxic Cleaners and How I Get Them for Free!

I joined Melaleuca, The Wellness Company over a year ago during a $1 membership promotion.  A few months later I referred 8 others during a $1 promotion.  So far I have spent about $20 for 13 months worth of dish-washing detergent, laundry soap, bar soap, mascara, lip gloss, pro-biotics, vitamins, cleaners, disinfectants, hairspray, deodorant, aftershave...  And the list goes on!  I love all of their products.  None of their cleaners require a safety cap and they really work!  No bleach or formaldehyde either (you'd be surprised what main-stream cleaners have in them...).  You can check out a slideshow about the company here (passcode is Melaleuca).  Joining is easy and they're having $1 memberships again through August 16th!  I'd be happy to help you get set up!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chicken and Shrimp Soup

Oh, wow, this soup is so good! If you like things HOT, cajun, and gumbo-y, this will become your go-to recipe. When I subscribed to Mark's Daily Apple I received a recipe e-book which includes this recipe. I'll include my notes as we go. (Disclaimer: Mark's Daily Apple believes in evolution and I totally do not!)

Heat oil in a large soup pot:
1/4 cup olive oil

Add veggies and cook 5 minutes:
1 onion, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (I left this out)
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced

Add garlic and cook 2 minutes:
2 tbsp minced garlic

Add following and saute a few minutes:
2 cups diced tomatoes (I diced up fresh tomatoes)
2 cups cauliflower "rice" (1/2 head of cauliflower chopped in the food processor until rice-like in size and shape)
1/2 tsp. cayenne (Very hot! I liked it, but the rest of the gang was begging for mercy...)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Celtic sea salt

Add chicken and cook 5 minutes:
2 cups chopped chicken (I chopped up raw, boneless, skinless thighs)

Turn heat down to low, add stock and simmer 20-30 minutes:
8 cups chicken stock (I think you could use as little as 4 cups, depends on how soupy you want it)

Add remaining ingredients and simmer 5-10 minutes:
1 lb. shrimp
1/4 cup scallions (I didn't have any)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro


Friday, July 22, 2011

Coconut Flour Muffins and Brownies

OK, I tried this muffin recipe from over at the Heavenly Homemaker's blog; and they were a big hit!  No pictures, sorry.  It was a busy meal and we ate them all in one sitting.  I used butter instead of coconut oil and did not add any mix-ins.  I've got Cheeseslave's coconut flour brownies in the oven right. now.  Oh, yes!  I used sucanat instead of date sugar.  The batter has all been licked up, so I'm sure the finished product will be delish!  More to come...


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Coconut Flour

I have been trying to eat less grains lately and just came across Cheeseslave's Coconut Flour Bread recipe.

I already ordered 1 lb of coconut flour (grain free, gluten free, low carb!) this month to try out some other recipes I have come across (muffins, cookies).  When I saw this recipe for bread -and how easy it is!- I began wondering how much more it would cost to just make this for the whole family rather than go to all the trouble of making my whole wheat sourdough bread (I feed the starter, mix the batter, knead, let rise, then bake - a 24 hour process).

Here's the breakdown (based on what I ordered this month):

that's 35 cups of flour
it takes 2.5 cups to make 1 loaf of bread
that's $.48/loaf

that's 7.75 cups of flour
it takes .75 cups of flour to make 1 loaf of bread (coconut flour absorbs lots of liquid, so you don't have to use as much)
that's $.48/loaf


You can buy either of these in larger amounts, which would obviously lower the price per loaf.

I have not actually made this loaf of bread yet, it is on my to-do list.  Do any of y'all have experience with coconut flour?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Apple Pie Muffins

I realize that this photo is in no way focused.  However, I did not realize it at the time the photo was taken.  And, unfortunately, all my apple pie muffin models have been devoured.  Please rest assured that these taste (much) better than they look!  The original recipe is from (I changed it quite a bit).


1 cup sucanat
1/3 cup hard white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup softened butter
1 tsp cinnamon


1 1/2 cups sucanat
1/2 cup melted butter (or coconut oil)
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups hard white whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups tart apple, peeled and diced

Mix topping ingredients (cutting in the butter) until crumbly; set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together sugar, butter (coconut oil), egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir oil mixture into flour mixture alternately with buttermilk. Fold in apples, mixing just until combined. Spoon into greased muffin cups filling 3/4 full. Sprinkle topping over evenly. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and tops spring back.

Makes 24 muffins.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Glass Jars

After reading a post on storing food in glass jars over at Heavenly Homemakers, I realized that I have a lot of mysterious liquids in unmarked jars in my refrigerator! I'm pretty good at storing liquids in jars, but I still use plastic for my leftovers. Laura mentioned using the wide-mouth 1/2 pint jars for leftover odds and ends.  She also mentioned that Azure Standard carried canning supplies, what a pleasant surprise! They even have some wide-mouth 2 quart jars which could come in real handy. Just wanted to let y'all know!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Product Review: Nancy's Cultured Sour Cream

If you haven't tried this sour cream yet, what are you waiting for???  It is the thickest sour cream I have ever seen!  Delicious and cultured to boot.  I make homemade ranch dip with this for a probiotic condiment to go with our raw veggies,  or smear it on a sandwich instead of mayo, or combine it with some cultured salsa for a creamy, spicy chip dip.  Yummy!

INGREDIENTS: Organic Milk and Cream, Organic Nonfat Dry Milk Powder, L. Acidophilus, B. Bifidum Cultures and 4 strains of Lactic Cultures.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Big, Thick, Hearty Thighs

This is a quick, easy, one-pot dish from Rachael Ray's "365: No Repeats cookbook." Yummo!

2 tbsp olive oil
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
sea salt
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
3 red potatoes, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 cup frozen peas
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Preheat a large skillet or wide soup pot over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Season the chicken thighs liberally with sea salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet and brown on both sides for 3 minutes. Scoot the browned thighs to the edges of the pan, making some space in the center of the skillet. Add the onions, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.

Add the chicken stock, turn the heat up to high, and bring the mixture up to a simmer. Add the potatoes and stir everything together. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add the peas, lemon juice, lemon zest, and parsley, and cook for 1 more minute to just heat the peas through.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Product Review: Food for Life Tortillas

I ordered the Food for Life brand sprouted grain tortillas and brown rice tortillas with plans to make breakfast burritos.  These tortillas do not roll up.  We ended up with a broken mess, however they have a good taste.  I decided to give them another try with quesadillas, they are just too fragile to work with...

I want to like these, anyone have tips/success with making these work???

Friday, June 24, 2011

White Chili

We love chili. We love beans. We love cheese and tortilla chips.  Do you?

1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cups cubed chicken
2, 15 oz cans white kidney beans, rinsed and drained (or soak your own)
1, 15 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (or soak your own)
2 cups chicken broth
1, 4 oz can chopped green chiles
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Saute onions and garlic in oil until tender. If using raw chicken cook with the onions and garlic, otherwise add cooked chicken and all other ingredients except cilantro. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Serve with raw cheese and corn chips.

You can also throw everything but the cilantro in a crock pot and cook on low 6-7 hours.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Creamy Orange Cooler (Cultured!)

I've been intrigued by Heavenly Homemaker's recipe for Creamy Orange Cooler since I stumbled across it months ago. Why did it take me so long to try this? So Good!!! I have always cooked with buttermilk, but never had it for a drink. Just wonderful. And if you are industrious enough to make your own buttermilk (from raw milk) and use fresh (raw) oranges, it would be even better.

This recipe makes 2 servings. I half it and make it in my magic bullet, then I can drink right out of the cup I mixed it in. You could probably even pour the ingredients in a pint jar with a lid and give it a few good shakes to mix it up.

Juice of 3 medium oranges (or 8 ounces orange juice)
2 cups cultured buttermilk
2 teaspoons grade B maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Squeeze juice from the oranges and pour into a blender with remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Fresh Salsa, Cultured

I got to spend time with two sweet friends on Monday canning tomatoes and making fresh salsa! What fun! They even acted as food stylists for my photo up there. We used my fresh salsa recipe which you can then culture with whey if you want. Culturing makes your food probiotic and also preserves it - this salsa will stay fresh in the fridge for 6 months or more. And, your salsa is still raw because no heat is used. Enjoy!

1 medium onion, quartered
4 cloves of garlic
3 medium jalapenos (or to taste)
2 tbsp Celtic sea salt
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, leaves only
1/2 cup whey
fresh tomatoes, stemmed and quartered

Place all ingredients except tomatoes in a blender (put your liquids on the bottom and maybe a few tomato quarters). Pulse until smooth. Pour into a 2 quart pitcher. Process the tomatoes to your liking in a blender (or you could just chop them up), add to the pitcher until it reaches 2 quarts.

Pour into glass jars, leaving an inch of space at the top. Screw on lids and leave on the counter (at room temperature) for two days. Transfer to cold storage.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Water Kefir, Three Ways

We are loving our water kefir around here! Pictured above is our water kefir soda. Click here to watch a video on how to make homemade soda. I feel like our soda turns out best when I leave the grains in the sugar water for 24 hours, then bottle it up with grape juice and leave on the counter for 18 hours. Anything more than that seems to amplify the alcoholic taste and make opening the bottle an explosive mess! Since I don't always remember, or have time, to strain off my water kefir every 24 hours I have been utilizing my water kefir in different ways.

I call this strawberry lemonade. I strain out the kefir grains and pour the water kefir in the blender (about 3 cups), then add enough frozen strawberries to bring the water level up to 4 cups. Blend away! If it's a little too tart, add up to 1/4 cup of sucanat. If you want a more slushy drink, add enough strawberries to bring the water level up to 5 cups.

Today I made smoothies for the kiddos at lunch. I threw in 1 1/2 ripe bananas some frozen strawberries then added enough water kefir to get the consistency right. These had a ginger ale taste to them. This was a hit!

Note: Don't let your water kefir grains stay in the sugar water for more than 3 days unless you are storing them in the fridge. It will harm your grains if they are not "fed" regularly.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Healthiest Hot Dog I've Ever Eaten...

My mother and I have talked about how good those hot dogs look on the Sonic commercials right now. You know the ones I'm talking about, right? Well, today I made my own version - it was good AND it was healthy!

1 slice of whole wheat bread (A hot dog bun is just too much bread for me. Sourdough or sprouted bread would be healthier, but those don't fold as well...)
1 uncured turkey frank
1/2 cultured pickle sliced longways
some grated raw cheddar
a forkful of raw, fermented sauerkraut

Have you ever had a dog with this much raw, cultured goodness? Yum! The possibilities are endless...

Friday, June 10, 2011


I'm fixing this Fasooli recipe from GNOWFGLINS for the kiddos tonight.  I had everything on hand, it is fast and easy, and I've got a date!  It smelled so good, that I had to sneak a few bites.  This is definitely going on my list of things to cook.  And yes, it is a totally inappropriate dish for May in Texas.  I do have some summery recipes coming soon: egg salad, "strawberry lemonade" water kefir, fresh green beans and purple hull peas, summer squash, etc.  All in good time!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cultured, Garlic-Dill Pickles

I don't have a picture yet because my cucumbers aren't ready, but here is the recipe I have used the past 2 years to culture my own dill pickles.  These pickles are still RAW and PROBIOTIC.  How awesome is that?  And this method is so much easier than canning; however they do need cold storage.

1/4 cup whey
1 tbsp Celtic sea salt (my mother has informed me - from her readings on health and such - that Celtic sea salt is preferred over RealSalt)
1 tsp dill seed
1 clove garlic, whole
3 black peppercorns, whole (or more to taste)
filtered water
fresh cucumbers

Place whey, salt, dill seed, garlic and peppercorns in a quart jar.  Pour about 2 cups filtered water into jar and stir.  Add whole cucumbers or slices into jar until there are 2 inches of head-space at the top of the jar.  Cover with additional filtered water if necessary (you want the cucumbers to be submerged).

Place lids on jars and let sit on counter, at room temperature, 2 days for slices or 3 days for whole pickles.  Transfer to cold storage.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chicken and Rice Soup

Chicken soup made from a whole chicken and homemade broth cannot be beat! (I know it's 98 degrees outside... stash this away for the fall.)

To make this soup, place a whole chicken in a stock pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and skim off the scum that rises to the top.  Reduce heat and simmer until meat is done (45 minutes or longer).  Turn off the burner and carefully remove chicken to a large platter (keep your broth in the pot - it should amount to 3 quarts or so).  Let cool and then pull the chicken off the bones.  (You can use the bones, skin, etc to make bone broth in the crock-pot)

Chop the chicken up into bite-sized pieces and place back in your stock pot with the homemade broth.  Turn the heat back on and add:

1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups brown rice (uncooked)
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup celery (including any leaves), sliced
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil

Let simmer until veggies are done to your liking.  Enjoy!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Product Review: Fresh, Organic Apples

I have ordered over 20 pounds of apples each month for the past 3 months and they have been wonderful!  I have ordered a 20 pound box of Braeburn apples, a 3 pound bag of "In Season" apples, and many 3 pound bags of Fuji apples.  I leave them sitting on the counter and after 4 or 5 weeks, when we eat that last apple, it is just as good as the first one we ate.  I always sort through my apples and set out any that have bruises (usually only a few out of 50 apples will have some bruising) and we eat those first.  The price on these apples is fantastic, $.83/pound right now and I've seen it lower than that!  If you haven't already, why not buy some apples next month?  It is so convenient to have a healthy, simple snack at the ready. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Well, you can see that these muffins didn't rise at all and are not the prettiest things you've ever seen, but they were moist and tasty and DEVOURED by my two littlest ones (the big kids were out-of-town).  I found this recipe on

Dry Ingredients: 
1/3 cup sucanat
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum

Wet Ingredients:
*2 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 4 tbsp water
*(or 2 eggs)
3 tbsp oil (melted coconut or palm oil or butter)

1 apple, grated
1 tsp cinnamon

cinnamon and sugar blend for sprinkling on top

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl and quickly add to the dry ingredients.  Add the flavorings and stir very briefly.  Divide among 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar blend.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chicken Taquitos

This was my first time to make taquitos.  I thought it would be time-consuming, but it really wasn't that bad.  Here are my "just winging it" instructions.

I used leftover cooked chicken, chopping it up kind of fine.  I then seasoned the meat with whatever I felt like: sea salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder...

Then, heat some oil (coconut or palm oil)  in a skillet or griddle.  I used just enough oil to almost cover the bottom of the pan.  Lay your corn tortillas in the hot oil and leave them just long enough to become pliable (a few seconds).  Pull them off, fill with chicken, roll up and place seam-side down on a  plate.  Repeat this process until you've used up all of your chicken. 

Add some more oil to your pan if necessary and place the taquitos seam-side down in the hot oil.  Let cook several minutes until crispy, then flip over cooking the other side.  Remove and drain on paper towels.

I served these with some last minute Spanish rice (I mixed leftover brown rice with some salsa), and soaked black beans.  Next time it'd be nice to have some guacamole, or ranch dressing, or green sauce, or queso...  to dip the taquitos in.   These were a big hit with everyone in our house.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Product Review: Fresh, Organic Pineapple

Mmm, mmm, mmm....  The pineapple I received in my May order was absolutely delicious!  It sliced like I was cutting through butter.  Not woody at all.  Super juicy and wonderfully sweet!  It was gone in no-time and I wish I had more.  If you haven't already, be sure and look into Azure Standard's fresh produce.  They should have more options available as the northern states get into their growing season.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

I really love this soup.  I know it's May and I shouldn't be talking about pumpkin-anything, but just file this away for use in the fall!

This is another great recipe that I found on

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp thyme
1 cup pumpkin puree (I just use the whole can)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sucanat
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained (or soak and cook your own)
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup sour cream (optional)

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil.

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 4-5 minutes.

Add the cumin and curry powder and saute for an additional 4-5 minutes.

Add the broth, thyme, pumpkin, sea salt, pepper and sucanat.  Bring to a boil.

Stir in the black beans and tomatoes.

Reduce heat.  Cover and gently simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat.

Stir in the 1/4 cup sour cream.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lemon-Scented Sauteed Poulet with Legume Ragout

This is my slightly altered take on a Rachael Ray 30-minute recipe... it was SO good!!!  The six of us gobbled it ALL up.

Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried thyme
sea salt
4, 6-oz boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 pound bacon (about 5 slices), chopped
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
1 lb frozen cut green beans
1, 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (or soak and cook your own)
2 tbsp dried parsley

Combine lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil and half the thyme.  Place chicken breasts in shallow bowl, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.  Pour lemon mixture over top of chicken.  Set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add a tbsp of olive oil.  Add the bacon and cook until crisp, 3-5 minutes.  Add the onions, sea salt and pepper and the remaining thyme.  Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes - get the onions nice and brown.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Add the frozen green beans.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining tbsp of olive oil.  Add the chicken and cook on each side for 5-6 minutes, or until cooked through.

When chicken is cooked, add cannellini beans to green bean mixture, heat through (about one minute more).  Top the beans with parsley and lemon zest.  Check for seasoning.  Serve the chicken breasts sliced on an angle over a serving of the beans.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 1 lb of cooked chicken)
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp cumin
sea salt
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 small zucchini, small dice
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1 (28 oz) can tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
3 cups chicken stock
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained (soak dried beans if can!)

Heat a soup pot to medium high. Dice chicken. Add oil to hot pot. Add chicken, season with poultry seasoning, cumin, sea salt and pepper. Lightly brown chicken on each side. Add bell pepper, zucchini, onion and garlic. Cook vegetables with chicken 5 to 7 minutes to soften. Add corn, tomatoes, tomato sauce and stock. Bring soup to a bubble, reduce heat and simmer at least 10 minutes. Add black beans and heat through.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Beef Tips in Gravy with Mashed Potatoes and Garlic Green Beans

How's this for some home cookin'?

Beef Tips in Gravy

1 lb beef stew meat
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups water
2 tsp organic beef base (I'm trying to get Azure to carry this, right now I buy it in bulk from
1 onion, sliced
sea salt

1-2 tbsp arrowroot (or cornstarch)

Heat your oil in a cast iron skillet if you have one. Brown the beef tips on each side - just browning here, you don't have to cook them all the way through. Cover with water and mix in the beef base. Throw the sliced onions on top, cover and simmer on low for a couple of hours. Watch your water levels, you made need to add extra.

When the meat is tender remove it with a slotted spoon to a cutting board. Remove the fat and cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. Return to the pan. Turn the heat up to bring the broth to a bubble. Mix your arrowroot and a little bit of water, then whisk the mixture into the hot broth. Stir until thickened (it won't take long), turn off the heat. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Mashed Potatoes

Just make these however you normally would.  I used about 6 fist-sized red potatoes, boiled them until tender, mashed them with almond milk and seasoned them with sea salt and pepper.

Garlic Green Beans

1 lb frozen green beans
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil (or butter)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Place your frozen green beans in a large skillet and just cover them with water.  Turn the heat on high and bring them to a boil.  As soon as they begin to boil, dump the beans in a colander to strain the water and stop the cooking process.  Return the pan to the stove and lower the heat to medium.  Add the oil and get it hot.  Saute the garlic in the oil just until brown (don't let it burn!).  Add the green beans back to the pan and toss with the oil and garlic mixture.  Turn off the heat and season with sea salt and pepper.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Water Kefir Soda Success!

UPDATE: All fermented foods contain a slight amount of alcohol due to the fermentation process. Water kefir made with a short fermentation time - 24 hours with the grains, 24 hours in the bottle - as well as the small ratio of sugar/juice:kefir - will have an alcohol content similar to that of an over-ripe banana (around .5%). For comparison: most beer has an alcohol content of 4-6% (wine is usually 7-15%) and a can is 12 oz. You would need to drink 6-8 bottles of water kefir to equal 1 beer. I think your bladder would give out before you could ever get a buzz... This is to caution you though that letting it ferment longer, or increasing the sugar/juice will increase the alcohol content (up to 1-3%). Use good judgment!

I found this list of water kefir benefits from

Here's just a few of the MANY benefits of drinking Water Kefir...

Contains a wide variety of good bacteria and beneficial yeasts as well as many vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes.

Has antibiotic and anti fungal properties.

Contributes to a healthy immune system and has been used to help patients suffering from many conditions, including AIDS, chronic fatigue syndrome, herpes, Candida, autoimmune diseases and cancer.

Can stop unhealthy food cravings, especially cravings for sugar and sweet foods.

Aids in the digestion of all foods.

Has a tonifying affect on the intestines, reduces bloating, and flattens the abdominals!

It appears to cleanse the liver. In Chinese medicine the liver rules the skin, eyes, and joints. Thus, Water kefir can ease aches, joint pains, and vision woes.

Many see changes in their complexion and overall condition of their skin.

Brown liver spots may fade as can skin tags, moles, warts, etc.

With high levels of valuable minerals, including potassium, natural sodium, and chloride, the hair, skin and nails become stronger and have a prettier shine.

It appears to have a beneficial, cleansing effect on the endocrine system (adrenals, thyroid, pituitary, ovaries). Women find that their periods are healthier; some who had experienced early menopause have found this important monthly cleansing returning again.

It increases energy and gives you an overall feeling of good health.

Its tranquilizing effect on the nervous system has benefited many who suffer from sleep disorders, depression, ADHD and autism.

Drinking water kefir regularly can help promote bowel movement, relieve all intestinal disorders, reduce flatulence and help create an all together healthier digestive system.

It's cleansing effect on the whole body helps to establish a balanced inner ecosystem for optimum health and longevity.

Personally, it eased my psoriasis. It can also ameliorate eczema and acne.

It tastes great... and its really inexpensive to produce!

To make 1 quart of water kefir soda (2, 16 oz bottles) you will need 1/4 cup sucanat, 3 cups *water, water kefir grains, 1 cup (or less) organic fruit juice.

1/4 cup organic sucanat = $.33 (when you buy a 2 lb bag)
1 cup organic juice = $.48 (using organic grape juice concentrate)

It costs $.81 to make a quart of healthy, delicious water kefir soda, or $.40 for a 16 oz bottle! How awesome is that?!

*The water you use needs to have minerals intact so a spring water, mineral water, hard well water or tap water (boiled for 20 minutes to remove chlorine/chloramine) are your best options.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Gingersnaps (GFCF)

We are experiencing food allergies at our house. Suspects are wheat/gluten, dairy, soy and coconut. And, oh yeah, I think eggs. I will be posting more allergen-free foods in the future. This is an adaptation of a Betty Crocker recipe.

1 cup sucanat
3/4 cup palm shortening
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
1 large egg
2 1/4 cups Bob's Red Mill GFCF Baking Mix
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp sea salt
cane sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat sucanat, shortening, molasses and egg in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with a spoon. Stir in remaining ingredients except cane sugar.

Lightly grease cookie sheet with shortening.

Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into balls. Dip tops in cane sugar. Place balls, sugared sides up, about 3 inches apart on cookie sheet.

Bake 10 minutes or just until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Product Review: Kombucha Wonder Drink

Do you see these three empty bottles? These three empty bottles make me very, very sad. A couple of years ago I first read about Kombucha - an incredibly healthy drink that should be enjoyed everyday. After reading about how to brew this fermented tea I decided that I surely didn't have time to do that, plus it probably tasted gross.

Once I realized that Azure Standard had flavored Kombucha, I decided to give it a try. Three bottles cost $6 (on sale) and that was worth it to me to see if I like the stuff or not. Those three bottles lasted me six days and ever since I ran out I can't stop thinking about Kombucha! Oh, I love it!!!

After drinking my first serving of Kombucha I thought it wasn't bad and I could definitely drink it each day for my health. The second day, I couldn't wait for my Kombucha time (in the quiet afternoon, while the little ones are napping). Now I'm hooked and going through withdrawals!

My May order includes 12 bottles of Kombucha Wonder Drink, Niagra Grape. Not only that, but I have a Kombucha starter reviving in my kitchen that I ordered from Cultures for Health. It takes a while to get that going, but when I do you'll get an update. While I was shopping online I went ahead and ordered some Water Kefir Grains... Everyone (well, maybe not the littlest one) is enjoying their water kefir. I have a little more experimenting to do before I post about that as well. When my Kombucha and Kefir are thriving I will be able to share starters with you. Let me know if you're interested!

Wow, this turned out to be a long post and I haven't even talked about the benefits of drinking Kombucha. Oh, why don't I describe the taste for you? At first it is very effervescent, then tastes slightly sweet and ends with a faint and fleeting hint of apple cider vinegar. Mmmm...

INGREDIENTS:  Kombucha, organic jasmine tea, organic cane sugar, organic Niagara grape juice concentrate.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hash-browns, Turkey Sausage and Scrambled Eggs

When I make Barbecue Baked Potatoes I throw in several extra potatoes to make homemade hash-browns. Just bake the potatoes, let them cool and peel the skin off. Then grate the potatoes and store them in the fridge (if you'll be using them soon) or in the freezer. When you are ready to cook them, just heat up some oil in a skillet and fry them. I like to season mine with sea salt, onion powder and garlic powder.

We ate these hash-browns alongside some scrambled eggs courtesy of the hens that live in our backyard. Also, I love making this homemade sausage...

Turkey Breakfast Sausage

1 lb ground turkey
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground sage
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice

Combine all ingredients and mix well. If time permits, refrigerate overnight to let the meat absorb the flavor of the spices.

Form into patties, or cook in crumbles, until no longer pink.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Shepherd's Pie

6 fist-sized red potatoes
sea salt

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup beef broth
1 cup frozen green beans or peas
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup carrots, sliced
sea salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then scrub (peel if you want), dice and put your potatoes in a pot covered with water. Bring them to a boil and cook until tender (you'll mash them with butter, milk, salt and pepper later).

In an oven-proof dish, brown your ground beef with the onion and garlic. When cooked add in the broth and veggies. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until your potatoes are ready.

Mash your potatoes however you like, but leave them a little stiff. Top your ground beef mixture with a layer of potatoes. Pop in the oven and bake until bubbly (20-30 minutes).

Sunday, May 1, 2011

How To: Soak Dried Beans

In a previous post I briefly discussed why you should soak your grains, nuts and legumes. Today I will walk you through soaking your dried beans before you cook them. This will make your beans easier to digest (less gas!) and they will cook up faster.

For each cup of dried beans you plan to cook, you will need 1 tablespoon of whey or lemon juice.

Rinse your dried beans under cold water and place in a stainless steel or glass container. Cover you beans with several inches of filtered water. Add the appropriate amount of whey or lemon juice. Cover and let sit on the counter for 12-24 hours.

Dump out your soaking water and rinse the beans. Place the soaked beans in a pot and cover with several inches of water. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Skim off and discard any foam that rises to the top (gas!). Turn the heat down and simmer until the beans are bite-tender. Different size beans will have different cooking times. Most beans will cook in 1-2 hours.

I like to cook several pounds of beans at a time and then freeze them in recycled jars (I save most of my glass jars from store bought pickles, salsa, etc). I just measure out 14-16 ounces of beans and liquid then put them in jars and pop in the freezer. I always have "cans" of soaked beans ready to use. Just don't forget to allow them time to thaw. It's hard getting frozen beans out of glass jars!

Soaking and cooking up your favorite dried beans will be better for you and save you money! Here's a little "math with beans" lesson for you:

A 5 lb bag of organic black beans cost $9.35 and produced the equivalent of 10, 15 ounce cans of beans. That breaks down to $.93/can. If you buy cans of organic black beans you'll spend $1.45 each! That's a 64% savings! Woot!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Barbecue Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes are such an easy (cheap!) meal. Top them with a little meat and drizzle with barbecue sauce to make a delicious meal. I served these with soaked pinto beans and steamed broccoli.

Bake enough red-skin potatoes for your family (bake extras and use them for hash-browns!).

Brown 1 pound of hamburger meat (or use leftover brisket, leftover cooked chicken, sausage...).

Whip up a batch of Carolina Honey BBQ Sauce from

1 cup ketchup
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium/high heat.
Whisk until smooth.
Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until mixture thickens.
Remove from heat and serve.

Split your potato open, add butter, salt and pepper to taste. Top with some meat and barbecue sauce and sprinkle with raw cheddar cheese. Serve soaked pinto beans and steamed broccoli alongside. Enjoy!