Excellent Primer on Real Foods, Where to Find Them and How to Use Them!

All the ingredients for soaked and cultured pancakes--delicious and nutritious!

All the ingredients for soaked and cultured pancakes–delicious and nutritious!

If you are keen on where to begin on how to use real foods–maybe you’re even wondering where to FIND real foods–then you’ll want to invest in the fantastic education from Kelly the Kitchen Kop.  And, through the weekend of Thanksgiving here in the US, you can purchase Kelly’s trainings at HALF OFF!  Simply enter BLACKFRIDAY as you check out.

What will you receive in Kelly’s trainings?  Here’s a breakdown:

For the Real Food Ingredient Guide E-book, you’ll find:

This revised version is cram-packed with new information.  What I’m most excited about is that it’s set up in a way that gives you exactly what you want in whichever format you need it in at the moment…

  • It has a newly revised 7-page quick reference guide for when you want fast answers to questions like,
    • Will you please just tell me what I’m supposed to buy?!”
    • Or when someone puts you on the spot and you need a quick reminder of “What was so bad about that food again?
    • Or maybe when you’re at the store you might need something to flip to for guidance there on various ingredients, including “good, better, best” options.
    • It’ll also help you know what to look for at your local farm and what questions to ask.
  • It has a more detailed section with facts on the different food groups and ingredients, for when you have time to dig in a little more, and it includes information on where to go for even more in-depth reading and research.
  • If you’re more of a visual learner, you’ll find an easy top ten real foods and top ten junk foods list in pictures.
  • It also includes new bonus material:  How to bring your family from junk food to real food, and how to overcome the six main obstacles everyone faces:
    1. Motivation – You won’t be willing to make a change if you don’t understand why it’s so important!
    2. Confusion/feeling overwhelmed – You’re probably sick of trying to navigate all the information from the ‘experts’ like what’s ‘good’ vs. what’s ‘not good’, especially when that keeps changing; and you just want to figure out the age-old question of “What the heck can I eat?!”  Especially before meal planning or grocery shopping…
    3. How to afford real food – You’ll learn loads of tips all in one place.
    4. Dealing with family complaints – This can wear you down at times, so I’ve got ways for you to get past this one!
    5. How to make time for real food – There are so many ways that I’ll bet you’ve never thought of!
    6. Sticking to it for the long haul – This is often what trips people up.  Life gets in the way and you find yourself slipping backward.  You’ll learn here how to prevent that from happening or how to get back on track.

And, for Kelly’s Real Food for Rookies Online Class, you’ll receive:

  • 12 weeks of online classes with videos, downloadable audios, and written materials.
  • LIFETIME access! Read/listen/watch at your leisure: on your break at work, while the kids are sleeping, in your pajamas, whatever! If you have a busy week, no big deal, just pick it back up on your own schedule.
  • Exclusive expert interviews with Sally Fallon Morell (President of the Weston Price Foundation), Dr. Kaayla Daniel (author of The Whole Soy Story), Jane Hersey (Director of the Feingold Association), Tom Naughton (Fathead filmmaker), and now one more: Jimmy Moore from the Livin LaVida Low-Carb blog!
  • BONUS: Free copy of the Kitchen Kop Real Food Guide
  • Save time and money while serving Real Food
  • Read labels and avoid dangerous ingredients
  • Make nourishing “fast food” meals to avoid last-minute trips to the drive-thru
  • Find healthier alternatives for soda pop, refined sugars, heart-killer oils, sugar-bomb breakfast cereals, factory farmed meat and more
  • Serve nutrient-dense foods that are necessary for good health
  • Take control of your health and change your family’s future!

Both of these tools are invaluable in your journey to greater health and empowerment for yourself and your family.  It takes a village to recapture  the information that’s been lost over the years in regard to how to take care ourselves with nutrition, and Kelly’s classes and information are priceless in their role of keeping you well!  And, from Thursday, November 28th until Monday, December 2nd 2013, you can get these classes and information at half price, by entering BLACKFRIDAY as you check out.

Wishing you the best!  Here’s to your health and the health of your loved ones!

Parmesan Polenta with Bacon and Greens

Polenta before soaking and mild fermentation

Polenta before soaking and mild fermentation

One of the terrific things about being part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program is that your hand is sometimes forced to get creative with ingredients you might not have otherwise chosen.  In this instance, my inspiration was field garlic and Swiss chard.  Thankfully I had some corn grits (polenta) stored in the freezer, as well as raw Parmesan cheese and smokehouse pastured beef bacon from another local source here in our desert hamlet.  And, not surprisingly, there was bone broth, too–this time, pastured chicken.

So, with a little forethought to begin soaking the grits this morning in warm water with fresh water kefir, we were able to enjoy an excellent meal this evening (just perfect for an al fresco meal on the back patio before we hit the triple-digits on the thermometer!)  I paired this with a fresh, simple salad of various lettuces from our garden and steamed beets, topped with balsamic vinegar, olive oil  and chopped garlic.

Parmesan Polenta with Bacon and Greens

Serves 6 as an entree

To prepare polenta:

  • 1 1/2 Corn Grits (Polenta)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 2  cups warm, filtered, dechlorinated Water (approximately 105 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 1 cup fresh Water Kefir

Combine all ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl and stir well to incorporate.  There should be about 1/8″-1/4″ of the water/water kefir over the top of the polenta.  Cover and store in a warm spot (I set mine on top of the yogurt maker–turned on–to help maintain a gentle, warm heat to encourage mild fermentation of the grain.  You could also set the bowl in a dehydrator set around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or in an ice chest or oven–turned off–with a couple of bottles filled with hot water.)  Allow to rest undisturbed for at least eight hours, until you see the little bubbles of fermentation and there is a mild tart scent. When this point has been reached, begin preparing the rest of the recipe.

For the remainder of the recipe you’ll need:

  • 4-5 cups Swiss Chard, sliced in 1/2″ strips
  • 5-6 slices of pastured Beef Bacon or Pork Bacon, cut in 1/2″ slices
  • 3 cups Chicken Broth, plus 1 additional cup, heated
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Field Garlic, chopped in 1/2″ pieces, or 4 Scallions, chopped in 1/2″ pieces with 3-4 cloves Garlic, minced finely
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste
  • Cherry or Plum Tomatoes, sliced, for garnish
  • Freshly-chopped Basil Leaves and Lemon wedges, for garnish

In a 5-6 quart pot, combine soaked polenta with 3 cups of chicken broth over a medium heat and bring to a  mild simmer, stirring constantly from the bottom.  In about five minutes, you’ll notice the grits have firmed up substantially and the grain has softened.  Stir for another  five minutes or so and turn off the heat.

In a separate, large pan over medium heat, begin cooking the bacon.  Once it has begun to release its fat into the pan, add the field garlic or scallions/garlic, stirring occasionally to keep all ingredients from burning.  After a few minutes, once the garlic/onions have softened, add the Swiss chard and incorporate well into the mix.  Keep cooking and stirring periodically, until most of the moisture has evaporated off and the chard has softened.  Turn off heat and return to the polenta.

Resume a low heat under the polenta, which will have stiffened while cooling.  Add the Parmesan cheese and pour in an additional cup of hot chicken broth.  Stir all ingredients well to incorporate and to soften the polenta.  Spoon in the bacon and greens mixture and mix well into the polenta.  Remove from the heat and serve immediately with a garnish of fresh, sliced tomatoes, a sprinkling of basil leaves and a healthy squirt of lemon juice.

Store any remaining in a covered glass or ceramic bowl for up to three days in the refrigerator.

 

Pouring water kefir into the polenta to begin soaking and fermentation

Pouring water kefir into the polenta to begin soaking and fermentation

 

Notice how there is a pooling of water over the soaking polenta--not too much, just about 1/8 of an inch

Notice how there is a pooling of water over the soaking polenta–not too much, just about 1/8 of an inch

 

Using the yogurt maker to keep a gentle heat source under the soaking and fermenting polenta

Using the yogurt maker to keep a gentle heat source under the soaking and fermenting polenta

 

The polenta after eight hours of soaking and mild fermentation--notice the little bubbles in the soaking water?

The polenta after eight hours of soaking and mild fermentation–notice the little bubbles in the soaking water?

 

Polenta with 3 cups of chicken broth, just beginning to cook

Polenta with 3 cups of chicken broth, just beginning to cook

 

Polenta after only 5 minutes of cooking--the soaking process definitely hastens the cooking time

Polenta after only 5 minutes of cooking–the soaking process definitely hastens the cooking time

 

Pastured beef bacon and field garlic sautéing

Pastured beef bacon and field garlic sautéing

 

Freshly grated, raw Parmesan cheese

Freshly grated, raw Parmesan cheese

 

Notice the smoother consistency of the polenta once the Parmesan cheese and additional chicken broth have been added

Notice the smoother consistency of the polenta once the Parmesan cheese and additional chicken broth have been added

 

Swiss chard sauted with pastured beef bacon and field garlic, ready to blend into the polenta

Swiss chard sauted with pastured beef bacon and field garlic, ready to blend into the polenta

 

Prepared polenta with Swiss chard, pastured beef bacon and field garlic

Prepared polenta with Swiss chard, pastured beef bacon and field garlic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Savory Coconut Crackers

Nutritious, crispy, savory coconut flour crackers

I think most of us tend to think of coconut flour in the vein of the sweet delicacies, for which is so well-suited.  But when one uses a fair amount of coconut flour in cooking and baking (read: me), it is nice to diverge from the usual path.  And this recipe does just that, so delightfully, that you’ll forget you’re eating a cracker based in coconut!

As with my Raisin Bread recipe, this recipe uses soaked coconut flour as its base.  The lighter texture that comes from soaking in warm water, with a little whey from fresh kefir or yogurt, makes for an excellent cracker.  (For soaked coconut flour, use 2 cups warm water to 1 cup coconut flour–maybe more, if needed; you want the consistency to be like mashed potatoes–and add 1/4 cup of fresh whey.  Mix all well and keep at room temperature for at least 12 hours, lightly covered, stirring once or twice, before storing in the fridge or using in a recipe.)

My family is loving these little flatbread crackers–they’re great in the kids’ lunches with some raw cheese and grass-fed beef hot dogs, or with a salad at dinner, or just as a great, nutritious snack.  The savory flavor profile can be taken in many directions, based on your tastes–south of the border with chipotle powder and cumin, Italian with oregano, garlic and basil, barbecue with smoked sea salt, coconut crystals, cumin and chili powder.  You get the idea.

Here’s a good template to begin with, a flavor profile that is a great accompaniment to lots of dishes.

Savory Soaked Coconut Flour Flatbread Crackers

Makes 2 sheet pans’ worth of crackers

  • 2 cups Soaked Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 cup freshly ground Flax Meal
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup Ghee
  • 1.5 teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried Oregano Leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder

Preheat oven to 385 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine all ingredients and mix until well incorporated.

Take 2 baking sheets and line with parchment paper. Divide the mixture between the 2 sheets.  Take another sheet of parchment paper the length of each of the sheets, and cover the mixture.  Using a rolling pin, evenly compress the mixture across the length and width of the sheet, then repeat for the second sheet.  Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and discard.

Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to score the dough into 1″ crackers.

Place both sheets in the middle of the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Any edges or thinner spots will brown first, so remove these with a spatula, then replace the remainder in the oven until the rest have browned accordingly, likely just a few minutes longer.

Place hot crackers on a plate to cool, spaced from each other to keep humidity from forming that will cause sogginess.  Once cooled, place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.  Will keep for 5-6 days or longer, though the humidity of the refrigerator will begin to soften the crispiness.  To crisp again, simply place for a minute or so in a toaster oven.

Soaked coconut flour, the texture of stiff mashed potatoes

 

Freshly grated raw Parmesan cheese

 

Freshly ground flax meal

 

Delicious ghee

 

Parchment paper lining to sheet pans

 

Preparing to roll out dough

 

Scoring the dough

Edges browning and crisping!

 

Crispy, delicious, gluten-free, grain-free crackers!

 

Cinnamon Raisin Soaked Coconut Flour Bread

We’ve been enjoying this recipe very much lately, and it comes together in a snap, when you’ve got your flour soaked and ready in the refrigerator!

I’ve gotten into the (good) habit of soaking most of the flours we eat, and that is including coconut.  Doing so unleashes enzymatic activity within the flour, making all components more digestible and bio-available, while breaking down tough-to-digest “anti-nutrients” like tannins, phytates and difficult proteins.  And, when a little bit of a culture is added (such as a couple tablespoons of fresh whey from cheese or yogurt making), the beneficial bacteria have an opportunity to further break down the complex carbohydrates, using them as a fuel source…and, in turn, helping to reduce the carbohydrate load of the food being consumed.  A total win-win!

And, as mentioned, I’ve even been soaking coconut flour, the darling of many nutritional pundits these days.  I do it for the reasons just stated, and also because I like what it does to the texture of the flour once I’m actually using it, say, in pancakes, or as in this recipe, a quick bread.  Because coconut flour is so hydrophilic, the end products with it can be on the dry side.  When the flour is well-saturated, though, by pre-soaking, the end result is very moist.  So, I’ve found it’s worth the effort, for all the right reasons!

When I soak my flour, I start with about one cup of flour, to which I add warm (110 degrees Fahrenheit, or so) water–usually 2-3 times the amount of flour.  I add it slowly, and incorporate it well, before adding more.  The texture should be like mashed potatoes.

Not mashed potatoes…soaked coconut flour!

Once the consistency is right, then I’ll add about two tablespoons of whey, which I also mix in well.  Then I cover everything and leave it at room temperature for about 24 hours, stirring occasionally.  At the end of this time, I put it in a glass bowl and store it in the refrigerator for up to a week, using it as needed for the afore-mentioned pancakes, and quick breads.  The inherent anti-pathogenic qualities of coconut allows this to keep longer than most flours that have been soaked–again, another bonus!

This recipe makes a very moist quick bread that is not overly sweet.  I use freshly ground flax seed as a binding agent, thus reducing the amount of eggs usually needed when working with non-gluten flours.  Stores beautifully  in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Cinnamon Raisin Soaked Coconut Flour Bread

Makes 1 8″ x 4″ Pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Blend flour with flax, sea salt, spices, baking soda, sugar and stevia.  Add the beaten eggs and oil, then add raisins.  Mix all ingredients together well, then spoon into the oiled baking pan.  Smooth the top, and bake in the middle rack in the oven

Bake uncovered for 35 minutes, or until knife inserted in the middle comes clean.  Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before slicing, as the saturated fat content of the bread will help to give it body once cooled.  Store any uneaten portions in the refrigerator.

Soaked coconut flour

 

Flax seeds about to be ground in coffee grinder

 

Incorporating oils (I used Blue Breeze coconut ghee from Green Pastures)

 

Consistency just before transferring to pan

 

Bread uncooked, ready for the oven

 

Bread fresh from the oven!

 

Bread cooled and ready to enjoy

 

 

 

 

Adding Some Soaked and Fermented Grains Back into the Diet…

Soaked and sprouting quinoa, draining in the colander (Yes, it is correct that it is not a “true” grain, but rather a grain-like seed…but we use it in a grainy way!)

I really like the concept of balance 🙂

Whether it is maintaining–even improving!–health with a solid mix of rest, creative outlets and hard work, or engaging in the social world and its counterpart, private quiet-time, there are so many ways to hit that just-right note of balance in the Yin and Yang of every aspect of life.

However, wouldn’t you agree that to really adopt a change in lifestyle, one has to hang out in the deep end of change for a while before moving back to the moderate depths?  You’ve got to flex your mental muscles a little bit, learn some new moves, before heading back to middle ground. Modern research supports this–new behaviors lay down new paths in our brain’s design, creating new pathways and neural communication.

Without big change, it is much too simple to return to old habits and there won’t be staying power with our new habits.

Personally, I’ve ventured off into the deep waters around nutrition many times.  And sometimes I’ve stayed in the deep a good, long while…my 14-year commitment to being a lacto-ovo-pescarian being one foray (translate: My very weak attempt at vegetarianism–high refined carbs, lots of soy and pseudo-meats.  My saving grace was the pescarian part…something in me knew it needed the nutrition of fish!)

It’s hard to appreciate how various choices make us feel without having first experienced something very different.  My years of sloppy vegetarianism, practiced in a manner that left me incredibly deficient in solid nutritional components, have helped me to appreciate SO MUCH how good it is to feel calm, nourished and BALANCED with the deep nutrition we feed ourselves now.

And, to that end, in the name of balance, we shifted from another extreme decision, to totally remove grains in the name of seeing how we felt.  Going off grains helped me to see how we used grain products as a lazy energy crutch.  A bowl of cereal here, some toast and butter there, a platter of pasta to share at dinner.  I realized how much nutrition we’d been cutting out by way of putting refined grains in the place of deeper nutrition sources.

When grain products are removed, something has to go in their place. Certainly, that could be any number of things.  For our family, that meant more produce, notably more veggies, especially squash, sweet potatoes and yams.  It also meant more nut flours, from soaked, dehydrated and ground sources.  And we ate many more coconut products–from flour to cream to flakes.  We also used the seed-like grains, amaranth and quinoa. Cooking with these types of foods was a big learning curve (one never appreciates all that gluten can do as relates to binding and shape until there’s not a speck of it in sight!), and I am very grateful for what it has done to broaden our perspectives on food and for the greater range of nutrition it brought to our plates.

But, what about balance?  Might there be a limit to the almond-flour donuts and coconut flour breads one should really be consuming on a daily basis?  Totally eschewing all grains is something that doesn’t seem moderate to me.

So I began looking more closely at the traditional methods of grain preparation, most notably as found in Nourishing Traditions, but in various blogs as well.  Our family descends from northern Europe, and I know traditionally-prepared grains are a food source my ancestors employed.  And by incorporating the techniques that lend themselves toward better assimilation of the nutrients that are stored in these foods, I felt that I could test the waters and see how we all responded to the inclusion of some of these foods in our diet.

Before we opted to remove grains from our diet, we ate organic, commercially-prepared grains, either in a sprouted form (bread or tortillas), as chips, or as gluten-free options (bread, waffles, English muffins.)

We didn’t do much in the way of traditional preparation of whole grains–meaning, if I made rice, I simply rinsed it then cooked it. Same for oats, corn meal or buckwheat, or any other whole grain.  In sum, we were eating foods that, for the most part, were not well-prepared to support their digestion and assimilation into our bodies.

But the traditional methods involve soaking the grain in warm water, with a little bit of an acid medium, for about 7-12 hours, generally.  By doing so, many of the anti-nutrients, enzyme inhibitors, complex carbohydrates and difficult-to-digest proteins (such as gluten and phytic acid) are broken down into much easier components that our bodies can handle. while at the same time increasing the enzyme activity of the grain, making their digestion much easier.

The above-mentioned acid medium can be fresh lemon juice, raw apple cider vinegar, whey from fresh yogurt, or my favorites, homemade kombucha or water kefir.  Personally, I’ve moved away from using whey because research has shown that the calcium in the dairy can inhibit physic acid reduction, thus, inhibiting the bioavailability of some minerals.  No matter the culture starter, though, the fact remains that the healthy bacteria (and yeast, in kefir and kombucha) will use the carbohydrates in the grains as an energy source, thus, predigesting the sugars and reducing them in the final product.

Additionally, warmth and time are needed for proper breakdown–starting with water in the room temperature range, left at room temperature (65-75 degrees Fahrenheit), for about 7-12 hours, gives a very good foundation for proper assimilation. And if the grains are especially big (rice, spelt, kamut), then opening up a little more surface area is a good idea.  You could even use a coffee grinder, and give a quick spin of the grains before soaking–just enough to break up the grain a little and expose more of its structure to the water and ferment starter.

And in that pursuit of balance, you’ve got to have some variety!  Soak, ferment and buy organic and in small batches, then keep them in the freezer so there is no concern for oxidation.  Try gluten-free or straight rolled oats, spelt berries, quinoa, rye, quinoa, amaranth and steel cut oats–all great choices.

Needless to say, this all requires a few extra steps, though it’s far from difficult–and I go into good detail on it in my book, The Funky Kitchen, and even GREATER detail in my 6-module course, Fresh, Fun and Flavorful in The Funky Kitchen.  But these steps, coupled with a tart flavor profile (thanks to the healthy bacteria consuming the sugars in the grains) and the richer texture of whole grains, lends itself toward lighter consumption.

And that is a balanced answer 😉

Heavenly Cake!

Almond and coconut flour raspberry chocolate chip cake--Heavenly delight!

Our family has found a new favorite treat…and the fact that it is made so easily makes it a favorite of mine, for an entirely different reason!  Unlike many coconut flour recipes, this cake is light, not too crumbly, and wonderfully moist.  Once cooled, it has enough body to hold up to application of a frosting, though I love it just the way it is.

I use chocolate and raspberry as my distinctive flavors in this version, though you could certainly try blueberry with lemon zest, amaretto with dried cherries, fig with chopped pistachios…or just plain vanilla.  The options are only limited to your cupboard’s offerings.

This is not an overly-sweet cake, which allows the flavors of the ingredients to shine through.  It is subtle and yummy!

Since you’ll be working with coconut flour, it works best to allow all ingredients to set out and come to room temperature, lest the saturated fat content in the flour makes the batter difficult to blend.

Additionally, almond flour can be store-purchased, but I prefer to make mine fresh, using organic, soaked and dehydrated almonds that I grind in my coffee grinder just before use.

Freshly ground organic almond flour

Raspberry and Chocolate Chip Cake Made with Almond and Coconut Flours

Makes an 8″x8″ cake

4 Eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup Whole-fat, Plain Yogurt, room temperature

1/3 cup Coconut Sugar

1/2 cup fresh Almond Flour

1/2 cup Coconut Flour

1/2 cup fresh or frozen Organic Raspberries

1/3 cup Organic Dark Chocolate Chips

2 tablespoons Vanilla Extract

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/3 teaspoon Baking Soda

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Fahrenheit.

 

Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl, and all liquid ingredients in another, mixing each well.

Separation of dry and wet ingredients for good blending

 

Include the chocolate chips and raspberries to the dry ingredients and coat with flour mixture.

Coating the berries and chocolate chips in the flours

 

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry, and mix to combine.

Consistency of batter before baking

 

After greasing either a square or round 8″ baking dish with ghee or coconut oil, pour in the batter and smooth the top with a spatula.

Place cake in the center of the oven and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Heavenly cake, fresh from the oven

 

Allow cake to cool in baking dish before removing to a non-plastic storage container and refrigerate.

 

Enjoy!

 

Crock-Pot Chicken

Juicy, flavorful, pastured chicken…straight from the crock-pot!

The joy of working with a crock-pot–there is something so wonderful about knowing that a meal will be nearly completed as we work through the day, or sleep through the night. And this recipe for pastured, organic chicken speaks to this delight.  It is rich, deeply flavorful, nutritious…and easy as can be!

Start with a whole, organic chicken–and while this works beautifully with a whole chicken, you might try a chicken that is cut into parts—either works fine.  Just look for a chicken that has been pasture-raised, meaning it has been able to move around, support itself and get some sunshine (seems like not much to ask, but the modern conventional farming techniques have made it necessary to research before making a purchase.)

I love working with the pastured chickens that are  cut into parts, from Tropical Traditions.  These chickens are fed a diet free of soy and rich in coconut…making for a very flavorful and nutritious meat.

Coconut-fed, soy-free pastured chicken, cut into parts

Once completed, this recipe has about 2 1/2 cups of reserve liquid from the cooking process, thanks in large part to the wine (I love the Trader Joe’s Chardonnay made with organic grapes–not too sweet.)  I like to save this in a separate glass container as a base for a soup, to add to sauteed veggies, or as a base for a sauce.  Just don’t discard it–it is very nutritious, rich in tissue-building gelatin, collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin and bio-avaialable minerals.  And it tastes divine!

This chicken is excellent served over greens, both fresh and braised.  You can also pull the meat from the bones and use as a great base for a homemade chicken salad, or in enchiladas, or reserved to toss into a veggie soup.  Feel free to freeze some as well, once removed from the bones, to have on hand to add to a vegetable saute or wrapped in nori sheets with avocado…needless to say, the options are endless!

Drunken Crock-pot Chicken with Onions

Makes 6-8 servings of various cuts of meat

  • 1 Large Chicken, whole or in parts, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 cup  Chardonnay Wine
  • 2 T Apple Cider Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 cup Celery, chopped
  • 1 large Yellow Onion, sliced thinly
  • 2/3 cup filtered Water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1.5 teaspoon Poultry Herb Blend (preferably organic and non-irradiated)
  • 4-5 Bay leaves

Set the crock-pot to a four-hour setting.

Place the chicken in the pot, followed by the vegetables, then the seasonings.  Pour the wine, vinegar and water over the ingredients, and place the lid on the pot.

Uncooked ingredients in crock-pot

There should be ample liquids in the pot to prevent scorching and burning.  However, if you smell or see that this is happening, simply add a little more water and keep the lid on the pot.

After four hours, you can enjoy this great dish…or, allow it to cook longer on the “Keep Warm” setting, which will further break down the bound minerals and connective tissues, bringing them into the broth’s solution.

Cooked chicken in a rich broth

As mentioned, strain and reserve the flavorful liquid for another meal–it is fantastic when spooned over sauteing vegetables!

Tasty chicken and rich reserved cooking liquid

 

Coconut Flour Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing


Amazing, but these Coconut Chocolate Cupcakes are not only gluten-free, but grain-free as well!

Adapted from the Coconut Flour Cake with Coconut Frosting recipe at The Nourished Kitchen (opens to a new window), this version creates a rich, flavorful, satisfying dessert, but with considerably less sugar than the original.

It is very nutritious, as well—loaded with protein, fiber and healthy medium-chain triglycerides, it is truly a treat that will not cause a surge in blood sugar, only to be followed by a slump in energy. Pairing it with the Cashew Mousse delivers on a satisfying and healthy end to a delicious meal.

Coconut Flour Cupcakes

Makes 18 Cupcakes

  • 6 Eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup freshly ground Flax Seed
  • 2 cups whole-fat, unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 5 T Honey
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp. Almond Extract
  • 5 servings Stevia (45 mg spoon for concentrate, or the serving size appropriate for the version you’re using)
  • 2 cups Coconut Flour
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • Unbleached Paper Baking Cup Liners
  • Icing for the Cupcakes


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, milks, honey and extracts until smooth and well-blended. (A power mixer or food processor makes this much easier.)

Next add the flour, stevia, baking soda and sea salt, again blending until uniform in consistency and color.

Pour batter into each of the cups, stopping about ¼” from the top.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cupcakes comes clean.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely out of the baking tin before icing.

Cupcake without Icing

Cupcake without icing 

Coconut Cream Chocolate Icing


• 2 cups Coconut Cream

• ½ cup Unrefined Coconut Oil

• 2.5 T Raw Honey

• 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract • 4 T raw, organic Sugar

• 3 T Cocoa Powder

Blend together all ingredients (working with all room temperature ingredients, with a power mixer, makes this much easier.) Taste for sweetness, and adjust as necessary.

Place mix in the refrigerator for a few minutes to allow to stiffen, then top about 2 tablespoons on each cupcake. Once iced, place cupcakes in the refrigerator again, to set icing.

Before serving, remove from the refrigerator for a few minutes, to soften the icing–the saturated fat in the coconut oil hardens quickly in cool temperatures and is much easier to eat if brought closer to room temperature.

Coconut Fish with Braised Vegetables

Coconut fish with braised vegetables is lightly sweet, in the tradition of Hawaiian fare. It is rich in healthy fats, Vitamin A and protein, and is naturally gluten-free.

Serves 2 
• 2- 4 or 6 oz. fillets of fresh boneless sablefish, sockeye salmon, or halibut , rinsed and dried

• 1 ¼ cup cooked Spaghetti Squash

• 1 Zucchini, sliced and chopped in ½” pieces

• ½ large Yellow Onion, thinly sliced

• Ghee or Coconut Oil

• Coconut Flour for dredging

• Sea Salt

• 1 Avocado, thinly sliced

• 1 small Lemon or Lime

In a large pan, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium heat, and add spaghetti squash, zucchini and onion. Sprinkle with sea salt and gently braise before stirring.

While vegetables are cooking, dredge the fish fillets in coconut flour and a pinch of sea salt.

Dredging fish in coconut flour 

Once vegetables have braised and caramelized, split them between two pasta bowls.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Over medium-high heat add the fish fillets. Cook on one side for three minutes, then flip and cook on the other for two minutes—the coating should be golden brown.

Fish cooking 

Fish ready to serve 

Serve over the vegetables, with one half of an avocado with each bowl, and lemon or lime wedges for garnish.

Sprouted Quinoa Bread



Watermelon radish, dijon mustard and sprouted quinoa sandwich–inspired by German cuisine! 

Sprouted quinoa bread smells like a dream while baking, and emerges from the oven a deep orange-brown, thanks to the addition of virgin palm oil. This oil has a distinct flavor that doesn’t work in all recipes, but it works here. It is very rich in Vitamin A, which is perfect for supporting the immune system, as well as the health of the eyes and skin. And, when added to the sprouted quinoa flour , the nut flours and the eggs, the nutrition in this bread is incredibly rich!

And, once refrigerated, the bread firms up beautifully, thanks to the healthy saturated fat content in the coconut and palm oils. Therefore, it makes a wonderful bread for sandwiches when cold; if toasted in the toaster oven, it will soften considerably, making it better-suited to a soft spread.

 

Makes 2 loaves in a 9” x 5” x 3” loaf pan, each about 3-4’ high (You may halve all ingredients for 1 loaf)

• 1 cup Coconut Flour

• 1 cup Sprouted Quinoa Flour*

• ½ cup Arrowroot Flour

• 8 T Flax Seeds, freshly ground

• 6 T Organic Whole Cane Sugar

• ½ cup Walnut Flour, freshly ground

• ½ cup Pumpkin Seed Flour, freshly ground

• 3 tsp. Baking Soda

• 1 ½ tsp. Sea Salt

• 1 cup Unrefined Coconut Oil

• ½ cup Virgin Palm Oil

• 16 Eggs

 

*I soak 1 cup of raw quinoa in fresh water and 1 T fresh yogurt overnight in the refrigerator, then strain off and rinse the quinoa. Next, cover loosely, and return to the refrigerator for another day. Look for the little white tails of sprouting—if there are none the following day, rinse again and return to the refrigerator. 2 days of this should definitely yield sprouting. Rinse one more time, then scatter the drained quinoa over a dehydrator tray and set the temperature to about 100 degrees overnight. The next morning, your quinoa sprouts should be dry and crunchy. Grind them in a clean coffee grinder for fresh, nutrient-rich sprouted quinoa flour!

Freshly ground sprouted quinoa flour 

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit

Combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Add all wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until well-combined.

Consistency of blended ingredients for bread 

Butter the loaf pans and pour in the batter. Bake for 45-50”, or until a butter knife pulls clean from the middle of each loaf.

Loaves fresh from the oven! 

Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. 

The texture of the bread, up-close 

Watermelon radish, fresh from Tonopah Rob’s local farm 

Time to enjoy!