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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Homemade Fizzy, Fermented Tea

Did you know that you can ferment just about any food/drink?  You don't need any fancy equipment or ingredients, and the result is good for your tummy and taste buds! 

I have a lot of loose herbal tea around the house, so I decided to make a recipe I found online for fizzy, fermented tea. The original post was featured in a Cultures for Health newsletter (click here to view original).
Since I have more peppermint/spearmint than any other herb, I decided to make a good-for-your-tummy drink for my kids. :) 



To make this yummy drink, just put 1/4 c loose tea into a pan with one quart boiling water and let it steep for about 10 minutes.  Strain the tea into a quart jar and let it cool to about 100 degrees F.  Add 1/3 cup whey and 3 T sweetener (honey or unrefined sugar).  Cover the jar with a rubber band-secured cloth and let it ferment on your counter for 2-3 days.  Then, bottle your tea (or just cap your canning jar tightly) and let it sit out for another day or so, until you have plenty of bubbles (you can see the bubbles at the top of the bottle in the picture).  Chill until you are ready to drink!

The original recipe recommended adding a touch more sweetener when bottling your tea to give it more carbonation, but our didn't need it!  

Try making your own fizzy fermented drinks!  Experiment and Enjoy!



Homemade Sinus Infection Remedy

I don't know about you, but cold weather and sinus infections go hand-in-hand in my life!  Every time we turn the heat on (which has been more than usual, even in our semi-tropical climate), I wake up with that tell-tale headache and excess drainage- yuck.  

I usually rely on my netti pot for sinus issues, but this year I stumbled upon a pintrest post for putting a probiotic capsule into the netti pot solution for a powerhouse of a sinus infection remedy.  This works, trust me, but it's not pleasant.  My capsule did not readily dissolve into the water and it made for grainy drainage later on, which was pretty disgusting. Also, the initial treatment did have some pain associated with it... so much that I did another netti cleanse shortly after with nothing but salt water.  But, it worked wonders! Within an hour (or less) I felt normal again. 

Fast forward to my next sinus infection... I was not going to subject myself again to the capsule remedy, so I came up with something just as effective without the gross factor and pain:


I used a saline solution with freshly dripped whey!  No graininess and no discomfort! Really, this way was much better.  Here are the steps I took to perfect my sinus remedy:

1. Warm some filtered water in a sauce pan, just enough to take the chill out- not hot!
2.  Add a pinch of salt and stir.
3.  Fill your netti pot to the desired level, leaving room for 1T whey.
4.  Add freshly dripped whey (from kefir, yogurt or raw milk) and stir again.
5. Administer netti pot according to directions on the box.
6. Relax and let the probiotics do their job!  Repeat after a few hours if your infection is a doozy.

I hope this brings you as much relief as it has brought me!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Homemade Eggnog

Eggnog is not just for the holidays!  In fact, my youngest son drinks this creamy drink nearly every day of the week.  It is not only full of flavor but is packed with protein and energy-giving ingredients!  So, if you or your family needs a pick-me-up, grab your blender and whip up some eggnog.  



What you'll need for your homemade eggnog:

makes 1 serving:
2 free-range egg yolks (if you can't keep your own chickens, get these from a reliable source)
1 c raw milk
1/2 c raw cream
1-2 T real maple syrup 
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t freshly ground nutmeg

Blend all ingredients together in your blender until frothy and serve immediately!  This is a super-simple, super nutritious snack (or breakfast on many days) that everyone is sure to love.  Enjoy!




Friday, January 3, 2014

Homemade Fermented Remoulade Sauce/ Sourdough Crabcakes

I am a big fan of seafood!  Living by the coast gives me plenty of opportunity to eat seafood... if only my family shared my love of salt-water dwellers :(  Thankfully, I was able to squeeze in a meal I have been craving for quite some time:  crab cakes with fermented remoulade sauce. 
 
Since living in the New Orleans area, I have been wanting to make a homemade version of that spicy, tangy sauce that is so good on... well, everything!  Since the base is mayonnaise, you can use it to spruce up anything that you would eat with mayo- even sandwiches (especially po-boys).  Here is my version of remoulade that will have your taste buds singing:
 
 
For a truly fermented sauce, make this one day ahead of time
1 c homemade mayo (for this recipe, I used Kelly the Kitchen Kop's copycat recipe for Hellmann's)
2 T Dijon mustard
2 T ketchup
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c chopped green onion
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1 stalk chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 t Tabasco
1/4 t ground black pepper
(the original recipe called for 1 t paprika, but I left it out)
1 T whey
 
Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Place in a jar and cap.  Let sit for about 8 hours on your counter, then refrigerate.  The whey will help your sauce stay fresh for longer and add probiotics for your tummy :)
 
Here's my remoulade, fermenting happily on the counter!
 
 
 
 
For the sourdough crab cakes, I tweeked a Paula Deen recipe from Food Network.  She knows her way around a southern kitchen, although some of her ingredients are less than ideal.  I have switched the bad ingredients for better ones, as well as adding a bit of homemade flavor :)
 
What you'll need for homemade, delicate crab cakes:
1 lb lump crabmeat, flaked
1/3 c sourdough bread crumbs (I processed a couple dry pieces of homemade sandwich bread)
3 finely chopped green onions
1/2 c finely chopped green pepper
1/4 c homemade mayo
1 egg
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t dry mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 t garlic powder
1 t sea salt
dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 c coconut oil
sourdough crumbs for sprinkling

Mix all ingredients in a bowl (except coconut oil and remaining sourdough crumbs), using hands to really mix well.  Shape into patties and sprinkle with remaining sourdough crumbs.  Heat coconut oil to 350 F.  Fry crab cakes in batches- cook about 5 minutes on each side, careful to flip them without breaking.  Let rest on paper towel before serving warm with homemade remoulade.

 
 
Treat yourself with these homemade beauties!  They are worth the extra effort :)  Enjoy!

 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Homemade Coffee Kombucha

This post is for all those coffee lovers out there!  I have been drinking coffee since I was a teenager and still love an occasional sip or two of that wonderfully warm, invigorating beverage.  So, I was so excited to find out you can make kombucha from coffee (instead of tea)!!  The process is almost exactly like making tea kombucha.  So, those of you who make kombucha regularly (and are ready for a new treat), just substitute ground coffee for the tea and you are ready to go!  For those of you who don't usually make kombucha, here's a neat project that your tummy will enjoy...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Here's my coffee booch on day 1 (on the far left).  I simply brewed enough coffee for my 1 gallon container.  I used 1t ground coffee per cup of water, so about 5 T for about 1 gallon water.  Since my spoonfuls were heaping, I rounded down :).  Then, I added 1 cup organic sugar and let it dissolve.  When the sweet coffee was cooled down to around 100 F, I added my scoby and about 1 cup left-over liquid from my previous batch- you can use either tea or coffee booch as a starter.
 
 
 

 
I go by taste when bottling my booch, and this batch took about 2 1/2 weeks to finish fermenting.  Remember, even the caffeine is being changed at a molecular level- the finished product will not be sweet or caffeinated.  I bottled as soon as I could no longer taste the sugar and the nice kombucha tang was developed. 
 
Usually, I let my booch rest for a second ferment, either with fruit or juice as a flavoring, but I really couldn't decide what to flavor this with... maybe a vanilla bean?  or cinnamon stick?  The choice is yours!  There is definitely a coffee aftertaste to this beverage, so anything that would compliment that would work :)  I am skipping the second ferment this time and putting this baby right in the fridge.  Now, I can enjoy two of my favorite morning beverages together in one cup!  Enjoy!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Homemade Sausage and Seafood Gumbo

This is the real thing, y'all- real Creole gumbo, straight from New Orleans.  Did you know that the word "gumbo" traces its root back across the Atlantic, where it derived from an African word meaning "okra"... Okra is what makes this soup thick.  It is the combination of African, French and Spanish cuisine that makes Creole food so delicious, sometimes a bit spicy, and always unique.
 
 
 
 
My mother-in-law, a Creole food master, passed her recipe on to me and I'm going to share it with you today.  She learned it from her mother-in-law, who grew up in the French quarter- the heart of New Orleans.  This soup is usually served with rice and French bread (great for sopping up the remaining broth), but as you can see from the picture I am nixing the rice and bread because I am trying to eat fewer grains.  It is fantastic as is!
 
What you'll need for a little bit of Creole heaven:
 
1.5 lbs raw shrimp, shelled and de-veined
12 oz lump crab meat, flaked
6 oz oysters (optional)
1 lb smoked sausage or andouille, sliced in disks
1/2 lb okra, cut in disks (discard the tops)
butter
1 med. onion (chopped)
2 ribs celery (chopped)
1 green bell pepper (chopped)
2 large garlic cloves (pressed)
3 bay leaves
1/4 t dried thyme
1 T Cajun seasoning ( I like Tony Chachere's)
1/4 t red pepper
1/2 t black pepper
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juice
7 cups water
2 t dried parsley
rice and French bread (optional)

Brown sausage in a large pot, then remove.  In the sausage drippings, saute the okra for about 5 minutes (add butter if too dry).  Add the other vegetables to the pot and saute for another 3 minutes.  Add meat, tomatoes, water and other seasonings to the pot (except parsley and seafood).  Simmer over med. heat for 30 minutes.  If you want a thicker soup, simmer uncovered- if you like broth, cover while simmering.  Finally, add seafood and parsley to pot and simmer another 10 minutes. 

Serve with a scoop of rice on top of the gumbo (That's the New Orleans way) and a large slice of French bread on the side.  You may want to put a bottle of Tabasco on the table for those who like to spice it up!  Enjoy!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Homemade Chicken Chowder

Ok, so I'm on a soup kick!  I LOVE soup... and it is so comforting  to sip on a cool fall evening :)  This time, I am making a soup that I have enjoyed for years but thought I could only get out of a can:  Chicken Chowder!  Yum.  And, this dish can be made from leftover roast chicken and just a few more ingredients that are always in our pantry :)

This is a recipe I just came up with a couple days ago, but I've already made it twice!  Here's what you'll need for this creamy, delicious soup:




Chicken Chowder

1 chicken breast (or about 1-1/2 cups left-over roast chicken pieces), chopped and browned in butter
1 medium organic yellow onion, chopped
2 medium or 3 small organic potatoes, chopped in cubes
1 c frozen, organic corn
about 1.5 quarts chicken stock
1/2 c organic heavy cream
3/4 c  whole-fat milk

to thicken, make a roux with 2 T butter and 1 heaping T unbleached flour- heat in skillet until combined.
For those who are gluten intolerant, use corn starch mixed with a little water.

Directions:
Melt 1 T butter in a 2-qt saucepan and saute onions, potatoes and corn for about 5 minutes.
Add chicken stock, cream,milk and cooked chicken.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are done.  Thicken (optional) with either method, as described above.

This is a quick way to make a wholesome, delicious dinner for your family!  Enjoy!