Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snowstorms and Maple Syrup

I love this time of year. Everything is covered in thick layers of snow, people seem nicer somehow, and we fill our days playing board games and drinking far too much honey-sweetened tea. We've had some wonderful snowstorms over the last few days that have left us with great mounds of white stuff to build snow forts in. 

As tradition dictates, fresh snow means maple syrup taffy in our family. We have delicious maple syrup that we buy from a local farmer. When I say "delicious", what I really mean is that this maple syrup is above and beyond any I've tried before. It's wonderful - mineraly, subtly sweet, complex. Amazing stuff.

This year we roasted some brazil nuts in a little bit of ghee and sea salt and added them to the taffy. It was divine.

If you want to try it on your own, get yourself a large bowl of clean, fresh snow. Boil up maple syrup until a strip poured on the snow firms up immediately (if it just melts into the snow, it's not ready). Use chopsticks or something similar and wind the taffy around it. The more snow caught up in the taffy, the better. Yum!

Monday, December 15, 2008

What's in Your Shampoo?

The Environmental Working Group has an absolutely fabulous database that allows anyone to figure out exactly what's in their shampoo, cosmetics, or whatever other toiletry they want to know about.  The site is called, "Skin Deep".  You can do a search on a category and find out which products are safest or you can search specific products and see where they fall on the toxic scale, what's in them, and what it's doing to you.  You can even create a customized shopping list based on safe ingredients.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On Hiatus

A wonderful, surprise visitor from the Netherlands has occupied my time and energy (and I couldn't be happier about it). I'll try to get a blog or two in here over the next week, but please forgive me if I don't. If you knew my visitor, you would totally understand.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Update - Can I Bake Again?

Apparently not.  I wrote about Organic Zero and Lakanto on a previous post. I was looking forward to whipping up some raw treats last weekend using some Organic Zero (still no luck sourcing the Lakanto yet). 

I made some 'raw' chocolate using some melted cocoa butter, Organic Zero, cocoa, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. I then froze the chocolate in molds. While they were freezing I mixed some organic coconut butter (not the oil) with some peppermint oil and Organic Zero and poured this mixture over the frozen chocolate and returned it to the freezer. The result? O.k., but the Zero didn't dissolve at all. It was grainy and crunchy and definitely not subtle. It sunk to the bottom of the mixture instead of dissipating throughout. I tried another recipe where I had to heat the liquid, but again, the Zero tended to sit at the bottom of the pot, burning somewhat even though the heat was quite low and I stirred constantly.

The kids ate the chocolates (we all did), but then later complained of tummy aches. At $15.00 a bag, I will likely not be using Organic Zero as a substitute in my baking anymore. I'll save it for our Earl Grey tea where it tastes great with some heavy cream.

Darn it! I was so looking forward to a decent substitute for my beloved baking. If I can't have it tasting as good as it once did, I'd rather not have any. 

Monday, December 1, 2008

Homemade Cream Cheese

Homemade cream cheese is so rewarding to make. It's easy, it's fast, it's pretty much 'zero' on the effort scale. Best of all, it's delicious. If you make your own yoghurt, just whip up some extra in your next batch for this recipe. If you don't make your own yoghurt, a good quality, organic, whole milk yoghurt is what you'll need to get. You should be able to find one that is not homogenized - buy that one.

It's nice to have a container of this cream cheese in your fridge. My kids like to come home from school and put a good size dollop on some sourdough bread with a little bit of raw honey on top. I just like to eat a spoonful whenever the desire so compels me.

Homemade Cream Cheese
  • 1 litre of raw or unhomogenized, organic, whole yoghurt
  • cheesecloth
  • sea salt
Place a sieve over a large bowl, line it with the cheesecloth (folder over a couple of times) and pour in your yoghurt. Allow to drain for a couple of hours on your countertop. After a couple of hours take a large wooden spoon (longer than the width of your bowl) and tie the cheesecloth to it tightly. Remove the sieve. Leave the yoghurt dangling above the bowl for about 6 more hours or overnight. 

You'll notice a clear liquid in the bottom of the bowl. This is the 'whey' that has separated from curd. Don't throw this away. You can put it in a jar and keep it for a couple of months. Use it to make cultured vegetables. 

When your yoghurt is done hanging about, give it a good squeeze and untie it. Scrape out the now cream cheese into a glass container, mix in a bit of sea salt to taste, and keep it covered in the fridge.  

There you have it - cream cheese without all of that chemical grossness.  In fact, what you have is a healthy cream cheese loaded with probiotic goodness. See, I told you it was easy!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tongue Taco Salad

I'm not going to pretend this is old hat for me. I contemplated the title of this post for a while wondering if there was something that sounded a little more appetizing. Tongue. The first word that comes to mind when I think of tongue is not 'delicious', but guess what. It is. It may be a bit of a mental barrier to conquer, but tongue meat, just like all other parts of the animal, are used in many cultures around the world and loaded with nutrients. It's not much different than any other muscle meat, other than the fact that it's visible. Why can we eat a piece of thigh or rump meat just because it's covered in hair and we only see the final, butchered product?

Not only is tongue meat absolutely delicious, but it's usually purchased for a song. In our case, the farmer we buy our grass-fed beef from was happy to give us a whack of them, leftover from more picky customers. So, with a freezer full of tongues, I decided to finally experiment with it.

I found a great recipe online for cooking the tongue according to traditional Mexican cooking. It was really easy and left us with this incredible, extremely tender meat. The texture was pleasant and it tasted wonderful. Traditionally you would put the meat in a tortilla with some fresh salsa, but we aren't that big into starchy food so taco salad it was. Below is the recipe I used to build our healthy, delicious salad.
Tongue Taco Salad
  • 1 organic, preferably grass-fed beef tongue
  • 1 onion
  • 1 head of fresh garlic
  • salt and pepper
Put tongue in slow cooker with all other ingredients. Cover completely with water. Cook on low for 8 hours in a slow cooker. Once tongue is cooked, remove, let cool and remove skin with a sharp knife. Pull meat apart or cube with a knife.
  • organic, extra virgin coconut oil
  • taco spice (try to find the organic kind without any added sugars or flavourings, it should just have dehydrated spices in it)
  • sea salt and fresh pepper
Warm coconut oil in pan over medium heat. Add the cubed meat into the oil and sprinkle with the taco seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook until warmed through.

That's it, now just build your salad. For our salad tonight we used the following:
  • organic romaine lettuce (very lightly tossed with a tiny bit of vinaigrette)
  • organic, raw sharp cheese (raw dairy is much easier to digest)
  • fresh, organic cilantro
  • homemade cultured salsa
  • organic, blue taco chips (we just smashed a couple of chips over each one for some crunch)
  • organic avocado
  • organic, fresh lime
  • a dollop of goat's milk creme fraiche
The cooked meat is so tender and tasty that you could use it for all sorts of things. It would be great stuffed in pitas with a bunch of veggies or just cooked up with some veggies and spices as a simple saute after the initial slow cooking to tenderize it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sweet Misery

I absolutely avoid all chemical artificial sweeteners and, as of late, all 'natural' sugars too. If you include chemical sweeteners in your diet, you may be interested in understanding why they are poison to the body. Just in case you think Splenda is o.k. because it's "made from sugar" (um, yah, sugar and chlorine), you may like to check this out.

"Sweet Misery" is a documentary about the facts of aspartame.  Definitely worth watching if you or anyone you know uses artificial sweeteners.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Can I Bake Again?

The Japanese are familiar with Lakanto, they've been using it for over 10 years as a safe alternative to sugar. Until recently, Lakanto was not available in North America, but that's now changing.

Lakanto is made of erythritol, a fermented sugar alchohol made of non-gmo corn, and luo han, an incredibly sweet fruit with zero calories. Luo Han is about 300 times sweeter than sucrose, but unlike sugar, luo han has a host of healthy side effects.  This ancient fruit is being investigated by Japanese scientists for its anti-tumor effects, its ability to control diabetes, and its protective effect against heart disease.

In the process of making erythritol, sugar is liquified and then fermented, filtered, and finally crystalized. The result is a sweetener that registers as '0' on the glycemic index. Erythritol is safe for diabetics and anyone looking to avoid the detrimental effects of sugar.  As anyone who has tried Stevia, or other 'natural' sweeteners likely knows, there are few natural sugar substitutes that can be used to bake with. Lakanto, on the other hand, can be used 1:1 as a sugar substitute in cooking and baking.

Saraya Canada, a Japanese company, is bringing Lakanto to the Western Hemisphere. It recently received GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) status in the United States. Approval from Health Canada and the EU are pending. I've ordered a sample of Lakanto that I plan on using in some of my favourite recipes. I'll keep you updated on my experiments.

In the meantime,  I've been enjoying a packet of Wholesome Sweeteners, "Organic Zero" in my tea every now and then. This sugar substitute is pure, organic erythritol. It's about 70% as sweet as sugar, but it too has a glycemic index of '0' and is safe for diabetics. This is basically the same product as the Lakanto, but without the luo han fruit (which is supposed to increase the sweetness and 'depth' of the Lakanto). While the Lakanto is non-gmo, it doesn't look to be available as an organic product while the "Organic Zero" is.

While you can buy erythritol at a cheaper price, I prefer to use the Wholesome Sweeteners product. I trust the reputation of the company which is important in ensuring that the sweetener doesn't have chemical sweeteners cut into it to reduce the price. I also prefer to use a product derived from organic ingredients.  "Organic Zero" is readily available at all health food stores.

I plan on experimenting with some baking this weekend. We'll see what I can do with our favourite cookies and maybe some other goodies. As soon as I receive some Lakanto, I will do a full product review. Stay tuned...

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Ghee is a clarified butter void of any milk solids or water. More importantly, ghee is absolutely delicious. I've been making ghee for years now and I'm sure that I would be unable to cook in the style I'm used to without it. It adds a rich, nutty taste to vegetables, sauces, and baking. If you have anyone in your family that has problems with the milk proteins in butter, you may likely find that ghee is digested well. I have found that I can easily use ghee, even though I am intolerant to dairy products. It's worth trying.

Ghee is used daily in Indian and South Asian homes. It's very easy to make. The beauty of ghee is that it's a saturated fat which means that it's stable to cook with at higher temperatures. (If you would like to read further on the right types of fats to cook with, this is a good starting point.)

I sometimes mix our ghee with organic, extra-virgin coconut oil.  We use it as a spread on bread, to bake with (using a 1:1 ratio with any butter called for), on popcorn (gloriously delicious!), and to cook with. In fact, this is the only fat I cook with aside from goose or duck fat.  I usually make a big supply of ghee every two weeks.  If you make it correctly, getting all of the water and milk solids out of the ghee in the cooking process, it will not have to be refrigerated.  

What you need:
  1. Organic, unsalted butter, raw if you can get it (use as much as you want, I usually buy 8 blocks at a time)
  2. Sieve
  3. Cheesecloth
  4. Jars, butter dishes, or whatever you want to store the ghee in
What you do:
  1. Put the butter in a deep, heavy pot. If you have enameled, cast iron cookware that will hold it, use it.  If not, whatever you have that is heavy and big enough will do. 
  2. Bring the butter to a boil and then quickly reduce to low heat. You want the butter to be lightly simmering, a few bubbles here and there.
  3. You will notice some foam on top of the butter.  If there's a lot of foam, you can skim a little off, taking care to not disturb the butter.
  4. It usually takes anywhere from 20-45 minutes for the ghee to be ready. A golden crust will form on the top of the liquid. The liquid will be a deeper, golden yellow colour. You will notice a different smell - deep and rich, almost 'nutty'. The liquid should look clear below the crust. 
  5. Place the cheesecloth in a sieve over a bowl. Pour the ghee through the cheesecloth slowly (be careful, it's really hot). Pour the filtered ghee into clean jars, butter dishes, or any other vessel you want to store it in. Let it sit at room temperature to cool off before putting the lids on. 

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Keeping Warm with Thoughts of Happy Bees

There's snow on the ground now. Not much, merely a skimming of the cement, but enough that it's not melting straight away. I find myself traipsing about wearing my big, old wool army socks with layers of long johns and sweats. I'm actually wearing a hat right now, content to be warm even if I look a little ridiculous.

This time of year I find myself naturally pulled towards the heavier, warming foods available to us locally. Squash, sweet potatoes, sweet onions, cabbage, and fresh goose and duck have all been gracing our table. I've been using (and making) a lot of broth for our soups. I think we could eat chicken soup all day, every day. In fact, some times we do. My husband and children have jointly mastered a roasted squash and apple soup that they automatically default to anytime I'm not around to make supper. Luckily, it's pretty tasty and we seem to always have a whack of squash lying around.

Most of all, we enjoy a steaming cup of organic, Earl Grey tea with some wild flower honey drizzled in it. Because I'm staying away from honey for a while, I just use some organic "Zero" in mine, but still, I plan on returning to my lovely honey. Our honey is generously supplied by a local farmer with happy bees. It's interesting to see the colour of the honey change as the season does. The last of the honey, for this year, has been a deep, golden yellow whereas the honey from earlier in the season was lighter and 'quieter' on the palate. Our honey is passed through a filter and then bottled, that's it. It's sweet, but still holds a lot of flavour. I've sampled honey that's sweet, but lacks any real taste other than that bold sweetness. This is not how honey should taste. There should be flavour to it and depending on what the bees have drawn on to make the honey, the colour and taste can vary greatly. 

Raw honey is best.  Pasteurization kills the delicate enzymes within the honey. Also, look for honey that's from an organic farm so chemical residues aren't finding their way into your food. Another thing to note is that it is common practice for beekeepers to feed their bees a sugar solution over the winter. By getting to know your honey farmer, you can find out what practices are used for pest management, processing of the honey, and what they use to winter their bees. Our farmer feeds the bees back their honey over the winter which is more preferable to the sugar solution. 

Beekeeping is actually pretty complex, but if you're interested in learning more about the right way to do it, and all of the wrong things that are presently being done by industrial beekeepers (hence the colony collapse problems), there's some great reading available from Michael Bush of Bush Farms.  Michael, along with many organic beekeepers, are producing honey with no disease or pest problems in their colonies. You may also like to familiarize yourself with the rules for producing organic honey. While organic is definitely preferable, I still opt to find a farmer that I can visit to find out what their practices are regarding winter feeding of the bees. Even organic aviaries can use the sugar solution.

Happy bees that produce honey like they would in the wild make the most delicious honey. I've got nothin' scientific to support that one, it's just a hunch that's proven true on my tongue.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Out of the Fog

One of my biggest realizations since removing sugar from my diet (in all of its forms) is the difference in my mood and the clarity of my thoughts. I feel like a veil has been lifted. I'm more connected to my husband, less irritable. There's stuff going on in a more subtle way though. It's like a shift in my default. I have noticed an awareness that seemed hazed-over before. I don't want to make it seem like I'm radically different, it's more as if I am processing things more clearly.
I've always known that sugar changes me. And I really mean that it changes me. I become irritable and less affectionate. There's been so many studies and all of the harmful effects of sugar on our bodies, but I think the scariest is the possibility that sugar can alter who we are. 

There was a study done a few years ago with prison inmates to determine the level to which crimes increase in correlation to the consumption of junk food. Now, some prison systems are looking to add supplements to inmates' diets to curb violent behaviour. We're just on the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding the way food affects our mood and behaviour. Depression is rampant, violent crime is up, and autoimmune diseases and cancers seem almost commonplace. I can't prove that all of this is related directly to sugar, but there's evidence connecting our illnesses, both mental and physical, with our poor diets. The further we move away from eating whole, organic foods like our ancestors did, the faster we fall out of balance with our innate nature.

Monday, November 17, 2008


  • Raw milk is a big issue at the moment.  Michael Schmidt of Glencolton Farms has been legally charged for running a cow share program in Ontario, Canada. We don't drink or eat pasteurized dairy products. If I could get raw milk, we would drink it, but it's nigh impossible to find a producer willing to share for fear of persecution.  Michael is fighting his charges. Go, Michael, go!
  • The Weston A. Price Foundation wrote a great rebuttal to the FDAs position on the safety of raw milk consumption. It's long, but worth the read.
  • Pasteurized? Ultra pasteurized? Organic? Commercially-raised? Real, healthy milk is hard to find, but worth the search. Understanding 'why' is your first step.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Good Egg

I had some further questions about selecting healthy, fresh eggs. Here's some great tips from the Weston A. Price Foundation (their site is loaded with excellent articles on all aspects of nutrition - definitely worth paying a visit).

They all look about the same, standing at attention in their platoons of twelve, and the cartons don't tell you much. How can you know whether the eggs you are about to buy are fresh and have come from healthy chickens, or are old and have come from poorly fed, stressed birds? The only way to know is to look closely and ask questions.

First, how do the eggs look? The shells should be dull, not shiny. Look at the air sacs on the shell's surface: the bigger the air sac the older the egg. The eggs should feel strong, not so delicate that regular handling threatens to crack them.

Once you get them home you can perform two more freshness tests: Place the eggs in a large bowl of cold water; if they float, they are quite old. Unshelled onto a plate, the yolk of a truly fresh egg will dome up and stay up, and the white will clearly be thicker in the middle part, thinner on the edges. The yolks should also be a deep yellow orange, not pallid. Another test is to break the egg into boiling water--the so-called water poach. If the egg stays together, it's a good one. Most supermarket eggs break up into tiny pieces on contact with the water.

But how the chickens are treated is the big question. It's best to bypass the cheap, supermarket brand egg. These are usually produced in vast factory "farms" with upwards of 500,000 birds in one facility. The birds are caged in buildings that are artificially lighted and ventilated. The feed is most likely a mixture of conventionally grown corn and soy, undoubtedly contaminated by GMOs and laced with antibiotics. There is not much goodness in eggs like these.

Then there are the smaller, commercial operations that produce free-range, antibiotic-free eggs. These are certainly a step up, but living conditions vary considerably--some producers have their birds on pasture, some give the birds access to the outdoors, some don't; some keep a few roosters, some have none; some keep the groups small, most don't.

If you seek out eggs from a small local grower, consider asking the following questions to learn more about the eggs you buy:

What do you feed your chickens? The ideal feed is a combination of organically grown grains, legumes, grasses, greens, worms and insects. Less than ideal but still acceptable to many is organic lay pellets and organically grown corn and soy. At the bottom of the heap are commercial lay pellets, conventionally grown corn and soy and cottonseed meal.

Do you use antibiotics? If the health of a whole flock is threatened, then the judicial use of antibiotics can usually be tolerated by the consumer, as long as eggs from that period are not sold. Antibiotics routinely added to the feed ration, however, must be strictly avoided.

How many birds do you have? How many chickens in the whole operation, and how many in each flock? Smaller is better. Even with a big operation, if small flocks are maintained--maximum 100 to 150--then the chickens can maintain a chicken society (a pecking order) and will be less stressed.

What are living conditions like for the birds? Do the birds have regular access to the outdoors? What is the square footage of their house and yard? If chickens are given enough space, they are less likely to become stressed and/or diseased.

How fresh are these eggs? Small producers sometimes store eggs for a period of days or weeks until they have enough to make a delivery. Eggs should not be older than 10 days when they are brought to market, and should be labeled with date of harvest.

Are the eggs fertile? What is the ratio of roosters to hens? Anywhere between 1 to 10 and 1 to 20 is a good balance. If the producer keeps roosters, the flocks will better resemble a natural chicken society and the hens will be less stressed.

What breed are your chickens? While this likely doesn't matter much to individual egg quality, it gives the consumer an idea of how much the producer knows about his birds.

May I visit your farm? While you might never do this, the producer's response will give you an idea of whether he or she is proud of the operation or ashamed of it.

by: Barbara Gerber, Weston A. Price Foundation

Friday, November 14, 2008

146 Reasons that Sugar is Ruining Your Health

Here's a fantastic list, complete with scientific references, put together by Nancy Appleton, Ph.D.

Sugar on the Brain

As a Nutritionist, one of the most common things I encounter is sugar addiction. It's no surprise. Sugar is everywhere and in everything. It's comfort. It's satisfying. It's tasty. It's highly addictive. We're brought up on the stuff and the problem only gets exacerbated as we age. 

I have a big problem with sugar. Oh, but I'm a sugar snob.  I don't eat those cheap chocolate 'candy' things or grocery store cakes.  No, I like to placate my sugar addiction by feeding it only the 'unrefined' sugars. So, let the organic, raw honey pour, sprinkle on the unrefined sweetener, simmer up the maple syrup. It's dark, organic chocolate for me. And baking? I'm a really good baker. I can take any recipe and translate it into an organic, wholesome treat (complete with those organic, "natural" sweeteners). It's all just feeding the addiction.

Sugars hold on us can only be loosened by the removal of it. Think I'm exaggerating? Studies have shown that sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Given the choice between cocaine and sugar, rats chose sugar. Even the cocaine addicted rats would switch to sugar over the cocaine when given a choice.

Sometime, in the complimentary circle of care we get a little sidetracked by trying to help people replace bad habits with 'better choices'. So, you're not drinking pop anymore, but you are drinking juice in soda water. What's the difference? It's used by your body in the same way. It's sugar. Pasta, rice, bread, doughnuts, juice, organic this or that... it's all still sugar and it keeps you on that blood sugar roller coaster. Diabetes, circulatory problems, decreased immunity, PMS, and heart disease have have all been linked to sugar consumption.

So, here I admit that while I may not be eating the worst of the worst, I'm still including foods in my diet that are keeping me gnawing at the bit for my next sweet fix. The result is a lack of energy, irritability, and the inability to wipe out the candida in my body for good. I've had enough.

It's day 5 of not eating 'sugar' (in all its forms) and it ain't pretty. As the candida dies off, I've been feeling the strong detoxifying effect it's having on my body. I'm tired, irritable, craving sweets, and generally feeling quite sorry for myself. I realize that I have to change my perspective and view this as a gift. I have the knowledge and ability to change my health. I can age with glowing health if I so choose. I can be vibrant and full of energy if I choose. I can have complete control over my body if I choose. I choose.

"The Sweet Tooth: Defeating the Little Rascal".  Great article with useful tips.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Can you pick out the organic, free range egg?

Eggs from happy, free roaming chickens are measurably different from your regular grocery store variety.  Besides the issues of antibiotics, hormones and the like in industrially raised eggs, there are some vast differences in taste between the two.  It makes sense really. Eggs carry the energy from where they came from.  Battery hens in cramped conditions laying egg after egg without ever seeing the light of day could not produce the type of egg a healthy chicken would.  Taste the difference yourself.  

Be wary of terms like "organic", "cage free", or "free range" on supermarket eggs.  Organic simply means that the chicken is eating organic feed, they can still be living in cramped, indoor barns. Cage free is equally ambiguous.  A barn crammed full of chickens, without basic sunlight or fresh air, can produce "cage free" eggs.

Your best bet is to find a local farmer that can supply you with eggs.  Go visit them.  Any time we've ever moved I've had to source our farmers to supply us with the quality of food we wanted.  It's a wonderful experience to speak with the people that produce your food, to share in their passion. We've been so grateful to have made such incredible friendships through our search for healthy food. It's also a wonderful experience to share with kids.  Teaching our children what healthy animals look like, how they are raised, and how we can make a difference by purchasing food locally is a benefit to them and their communities in the future.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Roasted Fall Veggies

Hmm.. what do we have here?  Some red onions, two types of beets, butternut squash, acorn squash, garlic, and some lovely parsnips.  All lovingly dressed in homemade ghee, herbes de provence, and some sea salt. Picture taken before they were roasted in the oven until tender (there's no time for pictures once this is cooked and the savages start sniffing them out).  

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


  • Prescription drugs responsible for more deaths than recreational drugs.
  • Your body needs saturated fats (just make sure they're from healthy animals).
  • Sunshine helps cancer.  Or is it the Vitamin D?  Hmmm... we'll have to wait, but in the meantime, we're starting to bundle up on the Western Hemisphere.  You might want to cover yourself with some vitamin D.
  • Need to source local farmers in your area?  Looking for organic, pasture raised meat and poultry?Check out this site.

Real cows eat grass.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Love in a Bowl

I don't know what could be more delicious than a steaming bowl of chicken soup on a dreary day. I mean real chicken soup, not that bought stuff.  That first dripping spoonful makes its way into the crevices of the weary soul and elicits a grateful "mmmmm".  And it really is so easy to make. A little more time than opening a can, but what you're left with is a giant pot of soup that can be reheated and eaten for the week. After a week it's just as good better than when it was first made. The trick, as it is with any nutrient-dense soup, is in making your own broth. Skip the useless bouillon cube and make jars of homemade broth that you can freeze and just thaw out any time you want to make soup.

Here's a super easy description of how to do it.  Remember, buy fresh local, organic ingredients for best results.

Delicious Chicken (noodle-if-you-want) Soup
Put some carrots, celery, onions, and garlic in a pot with some ghee or coconut oil. Simmer for a few minutes. Add in some fresh chicken.  I prefer using the dark meat on a bone for extra flavour. Simmer to brown the outside of the chicken. 

Pour in your stock and add some extra water (about the same amount of water to the stock). Nothing is exact, just add a couple of jars of stock and some water to cover the chicken and veg by a couple of inches. Add whatever spices you like to taste in your chicken soup. I use fresh rosemary, whole allspice (as per my Bapka's instructions), whole black pepper, and some marjoram. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 40 minutes.  

Throw in whatever hearty veggies you want.  We like kale or collards cut into chunks, arame seaweed, and fresh parsley.  Season with salt and pepper. Throw in some rice cooked rice noodles if you're so inclined.

In the winter I add extra garlic and maybe some ginger to fend off the beasties.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Homemade Broth - The Commoner's Superhero

I love broth.  I mean, I really, really love it and you should too.  Here's why:  
  • It's super easy to make
  • It's super cheap to make
  • It's super healthy to eat
See, what's not to love?  I always try to have some good soup broth on hand so I can whip up homemade soup whenever we feel like it or our grocery budget is dwindling and we need something healthy, yummy, and inexpensive to eat.

Whether you're making beef, chicken, or any other type of broth, the directions remain the same. I'm sure there's probably a more gourmet way to make this, but my way works and it's simple. You can get beef soup bones from a butcher, or try a local,organic farmer who can supply you with some tasty bones at a reasonable price.  

To make the stock:  I'll usually make my chicken broth after we've had a roasted chicken for dinner. Use all of the pot drippings, skin, and bones for the broth. Throughout the week I'll freeze ends and bits of veggies that were used for dinners and just pull them out to make the broth. This week we had a lot of root veggies in our CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) box so I had butternut squash skins, onion bits, carrots, parsley, garlic, celeriac skins, some leeks, and a few other bits of stuff in my freezer. I threw all of my veggies in with the chicken bits and covered it all with filtered water. I added some herbs (whatever you like), a small splash of apple cider vinegar (to pull the minerals and gelatin out of the chicken bones), some kombu and wakame seaweed (full of minerals), and some salt and pepper. I brought it all to a simmer and let it cook overnight.  

In the morning we had a beautiful, big pot of rich chicken broth. Once its cooled down, filter it. Pour the stock into jars, leaving at least an inch at the top so it doesn't explode when it freezes. If you like, you can pull the broth out of the freezer after about an hour and scrape the layer of fat off the top before it freezes solid.  

Use your stock as a base for any type of soup, gravy, or sauce. It's especially good with some miso, garlic, ginger, and some greens thrown in for a delicious miso soup.

A freezer full o' stock.