Archives

Cultured Applesauce

I’ve been reading a lot and trying to learn more about the fabulous world of traditional foods, especially the cultured/fermented foods. I’m trying to incorporate a variety of these cultured/fermented foods into my diet, to get a good variety of the healthy bacterias into my system.

One of my favorites, and the easiest and quickest by far, has been a cultured applesauce. This was the first one I tried, because it seemed like it would be the easiest food on a palate that is NOT accustomed to eating these types of foods. I’ve never, in my life, even tried a sauerkraut, properly cultured or not, so I feel a little timid about whether I can get used to the taste of that type of food. So applesauce it was. I got my recipe from this post by Real Food Forager for Cultured Applesauce.

Rather than using whey for the starter, I’ve been using this culture starter from Body Ecology. Find it here. In my warm kitchen (ranging anywhere between 70-80 degrees) , I only need to let it sit for about a day before putting it in the fridge, and this is what I end up with:

Cultured Applesauce

Cultured Applesauce

 

Yum! I’ve made this twice so far, and it is delicious! Apparently, it should stay fresh in the refrigerator for at least a few weeks, but one jar only lasts me about a week, eating it by myself.

First Attempt at Bone Broth

I finally made my first attempt at bone broth. On Sunday, I started my broth. I adapted my methods from two different recipes. Most of the recipe comes from the bone broth recipe in The Paleo Slow Cooker by Arsy Vartanian. You can find Arsy at her blog, Rubies and Radishes. I also used some recommendations from the bone broth recipe found in Beautiful Babies by Kristen Michaelis. You can find Kristen at her blog, Food Renegade.

First, on the recommendation from the recipe by Kristen, I roasted my beef bones in the oven. I used all marrow beef bones, because that is what I had from my grass-fed beef order from Hat Creek. As the bones were roasting in the oven, they smelled SOOOO good! It was making me very hungry. Once the bones were browned, I transferred them to the slow cooker, along with most of the ingredients from the recipe by Arsy.

Here’s what it looked like at the beginning:

The start of Bone Broth

The start of Bone Broth

 

I let the bone broth do its thing overnight, only adding a little water when the bones started peeking out a little. I tried to skim off any impurities after a couple hours, but there wasn’t really much to skim off, maybe because I used high quality bones?

All night, we could smell the broth in the crockpot, and all night, I dreamed about food. In the morning, it looked like this:

Finished Bone Broth

Finished Bone Broth

 

Then I strained everything out, let the broth cool in mason jars, and then put it in the fridge.

After hearing from a friend that they know someone who puts the bones back in for a second go-round, I decided to try it, and set everything back up in the crockpot to see if I could get a decent second batch of broth from one set of bones. I also came across this post from Nourished Kitchen, Perpetual Soup: The Easiest Bone Broth You’ll Make. Loving this idea, I decided to keep going with this set of bones as long as I can.

For the second batch of broth, I ended up letting it go longer than 24 hours, and just strained it out this morning. The broth is now cooling on my counter before I put it in the fridge, and a third batch is going in the crockpot.

I didn’t add much, if any, salt to the batches, as that can always be added later when you use it, but cannot be taken away if there is too much. Yesterday, I warmed up a jar of the broth with a little added salt, and drank it. It was DELICIOUS.

Overall, the process is super easy and takes very little active time. Its so easy, I wonder why I didn’t try this sooner.

Primal/Paleo Thoughts

I’ve been doing my best to stick as closely as I can to a primal/paleo way of eating. I’ve had a couple backslides, but have been doing pretty well with it. The key, so far, is to make sure that I have groceries in the house, of course. And even if I do, but find that I do not feel like cooking, I try to make sure I choose someplace to eat that has a higher chance of keeping me at least gluten-free and sugar-free.

I ordered a mixed package of grass-fed beef from Hat Creek Grown in Northern California and am loving their meat so far. We’ve made a few things – a chuck roast, NY steaks, and ground beef dishes. Right now, I have the cross rib roast in the crockpot. I’m a huge fan of roast-type dishes, because they are super easy and require little supervision on my part. Cooking is not really my forte, and not something I am very comfortable with.

In between beef dishes, I’m making meals using conventional pork and either conventional or organic chicken. Mixing in the conventional products helps me to bring my costs down for now, which is helpful.

Another site that I am loving is PaleoTrack.com, which is awesome for nutrition tracking. While the food database *could* be better, I find it suitable, and I especially love that it gives you the Omega 6 to Omega 3 breakdowns. I do find that eating REAL foods, I have to pay attention to how much I am eating and make sure that I am eating enough – enough protein, enough fat. If I don’t pay attention to that, then the amount I eat drops especially low and I do not need to be losing any weight right now.

I finished reading The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson the other day. That was a very good read. It gave me lots to think about when choosing my foods, and it was especially interesting to read the sections describing how our bodies react to the gluten and sugars, what that does to our insulin levels, etc. I liked the workout sections a lot too.

While I’ve never been one for working out or physical activity in general, I’ve been trying to work hard at incorporating that into my lifestyle. I had started doing modified push ups against a wall a few weeks ago, and am getting close to being able to do 50 at a time. So almost time to move on to the next type of modified push ups, which I believe is the girly version. 🙂  I’ve also been working on squats, which is not so easy, but I can do maybe 15 at a time. And we put a pull up bar in the doorway to our hallway, and I can do about 3 chin ups and 0 actual pull ups.  But I am working on it. Eventually I will be able to do ONE whole pull up. 😀

Primal Eating

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research on the primal/paleo eating lifestyle and that is something that I am working towards. Most importantly, I am trying to cut out any wheat/gluten, sugar, and processed foods, but it is a battle. The hardest part for me is moving away from my morning espresso laced with sugary syrup. One of my other battles is that cooking, in general, has not been one of my strong suits. I can rock at baking cookies, but cooking real foods is something that I have to work at and improve upon.

So far, I’ve been dabbling. Figuring out some healthy meals and ways to prepare real foods that we enjoy, mixed with crappy poisonous fast foods when I don’t feel like cooking. So its all a work in progress. And my goal is to keep progressing with it and improving my cooking skills.

Right now, I am in the middle of reading The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. It is a great book. I love the in-depth explanations of how our body processes wheat and sugar, what that does to our insulin levels and how the changes in insulin levels affect our body. It also gives a great explanation of how cholesterol works. I have a number of other books on my list of books to read that will hopefully continue to give me motivation to improve my way of eating and living, and make the necessary changes to improve my health and life.