Homemade Beef Bone Stock

I told John I was in the process of writing a post on beef stock and he said all I need to write is, “It’s delicious. The end.” Indeed, stock is very delicious but there’s more to it than that! Read on…

I haven’t purchased any stock in over a year since I’ve discovered how easy it is to make at home.  Making your own stock may sound like a very difficult task, but just look at it as simply simmering bones and vegetables in water. Not so intimidating anymore, is it?

Mastering homemade stock should be at the top of the priority list for those that are wanting to transition to a Real Food lifestyle. That is because it is far more nutritious than anything you’ll find on the grocery store shelf…even when comparing to organic stock. The store bought stuff is basically just flavored water with MSG thrown in to enhance it’s flavor. Here are ingredient decks for 3 popular organic stock options:

  • Filtered water, organic beef stock (organic beef stock, sea salt, flavor), sea salt, organic caramel color, natural flavors (includes yeast extract), organic evaporated cane syrup.
    -Notice the “flavor” ingredient? That along with the second mention of “natural flavors” and yeast extract typically indicates MSG. This stock also contains caramel color, and sugar in the form of evaporated cane syrup. Why would stock ever need to contain sugar? Makes no sense!
  • Organic Beef flavored stock (filtered water, organic beef, organic beef stock), sea salt, organic caramel color, yeast extract, organic onion powder, organic evaporated cane juice, organic natural flavors, xanthan gum, organic spice.
    -This stock also contains MSG in the form of yeast extract, natural flavors and organic spice. Anytime a label just says “spices” without mentioning specific ones, you can bet that it’s MSG. The caramel color, evaporated cane juice (sugar) and xantham gum are unnecessary.
  • Organic beef stock (water, organic beef), sea salt, organic evaporated cane juice, organic onion powder, autolyzed yeast extract, organic garlic powder, organic caramel color, organic black pepper.
    -Once again MSG, sugar and unnecessary coloring are present in this ready-made organic stock.

 

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Easy 3 Step Seasoned Crockpot Whole Chicken

This is the easiest way to make a whole chicken, especially for those that are intimated by cooking an entire bird. It comes out delicious and juicy, and makes your whole house smell amazing. You can season the bird the night before and refrigerate it inside the crock with the lid on. In the morning just pop the crock into the base of the slow cooker and set the timer. I usually go that route so that I have zero prep work on mornings before I head out to work (every Thursday is a slow cooker day in our house).  I’ve been making this chicken for years and this particular blend of seasoning is why I keep coming back to it. It’s just so flavorful!

Cooking a whole chicken is also economical because you will have leftover meat for other meals like soup, enchiladas, casseroles, chicken salad, and you can even turn the bones/carcass into a healthy stock!

1 whole organic chicken (rinsed and patted dry)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp paprika

1. Combine spices in a bowl

2. Rub spice mix onto chicken

3. Place chicken into crockpot and cook on low for 5-8 hours depending on size of chicken.

This time I used a 3 lb bird and cooked it for 6 hours. No need stuff the cavity or  add liquid because the chicken will produce it’s own juice as it cooks. Don’t forget to save the bones and carcass for a future batch of homemade chicken stock!

How To Make Whey (& Yogurt Cheese)

One of the staples of a Real Food diet is regularly eating fermented foods. Not only do fermented foods provide great probiotics to aid digestion but they also allow our food to stay naturally preserved for longer periods of time. One of the easiest mediums to use when fermenting is whey strained from yogurt.

Don’t agonize too much about the perfect yogurt needed to make whey. I wanted to start fermenting very early on but I was confused about the quality of yogurt that I should be using. Lots of blogs recommended raw milk yogurt but that wasn’t an option for me and I’m guessing it’s also not an option for most people either, especially those that are new to the Real Food movement. Of course it’s best if you can source raw milk and grass-fed yogurt but remember that plenty of grocery store brands can pass the test. Here are the minimum qualifications for a good yogurt:

-Organic
-Whole milk
-Plain, unsweetened
-Contains multiple live cultures
-Regular, not Greek yogurt (Greek yogurt is already strained so very little whey will be produced)

How To Make Whey (& Yogurt Cheese)

Items needed:
-Yogurt
-A bowl
-A strainer
-Unbleached cheesecloth or an unbleached towel
-Mason Jar


Steps:

1. Place a strainer over a bowl. Line the strainer with unbleached cheesecloth or an unbleached towel.

2. Pour as much yogurt as you like into the cheesecloth and let the whey drip out into the bowl. I like the pour out an entire yogurt container to get as much whey as possible. This process can take several hours, but will be faster if left out on the counter. If that makes you nervous then place the straining yogurt in the fridge. Just keep in mind that the straining will be much slower.

That’s it! You now have whey and the left over yogurt is strained thick into yogurt cheese which has a cream cheese like consistency (as pictured in the last photo). You can pour your newly acquired whey into a glass jar and store in the fridge. I personally like to strain the whey a second time through a coffee filter for a more clear liquid. If you’d like to do that as well then follow step #3 below.

3. Line an unbleached coffee filter into a mason jar and secure with a rubber-band. Pour the whey through the filter to strain it one more time. I typically do this in batches since the coffee filter can only hold so much at a time.


Here is the strained yogurt cheese. The longer you strain, the more cream cheese like consistency will occur.

Whey can last up to six months in the fridge. I usually use it all up well before it goes bad, but you’ll know when it turns by the smell.

TIP: Try not to dip your spoon directly into the jar when you need some whey. Instead pour the amount needed directly on your spoon to avoid bacteria entering into the jar and spoiling the whey.

Maple Marinated Salmon

This recipe is really easy to throw together and delicious. The other nice thing is the marinade ingredients are kitchen staples so I find the cost of the wild caught salmon filet justified 🙂  This is only the second time that I’ve made this dish and now I am wondering why I haven’t cooked it more often, especially since it’s a great natural source of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, while low in inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids. I need to remember to add this into our regular dinner rotation.

Maple Marinated Salmon

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Salmon (wild caught is best)
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, garlic powder and black pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish. Top with marinade. Cover dish and place in fridge to marinate for 1 hour or longer.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Uncover dish and cook for 15 to 20 minutes depending on thickness of salmon.
  4. Remove from oven and spoon additional marinade from bottom of baking dish onto salmon.
http://www.acasablog.com/2013/11/maple-marinated-salmon/


Along with the salmon we had sauteed bok choy and coconut garlic rice (recipe coming sometime in the near future. It’s our favorite rice dish!).

Real Food

In my first post I talked about Real Food. Well what exactly is Real Food? The following is a brief overview of it’s history:

    
Weston A. Price
Source: Wikipedia.org   

The health benefits of Real Food was discovered in the 1930s by a dentist named Weston A. Price. At the time processed foods were starting to become more common place and he was beginning to see a correlation between poor dental health and declining physical well-being.  During this time tuberculosis was widespread and Price made the connection that his patients with the worst dental health were also the most susceptible to illness. His observation of increased  tooth decay and declining health lead him to spend a decade visiting isolated parts of the world in order to study people unaffected by the industrialized food system. It is very important to understand that this type of research would be very difficult to do in today’s times as there really aren’t many areas left that have been untouched by civilization. Price studied 14 diverse groups, among  them were Alaskan Inuits, North and South American tribes, Australian Aborigines, Ploynesians, Swiss Alps villagers and the Maasai African tribe. These native groups ate entirely local foods and prepared in the way of their ancestors.

Price found a striking similarity across all the populations he studied despite the fact that they came from different parts of the world. Those who held on to their traditional, native diets of real food had significantly better overall health than those same tribe members who became “civilized” and  turned to processed foods. Traditional eaters had straight teeth, healthy gums, no tooth decay (remarkable since none ever brushed their teeth!), were healthy, strong and able to birth children with ease. Industrialized eaters had crooked teeth, tooth decay, degenerative illnesses and infertility.

Although the specific foods that each tribe ate may have differed depending on their location, they all placed an emphasis on full-fat and ate foods found in their whole, natural state.  There were no preservatives, artificial colors, refined flour, low fats, or pasteurization. Their fruits and vegetables were grown organically with no pesticides and their animals were not subjected to growth hormones or antibiotics.

Price brought home some traditional foods to analyze in his lab and he discovered that their vitamin and nutrient content were much higher than those typically found in western diets. For example the native foods contained four times the calcium and at least ten times the fat soluble vitamins A & D. He also noted  the common practice of fermentation increased enzymes that aided digestion and allowed the nutrients to be better absorbed.

While it’s unfortunate  that the natives that moved away from their traditional ways began to suffer from ailments and tooth decay, it’s important and even more so encouraging to understand that if they returned to their traditional way of eating that their health was regained and their tooth conditions reversed. This is great news to us modern people who wish to achieve optimal health!

Below are some basic guidelines of Real Food:

-Organic Fruits & Vegetables
-Pastured or Grassfed Meats and Wild-caught Seafood
-Traditionally prepared food to increase nutrient content and decrease anti-nutrients (examples: fermenting and soaking)
-Avoiding GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)
-Avoiding processed foods, including fat-free or low-fat foods
-Eating full fat foods including pastured butter, coconut oil, and lard

If you aren’t eating a Real Food diet then you are most likely consuming:

-Pesticide containing fruits and vegetables
-Hormone and antibiotic containing meats
-GMOs like high fructose corn syrup and soy
-Trans fats
-MSG
-Artificial flavors and colors
-Artificial sweeteners
-Preservatives

If you would like to learn more in-depth information about Price’s research and work you can read his book, Nutrition & Physical Degeneration. If you would like to learn more about traditional real food, including cooking techniques and recipes then I highly recommend Sally Fallon Morrel’s book, Nourishing Traditions.

Easy Taramasalata

Growing up we used to eat taramasalata a lot. My mom would buy the jarred Krinos brand and mix it with lots of minced onion to give it more flavor. We would end up eating so much bread just to have a vehicle for the delicious spread. After turning away from processed foods this past year I was happy to learn that making taramasalata at home is very easy….and just as tasty!

Here is the ingredients list for the Krinos brand:
Water, Canola Oil, Carp (Fish) Roe, Lemon Juice, Vegetable Juice (Color), Lactic Acid and Acetic Acid.

The list isn’t too long and at first glance may not look too sketchy, however I do not stock any GMO oil (canola) products in my kitchen so a homemade version is the only one that will do!


(Mom’s homemade bread made an appearance in today’s recipe)

Easy Taramasalata

Recipe adapted from NourishedKitchen.com/taramasalata

Ingredients

  • 2-3 thick slices of bread, crust-less, soaked in water and squeezed
  • 1/3 cup tarama
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 pastured egg yolk*
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion

Instructions

  1. Squeeze out water from bread and combine with taram in a food processor, blend.
  2. Add the lemon juice and paprika to bread/taram mixture and blend.
  3. Add egg yolk and process to combine.
  4. Slowly drizzle olive oil and process until a whipped and creamy texture forms.
  5. Place mixture in a bowl and mix in minced onion.
http://www.acasablog.com/2013/10/easy-taramasalata/

Spread a generous portion of  taramasalata on bread and enjoy! Sometimes I will slice a tomato to add on top if I have any on hand. It makes a great addition to any breakfast or eat alone as snack.

*If you don’t have access to pastured eggs then skip the egg yolk as you wouldn’t want to risk consuming a conventional raw egg

 

Shared on Down Home Blog Hop.

Welcome!

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’ve wanted to write a blog for quite some time but never got around to it until now. I’ve wanted to write a blog for several reasons such as documenting memorable events, having a place to jot down my thoughts, and to share my Real Food journey (I have lots of yummy, nourishing recipes!).

My first exposure into the Real Food movement was by randomly running across a post from The Healthy Home Economist blog back in 2012. I don’t recall what the post was about but it was interesting enough that I bookmarked  it. I didn’t go back to the THHE until months later and at that point something just clicked and I became more interested in the things Sara blogged about. I started reading more and more of her content and noticed she kept referring to the book, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell , so I added it to my Amazon wishlist…. and there it sat for several weeks, if not months. Finally one day I decided to just go to Barnes & Noble to pick it up. I started pouring over it and everything about how I ate and what I considered healthy has never been the same. It was pretty shocking and eye opening. I started slowly making changes that year and set a New Year resolution for 2013 to start learning and incorporating more Real Food dishes and techniques into my life. Living a Real Food lifestyle was overwhelming at first but the more I practiced the easier and more routine it became. I enjoyed cooking before discovering Real Foods but now cooking is something that I absolutely love and look forward to.

Here I am almost 11 months later and I still have so much more to learn and implement. As I write this post, I can smell yummy and nourishing chicken bone broth that’s been simmering for 2 days.  I remind myself that I haven’t purchased store-bought broth since January so I must be doing pretty well already 🙂

PS. Today just happens to be my 29th birthday. Happy birthday to me and to my little blog 🙂

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