My Favorite Things – November

Sunflowers

Another month has come and gone, Christmas is right around the corner and so is a new year! This month has seen some serious building here at the vineyard – we had an ICF barn raising! While it is still not completed, it is close. We contracted the concrete floor and roof and we did the ICF (insulated concrete forms) walls ourselves. When we returned from Thanksgiving in Georgia with family, the roof was completed (pictures next week!) With the flat terrain here in west Texas, you can see the red metal roof for miles!

November was the month that I quit coffee and other caffeinated beverages! On November 7, 2012 I was officially off all caffeine and I marked it on the calender   ;) For me that is a major change. Not that I was addicted to coffee (denial), but 8 – 10 cups per day were very comforting! I am definitely sleeping better and feel more rested.

I was also privileged to do a couple of guest posts this month – one at Gutsy with my Liver and Onions recipe and the other at Kelly the Kitchen Kop where I shared my story of Healing Arthritis and Osteoporosis with the GAPS diet.

Elsewhere, here are my favorite things:

E-Books and Classes on Sale:

  • Natural Cocktails from Our Nourishing Roots includes recipes for honey sweetened cocktails like Hard Lemonade and two Tea Bourbon Cocktails that are GAPS-friendly, virgin Eggnog, Shirley Temples, a Lime Rickey, and other drink-making recipes that do not involve alcohol plus non-alcoholic aspects to the book like how to make homemade bitters which are very stomach-settling and a good help to digestion when made into a Bitters & Soda.
  • Real Food for the Holidays from Nourished Kitchen includes a 10-workshop online series featuring over 30 videos, 30 holiday menus, a mix-and-match holiday menu maker and 200 real food recipes for the holidays. Recipes and menus are suitable for Weston A Price, GAPS/SCD, Grain-free and Paleo eaters.
  • DIY Organic Beauty Recipes from Mommypotamus includes recipes for such beauty products as shampoo, conditioners, lotions, deodorant, lip balm, body butter, natural tooth powder and much more – get ready to pamper yourself!

Articles:

Recipes:

Photo Credit © Depositphotos.com/trans961

 

 

Tasty Traditions

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Welcome to another episode of Tasty Traditions, a real food blog carnival and time for Real Foodies to share their wisdom and creativity. For those of you not familiar with a carnival, it is a place for bloggers to link their posts on a particular subject – in this case, real food.  These posts can be Real Food Recipes, Book Reviews, Tips for Healthy Living, Giveaways (involving Real Food or neat kitchen gadgets), Video Tutorials or Green Living Solutions. Just about anything that would help in the quest to return to traditional healthy living.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a blog, you can still join the fun! Simply post your recipe or tip in the comment section.

Rules to Participate:

1. If you are posting a recipe – Please only post REAL food recipes. That means no processed, fake ingredients like margarine, white flour or white sugar.

2. Please link the URL of your blog post NOT your homepage.

3. Show you are cultured by using your best blog carnival manners - Update your post with a link back to Tasty Traditions so others can enjoy the fun! For example – ‘This post is part of: Tasty Traditions’

4. Speaking of sharing the fun – It would help me and others if you would share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any other social media sites you participate in – you will help increase exposure to traditional real food.

5. Leave a comment with a description of your link.



How to Make Kefir Video

I am sure you have heard of yogurt but have you heard about kefir?

Kefir has even more probiotic potential than yogurt – it is like yogurt on steroids! While yogurt normally has 5 – 7 strains of bacteria, kefir has 50+ strains of beneficial bacteria to nourish your body.

Kefir is not as thick as yogurt and can be drunk plain but also makes a wonderful smoothie. While kefir alone has a twang to it, when blended with fruit and honey it is difficult to tell the difference between it and a smoothie made with yogurt. So, whether you have it plain or as a smoothie, it is a refreshing probiotic drink.

From my affiliate partner you can purchase Kefir grains, which look like little cauliflower pieces, are needed to make kefir. The grains are a mix of yeast and bacteria living in a symbiotic relationship. Since the grains multiply, it is very easy to obtain some from a friend who already makes kefir – if you have one. Otherwise, they are available online. If properly cared for, they should last indefinitely. If you need a break from kefir making, the grains may be rinsed and refrigerated in non-chlorinated water (chlorine will kill them). I have even read that they can be frozen for future use but have not tried it.

Like most things, homemade kefir is tastier and more economical than its store bought counterpart. With homemade kefir, you get the taste you prefer because the twang is determined by the length of time you leave the grains in the milk.

Milk kefir grains may also be used to make coconut milk kefir. Follow the same procedure as shown in the video just be sure to revitalize the grains in dairy milk for 24 hours every few weeks to maintain their health.

Watch the video yourself to see just how easy kefir is to make – below the video is the recipe.

Kefir Recipe

Ingredients to make 1 quart:

4 c whole milk (we use raw milk from our family milk cow, Buttercup)

2 – 4 Tbsp kefir grains (from my affiliate -where to buy)

Other items needed:

1 qt mason jar, lid or cheesecloth to cover jar loosely, mesh strainer, spatula

Directions:

Put the kefir grains in a 1 qt mason jar.

Pour whole milk over the grains leaving about 1 inch space at the top of the jar.

Stir the milk and grains and cover loosely.

Leave in a warm place for 12 – 24 hrs. – depending on the taste you prefer. The kefir grains culture the milk and the longer it is left the tangier it will become. I leave mine on the kitchen counter for 24 hours. If it has separated and there is a bit of liquid on the bottom, I shake it before straining.

Pour the kefir through a  strainer into another jar catching the grains in the strainer. Refrigerate and enjoy.

 

Beef Plus – Chili for a Crowd

In the following, I have linked to products from my affiliate partners that I personally use and recommend.

Chili for a crowd with beef and even organ meats – Shhh – no one has to know!

With the cold weather upon us, it is time for some warm and comforting chili! Since I am new to meat eating, I am quite adventuresome in trying new and different meats and enjoying them.

So, when it came to a chili recipe, not only did it need to be chili for a crowd, but I thought, why just stop with plain ground beef chili? Why not make it a powerhouse of nutritionally dense food by adding organ meats? Our family enjoys liver and onions. And, when we butchered our first steer, we made heart kabobs from the Nourishing Traditions Cookbook by Sally Fallon – they were absolutely delicious!

I have been trying to incorporate more organ meats into our diet because they are so good for you. Organ meats from grassfed animals are one of the most nutrient-dense foods available! They are packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients. According to Prevention Magazine’s Nutrition Advisor, beef liver is at the top of the list of foods that are highest in vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamins B-6 and B-12.

For me, a chili recipe had to be a chili for a crowd recipe! With 6 out of the 9 people at home being boys with healthy appetites, it was an absolute necessity! Plus, I love dishes that make enough for a couple of meals! So, while the following recipe is sized for a large family or crowd, it can be easily decreased to make a smaller quantity. I have given the smaller amounts, to serve 8 – 10)  for each ingredient in parentheses. Don’t be afraid to make the larger amount, even if your family cannot eat it all at once, it freezes well and you have a ready made meal!

The following recipe contains links to products available from my affiliate partners, sources I trust and use myself.

Beef “Plus” Chili for a Crowd

Serves 8 – 10

Ingredients:

  •  2lbs grassfed gound beef (where to buy)
  • 1 lb heart or kidney – or use both! (where to buy)
  • 1 lb liver (where to buy)
  • 4 cups  white beans (where to buy)
  • 2  large onions, chopped
  •  4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil 
  •  1 – 25oz can chopped tomatoes – homegrown are best
  •  1 – 2 cups bone broth or water
  • 4 Tbsp chili powder*
  • 1 Tbsp cumin*
  • 1/2 tsp basil*
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt*
  • kefir or lemon juice

Serves 20

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs grassfed gound beef (where to buy)
  • 2 lbs  heart or kidney – or use both! (where to buy)
  • 2 lbs  liver (where to buy)
  • 12 cups white beans (where to buy)
  • 8 large onions, chopped
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 2  large cans (102oz) cans chopped tomatoes – homegrown are best
  • 1 gallon bone broth or water
  • 1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp chili powder*
  • 5 Tbsp cumin*
  • 6 Tbsp basil*
  • 4 Tbsp sea salt*
  • kefir or lemon juice

* Looking for organic, non-irradiated herbs & spices? Click Here

Instructions:

The day before:

Soak the beans for 24 hours. Cook until tender. The night before: Cut liver into bite size pieces and place into a medium bowl. I have found that it works best if you cut the liver with kitchen scissors.

Cover with either kefir or water. If covering with water, squeeze the juice of 2 lemons into the water. Place into the refrigerator. This helps neutralize the strong taste of the liver.

Serving Day:

Heat oil in a large stock pot. Add the onions, garlic and liver – saute until the onions are translucent.

Add the ground beef and brown stirring to break it up into small pieces.

Cut the heart and kidney into bite size pieces with scissors and add to the above mixture.

Once the meats are browned and cooked add the tomatoes and spices.

Add enough water or broth to make the desired consistency.

Makes 3 1/2 – 4 gallons of chili for a crowd.

Enjoy!

Beef Plus - Chili for a Crowd
Author: 
 
Serves 8 - 10
Ingredients
To serve 8-10
  • 2lbs grassfed gound beef (where to buy)
  • 1 lb heart or kidney - or use both! (where to buy)
  • 1 lb liver (where to buy)
  • 4 cups white beans (where to buy)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 - 25oz canchopped tomatoes - homegrown are best
  • 1 - 2 cups bone broth or water
  • 4 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • ½ tsp basil
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • kefir or lemon juice
To Serve 20
  • 4 lbs grassfed gound beef (where to buy)
  • 2 lbs heart or kidney - or use both! (where to buy)
  • 2 lbs liver (where to buy)
  • 12 cups white beans (where to buy)
  • 8 large onions, chopped
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large cans (102oz) cans chopped tomatoes - homegrown are best
  • 1 gallon bone broth or water
  • ½ cup + 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 5 Tbsp cumin
  • 6 Tbsp basil
  • 4 Tbsp sea salt
  • kefir or lemon juice

    I buy all my spices from my affiliate partner Mountain Rose Herbs because of their superior quality. Their herbs & spices are organic, non-irradiated plus, I think they are more aromatic and full flavored than any others.
Instructions
The day before:
  1. Soak the beans for 24 hours. Cook until tender.
The night before;
  1. Cut liver into bite size pieces and place into a medium bowl.
  2. Cover with either kefir or water. If covering with water, squeeze the juice of 2 lemons into the water.
  3. Place into the refrigerator. This helps neutralize the strong taste of the liver.
Serving day:
  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot. Add the onions, garlic and liver - saute until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the ground beef and brown stirring to break it up into small pieces.
  3. Cut the heart and kidney into bite size pieces with scissors and add to the above mixture.
  4. Once the meats are browned and cooked add the tomatoes and spices.
  5. Add enough water or broth to make the desired consistency.
  6. Enjoy!

ICF Barn Raising – Roof

Progress continues this week on our new ICF (insulated concrete forms) barn! Last week in ICF Barn Raising, I detailed how we contracted the foundation preparation and the concrete floor being poured and finished. Then, we erected the 16 ft tall ICF walls and poured concrete into them ourselves!

This is how it looks now from the vineyard. As you can see, it towers above the vineyard and can be seen from quite a distance!

For a close up looking into the barn:

The peak of the roof stands about 23 ft. high and are all welded together. And finally, to give a bit more perspective:

Once the metal beams are all in place, the roofers will put a rustic red metal roof on it and a large door in the front. Finally, we will finish the outside with a stucco like finish,install the two remaining, walk-through doors and put glass block in the front windows. We are almost done!

Tasty Traditions

Welcome to another episode of Tasty Traditions, a real food blog carnival and time for Real Foodies to share their wisdom and creativity. For those of you not familiar with a carnival, it is a place for bloggers to link their posts on a particular subject – in this case, real food.  These posts can be Real Food Recipes, Book Reviews, Tips for Healthy Living, Giveaways (involving Real Food or neat kitchen gadgets), Video Tutorials or Green Living Solutions. Just about anything that would help in the quest to return to traditional healthy living.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a blog, you can still join the fun! Simply post your recipe or tip in the comment section.

Rules to Participate:

1. If you are posting a recipe – Please only post REAL food recipes. That means no processed, fake ingredients like margarine, white flour or white sugar.

2. Please link the URL of your blog post NOT your homepage.

3. Show you are cultured by using your best blog carnival manners - Update your post with a link back to Tasty Traditions so others can enjoy the fun! For example – ‘This post is part of: Tasty Traditions’

4. Speaking of sharing the fun – It would help me and others if you would share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any other social media sites you participate in – you will help increase exposure to traditional real food.

5. Leave a comment with a description of your link.



Pumpkin Seeds – Toasting

As I posted last week, we are blessed with gobs of pumpkins! We love pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie … there is almost no end to what you can do with pumpkin – but, what do you do with all the pumpkin seeds? We toast them! Pumpkin seeds have a wonderful flavor especially when tossed with butter and sea salt. My family loves them and I bet yours will too!

As with any seed, nut or grain, proper preparationis very important – precautions should be taken to break down the phytic acid. In nature, the phytic acid helps protect the seed until germination occurs thus insuring (as much as possible) the re-population of the plant. In the human body, however, phytic acid works as an anti-nutrient and actually binds with minerals in the foods eaten and those in our bodies to prevent absorption of nutrients. So, it is important to neutralize the phytic acid. This can be done by soaking, sprouting and fermenting. For pumpkin seeds, I have found soaking to be the best and easiest method. After you have scooped out the seeds from the pumpkin, separate the seeds from the stringy pulp. Place the seeds in a bowl and cover with water. Allow to soak for 24 hours.

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Why I Quit Coffee

Coffee cup with coffee beans background

Reasons to quit coffee – there aren’t any are there?

After all, coffee make the work go round!

For those who know me personally, you will be shocked to learn that I have quit drinking coffee – yes, I found reasons to quit coffee!

Yep, ME, a devout coffee drinker whose preferred brewing method has been an Italian automatic coffee maker or a french press  – I have kicked the habit!

This is a subject I would not even have discussed because after all, coffee has antioxidants – right? Well, yes BUT, the antioxidants in coffee are so weak they are of little benefit!

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Liver and Onions

I love liver and onions!

After being a vegetarian for 30+ years, I think it is delicious.

I know, you may not agree with me but, even my children enjoy it! So, if my children can eat it without complaining and even enjoy it (including the 4 yr. old), I challenge you to give it a try!

And, if you need a dependable source of good quality grass-fed liver, click here.

When my friend, Caroline over at Gutsy asked me to do a guest post, I knew that “Liver and Onions” was the recipe to share!  Some may consider it a “gutsy” recipe but I consider it just good, down home, good for you, traditional cooking!

For a terrific Liver and Onions Recipe, go to Gutsy!

ICF Barn Raising

As you may already know, we are sold on ICF (insulated concreteforms) building. For the do-it-your-selfer they are easy to use – they literally snap together like big legos and the insulation value is amazing! We have used them for the first phase of our house here at the vineyard which will eventually be our basement, the filter house/pavilion, greenhouse and now a barn.

In the past we have used the Rewards ICF but our supplier has changed to Fox Blocks. Slightly different in dimensions, they are put together the same.This time, instead of gluing each course (or layer) together, clips were used which made them even faster to put together. The barn is 40ft x 60 ft and we put the walls together in 2 days and poured the concrete into them the third!

First, however, we contracted the concrete pad. The site was leveled and forms built for the concrete floor.

It was exciting to see the concrete being poured and know that we did not have to do any of the work – this is definitely the way to do it!

We had them order extra concrete to pour the stairs at the filter house/pavilion. Now, all that remains is the final coat of the EIFS (exterior insulation finishing system) and it will be completed, except for the roof above the pavilion and banister!

After several days allowing the concrete to cure and harden, work on the walls began. The first day, half of the 16 ft high walls were finished and bracing was put into place for added support especially once the concrete was poured.

The second day the remainder of the 16 ft walls were completed. For our house, John built walk boards around the top for access, but this time we rented a scissor lift from the builder who completed the floor and will return for the metal roof. The large opening is for a 14 ft x 14 ft roll up door – large enough to drive the harvester through.

The real work came on the third day when concrete was poured to fill the walls! Well, to  be honest, it was easy for me – I just watched!   ;)

If you remember, when we poured concrete for the filter house/pavilion, we bucketed it from the truck’s shoot to the top of the walls. This was a relatively small amount and we did not feel it warranted the expense of a pumper truck. But, the 16 ft barn walls were definitely a job for a pumper!

As you can see, the pumper truck set up to the side of the barn and the concrete was pumped through the hose high in the air up to the top.

On the scissor lift, John held the hose and guided the concrete into the wall opening. The walls were filled in 3 rounds which took about 6 hours! Needless to say, everyone (including John’s brother, Joe who came out to help) was extremely tired and dirty by the end of the day!

Next week the contractor returns to finish the metal roof!