Friday, December 19, 2014

Radically Natural Recipe: Winter Spice Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies (plus Soaked Steel Cut Oats)



We usually end up with leftover cooked oats on the mornings we eat breakfast porridge.  This recipe (borrowed and tweaked from lifebyjeanie.com) combines leftover cooked oats with gluten free flours and warm wintery spices.  We eat them for breakfast, smeared in butter, but you can eat them as cookies anytime.  They are soft and filling.  Enjoy!

[Fun fact...when made with sunflower butter, your cookies will turn green.  This has happened to me, and I just learned that the odd hue is caused by the sunflowers' chlorophyll reacting with the baking soda.  Check this out.]


Winter Spice Breakfast Cookies

1 cup coconut oil OR 1/2 cup coconut oil and 1/2 cut butter OR 1 cup nut butter
3/4 cup raw coconut sugar OR 1/2 cup raw honey
2 eggs
3 tsp vanilla
2 cups gluten free flour mix (check out the video below)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tb cinnamon
1/2 tsp. each ginger, nutmeg, cloves (more to taste as desired)
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup raw cacao nibs
2 cups cooked soaked oatmeal (recipe below)
4 Tb raw milk OR yogurt

Combine the wet ingredients (not the oats or milk yet) and mix well.  Incorporate the dry ingredients (minus raisins and nibs), then add the milk and the cooked oatmeal.  Finally add the raisins and the cacao nibs.  Mix until well combined.  Spoon onto greased or lined (silpat, parchment) cookie sheets.  Bake at 375º for 12 to 15 minutes.  The cookies will not spread and they will be golden and soft when finished (though thoroughly cooked inside...should not be gummy).

Here is a helpful video tutorial on making your own gluten free flour mix (thanks for the link, Amy!).






Soaked Steel Cut Oats (with cooking shortcut)

I have seen varying NT-style methods for preparing oats.  Here is my method.  If you don't already know why you should soak your oats and other grains (in an acidic medium) before consumption, please read Nourishing Traditions and/or the many available articles on the topic (I'll post a few links below).

Because oats are nearly devoid of phytase, the enzyme activated by soaking that helps to break down phytic acid, it is important to add a small amount of a grain that does contain phytase during your oat soak.  I use buckwheat because it is a gluten-free grain (as are oats when not contaminated).  The ratio is 1 Tb. buckwheat groats to 1 cup oats.  I usually cook steel cut oats for improved nutrient and taste profile.

My current method of "quicker" steel cut oats for breakfast is as follows.  On any given morning, I begin the soaking process by putting my oats and buckwheat into my pot with a small amount (about 1/4 cup) of kefir or a few generous dashes of ACV.  I then fill the pot with nontoxic water, basically in a 2-1 water to grain ratio.  (The oats will expand.)  I allow the oats to soak all day (minimum 12 hours).  Before bed, I rinse the oats with fresh water (some people do, some people don't...), then return them to the pot and cover the oats with water to about one inch above the oats' level.  I turn on the stovetop to medium and bring the oats to a gentle boil.  At that point, I turn off the heat, cover the pot with its lid, and go to bed.  In the morning, the oats will be cooked, having slowly absorbed the liquid overnight, and will only need to be heated before consumption.  I serve with generous amounts of butter, cinnamon, some raisins and raw milk.  Leftover oats are baked into breakfast cookies.

[Some suggest that oats should be soaked for 24 hours.  This is not bad advice.  The longer the soak, the more nutrients become available.  To soak for 24 hours with my method, just start the soaking on Evening A, and rinse and "cook" on Evening B.]


The "Why" of Soaking Grains




Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Radically Natural Recipe: Potato Chips


Don't eat junk?  Check.  Don't buy processed food?  Double check.  Curious to try a fun, healthy, salty starch snacks post GAPS?  Sure!  Let's make potato chips!

The primary health snafu with commercial potato chips (even those sold at "health" food stores) is the frying fat used.  We know that fake fats and "veggie" oils just aren't good for us.  But they certainly are cheap for commercial production.  If you want to fry foods and avoid deleterious health affects, make your own using real stable fats...saturated fats.  The best choices for potato chips are lard or coconut oil.

It's time-consuming to make your own snacks, but the value of Real Food is undeniable.  And it's fun to get your kids involved...they are learning and they love the eating!  Be particularly attentive, though, when frying with children, as we want to avoid splatter burns.


Tips for Making Potato Chips

Choose the correct potato and slice it thinly.  A floury variety is best for chips, as they have a lower water and sugar content, allowing them to crisp more easily.  Basically, you want a Russett variety.

Use a wok or heavy-bottomed pot for the frying, and have a candy thermometer that can go to 350º F.

Perform a water rinse and vinegar soak on your potato slices, then dry them.  This removes starch and increases crispness in your chips, as well as reducing frying time.


Potato Chips:  The Steps



1.  Slice potatoes thinly, about 1/8" (either a mandoline or food processor work nicely)
2.  Rinse the slices in cold water, filling bowl with water and swishing about the potato slices, then draining water.  Do this multiple times until the water remains clear.  This is helping to remove excess starch for the frying process.
3.  Soak the slices in a vinegar water bath (1/2 cup vinegar to 4 cups water) for up to 2 hours.  This helps to increase crispness during the frying process.
4.  Allow the slices to air dry.  This reduces water content and shortens frying time, encouraging crispness.
5.  Heat about 4 cups of a healthy saturated oil (coconut or lard) in a wok or large, heavy-bottomed pot until it reaches 300º.  Monitor temperature with a candy thermometer.  The temperature will fluctuate as you add and remove the potatoes, so adjust the heat accordingly.  You don't want the oil so hot that the chips easily burn...I find that temps between 300º and 350º work well.
6.  Using a slotted spoon or Chinese bamboo strainer or other such device, add a group of slices into the pan so that all slices will submerge into the oil.  They will pop upon entry as water leaves the potatoes.
7.  Fry until the chips are done...they will be golden brown and the sizzling/popping noise will cease, indicating the absence of water in the chips.  About 5-6 minutes a batch.
8.  Remove slices (using strainer) to a paper towel-covered plate and season to your desired taste...lots of real salt, surely, and perhaps pepper or a homemade herb or spice blend.
9.  Allow to cool and dry completely before storing in a bag or container to ensure continued crispness.
10.  Save some for the kids!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Radically Natural POV: Beware Flu Shot Pushers!

A few weeks ago, during a drive home from a visit to the coast, we stopped at a Rite Aid so my kids could use the bathroom (yes, I weary of roadtrip gas station bathroom stops).  The available facilities in this store were the employee bathrooms in the back stocking area...you know, behind the double doors ominously marked "Employees ONLY."  As we passed through the doors and walked toward the bathroom hallway, I noticed the following sign:




Ah, the winter "flu shot" vaccine push begins.  And apparently, pharmacies have a quota to fill.  The vaccine industry is a money-making machine, and the Wall Street Journal claims that "pharmacies could use a sales boost," explaining why the stores are rolling out the shots earlier this year.



Traditionally, influenza-vaccination season started in October. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the timing be moved up by a month. Now, the shots are available before Labor Day, mixing it up with suntan lotion and back-to-school supplies. ... The hope is that customers will stop in for a flu shot and pick up shampoo or a gallon of milk.

Certainly by now you have heard and read about the dangers of the non-evidence-based flu shot: its lack of efficacy (ie the "one shot protects from a cornucopia of viral strains" fallacy, and the immunity conferring fallacy), and its damaging effect upon your natural immune system.  Your best bet during flu season is to stay well nourished with Real Food (particularly traditional healing foods like broths and probiotic foods, as well as foods rich in vitamin D and A, like cod liver oil), and to use real botanical medicine (both prophylactically, like elder and echinacea, as well as a variety of illness remedies).


Or, you could trust the illustrious CDC.  Yes, a new chapter of the vaccine controversy became prominent in late August after CDC scientist William Thompson came forward, admitting that the CDC has suppressed data showing a link between autism and vaccines.  The CDC is one of the medical industry's loudest voices in the virulent decrying of doctors and scientists who have for many years questioned vaccine safety and efficacy.


But you can climb that mountain of research.  The question we all should be asking is why these shots are being pushed so aggressively.


To learn more, check out the links below.  


Why We Refuse Vaccination (My research paper)

Protecting Our Children from Fear-Based Medicine

A Shot Never Worth Taking (Kelly Brogan, MD)

10 Reasons Flu Shots Are Dangerous
Drug Stores Get an Early Start Pushing Flu Shots (WSJ)
Autism Vaccine CoverUp Snowballs (Updates of recent CDC Whistleblower Scandal)
CDC Whistleblower Calls on Congress to Intervene ("I have a boss who is asking me to lie!")
Vaccine-Autism Fraud Revealed

Radically Natural Remedies for Winter Ick

EWW Ailment Treatments List

Monday, September 8, 2014

What? No Bread with That Butter?

People who know me well know me as a butter pusher.  Fat (wonderful fat, nourishing fat, necessary fat, delicious fat, good fat) is the most essential human nutrient, and my favorite fat is pastured butter...homemade from raw grass-fed milk preferably, but hey, that's hard to keep up with 365 days a year...I buy butter, too!  Good butter is so beloved in my household that my younger son likes to give pounds of butter away to special people as gifts...you know he really thinks highly of you when he wants to send you home with some butter.

As my husband and I share with people how important good butter is in the diet and how essential it is to eat lots of it daily, we inevitably hear this question:  How do you eat butter when you don't eat bread?  Granted, we are beginning to eat some homemade sourdough breads of late, but it isn't a regular occurrence; and we were grain-free for two years on the GAPS healing regimen.  So the question remains...how do you eat lots of butter when you don't eat lots of grain-based foods?

I thought I'd enlist my kids to help spread the butter love and share how we eat our butter, hopefully inspiring others to eat more butter without thinking it has to be on bread.  The response I got was funny...my oldest son looked at me, head cocked, eyebrows raised and asked, "What do you mean, people don't know how to eat butter?  You just put it on everything."  I love it!  He is properly butter indoctrinated.


Basically, we just put butter on all our food.  Whatever the meal is that I've prepared, we just top it with butter.  Eggs for breakfast?  Butter them...and the pastured bacon that goes with them.  Steak?  Finish it with a pat of butter.  The accompanying roasted root veggies get buttered, too.  Salmon with carmelized onions and asparagus?  Butter, please!  Roast duck with butternut squash and pureed cauliflower?  How could you not drench with butter?!  We even put butter in our soups...it melts, and it's delicious.

We all know it's important to eat healthy vegetables with our main meals, so if you aren't doing a raw salad, try veggie sautes.  It's a regular standby here, and so easy, nutritious and delicious...just saute onions, garlic, carrots, fennel, summer or winter squash, kale or chard, whatever you have on hand!  When you plate the meal, just add butter!  Steamed veggies?  Of course they love butter.  Oh, how scrumptious veggies are with butter!  If you are eating any form of cooked vegetables, you have a butter vehicle just waiting to be adorned.


I make a lot of one-pot meals with meats (lamb, pork, beef) and veggies...I like fewer pots to clean.  So whether it's Shepherd's Pie or No-Noodle Lasagna or just plain old beef and veggie stir fry, top it off with a spoonful of butter!  Many cultures drizzle all their dishes with olive oil.  We do that, too.  And we also dollop with butter...same concept.

Baked winter squash, baked sweet potatoes, baked all-other-kind-of potatoes, absolutely beg for butter.  And pureed cauliflower spiked with lots of butter (aka GAPS mashed potatoes) is a surefire crowd pleaser.

My kids butter their cheese sometimes.  And when I bake cookies (gluten free at this point), we butter those, too.  My husband likes to eat pick-me-up spoonfuls of butter drizzled with raw honey.  The kids love "chocolate treats," basically butter/cacao mousse.

If you eat grains, all the better to add more butter...rice, quinoa, millet, morning oats...whether plain or pilaf, accompanying grains are always better topped with butter.  Tortillas?  Top with butter, cheese, avocado, salsa, what have you.  Crackers?  Butter them.  Organic popcorn?  Come on, that's an easy one!

So, how do we eat our butter?  Well, I think the better question is how do we not?  (We have yet to dip cold raw veggies in plain butter...though celery sticks with butter and raisins are good.)  The key in my mind is that we are creating meals with Real Food from scratch...and good food begs to be accompanied by good butter.  And olive oil, too...I certainly don't mean to discriminate.  My passion for butter doesn't blind me to the other good fats, we use them all...coconut, lard, duck fat...they all have their place in the kitchen, some for prep, some for finishing.  

But around here, butter reigns supreme.  So grab some grass-fed butter and drip, dollop, scoop, smother...you'll wonder how your meals ever made it to your stomach without butter.


Recipe: GAPS Mashed Potatoes...Pureed Cauliflower

(Super easy, super delicious.  After 6 months on the GAPS protocol, you can barely tell the difference in flavor between this and mashed potatoes...well, we couldn't.  And we took this recipe with us after GAPS, along with many others, because it is just so delicious and nutritious!  It's not really a "GAPS" recipe as much as it's just another way to eat great food.) 

Steam a head or two (depending on size) of cauliflower in water.  When fork tender, put the cauliflower and 1/2 cup of the cooking water into your blender.  Add 1/2 cup butter and some real salt to taste.  Blend until smooth.  You can adjust the amount of liquid to suit the consistency to your taste.

For post-GAPS folks, blend the cauliflower with raw grass-fed milk rather than the cooking liquid, and don't forget lots of butter!...this version is even creamier.  Yum!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Radically Natural Giveaway: Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

To celebrate the successful completion of my first academic round of midwifery studies, I am giving away a copy of homebirth guru and midwife extraordinaire Ina May Garten's book, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth.

This book is fun, educational, inspirational, and necessary for all pregnant and hope-to-be-pregnant ladies.  I can attribute my least painful and easiest birth to a bit of wisdom I garnered from reading it.  (I'll give you a hint...OPEN...visualize it, say it, be it...)

To enter, just sign in to the Rafflecopter entry below and answer the question...tell me one reason to plan a homebirth.  Thanks for participating and enjoy!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 8, 2014

Radically Natural POV: Avoiding GMOs Isn't Enough

I've noticed a little trend of late, at our local farmer's market and natural food store.  I'm hearing inklings of a new twist on the search for clean food.  "As long as it's non-GMO, you're OK...just avoid the GMOs."  I have been told that customers are less willing to pay for organic...they only care that the choices are non-GMO...a less expensive option.  It seems like in the careful consumer's search for "affordable" food, GMO avoidance has taken the spotlight and the chemical soup that we have been so ardent to avoid for so long has begun to fade from our fears.


Image from Wikipedia...Gives new meaning to "food safety," eh?
The GMO scare has become such a prominent focus in the Real Food realm that I wonder if we have lost sight of the bigger picture.  Of course we should avoid GMOs, of course they are not safe, of course they are not Real Food.  But the dangers of GMOs are only one part of the picture.  We can't let the GMO spectre overshadow the reality of toxic chemicals in our soil and our food supply.  The use of pesticides (insecticides, herbicides and fungicides) and synthetic fertilizers is the cornerstone of industrial farming.  These are the dangerous chemicals that health advocates warned us about so fervently in the past decades (how can we forget Silent Spring?), and we should not lessen our resolve to avoid them now.  Research continues to show that exposure to these chemicals can have serious and lasting health consequences for generations (with an emphasis on negative endocrine effects...ie infertility).

We used to have chickens and ducks.  We currently have goats and pigs.  We know firsthand the costs of organic inputs.  My husband's recent search to find local, less expensive, clean grains to feed the animals we raise for our food has been disheartening.  Most of the growers in our area are using the toxic Agent Orange component, 2,4-D, a carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting herbicide.  One farmer my husband spoke with was quick to claim that his grains were non-GMO, but he admitted he did use 2,4-D...the dangers of which he side-stepped with a bit of spin that sounded like a page out of the county extension agent's handbook.

The move to 2,4-D does not bode well for the future of food.  That herbicide is gaining popularity because it works when Roundup does not.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  We know how toxic Roundup is...but 2,4-D is apparently worse.  (And sold for "home" use as well...let us not forget the toxic lawns that American children play on regularly...2,4-D is one of the most popular lawn herbicides used.)  In fact, Dow and Monsanto have already been seeking governmental approval for their next wave of chemical brews to combat the ever-growing "weed" and pest resistance.  As they all do, this widely used herbicide will contribute to the proliferation of "super weeds," which will herald Big Ag's cry for even stronger poisons.  Where does it end?!


Image from heartlandbeat.com...BigAg food prep.
Perhaps I have an overactive imagination, but I can't help feeling that while the heretofore chemically cautious consumers are being distracted by the evil that is GMOs, the chemical companies are laughing all the way to the bank (as they continue to spread their ever-worsening poisons across America).  Of course, big chem and big biotech go hand in hand, as the increasing use of stronger chemicals is being touted by said industries as necessary for their GM crops.

We need to be wary of losing our original zeal for clean, organic, Real Food.  And because commercial (certified) Organic growers are allowed to use some pesticides (yes, even the synthetic kind), we need to be avid about finding clean food sources or growing our own.  If we become lulled into a false sense of security by focusing solely on GMOs, we will return ourselves to the days of eating poison and paying the piper with our physical demise and our children's compromised health future.  The costs of complacency are too high.  

Yes, truly organic food is more expensive, but what is your health worth?  Your children's health...their brain function, immune function, future fertility?  Why are we fooling ourselves into accepting the industry's chemical brews?  Perhaps we need a reminding nudge about what we are turning a blind eye to...maybe a "light read" of the many legal chemical pesticides available to food producers.  (Lists are published state by state...check out this one for New York).  We need to remind our friends, our families, our neighbors, ourselves that the chemical toxins in the food supply have serious and lasting deleterious health affects.  

Nontoxic food costs more to produce; it costs more to purchase.  But...Pay now or pay later.  Such is the reality of dealing with poisons in our food.

Revival of Highly Toxic Herbicide
Pesticide Action Network: Pesticides on Food
2,4-D Fact Sheet
Farmer Speaks Out Against 2,4-D
Big Ag Doesn't Want You to Care about Pesticides
Pesticide Exposure Linked to Adverse Affects Three Generations Later
Beyond Pesticides (Consumer Safety Organization)



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Radically Natural Recipe: Vanilla Ice Cream

The intense summer heat, combined with no air conditioning, means one thing around here:  Ice cream for dinner!  Vanilla ice cream requires no use of heat, so it is our crowd's current favorite.  An all-cream (or mostly all cream) version helps keep kids full until morning.  The extra spices enhance the vanilla flavor.  Sometimes we make an eggnog version, sometimes a Mexican vanilla.  Here's our latest iteration.  It is quite rich, so start with small servings.




Real Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

4 cups raw grass-fed cream
1 cup raw grass-fed whole milk
1/4 to 1/2 cup honey (to your taste, we prefer less sweetness)
4 egg yolks
2 tsp. organic ground vanilla beans (purchase pure vanilla powder from Mtn Rose Herbs or Amazon)
Generous sprinkles of cinnamon and nutmeg

Gently whisk all ingredients (you don't want to blend or beat, this adds air/foam), then chill mixture for a few hours.  Pour chilled mixture into your running ice cream maker, follow instructions for your unit, and Enjoy!