Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cultured breakfast smoothie

Cultured Banana Smoothie
Yields: 3 servings

Our American diets are almost completely lacking one of the most important aspects of nutrition, and in learning of a more traditional way of eating, I discovered our lack of fermented food products that are a staple in many other cultures and throughout history.

Humans didn't eat grains without first soaking and fermenting them, knowing that their body could digest partially fermented grains much easier, cultures have used fermentation to preserve and store foods, maybe not realizing the added benefits...

Dairy was almost exclusively fermented into yogurt and cheeses until refrigeration made fresh dairy readily available, and lacto-fermentation specifically, has been used to ferment foods for at least a century. When a product has Ben lacto-fermented it allows for more absorption of vitamins and nutrients, as well as increasing the strength of the gut flora, improving immunity and health.

I have experimented with making my own yogurt, and it was successful, But for ease of explanation I will provide this recipe with an organic Greek yogurt, I use the Fage plain whole milk or 2% milk yogurt. Please avoid fat free yogurts at all costs.

Dairy by nature contains fats, and the chemical processes used to remove the fat solids not only render yogurts benefits useless, they replace the fat with sugars, making it something thats actually unhealthy.

I make this recipe in my blender and portion it out into 3 mason jars for a quick breakfast drink. You can choose to add a scoop of all natural whey protein powder to further boost nutrition if you like, but not necessary this recipe contains 2 egg yolks that provide some protein. And before you get all weird and grossed out, what do you think makes an orange Julius frothy? Egg... So just get over it, it adds a wonderful silky texture to the smoothie, and makes it a true brain food, perfect for breakfast.


1 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
2 egg yolks
1 large ripe banana
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

Blend until smooth, portion out into three servings and refrigerate overnight. Delish!

Nutritional Information Estimated from Sparkrecipes.com

Friday, May 25, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Honey Jam

Strawberry Rhubarb Honey Jam
Yield: 3 1/2 pints

I'm a jam maker - usually every spring I make a few batches of jam, this spring I decided to make my strawberry rhubarb jam, but without sugar, using honey instead.

I prefer my jams to be sugar-free or sugar-less if possible, so lately I have made my recipes to include healthier sugar options, such as agave or honey, and I really like the mild sweetness it produces, and the firm jam that results.

Sugar free jams are notorious for a watery consistency, so this low sweetener version is perfect in taste and texture.

4 pints of strawberries
2 cups of chopped rhubarb
1/2 lemom - juice
2 cups honey syrup
1 package sugar-free pectin

Chop rhubarb into small pieces, removing outer red layer if it is stringy.   Cook over medium high heat for a few minutes to soften.

Add strawberries, along with juice of one lemon. Stir in pectin.

Bring to a rapid boil and then let boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the honey.

If canning - place in your prepared jars and process according the the directions on the pectin box - based on your altitude.  For me, in Denver - it was 20 minutes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bread Pudding French Toast

Bread Pudding French Toast
Serves 4

 Josh has been craving french toast, and while I try to avoid both sugar and wheat, I do allow the occasional indulgence, and making something homemade is the only way I allow myself to indulge. This recipe is the ultimate in the french toast world, definitely the best indulgence I can come up with.

1 loaf of challah or brioche, allowed to sit out and dry the night before, and then cut into large cubes (about 1.5″)
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk (or buttermilk is good too)
1 teaspoon vanilla, or seeds scraped from one fresh vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey, or sweetener of your choice)
1 tablespoon butter

For this recipe I used a loaf pan, used for making things like banana bread., . Butter the dish.
Whisk the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and sugar into the eggs.
Pour the custard mixture over the bread and toss. Press lightly into the loaf pan.
Let sit and soak for at least an hour - up to overnight. Mix well and agin press into the loaf pan into a loaf shape.Preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake until lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted in several spots comes out dry. This will take about 45 minutes. Take out and let it cool completely - even refrigerating it an additional night, if you have the time.
When cool slice the loaf into "bread slices"
Then make another custard with 2 beaten eggs and 2 cups of milk to coat your slices in. 
Then pan fry in butter until crispy on both sides. 
Serve with warm Maple syrup.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mothers Day Potato Salad

Creamy Potato Salad
Serves: 12+

I've never made potato salad from scratch before, but because I'm trying to make everything I can homemade, when my gma asked me to bring some for Mothers Day lunch, I decided to give it a go... I have never been complimented so much before on a single recipe, everyone at the party loved it, and Josh said it was the best potato salad he had ever had! That being said, I probably should be hesitant to share this gem, but nonetheless here you all go:

8 Large Red Skin Potatoes
1 teaspoon salt plus a small handful for the boiling water
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
3 tablespoons chopped chives
1 stalk chopped celery
3 stalks chopped green onion
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce


Cut potatoes into medium sized chunks, uniform in size. Boil potatoes in heavily salted boiling water until fork tender. Drain and let cool on baking dish
Mix mayonnaise, vinegar, sour cream, mustard, Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt and pepper together.
Chop celery, green onion and chives.
Chop potatoes into small chucks, and add celery, chives and green onions.
Toss lightly with mayonnaise mixture to coat evenly, careful not to mash potatoes too much. Taste and adjust salt if needed.

Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mexican Cheesy Rice Casserole

Mexican cheesy rice casserole
Servings 4-6

2 cups cooked long grain white rice
5 diced roasted green chilies (hatch or poblano)
2 ears sweet corn- kernels cut off
1 small onion- diced
1 cup sour cream or Mexican crema
2 cups Mexican cheese blend


Sauté diced onion and corn kernels until onion is translucent.
Place cooked rice and diced chiles in casserole dish, add onion/corn mixtures. Then add 1/2 cheese mixture and sour cream and mix well. Mixture shouldn't be too dry, if it's dry add more sour cream.

Top with remaining cheese and place in 350 degree preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. It will be bubbly and the cheese will have browned on top.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Grilled Baby Artichokes

Grilled Baby Artichokes
Seves 4+

1 package of baby artichokes (or regular sized artichokes)
1 cup of shredded romano cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 lemon


Trim and halve the artichokes (or quarter if full sized) and boil, lid on, until tender in water with salt and sliced lemons. Should take around 10 minutes.

Let them cool completely down, then taking a small spoon, scoop out any of the choke and prickly leaves.

Place the artichokes in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil salt and pepper and place grated romano cheese between the leaves and inside the heart. 

Place them on a hot grill turning them over until the cheese gets crusty and browned, it just takes a few minutes.

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and cheesy grits
Serves: 4

I love grits, they are too underutilized here in the west, they can be made so creamy and satisfying you'll never miss potatoes or rice again... They are also a grain I feel okay occasionally indulging in, buying a nice quality organic stone ground grit.

Shrimp and grits is a common southern staple, and southern cuisine being my favorite to eat, I wanted to share this recipe, so I invited my parents over, knowing they have never had savory grits before.


2lbs large Tiger Shrimp- shelled and deveined
1 cup grits
1/2 package cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
4 tablespoons butter for grits
1/2 stick butter for shrimp basting
2 cups whole milk
1 cup half and half
2 lemons
1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning


Place milk and half and half into a large stockpot and heat over medium, until bubbles form around the edges of the pot, careful not to scorch the milk.
Slowing pour in grits whisking continuously until the grits start to thicken. Turn heat to low, and continue stirring for 5-6 minutes (or whatever the instructions on your package advise), when thick and soft (tasting it) add in the butter and cream cheese and whisk until well combined.
Turn off the heat and whisk in the cheddar cheese and a good pinch of salt. Keep warm with lid on, it will continue to thicken as it cools- so adding in a touch of milk to thin if needed before serving.


I skewered my shrimp so they wouldn't curl up under the broiler.

Top with slices of one lemon.

In a bowl mix 1/2 stick of butter, creole seasoning, and juice of the other lemon and heat in microwave until melted.
Using a pastry brush, baste the shrimp skewers on both sides and place under hot broiler for 3-4 minutes before turning.
Turn shrimp, basting again, and cook 2/3 minutes until shrimp are pink.

Serve grits in a bowl, top with shrimp and a good squeeze of lemon.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Asian Black Pepper Mussels

Asian Black Pepper Mussels 
With Coconut Rice and Grilled Baby Artichokes*
Serves: 4

2lbs fresh mussels
1 bunch cilantro
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce - made from Mushrooms really yummy!
1 lime juiced
1/4 cup palm sugar or brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger - about 1 4 inch piece
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Place mussels under cold running water for 5 minutes.
Allow to dry off on papertowels
In a bowl combine the soy, oyster sauce, lime juice, sugar and half the black pepper. Set aside
Heat the oil in a large saute pan and add garlic and ginger, don't allow to burn. cook for 2-3 mins.
Add the remaining black pepper and stir in well, then add the mussels and 1/2 cup of water. Cover with lid and allow to steam for 3 to 4 minutes, careful not to over cook, once they open they are done.
Remove any mussels that did not open. Add the soy mixture. Stir well adding the butter. 
Top with fresh chopped cilantro and serve with crusty bread wedges and lime wedges.

Coconut Rice:

2 cups long grain white rice - such as jasmine rice
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon kosher salt.

Heat water and coconut milk over medium flame until small bubbles form, stir in rice and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer with lid on for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Let stand in pot for 10 minutes covered, than fluff with a fork. 

*Grilled Baby Artichokes recipe is a separate post.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Slow Cooker BBQ Brisket

Slow Cooker BBQ Brisket

2lb beef brisket
2 cups BBQ sauce (see recipe below)
Served with salad, baked potato and corn on the cob

The recipe I wanted to use called for 2 cups of BBQ sauce, of course I had none (why would I ever have what I actually need?) so I made my own up, as I think it came out pretty good for this recipe!

BBQ Sauce:
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon each of garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
Sprinkle red chili flakes, pinch of salt and pepper.

Mix all ingredients together and let it come to a boil, boil about 5 minutes until it comes together but doesn't reduce much. You'll want it to be a liquid, not thick. Let cool.
I was surprised at how good it was, thin consistency of course, but sweet, tangy and spicy- all my favorite things about BBQ sauce....

My BBQ sauce came out to exactly 2 cups liquid.... If you have more that's fine for marinating, but pour excess off in morning before placing in crock pot, we're not trying to boil our brisket.

Rub brisket with liquid smoke and sprinkle with salt and pepper, place in fridge with marinade (I placed it in a casserole dish, but large freezer bag would be great) and leave it in fridge overnight.

In the morning pour contents into crock pot sauce should come up 3/4 the way up the meat, without completely covering it...and set on low for 9-10 hours.

Look how beautiful it turns out!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Savory Spiced Salmon

 Savory Spiced Salmon 
With Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Baby Bellas
Yield: 2 servings

*PS - I swear I don't eat my dinner straight on the counter - I used a clear glass plate - kinda funny looking...

2 portions Wild Caught Salmon - 6 oz each
1 tablespoon Savory Spice Shops' Pearl St. Plank Rub
1 package baby portabella mushrooms - quartered
Fresh thyme sprig
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon each olive oil and butter
mashed potatoes

My Aunt got me these fantastic spices from a local shop called Savory Spice Shop in Boulder (www.savoryspiceshop.com) and I was looking for a way to start using them. One that I thought smelled particularly good is the Pearl St. Plank Rub - and it's perfect for salmon - so it was perfect for dinner! It has a nice mixture of sweet, heat and BBQ flavors that marry well with salmon. Sweet flavors and salmon pair well together.

Place fillets into a dish and spray with olive oil, then sprinkle on spice rub and let rest about 10 minutes.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Quarter your mushrooms into nice sized chunks, then drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and add some fresh thyme. Place on baking sheet in oven for 15-20 minutes until mushrooms are roasted, soft and browned. 

Did I mention - I LOVE mushrooms and we eat them all the time - so when baby bellas are on sale at the grocery store I usually buy a few packages and eat them all week long... Kinda funny my love of mushrooms - hated them as a kid growing up, but cant get enough mushrooms these days.... Anyways...

Then add salmon fillets to hot skillet with 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil and sear flesh side down for 2-4 minutes depending on thickness. Flip carefully and sear for an additional 2-4 minutes on skin side until crispy and brown.
Remove from skillet, add some mashed potatoes and the roasted mushrooms and you have the easiest dinner ever!