Category Archives: Recipe-Beverages

Every Day Bone Broth

Bone broth is a staple in our home. I save bones from meals out, roast chicken, and bone-in cuts of meat we enjoy at home and it all gets thrown into the Instant Pot for a nutrient rich, homemade staple that gets used in rice, for soups, or even as a hot beverage when the temperature dips below 30 degrees. I always keep a stash of broth in the freezer for quick thawing and use in the kitchen.

Bone broth is rich in minerals and collagen and, while research is not definitive, historically and anecdotally we witness bone broth as being nourishing and restorative for those who are ill, helpful in healing the digestive tract, nourishing for autoimmunity and beneficial in injury or surgery recovery. I boost the mineral content further by adding seaweed or nettles to my brew, but these aren’t necessary if you do not have them on hand. Here are some other uses for bone broth:

  • Sauté cauliflower rice in bone broth for extra flavor
  • Drink it on cold days or when you are fighting seasonal illnesses
  • Make a quick gravy whenever you feel like it!
  • Braise meats and veggies with broth instead of water
  • Use instead of water for savory quinoa or rice dishes
  • Replace chicken or beef stock from the store with homemade bone broth when making soups
  • If you have a dehydrator, try dehydrating broth to make your own bouillon powder.
  • Add it to mashed potatoes or other mashed veggies

Bone broth is rich in collagen, making it an essential food for healthy skin and bones. I drank it throughout my pregnancy and my stretch marks were minimal, despite putting 60 pounds on my 5’2″ frame in my mid thirties. I attribute this mainly to the bone broth, as I’m the oldest in my family to deliver their first born and emerged with fewer stretch marks than those in the family who had their first children between 20 and 30, and gained less weight than I did. This experience has made me a lifelong fan!

Cooking bone broth in a pressure cooker several hours or a slow cooker for 24 hours or longer will soften the bones and allow minerals such as calcium and iron and other minerals as well as amino acids that may benefit gut, skin and joint health to enrich the broth. If using a chicken carcass, I simmer my broth until I can crush the bones with my hands. This can take 18-24 hours in a slow cooker (add water once or twice throughout the simmering period) or 1-2 hours in an Instant Pot.

Over time I have deviated from the recipe below and now just add kitchen scraps (onion skins, celery, zucchini ends, etc) that I store in the freezer with leftover bones and random herbs, but the recipe below is a great place to start if you are introducing yourself to making your own broth. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Homemade Bone Broth

 

  • 1 pound of scrap bones (soup bones, chicken carcass, marrow bones, etc)
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 carrots, sliced lengthwise and coarsely chopped
  • 2 parsnips, cut lengthwise and coarsely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, leaves included, coarsely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, sliced
  • 1/2 onion (no need to peel or chop)
  • 3 pieces of wakame (OPTIONAL: this sea veg is rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals)
  • 6-8 peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8 cups of filtered water
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar (critical – it’s acidic nature is key to pulling minerals from deep within bones)
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce (adds a nice depth of flavor)
  • Salt to taste

Slowcooker Instructions:

1) Crush garlic and set aside.

2) Place veggies and bones into slow cooker pot. Add sea vegetables and spices.

3) Cover with water, vinegar and fish sauce.

4) Set slow cooker on low for 18-24 hours.

5) Strain broth, discarding vegetables. Bones may be saved and reused once if desired.

Makes 2 quarts of broth.

 

Instant Pot Instructions:

1) Crush garlic and set aside.

2) Place veggies and bones into Instant pot. Add sea vegetables and spices.

3) Cover with water, vinegar and fish sauce.

4) In Manual mode, set Instant Pot to pressure cook for 1 hour.

5) Strain broth, discarding vegetables. Bones may be saved and reused once if desired.

Makes 2 quarts of broth.

Working with Ashwagandha

It seems every two years or so I get an itch to branch out in my education and learn something new. For the last year or so I’ve been wanting to dive more into herbal medicine and more fully understand their indications, properties, and uses in the home medicine cabinet. Starting a nine month herbalism course three weeks before I was due to deliver was a bad idea but now that my son is a little older and more self-entertaining I’m diving into a home study course that is highly experiential and self-directed. It’s perfect right now as my time is divided between clients, parenting, and keeping my relationship those I love (including myself!) strong and healthy.

Ashwagandha is one of the herbs I am getting to know this month. I have very little experience with it by itself, but it is popular in many adaptogenic cocktails aimed for those with adrenal fatigue or thyroid challenges. A nightshade, it grows in arid areas of India and also does well for those on US soil who have success growing it’s popular distant cousin, the tomato.

Ashwagandha is a great supplement for those who are chronically stressed and ‘wired but tired’ (4). Looking back, this would have been a powerful arsenal in my medicine cabinet during my final years in college! I recommend it for anxious, driven Type A folks who tend to overthink themselves into insomnia. It’s one of the most calming of the adaptogens and it’s collaborative effect on soothing depression and anxiety, boosting immunity and supporting natural energy levels through a balanced endocrine system make it a great winter tonic. (1,4) It also has been shown in studies to support all phases of cancer treatment and recovery by keeping the immune system and energy levels better supported. (1) If you think Ashwangadha may be helpful for you, consult with an herbal or holistic professional. It is available in tincture, capsule, or my personal favorite – a powder which can be made into yummies.

[Tweet “Forget pills! Eat your Ashwagandha with these recipes!!”]Here are several recipes I have collected from various places online:

Coconunny Ashwagandha

  •  2 TB of Ashwagandha powder
  • 1/3 cup of raw coconut butter
  • 1.5 to 2 Tbsp honey

Mix until well blended. It makes a paste that goes down very easily! (2)

Ashwagandha Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tbsp. Carob Powder
  • 1 tsp. Ashwagandha Powder (Indian Ginseng)
  • 1/2 tsp. Maca Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Vanilla Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Stevia Leaf Powder
  • Dash of Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tbsp. Coconut Oil
  • 1 cup Hot Water (or cold, whichever you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup Nut Milk

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!! (3)

AshwaCocoa

  • 1 tbsp. ashwagandha powder
  • 3 tbsp. dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sweetener (sucanant, coconut sugar, etc)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (I prefer mexican true cassia cinnamon here)
  • pinch of cayenne, to taste.
  • 2 cups milk of choice*

Mix powders with sweetener, stirring to combine in a large mug. Heat milk in a small saucepan until steaming. With a small whisk, whisk the powder while slowly pouring the milk into the mug to prevent clumps. Enjoy with a roaring wood fire or cuddled up to your favorite creature (human or otherwise).

*I would recommend a dairyesque beverage with some fat in it (like coconut milk). Ashwagandha is best absorbed with the presence of fat, so it’s important to avoid skim milk, rice milk, and other very low fat non-dairy beverages unless adding additional fat to the recipe.

Ashwagandha Ghee

This is a traditional preparation. Like any flavored butter, you can spread it on toast, cook with it, or use it to season vegetables and meats.

  • 1 cup ashwagandha powder
  • 1 cup ghee
  • 1 cup honey

Create a stovetop water bath by placing a medium sized glass bowl inside a large pot with water extending halfway up the side of the bowl. Add ingredients to the glass bowl and heat water over medium heat, stirring to combine as solids melt. Heat for five minutes, being careful not let the mixture boil.

Remove from heat and cool, storing in a clean glass jar.

Sources:

  1. http://www.herbmentor.com/september-october-2014-ashwaganda/
  2.  https://www.juliedaniluk.com/food-facts/ashwagandha-and-thyroid-function.html
  3.  http://www.livingfood101.com/recipes/ashwagandha-smoothie.html
  4. http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/adrenal-fatigue-herbs-zbcz1306.aspx#axzz3GuHNZmhN

Study: A cup of tea can reduce stress up to 25%

A study by Dr Malcolm Cross confirms what tea-lovers have long espoused: if you are upset or anxious, it’s a good idea to brew a cup of tea.

The study, as reported by the British Telegraph, said that a stress-inducing test caused a reported 25% increase in stress levels by those who did not receiving tea following their stress test. Those who did receive tea reported a 4%  decrease in stress. (click here to read more about this study).

Keep in mind this is a British study, and the Brits have had a longstanding cultural relationship with tea. Even though Americans do not engage in teas to the extent of our British cousins, the image and experience of making a cup of tea can induce similar ideas of unwinding; this idea permeates our culture mostly in advertising and movies instead of occurring in the home.

Give it a try and see what happens! Below is my favorite way to prepare tea:


Aimee’s Cuppa

I never liked tea, nor drank it in the British style, until I met my friend Nefratiri. I would go over to Nef’s house when I was about 18 to talk about religion and government and all sorts of juicy topics.  She would make me tea using soymilk and maple syrup and I became HOOKED on the stuff.  It has since become a very soothing staple on cold days or whenever I need a little extra love.

  • 1 teabag or loose-leaf tea in a teaball (some of my faves: Celestial Seasoning’s Tension Tamer or Gingerbread tea; Republic of Tea Blackberry Sage, Morning Glory Chai or a redbush chai)
  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup soy milk, almond milk, or hemp milk (rice milk is too watery)
  • boiling water

Bring water to a boil in a kettle or pot. Remove from heat. Add the teabag to your favorite mug and top with water, leaving room for “milk”. Add milk and maple syrup and stir.

Sit back, inhale deeply, and enjoy.

Cash and Half (truly non-dairy creamer)

This recipe comes from Elanaspantry.com,a gluten-free recipe blog. She gives the recipe for a cashew milk, but I opted to try the thicker, creamier version for my evening tea since I have a carton of almond milk in the fridge.

Cash and Half
1 cup (raw) cashews, soaked overnight
2 cups water
1 tablespoon agave nectar
pinch sea salt

  1. Discard soaking water and rinse cashews thoroughly until water runs clear
  2. Place cashews, 2 cups fresh water, agave and salt in Vitamix
  3. Process on high for 20-40 seconds
  4. Store in glass jar in refrigerator

For the viscosity of regular whole milk add 2 more cups of water to the Vitamix; if you want to make milk with the consistency of 2% cow milk, add  an additional 3 cups of water.

Elana says, “Cashew milk is very foamy when first removed from the blender; it settles nicely after sitting in the fridge overnight. Often a layer of cream forms on top of the milk, though don’t be thrown, underneath is pure, delicious white stuff.”

I like the cash and half. It whitens my tea like half and half would and by the spoonful has a thick, mildly sweet taste. The recipe is relatively effortless and gives me just what I am looking for in my blackberry sage tea. Thanks, Elana!

Variations on Kombucha:

I’ve got many batches of kombucha going now — about 5 huge jars. Babies are sprouting all over!

Here are some successful recipes for kombucha tea that I have made in the last month (by successful, I mean outstanding in taste):

  • 20 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 bags green tea (Kirkland Signature)
  • 4 bags Celestial Seasonings Gingerbread Tea

Fermentation period: 20 days — the length of this time to ferment is likely due to the colder weather. You want to dip a non-metal ladle or spoon in and sample your kombucha brew after about 11-14 days to test for desired flavor.  The flavor of this batch is reminiscent of spiced apple cider.

Also, a Jasmine Green Tea yieled a delicate floral flavor. Harvested early, this batch retained a sweetness to it that was almost overpowering. I’ll let the next batch ferment a few days longer.

Spiced Winter Kombucha

The Kombucha experiment continues. I now have several offspring that have grown from the original SCOBY obtained in August. I have given 4 or 5 away, and have many more that i will have to post on Craigslist soon.

The following recipe was created with the holidays in mind. The final flavor is sweeter and more complex than the green or black tea variations I have been using. I really enjoyed this batch, and have another of this recipe brewing now. The flavor is reminiscent of mulled cider.

  • 20 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 teabags of Celestial Seasonings Gingerbread Spice Tea
  • 5 Ginger Green Tea Bags
  • 2-3 Kombucha Mothers

Bring water to boil in a large stock pot. Once boiling, turn off heat and dissolve sugar completely. Add teabags, steeping for 10-20 minutes, depending on how strong you want the flavor to be.

Let cool completely, and pour into two or three large jars. Cover jar with a cheesecloth or a towel and seal with a rubber band. Allow to ferment for 11 days.

Do you have any favorite kombucha recipes? Has kombucha positively affected your life? Are there any ideas for kombucha you would like me to experiment with and post about here? Comment below and let me know!

More Kombucha Adventures:

Slowly, the pantry is being taken over by kombucha.

Since my original kombucha post, many batches have come and gone. I have not been diligent in scientific record-keeping, but each batch is unique. Some are sweeter, some more vinegary depending on length of fermentation. I have used green tea, black tea, blackberry sage tea (yum!) and am fermenting a batch now with pomegranate green tea. I am going to start recording days brewed, flavor, and differences with different teas used. I am also going to start branching out with utilizing honey, agave, and other sweeteners.

Yesterday I received a call from Terri P. in New Orleans. She had gotten my name and number through the world wide web and knew I brewed kombucha. We talked a bit about SCOBYs, brewing, and the differences she has noted since beginning a regular kombucha consumption in April of this year. She drank two bottles a day before brewing her own. Changes she has noted is an increase in fullness and thickness of her hair. Her daughter recovered from torn ligaments and tendons quickly enough to become a follower, and her friend Glenn, who introduced her to kombucha, eliminated 20+ years of adult acne by drinking it. She also spoke of someone she had spoken to who gives it to his two year old, and the child has had no seasonal illnesses since, despite being in daycare. Now THAT is a miracle!

Her enthusiasm rekindled my own, and now I am set to experiment with more flavors, variations, and options. I have kept to my original recipe, although have not been exact in measurements. My SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast) has not suffered. In fact, I have begun the process of giving away “babies” to interested parties. I typically drink my kombucha with frozen berries because I am all about convenience. The berries add a hint of flavor and I do not get the Vitamix dirty.

Upcoming experiements will be posted here. I am glad to have become part of a nationwide kombucha following. I highly encourage everyone spending more than $20 a month on storebought kombucha to begin brewing your own. It really is quite easy!

Recipe of the Day: Homemade Kombucha Tea

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 2.04.01 PMKombucha is all the rage now. At $4 a bottle, it’s as expensive a habit as espresso, although far healthier. Touted as a miracle tea that cures everything from baldness to cancer, thisnew “designer drink” has actually been consumed for centuries all over the world.

Originally believed to be Chinese in origin, kombucha has gained a reputation for enhancing longevity, youthfulness, energy and digestion in many cultures all over the world.  While claims of reversing baldness and grey hair are not scientifically proven (nor even really believable unless you are a first-hand witness), what is proven is that the beverage is rich in B vitamins, enzymes, and helpful components such as friendly bacteria and glucuronic acid, which helps the liver and kidneys extract toxins to move them out of the body and is a precursor to glucosamines, those handy structures responsible for lubricating joints and building cartilage and collagen.

If you haven’t had it, kombucha is hard to describe. Each batch varies a bit, depending on time of fermentation, type of tea used, and the kombucha culture itself. My first taste fo kombucha was in the mid ’90s, and I recall it to be not far from drinking straight vinegar. The batch seen here – in the glasses – is more akin to apple cider. Kombucha has a fizz to it and a sourness that can be mild or strong. The longer it ferments, the more potent it is. This is because the culture (a symbiotic relationship of a bacteria and a Saccharomyces yeast) consumes the sugars used and produce the acids as a by-product. After that first taste, I did not consume kombucha again until earlier this year at the insistence of its deliciousness from a friend of mine. Certainly, the addition of juices and fruit purees to kombucha in the pricey designer versions has made it far more enjoyable an experience.

Below is a recipe for homemade kombucha, and some ways to play with the beverage to make it more palatable, fashionable, and fun.

  • 1 very wide-mouthed glass jar or glass bowl
  • large rubber band
  • clean dish towel or ripped t-shirt
  • 1 gallon water
  • 6 black tea or green tea bags
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Kombucha baby or 1/2 bottle store-bought unflavored, unpasteurized kombucha, with bits of sediment on the bottom

Thoroughly clean the glass jar with very hot soap and water or by dipping it into a large pot of boiling water. Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil and add the sugar slowly, stirring to dissolve. Remove the water from heat, cool briefly, and allow teabags to steep for 10-15 minutes. Cooling the water slightly before adding teabags prevents the tea from being too bitter.  Remove the teabags and cover the pot of water, allowing it to cool completely.

Pour the cooled tea into the sterilized glass jar or bowl.  Place your Kombucha baby and any liquid it is in (usually obtained as a gift from a friend or online) or the 1/2 bottle of kombucha into the jar.  Cover with clean dishtowel or t-shirt and secure with a rubber band. This will keep dust, flies, and other nasties from contaminating your culture. Place the kombucha in a dark warm place – about 0-74 degrees, and let it work it’s magic.

After 10-14 days you will notice one of 2 things. 1) If you used a full kombucha baby as a starter, a new baby will be growing atop the original. You can use this new baby to start another jar or give it away to a friend who spends too much on store-bought kombucha. 2) If you used the store bought drink as a starter, those sediment bits will have transformed themselves into a large, thick pancake-like culture covering the top of your jar (see photo). This “mushroom” is the kombucha mother, which will in turn create a kombucha baby as it consumes the sugars in the brew.

As the culture grows, it will naturally begin to seperate. I am told it is unwise to pry them apart before ready. To harvest your tea, gather jars and bottles with lids. Wash your hands and a large dinner plate thoroughly. Reach into the jar and remove the kombucha mother and place it upon the plate. Pour the liquid into jars, leaving about 2″ of liquid at the bottom of the jar as a starter for your next batch. Repeat the process as desired. Refrigerate the bottles of kombucha tea until ready to drink.

Learn more:

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha Phenomenon

Making it Fun: Designer Kombucha Recipes

Below are some of the ways I have been playing with my kombucha (the first batch was just finished this morning, so more recipes will be added to this post in time; be certain to bookmark it if interested). If you have your own recipes, I would be delighted to partake in them! Please share in the comments section below.

Kombucha Mimosa

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup kombucha

Fizzy and fun! Pour into a champagne glass and raise a toast to your health!

Raspberry Kombucha

  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup kombucha

Blend until smooth. You may want to strain out the seeds if you don’t like the crunch.

 

Recipe of the Moment: Yogi (Chai) Tea

Spring has been highly elusive in the Pacific Northwest. We experienced our coldest March on record, latest snow ever in April, and as I type, it’s not quite sunny and hovering around 45 degrees. Yesterday it dipped into the 30’s; there was frost on my windshield this morning.

So this extension of winter-type weather means warm beverages. I’ve been sucking down spicy chai from World Spice Merchants and Morning Glory, but an excess of cardamom pods in my kitchen are whispering to me….”It’s time to make your own!”

Cardamom is a member of the ginger family, but lacks that spicy sensation. It’s strong and astringent and a little pungent with very mild minty undertones. It’s easily recognizable when solo, such as in a cardamom pudding.  Here in the west we use it predominantly in sweet desserts: pumpkin pies, gingerbread, and the like. In other parts of the world, it finds itself in curries, teas, and as a flavoring in coffee (Turkey). Medicinally it has been used for disorders of the mouth, throat and lungs and digestive troubles. Rumor has it it serves as an anti-dote to snake and scorpion venom, but I can’t say I’d recommend that as a first course of treatment.

Freshly ground is ideal, as it loses flavor quickly. In chai, whole pods are used. Below is a chai recipe courtesy of Chef Akasha Richmond created exclusively for WhiteWave Foods. In the interest of those with food intolerances, I have altered the recipe slightly.

Yogi Chai Tea

Serves 4

  • 2 qts. water
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 16 green cardamom pods
  • 20 whole black peppercorns
  • 5 cinnamon sticks
  • Eight 1/4″ pieces of fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp. loose black tea (green tea can also be used)
  • 1 qt. plain soymilk, rice milk,  or nut milk
  • Honey, maple syrup or agave to taste

Place water and all spices into a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes, allowing delicious aromas to fill your home. Turn off the heat and add black or green tea (omit for a caffeine-free chai). Let sit for 15 minutes, then strain through a fine sieve.  Return to the pot and add non-dairy beverage of choice. Sweeten to taste.

Alternatively, refrigerate tea without the addition of the creamy, non-dairy beverage and season per cup. This is an ideal method when differing, multiple intolerances exist within one household (such as a one dairy and one soy intolerance, for instance).