REAL FOOD 101: How to Make Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

 

homemade buttermilk ranch dressing

(This recipe is an excerpt from my book: Real Food 101.  CLICK HERE)

I know that ranch dressing is arguably not in the realm of Real Food 101 for everyone reading here.  But oh my it certainly does hit the spot for anyone who grew up in my family.  We used to put ranch dressing on everything!  It wasn’t just for fries, it was also for salads, meats, veggies, and anything else savory.  The problem: we were eating bottled salad dressing or dressing from restaurants when we were out.

Growing up, the only less-offensive version of Ranch dressing was when we would buy the ranch flavoring packets and at least make our own from mayonnaise and sour cream at home.  But that isn’t much better since the packets contain MSG, the mayonnaise had industrial waste oils in it, and we used to buy fat free sour cream.  It is memories like this that make me feel so grateful that I started embracing whole foods.  To top it all off, I learned that fats are nourishing and healthy.

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REAL FOOD 101: How to Make Lacto-Fermented Ketchup

How to Make Lacto-Fermented Ketchup | OUR NOURISHING ROOTS #ferment #lactofermented #DIY #probiotics #realfood

This post is part of a series.  You can buy the Volume One of the e-book containing several REAL FOOD 101 tutorials here: To buy the REAL FOOD 101 E-book: Traditional Foods, Traditionally Prepared, click here.  Full color photos, step by step tutorials, and more.  Only $14.

When you start reading labels at the grocery store, you may find yourself considering the idea of just making your own condiments.  Fortunately making ketchup is pretty simple, because it sure is tasty on all the grass-fed hamburgers and hot dogs at my house!  But ketchup is quite versatile too.  We also use it as a base for cocktail sauce and barbaque sauce on a regular basis.  I have not tried it, but I am guessing fry sauce would be amazing too.  Yummmm…okay, stay focused!

But most of all, I love that this ketchup is lacto-fermented, which means that it has probiotic goodness coursing through it.  When you add the whey and let it sit out overnight, the good bacteria grow and make your ketchup good for your gut.  Plus, this ketchup isn’t a compromise.  There is no need to worry about the price tag or the content: it costs very little, and there are not any ingredients to dread!

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REAL FOOD 101: How to Make Traditional Sauerkraut

How to Make Traditional Sauerkraut | OUR NOURISHING ROOTS #realfood #ferment #lactofermented #probiotics #DIY(To buy the REAL FOOD 101 E-book: Traditional Foods, Traditionally Prepared, click here.  Full color photos, step by step tutorials, and more.  Only $14.)

I am not sure there is a simpler ferment to make than sauerkraut.  After all, it is only cabbage and salt.  And time.  You wait, letting the flavors grow and shift and change until you are left with a humble but power-packed probiotic vegetable.  Sauerkraut is full of raw enzymes and probiotics, not to mention that it is a very good source of vitamin C after the fermentation process.

I like to eat more sauerkraut and other lacto-fermented vegetables in the wintertime.  We can all use more vitamin C during cold and flu season to support our immune systems.  I have read that seafaring people would take barrels of sauerkraut out with them to sea, since fresh produce would be scarce, and the vitamin C would protect against scurvy.  I hope that it true, because it’s a great story!

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Beware of Soy: A Classic Eggnog Recipe (with a dairy-free version)

The Best EGGNOG Ever! | OUR NOURISHING ROOTS

This eggnog recipe is included in my Natural Cocktails ebook, and is one of many, many delicious tried and true drinks I have crafted over the last few years.  Enjoy!

This eggnog is pleasantly thick with rich egg yolks, and grass-fed cream and whole milk, not from thickeners and stabilizers that mimic what nature can do simply with whole foods.  Add a few pinches of warming spices and sweet honey and you have yourself a holiday drink that is nourishing and festive.  Plus, did I mention that this version does not include egg whites which are best eaten cooked (they have enzyme inhibitors!), and that we blend it up in seconds in the blender?  Okay, now I have your attention.

Well now you can have a quick version of eggnog that does not have to compromise on quality ingredients.  A guilty pleasure just because a regular pleasure!  But most importantly, now you can make goofy eggnog comments like my husband who, every year without fail, says “So eggy. So noggy.” as we sip.  Or something like “you can really taste the nog”.  It is just that fun to make eggnog, I’m telling you!

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Thanksgiving Recipe Collection

It’s that time of year when you may be on the lookout for a Thanksgiving menu that covers all the sweet and savory tastes that your heart desires.  I have a few that I have written myself, and the rest I have collected from some of my favorite blogs to piece together into my perfect Thanksgiving meal.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Appetizers:

Main Course:

REAL FOOD 101: Homemade Mayonnaise (Lacto-Fermented)

 

lacto-fermented mayonnaise

This post is part of a series.  To buy Volume One of the e-book containing several REAL FOOD 101 tutorials, click here: REAL FOOD 101 E-book: Traditional Foods, Traditionally Prepared.

Raw pastured egg yolks are a superfood, and my body soaks them up like nothing.  Coupled with olive oil and simple flavors of mustard, lemon, and sea salt, this sauce hardly deserves the maligning it has received over the years.  Homemade mayonnaise is simple to whisk together, ferment for a few hours with whey, and then use in a myriad of recipes: aioli for fish, chicken salad, egg salad, hors d’oeuvres, hollandaise, herbed for sandwiches, and so many other uses.

I love making homemade condiments now, but I was not always so amiable about the task.  All you need is a bowl and a whisk, and a few wholesome foods to morph into the lovely, velvet emulsion that is mayonnaise.  Plus, I look at this as an opportunity to roll up my sleeves a work a little for my glorious pale sauce.

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REAL FOOD 101: How to Make Beet Kvass (and why!)

beetkvass

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(To buy the REAL FOOD 101 E-book: Traditional Foods, Traditionally Prepared, click here.  Full color photos, step by step tutorials, and more.  Only $14.)

Beet kvass may be one of the most beautiful lacto-fermented drinks that I make at home.  Deep purple and slightly effervescent, some claim that beet kvass cleanses the blood, detoxifies the liver, and supports kidney health.  I have even heard that kvass pulls heavy metals from our bodies.  I’m not able to make any of those claims, but I certainly feel pretty good when I am drinking beet kvass regularly.  So I simply trust my own experience.

Beet kvass is also very simple, only made with four ingredients: beets, salt, water, and whey.  And when each ingredient is the best quality, you don’t need complicated recipes.  The simple blending of these four items with a little time on the counter can provide your body with needed electrolytes, vitamins, probiotics, and well-being.

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Smoked Salmon & Herb Cheese Pinwheels

Cool and savory, these smoked salmon and herbed cheese pinwheels are the perfect nutrient-dense bites to whip up for a holiday party.  Served on a simple cracker these hors d’oeuvres give a balanced contrast of crunch from the seeds to the velvety texture of the cheese and salmon swirled together.  I have also always been drawn to the color salmon, so I love this dish for it’s beautiful presentation of the pinkish-orange against the green and white, all sitting atop a crisp square.

Of course, anything nutrient dense is always excellent for little growing bodies, or for mamas who can find a quiet moment during lunch to sit and enjoy a few of these morsels.  So when I made these for my boys tonight I knew that we would not only be enjoying our weekly seafood, but also a moment of nourishment knowing this food is clean and Plus smoked salmon has a healthy amount of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and protein.  I love recipes like this are made from solid, clean ingredients.  Those dishes translate to high brow affairs as easily as the snack table.

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REAL FOOD 101: How to Soak, Sprout, and Dehydrate Nuts, Beans, and Seeds

 

(To buy the REAL FOOD 101 E-book: Traditional Foods, Traditionally Prepared, click here.  Full color photos, step by step tutorials, and more.)

Why do I go through the trouble of soaking nuts, beans, and seeds?  Answer: Personal experience with better digestion.  If there is one thing that is easier now that I am on GAPS, it’s that I only have to soak and dehydrate nuts, beans, and seeds, and not grains.  With grains you have to get out your grain grinder and make flour, but with nuts, beans, and seeds you can just store them whole for snacking, or food process them if you need nut or seed flour for a recipe.  But, in fairness, I do miss my sprouted flour dreadfully, so I admit that it’s worth getting the grain grinder out to have some if you can digest it well.  When I am done with GAPS, I am already looking forward to some sprouted grain goodies!

I have found that if I soak nuts, beans, and seeds, then dehydrate them to their crispy state again, I tend to handle them better.  It turns out that there is a good reason for this.  If you soak or sprout them, then you not only neutralize enzyme inhibitors, phytic acid, and lectins, you also have prepared the nut or seeds for optimal absorption for your body.  This is similar to sourdoughing grains for bread to make them more digestible.

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REAL FOOD 101: How to Make Water Kefir

waterkefir

(To buy the REAL FOOD 101 E-book: Traditional Foods, Traditionally Prepared, click here.  Full color photos, step by step tutorials, and more.)

Every day I happily drink a cup of strawberry water kefir, feeling it replenishing my body with probiotic goodness and happy little enzymes.  Unlike soda with it’s syrupy-sweet empty calories and artificial carbonation, water kefir isn’t an indulgence.  Water kefir is a probiotic drink that supports the balance of bacteria, or flora, in your digestive tract.  In fact, I think the reason we crave lemonade or soda or sweet drinks is because we evolved to have naturally-fermented beverages that benefit our health.  And water kefir is just that: a traditional, lacto-fermented drink that is tried and true. [Read more…]