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The benefits of broth have been known for many many centuries… everyone knows you should eat chicken soup when you have a cold or the flu, but why?

because it tastes awesome…

well yes, but also because

bone broth is amazing!

The gelatine, the minerals and the gut healing properties is just the start of this meaty deliciousness, and then there are all the nutritious things you can put in to add flavour and medicinal properties… and then the recipes… oh the recipes!!! You can of course drink it straight, but you can also turn it into soups, rissottos, fried rice, sauces and add it all sorts of other things.

I predominantly use chicken carcasses, sometimes a whole chook or with added wings, to make my broth. I have used beef and lamb bones as well but as a family we prefer the flavour of chicken. My kids especially love this broth and anything i make from it. My son even asks for it when he is unwell and drinks it plain from a cup.

It is cheap. It is easy. And it can form the basis of many frugal and “meat-free” meals to get you through the week.If you haven’t delved into making your own stock or broth then this weather should give you the extra push that you need to give a go.

To get the best nutrients and healing benefits from your broth you should try and buy the best quality chicken you can afford. I know organic is pricey but we get ours from a local organic farmer that does wholesale prices for a $400 order and we purchase as a co-op (lots of people buy together) and we have a monthly order. Seriously, organic chicken carcasses are $2 each and i can get 2 (or sometimes 3) batches of stock from one carcass.

Simailarly, whole organic chickens are about $25 each, which i admit seems expensive, but from one good sized chook i can get 2 meat meals and 2 broth meals – thats 4 meals for a 4 person family for $25… now i know that’s cheaper than what most people spend on meat. And for the record, our organic meat budget for the month is roughly $100. During summer if we’re having guests or lots of bbq’s then it needs a top up, but just for the 4 of us, being frugal, we can do $100 for organic beef, lamb and chicken. I think that’s pretty good! If you can’t afford organic then just do the best you can. You can pick up a free range whole chicken from ALDI for about $10-$12 and if you can get 2 or 3 meals out of it then you’re doing well 🙂

Back in the old days we would roast a chicken and eat the whole thing, for dinner and then maybe a couple of sandwiches – and then we would do the unspeakable and throw away the bones and leftover bits! At that point in my life i could not fathom spending $25 on 1 chicken. I have been there… but now we eat differently. What we eat is more expensive, but how we eat it makes it more affordable… but i am not here to preach, you eat what you eat and if you want to make changes you can.

Now there is some contention about what is broth and what is stock – to be really honest, i don’t give a crap. I use them interchangeably. I *think* stock is just meat, bones and water and therefore broth occurs if you add any flavourings. So i guess officially mine is broth, but seriously, i don’t care… lets get to the recipe!

 

Whole Chicken Broth

1 whole organic chicken (or the best you can get) OR 1 chicken carcass

2-4 cloves garlic

splash of apple cider vinegar (this helps leach minerals from the bones and you can’t taste it)

Enough cold water to cover the chicken.

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (i use half and then as i am turning my stock into soup or whatever i can adjust with other flavours)

**Optional – carrots, celery, onion, cloves, bay, turmeric, ginger etc etc etc… the possibilitites are endless (i personally do not flavour my stock, if i want to add veggies i do it at the soup stage or when i am turning it into a meal. This broth is so flavoursome from the chicken it doesn’t need veggies!)

Place all ingredients in slow cooker and turn on high, then once its hot turn down low. If you are using a whole chook then remove it after 4-6hrs. Remove all meat from bones and pop in the fridge to use later. Place all the left overs (bones, skin – EVERYTHING!) back in the pot. I use the meat in stir fries, curries, frittatas, pizza, salad or with veggies… anything!

After 6-12 hrs you have a delicious meat stock to use for soup. Clear soups or blended soups, both work beautifully. Honestly this is the most flavoursome of all the broths so use this in its most purest form if you can. You can let it cool in the fridge and scrape of the fat but we don’t, we eat the whole lot. If you are going to scrape off the fat then at least use it to cook with, if it’s an organic chook then it has beautiful omega 3’s and it is actually good for you!

Top up the slow cooker pot and give it another 6-12hrs. This broth will still be beautifully flavoursome. I use this for making rissotto or for cooking my rice in the rice cooker to make fried rice with. It still makes a great soup & sauces though, so do whatever you like with it.

At this point, if i can bothered i might fill up the pot and go again – but this stock will be quite mild. You can boil it down to enhance flavour and freeze in cubes to make sauce, gravy or add a little flavour to curries or stir fry.

NOTE: If you prefer roast chicken then please, roast it first and remove the meat. Just be sure to save ALL the leftovers for the stock pot. Roast chicken stock is amazing!!!

NOTE: Use the same method for lamb and beef bones, but be sure to brown them in the oven first otherwise the flavour is not very good.

Please understand that this not exact recipe. Use the ingredients and extras YOU like and cook for your own preferred amount time. After 4 hrs your chicken is absolutely cooked so you don’t need to worry about poisoning yourself… after that it’s purely a matter of preference!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have eaten Sauerkraut since i was about 10 years old. I must have been the only non-German 10yr old who loved Sauerkraut!

It’s been a part of my family since i met my step dad and his parents, and may i just say…

Sauerkraut and German sausages totally rock!

I have tried making it quite a few times but it has always involved a jar of pre-made kraut and a tonne of sugar… and it didn’t taste very good. I don’t know how my grandparents make it, but i think its canned or jar and then they tweek it, and sadly i have no knack for this method. Balancing those flavours is beyond me!

So i was absolutely over the moon when i discovered that real Sauerkraut is actually a lacto-fermented vegetable and be made quickly and simply (with a little muscle power) at home with either a little whey or extra salt – and NO sugar :

Nourishing Traditions and my Kraut!

Nourishing Traditions and my Kraut!

Sauerkraut – Inspired by Nourishing Traditions

Half a large head of cabbage, finely shredded (i used my food processor)

Half a tablespoon Caraway seeds

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

2 tablespoons whey (or an extra teaspoon of salt)

Place all ingredients in bowl and pound until juices are released. Place into wide mouth mason jar and continue to pound until juice is at least 1 inch above the cabbage. Cap the jar and leave on your bench for 3 days. At this point you can place it in the fridge and start eating it… the flavour will continue to mature over time!

Meat basher works just fine.

Meat basher works just fine.

sk4

Kraut-man!!

I must admit, after receiving my copy of Nourishing Traditions i have gone a little nuts on lacto-fermentation.

It was always my plan, it was something i have wanted to do for ages and i don’t look like slowing down anytime soon… i still have many thingsd i would like to ferment and i am enjoying the results!

I have had a few people comment on my facebook page they don’t have whey, or that my recipe contains whey so they haven’t tried it yet… my advice… make some whey! Or not… it’s completely up to you 🙂

I make my own… or i should say, i made my own. Completely by accident and then i threw it out. I had no idea it was so useful or good for me. This is the recipe i used. It is supremely easy and the delicious by-product is ricotta cheese.

Alternatives to whey that are still fermented dairy include: homemade yoghurt, milk kefir (or non-dairy water kefir), buttermilk, piima and various cultured/sour creams. Fermented dairy has been a part of traditional diets for many many years in many cultures. It’s ability to lower cholesterol, protect against bone-loss, provide beneficial bacteria and lactic acid for digestion and it is certainly a wonderful means of keeping dairy in a fermentation state well beyond its use-by date… and the results are udderly delicious (oh yes, i did!)

However, if you are completely against making delicious cheese and other various dairy products, or if you are very intolerant or allergic to dairy you may need an alternative! Just for the record, many people who are dairy intolerant can still have whey – but why would you make whey if you can’t eat the wonderful cheese?

For soaking grains, flours and making cultured veg – simple alternatives are either lemon juice or vinegar, preferably a good quality organic apple cider vinegar, but start with whatever you’ve got. Salt is another alternative for cultured veggies, but make it a good quality sea salt or the pink himalayan from an ethical source. Please try and loosely follow a recipe to ensure you are using an appropriate acid/salt for the product you are making.

The acids in the vinegar and lemon will help break down the grains and the phytates and make the food more digestable. Whereas salt will assist in preservation of veggies and keep the crunch!

I hope this helps you delve a little further down the road of fermentation, cultured dairy and it’s alternatives… it is a good start, but i will be following it up with posts on kefir, milk kefir, buttermilk and cultured creams and yoghurt.

The perils of porridge… leftover porridge!

What to do with pre-soaked oats that no one wants the next day for breakfast?

I thought about feeding it to our daily ducks, but then i thought about muesli bars and i just had to try to make some.

I actually didn’t use a recipe for these and i encourage you to do the same! Branch out, take a risk, be bold, be brave… make muesli bars!

These can be made completely RAW if you so wish.

My recipe used a dehydrator to “cook” these but i used cooked porridge as the base so they aren’t entirely raw. If you want to make them totally raw just use pre-soaked oats as your base – it will yield the same results.

Muesli Bars & Muesli Bites!

Muesli Bars & Muesli Bites!

 

Muesli Bars

Approximately 1 cup of left over porridge  (your porridge can be oats/spelt/flaked quinoa or rice!)

~or half a cup each of oats (or an alternative) and warm water – soaked 12-24hrs, with or without whey or another acid~

Now using a small hand (or your child’s hand) drop in small handfuls of the following:

Cashew pieces, pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, linseeds, coconut flakes, raisins – or use any combo of seeds/nuts/fruits that you have.

Add 2 tablespoons each of Raw Honey & Organic Peanut Butter and a teaspoon of Cinnamon.

Mix it all together. The mixture should stick together and have the ingredients well combined.

I lined a small shallow tin with baking paper and spread my mix out evenly and flat, then popped in the fridge to set for an hour or so. Remove from tin and using a large sharp knife, dipped in water, slice your bars and load on to your dehydrator trays. Alternatively, you can bake at a low oven temp until they are crispy and ready to eat!

I dehydrated mine on a medium setting for up to 18hrs and they were deliciously crispy. The bites were only dehydrated for half that time!

If you’re worried about if they’re done – taste one! If its too soft, cook it more.

Please feel free to play around with this recipe and let me know how you go… i would LOVE to see YOUR results!!

Firstly, let me tell you that i haven’t eaten chocolate or bread for over 2 weeks… um… except today i had that chocolate craving. You know the one you get that just doesn’t go away and no matter how many other things you eat you just can’t ignore it? Right, well, i had that ALL DAY!

If you want to make this recipe now then you need to go and get 8 medjool dates and put them in the fridge (maybe even the freezer) as they need to be cold – they NEED to be!

Let me apologise in advance that there are no pictures for this one. It’s probably not the prettiest thing to photograph anyway, but it’s chocolate and delicious caramelly dates, it’s totally good! Trust me 😉

 

CHOCOLATE COATED DATES

Ingredients:

8 Medjool Dates (cold – either kept in the fridge or quickly blasted in the freezer, but not frozen)

4 Tblspns Coconut Oil (either slightly thick or solid-ish, but liquid will also work)

1 tspn Raw Cacao (you can use more but i was trying to be sparing)

1 tspn Maple Syrup (again, you can use more but with less cacao i needed less sweetness, and the dates are sweet too)

In a small bowl mix coconut oil, cacao and maple.

Cut cold dates in half and remove seeds.

Stir halved dates into chocolate mixture. This will simulaneously mix in the maple and start to set the coconut oil – leaving you with chocolate covered dates!

Eat and Enjoy!!

p.s. try not to eat them all!! I have saved some for tomorrow… and i also did some dried figs too 😀

 

 

It’s Autumn, the leaves are falling, the air is beginning to get chilly in the morning (kind of!) and my son asked me for porridge again.

He actually loves porridge, which is wonderful… except that i have never really loved porridge and he insists that we must eat it together. Yes, yes, it’s lovely that he wants to share this with me, it’s beautiful in fact… but to be honest, i make it through about half a small bowl and start to gag a little and now that the little Miss is almost 2 and asserting herself in the food department i have to duck if she doesn’t like it… and listen to complaints of “no like it poddidge” and so on and so forth…

Porridge, in my memories is just stodge with too much sugar on top to make it palatable. Yes its lovely smothered in whole milk and lashings of golden syrup, but honestly i could just enjoy the milk & syrup and be done with it. I don’t digest it well, it sits in my stomach for so long that it gets bored and i don’t like that.

In light of my recent adventures in lacto-fermenting and soaking grains i thought i should give it another try.  So i did, and now i think i can honestly say that i might just start loving porridge… i won’t overdo it, but maybe a few times a week i can absolutely love porridge!

The process of overnight soaking with water and a little whey really lightens the load of the oats and the addition of just little bit of butter and maple (or raw honey) is just divine!! The porridge is smooth, tasty and leaves the most luxurious mouth-feel, it’s almost indescribable… all from a little overnight soak. Not to mention how incredibly fast it is. Honestly, 2 minutes to get the oats soaking and then 5 minutes in the morning – that’s fast food folks, right there!

It got the absolute tick of approval from Miss Almost 2 and Mr 4.5… although one wanted more butter and one wanted less butter and syrup… personal porridge preferences are so darn important, and i don’t deny them the freedom of choice at individualising their breakfasts. Miss Almost 2 loves her butter so she got lots, and Mr 4.5 prefers the plain taste so he got just a smidge of butter and a dash of syrup and his personal “additive” of choice, cinnamon!

The options are limitless, but Sally Fallon (Author of Nourishing Traditions) does recommend the addition of butter to assist in the absorption of vitamins and minerals… and a pinch of good quality salt goes a long way as well.

I also found that the recipe of 1 cup of oats (once soaked) was enough to serve myself, my husband and 2 small children – whereas last year, if i wanted to feed us all i cooked at least 1.5cups – much more economical to soak!

Extra butter for Miss Almost 2... and just a dash of organic maple!

Extra butter for Miss Almost 2… and just a dash of organic maple!

 

Breakfast Porridge – Inspired by Nourishing Traditions (pg 455)

1 cup oats

1 cup warm water

2 Tblspns Whey

Combine these ingredients in a bowl. Cover and leave overnight (or up to 24hrs)

In the morning:

Place 1 cup water and a pinch of salt into a saucepan and bring to the boil.

Add soaked oats and reduce the heat to low stirring for 3-5 minutes. They are ready when they reach the consistency you desire.

Serve hot with your choice of milk, cream, butter, a pinch of salt, a slurp of syrup, honey, cinnamon, nuts and/or fruit.

Enjoy!!

 

Nicole

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With 2 small children in the house i constantly need snacks… and since i don’t buy a lot of snacks (i do buy some!) i need make snacks.

These biscuits are my own personal variation of the “Two Ingredient Biscuits” that have been doing the rounds on my facebook feed for a while now. I have made the biscuits with just 2 ingredients (bananas and oats) and they were o.k. Not great, but my kids ate a few of them… i didn’t like them and as a family we have never finished a batch. So i accepted the challenge and tried to make them a bit more interesting but still healthy and nutritious.

Plain honey and Cacao flavour bickies.

Plain honey and Cacao flavour bickies.

Quickie Bickies

1 cup oats

1 ripe/over-ripe mashed banana

1-2 Tblspn Honey

1-2 Tblspn Peanut Butter (preferable natural/organic with no additives)

*1 egg (optional – you can add another half to one bananas to keep the biscuits together – but i like the added protein of the egg!)

*1 tspn cinnamon (optional – for flavour)

*2 Tblspns Whey (optional – i soaked my oats for a few hours in a little whey first – read about the benefits here and here)

*Raw cacao (optional – i used about 1 tspn in half a batch of these biscuits, just for a little variation)

Mix batter by combining all ingredients in a bowl. Add any optional ingredients you like the sound of – i used all of them!

If your batter is too runny (that depends on how much honey/peanut butter/whey/egg/banana you use) then add a few more oats until it holds together a bit more.

Using a dessert spoon plop a splodge of mixture on your baking tray (either oiled or with baking paper) and cook in a 180C oven for about 15 mins. I like them when they get nice and golden around the edges.

These biscuits go soft after about 24hrs but they are still fine to eat and can be crisped up in a hot oven for 5mins if you prefer.

 

Enjoy!

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s the latest thing isn’t it, cultured veggies. Pete Evans is doing it… and well, he’s someone isn’t he? He copped a lot of flack a while back for activating his nuts, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post!

CULTURED VEGGIES

We’ve been eating them, or their inferior cousins, for probably our whole lives and didn’t even know it.

Saurkraut, gerkins, pickled onions… that weird cauliflower/carrot/capsicum? veggie mix in a large jar that my Pop in Queensland eats every Christmas… whatever it is, it’s made appearances, you’ve seen it right? Unfortunately, most store-bought cultured veg has been made using either vinegar and/or sugar, and low-grade salt, rendering it almost entirely useless in terms of nutritional benefit.

Traditional cultured veggies were not just a means of preserving veggies pre-refrigeration, they were also a nutritional powerhouse. Full of good bacteria, probiotics and enzymes that aid digestion. They really are good for you and should be eaten daily! Not something to be forced down, but something that actually tastes good… like those yummy little piles of pickles you eat with your indian food… or that delicious morsel of Kimchi with your Korean BBQ. Honestly, awesome!

So i thought I’d start off easy and try and make something the kids might like to. Ginger Carrots it is then!

full to the brim with carrotty goodness!

full to the brim with carrotty goodness!

Cultured Carrots – Inspired by Nourishing Traditions pg. 95

(Fermented Fruit & Vegetables)

About 8 carrots (i think i got about 3 cups worth) grated

Half tspn salt

Half tblspn Ginger powder

3 Tblspns Whey* (read more about whey here)

Combine in bowl and pound with a meat mallet or other wooden implement.

Once the juice is released, pop into a jar. Make sure the carrots are pushed down under the liquid.

Pop on a lid and place in the kitchen somewhere for 3 days.

Now you can start eating it – and store it in the fridge!

 

Nicole

x

 

UPDATE: I got to taste these, finally!!! OMG they are totally yummy. Crunchy, a little bit salty, a tiny bit vinegar-y and 100% taste-bud-tingling. I want to eat all the carrots 😀

 

Saturday night… 11pm… must remember to put the clocks back 1hr for the end of daylight savings!

Tomorrow is my son’s first game of AFL auskick. He is 4.5yrs old so i am not expecting football genius, just a lot of fun and standing around watching the kids stand around while they watch their coaches stand around and wait for someone to tell them to either catch the ball or kick the ball… it’ll be ace! But seriously, i am excited for him because he is excited and he loves it!

And to assist in this extraordinary excitement i must make pancakes, at 11pm. Or at least i must START making pancakes…

I mix my flours with warm water and *whey… then leave them to work their magic while i sleep!

Sleep all night and be woken at 4.30am by a 4.5yr old who has no idea that daylight savings has ended and is excited about football today… oh well, at least there’s pancakes…

WAIT… What the hell is *whey? Isn’t that something Little Miss Muffet was eating… with curds?

                                                   That just sounds gross delicious! Tell me more about this nutional powerhouse!

Whey is a by-product of cheese making. I recently got some unhomogenised organic milk for only $1 per litre and decided it just HAD to be made into ricotta cheese. I used this  recipe. Whey contains lots of enzymes and probiotics that assist in making phytates easier to digest – essentially, they make grains digestable and good for you! It’s the same process that used to make sour dough bread. Soaking grains gets rid of anti-nutrients and can make them digestable for those even with food intolerances or those of us who may feel a bit bloaty after too many grains. I am not a scientist or nutritionist… but my friend google has many good sources of information in the topic! This is a good article to start with.

So anyway, i get up and beat an egg add some pre-soaked batter to the bowl, baking powder and apple cider vinegar. I add these last 2 ingredients to give the pancakes the lift i like, it’s a great trick for cakes and muffins as well.

And to make some special shapes i pop my batter in a squeezy sauce bottle and design my own stars and football shaped pancakes/pikelets for my little AFL monster’s breakfast. Served with apple slices, butter and syrup!

pancakes

My recipe – inspired by Nourishing Traditions Pancakes p478

1 cup each Spelt and Buckwheat flours

2 cups warm water

2 Tblsp Whey

Let soak at least overnight or for 24 hours

I then beat 1 egg and added **half the batter, mix well.

Add 1 tspn each of baking powder and apple cider vinegar (if you want to make the whole batter use 2 eggs, or even 3, and add tspn each baking powder and ACV)

Cook in spoonfuls (or using a squeezy bottle) in a frypan with coconut oil.

These were totally devoured for breakfast and morning tea!

 

**OPTIONAL:

With the second portion of the batter i added the egg, baking powder and ACV then also added a grated apple and some cinnamon. These were delicious served warm with butter!

 

EDIT – ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

I made a second batch of these and left the batter to sit for a full 24hrs. I also added 3 eggs instead of 1 to give them more lift. Leaving the batter for a whole day really gave the waffles a sourdough flavour, delicious!

This wonderfully rich and luxurious batter was turned into gorgeous heart shaped waffles – cooked to perfection is an authentic (and possible antique) german waffle maker. They were served hot with lashings of organic butter and maple syrup – for my children and my husband, i did not indulge, but i think i should have!!!

Lovely little hearts and a sneak peek at my waffle iron!

Lovely little hearts and a sneak peek at my waffle iron!

 

 

 

 

 

After reading many many articles on the merits of fats, cultured foods and traditional foods i was inspired to purchase a copy of Nourishing Traditions written by Sally Fallon.

After opening the book only 3 days ago i have prepped and starting culturing and cooking 5 recipes already… maybe i am a bit too excited?

Anyhoo, i decided to include YOU in my new cooking adventures. I hope they are as inspiring and enjoyable for you as they are nourishing and delicious for me.

Stay tuned for a couple of quick, easy and delicious recipes to get you started on the pathway to good gut health and a healthy immune system!

Nicole

x

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