Apple & Cranberry Tuna Salad

I have such a yummy recipe to share today! This is a meal that pinches pennies and satisfies.

Tuna salad is a staple in my kitchen. Its budget friendly, full of protein and comes together in a snap. This recipe uses home made cranberry sauce, diced apple and pecans to add a sweet-tart note that fits the fall weather perfectly!

Ingredients:
1 can tuna
1/4 cup Avocado Oil Mayo
1/4 c Cranberry Sauce
1 large stalk organic celery
1/2 small organic onion
1 small organic apple
1 handful Pecans or Almonds roughly chopped
1/4c Parsley chopped fine
Salt and pepper to taste

 

Chop all the veg and the apple into bite sized pieces. Mix in the nuts, parsley, mayo and cranberry sauce until everything is well coated.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Gently fold in your tuna. Don’t over mix or the fish will break apart and become paste-like.  Serve chilled in lettuce cups or on toasted rye.  This recipe yields 2-3 servings

 

Let me know how this flavorful fall salad works out for you in the comments section.

3 Ingredient Non-Toxic Drain Cleaner

Have you ever turned on the shower in a sparkling clean bathroom,  and breathed a sigh of relief as you step under the warm spray, only to see sudsy water pooling around your ankles? Slow drains are the WORST! I don’t keep toxic commercial drain cleaners in my home and it makes me cringe to think about putting such harsh chemicals in the water supply, even if it gets treated in waste water plants. I have a non-toxic solution to share with you and the best part is you may already have all the ingredients in your kitchen.

Recently, I moved to an older home that was plagued by really slow drains.  After every shower there was a nasty soap scum film that settled in the corners and up the sides of the tub. I like to keep a tidy house, so that scummy film was driving me nuts!

I know that baking soda and hydrogen peroxide makes a fantastic laundry stain remover and works miracles on baked on messes in the oven and on baking sheets, so I set out to see if it would solve my scummy situation in the bathroom too. I was thrilled by the results.

Ingredients:
Baking Soda 1/2-1/12 cups
Hydrogen Peroxide 1/4-1/2 cup
Vinegar 2-3 cups

This mixture is low cost, gentle but effective and the ingredients are things that most people already have in their kitchen/medicine cabinet.

  1. To start, remove the stopper of the tub or sink you are working on.
  2. Pour in baking soda until the drain is filled.
  3. Add enough hydrogen peroxide to make a thick paste and leave the mixture for 30 min to 1 hour. The longer the better.
  4. After you let that soak, add vinegar and let it foam. Add the vinegar a little at a time. As the solution works its way through the pipe, it will foam up in waves. Let the vinegar sit in the drain for 1-2 hours.
  5. Flush with hot water for 15-30 min. Boiling water is best. For the tub I will use a stock pot and then turn the knob to hot and let it run.

The drain will improve immediately, but may still be slow. It takes time for the clog to work its way down to the larger sewage pipes. If the drain is still slow in a day or two, rinse and repeat!

Let me know how this simple mixture works for you in the comments section.

Purple Carrot Kraut

I’m so excited to share a recipe for Sauerkraut today! There are a million versions of this delicious probiotic condiment. Today I’m using red cabbage and carrots. This is a simple, straight forward recipe that is perfect for beginner fermenters!

There can be some initial anxiety if you have never fermented anything before. You may wonder if what you have made is safe to eat!

Humans have been preserving food through fermentation for thousands of years. Its easy, safe and fosters the bacteria that you need for a healthy digestive system.

Contamination is the enemy, so be careful to wash surfaces, hands and containers and start with clean veggies. Keep your kraut submerged under brine and keep the container covered to avoid contamination from yeasts and mold. With some common sense and a sense of culinary adventure, you too can make kraut!

Ingredients and Tools:

1 medium head Organic Red Cabbage

3 medium Organic Carrots

Pink Himalayan Salt

Large bowl

Clean towel

Jar and lid

Knife or mandolin

Step One: Shred your cabbage. You can slice it with a knife, or use a mandolin.  I love fine shreds so I prefer the mandolin.

Check out the fancy Japanese knife my dad gave me for my birthday this year. I feel so loved every time I use it!

Step Two: Shred the three carrots. My mandolin has a julienne feature so that is what I’ve used. The large holes of a cheese grater would work just as well.

 

Step Three: Mix carrots cabbage and salt in a large bowl.  The amount of salt in the recipe can vary. It is possible to make Kraut with no salt at all, but its not recommended.  I usually shoot for 2 Tablespoons per medium head of cabbage (about the size of a child’s soccer ball). Monstrous cabbages will need more salt.  Cover the mixture and let rest for ~15 minutes. While its resting, the salt will pull moisture out of the cabbage.

Step Four: Massage your cabbage. Get your hands in there and give it a squeeze!  The goal there is to break some cell walls and release more moisture to make the brine. If things are still dry, cover it up and let it rest for another 15 minutes and give it another massage. When there is about a 1/2 cup of liquid at the bottom of your bowl, you are ready for the next steps.

Step Five: Taste your kraut. It should be pleasantly salty. Its easier to add a bit more salt than to rinse too much salt out so start with small amounts.

Step Six: Pack your kraut into jars. The jar I’m using here had a former life holding pickled peppers. I live a low waste lifestyle and this jar was the perfect size to fit this whole head of cabbage. Reduce – Recycle – Reuse! I used a bamboo muddler to pack down my kraut. This is a bartenders tool that would be used to crush the mint in a mojito. Press down to squeeze out all the air bubbles and more brine, so that the liquid rises up to cover the mixture.  Pour any extra brine that has collected at the bottom of the mixing bowl into the jar. Pack the mixture down until there are 2 inches of head space for the mixture to expand.

I did not leave enough head space here and the jar overflowed on day two. If you don’t leave enough space you will have a mess!

Step Seven: Screw the lid on loosely.  The bacteria that preserve the kraut will make carbon dioxide as they do their work. If these can’t get out you may have an explosion on your hands! Place the jar in a warm spot in your kitchen, on a plate or in a bowl to catch any overflow.

Step Eight: Leave on the counter at 70-75 Degrees for 3 days. Things should start to bubble around 24 hours. Keep an eye on the level of brine. The kraut may need to be pressed back down below the liquid. Use a clean spoon or mallet every time. The bacteria in our mouths are bad for  ferments. Be very careful not to contaminate your kraut in the early stages.

Around day three, you will start to see the color change from a deep bluish purple to a bright magenta pink. This is a colorful indicator of a drop in pH and one of the many reasons I love red cabbage. This color change means that lactic acids are developing as a all those good-for-you probiotics pickle your kraut. After day three,  you can taste it and if it is pleasantly tangy and sour, move it to the fridge. You can leave Kraut to ferment on the counter for longer if its not quite sour enough for you.  Keep tasting it every couple of days and move to the fridge when it suits your taste buds.  The longer it sits on the counter, the more acids will develop, giving kraut its tart and tangy flavor.

Isn’t it beautiful? Its ready to ferment!

Traditional Russian recipes promote leaving your kraut to ferment at room temperature for 2 weeks or more, and claim that the full flavor profile only develops after six months of cold storage. I always eat mine before the 6 month mark. Its too tasty to last that long!

A quick note about safety: Keep the kraut completely underneath the brine or it will spoil! Never lick a spoon and put it back in the jar.  If a smooth, or wrinkled white film forms on the surface of the brine, scoop it off. This is kham yeast and will effect the flavor if left to develop, but is not harmful. If fuzzy or furry white, green, blue, black, or grey mold shows up in your kraut – toss it in the trash. Some molds are not harmful, but some are toxic and the toxins they produce spread beyond the fuzzy bits. Its not worth it to roll the dice with mold. Use your common sense and DO NOT eat anything that smells or looks spoiled. 

Thanks for stopping by and please let me know how this recipe turns out for you!

 

 

Meat Matters: You Are What You Eat

We are what we eat. Today I’m going to rap about why meat matters.

Animals concentrate the food they consume, and often filter out and store toxins in their body.

CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), or factory farms, feed animals toxic combinations of hormones, antibiotics, GMO corn soy and canola – saturated in bio-cides (pesticides, herbicides and petrol based fertilizers)- and even unsalable candy. That’s right folks – candy fed to cows.

Animals that are sick will not give your body the building blocks it needs to build a healthy brain – healthy immune system – healthy muscles – healthy teeth and bones.

Alternately, animals eating fresh rapidly growing grass, living under the sun concentrate powerful nutrients and provide the vitamins and minerals that support vibrant health.

I chose grass fed lamb or beef and pastured chicken. If you have access to a local farmer who will sell you a whole or half grass fed and finished lamb/cow, that is the best option. Grass fed options that I have seen in the grocery store have traveled all the way from New Zealand. Its a huge benefit to your local community when you can chose to keep your purchasing power where you live.

The same goes for dairy and eggs. Conventional CAFO products are from unhealthy animals that live a miserable, torturous existence. Its far better for health, for the animals  and for the community to choose local, organic, pastured eggs and grass fed dairy.

Consumers are demanding more and more wholesome products. If you don’t have a source of healthy protein near you, call some local farmers and ask them if they will produce what you want to buy. Look for local buying clubs, or ask your neighbors if they will join you and pool your resources to buy better food in bulk. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Choosing grass fed meat, dairy and pastured eggs is more expensive. To say otherwise would just be dishonest.  This means that I do eat less meat than I used to. I find that a little bit of meat really does go a long way.  My strategy is to focus on nutrient dense organic veggies, consumed with high quality fats to form the foundation of meals. I cook high quality meat in smaller portions, less often to balance nutrition, budget and all the delicious possibilities.

Words to live by:

You can pay the farmer now, or pay the doctor later.

I love this saying! Especially because choosing the farmer has far more delicious side effects!