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Inflammation Busting Turmeric Tonic

Image courtesy of Toréa Rodriguez

Image courtesy of Toréa Rodriguez

Inflammation can come from many sources. It could be a cold, or flu... or from foods that don't agree with your system (aka me and gluten, not the best friends). Or you may be exposed to something environmentally (molds, chemicals from cleaning or beauty products, etc). Regardless, inflammation is a normal response of the immune system, but sometimes our lovely immune system needs a little love. Good thing there are things we can do to help support it in its time of need. One of those foods is turmeric, and its got some awesome anti-inflammatory (amongst many other) benefits (1, 2).

The last few weeks, I have been experimenting with turmeric root in the kitchen and really loved this concoction that can be fairly versatile! So I wanted to share it with all of you. The best part is that it can be made in batches so you only have to do it once a week or once in a while (depending on how often you consume it). And it can be used in a variety of ways: cold, hot, gummy snack, sparkling... whatever your fancy. One thing I know is the marigold-orange hearts make me happy when I see them in my cup!

The other great thing about this recipe is that it also contains ginger which supports digestion. And since I use the root (peel and all) you also get the beneficial bacteria (read: probiotics) that are present in the outer layers of both the turmeric and ginger. I tend to get both of theses roots in the market when I can find them fresh, and then chop them into smaller pieces and freeze them for longer term storage. You can then let the quantity you need thaw slightly before making the tonic.

Note: I use a blender and nut milk bag to make mine. If you don't like the hand/finger workout (good for rock climbing, right?), you can always use a juicer to make the same thing. Just be forewarned, your pretty white nut milk bag will be forever bright yellow after this :)

Turmeric Tonic Concentrate

Use this concentrate for "shots" to be added to regular water, or fizzy water. You can even freeze them into ice "shots" for fizzy water or, heck even cocktails when you are feeling fancy! I use 3 cubes, which is about 1 oz or 30 ml of tonic for every 10-12 oz (300-400ml) water/fizzy water.  You can use ginger and lemon essential oil as well to enhance the flavor, but not required to get a good tonic.

Ingredients

  • 4 lemons peeled
  • 1-2" of fresh ginger root (~25g)
  • 2-3 "fingers" of fresh turmeric root (~75g)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-2 drops ginger essential oil (optional)
  • 2-3 drops lemon essential oil (optional)

Directions

  1. Place peeled lemons, ginger, turmeric and water in a high-powered blender
  2. Turn it up to max speed and blitz until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Pour mixture into a nut milk bag to strain into a quart sized mason jar.
  4. Store in the mason jar, or freeze smaller "shot" portions in an ice cube tray.

Turmeric Tonic Gummies

These are potent! So if you want them for snacks, I would suggest that you dilute with more water and perhaps increase the gelatin. However, i find the gummy version to be excellent for adding to hot water to make a Turmeric Tonic Tea. I use 3 squares (about 30 grams) for each 10-12 oz (300-400ml) hot water.

Ingredients

  • 4 lemons peeled
  • 1-2" of fresh ginger root (~25g)
  • 2-3 "fingers" of fresh turmeric root (~75g)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 T gelatin
  • 1-2 drops ginger essential oil (optional)
  • 2-3 drops lemon essential oil (optional)

Directions

  1. Place peeled lemons, ginger, turmeric and water in a high-powered blender
  2. Turn it up to max speed and blitz until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Pour mixture into a nut milk bag to strain into a sauce pan.
  4. Set the saucepan on the stove over medium heat and warm it up to just steaming, not boiling. Place the now warmed liquid back in the blender and turn on low so that its just keeping the liquid in motion. While the liquid is moving, sprinkle the gelatin in to get it to mix properly.
  5. Pour into silicone molds to create gummy snacks and refrigerate until set. If you don't have a mold, then you can pour into a small baking dish. Once set, cut into smaller squares.

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Bone Broth: New Health Craze or Traditional Staple?

CC image courtesy of Billfromesm

CC image courtesy of Billfromesm

Seems like bone broth is getting a lot of media these days... here, here and here. There's even entire books devoted to bone broth! Which is fine by me! Frankly, I don't care if it is a craze or not. I do know that bone broth has been around for many, many years and probably arose from trying to get as much nutrition out of food as possible and without letting anything go to waste. 

In fact, broth has been touted to be a healing potion as far back as the days of Hippocrates. Bone broth, the kind you make at home, is extraordinarily rich in nutrients, namely minerals and amino acids and collagen. Bone broth is rich in arginine, glycine and proline. Glycine supports the body's detoxification processes and is used in the synthesis of hemoglobin, bile salts and other compounds within the body. Proline, especially when paired with Vitamin C, supports good skin health. Bone broth is also rich in gelatin which improves collagen status and also supports skin health. Gelatin also supports digestive health which is why bone broth plays a critical role in therapeutic diets such as GAPS, SCD, Paleo and AIP. Ever hear that chicken soup is like "Jewish Penicillin"? There's a reason for that! Chicken broth inhibits neutrophil migration; that is, it helps mitigate the side effects of colds, flus and upper respiratory infections.

But here's the thing, while bone broth has a ton of wonderful nutrients in it, amino acids, collagen, some minerals, etc. there's one thing that people make an assumption about and that is that "bone broth contains a lot of calcium". Fascinating to learn in this AHS 14 Presentation by Kaayla Daniel, Ph. D, that bone broth only contains calcium if there are lots of vegetables cooked with the bones! Pretty interesting huh? 

For most people, they think it's a hassle to make or that you have to use scary ingredients (like chicken feet). But really, Im here to tell you that its super simple and with a few tricks I have collected over the years, making bone broth is easy to do and easy to use! No need to fret about the bones any more than making sure you are sourcing bones from pasture raised animals. If you don't know how to make bone broth, I use the technique outlined at Zenbelly's site.

Good broth will resurrect the dead
— South American Proverb

Tips and Tricks for Simple Broth

  1. Save all the bones! This is pretty basic, but if you cook entire chickens, turkeys, or cuts of meat with bones in them, just save them. I have two plastic bags in the freezer that I dump all the bones into: one for poultry and one for beef/pork/lamb bones. I will toss the bones (not picked clean mind you - I use the extra meaty bits for flavor) into the bags and save them until I have enough for making a batch.
  2. Save the veggie bits too! The veggies, as we know now, provide a lot of the minerals in broth. Plus they add a lot of flavor. If I have a bunch of coriander stems, carrot ends, broccoli stems when trimming my veg, then I will toss those in the freezer too to save for making a batch of bone broth! My friend Simone over at Zenbelly does this too!
  3. Use Soup Socks! What? What the heck is a Soup Sock? Seriously makes the whole bone broth process super simple. I stick my bag-o-bones, my bag-o-veg and some smashed cloves of garlic into a soup sock (basically a huge net "stocking" to hold all the goodies in), tie it up and plop it into my Instant Pot (see #4). When the broth is done, I simply pull out the one large "sock" of stuff in one step - no fishing for bones with tongs, no ladling into a strainer... Saves a ton time.
  4. Instant Pot - As if you didn't already have reasons to get one of these! Bottom line, you can make super broth in 2-4 hours instead of 12-36 hours! Its like getting a Tardis without the whole "its bigger on the inside" bit. Plus the Instant Pot is a true kitchen multi-tasker and totally worth it! I pressure cook my broth about 4 hours each time I make it.
  5. Reduce - Simone (Zenbelly) is a self-proclaimed (and rightfully so) Bone Broth Jedi Master. If you read her tutorial, take note of her reduction step. This is the key to making the most gelatin-laden savory "jello" out there. When my batch is done in the Instant Pot, I switch modes to low sauté, this gives me a nice simmer and I let it reduce for 30-60 minutes. Perfect gelling every time. 
  6. Portion Freeze - I often times can't drink/use as much broth as I make in a batch. And instead of wasting it, I freeze it. But freezing in mason jars is impractical as I sometimes only need 1/3 cup for braising, etc. And then I found this ice cube tray that makes about 1/3c pucks. So I freeze up my batch into 20-30 of these pucks (bag-o-pucks) that I keep in the freezer. (Do you see the trend here? bag-o-everything!) I pop out ~4 of them to make a mug of broth, or use one as a braising liquid when cooking veg later in the week.

 

 

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Giveaway Time: The Zenbelly Cookbook

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UPDATE: Jessica L and Erica R are the winners! Congrats. I've emailed you both for mailing addresses.

I used to be one of those people that would head into the kitchen once a year to make a feast, often times burning at least one dish and putting a nice gash across some kind of appendage. Seriously folks, you have to practice at these things else it will always be an annual disaster! But now that I cook for our small family nearly every day, holiday meals and entertaining are not nearly as frightening as they used to be.

Plus, with all these great cookbooks around, I now have fun meal planning in advance! One cookbook I am turning to for this year's Thanksgiving feast is The Zenbelly Cookbook: An Epicurean's Guide to Paleo Cuisine. I have had this book in my possession for a number of months. And I have to say, it's like getting a private tutorial from a seasoned chef! Simone owns a catering business in San Francisco, will occasionally do pop-ups at local restaurants and she writes a food blog. Not once have I ever made a recipe that went south. She makes me look like a rockstar in the kitchen; her recipes are kitchen klutz (me) proof!

So just in time for all the holiday meal planning, I have a special gift for you! Two of you, that's right, two, can win a copy of The Zenbelly Cookbook by Simone Miller. All you have to do is click the button below to go to my sweepstakes page and signup for my email newsletter. If you want a chance for even more entries, there are additional options too! Sweepstakes opens Tuesday 11 November at 0900 PT and ends at noon PT on Tuesday 17 November 2014.

UPDATE: The two copies I have will now be *signed copies* - how cool is that?


Bonus Recipe: Rustic Apple Tartlets

Simone has graciously allowed me to post one of the incredible recipes in her book. If you are looking for a nice dessert for a holiday meal, but are not into the same ol pumkkin thang, then look no further to the Rustic Apple Tartlets! While this recipe is not AIP, its still a great addition to your holiday menu for your guests who are not AIP.

It has always been my understanding that the more difficult a pie crust is to work with, the better the end result will be. Consider that fair warning. It's certainly workable, but try not to get frustrated if it needs some patching while you work with it. Besides, the word rustic allows for certain amount of character! – Simone Miller

prep time: 30 minutes | cook time: 30 minutes | makes: 4 individual tartlets

Ingredients

3/4 pound apples (about 2), cut into half moon slices 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick
1 tablespoon coconut sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup arrowroot powder, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups almond flour
pinch of finely ground sea salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sliced apples, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the coconut sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the arrowroot, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the almond flour, remaining 1/2 cup of arrowroot, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of coconut sugar, and the salt. Cut the butter into small pats and cut it into the dough with a pastry cutter or two knives.
  4. Mix one of the eggs and the vanilla extract into the almond flour mixture. Keep mixing until it forms a dough.
  5. Divide the dough into four even sections. On a floured piece of parchment paper, press each section into a disc. Dust the discs and a rolling pin with arrowroot and roll them out into circles about 5 inches across.
  6. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl and brush the tops of the discs. Slide the parchment and dough onto a baking sheet.
  7. Arrange a row of apple slices in the center of each disc, leaving a space around the outside large enough to fold up.
  8. Carefully fold up the sides of the discs around the outer edges of the apples. Using a flat metal spatula is helpful: Slide it under the dough and lift up and over the apples, leaving the center uncovered. Using your fingers, crease the dough together every couple of inches to enclose the apples.
  9. Brush the exposed apples with a little of the juice remaining in the bowl. Brush the crusts with the egg wash.
  10. Bake for 25 or 30 minutes or until the crust is golden and the apples have softened.

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