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Spring Ferments

Image courtesy Toréa Rodriguez

Image courtesy Toréa Rodriguez

Well spring has definitely sprung in this part of the world. I usually can tell by the change in the veg at the farmers markets. This week I was excited to see, not only asparagus, but green garlic too! So exciting!! Plus its a welcome change to the seasons. My friend wrote about Eating Intuitively over at her blog It's Me, Charlotte and it got me thinking about how we naturally change what we crave based on the seasons too.

I crave more vegetables and lighter dishes in the spring and summer. Anyone else notice that?

So in that vein, I decided to make some of our farmers market haul into some crispy tangy fermented veg! I did two batches; the recipe for each are below. I wrote some tips on fermentation a few posts back, in case this is something that is new for you. And this time I am jotting down my technique so you can try too. I just can't help it - I really am loving my Kraut Source lids!

Fermented veg are great additions to salads, scrambles, stir-frys, you name it. Sometimes I will just snack on them plain! 

Herby Carrots & Turnips

Spring Asparagus

  • 1 carrot (any color, I used purple)
  • 4-5 small tokyo turnips, sliced
  • 1 head green garlic, sliced
  • few sprigs fresh dill
  • 1/2 t coriander seed
  • 1/4 t fennel seed
  • 2% brine (see notes below)
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus
  • 1 head green garlic, sliced
  • few sprigs fresh dill
  • 2% brine (see notes below)




For the Asparagus, I simply washed them and snapped them off at the ends with my hands. This is where asparagus naturally becomes tender rather than tough and stringy. Then I cut them to fit in the jar. For the green garlic (in both recipes) and for the Carrot/Turnips, I used a mandolin to slice them thinly.

Then I place the ingredients into the jars. You can stack them on the ends, or layer them however you like. As long as all the ingredient make it to beneath the "shoulder" of the jar. My asparagus was a bit tall, so I twisted them in the jar to get them to be as low as possible.

Then I make a 2% brine. This is super easy. For every 2 cups filtered water, you'll want to add 10g of sea salt. I like to use a super fine pink himalayan sea salt because it is easier to go into solution with cold water. For this batch, I made about 5 cups with 25g of salt mixed in. 

Then I just pour enough brine to cover the veg by about an inch (2-3cm). I use the Kraut Source lids since they are so great at keeping the good bacteria in and keeping out everything I don't want with their water lock. They also help keep my veg submerged under the brine. 

These will stay on my kitchen counter for approximately 3-7 days. I can already see the bubbles forming on the carrot/turnips (24h later) but no activity yet on the asparagus. I'll keep checking them visually each day and do a taste test every few days. Once they change from tasting salty to tangy, yet still have a bit of crispness, that is when I know they are done. Then I swap out the tops for normal canning jar lids and store them in the fridge.


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No-Sugar Cranberry Cardamom Sauce

CC image courtesy of Susy Morris

CC image courtesy of Susy Morris

When I was a full-on KitchenKlutz™, about the only thing that I could make for Thanksgiving was cranberry sauce. Its pretty fool proof, and doesn't take much time. Plus I didn't have to show up with the cranberry relish with can ridges down the sides of it either! (But if your into that kind of shaped cranberry thing, see below for a gelled option.)

But as I got further into my healing path, and learned more about the negative affects of sugar on health, I started looking for recipes that would satisfy my love for this easy dish yet not add a ton of sugar. I also have to admit, I really don't care for cranberries and citrus combinations. So over the years, I adapted the plain recipe into a crazy-good recipe that most dinner guests rave about. Today Im sharing with all of you my secret cranberry sauce!

So if you are looking for a sauce that doesn't have sugar, or if you got asked to bring something to the festivities and just don't know if you can handle even one dish, look no further! Another bonus: this recipe is Paleo, AIP,  and Whole 30® compliant (if you use date puree).

Recipe: No-Sugar Cranberry Cardamom  Sauce


15 ounces fresh, organic cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup apricot puree*
3 pods cardamom, shelled and ground
2 tbsp cognac (optional)
1-2 tbsp honey or date puree (optional)


Place the cranberries, water, ground cardamom and apricot puree in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer.

Stirring occasionally, simmer the mixture until almost all of the cranberries have popped 10-15 minutes.

Then add your sweetener 1 tablespoon at time, just enough to balance the tartness.

If opting for the cognac, then add the cognac and let it cook off for a few more minutes.

Serve immediately or place in jar and keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.


* If you want a more rustic texture - you're done. If you want a smoother texture blitz with a hand blender or in a food processor until desired consistency. 
* If you want the kind that gels and sets into a mold, then stir in 2 T of Great Lakes gelatin while the sauce is simmering. Then pour into your mold of choice and refrigerate.
* If you don't have apricot puree, soak 3/4 - 1 cup of dried apricots in hot water and blitz with a stick blender or food processor

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Giveaway Time: Paleo Foodie Cookbook

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Time for my first giveaway - a copy of The Paleo Foodie by Arsy Vartanian! I know there is at least one of you out there who wants to win a copy of this great cookbook! All you have to do is enter using the entry form below. Im leaving the sweepstakes open until 9am (Pacific Time) on Thursday the 16th of October.

UPDATE: Congratulations Julie M! You are the winner!! I have emailed you to collect your mailing address.

Friends and family often ask me where I learned how to cook such great food. And when mentioning to clients how I never used to cook, they too ask me how I picked up the skill. I wish I could say that I was born with the Chef Genius genetics, or that I was a Kitchen Wizard. But, the truth of the matter is there are some fantastic cookbooks out there for learning how to cook with real foods that make it all very easy. In the meantime, I have now become one of those cookbook junkies.  But all of my kitchen skills have come from these cookbooks and just practicing each day. Over time, my cooking skills have really improved! Just ask my husband. He has countless stories of nearly burning down the kitchen and ER visits! While common occurrences before, those days are very rare for me now. Thank goodness!

One of those great cookbooks I learned from is the Paleo Foodie Cookbook by my friend Arsy Vartanian of Rubies & Radishes fame. I have made many of the recipes out of Arsy's book (and her other one The Paleo Slow Cooker) and each one of them is delicious! I made her Osso Bucco this past week for guests and they raved about it all evening! Super yummy.

In the meantime, if you too want to look like a Kitchen Wizard or show off some of you Chef Genius genetics, Arsy is allowing me to reprint the Osso Buco recipe from Paleo Foodie. Sooo good!!

Image courtesy of Arsy Vartanian

Image courtesy of Arsy Vartanian

Osso Buco


There are many reasons to love osso buco, one being the delectable marrow in the center that adds a delicious richness to the sauce. What makes this dish for me, though, is the gremolata, a garnish typically made from chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest. I love how the fresh flavors of the herbs brighten up a luscious meal.

Traditionally this dish is made with veal, but if you don’t have access to humanely raised veal, then beef shanks will work, too!

{Toréa's Note: To make this AIP friendly, leave out the pine nuts in the Gremolata and substitute the tomato paste with 2 T of fish sauce.}


1 cup/40 g fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp/20 g pine nuts
2 small cloves garlic or 1 large clove
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp/15 ml fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp/30 ml extra-virgin olive oil 
1⁄4 tsp sea salt
1⁄4 tsp pepper

2 lbs/900 g veal shanks or beef shanks
sea salt and pepper
3 tbsp/43 g ghee
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 tbsp/30 ml tomato paste (preferably from a jar)
1⁄2 cup/120 ml white wine
1 cup/235 ml Beef Broth 


To make the gremolata, combine all of the ingredients (parsley, pine nuts, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil) in a food processor and pulse until well combined but still chunky. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Generously season the veal with salt and pepper. Melt the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan or a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the shanks and cook until browned on all sides. Set veal aside and add onion to the pan. Cook until onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, carrots and celery and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, then add wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the shanks back to the pan, along with the beef broth. Cover and simmer over low heat for 11⁄2 hours or until meat is tender, occasionally basting the shanks. To serve, arrange the shanks on dinner plates, spoon a generous amount of sauce from the pan over them, and sprinkle them with gremolata. 


Make this dish this week, and I promise you will want to enter my sweepstakes to win a copy for yourself. If you already have your own copy, enter anyway for a great holiday gift or send your friends over to enter to win a copy for themselves! If you enter, make sure to leave me a comment on why you would want Arsy's book



DIY Healing Body Butter Recipe

Image courtesy of Toréa Rodriguez

Image courtesy of Toréa Rodriguez

Last week, I talked about how to Detox Your Morning Routine. One of those ways that I do that is I make my own body lotion - or in this case body butter. I do this because I could not find a lotion to put on my skin that was completely free of chemicals. And knowing that the skin is our largest organ and that it absorbs what is put on it, I really wanted zero chemicals. Not one or two, zero.

So I started dabbling with recipes for homemade lotions online and finally settled on my own concoction that has a long enough shelf life and I can control the scent and healing properties with my own essential oils.  So, today, I'd like to share that recipe with you!

Body butter is an excellent moisturizer that applies very easily and leaves your skin soft. Its easy to make at home, and while it takes a while to whip up, if you have a stand mixer you can just walk away and check back periodically. One thing to note: if this gets warmed up and melts after you've made it, it won't re-solidify in the same fluffy texture. Its still just as good, but it looses the whipped consistency.

DIY Healing Body Butter Recipe

Makes: ~3 cups

Image courtesy of Toréa Rodriguez

Image courtesy of Toréa Rodriguez

Equipment required:

  • Glass or steel bowl and pot (for DIY double boiler)
  • Stand mixer
  • Jars for storage



  1. Gently melt the all ingredients except the arrowroot powder & essential oils in the bowl resting on a pot of simmering water (or use a double boiler). No need for high heat, you just want each of the ingredients to liquify.
  2. Take mixture off of the heat and mix in the arrowroot powder.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool just to the point of getting slight solidification at the edges of a bowl. This may take a while, especially in summer. You can use the refrigerator, but keep an eye on it as it can solidify entirely pretty quickly once it cools enough.
  4. Pour contents into the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the whisk attachment to whip the mixture until it gets lighter in color and fluffy. This can take quite awhile. If you are in a rush, you can cool the outside of the mixer bowl with ice in a bag, or an ice pack to speed things up. 
  5. Once the texture begins to have a whipped consistency, stop the mixer and add in your essential oils. Then whip again until soft peaks form. It will get firmer as it sets up.
  6. Scoop the body butter into lidded jars and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator if your house gets really hot in summer.


Once I learned about the quality differences of essential oil manufacturers, I now only use Young Living oils in my DIY products. If you want to learn more, you can check out my Essential Oil page. I also source my butters and oils from Mountain Rose Herbs for similar reasons.

* You can use any combination you wish. I use Ylang Ylang for the scent, Orange for enhancing the complexion, Lavender for scent and its soothing properties and Geranium for moisturizing and scent. You can use any oils you want to switch things up or tune the healing properties to what your own skin needs.



Bulletproof Cacao Recipe

Image courtesy of Toréa Rodriguez

Image courtesy of Toréa Rodriguez

You may or may not have heard of a thing called Bulletproof Coffee. If you haven't then you need to go over here for some culinary education post haste. If you have, then this concept will be familiar to you.

Even though I consider myself to be a coffee snob, I have opted not to drink coffee on a regular basis because it messes with my cortisol levels in a big way. And since I'm still nurturing my adrenals back to health, I only indulge in coffee on a rare occasion. And yes, this even includes decaf. So what is a girl to do when she wants to have a Bulletproof Coffee, but doesn't drink coffee? Turn to cacao of course!

Several people have asked me about my morning Bulletproof Cacao drink, so I promised that I would write up the recipe on my blog. Oh, and yes, this is my first recipe for my blog. So here goes.

Here is what you need to make a single serving: 

Some notes on the ingredients:

Cacao: Not just any old cacao mind you, but good quality cacao beans that come from an organic, fairly traded source. This is 100% cacao, not chocolate. There's no sugar in here. And the form is important. I have found that cacao powder is extremely bitter in the drink, and can cause disaster pants. No one wants that. Bar's are great, but expensive. Nibs seem to be the easiest to procure and use. 

Grass-fed unsalted butter: Grass-fed is important because you maximize the vitamins and nutrition with grass-fed sources. Unsalted is also important because no matter how much you love that favorite chocolate bar sprinkled with sea-salt and pistachios, salted Bulletproof Cacao is not nearly as fun.

Bulletproof Brain Octane™ and MCT Oils: These are specialized forms of medium chain triglyceride oils. We do get them from the Bulletproof Executive store. The measurements are approximate because you need to start with a small amount, such as one teaspoon of each, and build up to a full tablespoon or more. These are not required, but can be optional if you choose to use them in your regimen.

Here is how you bring it all together:

There are 2 in my household, so what you see here is a double recipe. First thing is to prepare the ingredients mise en place style. Since we are making a hot beverage in several containers, it's important to not miss a beat, else you might wind up with lukewarm Bulletrproof Cacao and that is no way to start the day! Plus you may want to preheat your Vitamix container and mugs with hot water to help reduce thermal loss in the process.

Start by measuring out your desired amount of cacao nibs and place by the blender. Yep, that is a MiniMichelle from NomNom Paleo guiding my culinary prowess.


Then get your fats in order. We measure out our grass-fed butter (you can use grass-fed ghee if you can't tolerate dairy) and melt it. Then we add the Brain Octane™ and MCT oils to the melted butter and set it next to the pre-heated Vitamix.


Remove the hot water from the blender and dump in the nibs and fats. If you are worried about water shortages, let the used hot water cool a bit and use it to cook some soft or hard-boiled eggs for brekkie.


Then add just enough water to bring the total volume up to the top of the blades, no more, no less.


This seems to be the key method to getting the nibs extremely smooth: blend with the fats and just enough water to get the volume just right. Too little volume and the blades can't do their job - huge chunks; too much volume and the blades don't seem to get enough purchase on the nibs to break them down enough. No one likes gritty kitty cacao drinks, unless you like to read your fortune out of the grits at the end. Personally, I like smooth consistency. 

Blend for 30 seconds to a minute. It should look similar to smooth nut butter when done. Don't worry that it seems like half of the drink is all over the sides and top of the blender.


Next pour in the rest of the water you want to use and while you pour, rinse down the sides and the top. For us, we add in enough water to make 2 mugs worth. So our total volume, read off the side of the blender container is 2.5-3 cups. For a single serving you want it to read 1-1.5 cups. Once you have more water in the container, and all the sides rinsed, give it one final spin on high for another minute. Pour into your preheated mugs and YUM!


Seems that once people go bulletproof on their coffee, they don't go back to black coffee. The same is true for the "hot chocolate" Now we can't imagine a hot morning beverage any other way!