Monday, July 28, 2014
After quite a few attempts at making a creamy seed butter, I've finally gotten one I love. The recipe makes a more peanut butter-like seed butter so if you prefer sweet you can add a bit more stevia or coconut sugar.
2 c. raw, shelled pumpkin seeds
1 c. raw, shelled sunflower seeds
If you want a basic seed butter simply toss with salt and skip the spices. For a spiced bend use the following spices:
3 tsp. Ceylon cinnamon powder
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt
2 tsp. ginger powder
1 tsp. vanilla powder
1/2 tsp. cardamom powder
Option Additions: hemp seeds, flax seeds, raw stevia powder, coconut sugar
Place pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a quart-size jar. Cover with water [filling jar] and secure a tight-fitting lid. Let soak overnight on the counter. In the morning, drain the water, rinse well and drain again. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the soaked seeds on a baking sheet and toss with remaining ingredients. Bake 20 minutes, stir, bake an additional 20 minutes, and stir. After 40 minutes total of baking time, turn off the oven and let the seeds sit in the oven until they are a deep golden brown [10 - 20 additional minutes] but not dark brown. Remove and cool completely.
Place cooled seeds in a blender [with tamper option] or food processor. Turn on blender or processor and gradually make your way to the highest setting, scraping the sides as needed. You shouldn't have to put much effort into keeping down the mixture, the machine will do most of the work [this is where I've gone wrong in the past. I would continually push the mixture down with the tamper rather than just letting it be]. It will start to become a thick paste-like consistency and maybe choke a bit. After a couple minutes enough of the oils will be released and the butter will start to flow more consistently. Once you've achieved a nut butter or creamy consistency, add whatever additions you choose [see options above] and continue to blend to smooth. Pour [you may need a spatula] into a glass container and let cool before storing in refrigerator.
Friday, July 25, 2014
Best of all, my two little girls love it. We enjoy the coconut water kefir with meals and the coconut milk kefir alone, topped with a pinch of pure stevia and berries, as a salad dressing or garnish in soups, and in smoothies.
Don't let the instructions fool you. It really is so easy to make and once you've done it a time or two it'll be like riding a bike. I whip a new batch up in around five minutes or less these days.
A Couple Notes: There are commercially prepared goat's and cow's milk options available [ranging in quality and price] however, this is a great vegan alternative. If you prefer kefir made with animal milk you can use the same kefir starter and simply follow the instructions included. Regardless of the milk or water you choose, remember this is a serious amount of good bacteria coming your way so start small for a few days [think teaspoon for kids and tablespoon for adults]. You may become a bit bloated and / or gassy - don't worry, it will pass. You're experiencing the war between good and bad bacteria in your gut. Over time you can gradually increase the amount of kefir to whatever feels balanced for your body.
3 packets of kefir starter [I use the Body Ecology brand; it comes with six packets*]
three 14-ounce cans of coconut milk [I use Native Forest Regular Coconut Milk] and three 17.5-ounce cans of pure, young coconut water [I use the Amy & Brian brand] or you can simply do a single batch of either the milk or water [or a double batch of either]
1 small cooler
2 kitchen towels
medium size pot
2 1/2 gallon-size glass jars with tight-fitting lids
kitchen thermometer [optional]
one kitchen spoon [to stir]
Pour coconut water into pot and warm to 90-degrees over low heat. You can use a kitchen thermometer but I tend to just check it periodically with either a clean finger or my lip - if it feels slightly warm I know it's ready. Once warm, put funnel over one of the glass jars and carefully pour coconut water into jar. Add 1 1/2 packets of kefir starter, secure lid tightly, and gently shake to incorporate. Wrap with one of the kitchen towels, place in cooler, and close lid. Set aside.
Pour coconut milk into the same pan you used for the coconut water and warm to 90-degrees over low heat. Again, you can use a kitchen thermometer but I tend to just check it periodically with either a clean finger or my lip - if it feels slightly warm I know it's ready. Once warm, put funnel over the other glass jar and carefully pour coconut milk into jar. Add the remaining 1 1/2 packets of kefir starter, secure lid tightly, and shake [a little more vigorously than the water] to incorporate. Wrap the jar with the other kitchen towel, place in the cooler next to the jar with the coconut water, and close lid.
Let the coconut milk kefir sit in the cooler [unmoved] for 24 - 36 hours or until slightly thicker. The coconut water kefir should remain in the cooler for about 48 hours.
Gently remove the coconut milk kefir from the cooler so as not to disturb the water kefir, close the lid to the cooler, and gently shake the milk kefir jar. Place in refrigerator to slow fermentation process. It will get thicker over the next day or so if you prefer a thicker kefir consistency [more yogurt-style]. After the water has sat for the required time, remove and place in refrigerator as well. Water kefir should be a bit fizzy. Both should have a tart, almost lemon-y taste.
To make a continuous batch follow the same instruction above but rather than using a new starter each time, reserve 6 T. of the milk kefir and add to the new batch or 8 T. of the coconut water kefir to add to that new batch.
Refer to Donna Gate's Body Ecology Diet for more detailed instructions and the extensive benefits of kefir as well as the best way and time to consume kefir.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
4 c. fresh or frozen asparagus [depending on the season you could also try green beans + zucchini in place of the asparagus or just use extra fresh or frozen greens like kale, spinach or chard], chopped or broken into 2-inch pieces
4 c. fresh or one small bag of frozen kale or spinach, chopped
3 large or 4 medium leeks, rinsed and sliced
2 large fennel bulb, rinsed and sliced, or 2 tsp. whole fennel seeds [or an extra leek in place of the fennel]
2 - 3 large garlic cloves, minced or sliced
1 - 2 T. ghee or coconut oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 c. bone broth, broth of choice, or water [I really like 2 c. lamb, chicken, or turkey broth + 2 c. vegetable broth]
6 c. water
2 T. dried fennel seeds
2 large bunches of fresh basil and/or parsley or 1 c. herb dressing
one large handful fresh dill leaves or 1 T. dried
In a dutch oven or large pot, warm ghee or oil over medium heat. Add cut fennel and leeks. Saute over medium-low heat until leeks begin to look transparent and fennel is soft [about 7 - 10 minutes]. Add garlic cloves and fennel seeds if using and saute for an additional 3 - 5 minutes or until fragrant. Season with a bit of salt and pepper, add asparagus, kale or greens, water and broth, stir, cover, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until asparagus is bright green and soft. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in herbs [basil, dill, and/or parsley]. Carefully blend using an immersion blender or place in blender and blend in batches until very smooth. Return to pot. Garnish as desired. Enjoy!
Garnish Options: coconut kefir [recipe to come soon!], nut / seed milk of choice, toasted walnuts, goat cheese, cooked quinoa, cut avocado, finely sliced basil leaves