Wednesday, March 21, 2012


We eat a lot of yogurt over here.  Lately we've been eating a lot of Saugeen Country yogurt in lieu of other popular and widely available organic yogurts specifically because it is better. No, it's not thick and creamy Greek style yogurt, or fruit on the bottom full of sugar kinda of yogurt.  It's un-homogenized, real, the kind you'd make yourself yogurt.  If our dear little Cassie was still producing milk I would be making my own yogurt.  But, she's not at the moment.  Good news though, we think she's pregnant.  Bad news, we think it was her son who made her so.  Nonetheless, we will be having milk again soon.  
So what's the big deal with homogenizing milk?  Well, milk straight up from a cow contains cream, which rises to the top.  Homogenization is a process that breaks up the fat globules and evenly distributes them throughout the milk so that they do not rise.  This process unnaturally increases the surface area of fat exposed to air.  When oxidation occurs as a result, their is an increased susceptibility to spoilage.  Homogenization has also been linked to heart disease and atherosclerosis.  
Personally, I'd rather have runny yogurt that I can strain if I want it thick.  Milk that needs to be shaken before consumed also sounds like a much better deal than denatured milk.  I have also exclusively been buying Harmony Organic un-homogenized milk until Cassie the goat is ready to share her goods.  
Now all we need to do is work on getting unpasteurized milk on the market and we will be all set.  Until then, I am just really grateful that organic raw cheese is available everywhere, you just have to read the ingredients on the label and check.  Generally, the aged cheeses are raw, whereas the young cheeses like mild cheddar and mozzarella are not. 
So, without further ado, her is one of the many ways we eat our non-homogenized yogurt.....
YOGURT with Blueberries, Apple, Cinnamon and Wildflower Honey

1 1/2 cups organic whole, non-homogenized yogurt
1/4 cup organic wild blueberries (frozen at this time of year)
1/2 of an organic apple, peeled and grated
1 Tbsp ground seed mix (flax, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin)
1 Tbsp local wildflower honey
dash of organic cinnamon

Method:  Combine all ingredients in a bowl, stir to combine.

Friday, March 16, 2012


One of the things I like most about being a parent is revisiting stories, traditions, and cultural concepts that I was exposed to as a child.  For the most part I am learning so many new things about things I thought I knew about, but I am also sometimes aghast at the things children are taught in books and in the mass media.  One of my favorite books as a child was the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Reading them again as an adult each night with my son has been wonderful. Well it was until I got to the second book that tells the tale of the Wilder family moving to the prairies and essentially stealing land and resources from the Native Americans.  I never realized what a stereotypical and racist slant the book has.  I had to censor the story as I was reading it out loud, which was really hard because they go on and on about it.
So this week I've been reading all kinds of story books about Leprechauns and clover.  I'm not all that much interested in St.Patrick, but I do love the tales of the wee folk and the fauna.  So while I always knew that Leprechauns were little green guys, I didn't realize they were the cobblers to Faeries.  In one of the story books a man named Finn raves on about his mother's soda bread so much that I had a huge craving for some myself.
Last night before I went to bed I whipped up a batch of dough to ferment a bit overnight before I baked a loaf this morning.  I'm in love.  So, if you're feeling like a little Irish spring celebrating at this time of year, do yourself a favour and bake a loaf of this Soda Bread.

1 1/2 cups organic whole grain spelt flour
1 1/2 cups organic light spelt flour
1/2 Tbsp sea salt
1/4 cup organic coconut sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup organic rolled oats
6 Tbsp organic unsalted butter
1 cup organic buttermilk

Method:  Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 375*.  In a bowl, stir to combine the flours, oats, salt, and sugar.  Cut in the butter and then Stir in the buttermilk, cover, and allow to sit at room temperature overnight.  In the morning, sift in the baking soda, knead it into the dough a bit .  Form the dough into a round loaf and make an X with a knife on the the top of the loaf.  Place the loaf on the preheated stone and bake for about an hour.  Set on a rack to cool.
(ps Normally Soda Bread is made by mixing all the ingredients just before you are going to make it, so the baking soda would be stirred into the flour before adding the buttermilk.  While doing this does make it easier to evenly incorporate the baking soda into the dough, it prevents you from being able to soak the flour overnight in buttermilk....)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I've missed Manna Bread so much.  I used to buy it all the time, but my low plastic lifestyle no longer included this (double) wrapped plastic convenience food.  I wrote it off as just another one of those things I can live without in order to decrease the planet's plastic overload.  
Good thing I like cooking though because now I make my own.  What?  Yes, you heard me right, you too can make your very own manna bread, and a wheat free one at that.  And what do you know, it's way cheaper.  The only trick is, you have to be very patient.  Yes, because in order to make manna bread you have to wait three days.  Trust me, that is a small price to pay for having the most delicious snack food on the planet in your cupboard.  Oh, and make sure you have lots of almond butter on hand because manna bread truly is a heavenly food when it's smeared with raw almond butter.  
     Not only does manna bread taste great and hit the spot every time I have the munchies, it is a very nutritious and easy to digest alternative to conventional breads.  This is because making breads from sprouted grains provides more protein, vitamins and minerals thanks to specific biochemical changes that occur during germination that increase the accessibility of these nutrients.

2 cups organic kamut berries
1/3 cup organic raisins
1 organic carrot, shredded

Method:  Soak the kamut berries overnight in water.  In the morning, strain. and then place them in a mason jar with a piece of cheesecloth held in place with an elastic band.  Place the jar upside down at a slight angle and let rest on your counter for 12 hours.  Rinse, drain, and let them sit another 12 hours.  By this time they should have a tail growing that is about as long as the grain itself.  Drain the kamut and place them in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients.  Process the ingredients until they turn into a sticky, doughy, paste.  This may take a few minutes.
     Grease your hands and remove the dough and form it into a loaf that is no higher than 1 1/2 inches.  Bake at 225* for 2 1/2 hours.  The outside will form a light, chewy crust while the inside is moist and muffin-like. Keeps well at room temperature for about 3 days, or you can slice and freeze.

Monday, March 5, 2012


     This whole grain reducing lifestyle thing can be challenging at times, but I find dinner time the easiest meal to plan for and make.  Eliminating grain options from my diet has actually made meal preparation simpler in a lot of ways.  For instance, dinner usually consists of either beef, lamb, chicken or fish which I generally broil, and either a salad or cooked vegetable, or both.  Pretty simple.  Good thing too because all the mental strength I have left is used up the rest of the day trying to think of snacks and foods to feed the kids and I.  We've been eating a lot more eggs, raw cheeses, apples, nuts, seeds, and vegetables.  My favorite go to snacks are apple segments dipped in almond butter, boiled eggs, apples and cheese, applesauce, frozen blueberries, and yogurt.  When we do indulge in grains it is usually some sourdough bread I recently made (I will share that recipe one day soon) either spread with almond butter, or my favourite, topped with camembert cheese and apple slices.  Speaking of which, I can't believe how much better the French camembert cheese made from unpasteurized milk that I bought from the boulangerie at the market tastes compared to the other French one I bought at the supermarket.  It is like night and day, and doesn't cost much more.  This week we've also been loving Carrot Raisin Manna Bread made from sprouted grains spread with almond butter.
     Anyway, so back to tonight's dinner.  I've noticed that when it comes to chicken, we usually eat wings, drumsticks and thighs, or whole chickens (can you tell we all like dark meat?) .  But this week, I picked up a couple of packs of organic skinless, boneless chicken thighs from the health food store and made them tonight in a wicked molasses and marmalade marinade. 

8 organic skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/8 cup organic molasses
1-2 Tbsp organic tamari
2 Tbsp organic orange marmalade
2 Tbsp grated organic ginger root
a couple of squeezes organic fresh lemon juice
1 clove organic garlic, minced
freshly ground organic black pepper

Method:  Place the chicken in a large bowl.  Squeeze as much juice as you possibly can out of the grated ginger over top of the chicken.  Then add the rest of the ingredients.  Toss to coat each piece of chicken. Allow to marinate for at least 2 hours.  
     Preheat the oven to 375*.  Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and place in a cast iron skillet.  Place in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

1 large organic carrot, chopped
1 large organic parsnip, chopped
1 medium organic rutabaga, chopped
1 large knob of organic salted butter
1/2 Tbsp umeboshi vinegar
fresh organic parsley, chopped
sea salt

Method:  Place the vegetables in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil on high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and boil the vegetables until fork tender.  Strain the water and then mash the vegetables with the butter and vinegar.  Stir in the parsley and serve.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


I love Sundays.  We start the morning off with a big family breakfast, and then everyone gets a chance to "get stuff done" around the house while Jude sleeps.  More often than not, this means Scott and Faegan are outside building or doing other chores, and I am inside, cleaning house, cooking, sewing, or just having some alone time in the house picking my nose.
Scott and Faegan were outside all day making an honest to goodness, real, functioning cold frame.  Last year we sort of built one into our garden, but it kind of sucked.  After reading the awesome book The Year Round Vegetable Gardener by Nikki Jabour, which was written by a local gardener, we were inspired to get serious and think about a structure that could help feed us all year long.  I am crazy excited about the idea of growing greens at times of the year when you least expect it.  Like in the middle of winter, and well,  right now for instance.  Especially after I just spent $5 on a tiny bag of fresh spinach at the market this weekend which made one salad for supper tonight  Now all we need is a year round indoor location for our grow lights.......
What's this?  Forsythia in March?  Mais oui!  Ok, so I cheated and forced some branches indoors last week.  It is so nice to see flowers blooming at this time of year when it feels like winter will n e v e r end...........sigh.   But it is ending, I can feel it in my bones and see signs of spring everywhere.
I can't leave this diggin it sunday without mentioning how much I loved Faegan's imaginative play this week.  As I was putting Jude down for a nap I heard his little feet running back and forth downstairs.  When I came down he has this beautiful spread laid out on the coffee table.  He said it was a birthday feast for me (hmm, it's not my birthday, but I can pretend it is....)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

GOING NUTS (and seeds)

All this talk of phytic acid in foods has got me soaking - EVERYTHING - before we eat it.  Even our nuts and seeds that we like to snack on throughout the day.  As I've mentioned before, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds have high levels of anti-nutrients, substances that significantly reduces our absorption of minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium.  So, technically speaking, you would have to eat about 11 pieces of whole grain bread to get the amount of nutrients you could be getting out of one piece of bread that has been prepared properly to reduce the phytates.  Wow, now unlike grains, nuts contain smaller amounts of phytic acid, but they have high amounts of nasty enzyme inhibitors.  These enzymes are mother nature's way of preventing them from sprouting prematurely, but they make our digestive systems feel kind of gross.  The good news though, is that soaking your nuts and seeds in warm salt water will neutralize these enzymes and make them much easier to digest.  Woo hoo!
     All it takes is a little thinking before go to bed.  I like being prepared anyway, usually taking out whatever frozen meats and fishes I will be needing for the next day's meals.  Your nighttime ritual will be even more fun now, adding grains and beans to the mix!
     We love eating tamari seasoned trail mix around here, which I adapted to include soaking sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and almonds overnight in water.

2 cups organic raw almonds
2 cups organic raw sunflower seeds
2 cups organic raw pumpkin seeds
11/2 Tbsp sea salt
water to cover
organic tamari

Method:  Dissolve salt in water and pour over the nuts and seeds.  Allow to soak for 12 hours (overnight), drain and rinse in a colander.  Pour a little tamari over the seeds and nuts, stir, and then spread out onto a dehydrator tray and dry at low heat for about 8-10 hours, or until the seeds are try and crispy.


Before I go, I just wanted to say that the Rhythm of the Home Spring Edition is LIVE today...
and you can find my submission here.