Roasted Beef Bone Broth

imageWe make and consume a ton of bone broth in my house, especially during the winter. This food trend is not new. In fact, it’s part of a traditional, centuries old diet.

Bone broth lines your gut with a protective layer of healing collagen, it is packed with protein and minerals, and restores skin elasticity over time. It is excellent for your hair and nails, too. For about $1.00 a quart, you can make your own at home.

  • My favorite go-to recipe uses roasted, grass-fed beef knuckles and leg bones, lightly roasted onion, carrots, celery and just a touch of garlic.

Did I mention that it makes itself? After roasting the bones and veggies, you throw it all in a low temperature crockpot, cover it in water and walk away for two days.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 lbs of grassfed leg and knuckle bones
  • 2 organic carrots, broken in half
  • 3 organic celery stalks, cut in half
  • 1 small organic onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves fresh organic garlic
  • 3 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Coat bones and veggies in oil.
  3. Place in glass baking dish or roasting pan.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, but do not let the ingredients char. Your broth will taste terrible.
  5. Remove from oven and transfer immediately to crockpot and cover with water and add apple cider vinegar.
  6. Cook on low for 12-48 hours.
  7. Strain out veggies and bones. If you want super clear broth, do a second strain through unbleached cheese cloth.
  8. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 6 months.

 

 

 

Nutella Torte

nutellatorteIn my 20’s, long before I became a mom, wife, Ayurveda Wellness Counselor, or official Pacific Northwesterner, I was a serious wanderlust-er.  I traveled. I visited over 25 countries and tasted all of the foods I could.  But my first love of travel + food was in the back of a 16 passenger van on the way to Virginia when I was 18. (I know.  It’s not what you would expect from soon-to-be college kid in the back of a van, right?)

My  travel + food love affair began in the spring of 1997 with Nutella.  (If you’ve never had it, don’t eat it.  You won’t be able to put the spoon down.  Maybe ever.) I remember my first taste of the gooey chocolate hazelnut mixture; I was on a road trip with some friends to check out a college on the east coast during my senior year in high school.  My friend, Amy, pulled out a jar and a bag of pretzel sticks.  She passed it around the 16 passenger van.  My first taste was something akin to what I understand heroin addicts experience the first time they use.  It was a magical revelation.  It was transcendent.  It was a brand new food reality opening up before me.  I had no idea anything could taste that good.  I was hooked.

The spring of 1997 sparked a long love affair with Nutella  It spanned the course of three decades, four continents, and many life events in between.

  • Spoonfuls of Nutella straight from the jar during college to soothe a broken heart and pad the waistline with a few post break-up pounds.
  • Nutella crepes in Paris across from the Eiffel Tower on a spectacular summer evening.
  • Fresh Nutella croissants in Germany, Austria, Prague, and Venice to fuel my perpetual mid-20’s wanderlust.
  • A dusty, expensive jar hidden on the back of a shelf in a little shop in Victoria Falls, Zambia, (probably left over from British occupation), spread over hot, fresh chapati straight from the cooking fire.
  • And yes…comforting Nutella sandwiches on not-quite-stale bread eaten at the end of an exhausting remote clinic day in the highlands of Guatemala.

I guess you could say I have strong associations with food.

Well, today I’m trying to stay true to my low sugar in 2015 intention.  My husband is, too, so I wanted to make something familiar and delicious and decadent.  I wanted to  connect with where my life’s journey has taken and honor those travel + food experiences, even while I am in a definite season of staying close to home. But I wanted to do it all without sugar. Or flour. Or (very many) carbs. Or the inevitable self-loathing.

Behold, the Nutella Torte.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, I’m going to warn you…this is not low-cal.  In fact, it’s high-cal.  You’re going to have to watch your portion control here, but that’s okay because you’ll want to savor every bite.  Remember good times.  Share a memory with your family.  Feel all the warm fuzzies that fill your heart as you fill your belly. Then put the damn thing away because it’s going to be tempting to eat it all in one day.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of finely ground hazelnut meal  (you can grind your own with a food processor, or buy it for a pretty penny from WF)*
  • 1 cup erythritol or 2/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp melted butter or hazelnut oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 20 drops of liquid stevia (only if using erythritol)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of light cream or half & half
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • a pinch of salt
  • a prayer of gratitude that you can eat something tastes like Nutella again

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2) Lightly grease a 8″ springform or round cake pan
3) Combine wet ingredients in a bowl and whisk vigorously for about a few seconds
4) Combine dry ingredients and mix thoroughly
5) Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients, and stir until fully incorporated
6) Pour into pan
7) Put pan into the oven for about 35 minutes, depending on your oven and altitude.

Let the torte cool quite a bit, for about one hour.  I know, it’s torture.  One whole hour.  And it’s just staring at you.  Waiting for you to top it with some fresh, home-made whipped cream sweetened only with a bit of vanilla extract and a few fresh raspberries and devour it’s warm hazelnutty-chocolatey goodness.

(*Please note that if you want to forgo hazelnut meal, you can easily substitute almond meal.  One of my very favorite variations is to add a little bit of almond extract and unsweetened dried tart cherries.  I also like to use unsweetened baking chocolate instead of the cocoa powder, melt it with the butter on my faux double-boiler, and add it to the wet ingredients.)

Do you have any favorite Nutella memories?  Please share.  You’re among friends.

Apple Quinoa Mini-Muffins

2AppleQMinimuffinsI love January.  I love new beginnings and how ready we all are for a change.  My husband woke up on January 2nd and thought it was the perfect day to start cleaning closets. I am a really great wife because I let him.  I didn’t get in his way or anything!  I just left him to it while I took a bath and watched old episodes of The Mindy Project on Hulu as our son napped for three hours.

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions this year.  I feel like being a human is enough for now. So, stop trying to make me feel bad with all of your “I’m going to eat food regularly” and “I’m going to walk up the stairs instead of take the elevator more often” and “I’m going to learn how to knit” and “I’m going to shower at least four times a week” resolutions, okay?  I get it.  YOU HAVE AMBITION. And me?  I’ll have these vegan mini-muffins.  Because I’m fancy. And it’s also one of the few foods I can share with my FPIES toddler, who I try to include in meals and create balanced meals for, even though it’s stupid challenging. (For more on that, see my post on The Leaky Boob.)

Apple Quinoa Mini-Muffins*

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa flakes or quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup milk of your choice (I use goat’s milk for E)
  • 1/2 cup organic apple sauce
  • 2 Tbsp organic dried apple, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp organic coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon or cardimon (0ptional)
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Put quinoa flakes in food processor or magic bullet and grind into flour. (Omit this step if you are using quinoa flour.)
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Spoon batter into greased mini muffin tin. (You can also line with paper baking cups instead of greasing the muffin tin.)
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until spongy to the touch.
  6. Let stand for five minutes, then remove muffins and allow to cool on a wire baking rack.

{Recipe yields 18 mini-muffins}

*You can make these in non-mini form but they’re tastier and seem to stretch farther in mini form.

Herb Crusted Beef Tenderloin

beef tenderloinI’m sure you all have your menu planned out for the holidays, but I’m just going to leave this here. It is the easiest thing you will make this Christmas and it will blow everyone away.

Ingredients:

  • 3lb beef tenderloin, trimmed
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp stone ground mustard
  • 3 Tbsp herbs, like herbs de provence or boquet garni
  • granulated garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp ghee or olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle salt, pepper and granulated garlic over tenderloin.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high heat.
  4. Sear tenderloin on each side for 20 seconds.
  5. Remove tenderloin from pan, and coat with mustards then herbs.
  6. Place tenderloin in a roasting pan and roast for 40 minutes (medium rare)
  7. Remove tenderloin from oven, transfer to cutting board.
  8. Tent with foil and rest tenderloin for 10 minutes.
  9. Cut and serve!

Healthy Holidays — Slow Down

stock image by sakhorn38 from www.freedigitalphotos.net
stock image by sakhorn38 from www.freedigitalphotos.net

I’m writing this and I don’t even fully know how to tell you to do it because, the very deepest truth is, I’m learning how to do this myself. I like movement. I like commotion. I like getting caught up in the shuffle. It’s exciting and invigorating. Even as frustrating as it can be, it’s a little electrifying and fun. And that’s okay. We all need fun.

But it’s also distracting.

When my body and mind are too busy, (which I slip into way too easily this time of year), I miss the really GOOD stuff. Like my son’s new hand mannerisms that appeared overnight, or my husband’s introverted co-worker who often gets overlooked at company Christmas parties but is delightful to talk to once engaged.

One of my very wise teachers told me she had a serious problem slowing down when she was a girl. At one point, it was so bad that she was almost expelled from school because she couldn’t stay focused on any task that required repetition. Her father decided to help her find a way to connect to methodical tasks that required her full attention. Her family ate rice at every dinner, and he gave her the job of washing the rice. She hated it. She had to stand still, be patient, sift the rice through the water. Fill, sift, wash, dump, repeat, until the water ran clear. She couldn’t leave her task in the middle of it and go do something else. When she took shortcuts, dinner was ruined and her family got angry. Doing this simple task brought her pride when done well, and the important life skill of learning how to slow down. Later, when she went to medical school, she told us how the simple act of washing rice, submerging her hands in water, doing this methodical task, would bring her back from her frazzled, over-stimulated state of being in a matter of 10 minutes.  It carried her through her partner’s heath crisis later, and her son’s teen years. It even helped her build a thriving medical practice.

She told me this as I sifted my own rice to make a slow-cooked curry dish. And as I stood there, listening to her story, I let the water run into my bowl and I felt each grain of rice, each gentle rush of water, and found my brain slowing down. She kept talking and I kept listening (kind of) but I was lost in the simple act of doing something slowly, consciously, and enjoying it.  I was shocked how much I allowed myself to find meaningful connection in a mundane task.

So, can we all slow down just a little? Find our awareness through small, everyday acts of service to those we love. Hell, you don’t even have to do anything more than what you’re doing now, just do them differently.  Do them with intention.  Do them with loving connectedness.

Here are a handful of places to start:

Watch your children. And I mean WATCH them. See how they move, find joy in their play.

Touch your partner with intention. A hand on the back, or a thumb swiped gently across a wrist.

Write a note to your parents. Express gratitude for something positive they did that shaped you. And if you don’t have those kinds of parents, send one to someone who helped bridge that gap. A phone call would work, too.

Wash dishes. Yep, washing dishes engages both hands in concerted movement, which means both sides of your brain are working together. This is excellent for your mental acuity and you have the added bonus of a clean kitchen when you’re finished.

Make slow food. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. In fact, simple is better. But there is something so satisfying about crafting a tasty meal from just a few ingredients and SITTING DOWN to eat it. Yep, that’s part of the deal. Sit down to eat.

So, in the spirit of slowing down, here is my favorite slow-food recipe, Korean Barbeque Beef. I’m sure it’s a far cry from authentic Korean food, but it’s rich, warm, satisfying, and makes excellent leftovers. It also goes well with rice. :)

Ingredients:
2-3 lbs grass-fed chuck roast
1 onion, thinly sliced
5-7 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
I cup Braggs Amino Acids
1/4 cup rice vinegar (I use organic and unsweetened, but you might be able to use 1/8 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar instead.)
1/4 cup organic black strap molasses
3 Tbsp Siracha or other hot sauce
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
20-30 drops liquid stevia, or three Tbsp raw honey
1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes for extra heat

Preparation:
1) In a medium bowl, whisk everything together except for the onion and chuck roast.
2) Grease your crockpot using some toasted sesame oil.  It adds extra flavor and makes cleaning easy.
3) Put your chuck roast in the crockpot and add the onions around the sides of the roast.
4) Pour your marinade over the roast and onions.  You can add a little water if you’d like,  1/2 cup should do it.
5) Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  I think 7 hrs is perfect, but it’s up to you!

Korean Beef