Monday, September 1st, 2014

My New French Press Yields Big-Ass Batches of Herbal Medicine

by Kristen Suzanne in herbs
Big french press for big batches of herbal medicine

Big french press for big batches of herbal medicine. Above: Nettle, Burdock Root, Licorice Root, and Spearmint.

I’m having a lot of fun learning about herbal medicine. And, I’ve learned that one of the easiest ways to administer herbal medicine is via tea. Every one likes a nice cuppa tea, eh?

Herbal teas are also known as infusions or decoctions, but there is a difference in how they’re prepared. An infusion is hot water infused with the loose leaf teas, and can be made with a french press like the one pictured. A decoction is made by simmering the parts over heat. Simmering is proper for roots and tougher herbs and stems to get a nice extraction of nutrients and flavor. Today, I’m talking infusions which is what most people experience when they drink a cup of tea.

Herbal teas (tisanes) are something I drink daily. One way to make it extra easy is to simply brew a large batch, which I can enjoy all day long. That means no fussing in the kitchen more than once a day for tea.

Enter: My new big, bad-ass French Press.

The french press, I’ve learned (through trying different methods), is the simplest way to make herbal tea. The loose herbs are free to float and steep, while covered which is important. Then, you press them down via the plunger, and pour the tea into your favorite cup, all without messing with the loose tea and a separate strainer.

When I found myself making multiple batches of tea throughout the day with my small french press, I knew I needed something bigger. As usual, on Amazon.com, I found what I was looking for… The Gorsche Madrid French Press Tea and Coffee Maker makes a whopping 1.5 liters (1500 ml) of tea or coffee. Nice.

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Friday, August 29th, 2014

Recipe: Longevity Bone Broth Soup to Help Live a Long Life

by Kristen Suzanne in gluten free, herbs, longevity, paleo, recipe
Longevity Bone Broth

Longevity Bone Broth

The fall weather is approaching.

It’s time to get serious and prep our bodies with nourishing foods to get through flu season with ease. Bone broth (i.e., stock) is essential to help prevent getting sick, and to help you heal in record speed, if you do get sick. My family consumes homemade bone broth (on a very regular basis) delivered by mug, soup, stew, sauce (I make demi-glace from it which serves as the bases for many unbelievable sauces), and rice pilaf. We also rely on herbal medicine to keep our immune systems in the best shape possible. See posts here and here for herbal medicine. Oh and this post with a delicious(!) berry tea recipe, great for helping you fight and prevent colds and flu.

In case you haven’t read it yet, I wrote an epic blog post showing you many variations to making your own homemade bone broth (i.e., stock). Today, I’m quickly sharing a groovy longevity twist I have been making: Longevity Bone Broth.

I am naming it Longevity Bone Broth because I’ve added a number of longevity supporting ingredients such as:

Bone broth is a pretty bad-ass longevity food on its own, but this version takes it to new levels.

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Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Recipe: Strawberry Banana Brain-Boosting Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Brain Boosting Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Brain-Boosting Smoothie

Enjoy this mega brain-boosting smoothie for your next breakfast or lunch. Warning: if you have a little one around, especially a little girl who loves pink, be sure to double the batch or she’ll drink all of yours.

Strawberry Banana Brain-Boosting Smoothie

Blend everything in an awesome high-speed blender. (You don’t really need a high-speed blender to make this… but life is better with one.)

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Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Recipe: Spicy Aloe Beauty Salad (Raw Vegan Paleo Gluten Free)

by Kristen Suzanne in beauty, gluten free, paleo, recipe, vegan
Spicy Aloe Beauty Salad (Raw Vegan Paleo Gluten Free)

Spicy Aloe Beauty Salad (Raw Vegan Paleo Gluten Free)

I’m into beauty. I’m a girly-girl. I like beauty products, anti-aging goodies, sparkly things, makeup, and all things pink. And, as someone who closely watches what I put in my body, I do the same for what goes on the skin of my body.

Enter: Superfood Aloe.

Aloe is an amazing superfood that can be used externally and internally for amazing beauty results including fighting wrinkles when taken internally. Yeah, who knew?! Trouble is… fresh aloe is bitter so it’s not easy to find ways to consume it.  Sometimes I drop a chunk in my smoothie, other times I add to soup (like my Beauty Soup Recipe), and yet other times I add it to salad. (Be sure to consume only the clear gel/flesh part, and avoid the yellow part or you’ll get a sick tummy and be running to the potty more than you want.)

Here’s a refreshing and energizing salad that brings you beauty internally and externally with the hydrating cucumbers, circulation-boosting jalapeno, beauty enhancing raw honey, and skin loving aloe. Enjoy.

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Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Important Nutrients From Food (Chart)

by Kristen Suzanne in food journal, Kristen Suzanne

 

Important Nutrients in Food Chart

Important Nutrients in Food Chart (CLICK to enlarge)

Since changing my diet from vegan to omnivore, I have found myself looking into which foods are optimal sources of various nutrients. As a result, I started making lists to compile all of the data in one place.

Here’s my latest version, which is a work in progress, but I thought I’d share anyway because it’s a nice starting point. I’ve selected nutrients that I feel are important for my family’s optimal health. The items are not listed in any order of importance.

You’ll notice that most of the best sources, for many of these nutrients, are from animals. But, I would never settle for just any animals. As someone who cares for animals, and appreciates them and the nutrition they offer, I will only buy grass-fed and/or pasture-raised animal foods: meat, fish, some dairy, and lots of eggs. To see a list of the various places I source our foods, see this blog post.

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Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Recipe: Roasted Kale with Ghee

by Kristen Suzanne in ghee, gluten free, kale, paleo, recipe
Roasted Kale with Ghee

Roasted Kale with Ghee

If I eat kale these days, I prefer it cooked because it seems it’s healthier this way for some people, as the current research I’ve done indicates.

Enter: Roasted Kale with Ghee. (I’ve updated this post with an extra step to help ensure extra kale deliciousness: 8/22/14)

Roasted Kale with Ghee and a little kiddo's hand grabbing for some.

Roasted Kale with Ghee and a little kiddo’s hand grabbing for some.

This is a great side dish for lunch because it can be done in less than 15 minutes. I make a recipe of Roasted Kale with Ghee and my 4-year old and I share it along with some homemade bone broth (learn easy ways to make your own bone broth here) and a can of sardines. Yeah, we’re hardcore with eating sardines straight from the can, but if that’s not you, then please hop over to my post on how I came to love sardines and how you can, too. That said, I think my favorite way to enjoy this dish is with some pasture-raised eggs, soft cooked, and placed right on top. That’s what I’m talking about.

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Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Restaurant Review: Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe New Mexico

by Kristen Suzanne in food journal, grass fed beef, omnivore, review
Cast Iron Seared Grass-Fed Filet Mignon Steak Au Poivre #CoyoteCafe Santa Fe NM

Cast Iron Seared Grass-Fed Filet Mignon Steak Au Poivre #CoyoteCafe

We recently enjoyed a summer road trip all the way to Michigan from Arizona. Yes, that’s a looooong trip which is why many people ask why we don’t fly. Well, to be honest, apart from kind of enjoying time in the car (I get a lot of reading done: here’s a great book), there’s an important factor with which I am obsessed: Food. By traveling in the car (our mini van, specifically), I can pack things from my kitchen so that I can cook on the road for my family (induction hot plate, anyone?). As I like to say, “have induction hot plate, will travel.” Eating healthy and delicious food is my main passion so I do whatever it takes to make that happen.

We ventured to Michigan because that is where I grew up, and my brother, his wife, and their kids are there, plus my dad, step-dad, and dear sister-in-law-ish. At the time of our journey, our daughter had just turned four years old, and that meant shorter stretches of driving. Therefore, our days in the car maxed out at around 7 hours, if we could help it. That means lots of nights in hotels. How did I make high-quality, Real Food on the trip in hotels? It was fairly simple… with smart planning. I’ll detail it all in a blog post soon because I have a lot to share on the topic. I’ve made the trip twice now, a bit different each trip, and I like to think I have it figured out.

We didn’t eat every single meal as homemade though. Some of our meals, although just a couple, were enjoyed in restaurants. Enter: Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, NM.

On the trip back from Michigan we decided to spend a couple of days in Santa Fe as a little break from the non-stop driving and to enjoy the local atmosphere of Santa Fe. So lovely.

Coyote Cafe 

One of the best meals of my life. And to think I almost opted for a different restaurant because of the Yelp Review stars I saw. Glad my husband urged us to go to Coyote Cafe. Greg had been there about 20 years ago (the place has been around about 27 years), and was itching to try it again.

The presentation of the meals was gorgeous and thoughtful. The decor of the restaurant was open and pleasing, artful, and chic although a bit dated. It is showing the years of wear and is overdue for a refresh.

The service was top of the line. Our server was Lynsey and she catered to our every need. I’d also like to mention that the support staff were equally great. So much of a restaurant experience goes beyond the food.

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Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Recipe: Minted Mango Salad

Minted Mango Salad

Minted Mango Salad

I love cooking on the spot, where you take a look at what’s in the kitchen and throw things together. That’s what I did today when I made this Minted Mango Salad.

I recently bought a few potted herb plants so that I can always have fresh herbs whenever I need. I bought rosemary, basil, and mint. I saw the mint this morning and was drawn to it. It was breakfast time so maybe that was the attraction… something minty. I was also in the mood for the mango and avocado I had in the fridge.

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Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Recipe: Beauty Soup (Gluten Free)

Beauty Soup

Beauty Soup

Don’t you just love a nice bowl of soup? I know I do. Soups are one of my favorite foods, because they’re generally easy to make, and, most often, they are so very nutritious. Blending up all of those ingredients facilitates digestion, which can make for a happy tummy and happy you. Today, I have a wonderful soup recipe that serves up some potent beauty ingredients in a delicious and creamy way. Oh, and Greg loved it, too. He asked for seconds.

Enter: Beauty Soup.

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Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Recipe: Elderberry Cognac Health Elixir

by Kristen Suzanne in herbs, longevity, recipe
Elderberry Cognac Health Elixir

Elderberry Cognac Health Elixir

As many of you know, I’m really enjoying the study of herbal medicine. One of my favorite things to make is organic elderberry syrup. It’s easy, fun, and so much less expensive than buying it from the store. I source all of my medicinal herb ingredients from Mountain Rose to get the highest quality at a good price.

Well, today I made something different. I made Elderberry Cognac Health Elixir. Elderberries have been used for thousands of years to promote health. Today, similarly, people use elderberry for preventing and treating colds and flu. They are high in flavonoids which are helpful in fighting viruses. They can also have an anti-inflammatory effect. The French often refer to this plant as the house pharmacy.

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