Monday, May 30th, 2016

These Books Will Make You A Better Cook

by Kristen Suzanne in food journal, Kristen Suzanne, recipe
Books to improve cooking skills.

Books to improve cooking skills.


I got much out of this book, too.

One of my favorites!

In my quest to improve my cooking skills, I’ve come across a few books that have helped immensely. Call me a little geeky, but I read cookbooks like they’re treasured novels. They totally romance me. :)

The following books will definitely help make you a master in the kitchen. And, they make great gifts for the person who loves to cook, or for that person, who, ehem, might need some help.

The Flavor Bible – This award winning book is a best seller on and for good reason. Learning to mix flavors, in an easy-to-look-up format is extremely useful. You can look up complementary flavors and combinations for a particular ingredient. For example, over 100 are listed for oranges.

Melissa’s Great Book of Produce – My family eats a lot of produce and this book helped me learn how to recognize the produce, pick the best ones, cook them, and how to store them.

Herbs and Spices – Knowing how to use herbs and spices is a smart skill for improving cooking. Herbs and spices take any simple dish and elevate it to a party in your mouth. Not only that, but by mastering herbs and spices you can create an immense variety for everything from burgers to plain pasta dishes.

The Science of Good Cooking – A popular classic that breaks down the science of cooking. This is useful because learning how and why certain cuts and varieties of meats/vegetables/etc cook the way they do, gives you confidence in approaching anything you want to cook.

How to Cook Everything (The Basics) – This is the latest book I’m reading and I love it. It’s filled with easy recipes using ingredients most of us have on hand, and is filled with 1000 useful photos. Each recipe uses two pages where the final product is shown plus small photos of the various steps. Mark Bittman smartly includes tips for variations of ingredients and also tips of what not to do in some cases. I even found use for the recipes I didn’t care to make because they included tips or variations that were useful.

I REALLY enjoy this book and damn near tabbed every page. Once you make your way through the delicious recipes you will be a much improved (and confident) cook.

Having all of the pictures for each recipe is very helpful.

Having all of the pictures for each recipe is very helpful.


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Saturday, May 7th, 2016

I Get So Excited At The Farmers’ Market – My Food Porn

by Kristen Suzanne in carrots, gluten free, Kristen Suzanne, paleo
I can't take my eyes off these beauties.

I can’t take my eyes off these beauties.

I know I’m probably a bit weird, though I know I can’t be totally alone, when I say that I get super excited at the farmers’ market. Seeing all of that fresh organic produce, quite frankly, makes me want to pee my pants. (I’m the same in a bookstore.)

You’re probably not surprised though, after I shared with you how I can’t get enough of scratch cooking. It’s my passion.

This past week, I was particularly smitten by those gorgeous carrots you see above.

And, then there was this purple sweet potato that I had to cut into wedges and roast with ghee, garlic, rosemary, spices, and sea salt.

Purple sweet potato wedges, roasted.

Purple sweet potato wedges, roasted.

So good.

I’m happy.

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Thursday, April 28th, 2016

A Choice to Eat Home Cooked Meals. I Love Scratch Cooking.

by Kristen Suzanne in family, Kristen Suzanne


Fresh salad with homemade dressing.

A simple and fresh salad with homemade dressing. #scratchcook

I’m watching Cooked, the documentary series on Netflix featuring Michael Pollan, and I was inspired to share my life with respect to some of the ideas presented in the show.

Namely, home cooked meals.

My family eats most of our meals at home, and almost all of them are made from scratch.

Scratch cooking means the meals are made from fresh ingredients. Therefore, we don’t eat a lot of meals made from ingredients that are pre-cooked or processed, except a few (canned sardines/tuna, organic salsa, BBQ sauce, etc).

Sadly, it’s not what’s going on in most American homes anymore. Michael Pollan points out in Cooked that as the amount of time cooking went down, obesity went up. I’m not surprised.

Maybe I’m a bit strange, but I get such a rush from cooking this way. I think making meals from scratch is beautiful, especially when I’m connected to my food by knowing my farmer, fisherman, and rancher. When I cut into an orange that was grown in my mom’s yard, and the light hits it just right so I see the misty spray coming from the peel, and I smell the intense aroma… I get chills from the thrill.

In fact, my Amazon wish list is filled with pots, quality utensils, and other kitchen gadgets I want in my collection. When a birthday or holiday comes around, I ask for these things. Do I ask for clothes, purses, or shoes? No. I ask for a Le Creuset pot or a fancy ice cream machine or a beautiful salt collection.

I’ll admit not every meal I make is a success, in spite of the time I put into it. I also recognize that making all of these meals isn’t always easy. I experience a large part of my life in the kitchen preparing food, shopping for food, cleaning up after cooking (there are so many dishes to wash!). But… At least I know what’s in my food. I approve of the ingredients. I don’t have to wonder.

Scratch cooking, for me, was a process that occurred over the years as I learned more and became more confident in the kitchen. I took classes, I asked mom and dad questions, I read cookbooks, and I practiced. I didn’t read just any books on food though, I read books about how to shop for produce, what spices go well together, and the science behind cooking.

A few books in my collection.

A few books in my collection.

As a result, my comfort level in the kitchen has grown tremendously. For the most part, I can fix my messes, and if I can’t, I still know the meal was made with wholesome organic ingredients, which compensates for any culinary mishaps, at least in my opinion.

My meals are pure, organic, and prepared just the way I want. And, aside from the obvious nutrition reasons, it comes back to Chop Wood Carry Water for me. I enjoy the process. The kitchen draws me in… if I’m not making something I’ll find something to make.

Read More »

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Monday, April 18th, 2016

My New Kindle eBook – Matcha Hacks – 55 Recipes Using Matcha Green Tea Powder

by Kristen Suzanne in ebooks, gluten free, Kristen Suzanne, Matcha, recipe
My Newest Recipe eBook: Matcha Hacks!

My Newest Recipe eBook: Matcha Hacks!

I’m excited to share my newest Kindle ebook, Matcha Hacks, 55 Clever Recipes for Adding Matcha to Your Life for Energy, Health & Longevity.

As you know, I love matcha green tea powder.

We drink it because matcha green tea powder gives us a luscious energy and makes us feel so good. It makes us mentally alert, while feeling calm and chill at the same time. So good. It also has a powerful punch of nutritional benefits from being anti-viral to anti-cancer to being an overall kickin’ superfood. It gives that extra edge.

In my quest to inject more matcha into my life, I have taken matcha beyond its traditional role as merely a tea by creating these 55 recipes for adding matcha as an ingredient to all kinds of foods, including smoothies, soups, sides, salads, desserts, breakfast, snacks, condiments, beverages (tea and non-tea), and even beauty mask recipes!

To grab your copy, for only $2.99, visit Amazon here.


Vibrant matcha green tea for vibrant health.

Vibrant matcha green tea for vibrant health.

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Sunday, April 10th, 2016

Walking. My New Thing. Here’s How I Make It Super Fun!

by Kristen Suzanne in arizona, Kristen Suzanne, movement, tao
I never would've seen this beauty if I hadn't started walking.

I never would’ve seen this beauty if I hadn’t started walking.

I’ve been walking lately. A lot. And, it’s so fun.

My draw to walking came as the result of some life changes I’m making:

  • To chill out.
  • Hear and follow my intuition. (Like, wow, it’s amazing what happens when I listen to my intuition after quieting down my friggin’ cray-cray mind.)
  • Overall, do fewer things in my day. (Fewer things on the schedule, go with the flow.)

One of my favorite quotes in Taoism is…

To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.”


My intuition told me to walk, which would help me do less of other things, because walking a great distance takes time. My intuition told me I needed it. I’ll be honest… It helps me clear my mind, and a clear mind is a powerful mind.

So, I started walking. And, I walked a lot.

I found that being out in nature, especially during the season of spring was extra special, and I couldn’t help but stop to notice and feel all of the colors and life surrounding me outside in nature.

I found myself looking at plants as they were about to blossom, excited to come back the next day and see the full bloom. Tracking the progress with pictures became an adventure.

Hello, pretty.

(day 1) Hello, pretty.


"And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful then the risk it took to blossom." Anais Nin

(day 2) “And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful then the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin

Read More »

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Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

Sourdough Bread – I Didn’t Expect to Be Making It. Here’s Why and How.

by Kristen Suzanne in family, fermented, Kristen Suzanne, sourdough
Authentic sourdough bread. The good stuff. From Noble Bakery.

Authentic sourdough bread. The good stuff. From Noble Bakery.


My life has sourdough bread in it. 

For the past year I’ve experimented with adding traditional sourdough bread to my family’s diet. (Gasp.) Gluten? Seriously?

Yeah, I started eating sourdough for a few reasons and here they are…

1) Ummm… It’s delicious, but could it also be nutritious?!

One of my favorite foods for the past 20 years has always been toast; however, when we stopped eating a vegan diet because it was destroying our health, I embraced a paleo-type diet and eschewed grains.

That served us well for a time, because as we slowly started adding things like quality grass-fed dairy and white rice, we were able to track how we reacted to them. It was kind of like going on a diet to find allergies where you eliminate a bunch of stuff and slowly add it back in to see how you react. Only, that wasn’t my plan. It just happened naturally as I learned more from people like Chris Kresser, Dave Asprey, and the Weston A Price foundation.

After some time, I decided it might be nice to have authentic sourdough bread, but my requirements for that sourdough were strict. The sourdough bread had to be organic and it had to be true sourdough… No added yeast. Long-fermented pure levain dough… fermented the old-fashioned way: with a starter.

I wanted my sourdough to be this way because that kind of sourdough can actually be healthy for many people. It’s less allergenic, easier to digest, and has some nutrition.


I never thought of bread as healthy, but I do now.

I never thought of bread as healthy, but I do now.


I remember Chef Pascal, from France, telling us in cooking school that he believed it wasn’t the gluten bothering most people, it’s all of the additives and crap in processed foods with flour. That statement opened my mind a bit.

And, as Michael Pollan said about sourdough bread in his docuseries, Cooked

“If I gave you a bag of flour and water, and you had nothing else to live on, you could live on that for awhile, but eventually you would die. But, if you take that same bag of flour and water and bake it into bread, you could live indefinitely. … The technique, the technology of baking bread represented this revolutionary advance for our species.” 


2) I was moved by Weston A Price’s research of healthy people who had sourdough bread as a staple in their lives.

From the WAPF website…

According to recent news articles, celiac disease–the inability to digest certain proteins in gluten-containing grains such as wheat, rye, barley and oats–afflicts at least one in 30 people. So common and so debilitating is this malady that many popular nutrition doctors and nutrition writers forbid the consumption of grains as a matter of course. In The Paleo Diet, for example, author Loren Cordain blames the consumption of grains for our modern deficiency diseases, and the narrowing of the jaw so prevalent in modern humans. According to Barry Sears, PhD, author of The Zone Diet, the switch to a grain-based diet in Egypt was a chief factor in the emergence of the diseases of modern civilization. Dr. Joe Mercola tells his patients to avoid grain, period.

Yet Weston Price studied several societies that enjoyed remarkable good health even though they consumed grains as a principle foodstuff. The primitive Swiss of the Loetschental Valley baked a sourdough bread in communal ovens, made of locally grown rye ground fresh in a stone mill. Rye bread plus rich dairy products–milk, butter and cheese–were the chief articles of the diet. Likewise, the primitive Gaelic peoples subsisted on seafood and oats. Both these groups exhibited beautiful facial structure and were free of deficiency diseases.

Price also found healthy groups in Africa and South America that consumed large quantities of grain, usually as a sour fermented porridge or beverage.

Again, huh…  that’s the sound of my mind opening just a bit more. Clearly, bread is not destroying everybody.

3) Sourdough bread is an excellent carrier for grass-fed butter.

More and more people are appreciating the health benefits of grass-fed butter. I’m one of them. So, it’s only natural that I find more ways to get more butter into my diet.

Sourdough bread fits the bill. And, lucky me… my farmer’s market had a baker who made sourdough bread the right way. He uses an old starter that he’s had pretty much forever (generations maybe). It’s long-fermented, pure levain dough. He uses all organic ingredients. It’s super fresh and doesn’t last if you don’t eat it within the few days after buying it, because his sourdough doesn’t have any preservatives. It’s perfect. And it’s perfectly delicious.

It’s just the kind of sourdough bread I’d make myself, if I were making my own sourdough bread, which I never ever in a million years thought I’d do. But, here again, I find myself drawn to making it. Chop Wood. Carry Water. I love cooking and I love the process from beginning to end. The kitchen beckons me. If I’m not in the kitchen creating something, I’ll find something to make.

I started buying this wonderful bread for my family, and, of course, we all loved it. We were ga-ga over having such delicious bread (and toast!).

When I eat it, I don’t even want people talking to me. I have to close my eyes, tasting it fully. I can’t help myself. It’s pure bliss. It tastes so right. It feels so right.

We did this for many months, having sourdough maybe once a week. Sometimes less, sometimes more. Every time we ate the sourdough bread we felt great. There was no bloating. There was nothing but satisfaction.

I think a trick to having sourdough bread in my life is that I don’t get carried away. I don’t eat it at every meal and I make sure that it doesn’t start taking the place of our veggies.

So, after finding myself making my own kefir, yogurt, butter, and cultured veggies, I entertained the idea of making my own sourdough bread.

It seemed so friggin’ daunting though. People say it’s easy but I couldn’t get comfortable with it. Therefore, I dove into researching it with the gusto that I research everything else.

In the end, I came out with a plan which used different tips from various sources.

The things I read in learning about sourdough bread:

I read a lot of books, articles, and websites about making sourdough. I spoke with my friend in Austria who convinced me to create my own starter instead of buying one, and she shared the details about how sourdough has been a healthy staple in her family’s life for generations.

The one common thread throughout my sourdough bread research was that it could, and should, be very easy to make.

Still… I couldn’t bring myself to take action.

I kept reading and re-reading and re-reading articles and books. I was trying to absorb as much as possible so that it would become second nature by the time I started.

However, I think the trouble I had with my sourdough bread research was that, in spite of some common directions from various sources, there were also some distinct differences.

For example, there were some people with specifics (like water temperature and using a scale) and other recipes where they didn’t weigh ingredients or mention anything about temperature for making sourdough bread.

I read that not every one kneads sourdough bread! That was interesting – like, really? Then, “folding” is enough? How? Why?

I also learned that some people vigorously stir the starter when you feed it and others just mix until combined.

I read a book where the chef uses oil on his hands instead of flour when working with the dough. I never saw that anywhere else.

Then, there’s proofing baskets and whether to use those. And, what do you bake it in? A Dutch oven is popular, but it should be the right size for the perfect loaf. Of course, there’s a regular bread pan but those don’t have lids like a Dutch oven does which apparently is important for getting a nice exterior.

There’s something called a “hydration ratio.” Yikes.

And don’t even get me started on trying to make tweaks to the recipes so that you get a good “crumb” – I mean, what the heck does that mean? Can there actually be a “bad crumb” with sourdough bread?

Another wrinkle is determining which flour(s) to use. There is an ancient wheat called einkorn which is probably the best wheat to consume (once made into sourdough bread). Its origins date back to 7600 BCE and is referred to as “original wheat.” It’s not hybridized, has more nutrients, and is more gentle on the body than contemporary wheat.

I was intrigued to use einkorn, for sure, but I learned that it doesn’t behave exactly like other wheat. Another example is rye… it’s a flour that can be easier to digest but also behaves differently, i.e., harder to work with.

But, wait, there’s more. We have sprouted flours as options which also can behave differently.

Lastly, there’s the issue of whether I should use freshly ground flour, as I have a stone grinder. However, it seems it’s wasted if using it on making (or feeding) the sourdough starter, but that using it with which to bake the sourdough bread could be amazing.

What should I do???!!! The decisions!!!

I found that all a bit confusing.

Yet, I guess all of these variances should prove that sourdough bread is forgiving and doesn’t require so much precision.

In the end, I realized that making sourdough bread is more tacit knowledge than anything else probably, though I felt better at having studied it so much.

So, for my entry into the sourdough baking world I decided to be as precise as possible. I chose to make my own starter following Ken Folkish’s book, Four Water Salt Yeast because he details so much, including times to do things, weights, and temperature. He’s Portland’s rock star legendary baker… so I chose his directions for my starter. To be clear, not all of the recipes in his book are basic sourdough without added yeast (as you can glean from the title), but he does have a couple long-fermented pure levain bread recipes, and I plan to try his first.

I will forgo the einkorn wheat until I’m comfortable making a basic whole wheat / white wheat combo sourdough bread, without the added distraction of sticky einkorn dough. From there, I can compare the way einkorn works and tastes. I’d ultimately like to have a sourdough bread that uses mostly einkorn for nutritional reasons.


Mmmm. Where's my toaster and butter?

Mmmm. Where’s my toaster and butter?

So, here are links to sources I used in my research:

  • Cultures for Health – This company sells sourdough bread starters and has many recipes for using their starter. They have amazing online customer service. I have bought their yogurt starter (awesome) and milk kefir grains (haven’t tried yet).
  • Ken Folkish’s Artisan bread site with videos and book (plus various other bread making books, but I like Ken’s best)
  • Jovial for einkorn flour
  • Various internet articles like this one from Holistic Squid
  • Cooked docuseries by Michael Pollan

Here we are today… I started my sourdough starter.

And… It worked!!! It’s alive.

As I said, I followed a recipe where I weighed everything, used an instant-read thermometer to ensure water temp, I used spring water (I like Castle Rock), and I used a thermometer next to my starter so I knew the temp and could ensure I had that area of my house between 75 to 90 degrees F.

I bought a special, and I mean special, dutch oven. She’s the right size, 4.5-quarts, but, more importantly, she’s pink: Le Creuset Dutch oven. It’s going to be dedicated to making my bread so I wanted something, well, special. And, oh my dear, I love it. The minute I pulled it from the delivery box, my heart danced and smiled.

I even slept with it the first night. #DeadSerious

My le creuset is going to sleep with us tonight.

My le creuset… sleeping with us.

I named her Blossom (short for cherry blossom because those are my favorite flowers).

Baking sourdough bread tools.

Baking sourdough bread tools.

I opted to get the right bannetons for proofing (two of them since many recipes call for making two loaves of sourdough bread – I have no idea why – and I’m not comfortable halving the recipes yet), but I can cook them successively in my one Dutch oven, Blossom. I do have a larger Dutch oven I plan to try so I can compare the resulting shape of the sourdough loaves.

I bought the right oven mitts for handling the Dutch oven as it comes out of the 500 degree oven.

I went the extra mile and bought all of this stuff because, well, it’s a long story but I’ll try to make it short and perhaps elaborate on another post, but basically…

I’m making some life changes.

I find that being so strict with things in my life, such as food, is not serving me. And, in many ways, I’m becoming more relaxed and go-with-the-flow. Taoism is at the heart of it… accepting that the universe has a certain way to it, and you can either fight it or flow with it. I’ve decided to do the latter. So, making bread is an example of the life change I’m making cuz it’s fucking bread. It’s a big thing and having that beautiful pink Dutch oven is a symbol of that for me. I’m in a new chapter of my life and embracing sourdough bread is a big part of that. I’m chilling out more, enjoying the things that bring me pleasure.

I know gluten, bread, grains… they’re all controversial as to whether they’re healthy and if people should eat them. But, everyone is different. If there’s one thing to notice over the past few years of health news is how much genes play a role in people’s health and that includes our individualized responses to dietary variables.

For me, I think of how we evolved, how foods are prepared, what I’m drawn to, and what feels good with respect to my food choices. Then, my family experiments. If something doesn’t work, we stop doing it. If something does work, we keep doing it. I would encourage everyone to do the same. Think of what you’re drawn to, try it, and see what happens.

And besides… health is so much more than food. My health stems from multiple things including tons of walking and movement (we don’t even have a couch anymore), meditation, family, and community, too. It’s not all food.

Back to making my first ever sourdough starter:

After following the instructions for making a sourdough starter by Ken Forkish, after the first day I had success! Like, wow.

I couldn’t help but name my starter, Bertha. After she started to grow, she became Big Bertha. I imagine her helping me bake big beautiful loaves of sourdough bread.

Here she is, right after mixing the first time. It was simply organic whole wheat flour and 90 degree F spring water mixed together by hand until incorporated. I left it as is for two hours before covering it and placing it in a warm spot of 75 to 90 degrees F which meant my oven. Parts of the day I had the light in the oven on and parts of the day it was off. Parts of the day I cracked the door open and parts of the day it was shut. All the while keeping track of the temperature around the starter.

My first sourdough starter in the making. #notglutenfree

My first sourdough starter in the making. #notglutenfree


Here’s after day 1. I woke up to see that my sourdough starter is alive and well. She had some bubbles of activity and smelled nicely.

Per the instructions, I removed about 3/4 of the starter which was thrown away. “Spent fuel” as Ken Forkish calls it. Then, I added more organic whole wheat flour and 90 degrees F spring water. Mixed it by hand, until incorporated, and did the same thing as day one with respect to leaving it uncovered for two hours, followed by covering it and placing it in the oven where the temperature seems best.

1 day after sourdough starter was made.

1 day after sourdough starter was made, the beginning of day 2.


Halfway through day 2, Bertha is a strong girl.

Halfway through day 2, Bertha is a strong girl.

I’m excited. I can’t wait to bake my first loaf of sourdough bread in a few more days. I’ll keep you posted. Read about the following days here.

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Friday, April 1st, 2016

I Cooked Radishes for the First Time (and another first thing I did)…

Cultured veggies, scrambled eggs and radishes, orange.

Cultured veggies, scrambled eggs and radishes, orange.

Today, I cooked radishes for the first time. Have you ever cooked radishes? I think I prefer them this way now. Very tasty.

How did I come to cook radishes?

I followed a principle I learned in cooking school where Chef Pascal liked to talk about cooking in the moment. Look at what you have and let it serve to inspire you. It’s a beautiful and relaxing way to address cooking. I find that some of my best meals are when I follow this idea.

Well, today my fridge was a bit bare, but I had organic radishes, eggs, an orange from mom’s citrus orchard, and cultured veggies so I set to making Greg and myself a fun and nourishing lunch (pictured above). I had heard of people cooking radishes so I thought today was a great time to try it with my scrambled eggs.

Here’s what I did…

I put a generous amount of grass-fed butter into my skillet. After it warmed up nicely, I threw in a few roughly chopped radishes. After letting them cook for about five minutes or so, I cracked the eggs right into the skillet and stirred to scramble them over medium-low heat. I also add some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (I love pepper on eggs). While the eggs gently cooked I peeled and cut an orange. Once the eggs were done I put them in serving bowls alongside the orange, the cultured veggies, and some freshly grated parmesan cheese. All of the flavors came together wonderfully. Yum!

And then there’s this…

My first sourdough starter in the making. #notglutenfree

My first sourdough starter in the making. #notglutenfree


What else did I do today?

  • I harvested the bone broth I cooked yesterday. I portioned it into FoodSaver bags and put them in the freezer.
  • I went on a long walk with Greg to Starbucks (more on walking in another post).
  • I cleaned a bit, including my coffee pots.
  • I drank matcha green tea. Twice. (Learn about matcha here.)
  • I worked on my next ebook, coming out soon!
  • And… I did something very exciting. I started my very first sourdough starter. You’re probably surprised to hear that I’m going to try to bake my own bread when I don’t eat gluten. Well, over the past year I’ve experimented with adding true sourdough (organic) bread to our diet from the local baker who makes bread the right way. It’s fermented so it’s easier to digest. It’s pure. Plus, slather a thick portion of grass-fed butter on top, and, well, it’s actually quite nutritious me thinks. My family does well on it and, frankly, we love it. I’m now ready and excited to try my hand at making my own and I’ve been studying the process for the past month. That’s all I’ll say for now as I expect to have a more lengthy post about it later. For today, though, I started my starter. Wish me luck!


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Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Here’s What I’m Making Today: Bone Broth, Yogurt, Kefir, and More.

by Kristen Suzanne in fermented, Kristen Suzanne, raspberry leaf, soup
Making bone broth old-school in a stock pot. Smells so good.

Making bone broth old-school in a stock pot. Smells so good.

I am busy in the kitchen and making a number of wonderful things*. Here’s what I’m up to…

1) I made a big batch of homemade chicken bone broth, pictured above.

I made it old-school in a stock pot, but I teach you many ways to make bone broth in this popular post here. Today’s batch had tons of pasture-raised poultry bones, onions, carrots, leeks, star anise, kombu, black peppercorns, and astragalus root. It smells divine, warm, homey, and makes me proud.

2) I made a fresh batch of kefir using Body Ecology kefir starter.

Body Ecology Kefir Starter - It Works!

Body Ecology Kefir Starter – It Works!

Soon I’ll use a kefir culture that starts with traditional milk kefir grains, where I transfer the kefir to a new batch indefinitely and no longer need a starter packet. Here’s information about my kefir making experience.

3) I made yogurt, too!

Making yogurt is one of the best things I started doing. It tastes amazing, it saves money from buying it all the time, and, well, it’s homemade! I showed you a bit about making yogurt here. Check it out and start easily making your own, too. Build up a strong body with probiotic-rich foods like kefir, yogurt, and cultured veggies.

4) I mixed a huge bowl of loose herbs for making tea over the next month.

This time I included organic herbs like: red raspberry leaf (I buy that here), lavender, rose petals (deliciously delicate in a tea blend), oat straw, hops, and peppermint.

5) I’m also trying to grow herbs so I have a ready supply of fresh ones for cooking.

Growing culinary herbs for making the best meals ever.

Growing culinary herbs for making the best meals ever.

I worked on repotting some of those today as I haven’t grown from seed yet so don’t get excited about my mint.

Currently, I have mint, basil, rosemary, and oregano. I have no idea what I’m doing.

But, I do know this… fresh herbs will elevate your cooking like nothing else. In fact, if you’re making foods from packaged and prepared containers, add a handful of fresh herbs to increase the nutrition and flavor.

That’s about it so far.

*Disclaimer: I was able to effortlessly get this all done because my five year old daughter is at my mom’s house.

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Monday, March 28th, 2016

Chop Wood. Carry Water. Make Yogurt. Make Butter.

Beautiful homemade yogurt in this smoothie. #ChopWoodCarryWater

Beautiful homemade yogurt in this smoothie. #ChopWoodCarryWater

You’ve seen that I make my own kefir now.

And, you know that just because I drink kefir doesn’t mean I don’t still eat yogurt. I want them both in my diet because they benefit my body in different ways. Who knew that?

Naturally, I was inspired to make my own yogurt.

It feels good to actually make ingredients. I’m not talking about making recipes… I’m talking about making the ingredients for the recipes.

They’re different.

I think it’s quite beautiful when making my own ingredients whether it’s growing my own herbs or vegetables, harvesting citrus from my mom’s citrus orchard, making my own kefir and yogurt, and even making my own butter.

Making my own grass-fed butter. #BadAss

Making my own grass-fed butter. #BadAss

Yes. I’m even making butter.

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Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

I’m Now Making Kefir. Didn’t Expect That.

by Kristen Suzanne in gluten free, kefir, Kristen Suzanne
Grass-fed Kefir, an easy healthy drink to make.

Grass-fed Kefir, an easy healthy drink to make.

Back a few years ago when we left our vegan ways, I started with a paleo approach, and it felt so good. So right for my family.

To everything there is a season, eh?

Slowly, as I learned more, I decided to add some dairy to our lives… IF(!) the dairy was whole-fat, grass-fed, organic (yada yada yada). As a result, we added raw cheese and (non-raw) yogurts. So far so good. Then, we added some grass-fed ice creams… although not often, the treat proved to be fine for us.

Now, for some reason I’m drawn to whole-fat, grass-fed dairy kefir, a probiotic beverage. Perhaps it’s because I want to try have foods as a steady probiotic source instead of taking probiotic capsules where I’m always wondering… “Are these active and helpful?”

Sadly, though, kefir (like I require: whole-fatgrass-fed and plain), is not something easily found in the health food store.

Kefir is similar to yogurt, but in a drinkable form and has some different nutritious elements than yogurt, i.e., kefir’s beneficial probiotics and yeasts. I learned about it here. Interestingly, kefir actually colonizes the intestine, whereas yogurt is transient, passing through to feed the good bacteria. Kefir is even known as milk champagne (um… OK!), which I find appropriate… a milk with a bit of effervescence.

Thus, both yogurt and kefir have a role.

I decided to try my hand at making it since I couldn’t find it.

The results? SUCCESS! It’s creamy, healthy, and delicious. Oh, it’s crazy easy, too.

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