Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Harvesting My Sauerkraut – Holy Heck!

by Kristen Suzanne in Kristen Suzanne, sauerkraut

Tuesday was the big day! I opened up my fancy shmancy sauerkraut pot to see if I actually had edible sauerkraut after waiting (somewhat patiently) for 4 weeks. The recommended time to allow veggies to ferment is at least 3 weeks, with 4-5 being better.) Check out my post about making the sauerkraut here.


Let me tell you, I was actually scared to take the lid off. I’m kind of a wuss when it comes to mold, dark unknown things, cold, damp, etc. I had visions of finding a human head in there or a bunch of creepy crawly things coming out. My mind got a little carried away. I was also a little fearful that the sauerkraut wasn’t a success.

So, while my husband was at a meeting today, I marched into the kitchen, determined and brave as all get out, and I lifted the lid off. Hhhmmm… nothing jumped out to bite me. Nothing exploded in my face. I put my nose closer and took a whiff. It was pleasant and mildly sweet and not at all gross. OK… I’m off to a good start. However, I stopped there. When I looked down in the pot at the stone weights on top of my sauerkraut, which were submerged with brine, I got weak in the knees again. I was afraid to stick my hand in there. Better wait until my husband comes home and ask him to do it!

Fast forward to my husband coming home… I was able to talk him into putting his hand in there and taking out the stones and leaves of cabbage that were placed on top of the sauerkraut. I sniffed again and took a closer look. I didn’t see any mold. My spirits were lifting by the second. It was time to taste it. Uummmm…. “Honey, you go first.” Nope, he wouldn’t do it – LOL. So, I took a tiny nibble of a piece that was accidentally flung on the counter. OMG! It was so good!!!! I took an actual bite. Wowee!!!! Success!!! I gave a fork full to my husband and he was majorly impressed. What a relief!

I transfered it all to my quart size glass mason jars (I filled 6 of them!) and sealed them with my Food Saver (using my glass mason jar attachment). I’m so happy! It worked! It’s homemade! It’s extra healthy! It’s locally grown and organic! It’s made with massive love.

The picture above features my beautiful organic, raw, unpasteurized sauerkraut in the front bowl – I love the gorgeous golden-yellow color. The bowl in the back is holding some fermented raw veggies from Rejuvenative that I bought at Whole Foods. Sorry, that stuff doesn’t hold a candle to my homemade goodness.

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Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Monday’s High Raw Food Intake – Plus An Awesome Recipe

by Kristen Suzanne in sauerkraut, sun warrior rice protein

I get tons of requests to post my daily food intake. Here you go! :) Today was a very High Raw day for my husband and me, and it was awesome! Everything is organic – always.


~ Water with fresh squeezed lemon
I love starting my day with a big glass of fresh, purified water. I usually wake up feeling thirsty and this is the first thing I want. To make it extra nutritious, I added the juice of half of a lemon. Nice and alkalizing.

~ Strawberries
My breakfast was 2 cups of delicious strawberries that were locally grown (from the CSA). I added a teeny-tiny-itsy-bitsy drizzle of raw agave nectar on it to get them extra juicy. They were so good! Strawberries rock. They have fiber and they’re loaded with nutrients (phytonutrients, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and more).

~ Power Ick!
This is pretty disgusting and I can’t help but make some crazy faces when I’m drinking it. Ick! I plug-n-chug it and then chase it with water. It consists of 1 1/2 cups water, 1 heaping tablespoon wheat grass powder, 1 tablespoon Berry Greens, 1 tablespoon Fruits of the Earth, 1 tablespoon Vitamineral Green. When I finished drinking it, I looked over my shoulder, thinking for sure I had a cape on. Damn… no cape. I thought I might have taken on some super powers after drinking this.
*My husband had 2 big scoops of raw brown rice protein powder added to his.

~ Krautwich and Bell Peppers
I’m loving raw, unpasteurized sauerkraut lately. It’s so dang good for you!!! (Check out my post about sauerkraut here.) I made a little Krautwich for part of my lunch. It consisted of 2 slices of kamut bread (not raw) with sauerkraut in the middle. That’s it. Delish! The rest of my plate was filled with the slices of one red bell pepper and one yellow bell pepper. BTW, I never eat green bell peppers because they’re not ripe, which can cause digestive trouble.

~ Hypnotic Orange Juice
This was heaven in a cup. I went to my friend’s house and picked oranges from her tree today. I took them home and squeezed them . They were still warm from the sun and it was so amazing. My goodness… when someone gives you a hard time about loving the raw lifestyle, give them a glass of this heaven and they’ll understand why you’ve chosen this path. It’s hypnotic.

~ Savory Garden Veggie Pasta (recipe at end of post)
This dinner was so good! With every bite I felt like the cells in my body were getting stronger and stronger. By the end of the meal they were dancing for joy and struttin’ their stuff. Even though I’m giving you the recipe below, it was basically a bowl of zucchini noodles topped with veggies (broccoli, carrots, yellow and red bell peppers) that were marinated in a wonderful, savory sauce that my husband loved so much he was licking the bowl. We both are not crazy about the taste of raw broccoli, but when we have it like this – we LOVE it! We each had a bowl of this. (Leftovers will be my lunch tomorrow.)

~ Dessert Time
I was craving something sweet to follow my meal. I quickly downed a nice plump medjool date (I get them here11 pound box, baby!). Then, I was inspired to make my recipe for Holiday Chia Pudding (it’s so easy, recipe here). After I soaked the cashews and made it, my husband and I each had about 1/2 cup. Yummers in our tummers!!!

~ Late evening snack
We found ourselves a little hungry later on and we didn’t want anything sweet. We opted for another Krautwich. Mmmmmmm…

~ Pure Rush Chocolate
I decided to have a bite of chocolate (I always keep this stuff on hand in my freezer for just such occasionsgrin). I ate a piece of Pure Rush Chocolate; it was about the size of a quarter. The recipe is in my latest book, Kristen Suzanne’s Ultimate Raw Vegan Chocolate Recipes. If you’d like a chance to win a copy of this book or ebook, visit here.


Savory Garden Veggie Pasta
By Kristen Suzanne of KristensRaw.com

Yield 3-4 servings

Marinade

1/2 cup olive or hemp oil
2 tablespoons tamari (wheat free)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
2 pinches black pepper

Veggie Mix
2 cups carrots, diced
1 head broccoli florets, chopped into bite size pieces
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped

Pasta
1 large zucchini (or 2-3 medium), spiralized


Directions:
Whisk the marinade ingredients together and set aside. Place the veggie mix in a large bowl and pour the marinade on top. Stir to mix and coat the veggies with the marinade. Set aside for 30-60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. (Alternately, you can make this a day ahead of time and put the marinated veggies in the refrigerator overnight.)

Put your spiralized noodles in serving bowls and top with the marinated veggies. Voila! Yummy, easy, extraordinarily nutritious, and delicious!

*For extra mojo, sprinkle on some hemp seeds and raisins!


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Thursday, April 30th, 2009

How To Make Sauerkraut – Raw, Organic, and Unpasteurized

by Kristen Suzanne in sauerkraut

This week I made my first batch of sauerkraut using my new fancy shmancy pot designed for fermenting veggies. I’m super excited but also a little whiny because I have to wait 4 weeks to see if it even worked out! It’s sitting on my counter now and I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Before I made my sauerkraut, I read the book, Making Sauerkraut and Pickled Vegetables at Home, from cover to cover. It was a great, quick, and easy read that I really enjoyed.

Fermented (raw, organic, and unpasteurized) veggies including things like sauerkraut and kim-chi are amazing for your health. These foods are extremely popular and have been staples in people’s diets all over the world. I can’t help but wonder why it’s not a staple in ours? Well, I’m changing that! On an almost daily basis, I’ve been chowing down on 1/4-1/2 cup fermented veggies. I love it!

Since I don’t have my own homemade sauerkraut (yet!), I’ve been buying it (expensively) at Whole Foods. My favorite company is Gold Mine Natural Foods (but not all Whole Foods carry this brand) so I also buy Rejuvenative’s sauerkraut and kim-chi. Hopefully in no time at all, I’ll have saved enough money from making my own sauerkraut to pay for the pot.

Nutrition!
The benefits are numerous. It’s reputed for helping fight disease!
YAY! It’s awesome for your digestion. WHOO-HOO! It helps load you up with friendly bacteria, and it’s filled with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes! SCORE FOR FERMENTATION!

But, don’t take it from me. Fermented veggies have been used for natural healing for years (and I mean LOTS of years). More specifically, the Chinese have been fermenting cabbage for thousands of years! In fact, according to the book, Making Sauerkraut, the earliest recording of fermented cabbage occurred in 200 BC. Isn’t that cool?

I want to mention here that it’s important to eat only Raw, Organic, Unpasteurized sauerkraut. If it’s been pasteurized, then the nutritious and beneficial friendly bacteria are wiped out (sadly).

In the past, I’ve made kraut with only a glass mason jar, but the trouble is that it didn’t always come out right. That’s why I decided to get the Harsch Gairtopf Fermenting Crock Pot. I’m all into making things as easy on me as possible! Apparently, this thing is fool-proof (sign me up!). It received great reviews on Amazon (all the sizes). I bought the 7.5L size a couple of weeks ago and made my first batch of organic sauerkraut the other day. Now, I wish I had bought another one so that I can start a batch of something else… maybe some Kim-Chi. But, I’ll wait and see how I do with the first batch. I’m eager to make something with fun flavors, spices, and herbs. Oh! I’m so excited.

To begin, I went to the farmer’s market on Saturday and bought 10 pounds of organic, locally grown cabbage from my favorite farmer, Doug (if you’re in the Phoenix area… have you signed up for the CSA yet? I think it starts this week!). I read that it is very important to use organic cabbage for fermenting (I always buy organic everything anyway). The sauerkraut ferments better with organic cabbage.

I came home and cleaned my crock, let it air dry, and then went to work on preparing the sauerkraut for fermenting.

I peeled off the outer leaves of the cabbage and set them aside (I used a few of them at the end for covering the top of the shredded cabbage). Then, I started shredding away. Each cabbage was about 2 pounds which was perfect, because it’s recommended that you use about 1 tablespoon sea salt (I always use Himalayan crystal salt) for each 2 pounds of cabbage. Going forward, I’ll decide whether to use the same amount of salt (or less) but for my first batch, I went along with the directions.

I used my food processor, fitted with the shredding plate/blade, and shredded 1 (2 pound) head of cabbage. I put it in a big bowl and added a tablespoon of my salt. I used a potato masher and starting pushing on the cabbage in order to break it down some and release water (my arms had a little workout from this). Once it got a little juicy, I transferred it to the crock. I then did the same thing for the remaining 4 heads of cabbage. This whole process took me about an hour. Once it was all put in my Harsch fermenting crock, I placed the outer leaves I previously saved, on top of the shredded cabbage.

Then, I placed the “weights” that came with the Harsch crock on top of the cabbage. I put on the lid and poured a little water in the moat (this gives it a water seal). Now… it’s sitting on my counter. The only concern I have is that I hope the temperature of my home is okay. It’s hot and dry in Arizona, so I’m keeping my eye on it, which is kind of useless since I’m instructed not to open it until I’m ready to harvest it. I don’t want to crank the air conditioning up in order to make sauerkraut since that would use a lot of energy. So, I have a little fan on it to help keep it cool. Ideally, I’d have a thermometer next to it to read the temperature, but I can’t find it :(

I have to wait a minimum of 3 weeks to harvest my sauerkraut. I think I’ll wait at least 4 weeks since it gives it extra fermentation time. At the time of harvesting my precious, (hopefully) delicious sauerkraut, I’ll transfer it to glass mason jars, use my FoodSaver (with mason jar attachment) to suck out all of the air for even better storage, and keep it in my refrigerator.

Happy Fermenting!

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Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Raw Food Intake

by Kristen Suzanne in kale, sauerkraut

Hi everyone!!! I hope you’re having a terrific day! Here is my food for the day. As usual, everything is organic. If I get hungry beyond what I’ve written, then, I’ll probably add an apple and/or protein shake.

2 bananas
~ One of the easiest breakfasts… ever!

Miso Soup with Chickpea miso by South River Miso
~ I love this stuff. It makes a delicious and warming breakfast.

1 quart Plant Blood
~ Refreshing and green… cucumber, zucchini, celery, lemon, ginger (It’s so bright and gorgeous! I feel full of life with every sip!)

Prunes
~ Found the most amazing fresh, huge, soft, chewy prunes at Whole Foods (they’re not usually this great when I buy them from there, but this batch… OHH LA LA!)

Raw, unpasteurized Sauerkraut
~ I’m on a sauerkraut kick lately. It’s so nourishing on the body and I love the zest of it. I’ve been doing some extra reading on the food and I’m committed to trying to get a little of this in my diet on a daily basis if possible. I ordered on of those fancy german crocks and will be making it myself soon. Right now I’m eating the kraut from Rejuvenative (and it’s good), but I prefer the kraut from Gold Mine.

1 large avocado, diced
~ Yum… full of vitamins and healthy fats. Love avocado!

Giant kale salad with flax crackers
~ with red bell pepper, carrots, raisins, and hemp seeds

Holiday Chia Pudding
~ I’m hooked on this stuff

On another note, I can’t wait for American Idol tonight!!! And, on yet another note… I’m having another awesome giveaway this week, so be sure and check back!!!

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