Thursday, August 25, 2016

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)


If you are in need of a chocolate fix or are looking for a dessert to impress your guests, then try this easy recipe for flourless, grain-free molten chocolate lava cakes! They are so simple and so tasty. You can even store the batter in the refrigerator and then cook one or two at a time, as needed. I like to serve them with crushed, freeze-dried raspberries or strawberries for an appealing presentation. Crushed, freeze-dried fruit also makes a great replacement for colorful sprinkles on children's treats (like cupcakes or birthday cakes)!

I tested this recipe many times last winter using different types of chocolate chips with varying levels of cacao content. I found that organic 55% chocolate chips (semi-sweet) worked best. The darker chocolate produced a very strong chocolate flavor.....too much for me (and too much of a buzz). You can of course test this recipe with darker chocolate and then report back here in the comments on how it turned out if you'd like!

The batter for these cakes can be made ahead of time and then baked just before they are ready to serve, in fact, that is the only way to make them as they need to be served warm for the "molten effect." I bake them in small glass Pyrex custard cups set on a cookie sheet or baking pan. You should be able to find them at your local grocery store or kitchen store, if not you can order them here. You will need six custard cups for this recipe.

Important! 
I have recently changed the way you receive my emails! For many years I have been using Feedburner, which delivers my posts by email (if you are seeing this post in your email it's because I temporarily reverted back to Feedburner). Now you will be seeing my recipe updates come through in a newsletter format. There were a few glitches when I transferred my list over. If you did not see my last email on How to Make Homemade Herbed Sea Salt, then please take a moment to hop on over to the blog and subscribe in the right sidebar (if you would like to continue to receive updates when I post a new recipe). Thanks for your patience as I figure out all this technical stuff. :)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Homemade Herbed Sea Salt Recipe (Herbamare)


If you have not already noticed, I absolutely love Herbamare! It is a fantastic replacement for salt or bouillon in savory recipes because it adds flavor without adding as much sodium. By replacing some of the salt with savory herbs and vegetables, you can naturally reduce the sodium while increasing the depth of flavors in your meals. Additionally, the kelp, herbs, and vegetables add important trace minerals, beneficial plant compounds, and pre-biotic fibers that feed the good bacteria in your gut.

Last year I began making my own homemade herbed sea salt recipe to mimic Herbamare. This helps save money and, if you have a garden, helps preserve some of your herb and vegetable harvest! It is so incredibly easy to make once you gather up all of the ingredients. You will just need a food processor or high-powered blender. And, if you don't have all of the ingredients don't worry! This recipe is very forgiving. Experiment with different dried herbs to get the flavor you like best. You can even make a spicy sea salt by including some dried chilies and black pepper!

This homemade herbed sea salt is one of the new recipes I added to the revised edition of my Nourishing Meals book. Use it in soups and stews, on top of scrambled eggs, sprinkled over mashed avocado on toast, use it to make roasted chicken taste amazing, and in any other savory recipe.

Monday, December 28, 2015

How to Make Nourishing Beef Bone Broth


Bone broth is definitely all the rage these days, however, this food staple has been around for ages. Cooking the bones of animals along with a variety of vegetables creates a nourishing and extremely flavorful base from which you can create rich-tasting and satisfying soups and stews. Yes bone broth has a small amount of minerals and some easily digested amino acids, but it also has something called umami.

Umami is part of the five tastes along with sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. It's a meaty flavor you get from bone broths, some hard cheeses, tomatoes, mushrooms, soy sauce, fish sauce, and other fermented foods. It's the taste that makes you go "ahhhh" after a good meal, helping to create pleasure in eating and a satisfaction with your meal that leads to satiety.

I like to cook beef bone broth in the wintertime because of the long cooking time. When I make beef bone broth I usually make a large batch in my 12-quart stockpot and cook it all day for about 3 days on a low simmer and then set the pot on my garage floor to cool during the night, then bring it back in the next morning, adding back in water that was lost through evaporation. I don't have a slow cooker large enough to fit this recipe! During this long cooking time, the collagen matrix in the bones begins to break down into free amino acids, making the broth a good source of glycine and proline. Free glycine  is very beneficial because it can to bind to toxic chemicals and pull them out of the body in a Phase 2 liver detoxification reaction called glycination. Glycine also supports the production of glutathione (the body's primary antioxidant) and helps to rebuild collagen within our own bone structure. The acids (vinegar or wine) added to the broth during cooking also break down the meaty parts of the bone, freeing some additional amino acids. These free amino acids in the broth can be very beneficial for those with weak or compromised digestion. Oftentimes people with impaired digestion are deficient in amino acids, so bone broths can provide a quick route back to health.

If you have an autoimmune condition, have adrenal fatigue, have food and environmental allergies, have poor digestion, or have a child or toddler who is pale and malnourished then consider adding bone broth into your weekly meal planning.

Look for organic, pastured beef knuckle and marrow bones at your local Farmer's Market or health food store (they can often be found in the freezer section). I like to roast the bones in the oven first before making the broth. This creates both a richer flavor and helps to remove some of the excess fat.

I hope you enjoy this nourishing beef bone broth recipe (also called beef stock)! I like to use it as a base for lentil and vegetable soups, beef stew, and minestrone soup! My Nourishing Meals cookbook has plenty of soup and stew recipes where this bone broth can be used if you need any recipe inspiration!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Homemade Sriracha Hot Sauce Recipe (sugar-free)



After a long blogging break, I'm back with an amazing hot sauce recipe for you to make and enjoy for many months. I grew a lot of hot peppers in my garden this year, in fact my garden has been extremely bountiful this year! Up until recently, I've sort of taken my garden for granted. I had no idea how healing gardening could be….until it was all I could do. You see, on June 2nd, just after returning from a functional medicine conference and after two years of non-stop work, I suffered an adrenal crash. Taking care of five young children, updating and publishing a book, developing an online program, co-authoring a new book, and being in charge of the development of a new website and book launch proved to be too much.

Two things that have helped tremendously with the healing process (other than totally slowing down, going to bed early, taking certain supplements, diet, and Epsom salt baths) are gardening and staying off the computer. Being in the fresh air, having the sun beat down on my skin, feeling my bare feet in the soil, and eating nutrient-dense raw vegetables and fruits everyday straight from the garden (your adrenals need a lot of vitamin C to function properly) has been extremely therapeutic for me. In fact, it would be wonderful therapy for anyone suffering from adrenal fatigue or adrenal burnout. The little bit of energy I put in, I got back tenfold in edible bounty. Gardening has helped to reset my cortisol rhythm and nourish me, whereas too much computer time (especially at night) along with too many stressors has led to a dysfunctional cortisol-melatonin cycle. To help heal and regain balance, I’ve also spent a lot of time with my children outside all summer …at the lake, river, ocean, and mountain. Nature is powerful medicine. I encourage those of you who are dealing with a chronic illness to get outside for a walk in the woods, spend time at a beach every week, and take some time to be in your garden everyday (you can start a garden this fall if you don’t have one already).

I just love going into my garden and harvesting the abundance of vegetables growing there, and then preserving them so we can enjoy their flavors, colors, and nutrients all winter long. If you have too many hot peppers, then consider making this hot sauce recipe. It's a perfect way to preserve them! If you don't grow your own hot peppers, then check out your local Farmer's Market; they are usually brimming with all kinds of peppers this time of year!

According to this resource, sriracha sauce is named after the coastal city, Si Racha, in eastern Thailand. Sriracha is used as a dipping sauce in Thai cuisine, and is also used frequently in Vietnamese cuisine as a condiment for pho, noodle dishes, and spring rolls. Of course, we use it on everything! Traditional sriracha sauce uses sugar in its ingredients. Instead, I use sweet red peppers to cut the spiciness of the hot peppers. The sweet peppers also add body and flavor to the sauce.