Do you like to colour?

There has been a big increase in colouring books that are designed for adults.

designs by Johanna Basford

designs by Johanna Basford

Johanna Basford, a talented illustrator and artist from the UK, has created a series of coloring books that have become incredibly popular, selling more than a million copies.

Her beautifully illustrated books, which can be found on Amazon are full of intricate line drawings depicting fairy-tale scenes, animals and plants.

This is just one example of the many colouring books designed for adults that can be found in a quick Amazon or Google search.  There are colouring books available on almost any subject designed for any age from the youngest toddler up to adults.

Not only can you just buy a colouring book, there are also a wide variety of websites with printable designs such as mandalas or other designs and pictures made to appeal to adults.

So why would an adult want to spend time colouring in the first place?

For starters, it is relaxing.  It has been shown to reduce stress, generate wellness and also stimulates brain areas related to motor skills, the senses and creativity.  In a sense, colouring is a form of meditation. In fact, colouring or drawing a mandala IS a recognized form of meditation.

It is also a way of focusing your brain on something enjoyable, which helps you forget about your worries for a time.

I have been a big fan of colouring for a while now, ever since my psychologist suggested that I give it a try.  I personally own quite a few colouring books:

As you can see, there are quite a few.  The last two are ones that I used as part of my Massage Therapy studies a few years ago, and it was then that I realized just how much I enjoyed colouring.

My preference is to use coloured pencils to colour with.  But others like to use crayons or even felt-pens…

Whatever you use though, colouring is clearly beneficial.

So why not give it a try?

Do you colour?  If so, I would love to know about your favourite books and sites for pictures.

Shared at:  Awesome Life Friday, Weekend Re-Treat, The Pin Junkie

Homemade Tallow

I was lucky enough to buy some grass-fed beef fat from a local farmer.  I blogged about meeting her here.

GFST5

I decided that I was going to render this fat down so that I had some homemade tallow to use in cooking.

Tallow is the fat rendered from grazing animals (ruminants) like sheep or cows.

When the fat comes from grass-fed animals it has a very healthy fat profile with almost a perfect omega-3 to omega-6 ratio (between 1:1 and 1:3).  It also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which helps to reduce inflammation and promotes healing.  It is also a rich source of the important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

All these healthy fats and vitamins mean that despite what we have been told in the past, grass-fed tallow is actually a heart-healthy cooking fat.  In addition, the main monounsaturated fat that is present in beef tallow is palmitoleic acid, which is highly antiviral and antibacterial.

Beef tallow is approximately 55% saturated fat and 40% monunsaturated fats, both of which are very heat stable and highly resistant to oxidation.  They do not easily produce harmful free radicals in the way that liquid vegetable oils do when heated.  This means that it is ideal for high heat cooking such as roasting or frying, and it can be stored at room temperature for long periods of time.

See this article for a run down of the fatty acid profile of grass-fed beef tallow.

Tallow is solid at room temperature, and has a melting point around 110F.

The flavour of tallow will vary depending on which animal the fat comes from.  If the fat comes from cows (as my fat did), it will have a beefy taste.  When the fat comes from sheep, it will have a more lamby taste that some people may find unpleasant unless they love the flavour of lamb (as I happen to).

It can take a while to get used to the flavour of tallow in your food, especially if you are used to using a neutral flavoured fat or oil.  My housemates found this a little difficult at first.  I love the flavour however, and I barely notice it now.

Of course tallow is most suited to cooking the meat of the animal that it comes from (beef for beef, lamb for lamb), but there is no reason why you cannot use it for cooking almost everything – I have even used it for making pastry dough in the past!  I also use it for roasting and sauteeing veggies, and even for deep frying.  Years back, before the “war on fat” and animal fats in general becoming demonized, most English Fish and Chip shops used beef tallow to fry their fish.  People who remember those days will tell you that the texture and flavour of the fish and chips has suffered with the switch to vegetable oils (and fish and chips has become much more unhealthy as a result too!)  And certainly tallow makes some of the best fries and roasted root vegetables…

While there are places where you can buy grass-fed beef or lamb tallow (butchers that stock grass-fed beef are a good source), it is very easy to make at home, and it costs substantially less to do so.

The first thing you need to do when making your own tallow is to find a source of grass-fed beef or lamb fat.  As I said, I purchased mine from Rachel at Trails End Beef.  Try asking at butchers who stock grass-fed meats.  Ask at farmers markets.   Google “Grass-fed beef” and find a supplier in your area.  Any beef or lamb fat can be rendered down, but the suet or “leaf fat” that surrounds the kidneys is best.  You can also trim off any fat that is on your grass-fed beef and save it to render down, or drain off and save the fat naturally drains off your grass-fed meat.

When I purchased my beef fat (mine was suet – the fat that surrounds the kidneys but you can use fat from anywhere in the animal), mine was chopped up into tiny pieces.  If your fat is in one solid lump however, you need to chop it up.

GFST1

You can do this using a knife (takes time), you could put it in your food processor, or if you have a meat grinder, run it through that.  And if you are purchasing it from a butcher, why not ask them to grind it up for you…  most are more than happy to do so.

The smaller you chop your fat, the greater the yield of tallow…  so get that as small as you can.

You also need to heat the fat as slowly and evenly as possible.  This also increases the yield.

My preference is to use a slow cooker, set on low, to do this as it warms it very gently.  This takes a long time – another reason why I prefer to use my slow cooker – I don’t have to stand over a pot on the stove, and I can just let the slow cooker take care of it.

The tallow is ready once all the fat has melted.  There will be some small floating bits which can be filtered out.

I strain my tallow through paper towel set in a sieve.

And then I store it in mason jars.  Typically, I have one jar in use kept at room temperature, and I store any extra jars in the fridge until I am ready to use them.

As far as yield goes, I find that 1lb of suet will make 1 pint of tallow.

How to render beef tallow

  • Grass fed beef fat.

If your fat is in one large piece, you will need to chop it up and trim off any bits of meat, blood and cartillage including the membrane that surrounds it.

Once trimmed, chop the fat into tiny pieces.  You can use a knife or run it through a meat grinder.  You can also use a food processor.  This is much easier if your fat is very cold.

GFST2

Place the fat into a large stockpot or slow cooker and use a very low heat to melt the fat.  This will take several hours.  Check the fat occasionally, and give it a stir.

GFST3

The fat is ready when it is clear, and there are small crispy bits floating at the top.

GFST4

Strain the fat through cheesecloth or paper towel to remove all the floating bits.

GFST6

Pour into jars and allow to cool and harden.

GFST7

Tallow can be stored at room temperature for a long time, but for long-term storage it is best to keep it in the fridge.

GFST5

Use your tallow for roasting, frying or in any recipes that call for shortening or lard.

More information on beef tallow can be found here.

Shared at: Wildcrafting Wednesday, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Homestead Bloghop, Fat Tuesday, The Homeacre Hop, Real Food Friday, Old Fashioned Friday

Herbed Beef Sausage Patties – AIP

These sausage patties are useful for breakfast, and they make a welcome change from the pork sausage ones that I have already posted about.

BFST3

They can be frozen uncooked, or they can be pre-cooked in the oven and frozen in their cooked state.  The latter is simpler and quicker, as all you need to do is remove the patties that you need for breakfast the night before, allow them to thaw in the fridge, and then reheat them in the morning.

The method for freezing the uncooked ones can be found here.

Herbed Beef Sausage Patties

makes 12 patties

HS1

  • 2lb ground beef (preferably grass-fed)
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme – finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage – finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon – finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley – finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Mix the ground beef together with the herbs and the salt.

Divide the mixture into 12 equal sized balls, then pat them out with your hands to form 12 patties.

Place the patties on a rimmed baking sheet (lining the baking sheet with parchment paper makes for an easier cleanup).

Bake the patties in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes until cooked through.

Alternatively, the patties can be cooked in a heavy skillet for 5-7 minutes per side.

Serve the patties at once, or cool them and freeze.

To reheat the thawed patties, return them to a heavy skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes per side until warmed through.

BFST2

The patties in the picture above were served with caramelized onions, sauteed baby chard and rutabaga hashbrowns.

Shared at:  Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Fat Tuesday, Full Plate Thursday, Home and Garden Thursday, This is how we roll Thursdays, The Handmade Hangout, Gluten Free Fridays, Real Food Friday, Old Fashioned Friday, Foodie Friends Friday, Foodie Friday

Bacon Braised Chard

This is the side dish that I served along side the beef-heart steaks.

BHdinn2

Chard is one of my favourite vegetables.  I love the flavour, but even more, I love how nutritious it is.

It a good source of Thiamin, Folate, Phosphorus and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese (1).

I love to add bacon when I am cooking greens – not only does the bacon provide more flavour, it also provides some healthy fats that help you absorb the fat-soluble nutrients.

Bacon Braised Chard

serves 2

BBC1

Trim the chard, cutting the stems into small bite-sized pieces and coarsely chopping the green leaves.

Put the bacon in a large, heavy skillet and cook until crispy and the fat has run out of it.

BFG1

Add the chard stems to the skillet and toss for 5 minutes until the stems are starting to soften.

Add the broth to the skillet and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

BFG3

Now add the green chard leaves.  Toss until most of the liquid has evaporated and the leaves have wilted.

BFG2

Taste and season with salt if necessary.

Depending on how salty your bacon is, you might not need much extra salt.

BFG4

Serve at once.

Beef Heart Steak

I mentioned in a previous post that I had met Rachel from Trails End Beef.

The purpose of that meeting was for me to collect some wonderful 100% grass-fed beef heart, beef tongue and beef suet.

Let me tell you that the heart is absolutely WONDERFUL!

This is what I made with some of it….

BHdinn2

That beautiful plate of food is a beef-heart steak, some roasted root vegetables and bacon braised chard…

It was absolutely delicious, and simply packed with nutrition.

Organ meats, such as heart are one of the most concentrated sources of important vitamins, minerals and essential amino-acids.

Heart is a very concentrated source of Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) which is important for cardiovascular health.  Heart also contains large amounts of Vitamin A, B12, folic acid, iron, selenium, phosphorus and zinc.  It is also a rich source of copper.  In addition to this, heart contains more collagen and elastin than regular muscle meat, which means it is a good source of the amino-acids glycine and proline.  These two amino-acids are essential for connective tissue, joint and digestive health.

Heart can be a very cost effective way of eating grass-fed meat as organ meats, even from grass-fed animals, tends to be very cheap.

And despite it’s somewhat threatening appearance, heart has a taste and texture that is very similar to steak.

This is how I made it.

Beef Heart Steak

serves 2

BHS8

  • 2 slices of beef heart – each 1″ thick (about 4oz each)
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp kombucha
  • Pink Himalayan Salt to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed and coarsly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley – chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon – chopped
  • Beef Tallow or other cooking fat of choice

The first thing I did was to cut two 1″ thick steaks from the heart – there was far more heart than I needed for this.  The rest was saved to be used in another recipe.

BHS4

I took the 2 beautiful steaks and placed them in a ziplock bag along with the olive oil, kombucha, salt, parsley, tarragon and garlic.

BHS5

This was left to marinate for 30 minutes.

Next, heat up a heavy skillet with some beef tallow or other cooking fat, and once it is hot, add the heart.  Sear the steaks for 5 minutes per side until browned and cooked through to your liking.

I like my steak rare, and beef-heart steak is no exception.  If you prefer your meat more well done than this, increase the cooking time a little.

BHS10

Allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes, then serve.

BHS9

I served this with roasted root vegetables and bacon braised chard.

BHdinn1

Shared at: Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable, Real Food Fridays, Lets Get Real Friday, Mix it up Fridays, Awesome Life Friday, Natural Family Friday, Gluten Free FridayOld Fashioned Friday, Hearth and Soul Hop, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Homestead Bloghop, Fat Tuesday

Favourite Songs

I posted two recipes yesterday (this one and this one), so I am not going to post one today.

Instead, I have been going through a lot of songs that I love, trying to work out which ones are my favourites…

This was a REALLY hard thing to do – there are just so many songs that I love.  There was no way I could narrow it down to more…

In the end I came up with the following (in no particular order):

Duran Duran – Rio

Yes I am a “Durannie” – I am not ashamed to admit that….

This song takes me right back to my teenage years… I was 13 when this song was released, and the Rio (vinyl) album was one of the first I ever bought.  I love the upbeat tempo and the baseline.  I also absolutely love the sax in the instrumental portion.

I tend to use this song when I need to get some serious cleaning done.  I also find it is good for major cooking sessions…

The Offspring – Kristie Are You Doing OK

This song strikes a chord for so many reasons.  I was sexually abused as a child from the age of approximately 5 up to 15 years old, and this song was part of my healing process.  But also, it is something that I would have liked someone to ask me.  I would have loved it if someone had noticed the trauma and anguish that I was going through and asked if I was OK.

I also love the acoustic guitar, the music, the lyrics – even the video.  I strongly identify with the girl in the video in this song… mostly because for years I was NOT doing ok…

But I also think that it is a really powerful song in its own right and the music is simply beautiful.

Twisted Sister – We’re Not Going To Take It

Warning – the initial opening sequence of this song might be triggering for some – it is for me.

This is a song that I was introduced to when I was about 16 years old and I loved it right from the start.  Again, it has strong meanings for me as a result of the childhood abuse.

But it has also come to have new meanings for me in the last few months as a result of abuse from my ex-husband and the resulting divorce…  I am not going to take that shit any more…  and this song is starting to symbolize that for me.

Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb

Again, this is another one from years back….

I listened to The Wall a lot while I was writing my PhD thesis back in 1998.  I think it was probably one of the things that kept me sane during that period of intense writing and studying.

But also, this song has a lot of emotional elements for me too.  The “comfortably numb” theme to me relates to me numbing out a lot of trauma over the years…  especially the spousal abuse over the latter few years.

I became very good at numbing myself out – whether it was through mental leaps and exercises – just blanking out the things that were too painful to remember, or through drinking to excess…  I am the numbing out queen!  I can remember very little of my children’s younger years, and I do not even have the excuse that I was drinking heavily at that point.  I had just achieved the place where I could numb out myself, clear my mind of everything that was too painful to deal with and blank it all out…  If anything was painful, or reminded me of trauma, I would disassociate – I would literally take my self to my “happy place”, or I would clear my memories and mind of it so that I had no memory of the painful events at all.

And even now, I will disassociate when memories or thoughts threaten to overwhelm me.  It is something I am working through with my therapists.

Iron Maiden – The Trooper

This is another song that harks back to my teen years.  I used to be a huge “Maiden” fan, and tbh I probably still am…

I love the energy, I love the bass beat.  I love the guitar solos….

But I also have a TON of fun memories – back in the day, I went to a lot of “Maiden” concerts with school friends and we had a blast!

This song reminds me of that time.

Gorillaz – On Melancholy Hill

This is a band that I was introduced to by my eldest daughter A…  she was 16 at the time.

I loved the music – I love the lyrics, the sentiments, the melody..  I just find the entire song beautiful…  almost meditative.

And actually, I use this song as one in my “massage mixes” that I use when I am working (I am a registered/licensed massage therapist)…

It is just beautiful…. relaxing, mellow and…..

U2 – Where The Streets Have No Name

This song takes me right back….  I find it very uplifting.  And quite simply I love it.

It is another one that harks back to my teen years and my youth, but I also listened to it a lot while writing my PhD thesis…  so good memories and bad.  But mostly good.

And it does make me smile.

Mostly I find it very uplifting and inspirational.  And for me it is a good motivation song..  another one I listen to while doing housework.

R.E.M. Loosing My Religion

This song just says it all for me…  I love it.  I love the lyrics, I love the music.  It lifts me up, it keeps me grounded….

It is also one of my “happy songs”…

Happy times!  :-)

Pink – Raise Your Glass

WOW is all I can say to this song!

This is another one I was introduced to by A.    And I love it to bits.  There are so many sentimets about this song that resonate with me….  especially these lines from the chorus:

“So raise your glass if you are wrong
In all the right ways, all my underdogs
We will never be, never be anything but loud
And nitty, gritty, dirty, little freaks”

Do you realize how much that resonates with me…

I am a child abuse survivor, an incest survivor, a relationship abuse survivor.  I am pagan.  I am bisexual.  I am my own person… I will never, ever give in… and to many that makes me a freak.

And I raise my glass to all you survivors and non-conventional people out there…. you are my brothers and sisters!

Let us celebrate it with this song!

That is 8 songs that are my current faves….  I was planning on posting about 3, so I guess that almos 3 times over is not too bad

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do….

AIP Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

I think this might be one of my most successful recipes to date.

I just threw it together without following any specific recipe, and it turned out insanely tasty.

sc5

While I was grocery shopping last weekend (in Safeways), I came across a whole fermented cabbage head.

I am partial to fermented cabbage, and seeing as this head was not only unpasteurized (meaning that all the bacterial cultures were still alive), but it contained only salt, water and cabbage…

sc12

So I bought it, and it was the inspiration for making this recipe.

I have seen people posting about fermenting whole cabbages in the past with the aim of making stuffed cabbage rolls, but I do not own a fermenting crock so I have not been able to ferment a whole cabbage myself (it is just a little difficult to squeeze a whole cabbage into a mason jar…)

If you cannot find a whole fermented cabbage to use, you could make one yourself, or you could use a regular cabbage and blanch the leaves in boiling water for a couple of minutes so that they are flexible enough to wrap around the filling.  If you do buy a whole fermented cabbage, check that it does not contain any non-AIP spices or ingredients.

Of course, because the finished dish is cooked in the oven, none of the bacterial cultures will survive.  But the sour cabbage does add to the flavour.

This recipe is 100% AIP friendly.

AIP Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

serves 4

SC4

  • 2 cups “Nomato” Marinara Sauce
  • 8 large sour cabbage leaves (this works out at about ¼ cabbage).  If using a fresh “regular” cabbage blanch the leaves in boiling water first.
  • 1lb ground beef (preferably grass-fed)
  • 1 small onion – peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – peeled and finely chopped
  • 8oz mushrooms – finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach – packed
  • ¼ cup bone broth
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil – chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme – chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley – chopped
  • sea salt to taste
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat a skillet over a medium-high heat.  Add the ground beef to the skillet and brown for aprox 5 minutes.  Add in the onions, garlic and mushrooms, and cook until tender.

Add the spinach, broth, herbs and sea salt to taste.

Simmer gently until the spinach is wilted and most of the liquid has evaporated.

sc10

Take the cabbage leaves, and fill each with 1/8 of the meat mixture.  Roll the cabbage leaf around the filling, tucking in the ends to make 8 neat parcels.

sc11

Place 1 cup of the “Nomato” sauce in the base of a baking dish.

Nestle the cabbage rolls in the sauce, then top with the remaining cup of sauce.

sc8

Sprinkle the finished dish with nutritional yeast if using it, then cover with a sheet of parchment paper and a sheet of foil (parchment paper next to the food to protect it from contact with the foil).

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.

Remove the paper and foil, and return to the oven for 15 minutes.

sc7

Allow the cooked dish to cool for 5 minutes before serving as it will be very hot.

sc6

Serve 2 cabbage rolls per person.

sc1

SC3

As you can see, there were no leftovers!

SC2

Shared at: Fat Tuesday, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable, Full Plate Thursday, Real Food Fridays, Lets Get Real Friday, Mix it up Fridays, Awesome Life Friday, Natural Family Friday, Gluten Free Friday, Old Fashioned Friday, Hearth and Soul Hop

AIP “Nomato” Marinara Sauce

While I was making this sauce, I was remembering the times as a child that I had stood on a chair in my Grandmother’s kitchen helping her make marinara sauce to go over spaghetti.

Of course she was using tomatoes (often fresh tomatoes out of her garden).  And she was serving it with regular, gluten-filled pasta, often topped off with some grated cheese.   All things that I cannot eat now that I am Celiac and following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).

But back then, when I was maybe 5 or 6 years old, I used to love helping her chop onions, garlic and tomatoes while sat at her long, wooden kitchen table that was set in front of her old-fashioned, cast-iron range.

Her kitchen was probably one of my favourite places.  It was always warm and bright.  The table clean, the terracotta tile floor swept and scrubbed.  She had brightly coloured towels and hand-made pot-holders hanging by the range.

It was fragrant with the smells of cooking – tomatoes, onions and of course herbs.  She always had bunches of herbs hung to dry over the range.  And she usually had a pot of broth bubbling on the range as well.

Once the veggies were chopped, we would add some oil to a big pot, and then the veggies would go in – first the onion, then the garlic, and finally the tomatoes.  Then a big ladle-full of the broth would be added and some herbs – basil, thyme and oregano most often.  Sometimes a bit of rosemary too.

And then I would stand on a chair in front of the range, wearing an apron made from a tea-towel, and I would stir the pot as it bubbled and thickened, adding it’s own delicious aroma to the smells in the room.

I think cooking with Nanny, as we called my Grandma, is one of my fondest memories.

This marinara sauce, while not quite the same as Nanny’s, is just as fragrant and just as delicious.

I have used beets and carrots to give the familiar red colour of a marinara sauce without having to add tomatoes, which are a nightshade and therefor banned, in at least the early stages, of AIP.

nms2

I also add some grated fresh turmeric root – it not only provides antioxidants and an anti-inflamatory boost to the sauce, it also helps to change the colour from a bright pinky-purple beet colour to one that is closer to a rich tomato-based marinara sauce.

And, of course, it has all the usual aromatics – onions, garlic and herbs.

This recipe is 100% AIP compliant.

“Nomato” Marinara Sauce

makes 4 cups

nms1

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (substitute another suitable cooking fat if you cannot eat coconut)
  • 1 large onion – peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic – peeled and crushed
  • 2 stalks celery – chopped
  • 2 medium beets – peeled and diced
  • 2 large carrots – peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil – chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme – chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano – chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary – chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh turmeric root (use 1 tsp ground turmeric as a substitution)
  • 1 cup bone broth
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt to taste

Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over a medium low heat.

Add the onions, and stir for 5 minutes until starting to soften.  Add the garlic and celery, and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Next add the beets, carrots, herbs, turmeric root and bone broth.u

Season to taste with sea salt and simmer gently for 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Puree the sauce with a food-processor or a blender until it is smooth.

Return the sauce to the pan, and simmer gently until it is thick and rich.

Taste and adjust seasoning with sea salt and balsamic vinegar.

This sauce will keep for 7 days in the fridge, and can be used wherever you would normally use a tomato-based marinara sauce.

Shared at: Fat Tuesday, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable, Full Plate Thursday, Gluten Free Friday, Old Fashioned Friday, Hearth and Soul Hop

A stream of consciousness

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about where I want my life to go in the future.

What I have planned and where I want to make changes.

7ac1594daea5185ee573f183804f3d6e

I posted a while ago, mentioning that I was getting divorced…  well that is still going through the process, but it is messy and very unpleasant.

Why do these things have to always be so nasty?

Why can’t two people try to at least be pleasant to one another under rather unpleasant circumstances?

Well I guess that doesn’t really matter.

What matters most is that I know where I am going and what I am going to do with my future.

c91dfda22779eefbcff711b39ff571da

I am determined that I will not just sit back and let life happen to me.  I am going to grasp it with both hands and make the most of the opportunities that I have to remake a new life for myself.

One where I can do the things I wanted, one where I only have myself to please.  One where I can be happy.

My current plans are that I would like to study Holistic Nutrition…  I am thinking seriously about this course:  I don’t know yet whether I would prefer to do the class-room course or whether the online/distance learning one would be better (with the latter I could still get a job and work).

But either way, I think that this would be a great addition to my massage practice.

And it is something that I am very passionate about.

All in all, I am fairly happy about what the future can hold for me.  And I am excited about it.

Coconut Milk Yogurt

Traditional yogurt, made with cow’s milk, is off-limits to those with milk allergies or anyone following the Autoimmune protocol.  But yogurt is one food that I miss.

CMY1

Coconut yogurt is a healthy alternative that’s made with coconut milk instead. In addition to being dairy free, coconut yogurt also supplies several important vitamins and minerals and can have live and active cultures just like milk-based yogurts.

Not only is coconut milk yogurt a great idea, it’s really delicious. It’s tangy and creamy like a yogurt should be. The only problem is that there is almost no protein in it, and this means that it does not thicken up in the same way that a regular cows milk yogurt does.  And this is the reason why those store bought brands contain the added gums and thickeners that I would prefer to avoid.

The ideal solution to wanting to avoid all those gums is to make your own.

Some recipes for homemade coconut milk yogurt use tapioca starch or pectin as a thickener.  But I like to use gelatin as it provides some protein, and has other health benefits.  This is the brand of gelatin that I prefer to use because it comes from grass-fed cows.

I like to use this brand of coconut milk as it does not contain any gums or thickeners, and it comes in a BPA free can:

The final thing that you need is a yogurt starter or culture.  You could use a spoonful of purchased coconut milk yogurt, but as I mentioned, that will most likely contain gums and thickeners.  Another suggestion is to use a yogurt starter.

The final option that you could use is some probiotic capsules.  I find this the most convenient starter to use as I always have some probiotic capsules to hand.  I use this one as I find it suits me best.

I don’t have a yogurt maker – I make my yogurt by heating the milk and then wrapping it in a towel and placing it in a warm place (the cupboard over the top of the fridge is ideal in my house.  If you have a yogurt maker, you can certainly use that.  Other suggestions are to place the jar containing the yogurt in an oven with the pilot light turned on, to place it in an insulated cooker with some jars of hot water, in a slow cooker or even placing the jar on a heating pad.  If you have a dehydrator with a temperature setting that goes low enough for raw foods, you can also use that to incubate your yogurt.  The key thing is to keep the yogurt at a temperature between 108°F and 112°F.

Coconut Milk Yogurt

cwc1

Heat the coconut milk to 115°F.

Sprinkle over the gelatin and mix well.

Allow the milk to cool to 110°F.  Now sprinkle over the contents of the probiotic capsule, or stir in your yogurt starter.  Mix well.

Transfer the coconut milk mixture to a mason jar.  Keep the jar at a temperature of between 108°F and 112°F.  This can be achieved by wrapping the jar in a towel and placing it in a warm place, by placing it in the oven with the pilot light on, by using a slow-cooker or dehydrator, or by using a yogurt maker.  Whatever method you choose, it is important that the heat does not go above 112°F as that will kill the cultures.

Allow the yogurt to incubate for anything from 12 up to 24 hours.  A longer incubation time will result in a more sour, tangy yogurt.  Experiment and find what time-frame produces a yogurt that you like.

After the fermentation, you may find that your yogurt has separated slightly – this is normal.  It will also be quite thin and runny.

I use a whisk and mix the 2 layers back together again.

Place the yogurt in the fridge for 2-4 hours and it will thicken slightly as the gelatin sets.

The yogurt will keep in the fridge for at least 7 days.  Use in recipes that call for yogurt, or eat it topped with berries.

Shared at: Hearth and Soul Hop, Mostly Homemade Mondays, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, This is how we roll Thursdays, The Handmade Hangout

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 687 other followers