Kooky Grape Kefir~ My recipe for Concord Grape Water Kefir

A Concord Grape Kefir recipe.

Hello, my name is Tamara Hoerner and I am a sodaholic. That’s why, about 18 months ago, in an effort to break my addiction, I decided to try making my own gut friendly soda, otherwise known as water kefir. I quickly discovered that this was the exact thing I needed get away from soda and get my body, and gut, back on track. It’s bubbly, like soda and best of all it cut my sugar cravings! It’s also a wonderful way to get reluctant family members to consume probiotics!

I stopped making water kefir at the beginning of 2020. We were preparing to sell our home and move across the country, from Virginia to Colorado. Now that I’m settled, I decided it was absolutely time to make some kefir again. I missed it. I mean what better way to get healthy probiotics into your gut than with homemade soda?

Kefir starter or kefir grains?

Back when I first started making kefir, I discovered 2 ways of making it. The first way is with active kefir grains, which can be purchased from Cultures for Health. These grains are a living microbiome that are mixed with prepared water to make it into kefir. The main benefit is the number of microbes. There can be as many as 30 or more different strains of microbes. These grains are similar to a sourdough starter, in that, you can make an infinite number of kefir batches with them, as long as you keep them alive, by feeding it sugar water on a regular basis. These grains grow and can be “gifted” to others, just like a sourdough starter. The fact that this microbiome must be maintained is also a negative, as many people don’t want to bother with it.

Another downside… water kefir grains only make water kefir. In order to make dairy kefir, you need an entirely different set of grains. This also means, if you want dairy kefir, you now have 2 microbiomes to maintain. Things can get really complicated if you also have a sourdough starter! It’s almost like having pets in the house! With that said, if you plan on making a lot of kefir, it might be worth the time and effort, as this microbiome is diverse and like a whole food.

The second way is with a kefir starter culture. This is a powder sold in packets that can be purchased from Body ecology. Once you’ve made one batch, you can make up to 6 more batches on a single packet, by adding kefir from a previous batch to the new batch. This type of kefir culture can contain from 7 to 9 different strains of microbes. The starter is also a wonderful way for beginners to get their feet wet with kefir. It’s super easy to use and there’s no grains to maintain. You can also use this same starter culture to make dairy kefir. I find this to be a huge bonus. While this starter definitely has its perks, the microbiome is more processed and less diverse than the grains.

Combining 2 methods into one kooky recipe

My investigations into the 2 types of kefir starter also included 2 different methods of making this healthy beverage. The first one I stumbled upon was when I took some classes with the Traditional Cooking School by Gnowfglins. (TCS) This recipe is a 2 stage process using clean filtered water, sugar, kefir grains and an egg shell (for added minerals. The bugs love minerals). The first stage ferments the kefir for 3-5 days. During the second stage, juice is added for “flavor” and to further ferment the kefir, along with aiding in the creation of carbonation. The second one, from Body Ecology, using the powdered kefir starter, is a simple one step process that uses pure, fresh coconut water and the kefir starter to make Coconut Water Kefir.

For my recipe, I decided to combine these two methods. I call it Kooky Kefir because it was kind of an accidental kefir that actually turned out phenomenal. I used 1/2 clean filtered water and 1/2 coconut water. I opted for the kefir starter over the grains. This was mainly because I had the starter on hand, and didn’t want to wait for the grains to arrive in the mail, plus go through the activation process. I normally like to use sucanat for the sugar, but again, didn’t have any on hand. So, I decided to use regular organic cane sugar. I also added the egg shell. I mean, why not? During the second phase, I added organic concord grape juice from Kedem.

The “accidental” part came when I realized I had the wrong kind of coconut water. (thus the name Kooky Kefir) You see, coconut water kefir normally requires pure, fresh unpasteurized (raw) coconut water. Pasteurized coconut water won’t ferment properly (I’ve also used Harmless Harvest coconut water, which is unpasteurized.) Instead, I purchased Naked coconut water. I thought it was raw, but it turned out to be “lightly pasteurized.” Since I was using only 1/2 coconut water, and I was adding sugar, per the TCS recipe, I theorized it would still work, and it did. See for yourself in the video below!

So there’s my story into my Kooky Grape Kefir creation. Here’s the recipe and step by step instructions. Let me know if you try it or if you have any questions.

Concord Grape Kefir

  • Servings: Makes 5 1/2 quarts (45 - 4 ounce servings)
  • Difficulty: easy
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A bubbly fermented beverage, reminiscent of grape soda, but healthy! This bubbly beverage is packed with probiotics!


Credit: Tamara Hoerner

Ingredients

  • 1/2 gallon clean, filtered water
  • 1/2 gallon coconut water (see recipe notes)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (preferably sucanat, but use what you have on hand)
  • 2 packets kefir starter culture (Body Ecology) OR active kefir grains (Cultures for Health) OR 1 cup from a previous batch of kefir
  • 1/2 of a clean egg shell (adds minerals to the water)
  • 48 ounces Organic Concord Grape Juice (I used Kedem Organic Grape Juice)
  • A 1 gallon glass jar
  • An instant read thermometer is helpful, but optional
  • 6 swing top glass bottles with rubber stoppers (optional-but these help create the fizz in the kefir. See recipe notes for more info)

Directions

  1. Put the sugar in the gallon jar and cover with about 1 cup boiling water. Stir until sugar is dissolved
  2. Add remaining water and coconut water to the jar and stir.
  3. Check the temperature of the water. It should be above 75 degrees but not hotter than 92 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, test the water with your finger. It should feel warm, but not too hot.
  4. Add the kefir culture, whichever one you’re using. I recommend using a starter culture if you’re new to kefir making. If you’re a kefir making expert, use your active kefir grains or some kefir from a previous batch. Stir well, but gently, so as not too overly disturb your little bug friends.
  5. Drop in your egg shell, allowing it to fall to the bottom.
  6. Taste the liquid. This is so you’ll know how sweet it started out, which helps you determine when it’s done, later on.
  7. Cover with a cotton cloth held to the jar with a rubber band. set aside. Leave it alone for at least 3 days, then start tasting it. When most of the sweetness is gone, it’s done. My batch took about 5 days. The kefir can actually be consumed at this point. You can move it to swing top bottles and refrigerate OR move to phase 2!
  8. It’s time for PHASE 2. Put 1 cup (8 oz) of juice into each of the 6 swing top bottles, then fill to the shoulder of the bottle with your kefir. Seal the bottle and let set on the counter for 1-2 days. (If your using kefir grains, don’t forget to rescue them from the jar first!)
  9. After 24 hours, check for carbonation. You should be able to see bubbles forming on the top. You can also check by opening the seal of the bottle. CAREFULLY! If it’s to your liking, and some of the sweetness from the juice has diminished, it’s done. If you let it sit longer than 2 days, burp the bottles every 24 hours. TRUST ME ON THIS! I once had a bottle explode…rookie mistake that will never happen again.
  10. RECIPE NOTES:

    ~ This recipe can be made with all water or all coconut water or a combination like mine. If you use 100% coconut water, make sure you use fresh coconut water, or it won’t ferment. If you’d like to buy bottled coconut water, you MUST use an unpasteurized brand such as Harmless Harvest. Most other brands are pasteurized and won’t ferment.

    ~ If you don’t have swing top bottles, you can use 6 quart jars instead. The kefir won’t be as fizzy, but will still taste good.

    ~ I recommend storing the finished product in the fridge. The cold air tames the activity of the microbes. It will still be fizzy, but you don’t have to worry about bottles exploding.

    ~ After 2 days with juice added, the initial flavor will still be a bit sweet. Over time, the sweetness will dissipate as the microbes eat the sugar from the juice. The longer it sits, the less sweet it will be.

    ~ If 8 ounces of juice in each swing top bottle is too much, adjust the amount of juice to your liking. Just remember, the microbes will eventually eat all the sugar in the bottles, if left long enough. This is what creates the carbonation in the kefir. Your’e not going for the sweetness here as much as the flavor.


Closing thoughts

There are pros and cons to each type of kefir culture. For beginners, my recommendation is to use the kefir starter powder from Body Ecology. This will give you an idea on the process and help you decide if you even like kefir. Then, once you get the hang of it, you can get some grains and start your own microbiome at home.

Until next time… Bon Appetit! Namaste my friends!

Healthy Probiotic “Soda”

Do you love soda? Are you addicted to it and can’t get enough? I am absolutely addicted to soda! I crave it. It is definitely my Achilles heal. I tell myself I can have just a little, just like an alcoholic would talk him/herself into a “small drink”. One small drink won’t hurt, right? Wrong! Sugar and corn syrup are as addictive as cocaine and heroin, maybe more so. We all know, in order to give up alcohol or drugs, there is no in between. The same goes for soda/sugar. I’ve given up soda dozens of time, for weeks, only to talk myself into “just a small glass. This turns into two, then three. Before you know it, I can’t make it through my day without a soda. The rest goes down hill, my diet, along with my weight and my health.



Well, no more! This time is the last time. That’s why this soda recipe is so important for me. It is changing my life. It tastes amazing! I use organic sour cherry juice concentrate. Tart cherries are amazing. They are known to tame inflammation. Tart cherries are scientifically proven to lesson inflammation and boost melatonin in the body. They are also high in melatonin, a super-hormone that plays many important roles in the body, not just for sleep! One thing you need to know is not to drink too much at once. I only drink it twice a day, with my lunch and dinner, as a tasty way to get my probiotics at each meal.

Here are links to two scientific articles researching the benefits of tart cherry juice:

I also use stevia extract (liquid), not pictured


This recipe for a healthy soda will build your microbiome instead of destroying it! The combination of organic juice concentrate, kefir, stevia and mineral water bring you sweetness, flavor and even the bubbles needed to imitate a tasty soda!

Quick & Easy Italian Style Pasta Salad (Gluten-Free)

A Middle-Age Pathway Recipe

I threw this salad together yesterday as a quick lunch. I am currently working on cleaning out my pantry and had some gluten-free spaghetti to use. I also had some left over pepperoni from making homemade calzones. I always try to keep cheese on hand and Braggs is my go to for bottled vinaigrette.

Why do I use Braggs? Because, sometimes I get lazy, and don’t feel like making my own dressing, so I use bottled dressing. I’m sure many of you can relate. HOWEVER, it is nearly impossible to find bottled dressing that DOES NOT contain soy oil. I like Braggs because it has cold pressed olive oil instead of highly processed soy oil. For this recipe, use your favorite vinaigrette, whether bottled or homemade, the choice is yours.

This recipe came together very quickly and I had a lot remaining. Today, when I had some left over, it was a bit dry, so I added a bit more dressing, to jazz it up.

To add even more flavor to this salad, I’d recommend adding some high quality olives. Kalamata olives are my favorite, but you pick your own. I didn’t add olives this time, mainly because I didn’t have any on hand.

Another optional addition would be to top it with parmesan cheese prior to serving. This would add some zest and a bit of nutty flavor to the dish.

Here’s the recipe!

Quick & Easy Italian Style Pasta Salad

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: very easy
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Need a quick lunch or side dish? This comes together in a jiffy.


Credit: Purple Almond Wellness

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sliced pepperoni – quartered
  • 1 zucchini – quartered and sliced
  • 1 red pepper – diced
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup Brags Vinaigrette (or your favorite homemade recipe
  • 4 cups cooked gluten free pasta (I used spaghetti)
  • OPTIONAL: Black olives, shredded parmesan cheese, diced red onions

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Chill prior to serving.
  3. If salad appears a bit dry, add a bit more dressing to taste.

A Middle-Age Pathway Recipe: Lazy Pot Pie Stuffed Squash (Vegan version available)

Today I have a whole food recipe which gives you a way to use up some of your leftovers. Here is my personal recipe for leftovers, which in this case was turkey. However, this  really isn’t a recipe, as much as a process, which is very versatile. In this instance, I used Delicata squash, along with other things I had on hand: the basics, turkey, of course as well as kale, carrots, celery, onion, along with homemade bone broth, white wine, a little Himalayan salt, and some spices. The Delicata squash, pictured below, is a small, slightly sweet squash, about the size of a large sweet potato.

 This recipe was born out of a craving for pot pie. Being gluten-free, I was too lazy to attempt the almost impossible “gluten-free” pie crust. So, I made the filling for the pot pie, and put it over a baked potato. Thus the lazy pot pie was invented. In this instance, I expanded the recipe by using squash instead of a potato.

 With this recipe/procedure, you are only limited by your imagination. Are you a vegan? Use beans instead of meat. For the rest, open your fridge and see what you have on hand. How about, Sweet Potatoes, with left over steak, zucchini and tomatoes, or, Acorn squash, rotisserie chicken, broccoli, and spinach…well you get the idea. Experiment! There is a huge variety of squash, potatoes or even ancient grains, such as quinoa, amaranth or millet.

Add some fresh herbs to liven it up. This is a recipe I developed several years ago. Looking back at it today, I’d add poultry seasoning herbs, such as sage, rosemary and/or thyme. Fresh herbs add life and wonderful seasoning to this dish. With that said, it’s all about using what’s on hand. If you don’t have fresh herbs, by all means, use dried instead.

Here are a few photos of the ingredients and recipe steps. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the complete recipe.

Gather your ingredients

Prepare squash

Bake squash

Prepare filling, while squash bakes

Pour filling onto baked squash and serve

Lazy Pot Pie Stuffed Squash

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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This is easy, super healthy, and completely whole food dinner.  It's also a great way to use up leftover meat/poultry.


Credit: Purple Almond Wellness

Ingredients

  • 4 Delicata Squash
  • 4 carrots-diced
  • 4 celery stalks-chopped
  • 2 cups finely chopped kale
  • 1/2 medium onion-diced
  • 2 cloves garlic-minced.
  •  olive oil
  • 2 cups turkey/chicken-chopped (use cooked beans for a vegan version
  • 1/2 cup white wine-I used Pino Grigio
  • 1/2 broth (I used my bone broth. You can use organic broth from the store. DO NOT use bullion cubes, which are filled with salt, chemicals and MSG)
  •  Mrs. Dash
  • Himalayan salt, and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Line a baking pan parchment paper.
  3. Cut each squash in half, and clean out the seeds
  4. Drizzle each squash with olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper on each half. Place cut side down on baking pan. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender.
  5. While the squash is cooking-prepare the filling.
  6. Wash and chop all vegetables. Chop them into a small dice, for quick cooking.
  7. In a large frying pan, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil, then add the carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until tender crisp.
  8. Add turkey, salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash, and vegetables, except kale, to carrots. Cook for 5 more minutes, until turkey is heated through, and vegetables are tender.
  9. Add wine to pan. Cook for an additional 2 or 3 minutes, or until alcohol cooks out.
  10. Add Broth to pan. Cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
  11. Add Kale and cook until just wilted. It cooks quick. When it’s bright green, it’s done.
  12. lace a half of squash in a dish, scoop some filling into the squash, and enjoy. This serves 4 to 8, depending on your hunger level.

Middle Age Pathway Recipes: 8 Healthy Holiday Recipes

Ahh, the holidays season is here! During this time of year, full of sugary treats and fattening snacks, it’s good to have a few healthy recipes in your box. Have no fear! I’ve got you covered. Today, I’m have 8 healthy holiday recipes, with videos and printable recipes! I hope you enjoy!

 BRIE STUFFED MUSHROOMS

From: What’s Gaby Cooking

Brie Stuffed Mushrooms

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Have a dinner or cocktail party coming up for the holiday season? These delicious, creamy bites will do the trick

Credit: whatsgabycooking.com/brie-stuffed-mushrooms/

Ingredients

  • 12 Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 1 small wedge of Brie cheese
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs (you can buy these gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tbs olive oil

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Clean and remove stems from mushrooms, then place in a baking dish and drizzle with 2 tbs olive oil.
  3. Place 1 tbs Brie into each mushroom
  4. Combine remaining ingredients and place a small scoop of the mixture into each mushroom.
  5. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and mushroom is tender.
  6. PHOTO CREDIT: https://whatsgabycooking.com/brie-stuffed-mushrooms/

CHRISTMAS SALAD WREATH

from: mealthy.com.

Christmas Wreath Salad

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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If you're looking for a quick and healthy side dish to your holiday dinner, this delightful recipe fits the bill.

Credit: mealthy.com/recipes/1642/christmas-wreath-salad

Ingredients

    CHRISTMAS WREATH SALAD

  • 2 heads Romaine lettuce, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
  • 1 ruby red grapefruit, cut into supremes
  • 1 green pear, thinly sliced
  • 1 Haas avocado, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • POMEGRANATE-POPPY DRESSING

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup pomegranate juice
  • ¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise or yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Directions

  1. Arrange lettuce onto a large, circular platter into a wreath shape.
  2. Arrange grapefruit supremes, pear slices, and avocado slices in groupings onto the lettuce in a decorative pattern.
  3. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds, feta, and almonds over the wreath.
  4. Blend dressing ingredients, and serve in a small bowl at the center of the wreath.

RAW CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

FROM POPSUGAR FITNESS:

Raw Chocolate Truffles

  • Servings: 10-15
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

These tasty little morsels are bursting with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. Plus, they're sweetened with dates and maple syrup, so, you'll find no processed sugar here.


Credit: PopSugar Fitness

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup soaked cashews (soak a minimum of 3 hours or overnight)
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • shredded coconut for rolling

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients, except shredded coconut, in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, scraping sides as needed.
  2. Roll into tablespoon size balls.
  3. Coat balls in either cacao or shredded coconut.
  4. Freeze for a few hours, preferably overnight.
  5. Remove from freezer and set at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to serving.

PERFECT PRIME RIB RECIPE

from Food Wishes.

Perfect Prime Rib

  • Servings: depends on size of roast
  • Difficulty: easy
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The prefect main dish for your holiday table. It's so elegant and delicious! You'll never believe how easy this is to prepare!

Ingredients

  • 4 to 8 pound Prime Rib of Beef, BONE-IN, fat cap removed (ask the butcher to explain)
  • kosher salt as needed
  • 1/4 cup soft butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence (this is just a dried herb blend – you can use any thing you like, or just salt and pepper)

Directions

  1. Leave prime rib on counter for at least 6 hours – preferably longer. (It must be at room temp, or the recipe won’t work.)
  2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees
  3. Mix butter, Herbes de Provence and black pepper together and spread all over prime rib.
  4. Sprinkle salt liberally over the buttered prime rib
  5. Cook the beef at 500 degrees for 5 minutes per pound. Multiply size of roast (from packaging) by 5. This is the length of time you’ll cook the beef at 500 degrees. For example, if your roast is 4 pounds multiply 4 X 5 = 20, so you’d cook the beef at 500 degrees for 20 minutes.
  6. After the allotted time, turn oven off and leave for 2 hours. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve. Bones can be removed if desired prior to serving.

PALEO CARROT CAKE COOKIES

From: Meghan Livingstone

Paleo Carrot Cake Cookies

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Now this is whole food goodness! Sweetened with dates, filled with fresh grated carrot...you don't get any better than this.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 nut butter (almond butter was used in the original recipe)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 7-8 Medjool dates, pitted, diced into tiny pieces + soaked in warm water 10 mins, drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs coconut flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  3. Mix all ingredients together.
  4. Drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Shape into circles if desired.
  5. Bake 10 – 12 minutes, or until firm to touch.
  6. For additional sweetness, add 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup to batter. For additional flavor/crunch, add 1/4 cup chopped pecans to batter.

    Photo credit: https://www.meghanlivingstone.com/paleo-carrot-cake-cookies/


Egg nog

that’s dairy free, paleo, gluten free

From: Kayla Chandler

Homemade Eggnog (Dairy Free, Paleo, Gluten Free)

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An old fashioned holiday classic, with a healthy modern twist.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups full fat coconut milk in the can
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • a dash of all spice
  • 4 pasture raised egg yolks – (THE USE OF PASTURE RAISED IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – due to the nature of the recipe)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Directions

  1. Add first 5 ingredients to a pan, bring to boil, then remove from stovetop.
  2. Mix egg yolks and syrup together.
  3. Slowly pour egg mixture into coconut milk, whisking continuously.
  4. Pour into glass container and chill for several hours.
  5. If desired, serve with whipped coconut cream.

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Trail Mix

From: Cotter Crunch

Slow Cooker Paleo Pumpkin Spice Trail Mix

  • Servings: 10 to 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Whether you need a quick, healthy snack for the kids or a tasty appetizer for holiday party guests, this quick and easy recipe fits the bill.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups raw walnuts, chopped (or use halves)
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 – 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (maple syrup is fine but it will be more like clusters when cooked)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin spice
  • dash of sea salt
  • extra cinnamon if desired
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup or more of [url] dark chocolate ∞http://amzn.to/2f8VgqL[/url] and/or cacao nibs combined.
  • parchment paper

Directions

  1. Place nuts in a slow cooker, then add sugar, spices, coconut oil and salt. Combine thoroughly, until everything is well coated.
  2. Cook on high for 60 to 90 minutes (until the nuts are well cooked/roasted) – stir a few times while they are cooking
  3. Once the nuts have browned as desired, remove from cooker and spread on parchment paper.
  4. Allow to dry, then add to mixing bowl and stir together with cranberries and chocolate. – store in an airtight container.
  5. PHOTO CREDIT: https://www.cottercrunch.com/slow-cooker-paleo-pumpkin-spice-trail-mix/

Green Bean Salad with Mustard Dressing

From: Gordon Ramsey

Green Bean Salad with Mustard Dressing

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Tired of Green Bean Casserole? Try this refreshing and tasty recipe from Gordon Ramsey


Credit: Gordon Ramsey

Ingredients

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 pounds fresh Green beans (cleaned)
  • salt
  • 2-3 tbs White wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 150 ml olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wrap the garlic for the dressing in foil and roast in the oven for 20–25 minutes until soft. Remove and leave to cool.
  2. While garlic is roasting, blanch the green beans by plunging them in plenty of boiling salted water for 1½ cooked, but still crunchy. Run immediately under cold running water, then drain and leave to one side.
  3. Toast almonds in a medium-hot dry frying pan for 2–3 minutes until golden.
  4. Squeeze the flesh from the garlic heads and mash with 1 tablespoon of the white wine vinegar until a smooth paste is formed. Add the mustard and honey and mix well. Pour in the olive oil in a slow drizzle, stirring constantly to thicken. Taste and season as necessary, adding a little more vinegar if needed.
  5. Dress the green beans, toss to coat well, top with toasted almonds and serve.
  6. SOURCE: https://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/18242/green-bean-salad-with-mustard-dressing


A Middle-Age Pathway Recipe: Anti-inflammatory Tart Cherry Gummies

We all hate to admit it, but eventually, aches and pains creep in with age and arthritis gets the better of us. As part of my thesis, I did some research on the health benefits of Tart Cherries and Tart Cherry Juice. It turns out to be one of the best sources of plant based melatonin. So, that means, if you have insomnia, you absolutely should be including this in your daily diet and supplement regime. Not only that is it good for insomnia, it has several other wonderful benefits, including: (2 , 3 , 4)

  • reduces muscle soreness
  • increase strength
  • helps reduce symptoms of arthritis, gout and inflammation
  • promotes brain health
  • boosts immune health
  • helps regulate blood pressure
  • cancer prevention
  • aids weight loss

So, knowing tart cherries are so healthy, I wanted to add them to my diet. I decided to experiment with unflavored grass-fed gelatin and homemade gummies, something I’ve been wanting to try for a while. Why grass fed gelatin? Some known benefits of gelatin include: (1, 5)

  • immune support
  • joint protection
  • healthy hair
  • reduce inflammation
  • helps to balance hormones
  • reduce signs of aging
  • strengthen teeth
  • aids in sleep and insomnia
  • improves gut health
  • aids digestion
  • improves cognitive ability
  • improves skin health
  • strong bones

So, after looking at the health benefits of these two powerful foods, I knew it was a winning combination. But, I had never even tried making gummies before. Before I created my own recipe, I experimented with a few others. The photo on the left is pureed strawberries, sweetened with maple syrup. The one on the right is turmeric, also sweetened with maple syrup.

After making the strawberry, and turmeric gummies, I found they were a bit bland, especially the turmeric one. So, when I created my own version, I opted to double the amount of concentrate, otherwise used if a glass of juice was being prepared. The ratio is typically 2 tablespoons per 8 ounce glass, or 1/4 cup per 2 cups of water. I doubled that ratio for my recipe. The result is a pleasing tart cherry flavor in the gummies.

Here are the ingredients for this simple, but super healthy recipe:

Anti-Inflammatory Tart Cherry Gummies

  • Servings: 32 squares
  • Difficulty: very easy
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Do you have some aches and pains? Is arthritis creeping up on you? This combination of grass-fed gelatin and tart cherry juice will help ease the pain


Credit: A Purple Almond Wellness Recipe: thepurplealmondwellnesskitchen.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups filtered water
  • ½ cup Organic Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate
  • ¼ cup Honey
  • 4 packets organic Stevia powder (optional)
  • 4 tbs grass-fed unflavored gelatin powder

Directions

  1. Mix first 4 ingredients in small pan.
  2. Heat until steaming.
  3. Sprinkle gelatin in pan over other ingredients.
  4. Stir throughly, until gelatin is dissolved and all ingredients are combined.
  5. Pour into 9×9 square pan. Cover and chill for a minimum of 4 hours.
  6. Remove from refrigerator and cut into 32 small squares…ENJOY!

Closing thoughts

I hope you give this a try. I have found these gummies are super easy to make. In my experience, once the gelatin sets, the resulting gummies can be a bit bland. My best tip would be to “over flavor” the initial combination of ingredients, so you almost have something that is “too sweet” or “too strong”. So, when the gelatin sets, the result will be a gummies packed with flavor!

Until next time…namaste my friends.

Tamara

Sources

  1. https://blog.paleohacks.com/gelatin-benefits/
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-tart-cherry-juice-benefits
  3. https://www.organicfacts.net/tart-cherry-juice.html
  4. https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/11-health-benefits-tart-cherry-juice/
  5. https://draxe.com/nutrition/gelatin/