“Good nutrition will prevent 95% of all disease”
Last summer I was introduced to Backyard Homesteading and Sustainable Living; I became aware of the danger of buying food from grocery stores that aren’t organic, and the convenience of growing my own organic food. There are many different ways to provide for yourself, if you have land to garden great, and if you don’t have land, its ok, there are pots, crates and all sort of ways to make it work….just look on Pinterest!
I care about what I put into my body, so this past spring my dad, sister and I build gardening boxes for my our backyard, as well as a herb ladder. We planted zucchini, summer squash, carrots, snap peas, spinach, kale, kohlrabi, tomatoes, jalapeños, onions, chives, garlic, dill, thyme and a few other herbs and spices. I have loved being able to walk out and just pick my greens for my dinner, and slice up fresh tomatoes. Aside from eating fresh from the garden, I have begun to start canning and preserving the garden goods. I have pickled carrots, pickling cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and beets using lacto fermentation. (Recipe at the bottom)
What is Fermentation?
Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lacto fermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. The process of lacto fermentation preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.
Benefits of Fermented Foods
Natural fermentation of foods has also been shown to preserve nutrients in food and break the food down to a more digestible form. This, along with the probiotics created during the fermentation process, may explain the link between consumption of fermented foods and improved digestion.
Not only do fermented foods taste great, there are also several immense benefits of eating and many reasons to start making these foods!
Probiotics– Eating fermented foods and drinking fermented drinks like Kefir and Kombucha will introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system and help the balance of bacteria in your digestive system. Probiotics have also been shown to help slow or reverse some diseases, improve bowel health, aid digestion, and improve immunity.
Better Food Absorption– Having the proper balance of gut bacteria and enough digestive enzymes helps you absorb more of the nutrients in the foods you eat. Pair this with your healthy real food diet, and you will absorb many more nutrients from the foods you eat. You won’t need as many supplements and vitamins!
Budget Friendly– Incorporating healthy foods into your diet can get expensive, but not so with fermented foods. Ingredients to ferment foods are inexpensive and in the end saves you a lot of money from buying the same foods from a store. Drinks like Water Kefir and Kombucha can be made at home also and cost only pennies per serving. Adding these things to your diet can also cut down on the number of supplements you need, helping the budget further.
Easy Way to Preserve Foods– Homemade salsa only lasts a few days in the fridge- Fermented homemade salsa lasts months! The same goes for sauerkraut, pickles, beets and other garden foods. Lacto-fermentation allows you to store these foods for longer periods of time without losing the nutrients like you would with traditional canning.
For all of my foods that I processed (tomatoes, carrots, beets and cucumbers) I used this simple recipe:
8 cups water
1/4 cup Kosher Salt
(I quadrupled this…so basically for every 8 cups of water there needs to be 1/4 cup salt)
- Bring water and salt to roaring boil, stirring occasionally.
- When the boil has been met, remove from heat and let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, clean your jars (if needed) and begin to prep your vegetables.
- Place desired spices and herbs in each jar: dill, garlic cloves, peppercorn, mustard seeds.** for pickles I place two large heads of fresh dill in the bottom and two garlic cloves and a teaspoon of peppercorn. Once cucumbers have been placed in, I add two more heads of dill (mustard seeds sometimes)**
- I like variety in shape so I make a few jars of spears for pickles and carrots, and a couple jars with circular slices. The beats and carrots were cut into quarters.
- Place all vegetables in desired jars and once water mix is cool, ladle in to each jar. Ensure that the mix covers all of the vegetables, nothing should be poking out.
- Screw lids on, do not tighten all the way!
- Jars should sit out for 2 days and then can be placed in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. After this they are ready to eat and can stay in the refrigerator for up to 3 months
The perfect meal for a lazy afternoon of football games. Go Seahawks!
2 servings prepared quinoa + 1 pound organic bison + 1 16oz tomato paste + 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder + 1 minced garlic glove + 1/2 avocado sliced + diced cherry tomatoes as desired + feta or goat cheese to sprinkle on top
1. Place quinoa and water in medium pot, bring to boil for 15 minutes the let sit for 5.
2. Once you get the quinoa going add meat to a medium skillet and cook all the way through on medium-high heat, add sauce and let simmer until quinoa is done. Cut up avocado and tomatoes while both are cooking.
3. Place quinoa in a bowl, spoon the meat sauce overtop, place avocado slices and tomatoes halves as desired and sprinkle cheese!
4. BAM! A nice big bowl of hearty goodness!
Post workout “ice cream”
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 scoop isolate vanilla protein
1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk
Handful frozen berries
Mash frozen banana, add milk and powder then throw in berries! Easy!
It’s that time of the year! Pumpkin Spice Galore!! Today for dinner and post workout meal I decided to have breakfast, my favorite!
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
In a bowl I mixed together:
3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats + 1 scoop vanilla whey isolate protein powder + 3-4 tablespoons of pumpkin puree + 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice + 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg + 1/3 cup almond milk
Mix all together, heat up in the microwave for 1:30 minutes. Enjoyyyyy!!!!!!!
I call this Maple and Brown Sugar oatmeal baked in a Washington Honeycrisp apple! So delicious on a crisp fall morning! I cut out the core of the apple using a knife. In a small bowl I mixed about 4 tablespoons of gluten free oats with 1 tablespoon brown sugar and pure dark maple syrup, and 2-3 tablespoons of water. I then placed the oat mix into the hollowed out apple, sprinkled the top with cinnamon, and baked it at 350 for 20 minutes. Deeeelish!
We all have our go-to hiking foods, such as trail mix, granola, beef jerky…the list goes on of easy, fast, and tasty snacks. For me my favorite backpacking snack items were LÄRABARs. These gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free nut and fruit bars are simply amazing, and come in various, mouth watering flavors. BUT, being a packaged food, they can sometimes be too dry and lose their flavor. During the last two years of high school and all through college I didn’t worry about the dryness or lack of flavor. I thought they were the best bars on the market, and they still are one of the better clean and natural bars to buy at a supermarket.
After many times looking at the ingredients I thought for sure that it would be simple to make these bars on my own. Sure enough, after typing “how to make homemade larabars” into Google, I started making my own verions of the bars. NEVER GONE BACK SINCE (…except for the Coconut Cream, my boyfiend buys those so I have one on special occasions). And so for 2 years now, I have been creating my own versions! It is fun to mix certain spices and fruits and have different flavors pop! I find it very rewarding after a trek to gobble down one of my bars; hard work in the kitchen for hard work on the trails!
From my most recent hike (the picture is on my home page/Gothic) I made mint chocolate bars, which I call the “Andes Bars” because they remind me of an Andes mint from restaurants. For these I kind of threw all the ingredients together, so I will give measurments as best as possible!
Servings: 6-8 bars
Ingredients: 1/3 cup raw almonds, 1/3 cup raw walnuts, 1 cup mejool dates, 1 1/2 cups pitted prunes, 1/2 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder), 3 tbsp dark chocolate chips, 1/2 -1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder (if desired), 1/4 tsp mint or peppermint extract, 1 tsp sea salt
Directions: Place almonds and walnuts into food processor. Grind nuts, and add 1/8 teaspoon of peppermint extract, and a dash of salt.
Add 1/2 cup of cacao powder gradually scraping the sides of blender to be sure mixing completely
Remove cacao/nut mixture from blender.
Add dates and prunes with a splash of almond milk (I poured in maybe 1/4 cup)Blend dried fruit and add another 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract. Add about 1/4 of first mixture, blend, repeat until entire mixture is together (should be sticky enough to stay together just by pressing together if not add dates 1 at a time until consistency is thick) Add chocolate chips and pulse a few times to mix them in. Press out onto parchment paper in an 8×8 baking pan! Place in freezer for about 1 hour or until you are ready to pack them for a trip.Cut into 16 squares and enjoy!
(Can be stored in the freezer in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks)
Guys, this is Alice, our adorable little mini mixture of joy…if you can tell, she is licking her lips and looking up at me holding a plate of freshly made spinach vanilla protein pancakes. Yes, spinach pancakes! Trust me, you can’t even taste the spinach!
Vanilla Spinach Protein Pancakes
1 huge handful of spinach+1/2 cup gluten free oats+1 scoop vanilla whey+1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk+1 egg white+1 tbsp cinnamon+1/2 tsp nutmeg
Blend all ingredients together and then cook about 30 seconds each side over medium heat. For toppings i heated up frozen berries and poured a tad bit of maple syrup over top! Perfect for a post workout meal!