Sunday, December 28, 2014

Organic Vanilla

We use vanilla in several of our recipes. Real, organic, nothing-added vanilla is pricey. I started making my own! Gave it as Christmas gifts to our kids! (Gregory and Maria...forgot to ship yours to you, so it is being used here.)

What you need:
 1 large bottle of organic vodka (Found mine at BevMo)
 12 organic vanilla beans (Ordered from iHerb)

What you do:
 Slice vanilla beans length-wise and open
 Pour a bit of vodka from bottle and add the 12 vanilla beans
 Place in pantry for one month, gently shaking bottle every now and then
 Enjoy in all recipes that call for vanilla!

Matcha Latcha

Ali and David live above this great little place in downtown Santa Barbara, Boochies. They make a great spiced Matcha tea latte there! We came up with our own matcha tea latte, and Ali and David call it Matcha Latcha. We have been drinking Matcha Latchas for our breakfast. The healthy fats are very satisfying and keep us going until lunch (or that's our story and we're sticking to it)!

What you need:
 1 Tbs. butter (hopefully cultured, from grass fed cows)
 2-3 Tbs. good quality coconut oil
 Splash of organic vanilla
 Sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
 Pinch of sea salt
 1 large pitted date
 1 tsp. organic Matcha tea

What you do:
 Combine all ingredients in large mug
 Add boiling water to almost top of mug
 Place in Vita-Mix and blend on high for about 20 seconds
 Pour back into mug

Our Healthy Christmas Dinner

Friends ask us if we miss "traditional" Christmas dishes at our Christmas dinner. My answer is NO! This dinner was satisfying, healthy and delicious! The menu included a pear/pomegranate/avocado/arugula salad, slow cooked brisket, garlic/cauliflower mash, bacon/Brussels sprouts and roasted acorn squash.

For the Crock Pot brisket (recipe from Martha Stewart):
What you need:
 1 large onion, thinly sliced
 2-4 garlic cloves, smashed
 3-4 lbs. beef brisket
 Sea salt and pepper
 1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken broth

What you do:
 Place onion and garlic in Crock Pot
 Season brisket with salt and pepper and place in Crock Pot
 Add broth
 Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours
 Remove brisket and slice against grain
 Serve with garlic cauliflower mash, the sliced onions and some of the liquid

For the bacon/Brussels sprouts (recipe from Nom Nom Paleo):
What you need:
 1 1/2 lbs. Brussels sprouts
 2-3 Tbs. melted ghee
 Sea salt and pepper
 4 slices bacon, diced
 Aged balsamic vinegar

What you do:
 Preheat oven to 400º
 Rinse, remove outer leaves and slice the Brussels sprouts in half
 Toss Brussels sprouts in melted ghee, salt and pepper
 Place on parchment lined baking sheet, single layer
 Sprinkle with diced bacon
 Place in oven
 Toss every 10 to 15 minutes, until done at 30 to 35 minutes
 Drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Garlic Caulifower Mash

This is a great alternative to mashed potatoes.

What you need:
 1 head of organic cauliflower
 4-8 garlic cloves, peeled
 1/2 cup bone broth or water
 Sea salt
 LOTS of butter

What you do:
 Clean and break apart cauliflower
 Place in pot with garlic and broth
 Cover and cook on medium/low heat until fork easily goes through cauliflower
 Place in Vita-Mix, reserving some of the liquid
 Add LOTS of butter (preferably organic, cultured butter from grass fed cows)
 Add salt and pepper
 Blend to desired consistency, adding some of the reserved liquid if needed

Friday, December 19, 2014

Cassi's Yummy Dressing

Yes, that is what we have always called this salad dressing since December, 2014! ;-) My sister, Lori, gave us this recipe many years ago. She just informed me that it was my niece, Cassi, who came up with this recipe. Thank you, sweet Cassi! Really, it makes any salad taste delicious!

What you need:
 1 egg yolk (hopefully from a pastured chicken)
 2 tsp. sea salt
 1/2 tsp. pepper
 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
 3 to 5 drops Stevia
 2 garlic cloves
 1/2 apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
 3/4 cup olive oil (NOT extra virgin)

What you do:
 Place all ingredients except the extra virgin and regular olive oil in Vita-Mix
 SLOWLY add the oil

Saturday, November 22, 2014


What you need:
 Gallon glass jars (each gallon jar can hold enough to make 5 ½ 16 oz. bottles every 14 days): Crate and Barrel, Target, Walmart
 Large stock pot (to brew tea)
 Thin dish towels to cover each gallon jar
 Quart sized Mason jars with lids (I use plastic lids): Target, Walmart
 Organic black tea: iHerb
 Organic sugar: Trader Joe’s
 SCOBY: a dear friend  ;-)
 Organic frozen fruit: Trader Joe’s
 Bottles for the final Kombucha (I have saved the 16 oz. store bought Kombucha bottles)

What you do:
 Bring 3 quarts of filtered water to a boil
 Dissolve ¾ cup sugar in water
 Add 6 tea bags
 Let sweet tea come to room temperature
 Remove tea bags and pour tea into gallon glass jar
 Add SCOBY and about 1/2 to 1 cup previously made Kombucha
 Cover with dish towel and secure with rubber band
 Place jar in dark place (Mine goes in my pantry)
 Test for desired sweetness/vinegary-ness after 5 days (Mine is usually ready in 5 to 9 days in warm months and 11 days during cooler weather)
 With very clean hands, remove baby SCOBY and mother SCOBY, and place in small glass jar with 1/2 to 1 cup just-brewed Kombucha, then put lid on (One SCOBY and half the liquid will be used in next batch, one SCOBY and other half of liquid can be given away)
 Pour Kombucha in 3 quart sized Mason jars (for secondary fermentation)
 Add a layer of frozen raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, pineapple, fresh passion fruit, watermelon, a chunk of banana (experiment to see what you like), and screw on lid
 Let sit for another 3 days
 Use strainer and funnel to pour the finished Kombucha into jars
 Store in refrigerator (or Kombucha will continue to ferment)

Informative Blog Post on Kombucha:

 As there is controversy as to the safety and health benefits of consuming Kombucha, please do your own research before brewing and drinking.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Salad Dressing

For years I always bought salad dressing. But, now that I have learned about the dangers of many modern oils (canola, corn, etc.) and other unhealthy additives used in store bought dressings, I make my own! Easy, healthy, delicious! Our dear cooking instructor, Monica Corrado from Simply Being Well, taught us this recipe. By the way, Monica has an amazing little cookbook that I think everyone should own!

What you need:
 A mason jar
 Vinegar or lemon juice
 Extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil or avocado oil
 Sea salt
 Honey (if desired)

What you do:
 Put a small forkful of mustard in mason jar
 Add the vinegar or lemon juice and olive oil (and honey if desired)
 Shake until well blended
 Add salt and pepper to taste
 Enjoy on your favorite salad!


We served this chili at Ali and David's wedding party dinner. I tried a variation with red, yellow and orange peppers. We liked it, but thought anyone who does not like peppers would not. So, then I tried it with lots of diced zucchini. The zucchini got a bit too mushy. So, my third attempt was this recipe. My family liked it, and I hope everyone else did!

What you need:
 1/2 lb. bacon, cut into small pieces
 2 lbs. ground beef
 1 lb. spicy sausage, chopping into small pieces
 1 large onion, diced
 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
 6-8 large carrots, diced
 1 lb. mushrooms, chopped
 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
 1 28 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
 1 7 oz. jar tomato paste
 2 Tb. basil
 2 Tb. chili powder
 1 Tb. thyme
 2 tsp. cumin
 2 tsp. smoked paprika
 1/8 cup raw cacao powder
 1 Tb. salt
 1 cup bone broth
 Crushed red pepper flakes if desired

What you do:
 Heat large, deep pan
 Add bacon and onion
 Cook until onion is soft
 Add ground beef and sausage
 Cook until almost browned
 Add garlic and finish cooking
 Transfer to crock pot
 Add all other ingredients
 Cook on low for 6 hours.
 Serve with grated cheddar cheese, sour cream and avocado chunks.

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork

This recipe is from Nom Nom Paleo. Very few ingredients, easy to prepare and delicious! We serve this tasty meat over sauteed cabbage noodles and then use the left overs for tacos or quesadillas! 

What you need:
 5 pound pork butt roast (If my store doesn't have that, I just ask the butcher what cut of meat would work  for pulled pork.)
 4-5 sliced bacon
 3 1/2 to 4 teaspoons Real Salt or Celtic Sea Salt (3/4 tsp. per pound of meat)
 Garlic powder

What you do:
 Place the bacon strips on the bottom of your slow cooker
 Salt the pork on all sides
 Sprinkle garlic powder on all sides and place on top of bacon
 Cook in slow cooker on low for up to 24 hours
 Remove meat from slow cooker, pull apart with two forks and add liquid from slow cooker to desired  consistency
 Serve over cabbage noodles with a BIG dollop of sour cream

Cabbage noodles:
 Cut large head of cabbage into quarters
 Cut out core
 Slice each quarter into thin, noodle-like pieces
 Saute in LOTS of butter
 Add salt, pepper, garlic powder
 Enjoy alone or in place of grain-based noodles!

Parmesan Crisps

These tasty crisps are a great alternative to chips for those of us who do not eat grains!

What you need:
 Grated Parmesan cheese

What you do:
 Preheat oven to 350º
 Line cookie sheet with parchment paper
 Drop small mounds of Parmesan cheese on cookie sheet
 Cook for about seven minutes
 Let cool
 Dip into guacamole or salsa!

Simple Guacamole

Over the years, I've tried many guacamole recipes. Ali shared this simple, delicious recipe with me. Love it!

What you need:
 2 to 4 ripe avocados, pit removed and peeled
 Juice of one lemon or lime
 Garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste

What you do:
 Put all ingredients in a bowl
 Mash together and adjust salt and pepper

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Energy Bars

My daughter, Ali, is the master at creating tasty, nutritious energy balls. She won't give away her recipe (because she doesn't have one), so I experimented to come up with my own!

What you need:
1 cup coconut oil
2 cups properly prepared nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts)
6-8 pitted dates
1 cup sprouted sunflower seeds
1 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup chia seed
1 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup cacao nibs
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
Maple syrup or raw honey to taste (very little, about 1-2 Tbs.)
Celtic sea salt to taste

What you do:
Melt coconut oil (I melt it in a glass Pyrex measuring cup, placed in a pan with about an inch of water so the oil does not get hot)
Place melted coconut oil, nuts and dates in Vita-Mix and blend
Pour this mixture into large bowl
Add the remaining ingredients and mix together with large spoon
Adjust syrup and salt to taste (not too sweet)
Spread mixture out on parchment lined baking sheet
Put this in the refrigerator until set
Slice into desired bar size

Properly prepared nuts: the WHYS and HOWS

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Seedy Crackers

I have been on the hunt for a healthy cracker for some time. The rice crackers from TJs contain soy. (And since it is not organic soy, it is probably genetically modified.) Annie's Crackers are made from organic rice, but the rice is not properly prepared. I found an organic sprouted seed cracker at Jimbo's that I like, only too expensive and the crackers are very thick. My thoughts on crackers....They are just transportation to my mouth of some delicious fat, such as grass-fed butter or raw cheese! After several attempts, I found and adjusted a very simple recipe I like from Angela at Oh She Glows.

What you need:

1/2 cup chia seeds
3/4 to 1 cup filtered water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup sprouted sunflower seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/8 small onion, grated on a zester
3-4 garlic cloves, grated on a zester

What you do:

Place the chia seeds, 3/4 cup water and salt in medium glass bowl
Cover and let soak overnight or for at least 8 hours
Preheat oven to 350º
Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl of soaked chia seeds.  Mix well. If the mixture seems too dry, add water to get a moist, but not too wet, consistency
Spread mixture out on parchment lined baking sheet, spreading with spatula to a consistent 1/4 inch
Bake for 30 minutes
Flip over to another parment lined baking sheet
Using large knife, cut into bite size pieces
Bake for another 20 minutes and check for doneness (Should be slightly browned)
Cook longer if needed
Separate and enjoy!

These crackers are delicious right out of the oven, topped with grass-fed butter!

Friday, March 28, 2014


This recipe for healthy, nutrient dense chocolate is an adaptation of a recipe from Lindsey at We store ours in the freezer, but it doesn't last too long there.

What you need:
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup ghee (you can use all coconut oil or all ghee)
1 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup raw honey or maple syrup
1 cup peanut butter or 1 cup organic sprouted pumpkin seeds
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt (if using unsalted peanut butter)

What you do:
Place coconut oil in glass bowl (I use a 2 cup measuring cup)
Place in pan filled with an inch of water
Over medium heat, melt coconut oil
When melted, remove from heat, add ghee and let come to room temperature
Place oil and ghee in VitaMix
Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth
Pour out on parchment lined cookie sheet
Place in freezer until solid
Break into pieces

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Spicy Ground Beef

This recipe is similar to the spicy chicken, except it is cooked on the stove top and not the slow cooker. We use to put it over rice, but now we just eat it topped with cheese, salsa, sour cream, guacamole. Yum!

What you need:
 2 pounds 100% grass fed beef
 1 large onion, diced
 4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
 2 Tbs chili powder
 1 Tbs ground cumin
 1 Tbs dried red pepper flakes (I use more)
 1 tsp dried oregano
 1 Tbs sea salt
 1/2 tsp black pepper
 1/2 cup bone broth

What you do:
 Heat ghee in skillet
 Add onions and beef
 Cook, breaking up the beef
 When almost cooked through, add garlic
 Cook until meat is browned
 Add spices and broth
 Cook on low for another few minutes
 Scoop out into bowls, top with shredded cheddar cheese, homemade salsa, guacamole and sour cream

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Blueberry Almond Bread

This recipe is an adaptation of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's grain free bread recipe found in her book, Put Your Heart in Your Mouth. Ali came up with the idea of cooking our bread without raw honey in it, as heat destroys some of the nutrients. We add the honey and cultured butter after the bread is baked!

What you need:
 3 eggs
 2 1/2 cups almond meal
 1 tsp. sea salt
 1 tsp. baking soda
 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
 1/2 cup apple sauce
 zest of 1 lemon
 juice of 1 lemon
 1 tsp. vanilla
 4 oz. blueberries

 Mixing bowl
 9" X 5" glass loaf pan

What you do:
 Preheat oven to 300º
 Melt small amount of butter, ghee or coconut oil in loaf pan
 Beat eggs
 Mix in almond meal, salt and baking soda
 Mix in melted coconut oil
 Mix in apple sauce, lemon zest and juice, vanilla
 Mix in blueberries
 Bake for 50 minutes and check for doneness. May be quite jiggly in middle, but will firm up
 Serve with lots of butter and raw honey or homemade cream cheese/honey spread (recipe coming   soon)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Fresh Salsa

Our family goes through a lot of salsa! I use to buy an organic fresh salsa, but often it didn't taste very fresh, and it was quite pricey. So, now I just whip up a batch in my VitaMix in minutes! My precious future daughter-in-law, Maria, requested this recipe. So, my dear Maria, this one's for you...

What you need:
 A bunch of cilantro
 Several cloves of garlic
 2 serrano chili peppers
 1/4 onion
 1 tsp. salt
 juice of one lemon or lime
 2 28oz. cans diced tomatoes

 Vitamix or food processor

What you do:
 Rinse cilantro and remove thick stems (thinner stems are okay)
 Place all ingredients in VitaMix, with the tomatoes last
 Pulse several times to desired consistency

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Seafood Stew

This stew was developed because of some cod that had been in my freezer a little too long. It is best with all the toppings!

What you need:
 2-4 Tbs. ghee
 1 onion, chopped
 4 carrots, diced
 1 red pepper, diced
 3-6 cloves garlic, minced
 1 tsp. dried oregano
 1 tsp. dried basil
 1-2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
 1/2 cup white wine
 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
 2 cups homemade broth
 1/2 package frozen corn (only if organic, non GMO*)
 1 tsp. sea salt
 1-1 1/2 pounds wild cod, defrosted and cut in 1 inch pieces
 1 12 ounce package Langostino Tails, defrosted and rinsed

Additional ingredients:
 Grated Parmesan cheese, sour cream, cilantro, capers

 Large stock pot

What to do:
 Heat ghee in large skill or stock pot
 Add onion, carrots, red pepper and sauté for approximately 5 minutes
 Add garlic and sauté a few minutes more
 Add oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, white wine and cook one minute more
 Add tomatoes, broth, corn, salt and begin to simmer
 Add cod and continue cooking about 4 more minutes
 Top with grated Parmesan cheese, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro and capers

*The health risks of consuming genetically modified organisms:
GMO Dangers, Institute for Responsible Technology website

Spicy Shredded Chicken

We have been serving this dish in our home for years. Everything goes in the slow cooker in the morning, and it's ready by dinnertime! It is simple, satisfying and delicious!

What you need:
 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
 2 Tbs. chili powder (more or less depending on how hot you like it)
 1 Tbs. ground cumin
 1 Tbs. dried hot pepper flakes (more or less according to taste)
 1 tsp. dried oregano
 1/2 Tbs. sea salt
 1/2 tsp. black pepper
 1 to 2 cups homemade bone broth

Additional ingredients:
 Shredded raw sharp cheddar cheese
 Diced avocados
 Sour cream
 Homemade salsa (recipe to come)

 Slow cooker

What you do:
 Place chicken in slow cooker
 Add all spices
 Add enough broth to almost cover chicken
 Cook on slow for 6 to 8 hours
 Shred with two forks
 Scoop into bowls and top with grated cheese, salsa, avocado and/or sour cream

Peanut Butter Pancakes

I created this pancake recipe with my nephew, Brad, in mind. He is trying to stop eating gluten, and he needs to eat a lot of healthy proteins and fats because he is very active.

What you need:
 6 eggs
 1/2 cup coconut flour
 1/2 cup applesauce
 1/4 cup peanut butter
 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
 1/4 tsp. sea salt
 1/2 tsp. baking soda
 1 tsp. vanilla
 Maple Syrup

 Frying pan or pancake griddle

What you do:
 Blend first eight ingredients in Vita-Mix
 Heat butter on frying pan
 Add batter (smaller pancakes are much easier to turn)
 Flip when browned on one side
 Enjoy topped with butter and maple syrup!
 Makes about 16 pancakes

Benefits of consuming healthy fats:
Taking the Fear out of Eating Fats, by Lori Lipinski, Certified Nutritional Consultant
The Truth About Saturated Fats, by Mary Enig, PhD and Sally Fallon
What if Bad Fat is Actually Good for You?, by Nina Teicholz
Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Why I Eat Plenty of Butter, by Stephanie Langford

ps-Brad tested and approved!