Why You Don’t Need Statins

lipitor

You go to the doctor, they draw your blood, and they knowingly make recommendations based on what they find. It’s very easy to measure levels of cholesterol in the blood and because of this, doctors get excited when they see your numbers for LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) above 180. “Take a cholesterol lowering drug!” they proudly say, glad to be of service.

But the truth is that we have put doctors on too high of a pedestal and think that they truly have our best interests in mind as they “guide” us. But it’s just a job, and they are motivated by the institutions and industries that fuel their paychecks. Like it or not, pharmaceutical companies offer kick backs every time doctors get another person to take Lipitor. If you want to place your life in the hands of a stranger, then be prepared to be at the mercy of whatever misinformation has permeated the culture of their practice, but if you take responsibility for your own life, do your own research, and let food be your medicine, you will be able to design, tweak, and implement a way of life that makes YOU feel good and you will have no one to answer to except for yourself.

Here are the reasons why I have recommended that my own dear great-grandma should NOT take statins…and neither should anyone else.

1. Our bodies NEED cholesterol! We need it to help give cells their stiffness and stability, to make sex hormones, to help us assimilate vitamin D, to help with digestion, as an antioxidant, and to make serotonin, the “feel good” chemical in the brain.

2. Data DOES NOT support that lowering cholesterol is good for our health. In Gary Taubes’ book Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health he explains how in 1986, Jeremiah Stamler (who along with Ancel Keys helped to con an entire nation into thinking saturated fat and cholesterol are bad – read more about this in my blog The Truth About Fats) tracked 362,000 middle aged men in the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT). The data shows that for every 1,000 middle aged men who had high cholesterol (between 240-350 mg/dL), eight could be expected to die of heart disease, and for every 1,000 middle aged men who had cholesterol between 210-220 mg/dL, six could be expected to die from heart disease. That is a statistical difference of .2% and that to me doesn’t sound very compelling. Also, for those who lowered their cholesterol to 200 and below, their death rate was no different than that of men with cholesterol between 200 and 250.

5. There is NO data that supports women or anyone over 60 benefiting from lowering their cholesterol. Actually, quite the opposite seems to be true. For women and anyone over 60, having HIGHER levels of cholesterol is actually associated with a LOWER incidence of heart disease.

3. Why do we call LDL-Cholesterol the “bad” cholesterol anyways? The website for the cholesterol lowering drug, Crestor, explains how the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) guidelines recommend that total cholesterol levels should be below 200 and how LDL-Cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL because, “LDL-cholesterol is considered the “bad” cholesterol because if you have too much LDL-cholesterol in your bloodstream, it can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries over time, known as atherosclerosis.” First of all, there is no such thing as “bad” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is REPAIRING damaged arterial walls. In her book, Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon explains how blaming cholesterol for it’s correlation with clogged arteries is like blaming the police for their correlation with crime. A high crime area will have an increased number of police officers just like clogged arteries will have an increased level of LDL cholesterol, but the high crime isn’t CAUSED by the police and the clogged arteries are not CAUSED by the cholesterol. To learn more about what causes arterial damage and heart disease read my blog: The Real Cause of Heart Disease.

4. If you are a woman and if you are over the age of 70, you shouldn’t be taking statins period. Why? Because for these people, having a HIGHER level of cholesterol is actually associated with a LOWER risk of heart disease.

5. The side effects for taking statins far outweigh any perceived benefit. In every study with rodents to date, statins have caused cancer. In the CARE trial, breast cancer rates of those taking a statin rose by 1,500%. This is because statins depress the immune system leaving you susceptible to cancer and infectious disease.

If you want to learn more, check out the following links.

  • Click here to see what the Weston Price Foundation has to say about the myths and truths about cholesterol.
  • Click here to learn what the Weston Price Foundation has to say about the dangers of statin drugs.
  • Click here to see a great two minute video about why cholesterol is good for you from the documentary Fathead.

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Base My Health Philosophy on Weston A. Price

weston priceEvery time I have looked on the Internet for a resource to answer a question about health, nutrition, or diet, I seem to find a thousand different answers. These days, a google search seems to bring up more message boards with “the most popular answer” rising to the top as the expert opinion rather than an actual expert opinion. Or worse yet, I’ll stumble across a government funded website that is simply perpetuating misinformation (See my post: The Truth About Fats or read anything by Gary Taubes to learn how the government has deceived us about the most important health topics.) But after learning about the work of Cleveland dentist, Dr. Weston A. Price (1870-1948) and The Weston A. Price Foundation founded by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, I finally have a resource that I can trust.

Why do I trust Weston Price? His research makes sense to me. It’s simple, straightforward, and sums up everything I believe in a nutshell. Dr. Price traveled the world doing field work in the 1920s and 1930s for his 1939 book, Nutritional and Physical Degeneration. His original goal was to record and study the dental health of pre-industrial populations including tribal Africans and Pacific Islanders, Inuit, North and South American Natives, and Australian aborigines. His findings led him to the belief that dental deformities were merely a sign of physical degeneration resulting from what he suspected were nutritional deficiencies. When Dr. Price analyzed the foods used by these people, he found that they provided four times the calcium and other minerals and at least ten times the fat-soluble vitamins from animal foods such as butter, fish, eggs, shellfish, and organ meats. Further research by Dr. Price showed that these primitive people valued not only the nutrition of the pregnant and lactating mother, but the nutrition of both parents preconception along with child spacing so that the mother could regain her full health and nutrition. Their diets were VERY rich in fat soluble vitamins A and D (nutrients ONLY found in animal fats).

weston teethThe people that Dr. Price studied all had beautiful straight teeth that were free from decay, healthy lean bodies, emotional stability, and they were free from the modern illnesses of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. When their diets were “modernized” with sugar, white flour, pasteurized milk and convenience foods filled with extenders and additives, they quickly succumbed to deformed dental arches resulting in crowded, crooked teeth, narrowed face, and a reduced immunity to disease.

napd-seminole1napd-seminole2

Photos Copyright © Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation®, All Rights Reserved, www.ppnf.org
The “primitive” Seminole girl (left) has a wide, handsome face with plenty of room for the dental arches. The “modernized” Seminole girl (right) born to parents who had abandoned their traditional diets, has a narrowed face, crowded teeth, and a reduced immunity to disease.

The Weston A. Price Foundation has literally been my FOUNDATION for everything I am learning about health. Whenever I have a question about something like, “Should women take statins?” or “What should we do about high blood pressure?” I type in my question along with the name “Weston Price” and when I do, I don’t find advice about what drugs to take, I find advice that shows me how food can be our medicine and that makes sense to me!

Taco Meat…Without the Seasoning Packet

As we have entered the deeper stages of our healthy eating conversion, I have always felt guilty about buying the MSG laden packets of taco seasoning, but we just couldn’t live without eating tacos!!! So I tried several different creations before finally creating this amazing recipe. We all love eating it and don’t miss the taco seasoning at all. Best of all, the kids love it! Our son (who can be a picky eater) loves eating a bowl of this meat as a little snack or a whole meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef (Preferably use grass-fed beef. We have also used venison in this recipe and it tastes great!)
  • 1 Medium Onion (or 3 green onions)
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 3 T. Butter (Pastured butter like Kerrygold is the best, organic butter is the next best, and butter without rBST growth hormones is better than plain butter, and plain butter is WAY better than margarine.)
  • 2 t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here, you can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • 2 t. Ground Oregano (I buy mine here or you can buy it here.)
  • 2 t. Ground Basil (I buy mine here or you can buy it here.)
  • 2 t. Garlic Powder (I buy mine here or you can buy it here or here.)
  • 2 t. Onion Powder (I buy mine here or you can buy it here.)
  • 4 t. Bragg Liquid Aminos (Buy it here.)

Directions

  1. Preheat your cast iron skillet. First, let the pan slowly heat up on a low to medium setting and allow the butter to melt and coat the pan. (Read more about curing your cast iron skillet here.)

    Cured Cast Iron Skillet

    Cured Cast Iron Skillet

  2. Sautè the onions and garlic. Chop up the onion, peel the garlic and crush it in a garlic press and add both to the bubbling butter. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the ground beef. Break it apart a little bit at a time as it cooks and flip it as each side is browned.
  4. Time for seasonings! Once it is fully browned, add the garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, Real Salt, and Bragg Liquid Aminos. (I never measure out the seasonings, I just add them. I find it’s best to add way more than you’d think, but you’ll get the hang of what you like with a little taste testing.)
  5. DO NOT DRAIN THE FAT! THE FAT IS VERY GOOD FOR YOU!! (Unless you’re using venison. Draining the fat will help to get rid of the gamy taste.)
  6. Simmer. Turn off the heat and let the meat sit covered and soaking up all of the juices for about 10 minutes.

    Taco Meat

    Taco Meat

  7. Get your toppings ready. While the meat settles, chop up some fresh lettuce and tomatoes, get out the shredded cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, hot sauce, and choose between a taco salad, tacos in a hard shell, a soft shell taco, a taco chips and cheese plate…or my favorite fried flour tortillas! (To make fried flour tortillas, heat up some coconut oil in a pan on medium to high heat, fry the flour tortillas for about 10 seconds on each side, fold in half to cool, and enjoy the most amazing flavor of your life!)
Tacos Ready to Eat

Tacos Ready to Eat

Embracing Motherhood Ground Beef Chili Recipe

Ground Beef Chili Recipe

This is a pretty basic recipe for chili, but hidden under it’s simplicity is a complexity of layers that make it completely amazing. After a cold afternoon of playing outside, there is nothing better than a nice bowl of homemade chili to warm you up.! The great thing about this basic recipe is that by adding whatever extras you have in your fridge, it will be different every time.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef (Finding a local source of grass-fed beef is best, or you can buy it here.)
  • 1 bag of Tomato Puree (You could also use 2 cans of organic whole stewed tomatoes.)
  • 2 Cans of Kidney Beans (If I had the time, I would soak some organic kidney beans on low heat with a glug of apple cider vinegar and a spoonful of freshly ground wheat or rye flour to unlock the phytase that will break down the phytic acid. Find out why here.)
  • *Veggies: Sometimes, a simple chili is best, but sometimes I like adding a bunch of veggies like zucchini, cauliflower, carrots, and celery.)
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here, you can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • 3 T. Butter 
  • 2 t. Ground Oregano 
  • 2 t. Ground Basil
  • 2 t. Garlic Powder
  • 2 t. Onion Powder 
  • 2 t. Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • 2 t. Chili Powder 
  • *1 t. Cayenne Pepper (I just add this to my own personal bowl of chili so that the kids can eat it!)

Directions

  1. Prepare the Pan: I love using my cast iron skillet for this recipe! Let the pan slowly heat up on a low to medium setting and allow the butter to melt and coat the pan.

    cast-iron-skillet

    Cured Cast Iron Skillet

  2. Cook the Onion and Garlic: Chop up the onion, peel the garlic and crush it in a garlic press and add both to the bubbling butter. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the Beef: Once the onion is soft, add the ground beef. Break it apart a little bit at a time as it cooks, and flip it as each side is browned.
  4. Season the Meat: Once the beef is fully browned, add the garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, Real Salt, and Bragg Liquid Aminos. (I never measure out the seasonings. I just sprinkle them on the meat until it’s fairly covered. I always end up adding more than I think I should, and this gives it the best flavor.)
  5. DO NOT DRAIN THE FAT! THE FAT IS VERY GOOD FOR YOU!!!
  6. Simmer: Turn off the heat and let the meat sit covered and soaking up all of the juices while you prepare the rest of the soup. *This is the same recipe as my taco meat!

    Cooked Ground Beef

    Cooked Ground Beef

  7. Add Tomatoes and Beans: In a large pot, add the tomato puree and the drained cans of beans. Slowly heat them up to a low simmer on a low-medium setting (like a 4).
  8. Add the Beef: Add the browned beef and stir. Let it simmer on a low heat for a bit, or just eat it right away if you can’t wait!
  9. *Saute the Veggies: If you want to add more vegetables, don’t just dice them up and throw them in the pot! Saute each batch of veggies with a bit of oil and the same seasonings you added to the meat.

    Seasoned Zucchini and Celery Sauteing

    Seasoned Zucchini and Celery Sauteing

  10. Season to Taste: Add more of the seasonings that you added to the meat. Keep adding and tasting until you get it just right.
  11. Serve: Serve with some tortilla chips and fresh sour cream for a perfect meal.
Homemade Beef Chili

Homemade Beef Chili

In Conclusion

There are many different ways you can make chili. Sometimes, you might just want to empty out what you have in your fridge, and other times you might want something more traditional. I think it’s fun to be able to make the same meal often, but mix it up so that it seems different. So get creative, follow your cravings, and enjoy!

Chili with Black Beans, Zucchinni, Cauliflower, Celery, and Carrots

Chili with Black Beans, Zucchini, Cauliflower, Celery, and Carrots

Embracing Motherhood Sourdough Pizza Crust

Sourdough Pizza Crust Recipe

This sourdough pizza crust recipe is great for getting rid of the phytic acid that is in all grains, but you do need to prepare it about 8 hours ahead of time. If you need something right away, I suggest you check out my quick and easy pizza recipe.

This sourdough pizza crust recipe can be used to make one large pizza, two smaller pizzas, two trays of pizza muffins, or two medium sized calzones.

Ingredients

  • 1 c. Sourdough Starter (Blog Post: Sourdough Starter Recipe)
  • 2 c. Raw Milk (Blog Post: Why We Drink Raw Milk)
  • 4 c. Freshly Ground Flour (I get my wheat berries here, but you can find some similar here too and then I grind them with this.)
  • *2 T. Raw Honey (Optional: It helps to neutralize the sour flavor.)
  • 1 ½ t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here, you can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • 1 t. Baking Soda (or aluminum free baking powder)
  • *Optional: Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Oregano, and Basil

Directions

Part 1: Mix it Up and Let it Sit

  1. Dissolve the sourdough starter into the milk, add the flour, and stir until combined.
  2. Cover with plastic (or a towel) and leave out for 8 hours (or overnight).

Part 2: Make Your Crust (8 Hours Later)

Sourdough Pizza Crust

Sourdough Pizza Crust

  1. Add the honey, salt, baking soda, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, and oregano. Since the dough is pretty stiff at this point, I find it easiest to just knead in the remaining ingredients. To do this, spread a little flour on the counter top, grease up your hands with some coconut oil, and knead until everything is mixed together.
  2. To make a large pizza, preheat the oven to 450˚F, roll out the pizza crust onto a slightly greased pizza pan, cover with a towel and place on top of the preheating oven for an hour to let it rise (this is optional and will make a softer crust), add your toppings and bake for 15-20 minutes. *If you want to be extra fancy, melt some butter, add some fresh herbs and salt, and spread generously over the edges of the crust.
  3. If you want to make some amazing Pizza Muffins instead (which is what I usually do), click here to see the recipe. *I cook my pizza muffins for 10-12 minutes at 350º F.
Embracing Motherhood Quick and Easy Pizza Crust

A Quick and Easy Pizza Crust Recipe

It’s always nice when you can plan ahead and have some healthy sourdough pizza crust ready for your baking needs, but sometimes you just need to make a meal right away without all of the prep work. This pizza crust recipe is basic, simple, quick, and still full of delicious and healthy ingredients. It is enough for one large pizza, 2 small pizzas, or 2 trays of pizza muffins.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 c. Hot Water
  • 1 t. Raw Honey (You can use sugar too. The yeast just needs something to “eat” so it can rise.)
  • 2 T. Coconut Oil (I like to buy my coconut oil in bulk here, but you can buy it here and here on Amazon as well, or you could also use Olive Oil.)
  • 2¼ t. Active Dry Yeast (one package)
  • 2½ c.  Freshly Ground Flour (I get my wheat berries here, but you can find some similar here too and then I grind them with this.)
  • 1 t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here, you can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • 1 t. Aluminum Free Baking Powder or Baking Soda

Directions: 

  1. Water: Get the water as hot as you can and put it in a bowl.
  2. Coconut Oil, Honey, and Yeast: Add the coconut oil first so that it will melt, then add the honey, yeast, mix, cover with a towel, and let sit for 10 minutes. It should be nice and bubbly when you uncover it.

    Water, Honey, Coconut Oil, and Yeast After 10 Minutes

    Water, Honey, Coconut Oil, and Yeast After 10 Minutes

  3. Flour, Salt, and Baking Soda: Stir in the flour, salt, and baking powder or baking soda. (You definitely don’t want to add the salt earlier as it will prevent the yeast from fully activating.) *To give the dough extra flavor, you could also add some garlic powder, onion powder, basil, and oregano at this time.

    homemade pizza crust with all of the ingredients mixed in

    Notice the Consistency When All Ingredients are Mixed Together

  4. Knead: Grease your hands with coconut oil, and knead the dough until all of the ingredients are mixed together. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. If it’s too stiff and crumbly, add some water.

    Pizza Dough Kneaded Into a Ball

    Knead Into a Ball

  5. Flatten: Start to flatten the dough.

    pizza dough start

    Flatten the Dough with Your Hands First

  6. Roll the Dough: Make sure there is a nice coating of flour on the countertop and that your dough isn’t too sticky before you start rolling. Start from the center and roll out until your dough is bigger than your pan.

    rolling out the pizza dough

    Roll the Dough

  7. Put in Pan: Carefully lift up the dough and place it on your baking sheet allowing to hang over the edges.

    pizza dough on the pan

    Place the Dough on the Baking Sheet

  8. Pinch the Edges: Use your fingers to pinch the edges of the dough until it’s nicely formed.

    pizza crust

    Form the Edges

  9. Toppings: Add your sauce, cheese, and toppings. For more info on these steps, check out my blog: How to Make a Homemade Pizza.

    pepperoni

    Add Toppings

  10. Bake: Bake for 15-20 minutes at 450º F (18 minutes usually works for me). Time can vary depending on your oven, number of toppings, etc. When the edges are brown, it’s a good indication it’s done, but if you cut into the middle and it’s still doughy, cook for a few minutes more.

    cooked pizza up close

    Bake and Serve

In Conclusion

Pizza is a family favorite in this household and when it’s made from scratch, it can be a very healthy addition to any diet. If I have time, I prefer using my sourdough pizza crust to make a pizza, but in a pinch, this quick easy recipe works for me. You might also like to check out my recipe for pizza muffins, which are a really big hit with the kids!

Embracing Motherhood Pizza Muffins

How to Make Pizza Muffins

As a busy mom with young eaters who LOVE pizza, I needed a quick, healthy, easy, and convenient way to feed them their favorite food. So after much trial and error, I created these delicious pizza muffins, and they were a BIG hit! The kids love them, and my husband and I love them too! They are so easy to make and they are even good cold which makes them perfect for school lunches.

Pizza Crust

  • Sourdough Pizza Crust: If you can plan ahead by about 8 hours or so, this sourdough pizza crust will taste great and be free from the mineral leaching phytic acid present in all grains.
  • Quick and Easy Pizza Crust: If you’re looking for a quick and easy pizza crust that is made with fresh homemade ingredients, this is the recipe for you.

Pizza Muffins

Ingredients:

  • Coconut Oil (For your hands and greasing the pan. I like to buy my coconut oil in bulk here, but you can buy it here and here on Amazon as well.)
  • 15 oz. Tomato Sauce with Added Herbs (I love using my fresh chopped tomato puree when on hand, but even spaghetti sauce will work, you just might want to add a little oregano and basil.)
  • 32 oz. (8 cups) Mozerella Cheese (Any kind of shredded cheese will work really. You can even make your own Raw Milk Farm Cheese!)
  • Toppings: Pepperoni, Ground Beef, Tomatoes, Green Olives, Onions, Peppers…or whatever else you might like!

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Grease the muffin tins liberally with coconut oil.
  3. Tear the dough into the size of about a tablespoon and plop into each muffin tin.

    Pizza Dough in Cupcake Pans

    Pizza Dough in Cupcake Pans

  4. Grease your hands up with coconut oil and flatten the pieces into the bottom of the pan.
  5. Put about a teaspoon of pizza sauce on top of each muffin.

    Adding the Pizza Sauce and Cheese to My Mini Pizza Muffins

    Adding the Pizza Sauce and Cheese

  6. Cover the sauce with a generous helping of mozerella cheese.
  7. Place pepperoni and any other toppings you wish to add (green olives, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, green pepper, crumbled bacon, sausage, ground hamburger, etc.) on top. *For you big cheese lovers out there, you can top the toppings with even more cheese!
  8. Place into an oven preheated to 350° F and bake for 10-12 minutes. The cheese should just start to brown and bubble on the sides when done.

    Cooked Pizza Muffins

    Cooked Pizza Muffins

  9. Let the muffins cool a bit, and then use a butter knife to “cut” around the edges and remove from the muffin pan. The bottoms should be nicely browned and firm. If they are still soft, bake for a few more minutes.
  10. Once the kids (and I) devour as many as we can, I put the rest in a Ziploc bag and store in the refrigerator. My daughter loves it when I pack these for her school lunch, and my 2 and 4 year old love eating them cold too.

Variations

  • Garlic Butter Muffins: Melt some butter and add salt, oregano, basil, and garlic powder (or better yet, freshly pressed garlic), and spread generously on top of the dough. Then, sprinkle a little cheese on top.
  • Pizza Loaves: I find that my kids like to eat food WAY MORE when they help make it! They love tasting all of the ingredients along the way and helping out with whatever they are comfortable doing.
    Ruby Making Pizza Loaves

    Ruby Making Pizza Loaves

    We have these little mini loaf cooking containers that make for some really cute mini loaves. These loaves took about 15-18 minutes at 350° F to bake.

    Cooked Pizza Loaves

    Cooked Pizza Loaves

  • Mini Pizza Muffins: I recently bought this tray for mini muffins, and I love it! I just made a few batches to send into school with Ruby as her monthly class snack. The are the perfect bite-sized little treat!
Cooked Mini Pizza Muffins

Cooked Mini Pizza Muffins

Tomato Purée

I worked with my mom and grandma one late summer afternoon to learn the fine art of canning tomatoes. It was so awesome to learn such a fine craft, but it was sooooooo much work, and something that I just don’t have the time for these days. Well, one day, my Grandma brought over some puréed tomatoes that had been in her freezer for practically a year. I cautiously used them in a chili and it was amazing!!! The taste was so much fresher than the canned tomatoes and freezing is so much better at preserving the nutrients too. What I like most about this method is being able to do small batches as my tomatoes ripen.

Ingredients/Materials

  • 10-12 Tomatoes
  • Cilantro (Half of a bunch)
  • Parsley (Half of a bunch)
  • Optional: Dill (Half of a bunch)
  • Optional: Fresh Garlic (4 pods)
  • 2 T. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here, you can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • Large Bowl
  • Blender

Directions

  1. Cut up the tomatoes into quarters or eighths (depending on how efficient your blender is).
  2. Smush and crush them into bottom of the blender.
  3. Cover and blend in short pulses. You may need to smush the tomatoes down more in between pulses in order to get the juice flowing and the blender to run more efficiently.
  4. Prepare the herbs by chopping them up coarsely and add them to the middle of a tomato blend cycle.
  5. Add salt to a tomato blend cycle.
  6. Dump all of the blended tomatoes into a big bowl and stir. Give it a taste test to see if you’ve added enough herbs and salt. *You can also add some garlic, but I like the taste of fresh garlic and I’m worried that over time the garlic might take on too powerful of a flavor. 
  7. Other optional ingredients: Onions, peppers, chives…be creative!
  8. Store in gallon size Ziploc freezer bags. I like to fill each bag about ¾ full. When pouring the tomato liquid into the bag, lay it down flat until the purée comes right up to the locking mechanism. This is the best way to get rid of all air bubbles. Find a flat place in your freezer to store it until it freezes in a nice shape. Try to avoid plopping the bag on top of wire racks. If you do, the bag will be more likely to stick in weird places and leak or tear when you retrieve it.
  9. Label the bags with the date you made it and the herbs you added if desired. IMG_3515
  10. To thaw, place in a warm sink bath, then add to whatever you are making!

Notes: As you are preparing your purée, think about what you’ll be using it for. I like to use mine primarily in chili, as pizza sauce, or as spaghetti sauce, so I like it to have a nice Italian flavor. You might also want to store it in some smaller pint or quart size Ziplock bags if you plan on making smaller recipes. I find that one large gallon size Ziploc bag is perfect for one pot of chili, so that’s how I like to store it.

Raw Milk Farm Cheese

We get raw milk every week from a wonderful little Amish farm where we own a cow share, and by the week’s end we sometimes have milk left over. So I started looking for some easy ways to use it up, and I ended up with this great recipe for making a simple farm cheese. The flavor is similar to a mozzarella cheese and the kids love it! I was completely surprised by how easy this was to make.

Ingredients/Materials

  • ½ Gallon of Room Temperature Cream from Raw Milk *You can use an entire gallon of milk if you don’t want to separate the cream and it will work just as well.IMG_3444
  • ¼ c. Apple Cider Vinegar *More or less depending on the curds.
  • 1 t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here, you can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • Cheese Cloth (I used a bird’s eye cloth diaper and it worked great.)
  • Colander
  • Cooking Pan

Directions

  1. Bring the cream to a boil on medium heat stirring very often.IMG_3445
  2. Once it boils, turn the heat down low and slowly add the vinegar until you see the curds start to separate from the whey. *You can continue to add more vinegar until it stops curding.IMG_3447
  3. Strain into a colander lined with the cloth. *You can put a bowl under the colander to save the whey to soak grains or use to boil stock.IMG_3449
  4. Salt to taste and lightly mix.
  5. Pick up the four corners and twist out as much of the whey as you can. (You may want to let it cool a bit.)IMG_3450
  6. Tie up the four corners and let it hang for an hour or two. IMG_3454
  7. Cut and serve!

I modified this recipe from The Nourished Kitchen and WikiHow.

*If this recipe has inspired you to try some more challenging and complex cheese recipes, I recommend checking out Cultures for Health and you will enter into an amazing world of cheese making possibilities.

Sourdough Waffles and Pancakes

These waffles are a BIG hit with my kids! I like to keep one fresh batch in the fridge and one spare batch in the freezer. In either case, I just pull one out, pop it in the toaster, and we’re in business! Then I like to slather it with a generous amount of butter, cut it into bite size pieces, top with some fresh maple syrup (or organic syrup when the budget is tight), and WALLA –breakfast is served! (*Note: Sometimes my kids suddenly turn on me and stop liking what they used to like. When that happens with this, I switch to my Sort of Sourdough Pancake recipe or my Whole Wheat Pancake recipe.)

Ingredients

  • 1 c. Sourdough Starter
  • 2. c. Milk (Raw is best.)
  • 4 c. Flour (Freshly ground for optimal nutrition so that the phytase that will break down phytic acidI get my wheat berries here, but you can find some similar here too.)
  • 2 Eggs (Preferably pastured)
  • 6 T. (¾ stick) Melted Butter (You can add room temperature butter and it should mix alright though.)
  • 2 T. Raw Honey  (You could add ¼ c. brown sugar, or just skip this ingredient – it just helps to counteract the flavor if you’re not used to sour. It’s best to buy local raw honey, but you can buy it here too.)
  • 1 t. Real Salt (I buy my Real Salt in bulk here, you can buy a shaker here, or a refill pouch here.)
  • 1 t. Baking Soda  (or Aluminum Free Baking Powder)
  • 2 T. Cinnamon (Buy some here.)
  • 2 T. Vanilla Extract (This vanilla would be best, but on our budget, I buy this.)
  • 2 T. Coconut Oil (This coconut oil would be best, but on our budget, I buy this.)

IMG_2795Directions

Part 1: The Sponge (Mix and Let Sit Overnight…or for 8 Hours)

  1. Dissolve the sourdough starter into the milk.
  2. Mix in the flour.
  3. Cover and let sit overnight or for 8 hours. (I like to do all of my food prep in the morning, so I make my overnight batter in the morning, then put it in the fridge during the day, and finally put it out on the counter before I go to bed so it’s ready the next morning.)
  4. Note: Now, if you’re like me and you unintentionally leave it out for way more than 8 hours, YOU might still like it, but your picky eaters may not. So watch the time.

Part 2: The Final Batter (The Next Morning…or 8 Hours Later)

IMG_2945

  1. Start preheating your waffle iron.
  2. Add the eggs, butter, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and baking soda to the overnight mixture. (You can mix all of these ingredients in a separate bowl first if you want.)
  3. I like to use beaters to mix everything together, but you could also use a spoon.
  4. Coat the waffle iron with coconut oil. I just bought this waffle iron, and I love it. (I like my waffles square so that I can pop them in the toaster.)IMG_2946
  5. Cook for about 6 minutes (or until the light turns green). You want them as lightly cooked as possible so that you can reheat them later in the toaster, and they won’t be too overdone. IMG_7895
  6. *This also makes great pancake batter, so if you don’t have a waffle iron, just make pancakes instead.
  7. Smother with butter and maple syrup then serve! (Find out why I like to smother everything with butter here.)IMG_7894

*I adapted this recipe from The Fresh Loaf, which is a great source for all bread making.

Why Eat Sourdough? To learn more about why sourdough is the best way to get rid of phytic acid, check out my blog: Phytic Acid: The Anti-Nutrient That’s Slowly Killing You.