Sunday, March 12, 2017

Old Fashioned Strawberry Shortcakes



2 cups flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 hard-boiled egg yolks, mashed
2 tablespoons melted butter
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY
3 pints strawberries, washed, hulled and halved or quartered (depending on size)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup whipping cream
SHORTCAKE
Sift flour, 1/4 cup sugar and baking powder into bowl. Add chilled butter pieces. Using your fingertips, work butter quickly and lightly into flour until mixture is consistency of very fine crumbs of sand. Add cream and egg yolks and stir with fork until dough just comes together.
Turn dough out onto floured work surface and knead briefly, just until smooth dough forms. Do not overwork. Pat or roll out dough to 3/4-inch thickness. Using floured 2 1/2- or 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out 4 rounds of dough. Gather up dough scraps, reroll and cut out 2 more rounds.
Put rounds on lightly buttered baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake on middle rack of oven at 375 degrees until biscuits are golden brown and firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes.
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY
Toss strawberries and sugar together in bowl. Whip cream several minutes until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate. Transfer biscuits to cooling rack and cool 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully split biscuits in half and set tops aside. Place bottom halves on dessert plates and heap strawberries onto them. Generously spoon whipped cream over strawberries and replace biscuit tops. Serve immediately with any remaining whipped cream on side.
Makes 6 servings. Each serving contains about: 642 calories; 421 mg sodium; 208 mg cholesterol; 44 grams fat; 57 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 0.96 gram fiber.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Fire Cider!!! Fight That Cold or Flu With This Fermented Tonic

After reading an interview with Rosemary Gladstar about her Fire Cider and its benefits to the circulatory and immune systems, I decided to try my hand at making my own cold and flu fighting remedy.  Traditionally, Fire Cider is a vinegar infused with spicy herbs, fruits, and vegetables.
Rosemary Gladstar first concocted Fire Cider at the California School of Herbal Studies in the early 1980's.  She used it as a way to introduce her students to part food/part medicine recipes they could use in their daily lives.  

As Rosemary herself put it, "the whole idea was to transform America ~ and our health care system ~ one kitchen at a time, through herbalism!"


With a base of apple cider vinegar which alone is one of the most useful remedies on earth, this cider is known for its ability to help fight off cold and flu symptoms during those cold months each year.  
 

The great thing about fire cider is that with the exception of a few key ingredients, you can change what goes into your tonic based on what you have readily available year to year.

Typically, fire cider includes a base of apple cider vinegar, horseradish root, fresh ginger, onion, garlic, and peppers.  I decided to use the following recipe:
  • ~1 cup horseradish
  • 1/2 cup ginger
  • 1/2 cup turmeric
  • 2-3 tsp black pepper seed
  • 2 oranges quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper
  • Enough raw apple cider vinegar to cover



After combining your ingredients, your simply give it a good swirl and cap the jar.  Let the fire cider sit in this jar for about a month make sure to give the jar a good swirl each day.


Once a month has passed there are TONS of different ways for your to enjoy your fire cider vinegar and battle those cold month illnesses. One common practice is to take a couple of tablespoons daily throughout the colder months as a preventative measure, or even more often if you feel symptoms sneaking up on you.  

Other people use it in a tea, or mix it into other drinks/recipes.  A few common practices include using fire cider as salad dressing, on cooked veggies/rice, or even in a shot glass as a healthy shot to start the day :)

               
I have been enjoying this batch of fire cider for a few weeks now and LOVE the way it tastes.  I have been adding a tiny amount of honey to a 1 oz shot each morning, and have been feeling great!  I have my second batch going now with the addition of elderberries which are known for their beneficial activity for an extra immune boosting/heart healthy ingredient!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Using a pressure cooker for butter/oil extracts


I am pretty serious cooking enthusiast.  The inspiration for this recipe is from Modernist Cuisine, specifically this recipe for Garlic Confit. Here's a snapshot of that recipe.




After making this recipe which is amazing and also fairly simple, I thought the recipe could be adapted by substituting fresh weed or ABV for the garlic and clarified butter or coconut oil for the olive oil. You put both in a mason jar and put the mason jar in the pressure cooker. If you are going to make this, its worth checking out the Modernist Cuisine recipe page as well as this video which both show the recipe plus important basics on how pressure cookers work and pressure cooker safety.

Why a pressure cooker? The chart below from Modernist Cuisine shows that you can control the temperature you are cooking at by controlling the pressure inside the cooker. It allows you to use water / steam above the usual 212F.



By cooking inside a mason jar at 1 atm, I can cook the butter/oil at a constant ~250F. At this temperature for the right amount of time, I should not need an additional decarboxylation step. Also because the jar is sealed none of the lower-boiling terpenes, etc can escape into the air, as they can when you decarb in an oven.

So anyway, today I made a batch using ABV and clarified butter. Here are the steps:

1) Here is what I started with. 25g of ABV, a mason jar, my pressure cooker, and some soy lecithin. Sometimes I will grind up the ABV in a coffee/spice grinder but didnt feel like it today.
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2) Then I made some clarified butter.

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3) I added the ABV to one mason jar, covered it with (slightly cooled) clarified butter, and added a few drops of lecithin. Since I knew I was going to post, I weighed everything. It ended up being 215g of clarifed butter and 8g lecithin. Often if I have butter or coconut oil premade I will add it in solid form.

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4) Then I put the lid on (leaving it a little loose to let pressure buildup escape ... see Modernist Cuisine article for details), put the jar in the pressure cooker, added water halfway up the jar, then closed the lid.

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5) Got the PC up to pressure at 1 bar / 15 psi. Set a timer for 45 min at this pressure / temp combination. I'd be interested in others' thoughts on time / temp. My logic was to follow the decarb charts from 1990 that everyone seems to refer to, recognizing that it would take extra time to heat up everything inside the jar to temperature.

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6) After 45 min was up, I used the quick release (faucet) method to cool things down quickly. I then opened the lid and took the jar out with a potholder. After letting it cool a little more I opened it up:

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7) Then I strained everything into a silicone bowl and put the butter in the freezer to cool. I use a 100 micron "superbag" to get a fine strain. I suspect those of you that own bubble bags could use one of the finer mesh bags to do the same thing. Or just use a fine strainer. Or dont filter at all for that matter. I squeeze the bag a little to get as much liquid out as I can, but I know I am leaving quite a bit of potency in the bag. Licking your fingers at this point is recommended, but be careful since the butter is very concentrated and its easy to get very toasted very quickly.

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8) After a few hours I take it out of the freezer and snap out the "puck" of ABV-butter.

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I then vacuum seal mine, weigh it, and put it in the freezer until I am ready to cook with it. Today's puck was 134g, which is a little more than a stick.

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This ends up being a pretty concentrated butter that I then use for caramels. My goal is to get something handheld, stealthy, and shelf-stable that has a full effect with one decent sized caramel.

Here's what I think are the advantages / disadvantages of this method:

Advantages:

1) No need to decarb separately.
2) Good temp control of process at ideal temp for decarb / extraction
3) Less cooking time than stovetop due to higher pressure extraction
4) Sealed jar minimizes leakage of volatile compounds normally lost during decarb / extraction
5) A pressure cooker can cost about the same as say, a magic butter machine, but its a multi-tasker in that you can cook lots of great regular food in it. I do risotto, refried beans, stews, chili, etc. In this regard a pressure cooker is much more stealthy in the kitchen than a dedicated machine for cannabutter.

Disadvantages:

1) Pressure cooking can be dangerous if you dont know what you are doing. Not that its unsafe or unmanageable, but anyone doing this should read up on how to use it and not leave it cooking completely unattended. Watch the MC video as a starting point.

2) If you dont like to cook or dont want to deal with a stove/pots/pans, something more turnkey like a magic butter machine may be a better option.

3) There's a risk that if you leave it cooking for too long at 250F, your THC will all turn to CBN. Now I originally started out cooking mine for two hours as with the garlic confit recipe. I thought it was pretty potent but have recently been cutting back the time for optimal results. That said, I also do a sous vide process where I decarb in advance and since the temps are lower (180-190), there is less risk of degradation there.

4) There is no agitation / stirring inside the mason jar when its cooking (magic butter machine wins here). I think its extracts nicely as is but theoretically more agitation should result in a better extract. I shake the jar before putting it in so that the butter and plant matter are well mixed.

Hope this is interesting / useful and would welcome thoughts/suggestions.  

Last edited: Aug 26, 2014

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

5 Ways to Stop Bloating Naturally


Feeling bloated never feels good. The discomfort, stomach irritability and gas that often comes with it.  When your stomach is bloated it has it’s causes, which can be prevented or treated naturally.  Bloating is simply your body reacting to a food or drink you ingested in an inflammatory way. Bloating is simply your gut under a state of inflammation.
When you’re bloated, your stomach will expand, feel tight, there may be abdominal pain, gas, burping or other related discomforts.
Recognizing what caused your tummy to feel bloated is important. That food or drink is the cause, and by recognizing what your gut does not align with you can prevent the pain and discomfort in the future. We have a very intimate relationship with the food that we eat. We feel energy or drowsy. We feel peaceful and tranquil or our tummy goes into overdrive and we get bloated.
Being more in tune with what you’re eating and drinking and how that makes you feel mentally, emotionally and physically is a very important and valuable skill. Pay attention when you eat and drink. The more mindful you are the better you can custom tailor your diet and food choices to feel better and not have to deal with bloating. This is something that i’ve learned to benefit from over the years.
Knowing what sits well with you and what doesn’t makes your life, health and happiness a bit easier. You can make more educated and informed choices.

With that being said, what causes your stomach bloating in the first place?

It all comes down to the food or drink that you’re consuming. Bloating is an inflammatory response in your gut. Have you ever been bloated without eating food or drinking anything at all? Probably not, and if you were it was because the food or drink that you consumed prior was influencing your stomach.
Bloating occurs because of foods or drinks that your gut are sensitive too are consumed. The gut (immunity) reacts by creating inflammation to come to the rescue and observe the issue. Inflammation is a precursor to the immune system dropping by for a visit.
It can also occur because of a slow digestive system, abnormal levels of gut bacteria, digestive enzymes or other factors that play a role in healthy transit time through the gut.

The Most Important Step?

Eat foods that your gut doesn’t react too. Drinks too. If you become aware of what is causing you to feel bloated then simply avoid those foods and drinks. It’s a fairly simple rule.
Beyond making better decisions and prevention there are things that you can do right now if you’re bloated.

5 Ways To Stop Bloating Naturally

  1. Get Probiotics in Your Gut: Probiotic foods and drinks are rich in healthy bacteria for the gut that help to bring a much needed bacterial homeostasis to a disrupted gut. Foods like saurkraut and kimchi are the easiest probiotic rich foods to find. Drinks like kombucha and water kefir are rich in probiotics also. In a study with 122 IBS patients, a daily dose of bifidobacterium bifidum significantly improved bloating and pain symptoms compared to placebo. Food is the best source of probiotics but you can get a supplement to help as well.
  2. Get Digestive Enzymes in Your Gut: Digestive enzymes are what break down food and specifically carbohydrates in your gut. If you do not have enough digestive enzymes handy then the carbohydrates ferment, leading to gas, bloating and abdominal discomfort. You can get a good amount of digestive enzymes in foods such as pineapple, kiwi, papaya, bananas, mangoes and once again saurkraut. Saurkraut is rich in probiotics and digestive enzymes, I always have some on hand in my fridge and eat it a few times a week for gut health for this very reason. If you don’t have these foods on hand this is the best digestive enzyme supplement that i’ve found, click here to read about it.
  3. Eat Smarter: There are many ways that you can eat smarter overall but when it comes to bloating in the gut there are a few simple changes that you can make to reduce bloating. First, do not drink any beverage (water, juice, soda, tea, coffee) near food. Drinking and eating within the same time frame can wreak havoc on your gut and will more than likely contribute to bloating, gas and abdominal discomfort. Keep your eating and drinking separate. Secondly, eat less processed foods, less carbs, less dairy, less meat and less sugar. The majority of the reason you are bloated is because you are eating a food in one of those categories, I can almost guarantee it. If you replace those foods with fresh, organic, whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and sprouts you are on your way to a less disturbed tummy.
  4. Utilize Peppermint: Peppermint essential oil is one of the best things to have on hand for bloating, indigestion, gas and abdominal discomfort. Peppermint eases and relaxes stomach muscles while increasing the flow of bile which aids in digestion and the transit time of the intestinal system. This simply calms your stomach down and allows for things to flow smoother and easier. In a 4 week study patients who added peppermint oil improved by 53.5% whereas the control in the group improved 28.1% from the use of fiber. What does this mean? Use peppermint essential oil and fiber both to see an even greater improvement. Chia seeds are a great source of soluble and insoluble fiber. Simply soak them in water and mix in a glass for about 5 minutes until they gel up and drink the liquid. I recommend peppermint essential oil from doterra which can be bought by clicking here. They are certified pure therapeutic grade and I wouldn’t ingest any essential oil from any company. Doterra i’ve used for years and have ingested their peppermint oil safely many times before without any unwanted side effects. They are pure in quality.
  5.  Turmeric Helps: Turmeric is widely used in Ayurvedic (Indian) and Chinese medicine. Turmeric helps the liver to produce bile which is essential in the digestion of fats. It helps the body reduce gas and bloating by being one of the best anti-inflammatory spices known to man. Curcumin, the active medicinal compound in turmeric is responsible for these benefits. You can get turmeric as a spice and add it to foods or mix it in water and drink approximately 20 minutes before a meal to help with bloating, gas and indigestion. There is an organic CO2 liquid turmeric extract that I really like (which you can find here) that I use and recommend. If you decide to use that turmeric write me a message on facebook by clicking here and i’ll send a 10% discount code your way for your purchase of that turmeric supplement.
Beyond these 5 ways to reduce bloating and digestive discomfort one recommendation I have that has always helped me and seems to help others as well is to simply go for a walk. Walking helps to move the blood, lymphatic system and speed up the absorption and digestive process. If you have bloating with gas it definitely helps to expel the gas quicker so that you can go on with your life without those uncomfortable stomach pains. Walking has been shown to reduce gas and bloating in one study already. It makes sense and it works. Another thing you can do that has helped many is to simply lay down on your back and massage your abdominal region while laying on your left side. This is a great way to relieve gas and bloating discomfort.
Hopefully these tips and ideas give you more time to enjoy a peaceful stomach with less pain and discomfort. You can get rid of bloating with the right techniques. These are good health guidelines that have other benefits in your life also. Please share these tips with a friend or family member who you know may benefit from this information!
Source: http://www.dietvsdisease.org/how-to-get-rid-of-bloating/%20Image: http://www.culturamix.com/beleza/cicatriz-de-abdominoplastia/

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Eight Energy Zappers


Not sure what’s causing your fatigue? Here are some common energy zappers that may be to blame – and tips on how to overcome them.

Being a couch potato

Sitting in one position for long periods of time can sap your energy, even if you’re watching the TV or using the computer. Your body equates the stillness with going to sleep.
Solution: stretch often, get up and walk around away from your desk or sofa. Frequent breaks will keep your body alert.

Poor posture wastes energy

A lot of your energy goes on keeping you upright. Bad posture – such as hunching forwards and slumping in your seat – puts your spine out of alignment. The more out of balance your spine is, the more your muscles have to work to compensate.
Solution: whether you're moving, sitting or standing still, try to make sure that your head is lined up over your body – not sticking out in front of it. Aim for your ears to be directly over your shoulders.
Read about common posture mistakes and how to fix them.

Crash dieting makes you tired

While it will boost your energy to lose excess weight, going on a crash diet isn’t helpful. Very low-calorie diets, especially ones that give you less than 850 calories a day, will make you feel even more tired and can damage your health in other ways.
Solution: lose weight by eating healthily, cutting out junk and sugary foods, and reducing your portion size. Aim to lose no more than 2lbs a week.
Read our review of the 10 most popular weight-loss diets.
Find out how to lose weight sensibly.

Cabin fever

It’s all to easy to become homebound, especially if you have a young child, you work from home or you’ve been driven indoors by the cold days and long, dark nights of winter. However, lack of light and fresh air is a key cause of tiredness.
Solution: get out for a 10-minute walk at least once during the day, or when you're most tired. Even if it’s cloudy, you’ll be exposed to more natural light than inside and you’ll feel more alert. If you simply can't get out the door, a few minutes in a room filled with natural light may also help.
Read more about overcoming the winter blues.

Sugary breakfast cereals

Sugary breakfasts, such as processed cereals, pastries, muffins and toast with sugary spreads, will give you a quick surge of energy as your blood sugar peaks. But your sugar levels will slump just as quickly a couple of hours later. The result? You crash as you run out of energy.
Solution: to get a steady release of energy all morning long, eat a breakfast that’s based on unrefined starch. For example, home-made porridge with semi-skimmed milk and a little honey, wholemeal cereal with fruit sliced over it, or an egg with wholewheat or granary toast. Try to choose breakfast cereals that are wholegrain and low in salt and sugar.
Choose healthy breakfast cereals, plus our suggestions for five healthy breakfasts.

Constant worrying drains energy

If you’re fretting about something all day long, your heart rate and blood pressure rise, and your muscles tighten, leading to fatigue and aches.
Solution: set some time aside to concentrate on your worries. Try to think of positive solutions, then put the worries out of your mind. Schedule that dental appointment for first thing in the morning, so you don't spend all day fretting about it.

Exercising too much

Regular exercise is good for you, but working out intensively every day may not be good for your energy levels, especially if you’re a beginner or trying to get back in shape.
Solution: take a day off between strenuous bouts of exercise. Beware of leaving more than two or three days between sessions, or you might fall out of the habit.
Read more about starting exercise.

Winter days increase fatigue

The shorter days of winter disrupt your sleep/waking cycle, leading to fatigue. Less sunlight in winter also means your brain produces more of a hormone called melatonin, which makes you sleepy.
Solution: Get outdoors into natural daylight as much as possible, do some exercise every day and eat the right foods for energy, such as fruit and veg.