Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Yogurt Making Made Simple

Culturing dairy into yogurt or kefir optimizes nutrient density. Cultured dairy is not only a rich source of food enzymes and beneficial bacteria, but they are also rich in B vitamins. The longer you leave your kefir or yogurt to ferment, the richer a source of folate it becomes.

Preparing yogurt at home accomplishes 2 goals. 1) it maximizes the nutritive value of your food, and 2) it saves you money.  A container (500ml) of store bought organic yogurt is $5 while you can prepare 1L of yogurt at home for just over $2.

I've been making yogurt for a few years now. I don't have a fancy yogurt maker, its more like a time machine - it is pretty retro.  Yogurt makers maintain a constant slightly elevated temperature ideal for culturing thermophilic yogurts.  While yogurt makers are undoubtedly an ideal purchase for the tried and true yogurt aficionado for their ease of use, you can also make thermophilic yogurts without a yogurt maker.  The key to making yogurt has little to do with equipment; after all it's simple concept; maintain a constant and elevated temperature.  That goal can be accomplished with the use of a thermos, slow cooker or dehydrator.

I tried the thermos version over the weekend.  Admittedly, I was skeptical.  I have friends who can make yogurt in their ovens, or their bath tub, and every time I tried to go beyond my retro time machine, it was always a royal fail.  But low and behold the thermos yogurt making actually worked!!!

How to Make Yogurt in a Thermos

Heavy saucepan
1/2 cup yogurt starter (I used 1/2 cup of the highest quality yogurt I could purchase at the health food store or grocery store - Pinehedge, Saugeen, or Organic Meadows (in that order)
4 cups of milk (if you are using raw milk, the consistency of the yogurt will be very thin and runny)

Heat milk in a sauce pan until it reaches 110F.  Remove from heat and stir in yogurt starter. Pour into the thermos.  Put the lid on and wrap the thermos in a thick towel.  Leave it on your counter or put on top of your refrigerator.  Let it sit for 12-24 hours.  The longer you leave it the thicker it will be. Transfer to the refrigerator to stop the fermentation process.

Go on and give it a try!  It can't get any easier than this.

Get Cultured! Learn How to Ferment Anything

Want to make the foods you already eat even better? 

Want to enhance immunity and increase digestion? 

Jenny from Nourished Kitchen is having a sale on her online class, 'Get Cultured'.

Get Cultured, a multimedia series featuring over 50 video tutorials, 12 e-books with more than 100 recipes, tutorials, articles and fact sheets devoted exclusively to fermented foods, will not only provide you with the techniques and tools you need to feed your family right, but also the nutritional education you need to continue optimizing their wellness well after the series is complete.

It’s 13 weeks of learning how to ferment EVERYTHING — from pickles to sauerkraut to yogurt and sourdough bread.

Autumn Breakfast: Carrot Cake Oatmeal

Autumn foods are my favourite foods - comforting and full of spice and warmth.  Traditionally this time of year we turn to these so called comfort foods - stews, soups and hearty breakfast porridge.  I’ve been pouring through my cookbooks and favourite blogs to find new recipes to make the breakfast porridge more exciting and flavourful.  It finally came to me!  Carrot cake!  Who doesn’t love carrot cake? A moist dessert with the warm flavours of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.  This could easily be projected into my morning.  So voila! Success.  Carrot cake oatmeal.  We like to serve this with raw milk, or non homogenized yogurt.  

Soak it in, my friends. Enjoy this season and get your fill of this delicious autumnal treat!
Note: For this recipe, I soak the oats over night using the same method as homemade soaked oatmeal. It requires filtered water and either apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. You can read more on how to properly prepare grains here

Carrot Cake Oatmeal
3 cups large flake oats (favourite brands)
filtered water
Lemon, yogurt
2/3 cups raisins
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 pinches cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4-1/2 cup raw walnut pieces
1 1/2 large carrots, grated


(The night before)
1. Combine oats, buckwheat, and apple cider vinegar in a bowl. Pour filtered water until the mixture is covered. Soak the mixture overnight. 
(In the morning)
2. Drain the oats in a fine mesh sieve and rinse with water.
 Place the oats in a saucepan and cover with water.  
Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until the water is absorbed and the carrots and raisins have softened.  together. Pour evenly into the baking dish.

3. Mix together the crumb topping and sprinkle over the top of the oatmeal.
Serve with raw milk or non homogenized yogurt.•
Don’t do dairy? Substitute almond milk or coconut milk
How do you spice up your boring breakfast porridge?
Peace and gratitude,
Dr. Kate

First Foods for Baby: Fermented Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are a common first food for babies.  They are sweet and soft and most babies will love them.  By fermenting this vegetable you increase the digestibility of the food and add good bacteria to the gut which is so very important for a baby's developing immune system and digestion.

2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 tablespoons whey

Poke a few holes in the sweet potato and bake in an oven at 300 degrees for about 2 hours or until soft.  Peel and mash with salt and whey.  Place in a bowl, cover and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.  Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.  This may be spread on bread or crackers like cream cheese for young children and adults.  

The Magic and Power of Fermentation

The following is a guest post by Beth Hazlitt - a jill of of trades!  There is nothing this lady cannot do!  And I am so lucky she is my mom.  Hope you can learn as much from her as I do everyday! Cheers to fermenting!

Since I began to dabble in the art of fermentation a couple of years ago I have become somewhat of a fermentation fanatic.  This year's bounty of garden vegetables has only served to feed this fascination and has resulted in a considerable supply of fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, beets, carrots, beans, radish and almost anything else that can be fermented.

Raw cultured vegetables have been around of thousands of years, but we have never needed these "super foods" more than we do today.  Rich in lactobacilli and enzymes, alkaline-forming and loaded with vitamins, they are an ideal food that can be consumed with any meal.  We call them raw cultured vegetables so as not to confuse them for the highly-salted and pasteurized versions sold in supermarkets.  Pasteurization destroys precious enzymes and the added salt eliminates any health benefits. 

Fermented foods are quite literally alive with flavour and nutrition. They help re-establish your inner ecosystem with their friendly bacteria being a less expensive alternative to probiotics.  They also improve digestion as the bacteria have already converted the natural sugars and starches in the vegetables into lactic acid, thereby pre-digesting the vegetables and making the nutrients more bio-available.

During this amazing journey of discovery I have found that fermented foods are a wonderful complement to any meal when served as a condiment. Their tangy flavours accent the rest of the foods and cleanse the palate.

We like to eat some fermented vegetable every day.  A half-hour of chopping or shredding fills a vessel that can ferment and feed you for weeks.  Nutritious and delicious fermented vegetables are then available whenever you want them, with no additional work required.  

My fermentation adventures have been encouraged and aided by my wonderful family to the extent that I have been urged to possibly offer these "biopreservatives" for sale. If you are interested in experiencing the benefits of raw cultured vegetables for yourself without the preparation please feel free to contact Dr. Kate for more information.  Or if you are keen to learn fermenting on your own, in your own kitchen consider signing up for Nourished Kitchen's e-course!  Either way, you won't be sorry!

For additional information on fermentation, please read this: Fermentation 101

Blind Trust

There is a lot of push and pull around the world right now on the hot topic of immunization.  Non-vaccinating parents are being maligned by those fearful of illness and disease.  Fear heightens and the public still continue to be misled and misinformed.  Public health officials state that vaccines are safe and effective, while another whole body of information supports the opposite.  Getting to the truth is complicated. Bottom line, there is generation of parents and individuals concerned about vaccine safety and the right to make informed choices.

However, nobody can make informed choices when large amounts of information provided to the public by the media omits a valuable chunk of information.

A recent article in the Goderich Signal Star, although short and sweet, is a great example of leaving out information.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Truffle Bliss Bites

It is always nice to have one-bite morsels on hand for a quick snack or school lunch.  Even better if these tidbits are homemade, and nutrient dense.  I have always loved this Chocolate Truffle recipe from Nourished Kitchen, but I endeavored to re-make this to take it from treat to every day snack.  I used sunflower butter to make them school friendly, but I would prefer to use almond butter or hazelnut butter in this recipe.  

Truffle Bliss Bites

2 cups raw unsweetened shredded coconut (reserve 1/2 cup for coating)
1/2 cup rawsome whole food meal (I made my own by grinding 1/2 cup each of flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds.  When ground up I store them in an airtight container in the freezer in order to preserve their nutrient profile)
1/4 cup raw organic cocoa powder
1/3 cup tahini butter
1/3 cup sunflower butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil

Toss all ingredients into a food processor with 1 1/2 cups of coconut, processing until smooth.
Remove batter from food processor, and allow it to chill in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes
Form truffles by rolling them into small balls with the palms of your hands.  Dredge them in the remaining coconut.  

1/4 cup dried cranberries (no sugar added)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Store in the freezer or refrigerator for a quick and yummy snack. 

Peace and health,
Dr. Kate