Sourdough Revival

 


I have seen a lot of folks looking for sourdough starter cultures in the last while and I decided to post about how to revive a dried culture here as I have been mailing out some to folks who do not have one to start with – these directions will come in handy.

If you’re looking for a kombucha, ginger beer or sourdough starter ~ I could be your guy. Send me an email or post a comment on this blog and I’ll be more the happy to help you out.

What you have to know is that reviving a dried sourdough starter can be a pretty bulletproof and simple task – most of the time. Like all cultures that go dormant however, you do not know if they are “alive” again until you go through the process to wake them up. Some have gone to sleep forever and you need to start all over again. No big deal – just let me know and I can ship you out another.

Day 1 Instructions: 

Soak 1 tsp. dried starter in 1 Tbs. lukewarm purified or spring water for a few minutes to soften

Stir in 1 Tbsp. all-purpose or bread flour (orgainc), cover loosely with a tightly woven cloth or Abeego wax/cloth wrap and let sit at 20 degrees (plus) for 24 hours. If you stir the mixture a couple of times during the 24 hours you will aerate and push the process along a little further.

Day 2: 

Stir in 1 Tbsp. of flour and 1 tsp. of purified water and let it sit as in day 1. Bubbling should start within 48 to 72 hours of this process. If not, your culture might be stagnant. Try again.

Day 3: 

Add 1/3 cup flour and 1/4 cup of water to activate culture.  Build the starter one or two times per day until you have what you will need for baking – remembering you will need to keep some to set aside for future batches. Equal amounts (by weight) of flour and water usually give you the best culture consistency for baking.

Aftercare: 

Your starter can be stored in the fridge with a loose fitting lid or Abeego. You can then feed it once weekly to keep it alive. You may also go the route of drying your culture out on a silpat if you feel that you are done with baking.

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Zucchini steaks 

While camping in my good pals back yard this summer (don’t laugh till you see the pics) he picked what may be the most gigantic zucchini I’ve ever cooked.

This recipe is simple and tasty without too many calories. In fact, it’s pretty much Bikini Competition friendly though, I didn’t weigh it out so I can’t give you exact quantities/cals this time – sorry, I was a hungry bear!

I am recommending spray seasonings as they are far easier to NOT overdose on unlike bottled varieties. The application is also far more simple in a large recipe setting.

Ingredients: 

1 gigantic zucchini or a few medium sized friends.

6 small tomatoes diced or sliced

2 tbsp fresh oregano

2 tbsp shredded parmesano reggiano or Vegan Parma

Balsamic vinegar (spray type if you have it)

Braggs liquid aminos (spray type if you have it)

Himalayan sea salt

Hot chilli flakes

Method: 

Slice zucchini into 1.5-2″ “steaks”. Place in large bowl tossing with a few pinches of sea salt and chilli flakes. Allow to sit for at least one hour to draw out some of the water in the vegetable. You will notice there will be a pool of water at the bottom of the plate/bowl you have rested them in.

Fire up the BBQ and let warm on high for 5 minutes. Reduce to medium heat.

Place “steaks” on BBQ and allow to cook for 8-10 minutes per side, rotating at approx. the 2.5 minute mark – as you would a steak to get the perfect grill marks.

Spritz each side with one quick shot of Braggs while cooking.

Remove from heat once grilled.

Top first with parmesan / vegan parma , then tomato, then oregano and a spritz of balsamic to each one to top.

Serve warm with freshly ground pepper if desired.

I plated this with a marinated pickled beet salad, my killer breaded cauliflower and a couple of Field Roast Apple Sage links. 

The large zuc I am holding in the picture will serve 4 adults at least. If you reduce this recipe to a couple mediums this will serve 2 with no side dish.

Doukhobor Zuchinni time!

Doukhobor Zuchinni time!

Sweet Superfood Salad

 

Summer, finally.

Summer, finally.

Summer is here and it’s time to celebrate by taking in all the colour and nutrients we can.

Here’s a simple, crisp, savoury and sweet salad that takes just 10 minutes to make – including the homemade dressing.

Ingredients: 

3 cups torn kale

2 cups baby spinach

1/2 cup chopped cucumber

1/2 cup chopped strawberries

1/2 cup of micro greens – these ones were grown in Alberta – Thanks to Reclaim Urban Farm

Handful of mixed nuts

Dressing: 

1/4 cup spring water

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 heaping tbsp tahini

1 tbsp tamari

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 clove garlic

Method: 

Mix all salad ingredients in large bowl.

Blend all dressing ingredients with hand blender/magic bullet type device OR double/triple recipe and use a standard blender.

This should serve 2 as a side salad, 1 as a meal.

Sugar – some things you may need to know.

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I was packing a school snack for my step-daughter the other day. Seaweed crisps, dates, strawberries and a vegan marshmallow for a surprise treat, which is super rare. You’ll have to notice that my blog also rarely includes sweets.

For whatever reason, she got into her head that dates are “just full of sugar”. SO I had to have the *birds and bees* conversation about sugar. Good sugar, bad sugar and how it’s processed.

If you’re struggling with how this sugar game works, there are some pointers to keep in mind in the grocery store and out on the town when you’re met with uneducated comments on sugar.

Remember, not all sugars affect our insulin levels, but some do. They also interfere with our overall energy levels. Be sure to meet with a medical professional if you’re suffering from Diabetes or any other illness which may be adversely affected by changing your sugar intake.

As a cancer survivor, my road to recovery did not include any processed sugars or foods in a box. I am 10 years free and clear and I attribute a lot of my success to the respect I’ve paid my body since diagnosis.

Sugars are simple carbs. They contain about 4 calories of energy in each gram. This energy fuels your brain and nervous system – precious operating systems of our beautiful bodies.

Complex carbs are not broken down easily and take ages to process while spiking your insulin. I call them “dead calories”.

Natural VS Processed Sugars

Natural sugars are found in a high amount in most fruits. Sugar is made of two components – fructose and glucose. These two components are IDENTICAL in fruit and in pastries/pop/candies etc…make no mistake.

The ratios of fructose and glucose are nearly the same in fruit and table sugar with fruit being about 40-55% fructose. (Ever wonder why your kids LOVE bananas but not kiwis?). This does not mean that the sugar composition in cake is the same as fruit.

Fruit has added vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, water and fiber – candy/cakes/sweets are a nutritional wasteland.

A half a cup of strawberries has around 3.5g of sugar while ice cream by the same measure has around 15g!!!! Not to mention the added bad fats from dairy.

Neither type of sugars are necessarily “bad” for you however, your body does process refined sugars a lot differently than natural sugars. FRUCTOSE breaks down in the liver and has no insulin response. GLUCOSE breaks down in the stomach and requires insulin to be metabolized.

Insulin spikes are not good because over time it leads to fat gain. Unhealthy fats to boot! This can lead to sugar crashes, hypoglycemia, which also triggers your body to believe it is hungry even when it is not.

Insulin table.

Insulin table.

Natural sugars are found in foods like milk and fruit but this doesn’t mean you should be eating a whole tonne of them. Especially if you’re eating a diet that is mainly out of restaurants, packaged and pre-made foods and lacking in fresh green leafy veggies. The standard diet of people today does not hold any space for going crazy on fruits all day!! Where the average diet is concerned, women and men should consume no more than 6-9 teaspoons per day, respectively.

For me? Well, I eat a vegan diet full of fresh fruits and veggies. Never out of packages and rarely at restaurants. If I’ve ever cut out fruit I’ve never lost a pound or inch!

Health foods to avoid

Running through the grocery store and stocking up on quick “healthy” snacks for you or your family? Think twice and avoid these items: 

– Granola bars – Here’s my RECIPE for a healthy homemade version packed with protein

– Fruit juices/from concentrate

– “Real Fruit” jellies of any kind

– Sports drinks

– Microwaveable popcorn

– Powerbars and all types of bars found at supplement stores that are not NATURAL. I reommend Vega bars.

– Flavoured yogurt (the kind with radioactive fruit fillings)

– Canned soups / boxed lasagna & pasta dishes

– Pre-packaged apple sauce/puddings

– Cheese strings

– Fruit leather

aaaand obviously: cookies, muffins, cake pops etc…

We all know that feeding ourselves and our family through a drive-through window is insanity – I feel sorry for those folks who don’t feel like they have the time to do the right thing by their bodies. You also have to know that eating out of a Starbucks Coffee pre-made food display is equally horrific. I’ve got a few things for you to carry around that are amazing for your body and mind.

Don't eat out of windows!

Don’t eat out of windows!

DO’s 

– Baby carrots

– Dates

– Seaweed crisps

– Trail mix

– Natural beef/chicken/turkey/ Jerky or Vegan Primal Strips

– Vega, meal supplement powder with water or almond milk

– Raisins

– Nut crackers and hummus

– Apples

– Bananas

 The best thing to remember is; if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. We have become so accustomed to eating unnatural foods and thinking we can “diet” the pounds, bad skin, rotted teeth, damaged hair, insomnia and digestive issues away. We can’t. If you treat your body like garbage…….garbage in, garbage out is the saying. You cannot exercise away poor nutrition and if you are prepared and aware you’ll never have to eat out of a drive through window (aka the trash can) again.

For more information to add to your library of health check out these links:

That Sugar Film – LINK HERE

Article, Glucose & Cancer – LINK HERE

Article, Kids & Sugar – LINK HERE

Article, Sugar Addiction – LINK HERE

Article, Sugar & Cocaine – LINK HERE

Article, Sugar & Weight Gain – LINK HERE

Article, Your Brain on Sugar – LINK HERE

Thai Asparagus salad

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This salad can be made in a variety of ways however, egg is traditionally asian. If you have an egg like substance OR some flavourful tempeh, those work amazingly well as well.

I think this is a great lunchtime or brunch recipe. I had this for dinner after a big gym session and felt like a needed a little something more. If you feel like you are missing something with this dish – I say add some lightly steamed Farkay noodles or some other small noodle to warm up your greens just a smidgeon.

Ingredients: 

1 romaine heart

1 handful peashoots

2 cups kale

1/2 long English cucumber, sliced

1 bunch asparagus ends removed

1/4 cup fresh chopped mint

1/2 cup fresh chopped basil (thai basil if you can find)

1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro

4 eggs OR vegan thai tempeh

4 tsp oil for cooking

Fresh thai peppers diced to top (optional)

My favourite homemade FAUX FISH SAUCE

Method:

Create fish sauce and allow to sit for at least 1/2 the day.

On stovetop in saucepan bring 1/2 an inch of water to a boil. Add asparagus, cook with lid on for 3-5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and chill in fridge.

Prep your salad veggies in a bowl and set aside/refrigerate.

Eggs: Beat/whisk individually in small bowl. In small pan heat 1 tsp of oil for each egg or as needed. Add whisked egg to hot oil and cook until a little egg crepe is created. Remove from heat. Repeat for 3 remaining eggs.

Roll egg crepes into a tubes and slice thinly – set aside.

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Toss cucumbers and asparagus in a heavy helping of fish sauce and allow to marinate/coat for 5 minutes.

Top salad with marinated veggies, egg and diced peppers if desired.

Beauty greens.

Beauty greens.

Serves 4

Pear & Arugula Salad

Health of the Irish to you!

Health of the Irish to you!

After being abroad where FRESH leafy greens are the hottest commodity around, I felt like I needed to up my ruffage. As luck would have it it’s also St. Patricks day.

I created a nearly 100% green salad with just a few ingredients which I have given some ideas of how to interchange to suit your pantry.

Zippy, salty and with just enough crunch, this is a perfect base camp salad from where you can choose a tonne of flavourful paths.

Ingredients: 

1 pear sliced

5 dates pitted and chopped (try raisins or apricots if you have no dates)

2 cups green kale, torn

2 cups arugula

1 cup pea shoots, chopped

1 green onion diced

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, roasted on the stovetop

1/4 cup asiago or crumbled goat cheese – or none

Dressing:

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tbsp grape seed oil

3.5 tbsp grainy, german or dijon mustard

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

I picked up some fantastic chili salt in Vienna in January which I used and LOVED.

Method:

Combine all ingredients, toss with dressing and top with cheese and pumpkin seeds.

Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side.

Japanese-style Miso soup

Quick & delicious

Quick & delicious

 

When you have no time and no patience, you require quick and easy recipes that are filling and nutritious. This meal is a 30 minute marvel packed with protein, vitamins and minerals.

Ingredients: 

2 tbsp miso

3 tbsp tamari

4 cups homemade veggie broth

1/2 red pepper sliced

8 white mushrooms sliced

1 cup broccoli florets

2 stalks celery sliced

1/4 cup cilantro diced – set aside

4 hard boiled eggs, halved (optional)

4 large cloves garlic

3 tbsp seseame oil

1.5 tbsp rice vinegar

1 package black bean noodles (equivalent to 4 cups cooked noodles)

Salt & pepper to taste

Method: 

Bring eggs to a boil on stove top, set aside for 10  minutes. Rinse and soak (shell on) in icy water for a few minutes. Peel & set aside.

Saute garlic in oil for 3-5 minutes. Add all veggies and cook for 3-5 more minutes. Add broth, miso, vinegar and tamari & bring to a boil for. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

While soup is simmering cook noodles.

Add noodles to bowl, top with soup, garnish with egg and cilantro or try green onion & sriracha.

Serves 4 OR 2 very hungry people.