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Saturday, August 30, 2014


This is how I do my kraut. I know that I do it a bit differently than classic kraut, but I get good results :-)
Just so you know, classic kraut is simply shredded cabbage pounded until the juice is released and tossed with plenty of salt. That's too much work for me, lol! So I decided to try the brine method.

First, start with cabbage. I LOVE Sauerkraut, so I make a lot. I usually buy four small to medium sized heads of cabbage - because organic cabbage seems to just be smaller in general, shrugs. I'll put two in each gallon sized glass jar, and IF I remember, I toss between a half and a whole garlic bulb (six or so big cloves) and some dill weed into the jar as I shred the cabbage and stuff it into the jar. I use a food processor for quick and easy shredding, but I recently saw a mandolin that put my food processor to shame!

(This time around, I used onion too :-) )

After shredding the cabbage and packing it into the glass jar, I toss 4 heaping spoonfuls - like regular spoons, the kind you'd eat breakfast with... - of RealSalt brand sea salt into a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, then I fill it up and stir it to dissolve the salt before pouring the whole thing into the jar. Then I fill and repeat - adding more water to the jar until it reaches the top.

After my first batch, someone suggested using plastic lids from things like yogurt containers to help keep the cabbage under the water. This is VERY important since the stuff that floats on top can very easily attract mold. Plus, the actual fermentation is anaerobic, meaning without oxygen. That means that your kraut NEEDS to be under the water in order to ferment properly.

So, once the lid is in place, I add more water until I know that it will stay submerged. The salt and water mix is the brine, and it does it's job :-)

Just so you know, many many many experts will tell you that as an anaerobic ferment, kraut should be fermented in a SEALED container, BUT every time I have tried that, I've gotten mold. Instead, I put a paper towel over the mouth of my jar, and then put a lid on that. The paper towel allows the ferment to offgas (avoiding explosions) and breathe (allowing in helpful wild yeasts and whatnot), all while keeping bugs out. Doing it this way, I've not once had a batch go bad..... except when the paper towel somehow formed a seal between the jar and the lid. That batch got a bad case of pink mold and had to be tossed out.

SOOO, in my mind, the cabbage under the brine creates the anaerobic environment, and the loose seal allows in the little bit of air that is needed for wild yeasties and other friends to come join the party :-D

My current batch of kraut. One gallon is garlic and onion, and the other is onion and dill.

Once my jars are packed and "sealed," I place them into a pan to catch the "spit up," lol! Then I let it sit undisturbed for at least a week. After that - not only has it stopped spitting up, but the cabbage has softened just enough that I can pack it into smaller containers for easier storage on my counter. At this point, I start eating it, enjoying how it tastes as it continues to ferment and change :-)

If there's any left at the 6 week mark, I transfer it into my fridge because it's almost too strong to eat by that point, lol! However, if my boys have permission to snack on it, it usually disappears before the 4th week, lol!

And that's it! That's how I make my Kraut :-D

Note, by spit up, I mean that the cabbage will release some juice, and this apparently happens in spurts, which overflow. I had to wipe down my counter several times before I figured this out, lol! The pan catches the spit up, preventing it from getting all over.

Have a happy day, and if you make some kraut, let me know :-D

Update 9-5-14
I repacked my kraut into a smaller container for space reasons since they had stopped spitting up. They were not fully fermented yet - especially not at the top - so they tasted kinda weird to me. More like cabbage and less like kraut. I also think that the garlic and onion one might just be too oniony for me, lol! After repacking them, they'll sit on my counter more or less undisturbed for a couple more days, BUT...

I am officially out of the last batch of kraut I made and so I will more than likely be eating some of this soon, lol!

Lastly, the garlic and onion batch seemed to have a bit of water loss - whereas the other one didn't - so that may ultimately affect the final product. We shall see :-)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tonight, I was in the mood for chocolate chip cookies, and since I happen to have a lot of coconut flour in the house (and shouldn't eat regular flour anyway), I decided to try it out.
First I looked for recipes, and ended up using the original recipe from Cooking With Coconut by Bruce Fife, mostly because all the recipes I found were pretty much exactly the same anyway, and I have the book. The ingredients are:

1/2 cup butter
1cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/8 tsp Salt
3/4 cup semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup Coconut Flour
(Also, optional shredded or flaked coconut that I decided against.)

The instructions are something like mix all wet ingredients, add in the dry ingredients, mix well, add in chocolate chips, mix by hand, then bake @ 375 for 14-15 minutes.

My husband will tell you at length how it frustrates him that I simply cannot follow instructions, lol! It's true, not because I literally can't, but because I feel that instructions are just a base to work from. SOOOO, here's what I did - and I'm not claiming that I am better than the original, lol!

First, I doubled the recipe. This meant that everything listed above is actually X2. EXCEPT for the sugar, because I absolutely HATE cookies that are so sweet they hurt my teeth! For the sugar, I simply left the amount at one cup. If you are good with math, you'll realize that I cut the total amount of sugar in half, lol!

Second, I didn't have any brown sugar on hand since I used it up about a month ago and haven't had a chance to buy more. NO PROBLEM :-D I know that brown sugar is really just Sugar Cane Juice that has been stripped of all nutrients (creating two products - white sugar and molasses), and then had a little bit of the molasses added back in to create brown sugar. I happen to have some Blackstrap Molasses on hand, so I figured that I would just make my own brown sugar.

Here's where I hit a snag... I am out of organic white sugar too!!! I made two batches of Kombucha and a batch of Strawberry Rhubarb Wine and basically ran myself out, and then forgot about it, ack!

So, I had to use what was on hand. All I had left was maple syrup, but I only had a half a cup of it, so I used that up, and then to make use of the sugar that had crystallized at the bottom of the jar, I added a half a cup of hot water (to dissolve the sugar) and about a Tablespoon of Blackstrap Molasses to the bottle and shook it up until the crystallized sugar dissolved completely. This probably made up slightly more than a cup of sweetener total, but I think it was actually a good ratio. My cookies turned out tasting like they'd been made using brown sugar :-)
(Note: my batter turned out browner than normal because of the Blackstrap molasses :-) )

Anyway, after mixing the cookies together - first the wet then the dry then the chocolate chips - I rolled the fairly wet dough into balls by hand and carefully flattened them out on a baking sheet. I baked them according to the directions, and they turned out pretty good. My boys LOVE them!!!

My hubby is on the fence about them because while they TASTE like real chocolate chip cookies, he - like me - is used to cookies made using regular white flour, which has a particular texture to it. A sort of soft texture.

These cookies weren't hard, but they have a very slightly gritty texture to them that mildly turns us off. They are NOT what we were raised on, and being creatures of habit, we sort of have a hard time accepting healthy changes that feel weird in our mouths.

THAT SAID, try it! Seriously, they tasted really good. If you like more sugar, add more :-D Make sure that your kids fall in love with them. Frost them with honey sweetened cream cheese or heavy whipping cream beaten with honey and chocolate powder if you must to make them even yummier! But make them.

WHY? You might ask, well it's like I already said, the ONLY reason my hubby and I don't love them is that we are used to the texture we were raised on. We are fortunate that I started my real food journey when my boys were still in diapers, so they are used to eating whatever I make. I never catered to pickiness, and I never gave them treats. So to them, these cookies are HEAVEN!!!

Even better, because they - like us - will prefer the cookies they were raised with as children, they will grow up judging all other cookies by the standards of taste and texture of the cookies I make, which means that they will not have the same texture problems that my husband and I do.

Or in other words, I make my children healthy cookies (or as healthy as anything can get while still being called a cookie, lol!) and they love them :-D Yours will too!
Have a happy day :-)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Reading for Tiffany

Tiffany's Reading
8-23-14 2:37 AM

1 – Present Position – Ace of Swords ↓ – The first card tells me that the majority of your worries are about your children. Possibly one child more than the others, but even so, you do worry about them all. You want the best for your children, and you often feel like they are missing out. I get the feeling that you have one of those minds the just won't stop. This can make it hard to sleep at night, which in turn just makes you worry all the more. You feel tired. Worn out.
2 – Immediate Influence – 5 of Pentacles ↑ – The good news is that you do have help/ this feels like a little bit of luck. A guide or a guardian angel that watches over you and help you out whenever possible. In little ways that are easy to overlook. And yet, I do get the feeling that you are grateful. Despite having a lot of reasons to be depressed, I get the definite feeling that you are cheerful and optimistic about the future.
3 – Distant Future – King of Pentacles ↓ – Well, here he is. I knew he'd turn up in your reading somewhere, but I figured that he'd be in your past. Nope! The father of your children is going to be causing problems for you for a long time to come. It's not that he enjoys messing with you – he actually does feel a sense of responsibility when it comes to taking care of the kids – it's just that he's not quite emotionally mature enough to not cause problems for you. He hasn't quite learned how to live life with grace.
4 – Distant Past – Transition ↑ – This is basically your whole life. I get the feeling that you were raised a certain way, and this way led you to the man you married. You started to change. It was slow, happening a little bit at a time. You found your way. You gained confidence. Like a butterfly, you transformed into a woman! One with a mind of her own!
5 – Recent Past – Queen of Pentacles ↑ – And this transformation left you stronger! Once upon a time ago, you were unsure of yourself. You had no idea how to really take care of yourself, much less children! You looked forward to the challenge :-) These days, you are a capable and patient woman who knows what she wants. You are like a rock. It's not that the Earth never quakes under your feet, it's just that you don't have time to care. You'll weather the storm and move on in the morning.
6 – Recent Future – Justice ↓ – You have a legal matter coming up quickly, and you are worried that it won't go the way you want it to. You just want it to be over – much like ripping off a band-aid. You know it's going to hurt, but you're prepared for it. The quicker it happens, the better!
7 – Present position 2 – Prince of Pentacles ↑ – This feels like a son, but not. A young man who helps you out. He's responsible and such a good boy, a joy to be around. He can also be a bit of a practical joker and a troublemaker. Especially if he's bored!
8 – Environment – 2 of Swords ↓ – You've been neglecting you. You're so busy taking care of everyone else that you have no time for you! As hard as it is, try to make a little time for yourself, otherwise, you're going to snap.
9 – Inner Emotions – 10 of Swords ↓ – Oh the pain. You've been stabbed in the back. Betrayed. Hurt in a way you never thought possible. But thankfully, you're starting to come to terms with what happened and move on. In a way, you feel freer than you ever have. At least not in a long while. I think that part of the reason might be...
10 – Final Outcome – The Lovers ↑ – A new love interest! I'm not saying that you want another husband or even a boyfriend! But you would like someone to talk to; to hang out with. A person who makes you laugh. A lover. And that's what I see. I suspect that you've already met this person, maybe known for a long time. This is someone who is there when you need them, but doesn't need you to be exclusive. Doesn't need to define your relationship. Maybe it's only over the phone or online, but I do think that it's more than that.
Your reading ends on an inspiring note of hope :-)

But that's not all!

This is what the Angels have to say:

New Love. I saw this card and thought yep yep! There's a lover in your life. I really think that you are hesitating to accept this, afraid of getting burned again, but I sense that this new lover is going to be understanding and accepting of that.
Focus. See now, I don't think that you lack focus. So I think that they angels might be trying to tell you that you are focused on the wrong thing. Not entirely, because I feel like you focus the most on your kids. I think the Angels want you to focus more on you and your happiness for a while, because “if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!”
Self-acceptance. Remember back above when I say that you have transformed like a butterfly? Well part of that change was learning to love and accept yourself. (This makes me wonder at your childhood...) Then you were betrayed and you started to question your self worth. What did I do wrong to push him away? Things like that. Deep down, you know you did nothing wrong, but even so, you need to work on your self esteem again. Remember, you are worth it!

Have a happy day,

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Reading for Alison

Alison's Reading
8-22-14 10:21 PM

  • 1 – Present Position – The Sun ↑ - The sun in this position tells me that your entire world right now revolves around your baby. You are in a state of semi shock because part of you wonders if this is real or just a dream. Even so, you love being a mother and couldn't imagine life any other way.
  • 2 – Immediate Influence – Five of Cups ↑ - This card tells me more about the feeling of surrealism surrounding. You've had a lot of time to think over the years about kids/what kind of mother you'd be, and you had a lot of things “set” in your mind. That said, you keep wanting to pinch yourself to see if you are dreaming. The reality of the situation is a bit more demanding than you thought it would be, but all in all, you almost feel like you've been dropped in the middle of a fairy tale.
  • 3 – Distant Future (up to several months) – Princess of Pentacles ↑ - I feel like this is your sister, but it could also be a close friend. You have always relied upon her for advice and a supportive ear, but over the next few months, you are going to want her as close to you as possible. She's your rock! She has a way of caring for you that is whimsical and childlike even as it is dependable and steady. You need her more than you thought possible.
  • 4 – Distant Past (up to a couple of years) – The Lovers ↓ - The last few years, your marriage has been a little rocky. I feel like this is largely in your mind. You blame you. You feel like you are doing quite enough to be the perfect wife. That said, a little more romance would be nice! There's been a strain on your marriage as you have been pressuring yourself to live up to certain expectations, but now that you feel like you have finally accomplished that goal, things should “get better.”
  • 5 – Recent Past – The Star ↑ - I am pretty sure that in a previous reading, I mentioned that there was an element of fate/destiny/karma/the plan involved here. I really truly feel that there was an important life lesson you needed to learn in order to get your reward. It took you a few years, but you learned it, and then BAM! You got what you always wanted :-D I feel that the lesson was that you needed to accept yourself no matter what.
  • 6 – Recent Future – (next couple of weeks) – The Moon ↓ - Oh the moon... This tells me that you've had and will continue to have an interesting couple of months. I am a little concerned though, are you suffering from a touch of post partum depression? I get the feeling that you are waiting for it to get better, telling yourself that the way you feel is normal and that you shouldn't worry about it. In that, you are absolutely right. That said, don't dismiss your feelings so easily, and if talking to your sister, husband, and friends doesn't help you feel better, then be open to alternative therapies for those inexplicable blues. Strange how one person can feel SOOOO happy and yet strangely sad at the same time, huh?
  • 7 – Present Position 2 – The Magus/Magician (Guide) ↓ - I get the sense that there are plenty of questions about motherhood and babies that you want to ask, but you're not really sure who to ask. These are questions that you should ask another mother... a role model... your mother, but you can't, because she is not the role model you want advice from! Guess what, she actually is doing her spiritual job when it comes to guiding you. She's showing you what not to do! Talking with her might actually help you feel better. Not because she's going to make any kind of sense, but if you keep a sense of humor, you can learn to laugh at and learn from the mistakes of others.
  • 8 – Environment – The Hierophant (Teacher) ↑ - Yea! Good news! You do actually have someone around you who can help you learn how to be a good mother. Someone you look up to and respect. Who offers good advice – even if in a unique and unexpected way... This could be a good friend. It could even be me! (Lol!) But you know who I think it really is? … I think it's your husband. I think now that he's a father and has to learn what that means, he's doing a lot of his own roundabout research and thinking, and when you two talk to each other about the important issues, you may not see eye to eye, but you always manage to make each other think.
  • 9 – Inner Emotions – Princess of Swords ↓ - See, this is why I think you have a touch of PPD. I feel like this card represents a part of yourself. This is the free spirit who has had a much bigger amount of solitude and freedom than she realized until now. I'm not saying that you were prone to partying on a Saturday night, but you did have the time to curl up with a good book and ignore the world if you wanted.
Like me, you had no idea how much you needed that massive amount of alone time to recharge your spiritual batteries. If you needed to veg out after work with a bottle of wine and a good movie, you could. Not now. Now, you have crying and all the tiny precious needs of a beautiful new being to attend to. Yes, you love it. Yes you wouldn't change it for the world. Yes, you still need alone time! Don't be afraid to ask for what you need.
  • 10 – Final Outcome – Ace of Swords ↑ - The final outcome of the reading is that even though your life has had a LOT of ups and downs recently – more ups than down – enough to practically build a rollercoaster! You still love the way your life is right now. It mostly like you've always thought it would be, and you are excited to see all the little milestones your baby will make – first laugh, first word, first step, first day of school... Just remember, in all of this, try not to completely lose the you that you were before you became a mom. Good luck!

BUT WAIT!! Didn't I forget something (you ask)? No... I just wondered if you were paying attention, lol!

Your angels have this to say:
Retreat – Don't forget to take time for yourself! Even if you have to schedule in a five minute break just once a day, do it! You need it :-)
Divine Guidance – We hear you talking to God. You've asked for help and guidance, and rest assured, we're here to give it to you. Simply listen to your heart and be open to small, everyday miracles.
Romance – Just because you are parents now, doesn't mean that Romance has to die completely! Remember, it's the little things that count the most. A stolen kiss while the baby naps. Snuggling at night even though you're too exhausted to do anything else. Understanding that it may take a lot of time before you're even ready to do anything else! Just like you might have to schedule in a well-deserved five minute break, try to remember in a minute or two to simply hold each other and say “I love you!”

Charts and Readings