Sweet and Spicy Ribs: Photo Essay

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Being frugal our family has our own rib festival at home. We also save the pork fat for later cooking and the bones for bone broth.

Kamloops RibFest has just ended. We decided to have our own RibFest at home. Being frugal we can feed the whole family for the price of one serving of festive ribs. Here’s what we do for delicious, homemade ribs!

Rib Marinate
2-3T organic cider vinegar
1tsp sea salt
1 organic bird’s eye pepper

Cut up a whole rack of ribs into small pieces. Use a mallet and clever to cut through the bones. Place the ribs into a glass baking tray. Marinate the ribs in cider vinegar and spices for at least 30-60 minutes at room temperature. Longer is better.

Rib Sweet and Spicy Sauce
1/4c to 1/3c organic cider vinegar
1/4c organic ginger, finely grated
1/4c organic garlic, finely grated
1tsp sea salt
1 organic bird’s eye pepper
1T local honey

In a sauce pan mix up the cider vinegar, ginger, garlic, sea salt, pepper and honey. Bring the mixture to a boil and set aside for later. This sauce will be added to the ribs in the last 20-30 minutes of cooking.

Cook the marinated ribs at 300F for 90-120 minutes. Have one layer of ribs so the ribs will brown nicely. Use two glass trays, if necessary. When the ribs are done, pour off the fat and save it for later cooking. Any drippings from the ribs are added to the spicy sauce. Save the rib bones for making Bone Broth.

After the ribs are nicely browned, stir in the spicy sauce and cook for another 20-30 minutes. Carefully check and stir the ribs every 10 minutes to avoid the sauce from burning. If you want sweeter ribs, add two tablespoons of Apple Chutney just before serving.

Serve the ribs on a bed of Cauliflower Side Dish and have a garden salad with Mustard Dressing on the side.

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Marinate the ribs for at least 30-60 minutes at room temperature.

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Heat the Sweet and Spicy Sauce to the boiling point and set aside for later use.

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Place the ribs in one layer on the glass tray. This ensures the ribs brown well. Use two trays, if necessary.

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When the ribs are done, pour off the fat for later cooking. Put any rib drippings into the sauce.

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After adding the sauce to the ribs, check and stir every 10 minutes to avoid burning.

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Serve the ribs on a bed of Cauliflower Side Dish with seasonal, garden vegetables.

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These ribs are nice with a side of garden salad topped with Mustard Dressing.

Healthy Household: Healing Broth: Part I

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Here is my personal blend of fungus, seaweed, sage and sea salt. Have fun and create your own blend to help balance your unique endocrine needs.

?Cur moriatur homo cui Salvia crescit in horto??
Why should a man die who has sage in his garden?

Old English proverb

Food can be medicine. Special broths can have a healing affect when drunk on a regular basis. Here is just one healing broth that will be especially good for peri-menopausal and menopausal women. Healing broths can be a good substitute for caffeine containing beverages which can become troublesome as a woman ages.

This powdered broth can be brought on a road trip or stored as an emergency food. You can drink the broth by itself or simmer it in some bone broth.

3 parts dried wild-crafted fungus, powdered (choose from list below)
3 parts dried organic sage, ground (optional)
1-2 part sea salt, ground
1 part seaweed, powdered (chosen from list below)

Grind each individual ingredient by itself and in small amounts. Use a Vitamix machine, coffee grinder or food processor. The finer the grind, the better the powder will dissolve in hot water or bone broth.

Store broth powder in a glass jar. Remember to date and label the jar with your chosen ingredients and the amounts used. Don’t be afraid to try different combinations. Actually, this is a good idea because you will get a better range of micro-nutrients.

Use one or two teaspoons in each cup of hot water or bone broth. Add more salt if you like a salty broth. Don’t be afraid to use sea salt to taste. If you are wondering if salt is safe to consume, please read these two essays: The Salt of the Earth by Sally Fallon Morell and Salt and Our Health by Dr Morton Satin.

Choose your Fungus:

  1. Maitake has a complex immune stimulating effect and is reported to help the liver clear viral and environmental contamination. Maitake helps the body better absorb nutrients like zinc and copper.
  2. Shiitake has a rich, smoky flavor and is loaded with nutrients, essential amino acids and a highly potent antioxidant, l-ergothioneine. Shiitake contains lentinan which is reported to have a anti-tumor effect.

Choose your Seaweed:

It is reported that seaweed, being naturally very high in iodine, can improve a woman’s progesterone to estradiol ratios, decreasing estrogen dominance by increasing your free Triiodothyronine (T3).

Here is how different seaweeds can be used to help balance endocrine function. Choose your seaweed with these guidelines in mind or just use your favorite seaweed.

  1. Arame (Eisenia bycyclis) was traditionally used to reduce fibrocystic breasts, uterine fibroids, excessive bleeding and ovarian cysts. This seaweed can reduce acne and excessive facial hair common to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
  2. Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) is an excellent adrenal adaptogen. It appears that the seaweed helps lengthen short menstrual cycles and relieves symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) by supporting progesterone production when a woman is estrogen dominant. The seaweed is reported to help with osteoarthritis and inflammatory joint conditions.
  3. Dulse (Palmaria palmata)?is very rich in iodine and iron. This seaweed can help with constipation and cyclic mastalgia. It is reported to have an antiviral action against the herpes virus.
  4. Irish Moss (Chondrus crispus) is traditionally used for low sex drive. It is reported to support Triiodothyronine (T3) levels, which is involved in the conversion of high-density lipoproteins into the progesterone pathway and not into the cortisol pathway.
  5. Kelp (Ascophyllum nodosum), like all brown seaweeds, is rich in alginate and can chelate radioactive materials and heavy metals from the body. The plant is very high in iodine and can help normalize adrenal, pituitary and thyroid health. It is reported to be a blood purifier and can relieve arthritic stiffness.
  6. Wakame (Alaria esculenta) can help with constipation and lower blood pressure. It is reported to have an antiviral affect against cytomegalovirus and herpes virus.

For more recipes please see Healthy Household: Staying Clean Safely and Saving Money.

Marrow Bones and Parsley Salad

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Bone marrow is a superfood. I like eating marrow with just sea salt but Parsley Salad is nice too. Don't overcook marrow. Marrow should have a custard-like consistency. Chew on the bones and eat the connective tissue. When you are done save the bones for bone broth.

One of my favorite foods is beef and lamb marrow. Marrow is the soft fatty center of leg bones and is consider a delicacy. Marrow is also a superfood. Marrow is a special treat in our household. I remember when I first ate bone marrow, I couldn’t get enough. There was something in the fat that my body totally craved. I like eating my marrow all by itself with a bit of sea salt. The last time I cooked marrow we tried this recipe for Parsley Salad. The recipe is very good and might help someone new to bone marrow enjoy this nourishing food. I found this recipe in The Primal Blueprint Cookbook by Mark Sisson.

6-8 pastured beef, veal or lamb marrow bones
1c organic parsley, finely chopped
2T organic shallots or sweet onion, finely chopped
1/2 organic lemon, freshly squeezed
2T organic extra virgin olive oil
small amount of sea salt
Finely chopped the parsley and shallots. If you do not have shallot use sweet onions. (If your onions have a strong flavor, add a small amount of sea salt to the chopped onions and let sit for 30 minutes. The onions will taste sweeter.) Add the lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt. Mix well and let the salad sit until the marrow is cooked.

Place the marrow bones on a glass baking tray and sprinkle the marrow with sea salt. Bake at 375F for 20-30 minutes until done. Be careful not to overcook. If you do, the marrow will liquify and run out of the bones. Marrow should be eaten right out of the oven with small spoons and lots of napkins for greasy fingers. Spoon out a few tablespoons of Parsley Salad for each marrow bone. Get “primal” with your bones and eat all of the meat and connective tissue on the outside of the bones. Skip the glucosamine and eat your gristle! Remember to save any marrow fat for later use in soups or stews. This is a very special fat. Use the marrow bones in bone broth.

Where to Start: Limited Time and Budget

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Here is a light lunch of deviled eggs with salad and grated beets. Eggs are one of the cheapest and easiest foods to prepare. Just ensure you have a quality source for your eggs.

During the last few weeks, I have had a number of conversations from overwhelmed newcomers to nourishing traditional foods. “What is the best way to save money on nourishing traditional foods? How can I find time to make nourishing meals for my family when I am so busy? Do I need to take supplements?” These are examples of the typical questions. I hope the following posting will help people making the transition to nourishing traditional foods. Remember, you do not have to do it alone. There is a whole community with a vast store of knowledge willing to help.

So, how do you start if you have limited time and a limited budget? The Big Changes will take some planning and organizing on a seasonal basis. These changes are more expensive in the short term but will save a lot money over a year. The Little Changes can be done in the household and require only weekly planning and a regular program of self-education. There is no reason to rush. Learning how to prepare and cook one new recipe a week will get you to nourishing traditional foods in less than a year. All these steps will help improve your family’s health, especially if you cut out all the processed industrial food.

The Big Changes

1. Buy meat, fish and fowl by the whole animal. Don’t buy meat, fish or fowl by the piece at the grocery store. These animals and fish are likely from confinement operations. Find a local source of pastured meat, wild fish, and fowl. Look for wild fish in season and purchase the whole fish. Make sure the animal or fowl has been on pasture its whole life and not in a feedlot or confined. Buy the whole animal and get a full service butcher to cut and wrap the meat into sizes suitable for your family. Get the butcher to give you everything, including parts you do not know how to cook yet. You will need to have a deep freezer to store your meat, fish and fowl. Pastured beef is the best value per pound.

2. Use organic butter, pastured lard and grease. Don’t buy margarine and shortening, even if it is organic. These products may be cheaper but you will pay with your health. If money is an issue use more pastured lard than butter. If you really want to save money, start a grease bucket and save the congealed fat from cooked beef, pork and fowl. You really get something for nothing. Grease is great for high heat cooking and frying. If you are thinking, “What, you want me to eat saturated fat! Are you mad? Haven’t you heard, saturated fat causes heart disease?” Please read Cholesterol: Friend or Foe.

3. Eat pastured eggs. Don’t buy eggs produced in a confinement operation. These eggs are of poor quality, being produced by heavily medicated hens under very stressful conditions. Find a local source of eggs where the hens are allowed freedom to eat bugs, worms and grass. Properly produced eggs are a nourishing, low-cost alternative to meat. Eggs are a great way to start the day and hard-boiled eggs make a great snack.

4. Eat organic or pastured raw cheese and homemade high-fat yoghurt. Try fermenting some foods. Don’t buy pasteurized cheese or commercial low-fat yoghurt. These are ersatz foods and are a shadow of the real thing. Making your yoghurt at home will save money and will enhance digestion. Homemade yoghurt with some frozen seasonal berries makes a delicious snack or dessert. Find a source of local raw cheese. Eating raw cheese is an easy, nutritious snack or addition to a meal. Try making your own fermented foods. It is easy and will save money. Here are some more recipes for fermented foods: dill pickles, kimchi, green tomatoes, horseradish, mustard and live whey culture.

5. Eat vegetables and fruit in season and from a local source. Don’t buy exotic fruits and vegetables out of season. These foods have been shipped halfway around the world and may come from questionable sources. The best part of fruits and vegetables, the phytochemicals, will be mostly lost after such a long journey. Buy local, certified organic or from a producer that follows organic principles. Go to your local farmer’s market and get to know your local producers. Find out if there is a Community Supported Agriculture CSA program in your area. Many of the cheapest vegetables are the most nourishing. Eat plenty of potatoes, broccoli, chard, celery, beets, kale, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, onions, garlic, squash, and lettuce. Grow a few pots of fresh herbs for low-cost garnishing on salads. While in season, consider buying vegetables and fruit in bulk and store for the winter.

6. Buy organic dried foods in bulk from a source you can trust. Don’t waste your money buying small packages of dried goods. You can save money by buying your organic grains, beans, legumes, dried fruits, herbs, and spices in bulk. You will need to find a dark, dry, and cool area of your house to store these foods. Try to buy this season’s harvest whenever possible.

7. Buy organic nuts and seeds in bulk from a source you can trust. Don’t waste your money buying small packages of nuts and seeds. Many of these packaged snacks are old and include numerous unhealthy additives. Try to buy this season’s harvest of nuts and seeds whenever possible. Nuts and seeds store best in the shell but most nuts and seeds are now sold shelled and need to be stored in a freezer. Try to buy this season’s harvest whenever possible to avoid stale products.

8. Put your money into whole foods rather than supplements. Don’t buy that low-cost multi-vitamin found in the drug store. There are many excellent supplements, such as fermented cod liver oil or probiotics, but if your budget is limited, use your money on real food first. Supplements are by their very nature highly processed, thus you will pay more for less. As your diet becomes more nutrient dense, your need for supplements will be reduced. Spend some time learning about superfoods before wasting money on supplements.

9. Eat offal from a pastured animal. Don’t supplement, eat offal! Liver, kidneys, heart, sweetbreads and brains are superfoods. If you are thinking about taking supplements, eat offal first. Offal was prized by most traditional cultures and are a rich source of nutrients.

The Little Changes

10. Make your own salad dressing. Don’t buy bottled salad dressing that is full of rancid vegetable oils, trans fats, and numerous unhealthy additives. For the cost of an average bottle of salad dressing you can make your own from the finest organic ingredients. Once you learn how to make your own dressing it takes a few minutes each week. Here is a recipe for Mustard Seed Dressing, Orange Ginger Dressing and Caesar Dressing. These are three family favorites.

11. Make a large bowl of seasonal mixed greens and vegetables and keep in the fridge for easy salads. Don’t waste your money on pre-mixed salad greens with packages of dressings with unhealthy ingredients. It takes a few minutes twice a week to have a fresh seasonal salad with each meal. Add your homemade salad dressing to the mixed greens just before eating.

12. Make your own bone broth once a week and use in soups, stews or reduction sauces. Don’t buy tetra packs of commercial stock. Don’t use processed bouillon cubes, even organic, which are made from very questionable ingredients. Bone broth is rich in minerals and helps in protein digestion. The congealed fat from bone broth can be used in cooking, which will save money. If you do not know how to make a homemade soups or stews, it is time to learn. Bone broth will make every soup or stew delicious. If you are lost in the kitchen read Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. You can find a copy in the Kamloops Public Library.

13. If you eat grains, beans, and legumes, enjoy them whole with your meals. Don’t buy expensive prepackaged, or canned foods. These foods may be convenient but they do not have the nutrition found in home prepared grains, beans and legumes. Soak overnight and cook the next day. If you are wondering why you need to soak grains read Be Kind to Your Grains. If you are short on time, make a big pot once a week and store the cooked grains, beans and legumes in the fridge for later use. Use cold or re-heat as needed.

14. If you eat grains, make your our breakfast cereal. Don’t buy boxed cold breakfast cereal, even if it is made from organic whole grains. These processed foods are very expensive, difficult to digest, and poor in nutrition. Even the most expensive organic grains will be far cheaper than these heavily processed breakfast cereals. Make your own breakfast cereal with organic whole grains that are soaked overnight before cooking. If you are short on time, make a big pot once and week and store the cooked cereal in the fridge for later use. Heat up a small amount of the cooked cereal in the morning for breakfast. Remember to top with lots of raw cream or butter to help your body utilize the nutrients in the cereal and slow down your insulin response.

15. Make healthy homemade cookies and have frozen fruit for quick snacks. Don’t buy expensive cookies and cake with questionable ingredients. Have some frozen fruit for quick snacks and everyday desserts. Don’t buy those expensive little packages of organic berries from the grocery store. In season, find a local source of organic berries and freeze a year’s supply. Here are some recipes for cookies and cakes: Lemon Coconut Cookies, Chocolate Brownies, Butter Tart Squares, Coconut Almond Bark and Nanaimo Bars. Use these sweet desserts for special occasions.

16. If you eat grains, make healthy homemade bread and crackers. Don’t buy breads and crackers made with rancid flour, rancid vegetable oils, trans fats, and numerous unhealthy additives. The staff-of-life has become a shadow of its former greatness. Grind your own flour from organic whole grains and grow your own sour dough culture. Making bread can be made easier by making bread once a week or by storing a week’s worth of dough in the fridge and bring out a loaves’ worth in the morning before baking. If grinding your own flour is not possible, try sprouting the grain for three days and use a food processor to make a dough from the sprouted grain. For more information about the staff-of-life and the staff-of-death please read Dirty Secrets.

18. If possible, grow your own garden. Don’t worry if all you have is a small patio or windowsill. Start with a small herb garden for parsley, cilantro, thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary and other favorite herbs. Use these fresh herbs on your daily salads. Grow a few tomato plants or peas in pots. It is very satisfying to grow your own food.

19. If you are inclined, get a few hens for fresh eggs and meat. If you have the space consider getting a miniature goat or cow for raw milk. Lobby your government for changes in regulations to promote local food security. Hens will produce eggs and improve your garden fertility. Getting a source of high quality raw dairy is worth the trouble. Raw dairy is one of the most delicious, nourishing foods. Lobby your local, provincial, and federal governments to change laws so we can all can grow healthy food on our properties. This will increase food security for everyone.

20. Invest in your long-term health. Don’t skimp on your food budget. Economize by eating at home and save on meals out. If you are looking for nourishing recipes please see Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD): Recipes which is an index of all the recipes on this website. Cut out all the junk food, even the organic junk food, and use this money to buy high quality whole foods. Eating whole foods will keep you healthy and avoid loses in wages due to sick-time off work. It might even spare your life, by avoiding some dreaded disease. Look through the WAPF Shopping Guide for tips on assessing the quality of your food choices. If you haven’t read 25 Step to Nourishing Traditional Foods, please do so. If you are a visual learner please watch the Wise Tradition Beginner Video Series.

Traditional Sour Cabbage Rolls

At this time of year, I’m cleaning out my freezers for the summer months. I am always looking for recipes to use up frozen tomatoes, ground meats, organs and bones. Traditional Sour Cabbage Rolls are a great food for cold winter days or even rainy summer weather like today. This recipe does not use brown rice so is safe for people on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. If you would like, add 1/2c of raw brown rice to the recipe. Note the optional organ meats. Try adding the organs meats to casserole type meals and see if anyone notices the change. Joette Calabrese in Secret Spoonfuls: Confessions of a Sneaky Mom, recommends adding organ meats to increase the nutrient content of a meal.

Rolls
1 head of sour cabbage
2lbs. ground pastured beef
1lb. ground pastured pork
1/2lb. ground organ meats (optional)
2c finely chopped onions
3-4 minced cloves of garlic
1T paprika
1tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Sauce
3-4 frozen garden tomatoes, skins removed
2-3c bone broth
You can make your own sour cabbage, if you have time, or buy it from a store. Carefully peel the cabbage leaves off the head. You will need to cut through the heavy vein at the base of the stem to get the leaves off. After removing the leaves, cut the leaf in half and remove the large central vein in the middle with a knife. This vein gets in the way of forming the cabbage roll. Use about 2-3 tablespoons of the raw meat filling and form into a oval shape. Place the filling on the half leaf and start rolling from the vein end towards the edge of the leaf. Tuck in each end to close the roll. Do not over stuff the cabbage roll. The rolls should be placed one at a time into a large Dutch Oven with the seam side down. (If you have an enamel Dutch Oven this is the time to use it, due to the acids in the tomatoes and sour cabbage.) Make two or three layers of rolls for the best results. Top each layer with one or two hand crushed tomatoes. Pour as much bone broth as needed to completely cover the cabbage rolls. Bake uncovered at 300F for two hours. The cabbage rolls taste even better the next day after the flavors meld together.