Spicy and Tangy Kombucha Barbecue Sauce

My dad makes THE best barbecue sauce that is both tangy and spicy. He always gets rave reviews every time he serves it (which is pretty much whenever anyone eats dinner at their house). After several failed attempts to make my own barbecue sauce by mixing up various spices and sauces in the kitchen, I recently asked him for the recipe so that I could have my own stash of the stuff.
Of course, I decided to “real-foodify” (yes, I did just make up a word) it. Over brewed, or surplus kombucha adds the perfect tangy flavor in barbecue sauces. Yes, the good bacteria perish when they are cooked, but the flavor remains. Plus, you can always serve the meat with extra barbecue sauce that hasn’t been cooked, thereby serving up some probiotic goodness unbeknownst to your guests.

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined. Taste and add additional seasonings as required for your taste.
Pour into a 1/2 gallon mason jar. Cover and allow to sit out at room temperature for about 12 hours to allow the good bacteria to multiply. (You can skip this step and use it right away, but it definitely increases flavors.)
Divide and pour into smaller jars and store in the refrigerator.
Baste on your favorite meats before barbecuing and during. Serve more to dip on the side!
This will keep for up to a year in the refrigerator and the flavors only develop more and improve with age.
**If you don’t particularly enjoy spicy barbecue sauce, start with 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and increase to taste.

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Instant Taco Seasoning Mix

Everyone loves taco night. But when you’re in the pinch of the weeknight bustle, it’s easy to be tempted by expensive instant mixes (with ingredients that make you shudder). Save time and money by storing this simple homemade mix in your cupboard — and make taco night everyone’s favorite again.

Combine ingredients in a jar. Shake to combine.
2-3 TB of mix = 1 instant package of taco seasoning.
To cook, add 2-3 TB of mix to 1lb of beans and/or ground meat.
NOTE: Not a fan of traditional tacos or want to avoid corn? Make a salad using lettuce, cheese, salsa, meat (beef, chicken, etc), beans, and guacamole.
TIP: To save money, we buy our spices in bulk from a local health food store.

Taiwanese Style Fish Sauce

A delightful and simple-to-make sauce that is wonderful with stir-fry, over fish or other seafood.

In a small saucepan, combine the ketchup, soy sauce (tamari) and Sucanat.
Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly.
Add the minced garlic and boil, stirring, for 30 seconds.
Remove from heat.

Sweet Cucumber Relish Recipe

A delicately sweet pickle relish is a delightful accompaniment to your grass-fed burgers and roasts. During the summer garden harvest, I like to make it fresh, but what to do in the winter when organic cucumbers are impossible to find? Here is a delicious and simple recipe for home-prepared and canned relish that your family can enjoy year round!

The cucumbers, onions and peppers need to be finely chopped. Although this can be done by hand, it is tedious and I would suggest you use a hand cranked “food chopper” or attachment for a Kitchenaide mixer, or, if you are very careful, it may be done in an electric food processor. If using the latter, cut your vegetables into small pieces first, and then process them with a metal blade in the food processor. Do each vegetable separately, and in short pulse bursts until the vegetables are finely chopped. You do not want to turn them to mush!
Chop, grind or process the cucumbers, onions and peppers.
In a heavy-bottomed stainless saucepan, 5 to 6 quarts in size, combine the vegetables, celery seed, mustard seed, salt, cloves, turmeric, vinegar and honey.
Quickly bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and then simmer for approximately 3 hours, until the relish has been reduced to about 5 pints. Stirring occasionally.
Prepare 5 pint - sized canning jars, lids and rings. (Please refer to a reliable source of canning instructions for a more detailed description of these steps. I recommend the Ball Blue Book of Preserving.
Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes.
Of course we love and enjoy our fresh and live vegetable ferments, and yet it is also very nice to have home-canned relish, as we can prepare it with organically grown ingredients and preserve it in glass jars. This avoids the preservatives always added to commercial products. This relish also makes a welcome gift!

Homemade Coconut Butter

Move over peanut butter! Coconut butter is simple to make and is rich and creamy. Sure, you could buy it, but it’s a lot more expensive that way. You can use coconut butter as a substitute for just about any recipe calling for a nut butter and it can also be used as a dairy-free substitute for butter in baking. We like it as a dip for fruit or spread on bread with some preserves. Can you say CBJ sandwich?! Mmmm. Be careful this stuff is addicting when eating it by the spoonful.

Place shredded coconut in a food processor and blend. While it is going, add in the coconut oil. Blend until the shreds begin to stick together.
Scrape down the sides and blend for five more minutes.
Scrape down sides again and blend until creamy and liquidy. About 15 minutes total blending time.
Pour into a clean mason jar and store at room temperature. Like coconut oil, coconut butter will harden at temperatures below 76 degrees. Gently warm to use.
*Depending on what brand of coconut you use you may need a tiny bit more coconut oil. Some coconut is processed a little differently and is left with less oil in it and therefore drier.

Recipe was shared on Homemaking Link-Up

20-Minute Nourishing Enchilada Sauce

Buying enchilada sauce has been one of the last store-bought sauces found in our pantry, and I just couldn’t bear buying another jar. This recipe is quick, rich, and freezes really well. I’m freezing mine in pint-sized mason jars; the perfect amount for a pan o’ enchiladas (a very good freezer meal) and there may be some some to spare to make dressing for a tasty enchilada salad.

In a large pot, heat fat of choice over medium-high heat until melted. Meanwhile, whisk arrowroot powder in water until smooth. Add to fat. Add chili powder & stir for about half a minute. The arrowroot will get really gelatinous. Don’t let it scare you.
Whisk in all remaining ingredients except the salt in the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in salt. Pour in prepared 1/2-pint or 1-pint mason jars & allow to cool. Fasten the lids and freeze until you’re ready to use.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Coming up with homemade seasonings has taken a while. I don’t know why; they’re so easy to assemble and such a better choice than anything a supermarket has to offer. Be sure to purchase only organic spices as most conventional ones have been irradiated (not good). You can make this in big batches to have on hand, or just throw the spices on the beef as it cooks, which is what I find myself doing most of the time. Whenever possible, I like to use fresh garlic to benefit from it’s many good properties, but obviously if you’re wanting to make a big batch, it’s better to go with dried/ground so it can be stored. A little jar of this is a great addition to a gift basket, or presented in a cute half-pint mason jar is a sweet (er, spicy) present on it’s own. Here is our taco seasoning that my kids have decided is their favorite (they are my hardest critiques, you know):

Mix all ingredients. Store in an airtight container (I used clean old spice jars or little mason jars)
Use about 3 tablespoons mix with 1 pound browned ground beef (or meat of your choice. It’s also great with chicken). Mix with about 1/2 cup water and let it simmer so the meat really absorbs the flavor without drying out.

Lacto-Fermented Homemade Ketchup

Ketchup, catsup… however you spell it, my kids adore it. The fact that I’m even messing with this sacred food (yes food, not condiment) of theirs is quite risky. I’ve tried three recipes. One was “too spicy,” one was “too lacto-fermenty,” they weren’t puréed enough… I’m competing with Trader Joe’s organic ketchup here. You’d think a homemade version would be a definite upgrade, but not according to my kids. Since I haven’t been able to exactly replicate their ketchup, I resigned to calling this homemade version (this recipe is as close as I could get to Trader’s) “red sauce” or “red dip.” Whichever name will most delight the eater is the name I use.

Blend tomatoes, peppers, and onion (preferably through a high-speed blender). This might need to happen in two or more batches. Pour in a large saucepan or stock pot and bring to a rapid boil. Allow purée to reduce to about half, stirring often.
Turn heat to medium and add remaining ingredients. Cover and check periodically to see if it’s reached your desired consistency. This can take 1-4 hours depending on how thick you’d like your ketchup to be. Store in fridge or double the recipe if you’d like to preserve some.
To Lacto-Ferment:
Decrease vinegar to 2 tablespoons and add 1/4 cup whey (not the powdered kind) to the end, cooled product. Stir and leave at least 1 inch of space between the ketchup and the top of the jar. Cover and sit on the countertop for three days, then store in the fridge (or a root cellar if you’re blessed enough to have one).
To Can:
Fill 1-pint jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove any bubbles with a knife and process according to a water bath method.

Warm Fried Apples

Warm fried apples are a wonderful comfort food. Serve drizzled with raw cream; as a topping for pancakes, waffles, or crepes; or as an accompaniment to roasted poultry.

Peel, core and slice apples.
In a cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
Add sliced apples. Cover. Turn to medium-high heat until apples and butter start to sizzle, then return to medium heat.
Cook till apples are soft, stirring occasionally-about 10 minutes.
Remove lid and turn heat to medium.
Stir occasionally. Cook till apples begin to caramelize-about 8 minutes.
Cook 1 to 5 minutes more, stirring continuously, till desired caramelization achieved.

Holiday Turkey Gravy

My mother always made the best “milk” gravy (of course!) I have taken her method and adapted it to a healthier lifestyle. I think she would be pleased. 🙂

At least 7 hours before you plan to make the gravy, or up to 12 hours ahead of time, combine the whole wheat flour with the kefir/milk mixture. Cover tightly and let sit on the kitchen counter.
On Turkey roasting day, put all of the giblets and the neck into a saucepan and cover with water. Simmer for at least one hour and then allow to cool. Drain. Chop the giblets and remove the meat from the neck. Reserve all of this for the gravy (unless you really want to put it in the stuffing, in which case, you can skip this step.)
When the Turkey is all done roasting, use a turkey baster to remove the liquid from the roasting pan and put it into a heavy-bottomed pan. I like to use a cast iron skillet for this. If you don’t have 3 cups of turkey broth, add some homemade poultry stock.
Bring the broth to a boil, and gradually stir in the flour/milk/kefir mixture with a wisk. Simmer for 1 minute. Add the 1/2 cup fresh milk and heat all together a little more. If your gravy is thicker than you like, just add in a little more milk or broth.
Add Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
If you wish, after it is all done, and you have it seasoned, you can sprinkle in a little ground poultry seasoning to taste.
That’s it! EASY
Serve this with turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. If there is extra, it is wonderful just poured warm over some nice fresh bread and eaten with a fork.
Another way to use up extra gravy is what I call “Thanksgiving Pie.” Just chop up some of the turkey meat, mix it with leftover stuffing, fill a pie plate with it, pour some gravy over it, and top with mashed potatoes. This may be covered tightly and frozen, or you can warm it up in the oven right away. We love this as a main dish, and it will keep frozen nicely for several weeks.

Quick and Easy Cranberry and Orange Relish

This goes together in a snap and doesn’t even require cooking. Just cranberries, an orange, good quality honey and a food processor and you are set!

In a medium sized food processor bowl, combine ingredients and process until desired consistency. Taste and adjust sweetness by adding more honey if needed, but maintain refreshing tartness.
Chill and serve.
Leftover relish lasts about a week in the fridge, and is great on its own, on gluten-free muffins or bread, or stirred into raw, organic, grass-fed yogurt!
This recipe is GAPS legal, raw, vegetarian friendly and all around delicious!

Lacto-fermented Cranberry Apple Chutney

This lacto-fermented apple chutney is sweet, spicy, slightly tangy and a perfect compliment to raw cheddar, kefir, yogurt, poultry and more. It’s hard not to eat a whole bowl full of this stuff! Think of all the awesome probiotics you will get eating this lacto-fermented chutney.

Combine the water, lemon juice, salt and whey. Mix the combined liquids with the other ingredients and pack firmly into 2 - quart sized jars or 1 - half-gallon jar, leaving at least 1 inch of headspace at the top. The liquid should come to the top of the fruit. Add a little more water if necessary. (I usually layer apples, cranberries and pecans together in my food processor and let it do all the work.)
Cover and leave at room temperature for 48 hours (alternately, use a lacto-fermentation device that has an airlock system, such as those offered by Cultures for Health. You should see trapped bubbles around the sides, which is a sign of active fermentation.
Refrigerate and leave in the fridge another week before eating. Will keep for about 2 months in the refrigerator. Be sure to always use a clean utensil when dipping out of the jar and re-pack the fruit each time.
Tip: Use this lacto-fermented cranberry apple chutney as a “dressing” on top of shredded cabbage for a probiotic rich salad.