On April 7, 2018 we celebrated the 60th year my Dad is walking this planet. He has touched many lives, many hearts, and many stomachs with his Italian cooking, family values, and fun-loving attitude.
As you may already know, Italians love a good antipasti spread. Restaurants are helping this concept become more well known in the form of charcuterie boards…but we’ve been doing it forever; and we do it better. With months of planning, and one crazy day of execution,
I think we pulled off the most epic antipasti table ever known.
Elena’s Cucina is a mouth-watering Italian catering kitchen, in Roselle, Illinois; named after my favorite cook in the world, Zia Elena—that’s how we say Aunt in Italian. Elena’s Cucina is family owned & operated, and they’re cranking out some mind-altering specialties like her focaccia breads that have a cult following. Find my cousin Mario, Elena’s son, at the following Chicagoland farmers markets selling the famous Italian pizzas and specialty desserts all made from scratch:
Attention all Chicagoland food business owners: Orlando Imports is the best wholesale resource for authentic Italian foods all made the old-world way. My cousin Nick Ruggiero is your guy, and you can order with him by emailing email@example.com. Thank you Nick, and Orlando Imports, for getting us the Prosciutto Cotto, Ricotta, Bocconcini, and Soppressata.
Almost every family party is celebrated at Alta Villa Banquest, owned by my lively grandfather—Nonno Enzo. Alta Villa helped us pull together all of the loose ends on our epic antipasti table by providing their fluffy classic focaccia bread, massive trays of fresh fruit salad, serving utensils and more. Alta Villa is known for their incredible banquet food, holiday buffets, and affordable prices. Check out how beautiful everything looked for my wedding there:
I am so blessed to have such talented, generous, and wonderful family in my life. I hope you enjoyed seeing how we throw an awesome party.
Oh, and how could I leave without telling you about the gelato service we got from Black Dog Gelato.
Share this article with anyone in Chicago who loves great food! And anyone who wants to see the most epic antipasti table ever.
I was blown away by instagrammer MJ Sanders @RivetandRoot when I saw her dedication to eating local. I asked MJ to be a guest blogger on my site so we can explore Why and How to eat local…more often.
To anyone in Northwest Indiana, join me February 23 for the FED Food Expo & Discussion. We’ll gather together to discuss local food & sustainability strategies, and I’ll have a table in the expo area to share my services for primal health coaching. Join me! – Marisa Moon
I started my local food journey about five years ago, shortly after marrying my husband, Caleb, in 2012. The more I pursued local food, the more reasons I discovered that compelled me to find out more.
Here are just a few of those reasons:
#1) Sustainability: eating local is better for my world.
From fossil fuel to food miles to plastic use, if you care about being “green” at all, eating local is the way to go! The footprint of local food is vastly smaller on every front, utilizing more efficient energy, less synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and better labor practices. And even if “being green” isn’t one of your top values, here are a few more reasons that started to convince me:
#2) Health: eating local is better for my body.
I discovered that eating local food is an extremely wholesome option for me and my family. Not only is the food usually harvested when it’s ripe and sold fresh, (which means it retains a lot more nutrients!) it’s often grown in healthier soil, and without the use of chemicals that are starting to emerge as extremely toxic to our bodies over time. Continue reading →
This slow cooker paleo chicken recipe uses almond butter, lime, ginger, and coconut aminos to make the perfect asian chicken wraps for the week.
Slow cookers can be such a lifesaver in the kitchen. I’m always telling people about how much I love using them.
But many of you have horror stories about your slow cooker dinners ending up in the trash. Maybe it’s because a lot of recipes use cookie cutter cooking times—such as 8 hours on low and 6 hours on high—but not all recipes turn out well with that amount of time.
Another reason your results don’t turn out? Let’s face it…there are about 500 different slow cookers on the market, and they range in shape, size, and efficiency. So it’s quite possible that our slow cookers are so different that you get a different result. Hang in there.
It’s worth figuring out what the problem is because these machines are AWESOME! You can slow cook while you sleep, while you work, and use it to keep food warm at a party (that’s how my family rocks out all the Thanksgiving sides on a buffet table).
And slow cooking is how food wants to be cooked. Allowing the food to slowly be broken down, flavors to be mingling over time, and juices releasing in a natural flow yields a dish that always hits home.
Did you know that slow cooking is the most nutritious way to cook? The foods are cooked at a lower temperature which preserves many of the nutrients. This is also a more traditional method Continue reading →
I shot my first Facebook Live cooking video alongside Chicago Biohacking Expert Anthony Diclementi. Anthony, a long time acquaintance and Hi-Vibe Ambassador, invited me into his kitchen for an informal live video about how to make my Nutty Butter Collagen Bars, all while we laughed and discussed why eating real food is so awesome. Watch the video to see Anthony’s reaction to my peanut butter substitution, and to see how you can make these low-carb, fudgy bars in 15 minutes Continue reading →
No time to read the full post? Listen here to the audio version:
If you love tangy lime, cilantro, and a warm bowl of chili (who doesn’t?), you’ll love this spicy green chili that’s packed with leafy greens, protein, and gusto! The weather has been teetering in and out of single digits here in Chicago & Indiana, and now it’s freezing rain and yuck. I could seriously eat soup or chili Every. Single. Day. Did I tell you this is a slow cooker chili recipe? Ahhhhh, the beauty of convenience (especially when you’re in hibernation mode).
This is a recipe from the exclusive E-cookbook I created for the My6Method fitness participants. I have to start swapping out old recipes for some new ones, so I thought I should finally share one with YOU!
What’s My6Method, you ask? It’s a rewarding health coaching program where people participate in a 3 or 6 week diet and lifestyle overhaul guided by the personal trainer and former fitness competitor named Adrienne Hanover. Adrienne and I have been long time friends; she was even a bridesmaid in my ridiculously large wedding! Adrienne has successfully led hundreds of clients through fat-shedding transformations with her dairy-free, alcohol-free, low sugar, low grain diet program because she does things differently. She critiques their food journals twice a week with some real talk, compassion, and expert advice; she provides you with an extensive manual to guide you through her recommendations and how to balance your macros depending on your specific fitness levels; she takes before and after pics for recording your progress, and of course she provides you with endless fitness ideas and inspiration. You don’t even have to live in the area; you can do everything online! Check out her website here. Another cool thing she does with the program is to provide a community for challengers to share their motivations, questions, and concerns together in a Facebook group where Adrienne and I both get involved. Adrienne came to me in late 2015 asking if I’d like to partner up with My6Method because she knew we were on a similar path with health and nutrition, and more importantly, she wanted help creating exclusive recipes for anyone who signs up. That’s where this recipe comes into the picture. I made a 60 page full color e-book with breakfast lunch and dinner ideas, all for the M6M participants. Since the release of the cookbook I have added new recipes every season! Eventually I can share some of my older recipes with you, just like this codfish chili!
I don’t think people make seafood chili often enough. Or ever. I made this recipe because I wanted to show people three things: how effortless a seafood meal can be, how and why you’d want to introduce sprouted lentils into your diet, and how to pack a ridiculous amount of veggies into one meal for the whole fam—assuming your family is like mine and loves flavor explosions and spicy food. Who’s with me?
The key to making the healthiest chili here is to use SPROUTED green lentils. Sprouted lentils are just lentils that are prepared the old-fashioned way (make note that sprouted lentils are probably the most nutritious and safest legume to eat). Really they are soaked lentils, maybe sprouted like the video, but most-importantly they are soaked for several hours before cooking. Why? All beans, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds contain anti-nutrients that are toxic to all mammals when consumed regularly for long periods of time; especially when they are hastily prepared. Some of these anti-nutrients include phytic acid, which I go into detail about in my last post called “The Truth About Overnight Oats“, and lectins, which we’ll discuss now…
Lectins are a category of plant chemicals that are concentrated in the seed of the plant, which is the actual lentil in this case. Seeds produce certain lectins to protect themselves from harm (insects, microorganisms, and UV rays), and many of the toxic lectins damage our intestinal tract as they pass through our system undigested. We cannot break them down in our body, and they trick our cells into incorporating them into normal cellular functions. Because of this, long-term lectin consumption often leads to leaky gut, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), heartburn, migraines, allergies, arthritis, and eventually autoimmune diseases like fibromyalgia or hashimotos thyroiditis. Some of the most common reactions include gas and bloating—symptoms we consider normal and just live with. Do you ever wonder where the gas and bloating is coming from? Do you believe it is something you can actually control, and avoid? You can.
A key way to avoid these consequences, and promote long-term health, is to switch to sprouted legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains (fermented grains are even better; but grains are complicated and I am not ready to get into it. Eat grains sparingly or read this to learn more). It’s extremely important to consider this change for whichever foods in this category you eat most often. For instance, if you eat a lot of bread, pasta or treats, read that article I just linked to above to learn how you can possibly make them a health food; if you eat a lot of nuts then start buying sprouted/soaked nuts or make your own; if you eat a lot of beans, listen up and I’ll tell you what to do below. If you’re not willing to spend more on brands that sprout them for you, then you should try doing it yourself…the old-fashioned way. And if you’re not willing to do either then you can join the massive Paleo camp who generally avoids all legumes and grains. Forever. Doesn’t sound fun does it? So here’s how you can enjoy lentils, broken down into three categories from the best—most nutritious way, to the least sufficient way Continue reading →
No time to read the full post? Listen here to the audio version:
Somebody got this trend all wrong.
Well, not ALL wrong…but they messed up the only step in the recipe! We shouldn’t be soaking our overnight oats in the refrigerator, we should be soaking them with warm water, at room temperature—or even warmer. And would you believe that cooking the oats afterwards actually makes them even MORE nutritious. This is not a food you want to eat raw. Let me break down the basics for you…
Our ancestors ate whole grains after soaking them or fermenting them. Over time they figured out that this was how grains needed to be prepared—in order to avoid illness. It was probably thanks to serendipity that they figured this out back then because there weren’t any refrigerators…food was just left out. But as generations passed, and food culture diminished, we have been hastily preparing our grains…and we’ve even gone as far as thinking they are best uncooked! This is flat out wrong.
Did you know that the oatmeal box, back in the day, used to say “soak overnight” in the directions? What happened to that?
You see, all grains contain something called “phytic acid”—or phytates—in the outer layer or bran, and oats contain more phytates than almost any other grain. So, if this phytic acid is untreated, it will combine with important minerals in our body and block their absorption. I’m talking about calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper. We need these minerals, and our food supply is providing less and less of them because of modern farming methods. We should take every precaution to protect the minerals that are still available to us. Regular consumption of improperly prepared grains (also legumes, and nuts) can lead to mineral deficiencies, leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, bone loss, food allergies, and even mental illness.
So what’s the proper way to prepare these grains?
The process is simple really. All we need to do is soak the whole grains overnight at room temperature, or even warmer! It helps tremendously if you add an acid starter like liquid whey, kefir, yogurt, or even lemon juice. Allow the natural enzymes and other helpful organisms to begin fermenting the grains, for 7-24 hours, and this will neutralize a large portion of the phytic acid. Soaking in warm, acidic or cultured water not only gets rid of this mineral-blocking substance, but it also releases all of the vitamins in grains, and encourages more healthy digestion by partially breaking down some of the proteins (like gluten). Win Win, all around! Finish your oatmeal by cooking for a quick 5-10 minutes (more on that in the recipe at the end of this post).
Spread the word to those we care about.
Oatmeal is one of those things that people eat habitually…every single morning. That’s why it’s important to spread the word. Although I do not usually consume oatmeal, or most grains, I felt the need to focus on this recipe because many of my closest friends and family are enjoying oatmeal on a regular basis. My goal with My Longevity Kitchen is to help explain how we can maximize the nutrients in our food, and minimize toxins. And my passion lies in the ways of our ancestors, and their time-honored traditional cooking methods. Oatmeal can be nutritious, or quite the opposite. I hope you’ve learned a thing or two on how to make it truly nourishing. Here are some more tips for you, and the recipe!
No time to read the full post? Listen here to the audio version:
One of the first, most-interesting soups I ever made was a braised dandelion greens recipe by Top Chef Master, Chris Cosentino. It was bitter, and spicy, and full of dimension. It’s not for everyone, but that’s okay. This recipe is for anyone who appreciates bitter greens like rapini (broccoli rabe), frisse, escarole, and of course dandelion greens. The way Chris paired the greens with ancho chilies, lemon, olive oil, and true parmigiano reggiano just spoke to me. This is totally my language.
I’ve made it time and time again, swaying a bit from the recipe to make it compliant with my food and lifestyle choices. For instance, he suggests a crusty piece of bread on the bottom of your bowl so it will soak up all of the dandelion broth…and I know that sounds heavenly. But, I don’t really eat bread any more. I eat it on special occasions if it’s gluten free, or if I’m in the mood for a burger with a real bun—but otherwise I avoid it. So, I started adding potatoes to the soup instead. Bitter greens and potatoes are a popular combo with Italians, so that one was a no-brainer. I also changed the chicken broth base to a bone broth base, and the combination of bone broth with dandelion greens is what makes this recipe especially healing. Interested in Chris Cosentino’s cookbook? It’s called Beginnings – My Way To Start A Meal. It’s a beautiful book full of vegetables, cured meats, and artisanal cheeses; and it’s organized by seasons to highlight year-round ingredients for appetizers and small bites.
If you are a vegetarian then don’t worry, this soup can be made with water, or vegetable stock, and still turn out great! But for everyone else, let’s talk about bone broth. That’s possibly the main reason I called this recipe “Healing Dandelion Stew”; it’s the bone broth that makes it especially healing. The name “Bone Broth” either gets you excited, or Continue reading →
Getting your daily dose of probiotics through food doesn’t get any easier than this guacamole recipe…welllll, unless of course you’re just eating the sauerkraut out of the jar. You might be blown away by this recipe concept here, or you’ll be like me and say “why didn’t I think of this sooner?”.
I always felt bad dumping a jar of sauerkraut juice or brine after I finished the nourishing veggies. Ever since I read the back of the bag of sauerkraut by Farmhouse Culture a year ago, I realized I need to put that sauerkraut brine to use! If you think about it, that brine is really just salt water with a tart/sour taste– thanks to the healthy probiotic bacteria that occur during the fermentation process used to make the kraut. Why would we dump it down the drain when we can use it in other foods and continue to reap the benefits?
Ever since realizing this, I have been putting it in everything from guacamole to tuna salads. Continue reading →
I feel so lucky being able to visit Austin for THE Paleo conference, working alongside passionate foodies, and visionary leaders whom I admire.
I had an exciting moment when it was time to announce the Best New Blog of the Year because I was a nominee! Even though I didn’t win, I was already feeling so accomplished after being voted into to the top 4 new blogs. On the day leading up to the awards ceremony, I had the chance to speak with Tony Federico, the host of Paleo Magazine Radio, and do a short impromptu interview about my experience at PFX. You can find my interview on the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast here. (I’m the first interview which starts at 2 minutes in.)
Okay, on to my favorite products!
I’m still going gaga over some products I purchased at paleo f(x), and I knew I had to share them with you! I’m going to keep it as brief as possible, on some items more than others, because if I try to explain each item and all of the benefits, I’d be writing this post for 12 days straight. So, if you have any questions about each item please comment below or just click the product photo to head over to the company’s site.
Artisan Tropics – Cassava Strips
Vegan, Grain-free, Diary-free, Soy-free, Non-GMO
These chips or strips are pretty awesome. If you’ve given up on chips because you believe there’s no such thing as a healthy chip, then think again! Continue reading →
Music and wellness join forces for an unparalleled Chicago experience…
Have you heard?
This year at Mamby on the Beach, I will be presenting some thought-provoking concepts on wellness and nutrition during these livewellness workshops on Saturday, July 2nd; and Sunday July 3rd(see schedule below).
Times are changing, and music lovers are uniting to share more than music. They are searching for inspiration, enlightenment, and connection. My friends over at Mamby on the Beach, a lakeside music festival in Chicago, are broadening the possibilities for festival goers by introducing the wellness stage. Here, attendees will find experiences ranging from Silent Yoga to my Primal Living & Nutrition Workshops. I am honored to be a part of such a movement, and working hard to create content that inspires and brings meaning to those who attend.
Here’s my schedule for all 4 wellness workshops:
Are you interested in these topics? With enough buzz I may try to make these workshops available for download in the future. Comment below and let me know.
If you’re down for some live music on the beach, and a captivating Chicago weekend, get your Mamby tickets here, and come see me! Take a look at the musical lineup…
What else is going on at the wellness stage?
I’m pumped to announce that our stage is connected to the SOLARBEATZ music truck!
This mobile soundstage/performance venue is a unique, thought provoking, inspirational and educational catalyst used at festivals, community events, private parties and schools to promote environmental sustainability. A modified delivery truck equipped with advanced solar, sound and lighting technology, this “mobile spectacle” stimulates audiences and demonstrates the possibilities of clean energy by fueling an array of electronics to create an outrageous audio visual experience all powered by the sun.
SOLARBEATZ immediately converts the Sun’s powerful rays into an Earth friendly party or stores the clean renewable energy in a battery bank for use after dark.
Audio at the SOLARBEATZ and Wellness Workshops Stage will be delivered by “Sound Off”; a Bluetooth headphone experience. These wireless headsets let each attendee control their own volume and tune in speakers and music synergistically.
This comes in handy for Mamby because the music is pumping from stage to stage! This “Sound Off” experience was a hit with yoga last year at Mamby, so yoga is back and here to stay!
At approximately 3:30 and 7:30 each day, festival goers can join in on Yoga sessions led by the female yogis, Yolie, Shab, and Alyssa.
Who’s coming with us to Mamby!? It’s so much more than music.
It feels like Summer already in Chicago! (I keep saying Chicago even though I’m in Indiana now)
I was out doing yard work this week, and I was hot! I transplanted some peppers and tomato plants that I started indoors, and I finally planted a bunch of marigolds that Eric gave me for Mother’s Day (doggy momma). Feels good to get that done because I just left for Austin to work the Paleo f(x) conference, and I’m just praying my garden will be okay while I’m gone.
Summer is the time for Party after Party after BBQ after BBQ, which means Salad after Salad after Salad, and to me– this is a good thing! We love salad in my family!!!! Plus, when you go gluten-free or paleo, you will hardly find food at parties that you can eat, besides salad. Know what I mean?
So I was watching the TV show the Kitchen–who doesn’t love this show, I mean come on, they are all so fun to watch!–and the handsome Ironchef himself, Geoffrey Zacharian starts SMASHING A CUCUMBER! This man, I tell you. So simple, and so perfect. I knew I had to smash a cucumber for a recipe, and I did!
After smashing the cucumber like GZ did, I gently reassembled it on a platter. I later poured a lemon and parsley dressing over the top, and layered on plenty of raw sheep milk feta Continue reading →
Hi there! It’s me Marisa Moon with an update on my recipes, blogging, and my real food lifestyle. So much is happening this Spring and Summer!
Thanks for holding out for more recipes. I would love to be one of those food bloggers that hits you up with a new recipe each week, but right now I decided to spend more of my time learning how to reach people with my “Real Food” message! You can still expect recipes often enough, don’t worry. As for where I’m spending my time lately, I’ve joined forces with other Primal & Paleo companies, and I am a recipe developer on a few platforms too. Let me tell you a little about each project…
Next week is Paleo f(x) in Austin, Texas! This is my second year in a row as a volunteer, and after a successful year working beside the RealFIT Score team in 2015, I was hired back to help them grow and continue to see through their vision for the new Paleo f(x) Fitscore!
The Paleo f(x) Fitscore is a comprehensive measure of raw fitness and athletic potential and is not specific to any sport. The assessment includes nine separate tests, rating competitors across six categories, leading to an overall score from 0-100.
As if that’s not enough to be excited about, My Longevity Kitchen is up for 2015’s Best New Blog award from Paleo Magazine! Paleo f(x) is hosting their first Awards ceremony on Saturday, May 28, and I’m excited to attend! Wish me luck 😉
Since Paleo f(x) 2015, I have been interested in getting my Primal Blueprint Expert Certification. I’m fascinated and motivated by the well-rounded curriculum and point of view of primal mastermind Mark Sisson. So I finally took the leap and enrolled a few weeks ago! I passed the first module on an introduction to epigenetics and its relation to primal living. I’m hoping to get my certification completed by the end of Summer.
I have been focusing most of my recipe-developing time and effort on the My6Method diet program. I teamed up with M6M to produce exclusive recipes and an e-cookbook to motivate participants to switch to a real food lifestyle. M6M and My Longevity Kitchen are a great match because we both believe gluten and conventional dairy can be the cause of many health related issues, and processed sugars should be avoided for a healthy lifestyle. Continue reading →
It may be difficult at first to imagine your breakfast without grains, but there are plenty of foods to replace the standard oatmeal breakfast. Winter squash is available all year round and makes for a great base in this versatile breakfast.
If you’ve been following me since January 2016, you would have heard that I created an e-cookbook for participants in the 6-week fitness and diet program called My6Method. This ebook helps My6Method (M6M for short) clients stick to the recommended food list, and get cookin’! This cookbook is exclusive to the M6M participants, but soon I’ll be replacing winter recipes with warm-weather recipes. That’s why I decided to share a recipe with you…the Butternut Squash Breakfast Bowl!
That being said, I highly recommend enjoying this butternut breakfast bowl alongside some scrambled eggs & quality bacon (made from pork that is pasture-raised and antibiotic free), or try a simple grass-fed whey protein shake to get your protein in without filling up too much.
I’ll show you how to roast a whole butternut squash, saving you time and effort…have you ever tried slicing raw winter squash? Difficult. So, let’s skip that step. This whole-roasted squash technique results in an extra sweet, irresistible flavor that’s perfect with breakfast. Continue reading →
Did you know you can make anything into a frittata? ANYTHING, I tell you!
It’s so flippin’ easy to make frittata…even when you flip it out of the pan after baking it. Easy! You’ll be impressed how much flavor and familiarity comes out of this recipe. Leeks are a thing of the past for most home cooks today, but here you’ll find they really shine with yukon potatoes, eggs from pastured hens, and delicate sprigs of fresh dill. And the best part about all frittatas?!? Well…the best part comes in layers…
You can put anything in a frittata (I know, I already said that)
You can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner
It’s so delicious room temperature AND cold! This is a fact people: frittata is arguably better when it’s NOT warm. I don’t know why, I just know it’s true.
Butter, from grass-fed cows
Butter is making a comeback! People are starting to realize that fats originating in nature, with the least amount of processing, are the healthiest fats there will ever be. Butter, from grass-fed cows, is rich in important vitamins and amino acids that optimize our brain-function and can even protect us from heart disease! It’s important to understand that there is a huge difference from grass-fed butter to conventional butter because when the cows eat grass, they convert those plant nutrients into nutrients that are essential for humans!
Just look at the color difference…grass-fed butter is yellow, and conventional butter is white. The former gets its rich color from the beta-carotene (vitamin A) content, Grass-fed butter is available at almost every grocery store now, so it’s time to make the switch. Look out for brands like Kerrygold, Organic Valley (pasture-raised), Anchor, and Vital Farms. Want to learn more about the benefits of grass-fed butter? I love this article by Authority Nutrition.
Eggs, from pasture-raised hens
Have you noticed that there are new egg cartons popping up on the grocery store shelves, and they are nearly twice the price of standard eggs? If you haven’t joined the bandwagon yet, you’re probably looking at those fancy eggs like “there’s no way I’m payin’ $7 for a carton of eggs!”. An egg from a hen that lives outdoors, under the sun, and able to roam in the soil, eating grubs and bugs galore; that’s a completely different food than a conventional egg! Continue reading →
I’ve been diggin’ the sweet potato collection lately at my supermarket.
Have you branched out and tried the different color sweet potatoes? Most of them are more closely related to a yam…which is a good thing! They have lower sugar content and are less hybridized.
Hybridize: Crossbreeding; (of an animal or plant) breed with an individual of another species or variety.
Most of our favorite fruits and veggies have been hybridized to yield a sweeter, larger fruit. I like to shop for more heirloom and wild varieties because I know they pack the most nutrients, and have the least sugar.
These 3 sweet-potato-yammy-thingies are all quite different. My favorite is probably the Hannah (blonde on the far right), or Japanese (redhead in the center). Hannah is probably the least sweet of them all, and truly tastes like a cross between a yukon and a yam. The Japanese sweet potato in the center is sort of squash like, but still with a mild sweet potato sweetness.
The purple is my favorite to look at, and I know there are tons of antioxidants in there because of the color…but this one isn’t the best for roasting because it’s more dry and “thick” compared to the rest. When you roast it, it’s almost like eating a spoon full of peanut butter…it’s a mouthful and you need a glass of water! I like to roast because it’s convenient and I can save the roasted veggies for a bunch of different recipes later this week (I often use my sweet potatoes to pan fry with eggs). If you like the purple sweet potatoes, try roasting them around 350 degrees and wrapping them in foil. This will help keep the moisture in! Otherwise cooking them in a soup is a good idea.
I’m gonna keep this post short because it’s not really a recipe. I just figured I’d give you a peek into my kitchen when I’m prepping or cooking whatever is left in the fridge!
I preheated the oven at 400 fahrenheit, and I loaded a pan up with these potatoes (and some other goodies I’ll get to in a sec). DON’T POKE HOLES IN YOUR SWEET POTATOES. Sweet potatoes won’t explode while baking, so there’s no need to poke holes. This keeps the moisture and sweetness inside to steam and caramelize.
Loading up the Pan to Roast
Hannah Potato Bursting When Finished
While you’re at it, you might as well throw some roasted garlic and jalapeño packs on that pan too. Not too long after this photo I snuck an Italian eggplant on the tray. Just poke holes in the eggplant with a fork (yes for eggplant, no for sweet potatoes), and stick it right on the pan.
Simply Salt, Wrap, Roast 45-60m
Ahhhhh, Soft & Juicy
Avocado Oil (for high heat), Salt, Dry Oregano
Roasted 1 Hour, 45m is Best
Whole Eggplant, Poke with Holes
Bake 1 hr ’til soft, Rest 10m
After cutting open the eggplant, you can scoop out most of the seeds, drizzle with olive oil and season with plenty of salt, pepper and parsley. You can eat it just like that or blend it all up if you’d like to make a dip! Add some oil and lemon and voila!
Let’s get ready to load ’em taters up!
My favorite toppings were Sauerkraut & Roasted Jalapeño! This was a slammin’ combo that I will do again and again. I used Bubbie’s Sauerkraut that is made without the classic caraway seeds; this makes for a more versatile sauerkraut that you can put on anything. I change it up and sometimes get the “Fair ‘N By” Sauerkraut by The Brinery. They both are only made with cabbage, sea salt, and time. If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m always pushing fermented foods like sauerkraut. We NEED this beneficial bacteria, AKA probiotics, in our daily diet; and variety is the way to go! Try new sauerkraut brands and flavors whenever you get the chance. I’m starting to see Farmhouse Culture Brand krauts at all the health food stores. These are sold in BAG! My favorite flavor is the horseradish & leek.
Q: Can’t I just take probiotic supplements?
A: I take these too, but the probiotics in fermented foods are better. Fermented foods are readily recognized, and utilized in our body. Probiotic supplements are relatively new, there’s not enough understanding on them yet, and they don’t necessarily reach the digestive tract where we need them to take effect. That’s why fermented foods are even better. These have been used in the human diet for most of our human existence; and they play a huge role in our digestive ability, our intestinal integrity, our brain function, and especially our immune systems. I take probiotic supplements periodically to introduce different bacteria strains which are not present in fermented foods.
Q: Where do I find sauerkraut?
A: You can find sauerkraut and fermented foods in a cooler at your grocery store, typically near the vegan meat & cheese substitutes. Only purchase the refrigerated sauerkraut (& kimchi) because then you know you’re getting food with live-active cultures (cultures are the beneficial bacteria/probiotics)
Q: What if I buy it and I hate it?
A: The best part about fermented foods is that we have an innate desire to eat these foods. So even if you don’t like it at first, just try about a tablespoon each day, and you’ll truly grow to love it! If you just hate the certain flavor you purchased (krauts come in all different flavors now!), then you can throw it into a cooked dish were it loses its probiotic benefits, but it turns into a tender, flavorful veggie which contains more readily available vitamins and minerals (compared to using the same ingredient in unfermented form). Ever have brats/sausage cooked with warm sauerkraut? Much more mild than the refrigerated kind. Don’t forget the juice…sauerkraut juice is where a lot of the benefits are at. You can drink a shot of it or add a shot to your salads to get the same probiotic benefits as eating it.
Q: How long will it last in my fridge?
A: Fermented foods have a long refrigerated life. Depending how much you open the jar, if you use clean utensils to dip in the jar, and how full the jar is, it can last around 6 months or so after opening! Every jar has an expiration date on it as well. If the sauerkraut smells bad when you open it, or has too much pressure building up inside, you can just cook with it so it doesn’t go to waste. This is typical for Koreans to do with kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage), as well as Polish and German Sauerkrauts; they add it to their traditional soups and stews to kill off the sour-expired taste, and utilize the healthy vegetables.
Q: What other ways can I use my kraut?
A: Try your sauerkraut in salads, on deviled eggs, in wraps or sandwiches, and even in your guacamole! Use the liquid in place of vinegar in your dressings. My family loves a side of sauerkraut or kimchi with our breakfast, but it’s on our plate as a side dish with almost every single meal.
Have you embraced fermented foods yet? Tell me about it below!