One of the fun parts about eating traditionally, is looking back into your heritage, and pulling recipes from old cookbooks, or from grandma’s recollection. It gives you a connection to the world that your grandparents/great-grandparents grew up in(which was VERY different than today). It gives you respect for the ones that came before you, and how they lived.
Unfortunately, both of my Grandma’s have passed away, but are vibrantly living in the memories, and small treasures that they have left behind. In Grandma Shirley’s case, it is her boxes and boxes of recipe cards, that she lovingly wrote by hand (and copied by hand to give away).
Grandma Shirley was known for her wonderful cooking, and I attribute my love of cooking and all things food to her. Every time I would walk into the house, I would be met with an irresistible smell of her good cooking, a huge smile from behind the kitchen island and a bounding hug. I do wish that I had learned more from her in the way of traditional foods. When I was a child, I remember her making huge batches of sauerkraut, but had no interest then in making a food that had such a pungent smell (though I love that smell these days)…
I have memories of my father talking about one of the dishes that he used to eat as a child, and I was revolted at the thought of eating Liver and Onions. My ignorance is funny to me now, as I go out of my way to put liver into many things that my family eats, such as my liver meatballs, burgers, and liver bolognese.
I do wish I could find my Grandma’s recipe for Liver and Onions, but I will keep searching through miles and miles of small recipe cards, and am sure to find some AMAZING traditional recipes along the way!
For now, I will share my favorite recipe for Liver and Onions, and hope that one day, and aspire to be half the woman that my Grandma Shirley was.
In my recipe, I add bacon, like they do in England…
because bacon makes everything better
(Grandma Shirley is nodding her head in agreement).
One of the hard parts about a traditional diet for me is keeping up with thawing meat. I can sometimes be a quite disorganized person, and don’t use a microwave, so if I forget to transfer my meat to the fridge to thaw the night before, it can cause grumpy babies, not to mention daddies, come dinner time.
After having this happen more times than I would care to mention, I had one of those DUHHH!!! Moments…
Why not eggs?!?
Not breakfast for dinner, but making a wonderful dinner dish with the perfect whole food…In this house, we love making frittatas, quiches, and smoked salmon pudding, but our favorite, “mom forgot to thaw the meat” meal is Mediterranean Omelets with Goat Feta and Tzatziki.
Whisk the eggs and heavy cream until incorporated and foamy. Add salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat the pan to medium high heat and add 1 TBS of butter to coat the bottom of the pan. Turn down the heat to medium. Add about a ¼ of the mixure to the pan, and swirl to get the eggs evenly distributed on the bottom of the frying pan. Let the eggs cook for up to a minute or until the bottom starts to set.
When the omelet slides easily on the surface of the pan, carefully flip the eggs over(i know…this is the hardest part).
Now is the time to add your cheese, herbs, olives and tomatoes.
Flip one side of the omelet over and across the other side, so that the edges of the omelet match up.
Gently transfer to a serving plate,and garnish with more herbs, cheese, or avocado and homemade tzatziki.
Repeat with the other three omelets, and dinner is served!
This fall, we had an early hard frost, but thanks to the weather reports, we were prepared and harvested everything we could. My Father-in-law and I were out in the snow for about an hour, trying to harvest every last cherry tomato we could. At the time, I didn’t think it was worth freezing my ass off for a few veggies, but after many weeks of gorgeous ripening tomatoes, kubocha and spaghetti squash I decided it was more than worth the hour of freezing torture.
I planted a few spaghetti squash plants because our neighbors had such good luck with them last year. I ended up having 8-10 HUGE squashes before I said, what the heck am I going to do with these! Don’t get me wrong, I do like spaghetti squash with a good marinara, but in no figment of my imagination, has spaghetti squash ever tasted like pasta to me. I prefer my red sauces with zucchini noodles. Then I ran across a picture on pinterest of a spaghetti squash carbonara and it reminded me that I could make a casserole. So I baked my squash, scooped it out into a baking dish added some coconut milk, garlic, crispy local bacon(leave it out to make this vegan) and sage. I mixed it up, and threw it in the oven.
Let me tell you. This was the most wonderful squash dish I have ever had. It was super creamy thanks to the coconut milk and the hint of bacon and the aromatic taste of fresh sage was the perfect combination. My husband exclaimed,” WHAT IS THIS? ITS UNBELIEVABLE!”. Alas, I have made it probably 6 times since.
Creamy Spagetti Squash Casserole with Pastured Bacon, Garlic and Sage (Dairy Free)
It wasn’t mine. I was inspired to make a frittata in a jar after seeing this blog post from krista and jess.
I have long been a fan of the baked frittata and/or crustless quiche, and when you bake them in 1/2 pint wide mouth mason jars, it transforms into the perfect grab and go breakfast or lunch. Just throw one in your cooler bag and you’ve got a nourishing meal ready to go…anytime…anywhere. God forbid you devour it on your way to work, driving your kids to hockey practice, in front of your computer, or while listening to your colleague go on in monotone about her weekend of knitting and caring for her 10 orphan cats.
Though I am a TOTAL proponent of mindful eating, as a society(and its probably not going to change soon) we are addicted to fast, to-go options. Might as well eat the nourishing frittata on the go, over the chemical laden sugar-free, fat-free, whole food-free -tastes like candy- “protein” bar that we all love.
Don’t get me started. *steps off her soapbox*
This tastes just as good warm as it does cold, and since these are baked in a mason jars, these can be stored in the fridge, and placed directly into your toaster oven before you jump in the shower,(remember to remove the lid!) and breakfast is ready for the whole family before your hair is dry.
So have at it.
Here is your assignment for the weekend…
Make a batch of these babies. Your life will be soooo much easier!
I was posed a question earlier this week by some dear friends:
What foods would I incorporate into a child’s vegetarian diet to help increase certain vitamins/nutrients/minerals that might not be as easily absorbed (or even exist at all) from plant sources?
This is a subject that needs to be discussed. Everyone is different, and is at different stages in their life, and some might do perfectly fine(and even thrive on a vegan/vegetarian diet) but for those who don’t, and are thinking about giving animal foods a try, here are a few things that I would incorporate for kids and adults alike.
1) Bone Broth
(from Grass-fed, Local, Humanely raised Beef or Local Pastured Chicken Bones)
I can’t say enough about bone broth. It is one of the traditional foods that is super healing to the lining of the gut (which can translate to every part of the body) Bone broth can help support joint health, digestive health, immune system, and skin. Most importantly, it can help to close excess holes in the gut lining (leaky gut), which can be caused by poor lifestyle and diet choices. But even if you have a great diet now, If you have holes in your gut, you might not be able to absorb important vitamins and minerals, meaning you are not properly digesting your food. Bone broth should be part of any gut-healing protocol.
Start slow, and if you still can’t stomach the thought of liver/animal meats, you might be interested in the new information Sarah Pope revealed at the Real Food Summit that demonstrated that when there is plenty of gelatin in the diet, the body’s need for protein from meat sources can be greatly reduced!
Here are some great instructions on how to make your own bone broth.
Cook local veggies in the broth, puree(or not), and serve the finished soup in a bowl or pour into a mug and drink as is. In mine, I add a pinch of pink Himalayan salt.
2) Beef or Bison Liver
(from Grass-fed, Local, Humanely raised Beef or Bison)
This is one of my absolute favorite foods. Though I wouldn’t have ever believed I’d say that a year ago.
I have seen HUGE improvements to my health since adding this food to my diet. My own iron-deficiency problems (which I have struggled with for my whole life) are pretty much non-existent after 6 months of consistent bone broth and liver.
Liver is especially important for children. Children are so much more susceptible to iron deficiency than adults and even menstruating women. Liver contains a HIGHLY digestable form of iron, vitamin A, and all B vitamins, especially B12, which can’t be absorbed through plants. Read more about that here.
Incorporate starting with 1-4 ratio chopped liver to ground beef and bison in burger patties, meatballs, Bolognese sauce, or really anything else that calls for ground beef.
3) Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil
One of the few things that can optimize your child’s growth and development more than anything else, is Fermented Cod Liver Oil. This oil contains a myriad of vitamins that are ONLY found in animal foods, and are greatly increased with the fermentation period.
Vitamin A is certainly important for brain development, vision and speech, as well as protecting many major bodily functions. Doctors have been studying the effects of cod liver oil on certain developmental delays, mood disorders and autism in children.
Fermented Cod Liver Oil also helps to support you/your child’s immune system by providing your body with plenty of easy to absorb Vitamin D. You might be taking a Vitamin D supplement, but most Vitamin D supplements on the market are synthetic, which is not as beneficial as if it were naturally occurring. Vitamin D is especially important for people living in the northern hemisphere.
The high vitamin butter oil is amazing in itself and contains a vitamin that acts like a hormone, called Activator X (sounds like star wars, am I right?) that is very important for the uptake of minerals to your diet, and increases suppleness and flexibility in your joints and muscles(wouldn’t it be amazing to give your children the gift of agility as they age by starting them on butter oil at a young age?)
Dr. Weston Price found the health-promoting properties of raw butter oil and high grade fermented cod liver oil to be truly extraordinary, and the combination of the two work synergistically together to create (in my opinion) the most astounding supplement on earth.
Now the question is, how do you get the kids to take it?!?
(Mine takes it happily mixed with 1 teaspoon of 100% pure raw honey.)
4) Pasture Raised Farm or Ranch Eggs
First things First…Chickens are not vegetarian.
When chickens are out on pasture in the summer, they eat grasshoppers, grasses, and weeds, and lots of other highly nutritious goodies…the nutrition derived from these pastured chickens diets show up in the yolks, meat, and bones. Try to find a farmer/rancher near you that lets their chickens graze. You will see the difference in the color of the yolk right away. The darker the color yellow/orange, the more nutrition it contains.
Why egg? The cholesterol myth has us all shaking in our blue jeans.
Egg is a hugely beneficial food for our kids and us. The yolk especially. It contains many elements for building healthy bodies, and brains. Egg Yolk contains choline, good cholesterol,(yes I said good, it is essential for proper mental development)and iron.
5) Grass-Fed Beef, or Buffalo
If you aren’t going to make meat a mainstay in your diet, go with the most nutritious meat you can find, which is going to be either Grass-fed Local Beef or Bison. If you are trying to build your iron stores, I would go with bison, as studies show that it contains more iron per serving than beef.
I will share the recipe that I use with my own daughter, Bison Nuggets (which are made of bison and liver) In the upcoming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled! We love this recipe!
Our diets don’t have to be black or white. If you would prefer not to eat animal products at all, don’t do it.
But if you aren’t feeling that the vegetarian lifestyle is completely working for you, don’t be ashamed to add a few high quality animal foods to your diet, and start out slowly with the foods listed above. My family are not hard-core carnivores. The healing nature of plants can’t be denied.
I spend more money, and more time on sourcing high-quality animal products to feed my family with. Our dinner plates are made up of mainly vegetables. Raw, fermented, steamed, juiced, sautéed, blanched, spiralized, you name it. If you add these quality foods like liver and bone broth into your diet, you are getting more bang for your buck, and all you need to improve your health and well being, while still eating a mainly plant based diet.
add 2 egg yolks (pastured farm/ranch eggs from a reliable source) to your smoothie
Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate (6 grams of protein per tablespoon). The collagen is also great for your hair, skin, nails, and connective tissue. I have also heard that it is good for cellulite, and is highly recommended for people who are trying to heal their guts.
It really has been a phenomenal year, and I am grateful for every single one of you, and hope that you will continue to enjoy my posts.
I have met fantastic new friends, through my blog and getting involved in our local/Montana food blogging community. I appreciate the continued support of my readers. I have learned and grown so much, and I couldn’t have done it without you. As a celebratory post, I wanted to bring back a few of your favorite recipes.