Toxic Free Kitchen

Real food for real health —
how to choose, prepare, and enjoy foods that nourish and heal

Sweet and Sour Kale Salad

salad on a bowl
Last weekend I went to TWO potlucks, (yes, I go to a lot of potlucks!) so I needed to make a lot of something quick.

I decided to make two big bowls of kale salad and I came home with two empty bowls. People loved it who didn’t even like kale!

It’s very simple. I’m just going to give you general instructions because you’ll just make it however you want.

The dressing was simply apple cider vinegar and raw honey about 2 parts vinegar to one part honey.

The key is to make a “chiffonade” of kale. Just remove the stems from the center of each leaf, and stack them up. With a good sharp knife, slice across the wide of the pile to make a very thin slice.

Put the chiffonade kale in a bowl and add the honey vinegar. Let it sit to soften the kale. It can actually sit for hours, like from morning til night and it will taste good at any point, as it gets softer and softer.

I added chopped cucumber, raisins, and chopped green onions. Just toss them in.

Delicious, delicious, delicious!

Be creative with this and add any vegetables, fruits, seasonings, whatever you want to this basic kale recipe.

Mediterranean Salad

salad on wooden bowl

I eat a big salad every day for lunch. I really do. Periodically I invent a new salad and that becomes my favorite for a while.

Currently it’s Mediterranean Salad with Quick Chick and Tahini Sauce.

I just put a pile of green leaf and red leaf lettuce in the bowl, top with chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, and Greek olives, and Tahini Sauce. Then salt and pepper on top because I like to taste it rather than have it mixed in.

And that’s it. Very quick when I already have the chicken cooked and the dressing in the fridge.

Tahini Sauce

tahini gressing

A couple of weeks ago I was at a potluck. My friend Maggy brought some steamed vegetables with tahini sauce. She said, “Anything tastes good with tahini sauce!” and when I tasted it I agreed. I think the key to eating vegetables is to have a variety of yummy sauces to eat them with and this is certainly one of them.

I had to make a recipe, so I went to our natural food store and they had the ingredients listed on the sauce. I copied them down and came home and started experimenting. I left out a few ingredients but I think it’s pretty close. Close enough for me!

artisana tahiniWhen you make this, I strongly suggest using Artisana Organic Raw Tahini. I’ve tried several brands and this one is tastes the best and has an aliveness to it. The others are more bitter. Tahini is simply sesame seeds ground into a butter. All the Artisana products I’ve tried are just exquisite. Very high quality. They seem to be out-of-stock both at my natural food store and online, but worth looking for in the future.

I’ve put the measurements in parts, so you can make any amount. If a part is a teaspoon for example, 4 parts is 4 teaspoons. When I make this now, I start with a half jar of tahini and figure the proportions from there.

Ingredients

  • 4 parts tahini
  • 4 parts olive oil
  • 4 parts coconut amions or gluten-fre tamari
  • 2 parts apple cider vinegar
  • 1 part raw honey (or more to taste)
  • garlic (fresh or powdered to taste)
  • ginger (fresh or powdered to taste)

Instructions

Just mix everything up in a bowl or jar. I now have an empty tahini jar that I am reserving to be the tahini sauce jar.

Quick Chick

quick chick

Now I think it’s best to get a whole chicken, roast it, and use the bones to make bone broth (see Roast Chicken & Bone Broth).

However, I also know there are times when that’s just not possible and yet you still need to have some protein on hand.

That’s why I’m giving you these simple instructions. So you can have chicken on hand anytime.

The best chicken I can buy locally at an affordable price is Coleman’s Organic Chicken in a three-pack at Costco. This gives me six to eight chicken breasts.

I just sprinkle salt and pepper and celery seeds on top and put them in the oven at 350 degrees for 34 minutes, and I have chicken.

Not perfect, but workable, organic, I have control over what gets put on it,  it’s available and affordable, it’s better than take-out chicken and it’s a step in the right direction.

It lasts at least a week., and I always have cooked chicken on hand.

Weston A. Price Foundation: Helping Us Eat Real Foods


Sally Fallon Morrell, founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation and author of "Nourishing Traditions"
I’ve been a fan of Sally Fallon Morrell and the Weston A Price Foundation for years.

Sally’s  lifelong interest in the subject of nutrition began in the early 1970s when she read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston A. Price.

Dr. Price researched traditional cultures to learn about nutrition and what we really should be eating for good health. Called the “Isaac Newton of Nutrition,” Price traveled the world over studying healthy primitive populations and their diets. The unforgettable photographs contained in his book document the beautiful facial structure and superb physiques of isolated groups consuming only whole, natural foods. Price noted that all of these diets contained a source of good quality animal fat, which provided numerous factors necessary for the full expression of our genetic potential and optimum health.

Sally applied the principles of the Dr. Price’s research to the feeding of her own children, and proved for herself that a diet rich in animal fats, and containing the protective factors in old fashioned foodstuffs like cod liver oil, liver and eggs, make for sturdy cheerful children with a high immunity to illness. And since she has been educating the world on how to enjoy this diet deliciously.

What I really learned from Sally and WAPF was about real foods. Not was passes for food in the supermarket or even a natural food store, but real food, as it occurs in nature. The kind of food our bodies were designed to eat. Biologically-correct. Like raw milk from pastured cows, fermented foods full of probiotics and vitamins, and animal fat from properly raised animals. Not industrial food.

Sound similar to the Paleo diet? Well it is and it isn’t. Sally explained the differences (you can read them here). They both are based on real foods, but the Paelo diet eliminates a number of foods that the WAPF diet allows because they were part of traditional cultures.  Many Paleo folks have incorporated the WAPF principles to the Paleo diet, such as the Paleo proponents I’ve been interviewing. I came from the other direction, I started with WAPF principles and whittled it down to Paleo because those are the foods on which my body does best. Either way, there is clearly a WAPF/Paleo contingency and that’s what works for me.

Regardless of your diet choices, if you eat real food and appreciate it, you have Sally and the WAPF to thank for creating the market for them and getting farmers to produce them.

Listen to the archived show with Sally Fallon Morrell 

Can Salt Be Good For You?

Darryl-Bosshardt Absolutely!

Today I interviewed Darryl Bosshardt from Real Salt on Toxic Free Talk Radio.

His family has been in the salt business for decades and he knows all about the good and bad of salt.

In this interview we talk about all the toxic additives in refined salt (see his Common Salt Additives)  and the three major brands of unrefined, natural salt that contains all the minerals it should.

Hear more about salt that is good for you:

Listen to the archived show with Darryl Bosshardt

Sweet Potato Scrambled Eggs—My Favorite Breakfast

eggs-sweet-potatoes

This is one of those dishes that is just perfect in every way. I love it so much I can wait to have it be breakfast so I can eat it! It contains carbs for quick energy, protein for longer stamina, and fat to last until lunch. I have energy to work all morning.

It’s so simple and takes about five minutes to make in the morning. But it requires some prep.

There are two things you need to make in advance:

  •  baked sweet potatoes, baked to the degree that they are cooked but still have firmness, not baked until they are soft and sweet.
  • ghee, which works better than butter for this (but you could use butter too).

Since these are now staple foods for me, I just make them as needed and have them waiting for me.

Ingredients

  • about one tablespoon ghee
  • about 1/2 cup sweet potatoes—baked, peeled and cubed
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Melt the ghee in a skillet. If you use a tablespoon, nothing will stick to the pan.
  2. Toss the cubed sweet potatoes into the pan and brown until they are crisp, stirring occasionally so they get brown on all sides.
  3. When the potatoes are brown, toss in the green onions.
  4. Pour the beaten eggs over the potatoes and onions, and scramble til they are cooked.
  5. Slide everything onto a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

I’m thinking about sprinkling on various herbs and spices. Will let you know which ones I like as I try them.

Flourless French Chocolate Cake

frech-chocolate-cake-whole

This is a delicious classic French gateau au chocolate, a flourless chocolate cake. Though the original recipe called for refined white sugar, I’ve made it with unrefined evaporated cane juice. A serving of one-eighth of the cake has only 12 carbohydrates, making it the lowest carb cake I know of. No wonder those French women keep their figures!

I tried making it with other sweeteners, but it just needs that certain characteristics of cane sugar to make the chemistry work.

The texture is a bit different than cakes made with flour–more spongey, but very cake-like and very delicious! This photo was taken last Sunday, when I make this cake for a birthday party. Everyone loved it, in fact, many preferred it over cakes made with wheat flour. One woman on a gluten-free diet said it was much better than a GF cake she had paid $50 for, made by a local baker considered to be one of the best. Next time she needs a cake for a party, she’s going to have me bake this one for her.

This recipe is usually made with bittersweet chocolate instead of cocoa, but since sugar-free organic bittersweet chocolate is not available, I’ve made it with cocoa. As it is, the recipe is bittersweet–if you prefer, you can add more unrefined evaporated cane juice for a sweeter cake.

There are a number of steps to this recipe, but it is worth the attention and time. It simply is divine and will make everyone feel like it came from a French bakery shop.

NOTE: This recipe requires using an electric mixer to mix two different sets of ingredients. If you have an electric hand mixer and an electric stand mixer, the easiest way to make this is to use both. I’ve written the recipe this way. If you only have one or the other, use two bowls or rinse the bowl and re-use it.

Makes one 7″ single layer cake.

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons butter (1 stick + 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup sifted powdered unrefined evaporated cane sugar (sold as “organic” powdered sugar)
  • 9 tablespoons cocoa (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon)
  • 5 eggs
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Use the wrapper from the butter to grease a 7″ springform pan and set aside.
  3. Cut the butter into tablespoons and melt over low heat in a small saucepan.
  4. When the butter is completely melted, remove from heat and add the cocoa and sweetener. Stir with a wooden spoon until blended. Allow this to cool for about 15 minutes.
  5. Set out the mixing bowl for the stand mixer, a mixing bowl for the hand mixer, and a refrigerator storage container. Then crack and separate 4 eggs. Put all the whites in the stand mixer bowl, two yolks in the hand mixer bowl, and two yolks in the storage container (these are leftovers and will not be used in this recipe). Then crack an additional egg and put in in the hand mixer bowl. You should now have:
    • Stand mixer bowl – 4 whites
    • Hand mixer bowl – 2 yolks + 1 whole egg
    • Storage container – 2 yolks
  6. Beat the whites with the stand mixer until they form stiff peaks.
  7. Beat the yolks plus whole egg with an electric mixer until light and foamy. Then slowly add the cocoa mixture and continue to beat until all is well incorporated.
  8. Pour the butter/cocoa/egg mixture into the egg whites and fold together with a spatula until well incorporated. There should be no bits of egg white, but do not overmix. Stop as soon as it is all incorporated.
  9. Pour the batter into the springform pan and bake for about an hour. The cake will rise quite high and the top will crack open. The center should be set, but does not need to be dry.
  10. Allow to cool completely on a rack, and then remove the sides of the pan. The cake will deflate some, but still be as high as standard layer cake.
  11. This is delicious just plain, or serve sprinkled with powdered sugar, topped with whipped cream or dressed up any way you please.

Springform Pan

Aluminum Round Cheesecake PansThis recipe calls for a 7-inch springform pan. It’s an unusual size and many springform pans now have nonstick finishes. You could probably make it in an ordinary cake pan, if so, put a piece of parchment paper in the bottom to make it easier to remove. A springform pan is the easiest and they are not expensive, You just run a knife around the sides to loosen the cake and push the bottom up to remove the cake from the pan.

Here’s a springform pan (also called a “cheesecake” pan). It’s made of anodized aluminum, so no aluminum will leach into the cake. It comes in many sizes, if you want bigger or smaller pans too.

Fat Daddio’s Anodized Aluminum Round Cheesecake Pans with Removable Bottoms

french-chocolate-cake

Why I’m Not Publishing a Recipe for Meringues

no-meringues

I’m on the mailing lists for a number of food blogs, just to see what they are doing and to snag an occasional recipe I agree with or want to modify.

This morning I received an email from a blog I’ve learned a lot from, and the recipe was for meringues. I had to smile when I saw that because in times past I would have loved to have that recipe. I can’t tell  you how many times I tried to make  meringues with natural sweeteners and failed.

But today I was not interested.

You see, meringues are sweet and light, but they have no food value. They are simply carriers for sugar. In this case, the meringues were made of only two ingredients: egg whites and maple syrup. The fluffy dried egg whites are simply a carrier for sugar.

For me, now, a dessert needs to be real food. If I’m going to eat sugar, it needs to have some nutrition along with it.

I’m about to post a recipe for my favorite chocolate cake. Yes, it contains a little powdered evaporated cane juice, but it also contains egg yolks and cocoa. It’s a food, not a sugar package. The other ingredients balance out the sugar, so it releases slowly into your body instead of giving you a sugar spike.

There is more to healthy eating than simply choosing the right foods. Eating all parts of a food and not just pieces is so important, and how you combine them in ways that complement and balance.

So no meringues here, but many other wonderful foods.

Spinach and Meatballs


spinach-meatballs

I do love Italian food, but being gluten-free and now dairy-free I’ve needed to learn to create dishes that give me the Italian flavors that I love without the toxic food ingredients.

This is one of my quick go-to meals that I adore. I like it so much I ate it three nights in a row this week.

It consists of sauteed spinach, organic pasta sauce that I buy in a glass jar, and turkey meatballs flecked with zucchini (see those little green bits in the photo—that’s zucchini). I make a week’s worth of these meatballs ahead, then I can either pop one or two in my mouth for a snack or quickly warm them up with sauce and spinach for dinner.

Why do I make turkey meatballs with zucchini? I used to make them with parsley, which is traditional for Italian meatballs, but then I started putting them over zucchini noodles (which I will show you how to make one day) and that tasted so good! But zucchini noodles are more time consuming than I am willing to make on a regular basis, so I just grated the zucchini and tossed in in the meatballs and I love it.

Originally I would put romano cheese in the meatballs and sprinkle cheese liberally on top, but since I am now dairy-free, I’m enjoying this dish just as much without the cheese.

makes 1 serving

TURKEY ZUCCHINI MEATBALLS

This meatball recipe makes 32 1-ounce meatballs.

You can make a smaller amount. I make 2 pounds of meat because it’s the right amount for using one egg as a binder. And it’s the right amount for me for one week. And of course you can use any ground meat or mixture of meats. I find turkey works best to my taste for this recipe. And I didn’t forget the salt and pepper. I don’t use it in this recipe, but you may if you want.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs natural or organic ground turkey (I use white meat)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • about 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped (more or less to taste and size of cloves, I like a lot of garlic)
  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • 1 egg
  • red pepper flakes (optional, but I love them) to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together and form into balls. I make 32 1-ounce balls so it’s easy to measure portions. Just divide the mixture in half and then each piece in half and again in half and again, until you have 32 pieces, then form into balls. Rinse your hands in cold water before you start forming balls and they won’t stick to your hands. If they start to stick, rinse your hands again.
  2. Place the meatballs on to a baking sheet and bake them at 400 degrees F for about a half hour (I’ve never timed it). The time depends on how brown you want them.
  3. When the meatballs reach desired brownness, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool before placing them in the refrigerator for storage. They will last one week in the refrigerator if you don’t eat them all first!

SAUTEED SPINACH

This is easy.

Just put about a tablespoon of organic ghee or butter in a hot skillet and add two or three handfuls of organic baby spinach to the pan once the fat has melted. Stir it a bit with a pair of tongs, by lifting and turning over the spinach leaves. Cook just until wilted, then put it on your plate.

TO ASSEMBLE

any number of meatballs you want
about 1/3 of a jar of organic pasta sauce (I like Walnut Acres’ Roasted Garlic)
sauteed spinach

  1. Make the sauteed spinach first and lay it out on flat on a plate to form a bed for the meatballs.
  2. In the same skillet, pour in the sauce and add the meatballs. Heat until meatballs and sauce are hot.
  3. Pour the meatballs and sauce over the spinach and serve.

Adding chopped parseley is very nice for a garnish. I left it off in the photo so you could see the meatballs.

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