Seasoning Your Cast Iron

IMG_2877After I bought my first piece of cast iron I was so excited to bring it home and show it off to my husband.  I loved the weight and feel of it and how cast iron has been used for hundreds of years as a cook surface.  I then promptly let it sit on my shelf for almost a year before I actually used it.  Why, you ask?  I was super intimidated by it.  I had no idea how to care for it or even cook with it.  I just knew I wanted to.

So eventually I got tired of moving it out of the way every time I went to grab a pan and decided I need to buck up and learn how to use it properly.  I read many different articles and watched YouTube videos and began to try out simple meals.  I slowly learned cooking with cast iron really wasn’t as much about how I actually cooked on it but more so how important it was to properly care for it.   Here is a basic how-to post on how to properly clean and season your cast iron so it will last you for years and years, consistently pumping out delicious creations.

Seasoning:

Most cast iron comes pre seasoned.  This means that they coated it for you buttttttttt in my experience it is still best to give your cast iron another seasoning when you bring it home.

Pre-Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Place a cookie sheet on the rack directly underneath the one your pan will go on (this is to catch any oil drippings that may happen while you are seasoning).

Lightly rub a cooking oil all over the pan so that it is completely covered in a light/thin oil.  I generally use organic palm shortening for this.

Place the skillet upside down directly onto the rack and bake it in the oven for 1 hour.  Let it cool completely and you are done.  It isn’t a bad idea to do this 2-3 times before your first time cooking on your pan.

Re-Seasoning:

You will notice over time you may need to re-season your cast iron because your food is beginning to stick to it more or it is becoming harder to clean it.  This is normal.  I like to try and re-season all my cast iron when it is warm enough outside to have the windows opened.  It gets a little smokey and stinky when you do this.  Again, this is normal.  You may also notice that if you haven’t used your cast iron in a while it might start to get a little rust on it or have an odor to it.  Re-seasoning will fix these problems for you and your skillet will be as good as new!

Begin by lightly scrubbing your cast iron with steel wool to get any rust off or stubborn stuck on food that can’t be removed by normal cleaning methods (click here to learn more about every day care for your cast iron).  

Rinse all the debris off with water.  Dry the skillet and rub all over with a cooking oil (again, I use a vegetable shortening for this but any oil with a smoke point over 350 degrees will work).

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place a cookie sheet on the rack directly under the one your skillet will be placed on.  Turn your skillet upside down on the rack and cook for 1 hour.  Let cool completely.  Once cooled, touch the pan and make sure the seasoning is smooth and not tacky or sticky.  If it is you will need to use a higher temperature.  You will have to re-season it again before you can cook with it.  Start over again by lightly scrubbing it with the steel wool, coating with a thin layer of cooking oil, and baking at a higher temperature- try 375 degrees for another hour.  This should do the trick.

Good luck to you!  I hope you learn to love cooking on your cast iron just as much as I do!

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Paleo Blueberry Muffins

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Wouldn’t you love to have a blueberry muffin recipe that is delicious, low carb, and full of nutritious fats and proteins instead of sugar and more sugar?  Well here you go!  This recipe is all of that and is fairly easy to make.  I use frozen wild blueberries because they hold up to mixing well but if you try it with fresh blueberries let me know how you like it- I imagine it will be just as delicious!

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare your muffin tin by either using muffin liners or greasing the tin with coconut oil.  Using your stand mixer or hand held mixer in a large bowl whisk the eggs.  Add in the vanilla and honey and continue to mix (reserve the blueberries for the end).  In a smaller bowl mix together the dry ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix together.  Once the ingredients are fully blended, add in the blueberries and gently mix using a wooden spoon or spatula (trying not to smoosh the blueberries).  Fill each muffin tin up 3/4 of the way. Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Let cool, serve, and enjoy!

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Paleo Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_3347When you bite into these cookies you can’t help but think of Christmas.  The chocolate peppermint blend of tastes will make you wish you were curled up next to a warm fire with snow falling outside.  They are the perfect gluten free cookie to add to your Christmas cookie platter.  And bonus- they are simple to make!  No freezing the dough or having to use 2 sticks of butter.  Don’t forget to leave some out for Santa with  some delicious almond milk. Enjoy!IMG_2921 (2)

Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour

1/2 cup arrowroot powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp vanilla

1/4 tsp peppermint extract

1/2 cup oil (I used avocado but you could also use melted coconut)

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Mix together your dry ingredients (minus the chocolate chips) in a large bowl.  In a smaller bowl mix together your wet ingredients.  Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer on a low setting, mix the wet ingredients into the dry.  Once thoroughly blended together add in the chocolate chips.  Drop cookie dough onto baking sheet using about 1-2 tbsp per cookie.  Wet the palm of your hand and gently flatten the cookies.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Makes about 18 cookies.

If you’re really enjoying the peppermint chocolate taste try our peppermint hot chocolate!  

Mint Hot Choc 3

Paleo Spiced Zucchini Bread

IMG_3346This is the perfect bread to make ahead of time and serve Thanksgiving and Christmas morning for breakfast.  It is hearty enough to keep you full until turkey time and will keep your kitchen free of clutter and dirty dishes while you are whipping up your feast.  This paleo gluten free bread definitely has a warm seasonal taste to it with the blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, and hint of clove.  And as an added bonus, your house will smell Ah-mazing while this is baking!  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Wet:

1 ripe banana
1 cup grated zucchini (this is about 1 small zucchini)
4 eggs
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup avocado oil (or an oil of your choosing that is ok for temperatures above 350 degrees)
1 tsp vanilla

Dry:

1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a bread pan (9 x 5 is plenty big) with shortening or coconut oil and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Grate your zucchini and squeeze out some of the water with a paper towel.  In a large bowl use a handheld mixer or your stand mixer and whisk the eggs.  Once whisked add in the remaining wet ingredients.  Next, add in the palm sugar and mix together.  In a separate bowl mix together your remaining dry ingredients (minus the walnuts).   Once you have blended the dry ingredients together, slowly add it into the wet ingredients while the mixing tool is turned on.  Once everything is thoroughly mixed together stir in the chopped walnuts.  Pour batter into the bread pan.  Bake for 65- 75 minutes.  Serve warm with butter and your favorite tea.  Yum!

 

How to Bake A Squash

Learn how to turn your rock hard squash into a beautiful mush in 5 easy steps.  To start you will need a large sharp knife and a clean non slipping surface to cut on.

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Step 1:  Preheat your oven to 375.  Prepare your squash by washing it and patting it dry.

Step 2:  Trim off the end on each side and slice it lengthwise (this makes it easier to cut in half).

Step 3:  Scoop out the seeds.  You can discard them, dry them, or even cook them.

Step 4: Put your squash face down onto a large baking dish and add about an inch worth of water.

Step 5:  Bake for 50 minutes.  Let cool and using a ice cream scoop spoon out the meat and you are ready to make something delicious!

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Homemade Infant/Toddler Formula Recipe

IMG_2999This is a post that is near and dear to my heart.  Having adopted my 2 children, both as infants, I needed to find a formula that was as close to breastmilk as possible.  Well, that didn’t happen.  Not only did that not happen, but I was shocked and upset with the poor quality of formula options out there.  No child should have to grow and be expected to thrive with corn, soy, and low fat cow milk.  I decided to take this opportunity to learn and be a voice for a community of parents who want and expect more for their children.  Plus, many of the allergies (truthfully, most of the allergies) I see in my pediatric patients are those ingredients listed above.  I personally have been making and using this formula in my house since 2012.  I have hundreds of patients, friends, and family members who I have helped guide towards making this.  I also have shown this recipe to many different naturopaths and pediatricians and have had a strong positive response.  If your child is having any type of stomach problems or developmental issues I recommend following up with your naturopath or chiropractor to make sure you are covering all your bases.  Many of my pediatric patients will go on this formula with a few tweaks or extra supplements added in to help with their particular needs.  Use this as a guideline to help get your little one’s health on track but don’t neglect to get the additional advice of your doctor.

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What tools you will need to make this:

  • A blender
  • A strainer
  • 2-3 nut milk bags
  • 4 cup bowl (I use a pyrex measuring one)
  • measuring spoons and cups
  • Bottles
  • a small pitcher

What ingredients you will need:

  • 2 cups Raw Goat Milk
  • 1/4 cup Goat Milk Kefir or Yogurt
  • 1-2 tsp Molasses
  • 2 tsp Grade B Maple Syrup
  • 2 tsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 1/4 tsp Amla Powder
  • Infant DHA (dose depends on infants size- go off the amount suggested by the manufacturer)
  • Infant Probiotic(dose depends on infants size- go off the amount suggested by the manufacturer)
  • 1 tsp Organic Olive Oil (extra virgin/cold pressed)
  • 1 tsp Organic Unrefined Sunflower Oil
  • 2 tsp Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Optional: Bone Broth

Step 1:

IMG_3021Prepare the whey by straining the yogurt/kefir.  This takes anywhere between 2-6 hours to get a good batch.  Sometimes even overnight depending on how thick the yogurt is.  Do this by using your glass pyrex bowl.  Set your strainer over the top of the bowl and lay your almond milk bags over the top.  Layer 2-3 bags on top of each other (again, depending on how thick the yogurt is) IMG_3023Pour the kefir/yogurt over the top.  Place saran wrap over the top and store in the fridge while it separates. IMG_3027

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Step 2:IMG_3033

  • Fill your blender with 2 cups water.
  • Add in your powders/dry ingredients (nutritional yeast flakes, amla powder, and probiotic).  Blend together for 15-20 seconds. (note: once your little one is eating pureed foods I would suggest removing the probiotic from the formula and mixing it into a bowl of their food.  Remember- probiotics don’t like heat so don’t add this to soup or heated meals)
  • Next, add in your molasses and your bone broth.  Blend for an additional 5 seconds (if you blend for more time it will become frothy which you do not want).
  • Now, add your olive oil, sunflower seed oil, maple syrup, and whey.  Blend together for another 5 seconds.  Do not add your coconut oil yet! You also could add the DHA here.  I like to give mine separate and just straight up.  Little ones don’t know that they aren’t supposed to like this yet 🙂

Step 3:  IMG_3039

  • Pour the desired amount into each bottle.  If your child is drinking 4 ounces per feeding pour 2 ounces of the formula into your bottles.  So the blend should be 50% formula and 50% goat milk.  Once your child is about 9 months old you can change the ratio to 1/3 formula and 2/3 goat milk.
  • If you have any extra formula just pour it into an airtight pitcher and store in the fridge until you are ready to use it.  I always triple the batch of formula and just store the extra as it lasts for up to 1 week.  The key is to only pour the goat milk into the bottle within 1-2 days of use.  This helps keep the formula longer.
  • Measure out your 2 tsp of coconut oil and put a little dollop in each bottle of formula for a days worth of feedings.  You also could melt the coconut oil on the stove and blend it into the formula.  I just find it easier to put a little in each bottle.

Step 4: IMG_3056

When ready, warm the bottle in warm/hot water for about 3-5 minutes.  And feed as you normally would.

You can find out more information about the ingredients by going to the original posting of this formula by clicking here.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!

 

 

Cashew Milk

IMG_2921 (2) Did you know you can milk a cashew?!  😉

Cashew milk is a great alternative to almond milk.  Personally, I feel like almond milk has a consistency closer to 2% milk where cashew milk is closer to whole milk.  I enjoy how easy it is to make and how you only need to soak your cashews for 4 hours where almonds need to soak overnight.  When making cashew milk, most people choose not to strain it but I like to.  And the left over cashew meat looks like a paste and can be turned into “cheese” or a filling for various recipes.  Here is how you make it!

Ingredients:

1 cup raw cashews (soak ahead for 4 hours)

2 cups water

Instructions:

Using a high powered blender, blend your cashews and 2 cups water until the cashews are pulverized (about 30 seconds to 1 minute).

Pour the cashew mixture through an almond milk bag into a bowl.  The cashew leftovers/pulp is very thick so you will have to be patient when you strain it–almond milk strains much quicker and easier.  Squeezing little by little you will get all the liquid out and end up with some great tasting milk! IMG_2913 (2)

This makes about 2 cups cashew milk (you can make a thinner cashew milk, closer to 2 % milk, by using 4 cups of water to 1 cup of cashews).  Store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. IMG_2923 (2)

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