ma famille

love these three. with all my heart.

together forever, never apart. maybe in distance, but never in heart.


Caraway Sauerkraut

So many wonderful foods are born via fermentation. Kombucha, beer, wine, vinegar, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, yogurt… the list is endless and I love them all!

Earlier this spring I finally ordered Wild Fermentation, the bible equivalent for fermented foods. This book is both very user friendly as well as informative as the author thoroughly explains the benefits of fermented foods.

Even though this book contains delicious sounding sauerkrauts that I intend to make in the near future, the caraway sauerkraut my mom and I made last week I picked up elsewhere. The recipe we followed came from Crock and Jar, a food preservation company based out of NYC. I know from sampling some earlier this winter at the Just Food Conference that this kraut is SO delicious.

Even though I have a special place in my heart for Bubbie’s sauerkraut (& pickles!) there are no more excuses to buy sauerkraut when it is so easy and cheap to make right in your own kitchen. If making sauerkraut isn’t something that interests you – at least do yourself the favor of buying Bubbie’s raw kraut at some point. This brand is unpasteurized (retaining all nutrients and good bacteria) while not overwhelmingly salty like others can be.

Caraway Sauerkraut

yield: ~1 1/2 quarts

3 lbs green cabbage (any mix of cabbage will do)
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt (do not use iodized salt or anything with an anti-caking agent)
2 1/2 tsp caraway seeds

1. Remove outer leaves of cabbage and cut into quarters. Remove the cores and slice each wedge into 1/4 inch wide strips. Place into large bowl and add some salt and seeds to allow the cabbage to release some of its water. Continue cutting and adding salt until its all finished.
2. Massage cabbage to help the salt remove the water. Put cabbage in a tall container (half-gallon or two quart jars).
3. Firmly press down cabbage with your fist until it is covered with its own liquid.
4. Cover the cabbage with a few outer leaves. Weigh down the cabbage with a glass jar full of water.
5. Cover container with a towel or loose lid and place in a cool place to ferment.
6. Check in one week: remove the weight and wash off any mold and remove any rotten spots. Cabbage (kraut) below these spots are entirely fine . Taste to check the progress. Press cabbage down to submerge in brine.
7. Replace clean jar, cover container and return to cool spot. Continue to check the cabbage 1x/week. Cabbage should ferment for 3-6 weeks. Once the cabbage is sour enough for your taste preferences, put it in a clean container and store in refrigerator for up to 6 months.


For Health’s Sake

So, why have I suddenly introduced meat and dairy back into my diet?! Here is a quick low-down:

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am on the quest to increase my levels of estrogen as they are hovering zero and have been for quite some time. Two summers ago when I went off birth control, with that went my cycle. At first I thought nothing of it – I figured my body was adjusting to the change and my shift to a mostly raw vegan diet. Well, months passed and still nothing. Against my will my doctor put me on HRT for two weeks and still nada. I continued to ignore it. I left for Hawaii 6 months later thinking my body would naturally heal as I spent nearly 22 hours a day outdoors – I was banking on the connection I had to the earth & its natural rhythms. No go. Continued to ignore, ignore, ignore. I will add all this “ignoring” is unlike me. I would consider myself quite health conscious and gladly refer to myself as a hypochondriac.

A few weeks ago I had more blood work done after I met with an endocrinologist and hearing the words “zero estrogen” finally woke me up. Maybe I simply had to hear the word zero. The doc told me to stop working out (not gonna happen). She offered absolutely no nutritional advice and I walked out of that office entirely frustrated. I refuse to not get exercise in some way, shape, or form. So I did my own research and concluded I simply need good hormones and nutrients straight from the source. Happy, healthy animals. Therefore, I have introduced grass-fed meat & eggs, raw milk/butter, and organic yogurt back into my diet. As soon as I had my omnivore “epiphany” – something inside me woke up and overnight I not only accepted this but could not wait to get my hands (and mouth) on these foods.

Sadly my skin didn’t like the addition of raw milk and/or yogurt – so I may need to limit these or just the milk.  I will have to do an elimination test to figure out if one or both of them were the cause. But the meat? Body seems to love it.

Last week I made my first ever bowl of dippy eggs. Dippy eggs?! yea, I’d never heard of them either until Chelsea started talking about them and I thought she was crazzzy (jk Chels – you’re actually just genius). To start I lightly steamed some broccoli, brussels sprouts, and kale  & tossed with a tbsp of olive oil, minced garlic, bit of lemon juice, dried herbs and pepper. Next I poached one egg white and one whole egg (leaving yolk intact). I put some veggies in a bowl, topped with the eggs, split the yolk to run all over, added some hot sauce and voila! Dipppppy eggs! It’s really no different than “over easy” or “sunny side up” eggs but the name is way cuter and is now forever part of my lingo.

I have embraced this diet 100%, clearly. My body has gone through a lot of changes and stress over the past couple years – all starting with the birth control – and now I must listen to its messages to heal it. Although I felt healthy during the past two years – my body was screaming SOS . I do not believe any of this happened merely from a vegan diet. I know I was getting sufficient nutrients- maybe a wee low on B12 – but otherwise I was perfectly healthy. I entirely blame the wackiness of birth control and will never, ever put myself on synthetic hormones again. Blah!

So, there you have it! I very much enjoyed my bison burger tonight, sans bun, covered in grilled onion, mushrooms, guacamole & salsa. I already want another!



Per Anna’s request here are some delicious snacky combos I have enjoyed in the past few weeks:

Red pepper or horseradish Greek Gourmet hummus (Pittsburgh co.) with Lundberg’s salt-free brown rice cakes. devine.

Plain organic Siggi’s yogurt with 1 – 2 tsp bee pollen & a few dried mullberries. Locate Siggi’s at your local Whole Foods.

Medjool dates dipped in nut butter. Dates & nuts go together like peas in a pod.

Raw, organic milk with puffed corn cereal. heck yeah. raw milk is AMAZING – and I’ve never cared for milk, ever. Raw trumps all.

Homemade popcorn with a bit of melted organic butter & pepper.

Try these snacks (and dippy eggs) out! They are truly delicious!

Aimee, This One’s For You!

As my friend Aimee liked to bring to my attention today – I haven’t shown much love here lately and her ability to stalk me has been severely hindered. So here is what I have been up to since the day I ran the city of bridges.

-Two weekends ago I moved out of my tiny dollhouse apartment into Jeanne’s – a mere hop, skip, & jump away in Squirrel Hill. Temporary roomie until I head to Toronto and permanent roomie come December. Living with Jeanne means I’ll be able to enjoy many more walks with Edison & flowers!

My favorite pic from an early morning walk a few weeks ago –

-In the last week I officially became an omnivore (a picky one). Yep, this girl ate a burger last week (thanks to Jeanne’s local, grass-fed meat from her CSA) and am looking very forward to the bison I will be dining on come Wednesday with my fam at the Heartland Cafe. In addition to that burger, I’ve enjoyed some eggs, raw milk, organic yogurt, wild-caught salmon and pasture butter. I wouldn’t go as far as saying “I’ve been missing out” but I cannot deny that I have enjoyed these foods entirely. More blood work showed I’ve hit a scary level (you can go ahead and read this as nearly zero) with my hormones and vitamin B12 – so instead of not working out which was recommended by the doc – I decided to introduce pristine quality meat and raw dairy into my diet while continuing to workout. The fact that I’m craving red meat again speaks volumes – I clearly need the nutrients. More on this to come.

-Flew into Chicago last week and have been enjoying the amazing weather, relaxation, catching up with friends, reading the Hunger Games, going to my first Cubs/Sox Crosstown Classic game, visiting the always beautiful Chicago Botanic Gardens, and watching movies with my momma.

Being home has meant I’ve even been able to witness the first ripe strawberry from my plants of last year – my mom and I went to harvest our one berry this evening and some stinker already got it! You snooze you loose apparently. This week I’ll likely do lots of reading, yoga, running, projects with my mom (soap, sauerkraut, more lotions, yada yada yada), and go see The Hunger Games before heading to Milwaukee this weekend for another Jagel wedding. Cannot wait to see Ryan & Maggie get hitched and to hopefully check out Growing Power Saturday am. I have a lot to pack in before I go back to the burgh Sunday & Canada Monday!

-Today I made homemade lotion and chapstick! Easiest. projects. ever. and both incredibly cost efficient. For just a few cents I have a few mason jars full of lotion and 6 tubes of chapstick. Here’s how to DIY:

Homemade Lotion

1/4 cup olive oil (note: not extra virgin)
1/4 cup emulsifying wax (purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs)
1 1/4 cup hot water
essential oil(s) of choice

Directions: In a glass pyrex measuring cup combine 1/4 cup emulsifying wax & 1/4 olive oil. Heat these two until wax is entirely melted either in microwave (~1-2 minutes) or double broiler style in a pot over medium heat. Once the wax is melted add 24-36 drops of essential oil(s) if desired. While adding oils, heat 1 1/4 cup of water for about 1 1/2 minutes in the microwave. Add hot water to oil/wax mixture. Immediately the combination will turn milky white. Stir and pour into a 16 ounce mason jar. Cover and allow to settle & cool.

That’s it!! So quick, easy, and eco-friendly.

Homemade Chapstick

1 1/8 tsp cocoa butter
1 7/8 tsp coconut oil
3 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp beeswax
3 vitamin E capsules
6-7 chapstick tubes (reuse old ones or purchase for cheap Mountain Rose Herbs)

Directions: In a pyrex glass measuring cup combine melted cocoa butter, coconut oil, beeswax & olive oil. After these four liquids are well combined, add the contents of three vitamin E capsules. Stir and pour into empty tubes. Allow to cool and harden and there you have chapstick that smells like honey!

I was very pleased with all the products I ordered from Mountain Rose Herbs – just be sure to purchase everything at once to keep the price of shipping down.

Let’s see what else… while teaching Jeanne to juice last week we pumped out one of my typical green juices while also making a watermelon-strawberry juice. Delicious. A few days prior I had juiced some remaining watermelon that was in my fridge so I didn’t have to pack it for my move. Why had I not done this before? Simple watermelon juice is so refreshing and hydrating. A perfect summer beverage. So this morning I decided to start my day not with green but with red juice and opted for a pineapple & watermelon juice:

1/2 pineapple
2-3 cups watermelon
1/2 lemon, peeled
1 1″ nub of ginger

So good and rehydrating. I’ve been in desperate need of liquids after a weekend of too much salt however water wasn’t appealing. This really hit the spot.

Off to read more Hunger Games, do some yoga, and perch with Ma & Pa.

Source: via Jo Ann on Pinterest

Runner of Steel

Despite my two injuries I powered through Pittsburgh’s half marathon this morning – earning the title as a runner of steel among 25,000 other dedicated runners. It turned out to be a great race and I even finished 20 minutes earlier than I anticipated. I started out with Molly to provide moral support – help settle her nerves as she was doing her first full – but we promptly got separated at the first fluid station somewhere around mile 3. Here’s us before the race and before we (I) felt like death:

Upon finishing I felt great – had a massage and iced my knee stat. However, heat stroke symptoms (?) slowly started to settle in and I pretty much felt like complete crap until later in the evening. I had the worst headache I’ve ever had, was shaky, out of it, and all around nervous to move – afraid I was going to pass out. I was forcing food down which included 3 bananas (i never want a banana again), 2 small bagels (completely against my will), a fruit cup (against my will again), along with tons and tons of water but nothing was working. All I wanted was to be home in bed, darkness, and somewhere cold. I was waiting for molly until about 1 – which pretty much sucked since it entailed being in the heat and sun. But it was so worth it to run over and give her teary-eyed self a giant hug and shed a tear of joy with her. I am soo proud of her! I am already looking forward to finishing the full 26.2 next year – I just pray it won’t be as darn sunny and warm.

Thankfully later this evening I felt better after more food, cold washcloths on my forehead, iced tea, a shower, and a spur of the moment decision to get dinner out … and now I’m back to feeling normal and ready to take on my busy week. By Friday I’ll be packed up, moved out and almost ready to be leaving Pittsburgh – so bittersweet!!

Wisdom From the Seed

Stumbled upon this in a magazine leaving the co-op this evening…

“The seed cannot know what is going to happen, the seed has never known the flower. And the seed cannot even beleive that he has the potentiality to become a beautiful flower. Long is the journey, and it is always safer not to go on that journey because unknown is the path, nothing is guaranteed. Nothing can be guaranteed. Thousand and one are the hazards of the journey, many are the pitfalls-and the seed is secure, hidden inside a hard core. but the seed tries, it makes an effort; it drops the hard shell which is its security, it starts moving. Immediately the fight starts: the struggle with the soil, with the stones, with the rocks. And the seed was very hard and the sprout will be very, very soft and dangers will by many. There was no danger for the seed, the seed could have survived for millenia, but for the sprout many are the dangers. But the sprout starts towards the unknown, towards the sun, towards the source of light, not knowing where, not konwing why, but a dream possesses the seed and thes seed moves. The same is the path for man. It is arduous. Much courage will be needed” – Osho

believe in your seed :)

Source: via Somatra on Pinterest

a very green wednesday

Apparently yesterday was a day chock full of green!

am post- yoga rehydration: Green Juice (kale, celery, cuke, apple, lemon)

“lunch”: green grapes, zucchini & celery

snack: apple & coconut water

2nd snack: green smoothie (kale, 1/2 cuke, 1 banana, 1/2 small avocado, flax)

Post 2 hour run: a heaping bowl of salad greens & thai coleslaw x 2

I thought I had previously shared the recipe for thai coleslaw (raw, vegan)- apparently it was all intentions and no action! I love this particular recipe as it is full of nutrition, cheap and so easy! I usually omit the tamari & honey – and only add the herbs if I have them on hand.

thai coleslaw *adapted from Sunny Raw Kitchen


3 cups shredded cabbage (mix of green & purple)
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
1 bunch chives or green onion, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped


2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup  low sodium tamari
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons of honey (or bit of stevia)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1″ ginger, peeled, finely minced
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp chili powder

directions: Blend all dressing ingredients for dressing.  Add to chopped salad ingredients. Toss & serve!

and now i’m off to figure out why this new format won’t let me single space any of this and read The Dirty Life and Food and the City. I love having the space to read books for pleasure again… I can’t begin to imagine how many I’ll plow through at the farm this year!

Also working on many updates for the blog – be on the lookout – publishing soon!