‘Boning Up’ on the Bone Broth Trend (+ DIY Recipe)

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“We are indeed much more than we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.” – Adele Davis

If you’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about bone broth recently, you’re not alone. But what exactly is the difference between stock, broth, consomme, and bouillon? And why are people raving over bone broth, in particular, for its healing and nourishing benefits?

With those questions in mind, I popped into the ZOOM+Performance lab last week to learn more from the first of their lunchtime classes. Local expert Tressa Yellig from Salt, Fire & Time was on hand to educate us about this savory elixir and how she believes it’s one of the simplest and most powerful food remedies you can have at your disposal.

According to Yellig, bone broth stands head and shoulders above other stock-type liquids because it’s cooked for a long time (up to three days) over a low heat (roughly 180 degrees) in order to extract all the good stuff — gelatin, nutrients and minerals — from bones.

So what else makes bone broth so special? Well,  for starters it’s rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, silicon, phosphorous, sulphur and other trace minerals, meaning it’s nutrient-dense. Plus, it contains a host of other unique and powerful substances, including marrow, cartilage, glycine, proline, collagen and gelatin, which are thought to help support the immune system, reduce inflammation and promote healing.

What I found most interesting, however, is when Yellig talked about bone broth also being a “protein sparer,” which means that it helps create adequate nutrition in the short-term absence of protein (read: when you’re sick and the last thing you feel like eating is a hunk of meat). Not to mention it hits the spot on these cold and dreary Portland winter days…

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Bone broth can be enjoyed as it is (with a little salt to enhance the flavor). Yellig also suggested experimenting with it as a base for soups, stews, sauces, gravy, cooking grains, vegetables, savory baked goods or with beans.

It’s pretty simple to make, so if you’ve got the time or inclination she shared this recipe to help you get your bone broth on at home:

Basic Bone Broth

(courtesy of Salt, Fire & Time)

Ingredients: 

  • About 1 pound of mixed bones per quart of purified water
  • Splash of vinegar (cider, red or white wine, rice or lemon juice)
  • Vegetables and herbs for flavor (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Place bones in a medium to large stock pot and add water to cover.
  2. Mix in the splash of vinegar and allow to sit at room temperature for about an hour. Note: If there’s a lot of meat on the bones, roast them first for flavor. 
  3. Bring the pot up to a gentle simmer (about 180 degrees) and allow to continue for 8-72 hours
  4. Add the vegetables and herbs in the middle of your cooking time.
  5. Strain out he bones, vegetables and herbs, and allow to cool.
  6. Package in glass containers for refrigerator storage (2 weeks) or plastic freezer bags or ice trays for freezer storage (3 months).

Or if the prospect of babysitting a simmering pot on the stove for a few days is too daunting, you can always swing by Yellig’s Broth Bar here in Portland. She offers a bunch of condiments, stir-ins and add-ons to customize each steaming cup to your liking.

Not local? You’re in luck. Salt, Fire & Time also has an online shop that ships all kinds of delicious goodies ’round the country.

Are you on the bone broth bandwagon? Why or why not?
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Recipe: Erica Stenz’s Healthiest Whole30-Approved Tuna Salad

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I’ll be honest: The first time I saw this recipe from my fit friend Erica Stenz (aka SF’s hottest trainer), I wrinkled my nose in disgust.

Now, you know I love healthy, nutrient-dense foods as much as the next person, but there was just no way that this combination of ingredients — pickles, apples, dates and tuna — could taste good…right?!

Well, Erica, I stand corrected…which is precisely why I’m sharing it here.

A word to the wise: Don’t over-think the ingredients. Just assemble, and enjoy (I promise).

Erica’s Healthiest Whole30 Approved Tuna Salad

(via TheSimpleFare.com)

Ingredients:

For Salad:

  • 2 cans of albacore tuna, no salt added and in water
  • 1 diced apple (I used Gala)
  • 1 diced kosher dill pickle
  • 2 diced Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 diced avocado
  • 1 diced bell pepper (I used red)
  • 1 diced cucumber

For Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp spicy brown mustard (no white wine vinegar for Whole30)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or fish oil)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of curry powder, optional

Directions: 

  1. Add salad ingredients to a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, add dressing ingredients and whisk together using a fork.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat evenly. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

If using these ingredients together is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

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Don’t ask me how, but they work so well together to create a wonderfully fresh, tangy, sweet, savory combo.

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And for some additional nutrients — gotta get those greens! — I layer it in a bed of kale for a light, yet satisfying, lunch.

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How daring are you when experimenting with new recipes? 

The Almond Milk Experiment

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Our recent Whole30 experience left Ben and I between a rock and a hard place when it came to morning coffee: Either drink it black or pay a hefty $1 or so per ounce for the deliciousness from Portland Juice Company.

Now wanting to blow through our grocery budget, I knew there had to be another way. Sure, we could fudge our way through with store-bought almond milk, which even when it’s organic and free of lactose, soy, gluten can have some nasty additives (just Google “carrageenan,” for example).

So that left us (read: me) with one, final option: Making it home-made, which I was trying to avoid at all costs — literally and figuratively.

A little math:

  • Nut-milk bag: $10.99
  • 6 oz package of raw almonds: $4.99
  • 12 oz package of dates: $6.99
  • Finally getting over the fear of using my food processor: Priceless

Is it worth it? Well, I might not be the best person to ask since I love my dairy and have since added it back into my diet — in moderation, of course (#BecauseIceCream). But almond milk is a delicious alternative for people with dietary restrictions — especially with the addition of dates as a natural sweetener and pumpkin pie spice for an extra kick.

Making it on my own not only was a learning experience, but it also got me thinking about all the extra gunk I’m consuming in my usual store-bought, sugar- and chemical-laden creamers, so although I don’t expect to make it regularly, I will add it into my repertoire of “every-now-and-then” recipes.

Here’s a look at the process:

Step one: Purchase nut-milk bag. Get mocked by husband when you tell him you’re “going to the store to buy a nut bag.”

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Step two: Soak almonds. Overnight, ideally, but for at least a few hours or until the nuts plump up.

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Step three: Rinse almonds and place in food processor with 3-4 pitted dates and a few cups of fresh water. Blend.

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Step four: Clean up explosion of water from said food processor. Locate manual and read instructions about not filling above “fill line.” Oops.

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Step five: Repeat step four. Clean up second mess, and wonder if you assembled it incorrectly. Nope — just too much liquid. Again.

Step six: Finally blend (for 1-2 minutes) until white and frothy. Smells lovely.

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Step seven: Hold open nut-milk bag over a large bowl and pour mixture into bag to strain. Gently squeeze to get excess liquid out.

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Step eight: Store in airtight container. Preferably a mason jar, particularly if you live in Portland, to cement neo-hippie status.

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Now…what do do with the almond remnants? I’ve got a recipe for that, too! Stay tuned…

Have you made home-made almond milk?

The Whole30 Truth, and Nothing But the Truth (+ giveaway!)

Credit: Chef Pete Evans

Credit: Chef Pete Evans

In mid-January, Ben and I started Whole30, which we viewed as a 30-day “experiment,” a fresh start for the new year. If you’re not familiar with the program, it’s a “short-term nutritional reset,” designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract and balance your immune system.

Sounds awesome, right? Well, where the rubber hits the road is in the rules: Eat real food. Avoid added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, dairy, carrageenan, MSG, sulfites…or any food product with a hint of anything like that in it.

Easy, in theory. We eat fairly healthy. We exercise. We expected it to be difficult at times (him: peanut butter and flavored coffee creamer; me: cereal and dessert after dinner). But what we didn’t expect was an experience that will forever change the way in which we view our food.

So, what’s it’s like to eat “clean” for 30 days? Truthfully, it’s hard. Not only are we used to grabbing whatever we want off the grocery store shelves, but our bodies are, sadly, so accustomed to being jacked up on sugar and artificial stuff that there’s even a timeline of what you can expect — both mentally and physically — as the month unfolds.

Full disclosure: Neither of us experienced anything as drastic as the “carb flu,” although we did blow through five jars of almond butter in the process. And there may have been a few nights at the beginning when I put myself to bed early in order to escape from the after-dinner dessert cravings… 

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But, reflecting back on the experience, we learned some valuable lessons:

1. I’m not in the habit of reading food labels. I learned this the hard way after using what I thought were W30-approved almond milk and hot sauce on day one, only to realize later that both products had a bunch of additives in ’em. #Whole30Fail

2. There’s a lot in our food that isn’t “food.” As we perused the grocery aisles, Ben and I had bust out our phones and Google ingredients in things, most of which we couldn’t pronounce.

3. It’s tough to find whole-food products. They’re out there and are becoming more popular, as you’ll see below, but they’re not the default; you’ve got to make an effort to seek them out.

4. It’s not a diet. Don’t necessarily expect to lose weight. My number on the scale stayed the same, although my jeans do feel a little looser, so that’s a bonus!

5. There is sugar and soy in every.thing. If it’s not listed in the ingredients outright, it’s hiding behind a pseudonym. Do your research, and read those labels!

6. Food is very social. We didn’t realize this until we made a double-date for dinner the first Friday night. Two glasses of water and bun-less burgers, please. Wah-wah.

7. There’s a difference between stuffed and satiated. Well, duh. But no, really — bread baskets, apps and desserts used to be a free-for-all. Making better decisions about food has means no more nights riddled with regret — and heartburn.

8. Cooking is key. A month straight of hard-boiled eggs, broiled chicken and steamed veggies would get old fast. There are so many easy W30-approved recipes out there, and they’re delicious! Here’s one of our favorites, in fact.

But… I do have one confession to make: Snacks, which I credit for helping me get through the past 30 days. Although they’re technically discouraged — you’re supposed to aim for three large meals instead — I took a hall pass because I’ve got a pretty active workout schedule.

Here are a few of my favorite W30-approved game-changers: So good, you’d never guess they’re actually good for you!

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Meat snacks: Both Chomps Snack Sticks and Nick’s Sticks deliver all the goodness and none of the garbage. Made from grass-fed beef (Nick’s also has free-range turkey), which is higher in omega-3’s, all the sticks are gluten-, soy-, hormone- and antibiotic-free, but the best part is that they’re shelf-stable (great for on-the-go!) without any synthetic preservatives. I love stashing them in my purse for emergency mini-meals.

Nuts, seeds & bars: Aside from an admirable brand mantra, Living Intentions makes some downright addictive sprouted nut, seed and trail mix flavor combinations; I’m partial to the Rosemary Garlic Gone Nuts, in particular. Chapul Bars also made me a cricket convert; their chocolate-coffee-cayenne Aztec Bar (packed with protein, iron and vitamin B12) hits the spot — seriously, almost better than a brownie.

For workouts, my new pre-sweat-session obsession pick-me-up are Yawp! Bars, which are a delicious grain-free alternative to granola bars because they’re dehydrated ’til crispy (another confession: I already ordered a second box because I can’t gt enough of ’em).  And, finally, Barnana — literally, just dehydrated bananas — is an unbelievably good mid-workout fuel with its mild flavor and candy-like chewiness.

Sauces & flavorings: My biggest tip for tackling Whole30? Flavor up that food! Paleo Powder takes seasoning back to basics with an all-purpose rub that’s free of MSG, gluten and sugar; it gives a great kick to meat, veggies and eggs. Our go-to weeknight dinner was chicken breasts, baked with this and a smidge of white wine.

And then there’s Tessemae’s, my absolute favorite find (thanks to Erica for the heads up!) — not just for the spunky nature of the company, but also because they keep it real (real yummy) when it comes to all-natural condiments and dressings. The Lemon Garlic dressing was a life-saver for salads. Another tip? Try their Lemon Chesapeake dressing over salmon and braised greens!

Hydration: I read that drinking rooibos tea could help combat sweet cravings due to its deep, earthy vanilla taste, so I stocked up on Numi’s version. It’s caffeine-free and full of antioxidants, so it’s also become my afternoon drink of choice with a splash of home-made almond milk.

And as important as it is to replenish fluid and electrolytes when you’re working out, you’d be hard-pressed to find many without added sugar, carbs or artificial flavors and colors. That’s why I’ve also been using elete’s Electrolyte Add-in, a pure, flavorless liquid electrolyte concentrate that contains magnesium, potassium, sodium and chloride in order to help facilitate proper muscle and mental function. It’s gotten me through countless long runs and rides these past few weeks!

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As for my final take on the program, it’s something I’d highly recommend. Think of it this way — it’s a month with some occasional discomfort (mostly mental) in exchange for something that has the potential to impact you for the rest of your life in a positive way: A new relationship with food.

Removing the junk out of your diet helps chip away at some of the emotional baggage regarding what we eat and why, as well. Your taste buds will reset, you’ll regain control over cravings, you’ll feel healthier overall…but most of all, you’ll learn to approach life after Whole30 with a whole new outlook.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Ben and I had a running list of post-Whole30 restaurants to visit and items to eat! We fully intend to indulge in them, too — although this time it’ll not only be deliberate, but also in moderation so we can truly enjoy it.

Have you tried Whole30? What’s your take?

Also – it’s your lucky day! Yawp was kind enough to offer a mixed case (12 bars, four of each flavor: Naked, Cafe Mocha and Coconut Chai) up for grabs. Enter here via a Rafflecopter giveaway!

Recipe: So-Good-You-Won’t-Believe-What’s-In-‘Em Pancakes

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I may very well be the second-to-last person on Earth to have tried this recipe, as a quick Google search will reveal that it’s been circulating the interwebs for quite some time now. But in the off-chance you’re that lucky last person to have heard about it, I wanted to share it again here.

Which culinary magician originally invented this? No clue. I just happened to find out about it from a former co-worker, Claire, who posted some pictures on social media that had me drooling. Cue the following morning’s brunch where Ben and I tweaked a double batch and devoured the entire thing ourselves.

Traditionally, it’s a two-ingredient pancake with just banana and eggs. But in lieu of drenching the ‘cakes in maple syrup (damn you, Whole 30!), we spiced things up instead and added some extra protein to make them a more substantial meal.

So-Good-You-Won’t-Believe-What’s-In-‘Em Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 Tbsp almond butter

Directions:

  1. Add bananas, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice to a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Mix until smooth with an immersion (or regular) blender.
  3. Cook on pre-heated griddle, greased lightly with coconut oil, until both sides are browned.
  4. Keep hot, and serve immediately — with almond butter!

I love recipes where you can throw everything into one bowl; you can also change the flavor profile by adding other spices, fruit, cocoa powder, etc.

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Next step? Blend, baby, blend! Don’t be surprised if the batter gets all aerated and frothy.

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Spoon batter onto a hot griddle, and flip when pancakes are bubbly and have set.

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Cook on the other side for about a minute until lightly browned and cooked through.

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Layer hot ‘cakes with almond butter…and get ’em while they’re hot!

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Have you tried the famous two-ingredient pancakes?

Recipe: Savory Paleo Cauliflower Rice

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While greens may be all the rage right now, there’s another member of the cruciferous family of vegetables you’ll want to add into your weekly meal rotation: Cauliflower.

Cancer-fighting, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich, the versatile veggie provides your body with plenty of vitamin C, vitamin K and beta-carotene, plus it supports healthy digestion and detoxification.

After hearing a bunch of buzz about using mashed cauliflower in place of potatoes and grated cauliflower in place of rice, I decided to take the latter for a whirl. Not only was it a lot easier to make than I thought, but the texture and flavor were a hit with everyone — even the toughest meat-and-potatoes critics!

Savory Paleo Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp Zehnder’s Chicken Seasoning (or similar flavoring, you may want to try chicken or beef bouillon)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Using a grater, grate the cauliflower to a coarse texture that resembles grains of rice
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat
  3. Add garlic and onion, and sauté until garlic just starts to brown and onion is translucent (3-4 minutes)
  4. Add in cauliflower and continue to sauté for another 4-5 minutes or until tender
  5. Season with chicken seasoning, salt and pepper, and serve

Here’s a closer shot to show the texture. Honestly, it’s pretty tough to tell that this isn’t the real thing (i.e. rice) — and the best part is that it’s super-filling, yet low in calories and packed with nutrients.

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And in case you’re wondering about the rest of the meal, I paired it with Almond Flour Chicken Fingers and broccoli for an all-around awesome Paleo-rific dinner. Enjoy!

Recipe: Paleo(ish) Pumpkin Bread

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Blogger pal LiteraryLydi requested a pumpkin bread recipe after seeing my recent post with Paleo-friendly banana bread. Ask, and you shall receive!

Since I was home in October for the marathon, I decided to tweak our family-favorite pumpkin bread recipe. It’s not completely Paleo since I wanted to retain more of the taste and texture of the original recipe, but it’s a step in a healthier direction that still got rave reviews.

Paleo(ish) Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients: 

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 2/3 cup regular flour

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all wet ingredients together. Add sugar, and stir.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix all remaining dry ingredients together.
  4. Slowly incorporate dry mixture into wet mixture in large bowl.
  5. Pour batter into loaf pan. Bake for ~60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of loaf comes out clean.
  6. Remove from loaf pan and allow to cool before cutting.

Step one: Gather all your ingredients. As you can see, we were low on vegetable oil, so I just substituted coconut oil instead.

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Mix your wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls to make sure everything gets evenly combined.

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Don’t worry; the batter will be pretty thick. In fact, it had more of a cookie dough consistency at first, which is why I upped the original cup of pumpkin to the whole can.

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Because of the consistency of the batter, you may have to scoop (rather than pour) it into the pan. Smooth out the top with a spatula.

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Not sure if it’s done? First, the edges will brown. But make sure that toothpick comes out clean when you poke the center!

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Next time I’ll probably bake it a few more minutes because the center was just slightly under-done. But still delicious!

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What’s your family-favorite fall recipe?