There is a big difference between fermented foods created on your countertop and pickled foods preserved with some kind of vinegar. The health benefits in fermented foods are numerous, probably the biggest one being they support and reinforce your natural bacteria colonies in your gut. Vinegar preserved foods lack the throngs of health enhancing bacterial colonies of fermented foods, and therefore lack the health enhancing benefits.

According to Dr. Axe, fermentation helps increase digestion and bioavailability of nutrients, as well manage and prevent disease, including H. pylori infection, cancer, liver disease, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and lactose intolerance. 

When vegetables like cabbage and cucumbers are left to steep and sit until the sugars are broken down to promote the growth of bacteria, this is when the vegetables are fermented. Check out my recipe for the best home fermented sauerkraut you have ever eaten!

Dr. Axe also says, “Fermented foods are also filled with beneficial bacteria that work as reinforcement for the good bacteria in the digestive system. Since 70 percent to 80 percent of the immune system lies in the gut, having proper balance of gut flora is important.”

The recipe below is my adaptation of a recipe from the Immigrant’s Table.

INGREDIENTS

4 tablespoons of whey (see note below)

1/2-1 cup of filtered water or as much as needed to top your jar

1 teaspoon of salt

2 cups of chopped – cauliflower carrots, and/or onions

3 garlic cloves peeled and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon of oregano

1 1-quart glass container with a lid

DIRECTIONS

If using cauliflower separate into small florets, about 1 to 2 inches in diameter.

Combine the filtered water, whey and salt in a separate jar, and stir or shake well, until the salt is dissolved. Taste the solution – it should taste briny.

Pack the jar with the vegetables, herbs and garlic cloves, until they reach about 1 inch from the mouth of the jars.

Pour your brine solution over your vegetables, completely submerging them. Top with more water if necessary.

Cover your jar with a lid. Leave it a dark corner of your kitchen counter for two to four days (the duration of their fermentation will depend on the temperature in your home). I place mine on the counter, under a towel.

Once the veggies have fermented to your liking you can move them to the refrigerator, they should last a few weeks there.

Be sure to eat a serving or two of fermented foods each day to maximize their life-giving benefits!

Note: I have read that if you have a previous batch of lacto-fermented veggies you can take 4-5 tablespoons of the liquid from a batch you have eaten and use it in place of ‘fresh” whey. I have experimented for myself with this method and it seems to work just fine.  If you need to ‘find’ some whey, line a fine strainer with cheesecloth, put a cup or two of yogurt in the strainer and place it above a larger bowl, the clear liquid that comes from the yogurt is whey. I use my home-made yogurt to get my whey, and the left-ver yogurt is much thicker, more like Greek yogurt. 

Here are some things from Dr. Perlmutter about the value of fermented foods.

And a few other interesting notes about the value of fermented foods in your regular daily diet.

I discovered a new fermented beverage on Dr. Axe’s page, Kvass, I will try it soon, and post my thoughts on this site.

Do you have a favorite fermented food? Check out my wild fermented sauerkraut, and share your comments below!

Prep Time: 5 min. Cook Time: 60 min. Total Time: 65 min. Difficulty: easy Servings: 4

INGREDIENTS

3 Tablespoons butter

1 pound bag frozen sliced okra

1/2 tsp chipotle pepper

Salt and Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Melt butter in an 8×13 pan, spread okra across bottom of the pan, sprinkle with chipotle pepper.

Place in oven. Toss about every 20-30 minutes.

Remove from oven when no longer wet or slimy, and starting to brown along some edges.

Alternative: We cook these on the stovetop in a cast iron frying pan, long and slow, until mostly brown and a bit crunchy. They are delicious!

Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 60 min Total Time: 65 min. Difficulty: easy Servings: varies

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon coconut oil

About 2 pounds of sweet potatoes, washed, cubed 

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp Chipotle pepper 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375ºF

Put coconut oil on cookie sheet, and pop in oven just long enough to melt, then spread over bottom of the sheet.

Wash and cube the sweet potatoes into about 1/2 to 3/4” or so cubes.

Toss the sweet potato with the cinnamon and chipotle pepper on the baking pan.

Bake about 50-60 minutes, until tender and beginning to caramelize on some of the edges.

Prep Time: 5 min. Cook Time: 60 min. Total Time: 65 min. Difficulty: easy Servings: 4

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound bag frozen Brussels sprouts

1 medium clove of garlic, minced

Salt and Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 350ºF.

Put oil in pan, add Brussels sprouts and garlic, mix and bake.

Give them a stir occasionally.

Add salt and pepper to taste before serving.

NOTES

You can also use fresh Brussels sprouts for this recipe, I typically cut them in half through the core.

Alternatively, cook in cast iron skillet or Dutch oven on the stove top, long and slow.

Thanksgiving Cranberry Dish

 

Thanksgiving dinner was well underway. There is something about stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey and gravy that just needs that tart sweetness of cranberry something. I knew I had no fresh cranberries in the house. Nor was there any canned cranberry sauce or jellied cranberry sauce. But there was about a cup of dried cranberries from Trader Joes.

This might have possibilities. 

Normally I make a cranberry relish with fresh ingredients, chopped apple, mandarin oranges, walnuts, cinnamon and canned whole berry cranberries. But not this year.

So, I gathered some ingredients, chopped and dumped, stirred and cooked at a simmer for a while. Here is what I did.

2 apples – chopped

1 orange – peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon minced orange zest

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground chive

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water

Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for about 45 minutes or until the apples are soft, but not disintigrating, stirring occasionally. Serve warm.

Chop & Zest the Fruit

 

Simmer until Soft.

 

 

 

Sprout Salad

Yield: 2-4

Sometimes it just seems so difficult to eat raw food every day. I get tired of the same old few items. With spring just around the corner I finally replaced my depleted sprouting seeds, and started a jar a few days ago. Sprouts are so very healthy for us, full of vitamins AND enzymes. Enzymes in raw food support our microbiome ('internal flora' or the good bacteria). When our microbiome is healthy and happy we digest our food better, which means we get more nutrition from what we eat, and then we feel better, look better (well, if you feel better, don't you probably look better?), and sleep better. So, the reasons for eating raw food daily are compelling, aren't they? This particular salad is very simple, just some sprouts, thinly sliced cucumbers and mushrooms, then the whole thing is drizzled with good olive oil and a touch of balsamic vinegar. Another interesting note, there is a component in mushrooms which assists our body in the identification of cancer cells. Once they are 'flagged' then the immune system can step in and remove them. So, eat a mushroom or two - raw or cooked - regularly, it will help keep you healthy.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sprouts of your choice

  • 1 cup sliced cucumber

  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms

  • 2 Tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Toss and eat immediately, else the vinegar will wilt the sprouts, and the whole dish becomes a little less appetizing.
https://ladyonaquest.com/sprout-salad/

Kale Salad

Yield: 4+

Kale, perhaps is the king of greens. It is so very good for you. Most people cook it to death, or drop a little into a smoothie. Here is a raw version you might just love. As always, by quantities are estimates, make this your own.

Ingredients

  • 1 large bowl of torn kale leaves

  • 1/2 cup rasins

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds

  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

  • 1/4 cup diced onion

  • 1 minced clove of garlic

  • 1 avocado, chopped

  • juice from 2 lemons (and a little zest if you love lemon)

  • 2 Tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • dash of ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. This is the fun part - once all ingredients are in the bowl, plunge your hands into the mess, your goal is to smash the avocado, and work the juices into the kale leaves, they will begin to change their texture a little bit, becoming softer.
  2. You can eat this salad immediately, or keep it for a day or two. The lemon keeps the avocado from oxidizing.

Notes

Alternatives and Serving suggestions: Garnish with some sprouts (as shown in the image) Put a couple of spoonfuls of cannellini beans on top Sprinkle either cooked or sprouted quinoa on top Add pumpkin seeds Replace sliced almonds with chopped pecan or walnut

https://ladyonaquest.com/kale-salad/

Fried Cauliflower Rice

Yield: 3-4

This is so quick and easy. It is very low carb, and full of good nutrition.

Ingredients

  • 1 T coconut oil

  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 small/medium head of cauliflower

  • 1 pound frozen mixed veggies (organic if you can!)

  • 1/2 pound tofu (optional)

  • 2 (organic/free range) eggs
  • 
2 T Braggs Liquid Aminos

  • 1 T sesame seeds

  • 1T toasted sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Set a large frying pan or wok on medium heat, add coconut oil, when melted add onion. Stir occasionally until onion is soft and beginning to brown on edges. Add the frozen mixed veggies and stir. Note: you can use the traditional veggies, or the ones with edamame, whichever you prefer.
  2. Meanwhile, "rice" the cauliflower using short pulses on a food processor, then add to the skillet when the veggies are thawed. Toss and stir occasionally until everything is hot and partially cooked. Then drop in the eggs, stir around and scramble them into the mixture. Add tofu at this point if you wish. When the eggs are mostly cooked add the liquid aminos, and sprinkle the sesame seeds.
  3. When everything is done, turn off the heat, and drizzle the toasted sesame oil on top, then serve immediately.
https://ladyonaquest.com/fried-cauliflower-rice/

Stir-Fried Bok Choy

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 2+

I love stir-fried Bok Choy, and mess around with this quick and tasty dish frequently. Today we had it for lunch along with some 'tofu steaks.' What's the big deal with this meal? Well, the bok choy is a member of the broccoli family, these veggies are amazingly beneficial and something from this family (cruciferous veggies) should be eaten daily! Then there is the turmeric which has great anti-inflammatory properties, which are multiplied when black pepper is consumed along with them, and becomes more bio-available when cooked in oil. Then there are all the health benefits of coconut oil. Just eat it. Pull with it. Use it on your dry skin. Apply it to your hair. Put some on your dog, yes, really. Ok, now let's get back to our recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 T coconut oil

  • slice 1/2 of a medium onion

  • thinly slice 2 mushrooms
  • 
wash and slice into about 1/2" slices an entire head of bok choy

  • 1/2 t turmeric

  • 1/2 t powdered ginger

  • 1/2 t garlic powder

  • 1/2 t fresh crushed black pepper

  • 2 T Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)

  • sesame seeds for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in wok or large fry pan on medium heat. Add onion allow to cook until softened, stirring occasionally. Then add mushrooms, stir occasionally, cook until mushrooms have softened. Add the bok choy, turmeric, ginger, garlic and pepper. Cook until the bok choy begins to soften, 3 - 5 minutes. Add the liquid aminos and stir. When the bok choy is tender, but still has some crunch it is done, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Notes

Note that you could use Savoy cabbage in place of Bok Choy.

https://ladyonaquest.com/stir-fried-bok-choy/

Green Hairy Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2

This quick and easy salad is a great for hot summer days. We also enjoy it when we want a bright and nutritious break in the day.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped Roma tomatoes

  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 
1/2 cup sprouts, I use alfalfa or a sandwich mix with radish seeds

  • 1 ripe avocado, chopped
  • Olive oil

Instructions

  1. Mix all in a bowl, drizzle with nice quality olive oil.
  2. Salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Options: Add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to zip it up a little. Add a dash of cayenne pepper or chipotle pepper to give it some zip.

https://ladyonaquest.com/green-hairy-salad/

Stir-Fried Quinoa

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4

This is a great way to use left-overs and planned-overs. Feel free to modify these guidelines to suit your family's preferences. This will serve 2-3 people as a full course, as a side dish it should feed 4-6.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced

  • 4 button mushrooms, diced

  • 1/2 pound firm tofu, cubed

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed veggies (corn, peas, carrots, green beans)

  • 2 tablespoons Brags Liquid Aminos

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds

  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Begin with coconut oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the onion and mushrooms, stir around until the onions are beginning to get a tinge of golden on the edges. Add the tofu, stir occasionally. After about 2 minutes add the frozen veggies, let them sit for a minute or so to get thawed, then stir everything. Add the quinoa, then the liquid aminos, stir occasionally. When the quinoa is hot crack and add 2 eggs. Stir them around and allow them to cook for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle with sesame and chia seeds. When the eggs are done turn off the heat. Drizzle the sesame oil on and serve.
https://ladyonaquest.com/stir-fried-quinoa/

 

Cod de Provence

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 2

This evening I experimented with cod, peas, spinach, mushrooms and quinoa, it turned out pretty yummy. So here's what I did.

Ingredients

  • 1 T avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 4 small/medium portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 c minced roasted red pepper ( I get these in a jar at Trader Joe's)
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 pieces wild caught cod, skinless
  • 1 tsp 'herbs de Provence'
  • pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • two handfuls of baby spinach leaves - arrange on two plates
  • 1 cup quinoa - cooked
  • 1/2 cup sprouts (I have a broccoli/radish mix I sprout at home)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Put avocado oil, onion, and mushrooms in a large skillet, on medium heat. Stir around from time to time as they slightly brown. Add the butter to the skillet. Place the fish in the skillet, sprinkle with half of the herbs de Provence. Cover and let cook for a couple minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the peas by steaming them, or add frozen peas to boiling water, return to a boil and turn off the heat.
  3. Return to the skillet, add the chopped up tomatoes and roasted red pepper. Pile some of the mushrooms and onion on top of the cod. Add the hot peas. Sprinkle the remaining herbs de Provence, add the crushed red pepper and black pepper. Cover, reduce heat to low, let simmer a few minutes, until the cod is done. Cod is done when it is no longer translucent, and is easily flaked with a fork.
  4. Divide the spinach between 2 plates. Divide the quinoa, sprinkle it on the spinach. Divide the sprouts and place them on the side of the spinach. Dish out the cod fillet, placing it on top of the quinoa, then cover it all with the veggies remaining in the pan. Drizzle the pan juices over all and serve. Yum!

Notes

I used left-over quinoa. If you don't have leftover, cook up 2 servings, use some broth in the water to make it more flavorful. Did you know quinoa has a natural 'covering' on it, a saponin, which causes it to taste bitter? This protects the seeds from being eaten by birds and other critters. If you wash the quinoa before cooking, they taste much sweeter. An alternative is to soak and sprout the quinoa and then you can eat it raw! To follow this method, wash and rinse the quinoa, and soak over night. In the morning rinse it then allow it to rest in the strainer on the counter top for several hours.

https://ladyonaquest.com/cod-de-provence/