Archive for August, 2013

Bratwurst with Apples, Onion, and Sauerkraut

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

This easy entrée is perfect for a weekday supper or weekend meal with family and friends. Serve with a hearty Italian or Pumpernickel bread liberally slathered with Rich & Creamy Melt Organic buttery spread. Serves 6. Adapted from Jean Anderson’s recipe in Bon Appétit.

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Ingredients

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 tablespoon flour

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

4 cups sauerkraut (preferably fresh), rinsed, drained, squeezed dry

1 large onion, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise

3 large Golden Delicious apples (~1½ lbs total), peeled, cored, thinly sliced

6 whole smoked bratwurst (~1 lb), pierced all over with skewer or fork

4 bay leaves

1 cup beef broth

2 tablespoons dry vermouth

2 tablespoons ketchup

1½ tablespoons Melt® Organic, softened

Directions

  • Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Place caraway and fennel seeds in small resealable plastic bag. Crush seeds with mallet. Add flour and pepper to bag. Shake to blend.
  • Spread sauerkraut over the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish; sprinkle one third of flour mixture over the sauerkraut.
  • Arrange onion slices over the sauerkraut; sprinkle with half of remaining flour mixture and lightly add salt.
  • Spread half of apple slices over the sauerkraut and onions; sprinkle with remaining flour mixture.
  • Place the bratwurst over the apples; and arrange the remaining apple slices around the bratwurst.
  • Tuck in the bay leaves.
  • Mix broth, vermouth, and ketchup in a measuring cup; pour the broth mixture evenly over everything. Cover tightly with foil.
  • Roast for 45 minutes. Uncover; brush with softened Melt Organic buttery spread.
  • Continue roasting uncovered until the edges of apples and sausages begin to brown, about 25 minutes longer.

Rich & Creamy Coconut Cream Pie

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

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Adapted from Chef Ron Lock

Ingredients:

For the Coconut Crust:
1¼ cup all-purpose flour
8 T Melt® Organic, frozen
1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut, finely chopped
3 to 5 T. coconut rum, very cold (or use ice cold water)

For the Coconut Cream Pie:
1 box (5.1 oz.) instant vanilla pudding
1 can (15 oz.) cream of coconut
1/2 cup coconut milk (or cow’s milk)
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 T. sugar
1 cup toasted coconut, for topping (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the Crust:

  • Scoop 8 individual tablespoons of Melt and place on small tray. Place tray in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, or until very cold.
  • Place 1/3 cup shredded coconut in food processor. Pulse to finely chop.
  • Add the flour and pulse again. Remove to a medium bowl.
  • Cut in Melt one tablespoon at a time with a pastry cutter until resembles coarse corn meal.
  • Add chilled coconut rum, or cold water, one tablespoon at a time mixing with a fork until dough can be formed into a ball. It should be firm, not sticky.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Once chilled, roll the dough out on a floured work surface, until about ¼ inch thick.
  • Carefully transfer the crust to the pie pan.
  • Place a large piece of foil over the pie crust and gently shape it over the dough. Fill the foil with ceramic pie weights, or dried beans. Bake the crust for 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and weights. Then bake again for 5-10 minutes or just as it turns golden brown. Cool completely before filling.

For the Topping:

Spread the shredded coconut on a baking sheet. Toast for 2-4 minutes, until just golden while watching carefully. Remove and cool.

For the Filling: 

  • Place the instant pudding mix in a large glass jar or plastic air-tight container. Add the cream of coconut and milk. Cover tightly and shake for 1-2 minutes until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Using an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until it is just starting to form. Add vanilla and sugar and finish whipping the heavy cream. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Slowly, beat in the pudding mixture. Add a little at a time and scrape the bowl regularly, to ensure there are no clumps.
  • Fold in HALF the whipped cream, gently mix until smooth.

Scoop the filling into the cooled pie crust. Top with the remaining whipped cream and sprinkle generously with toasted coconut. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Honey Melt® Organic Love

Friday, August 16th, 2013

John H. of Wisconsin is a Honey Melt® Maniac and sat down with Founder Cygnia Rapp to share his story with us. If you have a story you would like to share, we would love to hear from you.

How did you first discover Honey Melt®?

“My wife saw an ad for Honey Melt and hunted it down. The nearest store carrying your products was an hour away, so we ordered Honey Melt online. Eventually, we convinced our local health food store 10 minutes away to carry it for us.”

Why is Honey Melt® important to you?

“About 18 months ago, I was diagnosed with several food allergies, including lactose-intolerance, gluten-intolerance, and allergies to spices (including salt and pepper), eggs, beef, pork, and fish. On such a difficult, restricted diet, I lost 40 pounds and I couldn’t afford to lose any more weight. I was becoming anemic and I had to stop the whole program.

I searched for something to replace butter. I don’t know what your competition puts in their products, but all of the butter substitutes I tried caused extreme gas. After about 6 months or so, my wife and I found your product. Once I read there was nothing in your products – no lactose, no gluten, no nothing – I tried Honey Melt and I literally eat it every meal. I have it on my toast in the morning with peach jam; I have it on my sandwiches at lunch; I have it on whatever I am eating for dinner whether it is rice, asparagus, noodles, potatoes, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, whatever. I literally eat your product 3 meals per day, every day.

You can imagine when you eat toast in the morning and you don’t have anything to soften it up, it can be pretty bad.

Your product got me to back to where I need to be. I want to eat again and – even better – what I eat actually tastes good and is appetizing. Honey Melt has been a Godsend and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy it. It’s wonderful. I can’t imagine what my life would be without it.

You guys need to tell your story [about how Melt helps people with chronic health issues]. I don’t think I am unusual out there. There are a lot of people with symptoms like mine, but they don’t know what to do.

I only want to say last one thing: don’t go out of business or I’ll die. I am serious, I really mean it. I look forward to having your product 3 times a day, every day.

I would literally be lost without it.”

Peach Bread Pudding

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

This delicious peach bread pudding showcases peaches at their peak, but it’s the brandy sauce made with Honey Melt® that will win you over. You can also substitute the peaches with sour cherries and chocolate chunks. This recipe is adapted from Sarah Epstein’s recipe found in Sunset Magazine. Serves 8.

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Ingredients

6 tbsp. Honey Melt®

Melt® Organic for ramekins

8 cups day-old French bread with crust, torn into bite size pieces

3 cups milk

1½ cups sugar, divided

6 large peaches, peeled and sliced lengthwise into ¼-in slices

6 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

3 to 4 tbsp brandy

Lightly sweetened whipped cream

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and Melt Up 8 ramekins (8oz each) (i.e., grease each ramekin with Melt).
  • Place bread pieces in a large bowl and pour in the milk. Let the bread pieces soak for ~30 minutes and stir occasionally.
  • In a large frying pan, melt the Honey Melt with ½ cup sugar over medium heat.
  • Add peaches to the frying pan and cook 1 to 2 minutes to release juices. Strain mixture into a bowl and reserve the juices.
  • Whisk eggs, 1 cup sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour over the bread and stir to combine. Fold in the peaches.
  • Spoon mixture into the ramekins and set them in a large roasting pan. Place the roasting pan in oven and fill the pan with very hot water so the water level is halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  • Bake until puddings are puffy and firm when pressed, about 45 minutes.
  • Simmer reserved juices until steaming. Whisk in brandy. Serve pudding with sauce and whipped cream.

The Winner of Our Melt Giveaway Sweepstakes is…

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

The Winner of Our Melt Giveaway Sweepstakes is…

Winna!

Kat of Golden, CO – congratulations for winning FREE Rich & Creamy Melt® for an entire year! Thank you for LIKING us on facebook and FOLLOWING us on Twitter. Stay tuned for news about Melt’s exciting new developments, fabulous recipes, CHOCOLATE MELT(!), and much more.

Forget Prozac! Probiotic Foods Ease Anxiety, Curb Depression, and Elevate Mood

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Did you know 75-90% of the body’s serotonin is in the intestines, NOT in the brain? Yet prescription antidepressants only raise serotonin levels in the brain and are often ineffective for treating depression. Perhaps it is time to consider a simpler solution, one without a long list of serious side effects.

Groundbreaking research has shown a common strain of probiotic can create GABA within the gut while also enhancing brain receptors for this neurotransmitter. Naturally produced GABA is a safe alternative to dangerous psychiatric drugs – it calms the nervous system, promotes tranquil sleep, minimizes anxiety and alleviates depression.

The Sunny Side of Probiotics

According to Natural News, a common bacterium may serve as a safe, natural and economical solution for depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Canadian neuroscientist Jane Foster found the micro flora of the gut have a significant connection with the central nervous system. “The cross talk between the gut biome and the brain is continual. That’s the important take-home message. These are not two separate systems; they are two parts of a single system,” says Foster in the Psychology Today article “Your Back-up Brain.”

John Cryan of the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at University College Cork in Ireland took this idea further by studying how lactobacillus bacteria in the gut specifically influence the brain. Cryan discovered lactobacillus actually alters the brain-cell receptors for GABA in a positive manner, thereby reducing anxious behavior. The bacteria not only create more GABA receptors, but also produce the neurotransmitter itself which then circulates in the blood. All of this has a profound impact on emotional balance and the nervous system. As observed by Emily Deans, MD, “GABA is a nice glass of wine in front of the fire. GABA is restful sleep. GABA is tranquility and yoga.” Because patients with anxiety and depression also frequently suffer from digestive disorders, researchers theorize a probiotic deficiency may be linked to mood.

It’s easy to cultivate a healthy dose of this calming neurotransmitter by traveling no further than the refrigerator. Simply enjoy foods like yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, kimchi or sauerkraut.

The Joy of Sauerkraut

While this research is exciting news, science is catching up with the personal experience of many, including me. Therapeutic dietary approaches, such as the GAPS Diet, focus exclusively on gut health (of which fermented foods play a central role) in order to reverse psychological and digestive diseases with noteworthy success. Of all probiotic foods, I have the greatest success naturally elevating my mood by eating homemade, naturally lacto-fermented sauerkraut on a daily basis. With a small investment in the right equipment, lacto-fermented sauerkraut is easy to make safely and consistently and is a low cost food with a high return on health benefits. Learn how to make sauerkraut for you and your family with Prozac Food: Making Foolproof Traditional German Sauerkraut for complete instructions.

Please enjoy my personal recipe for great-tasting traditional German sauerkraut.

Making Foolproof Traditional German Sauerkraut

Monday, August 5th, 2013

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With a small investment in the right equipment, lacto-fermented sauerkraut is easy to make safely and consistently and is a low cost food with a high return on health benefits.

Fermentation Equipment:

1-gallon fermentation jar w/ airlock

Weights for keeping cabbage submerged

Kraut pounder

NOTE: All of these items, as well as Celtic Sea Salt, can be ordered online from Cultures for Health.

Ingredients:

5 lbs green and purple cabbage, thinly sliced slaw-style

2 – 3 tbsp Celtic Sea Salt, to taste

1 tbsp juniper berries (optional)

1 tbsp caraway seed (optional)

Directions:

  • Clean and sanitize kitchen surfaces; the cleaner your environment the better. Clean and sanitize the equipment (fermentation jar, weights) to ensure the absence of pathogenic bacteria. Be sure to rinse off the equipment after sanitizing it so doesn’t kill off the beneficial bacteria needed for fermentation.
  • Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and rinse the cabbage under cold water.
  • Cut the cabbage in halves lengthwise, then in quarters; cut out the cores.
  • Thinly slice the cabbage slaw-style either with a food processor or by hand.
  • Place sliced cabbage in a large, non-breakable mixing bowl or soup pot and add salt and spices for even distribution.
  • Use the kraut pounder to pound the cabbage for 5-10 minutes. Stop a few times to work the cabbage with your hands so the salt and spices are evenly distributed and the cabbage is evenly pounded. You want to weaken the cell structure of the cabbage so it releases its juices more easily with the salt.
  • Pack the cabbage tightly into your fermentation jar; the kraut pounder is handy for assisting with this. Add any leftover juices to the fermentation jar.
  • Add weight on top of the packed cabbage to ensure the cabbage is well submerged in liquid –the anaerobic environment is critical for proper fermentation and preventing contamination. Sauerkraut wants to be suffocated!
  • If the kraut is light on liquid, then add salted water as needed. Over the next 24 hours, the kraut will produce more liquid as the salt pulls moisture out of the cabbage.
  • Tighten the airlock lid and fill the airlock with water to the fill line. Make sure the lid is on tight and the airlock is screwed in securely – we only want gases leaving the container. When properly sealed, the airlock lid makes contamination or spoilage practically impossible.
  • Ideal fermentation temperature is around 68-72 degrees and ok up to 75 degrees. Technically, the kraut is ready in 2 weeks, but is at its best in terms of flavor and probiotic content when it ferments for 3.5 to 4 weeks. More than 4 weeks, the kraut can turn mushy.
  • A little bit of white froth or a white film may form on the liquid surface; this is harmless and will resolve itself. If black mold develops on the surface, then don’t eat it. For information on common mistakes and troubleshooting, read Food Renegades excellent blog on the matter.
  • After 3.5 to 4 weeks of fermentation, move the kraut into quart mason jars, pack it down, top off with salted water as needed, and store in the refrigerator. It’s good for several months.

NOTE: If you make batches larger than 5 lbs and the juices overflow through the airlock, it makes a bit of a mess, but it’s harmless and the kraut will be excellent. In such cases, place a pie plate under the fermentation jar to capture the overflow. Liquid overflow will settle down after 7 to 10 days, so you can clean the exterior thereafter while the kraut continues to ferment. In the photo below, the sauerkraut in the front is almost ready for packing into jars. The sauerkraut located behind was just made and you can see the beautiful swirl of green and purple cabbage before it turns pink!

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