Saturday Sauerkraut Tasting

Firefly Kitchens kraut varieties. (Photo credit: Craving4more.com).
Firefly Kitchens kraut varieties. (Photo credit: Craving4more.com).

Alright, time to backtrack a few days to my Saturday, which I said I’d recap about today. It was a fantastic day and started with a great workout at Recreate in the morning, part of which was outdoors in the sunny weather. Afterward, I picked up a few things at Food Front Co-op, then came home and made a late breakfast, which I ate outside on the patio. Perfection.

Then, I got cleaned up and went to the sauerkraut tasting at Whole Foods that my friend, Ashley was hosting. Ashley is the healthy foods specialist at the Whole Foods store in the Pearl District in Portland and also the blogger behind Craving4more. She writes beautiful and inspiring posts, and definitely has a way with words. Sometimes, she shares fabulous looking recipes too.

Ashley and her wonderful spread at Whole Foods.
Ashley and her wonderful spread at Whole Foods. (Taken on iPhone)

The tasting incorporated a variety of raw, unpasteurized sauerkraut, many of which were from Firefly Kitchens. There was also different dishes to sample that included sauerkraut as an ingredient. I didn’t know there was going to be so much, and was still full from my late breakfast, but managed to sample a little bit. I sampled some Firefly kraut on its own (varieties included Yin Yang Carrots, Cortido, Caraway, and Ruby Red). They were all wonderful and so different, and they ferment for three months! I especially loved the Yin Yang Carrots, which is fermented carrots with ginger. Lucky for me, Ashley gave me a little bit to take home. The other flavors were delicious as well. I got to take home the remaining jar of Caraway too, as well as another brand of raw kraut that had beets, carrots and cabbage in it! Yum, yum.

Look at all that different kraut! (Taken on iPhone)
Look at all that different kraut! (Taken on iPhone)

As for the recipes, I sampled the pecan pate, ruby red beet and kraut atop of mixed greens (I liked eating this with the pate), roasted butternut squash with an almond butter/kimchi sauce and secret brownies, which incorporated sauerkraut into the recipe. These were raw, of course, so the benefits of the sauerkraut were not lost. These were also surprisingly good and you really don’t notice the kraut. My favorite, by far, was the roasted squash. The sauce was just to die for and not only that, but I am a sucker for squash! There was also a smoothie that had kraut in it, but I didn’t taste it since it was made with store-bought almond milk. I only drink homemade almond milk because it doesn’t have things like guar gum, carrageenan, etc., which I need to stay away from. It got a lot of rave reviews from the other attendees though.

My plate with various kraut samples, pecan pate, ruby red beet and kraut atop of greens, butternut squash with almond butter/kimchi sauce, and a raw secret brownie.
My plate with various kraut samples, pecan pate, ruby red beet and kraut atop of greens, butternut squash with almond butter/kimchi sauce, and a raw secret brownie. (Taken on iPhone)

Ashley has done a couple posts this week about the kraut tasting and recipes, so if you’re interested, please go check out her blog. Specifically, check out this post and this post, and also check back again tomorrow, because it looks like she is going to post more of the recipes.

Additionally, Ashley gave some great ideas for eating kraut. For example, use it on tacos, mix with tuna for a jazzed up tuna salad (egg salad too), roll up into a slice of deli meat, use atop of deviled eggs, mix in smoothies, add to salad, etc. The ideas are really endless, just don’t heat it, so as to not kill the live cultures.

Thanks, Ashley for putting on a great event!

A Weekend of Good Eats, Arm Balancing and More

Well, it was yet another fun and eventful weekend. I’m enjoying weekends so much more now that my weekdays are so busy and full, but don’t get me wrong, it’s good busy and I am not complaining by any means. When I was first laid off, and before different projects and my summer class picked up, I didn’t really have a sense of weekend … for all I knew it was the weekend every day! It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think I enjoy having a more defined sense of the weekend.

Saturday morning, I slept in a little (7:30 I think?), but got up early enough to eat a nice breakfast before my 2-1/2 hour arm balances workshop with the lovely, Ms. Kathryn Budig. She taught various workshops all weekend at Yoga Pearl, but I only made it to one. I would’ve loved to do more, but didn’t want to spend too much money. Fortunately, I got to do one of her sessions when she visited last summer too. She’s spunky, funny, witty and real. She also takes the fun in yoga to a whole new level. Seriously, she’s awesome and I learned a lot of good tips from her workshop, specifically with practicing handstand and forearm balance.

Saturday morning breakfast
My Saturday morning breakfast of sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, kale and spicy turkey sausage served with two over easy pasture eggs and avocado slices.

The workshop ended in the early afternoon, so afterward I walked over to Whole Foods in the Pearl District to make a salad. On my walk over, I bumped right into the Best Butcher Contest, sponsored by Whole Foods. Two whole street blocks were closed off and filled with different vendors, musicians, kitchen demo setups, etc. Panorama (a grass-fed beef farm) was there, along with some other farmers, a pickle vendor, live pasture chickens, etc. It was pretty fun to walk into and I got to sample some delicious grass-fed meat too. Panorama is actually the brand I buy when I get grass-fed beef from Whole Foods. It’s good stuff!

Best Butcher Contest
Best Butcher Contest, sponsored by Whole Foods. Don’t mind the poor quality phone pic.

For dinner Saturday evening, we had a tasteful, simple meal of roasted beets, sautéed kale with garlic and cherry tomatoes, and grass-fed eye of round steak. It was lovely and extremely satisfying.

Saturday evening dinner
Grass-fed eye of round, sautéed kale and cherry tomatoes, and roasted beets.

Yesterday, I got a lot done around the house and it felt great! Cleaning, tidying, laundry and cooking, of course. For dinner, I threw some ingredients into the Crock Pot – chicken breasts, carrots, onion, garlic, cabbage, ghee, vegetable broth, salt and pepper, and a bit of dried thyme and parsley. After several hours of cooking, I shredded the chicken. It’s so tender at that point that it shreds so easily and basically just falls apart. To pair with the chicken stew, I made a batch of almond flour biscuits, which we ate with grass-fed butter spread on top. It was definitely a comfort meal and Jesse said it was blog-worthy.

Sunday dinner
Sunday dinner: thrown-together chicken stew and almond flour biscuits with grass-fed butter.

Oh, another exciting thing happened this weekend … Jesse and I got a grill! Wahoo! My mom reached out to me after reading this blog post of mine and offered to get Jesse and me a grill as an early Christmas present. We had to order it online, so we don’t have it yet, but we picked out a Weber portable gas grill. I can’t wait to start grilling!

Weber portable Q 100 propane gas grill
Weber portable Q 100 propane gas grill.

Recipe Testing (again), Bone Broth and Fabio

Today was one of the absolute best days in my adult life! So much great stuff happened. I am only going to highlight some of my day, otherwise this post will go on forever. Seriously though, I am so happy and excited, I could positively burst! Things are aligning so well and opportunities keep falling into my lap. I think the universe is rewarding me for finally getting on the right path and pursuing my passions. Things have never felt so right!

I had plans at 9:30 a.m. to meet my friend, Janelle, at CrossFit Pearl for class, but knew I wanted to make another test batch of treats beforehand. I got up bright and early, made some green tea and concocted a new date and nut treat (another potential seller at Cultured Caveman). This one is to die for … salted almond. It sort of has a caramel essence to it and the sea salt brings it all together. Dates, almonds, almond butter, coconut oil and Himalayan sea salt. I knew with the first bite that it was going to be a hit. I shared some with Janelle, and she shared some with her co-workers at lululemon, and they all agreed that it was delicious and something they’d buy. Score!

Later in the afternoon, I rode up to Cultured Caveman with my most recent samples for Joe and Heather to try (the salted almond, fig/cherry/nut combo, and date/blueberry/cherry combo. They loved the salted almond! Yes, the others are really tasty too, but the salted almond … man o’ man! Anyway, I’ll be following up with them next week to talk about the next steps in our collaboration.

As I was leaving, I got a cup of their bone broth to try. Wow, is it ever flavorful, comforting and warming. It made my mouth and body happy. Marrow and knuckle bones cook together in a pressure cooker (I think Joe said for 6 hours?), releasing nutrient-dense marrow and collagen into the broth. It’s topped with fresh scallions and enoki mushrooms. Delicious.

On my way home from the food cart, I stopped at my neighborhood Whole Foods to pick up a few things. As I walked in, there standing in front of me talking to a group of people is no other than FABIO himself! I definitely did more than a double-take, then got closer to see what in the world was going on. Apparently, he has a new line of protein powders and was at Whole Foods for a promotion. I couldn’t (and still can’t) get over it. Too damn funny! He’s much taller than I knew, and of course is very fit, tan and has a massive, hairless chest! I know this because his shirt was unbuttoned all the way down to the fourth button or so. I wasn’t able to get a photo with him (you had to buy his protein powder to do so), but did get some shots on my phone. People were even getting their protein powder containers signed by him! Goodness, this whole encounter was definitely the icing on the cake for me today. For those interested, he’ll be at the Whole Foods in the Pearl District tomorrow. It’s definitely worth seeing! It seems like he may be on to something better than I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter.