Sep 12, 2014

Local Eats: Terri-Lynn's

Super close to my house is Terri-Lynn's, a yummy barbecue place on Rodney Parham.  I'm a bit ashamed to admit that it wasn't until we moved into the neighborhood a few years ago that I had my first sandwich from Terri-Lynn's.  If you haven't been there, put it on your list of places to eat.  They've been dishing up lunches for over 51 years.

Recently I sat down with owners Aaron and Kristin Hether and grilled them about their restaurant.  To be more precise, we sat on a swing in their back yard and laughed at their chickens while talking food stuff.  The Hethers live in my neighborhood and are close enough to walk to their restaurant.  Our kids play together at the neighborhood pool.  Good people, I tell ya.
 
Of all the things on the Terri-Lynn's menu, when I asked culinary-trained Aaron his favorite, he said, "Oh probably one of the deli sandwiches."

What?!  And not the in-house smoked BBQ?!  I was shocked.  Because I love their beef BBQ sandwiches, with house made baked beans and potato salad.  

Aaron explained, "Most people (especially in the south) have a certain expectation of barbecue --texture and taste.  If they're in the restaurant for the first time I want them to have an original sandwich.  If they try the BBQ and it isn't what they expect in BBQ, they might not come back.  If they try one of the other sandwiches, they're sure to be back."   

Makes sense to me.

So what is his favorite? The "Lu Lu" which is new to the menu --sliced smoked brisket steamed with pepper jack cheese and onions served on toasted French bread with ranch dressing and a side of hot au jus...and the au jus is made in house.  My mouth is watering just typing that out.

One of the healthy things I learned about Terri-Lynn's is that Aaron uses tallow (traditionally rendered-in-house beef fat) in their tamales, instead of the industrial garbage called shortening.  

When extended family comes into town and I don't feel like cooking, I swing in Terri-Lynn's and get a couple pounds of chopped beef BBQ and pulled pork. It's my favorite BBQ in town, hands down.  If you are looking to impress at your next tailgating party, call ahead and order your people some Terri-Lynn's.  You're sure to be the life of the party.

Oh and dessert? Splurge at lease once and try the chocolate chess pie or the double chocolate brownies.  Or heck, try them both.  Tell them Julie sent ya.

You can read the full menu here.  They also have a fun commercial here.

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Sep 8, 2014

Simple Carrot and Jicama Salad

Someone told me a local Mexican restaurant was serving this salad and that I should try it.  She said it was really good.  Just shredded carrots and jicama --nothing else.

So I tried it.

I liked it!

The next time you're looking for a side dish to serve with a Mexican meal, shred some carrots with a peeled jicama.
Jicama - image source
Jicama can be found with other roots in the refrigerated produce section.  It has a crispy crunch and taste of an apple with mild tones of celery and onion.  It is considered a prebiotic, which feeds the probiotics in your gut.  Other prebiotics include raw garlic and onion.

Another salad I like to serve with Mexican food is simply green lettuce and jicama (peeled and julienned).  The dressing I use is equal parts honey and lime juice (or lemon) mixed with two parts olive oil, with salt to taste.

-Julie

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Aug 25, 2014

Food, Health & Money Connection

Wendell Berry is spot on in the book Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community when he writes about "The Food System."  This is a system I try to avoid when I can by making foods from scratch as well as buying locally (or growing my own food!)  Each point below builds on the previous one and I especially like points six and seven.  He observes:

The Food System is firmly grounded on the following principles:

1.  Food is important mainly as an article of international trade.

2.  It doesn't matter what happens to farmers.

3.  It doesn't matter what happens to the land.

4.  Agriculture has nothing to do with "the environment."

5.  There will always be plenty of food, for if farmers don't grow it from the soil, then scientists will invent it.

6.  There is no connection between food and health.  People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are healed by the health industry, which pays no attention to food.

7.  It follows that there is no connection between healing and health.  Hospitals customarily feed their patients poor-quality, awful-tasting, factory-made expensive food and keep them awake all night with various expensive attentions.  There is a connection between money and health.

++++++++

It is my hope that by eating real food one baby step at a time, you will experience a positive connection between health and food (see #6).

Anyone who has stepped foot in a hospital can give a hearty Amen to #7, but even if you haven't, surely you can agree that there is a connection between money and health.

It does matter what happens to our land and our farmers.  Buy locally grown when you can.  Make plans to visit a farmers market soon.  And it is not too late to plant fall veggies!

-Julie

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Aug 21, 2014

Fermenting Workshops: Kombucha and Veggies


Kombucha is a fermented, probiotic and detoxifying drink that can be found in the refrigerated section at Whole Foods and in some Krogers for about $3 a pint.  The good news is that you can make it in your kitchen for a fraction of the cost.  It is very simple to make.  I have posted directions in this space before.  However, I understand that some people want a helping hand fermenting their first time around.

Next Thursday, August 28 at 7pm, I will be hosting a kombucha workshop in my kitchen.  In order to raise funds to attend the annual conference for the Weston A. Price Foundation, I am charging $25 per person for this class.  You will go home with a SCOBY (starter).  If you would like for me to procure the other needed supplies for home brew, mention that when you email me to reserve your spot.

Next Saturday, August 30 at 7pm, I will be hosting a vegetable fermenting workshop in my kitchen.  You will taste everything I have fermented in my refrigerator: kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, relish, carrots, roasted peppers, cauliflower and my favorite... tomatoes!  You will go home with a jar that we make in class as well as the knowledge and power to ferment your own sauerkraut.  This class will also cost $25 per person, which will help offset the costs of the conference.

Both classes are limited to ten people.  Email to reserve your spot: luvmyhub AT gmail.com.  I live near Whole Foods (Rodney Parham/430) in Little Rock.  If you are interested in these classes but the dates do not work for you, email me and if enough interest, I will host other classes.

Recap
2 separate classes, $25 each
 - kombucha on Thursday, August 28 at 7pm
 - sauerkraut on Saturday, August 30 at 7pm

Happy fermenting!
Julie

PS - anyone else going to the conference in Indianapolis?  You can watch the promo video here.

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Aug 6, 2014

Vaccines Are Not Mandatory (though you may be bullied)

My oldest son was homeschooled until this year.  He will harken the halls of the fifth grade in public school on August 18.  Among the many forms that I filled out to get him registered for "real" school, one was the Immunization Exemption Packet.  Email Mary.Casey@arkansas.gov for yours.

Though you may feel bullied to vaccinate, Arkansans may refuse vaccinations.  In fact, every state allows for exemptions --except West Virginia and Mississippi.  Arkansas allows for both religious exemption as well as philosophical exemptions.

Have you educated yourself about vaccines?  Here is a good place to start.  Please don't assume that our government has your best interest in mind.  Could it be that the Centers for Disease Control is in cahoots with Big Pharma?  Do your own research.  Don't turn a blind eye.  Take your health into your own hands.

For the longest time, when it came to vaccines I was like a toddler with my fingers stuck in my ears screaming, "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"  I didn't want to know what the ill-effects of vaccines could be.  Partly, I was a tad bit lazy and didn't want to do my own research.  It was easier to trust someone else (doctors, government) who said vaccines were OK.  My husband and I vaccinated our eldest son until he was two.  That is about the time we started getting serious about healthy living.  That is when I stopped believing what "they" told me and when I started doing my own research.

There are some serious dangers associated with vaccines.  A friend and guest blogger recently wrote about the dangers of vaccines here.

If you were beginning to question the validity of vaccines and we could sit and chat some of the things I would tell you research are:

--Examine how the number of reported incidents of illnesses drastically reduced once running water and electricity were made widely available.  This decline in illness occurred BEFORE vaccines.  Most homes in America have electricity and running water.  Do we need so many vaccines?

--Many illnesses can be treated with proper nutrition and hygiene.  The movie Defiance is a story of 1,500 Belarussian Jews hiding in the forest during WWII.  I was so intrigued by the story line, I read the book.  Though the living conditions were not ideal, those who succumbed to illness were quarantined.  Some of the sickest were given the choicest foods.  None died because of illness (and they were on the run and in the woods for 2+ years.)  Many of those illnesses have vaccines today.

--Most of the recent outbreaks of pertussis (whopping cough) have been from people who have been vaccinated.  Just because you have a shot does not make you immune.

--I try to avoid toxins when and where I can.  The toxins that I interact with are first filtered through my skin, digestive or respiratory systems.  These are complex systems, which are made to filter out the bad.  Vaccines contain toxins (neurotoxic chemicals like mercury, aluminum, and formaldehyde).  These toxins are shot straight into the blood stream.  No chance for filtering.

--Please do your research on each illness and weigh the costs.  For example, what are the negative effects of chicken pox?  Itchiness, welts, discomfort, a week in bed?  Let's entertain the theory that autism and vaccines could be connected.  Is it worth putting a child on the autism spectrum for life because you don't want them to to be sick and uncomfortable for a week?  (By the way, if you know anyone with the chicken pox, I'd love to take my children to meet them and share germs.)

--Last but certainly not least, is the fact that aborted fetal cells are used to manufacture vaccines.

Here's an article that claims that God Does Not Support Vaccines.  I must admit, when a friend sent it to me, I almost didn't click on the link.  I was offended by the preposterous title (and I was already against vaccines).  The author writes from a Jesus-loving, Bible-believing perspective.  The tone is not my favorite.  But some interesting arguments are made.  The most interesting take away for me was the fact that fetal cells are are labeled as numbers.  So if you take the time to read the vaccine inserts (please do so), you won't read "dead babies were used in making this shot" you will read an ingredient such as "WI-38."  Read it the article for yourself.

Another article that took me three times to complete was this article written from a moral and historical perspective of vaccines.  Why three attempts?  It literally made me sick to my stomach to read about aborted baby organs being used to create vaccines.  I wept for the unborn and also the mothers who were tricked into thinking they were doing common good for aborting a precious baby.  The article is thorough and well written, probably one of the best I have read on the religious aspect of why vaccines are wrong.

In closing, I want to recognize that this is a free county and I am so thankful for my freedoms!  I am thankful that we can agree to disagree.  My desire is for you to do your own research.  Convince yourself.  If you choose to vaccinate your family, I will still be your friend.  If you choose to refuse vaccinations (or at very least, delay until you have more information!), ask for the exemption form (school or daycare) and email Mary.Casey@arkansas.gov

Educate before you vaccinate,
Julie

Related:
Sarah The Healthy Home Economist recently posted The Myth of Mandatory School Vaccines.  I've been thinking I should post something and reading her post pushed me to publish.

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Soaked Oatmeal Cookies

What does it mean to "soak" oatmeal?

Soaking simply breaks down grains and makes nutrients more available and easier to digest.  

The recipe that follows is an adaptation of Lori's Brookies (breakfast cookies).  
In a large bowl, combine and soak overnight (at least 7 hours, up to 24):
2 cups whole wheat
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup yogurt, kefir or other acidic medium
1 cup melted butter or coconut oil

To make things go quickly in the morning, in another bowl combine:
1 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup dates or raisins (I like extruded dates)
1/4 cup craisins
3/4 cup sucanat or brown sugar
1 teaspoon each: salt, baking soda, and cinnamon

The next morning, add 3 beaten eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla to the soaked oats and wheat.  Then add the other pre-measured dry ingredients.
I think parchment paper helps make prettier cookies.  It definitely makes for easy clean up!

Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for 8 minutes, longer for larger cookies.

-Julie


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Aug 3, 2014

Fall CSA by North Pulaski Farms (Certified Organic)

North Pulaski Farms is now enrolling for their fall Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.  It runs for 10 weeks, beginning August 12.

Kelly, the owner/operator wrote me, "The cold weather this spring delayed many of our summer crops. Our okra, green beans, sweet corn and watermelons will be ripening during this program.  We are starting our lettuce and other fall greens seeds this week."

For the enrollment form and more details click here.  Learn more about the farm on their website.  -Julie




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Jul 30, 2014

Lacto-fermented Tomatoes (juice or salsa)

Anyone tired of me going on and on about the beauty of lacto-ferementing veggies?  Wait, don't answer that.

Today I am fermenting tomatoes.  This could be one of my favorite and tastiest ferments.  It doesn't have the traditional "pickled" taste that most ferments possess.  When tomatoes are fermented it brings a depth of flavor that is similar to V-8 juice.  (Probiotic Bloody Mary anyone? :)  Taking a shot of fermented tomato juice could be a good option for those who want food probiotics but don't like the taste or texture of sauerkraut.

While I don't particularly enjoy V-8 juice as a drink, I LOVE using it in soups in the winter.  Doesn't heating ferments destroy their beneficial bacteria?  Yes, it does.  I ferment tomatoes because it is hands down the easiest way to preserve a handful of tomatoes.  No super-hot kitchens from boiling or special equipment needed for canning.

As I mentioned, I only had a handful of tomatoes that I wanted to preserve.  I chopped an onion and two not-hot jalapeños to bulk up the jar so that my jar wouldn't have too much extra air.
 Last week, I threw everything in my blender and that was faster than chopping.  As I chopped today, I wondered why I didn't just blend again...  The half-gallon jar on the right is lacto-fermented tomato juice from last week.  I threw it all in a blender because I'm lazy I didn't want to have to run it through a sieve to remove the littlest bits.
After stirring my jar, I realized I still had more head room than I wanted.  Half the jar was empty and I was out of tomatoes.  What's a girl to do?  I added about a cup of tomato juice from last week.  It acts as my starter (or whey or Bubbies juice) as well as take up space in the jar.  For each quart of tomatoes, I use 1 tablespoon of sea salt (non-iodized) and 4 tablespoons of whey or starter.  Recipe for fermented salsa here.  I let both tomato juice and salsa ferment 2 days on the counter then removed to cold storage.
 A word about the funky apparatus on the top called an air-lock...
You can lacto-ferment in any jar as long as your veggies are submerged in brine (salt water).  A fancy air-lock is not necessary.

So why do I use an air-lock?

'Cause I got one.  I also use mason jars, aplenty.  After reading about the benefits of using Pickl-It from other bloggers as well as on the Pickl-It website I was curious.  The air-lock on the top allows pressure out of the jar while preventing more air (or new microbes) inside.   Some say this system prevents common problems with mold and yeast.  Some say an anaerobic system makes more pleasant tasting ferments.

Just a few minutes away from placing my order for a Pickl-It jar,  a friend of mine said her husband could drill holes in Fido jars.  I happened to have a Fido jar that I could use for this purpose.  The air-lock is from Fermentables, the wine/beer making store in North Little Rock.  So for a fraction of the cost I am testing a homemade Pickl-It jar.

My friend's husband will drill holes for you for $5/lid but he wants a minimum of 4 lids per order to make it worth the effort of setting up the drill, etc.  Email me:: luvmyhub AT gmail.com and I'll send you contact info.  This will save you a ton of cash because shipping big glass jars costs a small fortune these days.  You can find the Fido jars at TJ Maxx or from Crate & Barrel.  You can also purchase parts from Primal Kitchen, who also sells a different silicone valve that is space saving.

-Julie
Disclaimer: I don't make any money from this blog.  Just tellin' my friends what works for me.

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Jul 27, 2014

Reducing Caffeine in Coffee

I can hear some of you questioning now.  Why on earth would someone want to reduce caffeine intake from coffee?  Isn't that the precise reason one drinks coffee...for the caffeine?

Well, I am super-sensitive to caffeine.  As in, I can't drink decaf coffee after lunch else I am awake until 3am.  I even have to severely limit my chocolate intake after dinner.

It is a curse.

I drink my (decaf) coffee first thing in the morning because I enjoy the ritual and the taste.  And to be honest I need something to heat up my cream.

Last summer, looking to try something new, I bought a can of Cafe du Monde coffee from Whole Foods.  {I know the coffee snobs are cringing that I bought ground coffee...in a can!} Those of you who have been to N'awlins have probably tasted their beignets and coffee right at their stand.  That's where I fell in love with chicory.
Chicory has a distinct flavor and is bitter (like coffee) except it is caffeine free.  In the Civil War it was used as a coffee substitute.

After drinking Cafe du Monde's coffee for a while I wanted more chicory and less coffee so I made my own mix.  Now I buy a box of chicory (from WF or Drug Emporium for $2.50 for 6oz) and mix 1 part chicory with 2 parts coffee.

If you are sensitive to caffeine or are looking for a way to limit caffeine give chicory a try.

-Julie

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Jul 18, 2014

Salsa: Probiotic Style

Now is the time to preserve the bounty of summer.  Using a pressure cooker scares the buh-gee-bies out of me.  Fermenting, however, is super simple.  If you have extra refrigerator space, this is the way to preserve food.  This salsa is so yummy though, it's not gonna last long.  And, making salsa this way will inoculate your gut with healthy bacteria to keep you from falling prey to the bad bacteria that make you sick.
My goal is to get my family to eat something fermented at every meal.  My kids pick kombucha for breakfast and lunch.  When Hubby is home for dinner, we gang up on the kids and make them eat veggies...lacto-fermented veggies!  I have a shelf in the refrigerator that is dedicated to ferments.  Before dinner, I choose a jar that pairs with our meal.  Sometimes we just eat a tablespoon or two.  Sometimes we eat much more than the minimum.  I have a feeling this salsa will go quick.

Below are tomatillos I grew in my garden.  They are delish and taste somewhat like a tomato, but with a hint of apple and onion.  If you wanted to heat up your oven, you could roast these babies first.  I was feeling lazy wanted to knock out this project so I didn't roast.
I combined the tomatillos with half an onion, a couple small tomatoes and a jalapeño.  Sprinkle it with a hearty dose of salt (1T) and some juice (4T) from a jar of Bubbies sauerkraut (or another ferment or whey from yogurt).

Stir the combination around and push into a quart jar.  Make sure all the chunky pieces are under liquid.  If you don't have enough to fill the jar, chop up another tomato.  Or onion.  Or whatever.  Stir it in the jar and push all the chunks under the liquid.  Screw a lid on (no pressure cooker needed!) and let it sit.
After 2 days move to cold storage.  Or eat immediately.  Yumma.
 And just for bonus... this cutie-patootie:
Anyone else lovin' this July weather?!  Head on out to the farmers market and grab some Arkansas tomatoes today.

-Julie

*Cultures for Health says you can use 2 teaspoons (about 1T) of salt and not use whey.  Check out their recipe.

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