Traditional sauerkraut is a lacto-fermented/cultured food made from cabbage that is absolutely fabulous for your health. A few of its many healthy attributes: it is high in probiotics that aid the digestive and immune systems, it contains all the enzymes inherent in raw foods, and it has lots of vitamin C.

Making sauerkraut at home is something I really enjoy. It’s too bad I somehow forgot about making sauerkraut when I planted my garden, and I have no homegrown cabbage…oh, well, there is always next year!

It is best to use organic cabbage; one head of cabbage will yield about 1 quart of homemade sauerkraut. You can use green or red cabbage (or a combination of the two). Though the cabbage I used in this recipe for making sauerkraut was not home-grown, it did come from a local CSA…

Traditional Sauerkraut Recipe

Ingredients:

*1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded (a food processor is great for this, but you could also do your shredding by hand)
*1 green apple, shredded- (optional, but I like the bit of sweetness this provides)
*1 tablespoon caraway seeds
*2 tablespoon Himalayan or sea salt (or use 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon homemade whey)

Directions:

1. In a large non-metal bowl, mix the cabbage with the caraway seeds, sea salt (and whey, if using). Allow to rest for 15-20 minutes so the cabbage wilts and a salty brine develops.

2. Spoon the cabbage into a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar, and as you do so, press down firmly with a pounder (the back of a wooden spoon will also do) until the juices come to the top of the cabbage. The top of the cabbage should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar (this is because there will be some expansion while it is lacto-fermenting and you don't want it to overflow out of the jar).

3. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about three days before transferring to the refrigerator. You can eat your homemade lacto-fermented sauerkraut right away, but the flavor gets even better over time.

While there is nothing wrong with making sauerkraut in jars, if you find that you like making sauerkraut, you may want to invest in a larger crock dedicated to the process.

The Harsch Gairtopf Fermenting Crock Pot uses ceramic weight stones to eliminate all chance of mold. It also has a special water sealing system that allows fermentation gasses to escape without allowing air to enter. This allows you to make lots of healthy sauerkraut at once.

This post is linked to Sustainable Eats’ Lacto-fermentation Blog Carnival!

I’m doing a little detox of sorts- a week or maybe more of eating lots of raw foods- so I was so happy to see this recipe for raw cocoa nibbles (aka “LaRaw Bars”) in Ricki Heller’s book: Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar.

rawcocoanibbles

These raw chocolate cookies are seriously good. I stayed simple and followed the basic recipe using just almonds (I used raw almond butter), dates, and cocoa (I used Navitas Naturals raw chocolate powder), and I placed one dehydrated raspberry in the center of each…really delicious!

Raw Cocoa Nibbles

Ingredients:

*1/2 cup (80 g.) raw almonds
*1 1/4 cups (about 150 g.) unsweetened dried dates, chopped
*2 tablespoons (20 g.) raw cacao powder or organic cocoa powder
*1 teaspoon (5 ml.) vanilla (optional)

optional add-ins (choose one of the following): 6 leaves mint, chopped; 1/4-1/2 tsp. (1-2 ml.) chili flakes; 1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) chopped candied ginger; 1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) raw cocoa nibs; 2 tsp. (10 ml.) freshly grated orange rind; 1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml.) cinnamon, or play with other spices of your choice

Directions:

1. In a food processor, process the almonds, dates, and cocoa until you have what looks like a fine meal. Sprinkle with vanilla and optional add-ins, if using, and continue to process until the mixture comes together as a ball that rolls around the edge of the processor bowl (this may take a while–up to 5 minutes or so; occasionally stop and scrape sides of processor to push the mixture toward the blades).

2. The “dough” is ready when, if you pinch some and press it between your fingers, it sticks together readily and looks a bit shiny. (Sometimes if the dates are dry, this doesn’t happen easily; in that case, sprinkle in up to 2 tsp. water along with the vanilla, and proceed as above). The mixture should NOT be as soft as a cookie dough, but more like clay.

3. Place a clean piece of plastic wrap on the counter and turn the mixture onto it. Using your hands, form the mixture into a log about 8 inches (20 cm.) long. Try to compress the mixture as much as possible so you have a very dense log. Wrap with the plastic and roll the log one or two times, compressing it with your hands, to squeeze out any air spaces.

4. Ricki says: "if you have a pressing need for chocolate, you can slice and eat the nibbles immediately. However, these are much better after the mixture has been refrigerated at least 2 hours or overnight, as it firms up considerably and will attain the texture of a dense fudge when cold. Makes 2 servings for me, 6 servings for normal eaters. Will keep up to one week in the fridge."

It would be very easy to overeat when making these healthy cookies, but then they won’t really be healthy anymore! So remember that even though they are completely natural and raw, they are still pretty sweet, so go easy, and limit yourself to one or two at a time.

blueberrygreensmoothie3

This blueberry green smoothie is a gorgeously purple and very satisfying healthy breakfast recipe that also happens to be incredibly nutrient-dense.

Blueberries are very high in antioxidants and I really love them. You could use any other seasonal, or frozen wild/organic berries in this healthy smoothie recipe, though.

I keep a large stash of berries and other fruits in the freezer at all times because my whole family loves smoothies. We have them for breakfast almost every day, especially when the weather is warm, because they are so easy to make and so yummy.

This blueberry green smoothie is dairy free and contains a few ingredients you might think are strange. If you are skeptical about the greens and the avocado, don’t worry: they generally go unnoticed because in these amounts, they don’t really change the color or the taste. Don’t skip them as they really enhance the nutritional profile here.

I typically add Greek yogurt or raw brown rice/whey protein powder or raw egg yolks to my smoothies for protein, because without the protein, I don’t usually feel full for long after a smoothie.

But lately I’ve been laying off the dairy and eating more raw foods (and I didn’t have any of the other ingredients in the house), so I was pleased to find this one worked for me (adding the greens, nuts, flax seeds and avocado definitely helps to mitigate the potentially blood-sugar-imbalancing effects of a fruit-only smoothie).

Recipe for Blueberry Green Smoothie

Makes 1 large or 2 smaller servings.

Ingredients:

*1 cup blueberries (I use frozen wild blueberries)
*1/2 banana, frozen
*1 handful of raw pecans (these can also be soaked in water overnight, and then drained; this makes them more digestible and makes the nutrients more "accessible")
*1 cup coconut water (from a young Thai coconut or from a package such as O.N.E brand, or use coconut milk)
*4 clean kale or baby bok choy leaves (I used lacinato kale from my garden- yay!)
*2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
*flesh from 1/4-1/3 avocado- optional (makes the smoothie a bit more creamy and rich)
*1-2 tsp. pure maple syrup- optional (sweetens it a bit if needed)

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a high speed blender (such as a Blendtec or Vita-Mix) and process until smooth, adding additional ice or water, if needed, to produce a creamy, smooth consistency.