I am happy to announce that the lucky winner of the June Healthy Cookbook giveaway is Sarah T. of Los Angeles. She’ll receive a signed copy of Ricki Heller’s healthy desserts cookbook, Sweet Freedom. Congrats to Sarah!

Thanks to everyone who entered and of course a huge thank you to Ricki for writing the book and generously donating a copy for the raffle.

For those who didn’t win the book, don’t despair…you can still get a copy through Amazon!

My next healthy cookbook giveaway will begin on July 15th. I’ll be announcing the title soon.

I promise it’s another great book you’ll be very excited about…hot off the presses and also signed by the author!

Take care and enjoy the holiday weekend!

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.