Chicken Bone Broth That Gels
By Monica Ford - realfooddevotee.com

Many of my clients are referred by health care practitioners specifically for good quality bone broth. I have seen quality bone broth improve the health of clients, friends and loved ones. It has also changed my health for the better. So, if you’re in the SoCal area, we’d be happy to deliver beautiful bone broth to your door. Just check out the menus tab on our site. If you want to make it in your own home, read on!
First, bone broth is the secret to any good sauce, soup or meal. Learned chefs and our ancestors have known this for ages. In fact, MSG is now added to thousands of processed foods as a cheap - all be it neuro-toxic - method of mimicking the bone broth taste we have evolved to seek and love. It is that savory umami saturated flavor of real quality bone broth that we desire.
Second, bone broth has long been the traditional food of healing. Chicken soup is our age old, go-to cure for a cold. That philosophy remains even through we have all but lost the art of making true chicken bone broth.


Make Broth That Gels & A Body That Rocks!

There are many other wonderful components of bone broth in addition to gelatin. For instance, a generous serving of minerals in which the Western diet is lacking. But, let’s talk gelatin. Because, gelatin is sexy! I’m serious!
The process of cooking breaks down collagen into gelatin, which makes amino acids like glycine, poline and glutamine more bio-available. We need these amino acids to create and support connective tissue. How do we see the benefits? Stronger tendons which connect muscle to bone, firmer skin, strong teeth & nails, more lubricated joints, fortified digestive lining, more efficient digestion and a general decrease in inflammation in the body. I could go on and on but, let’s get to the recipe so you can make broth that gels and a body that rocks!


My Secrets For Perfect Bone Broth

Tips:
• Make it easy on yourself! Good equipment + good planning
• Use a crock-pot. You can leave your broth to cook for as long as you want without worrying about leaving the house. I like this one
• Want to use your gas stove? Try a flame-tamer for long cooking. I use this one
• Want to make a big batch? Gift yourself a new heavy bottom stockpot. You’ll use it forever! You'll love this one
• Bones from animals raised on pasture yield a consistently more gelatinous bone broth
• Stick with my ratios below for a consistently gelatinous broth
• Ask your butcher to cut the bones into manageable pieces
• Intolerant or allergic to vegetables or vinegar: If you are healing a digestive issue and are intolerant to any of these ingredients, simply omit them for now.
• Be a batch cooker: Feel free to make a large batch and freeze some of the broth in convenient portions for other uses like this BBQ Dipping Sauce
• Your water level should cover the bones in the pot by no more than 2 inches
• Did your GAPS or other health practitioner tell you to consume meat stock instead of bone broth? Follow the below recipe, omitting vinegar and cook for 3 hours instead of 12-24.


Chicken Bone Broth Ingredients

• 1 whole chicken including giblets or 4 lbs. chicken backs & necks
• 2-3 chicken feet
• 1 chicken head, optional
• approximately 5 quarts of cold water (your water level should cover the ingredients by no more than 2 inches)
• ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, optional. I use this one
• 2 cups of saved vegetable cuttings or the below
• 1 yellow onion, quartered
• 1 head of garlic, crushed
• 2 carrots
• ½ bunch parsley
• 1 tsp. unrefined salt. I love this one

Chicken Bone Broth Method

• Add chicken parts, vinegar , salt and cold water to a heavy bottom stock pot or crock pot and bring to a vigorous simmer
• Skim the crock pot love to make this easy with this handy tool
• Add all other ingredients except parsley
• Bring to a low simmer and cook with a snug lid on for 12-24 hours.
• Add parsley at the last 30 minutes of cooking
• Strain through a fine metal sieve set over another pot. This one is super fine which I love!
• Chill the broth. The fat will rise to the top which you can either mix into the broth or skim, save and use for other cooking or discard.

Active Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4-5 quarts

Chef Notes

Meat Stock Variation: Did your GAPS or other health practitioner tell you to consume meat stock instead of bone broth? Follow the below recipe, omitting vinegar and cook for 3 hours instead of 12-24.

Learn how to make Beef Bone Broth that Gels Here

Grain Free Chicken Nuggets
By Monica Ford - realfooddevotee.com
My name is Monica and I am a recovering Chicken Nugget Fiend. Yes, as a youngster, I happily bounced through the golden arches for delicious Chicken Nuggets but, now that I've peered behind the scenes of that culinary process....EEEEEEKS!!! Let's make our own delicious and nutritious version instead.

These are fantastically fun snacks for the kids and serving these with yummy dipping sauces really takes me back! Try this nutrient dense BBQ dipping sauce that you’re gonna love!

Recipe as seen in Wise Traditions Journal (Summer 2015)
Grain Free Chicken Nuggets Ingredients:

• 2 lbs chicken breast*
• 2-3 eggs**
• 1 cup blanched almond flour
• 2 tablespoons arrowroot – I use this one
• 2 tablespoons Pecorino Romano
• 2 tablespoons chopped dehydrated onions
• 1 ½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt
• 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
• 1 teaspoon nutmeg
• ¼ teaspoon cayenne

Grain Free Chicken Method:

• Chop chicken into 2 inch nuggets
• Using a whisk or fork to mix blanched almond flour and all spices in one bowl
• Beat eggs in another bowl
• Submerge a each chicken nugget in egg wash and then dredge in almond flour spice mixture
• Carefully lay each nugget on a parchment lined baking sheet. Do not crowd
• Bake in oven preheated to 400° for 25 minutes or until golden brown

Active Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 15-20 nuggets

Chef's Note:

*You may also use dark meat but I find breast meat gives you the classic chicken nuggets to perfection.
**If you have extra egg whites around, this is a great place to use them.

Nutrient Dense BBQ Dipping Sauce
By Monica Ford - realfooddevotee.com
When I was first seduced by the healing powers of real food, I immediately head over heels. But, as in many relationships, after the honeymoon phase began to give way to a lovely and healthily day to day routine, I admit I missed a few of the convenient and wild indulgences of my previous life.

One of the things I missed was convenience. Yummy little, finger lickin’, convenience treats. I hadn’t yet had the epiphany that we need not live without any dish or treat. That no matter how iconic or convenient the treat, they could all be created with real ingredients and * SHOCKING * could be created in my little ol’ kitchen AND YOURS!

So, it is with great joy that I encourage you to create this lovely dipping sauce in your kitchen. Make a large batch and freeze it in smaller portions so that you are ever ready with a convent treat. We deserve treats and we deserve health!! Pair with these Classic Chicken Nuggets. They just happen to be Grain Free and delicious.

Nutrient Dense BBQ Dipping Sauce Ingredients:


• 1-finely diced white onion
• 1 ½ heads of garlic, shredded
• 3 cups beef bone broth
• ½ cup apple cider vinegar – I like this one
• 2 cups Molasses – I like this one
• ½ teaspoons allspice
• 2 tablespoons celery salt
• 3 cups tomato paste – I like this one
• ¾ cup spicy mustard
• 3 teaspoons horse radish
• 4 cups beef bone broth

Nutrient Dense BBQ Dippng Sauce Method:

• Heat onions & garlic in 4 cups bone broth on medium stove heat
• Turn stove heat down to low
• Add all other ingredients and combine completely by stirring
• All sauce to cook for 45 minutes – 1 hour. Stir occasionally
• At this point, text the thickness of your sauce. If you like the consistency for your purposes, remove it from the heat.
• If you want a thicker sauce continue to cook down with occasional stirring.
• If you want a thinner sauce, add ¼ bone broth or water at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Active Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 3 Quarts

How to Make Milk Kefir
By Monica Ford - realfooddevotee.com
First, if you have tasted kefir before did not love it, just know that the duration of fermentation will dictate the taste. The longer you opt to ferment your kefir, the more sour your kefir will taste. Read on! We’re going to find the best fit for kefir + you!

Traditional wisdom consistently honors kefir as a medicinal food. There is good reason for this. Elements of kefir have been found to not only help to balance the gut bacteria but, to protect the many probiotic strains in kefir on their journey through the acidic stomach environment to the intestines. If you want to read more about the health benefits of kefir check out why I drink kefir here

Milk Kefir Ingredients:
• 2 tsp kefir grains like these
• 1 ¾ cup whole milk

Milk Kefir Method:
1. add kefir grains and milk to clean jar
2. cover with lose fitting lid
3. allow to ferment in a room temperature environment for 12 hours. See my note below on fermentation time*
4. strain the kefir grains from your kefir mixture
5. store kefir in the fridge
6. place kefir grains in a small container and just cover with milk. Refrigerate until next use**
Active Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1 pint***
Chef’s Note:

*Try kefir with a 12 hour fermentation and if you would like your kefir to taste more sour (meaning more of the lactose or milk sugar will be metabolized by probiotics – try fermenting for a longer duration next time. You can ferment kefir up to 48 hours. Find the right taste marker for you.
**When storing your kefir grains, change out milk every 2 weeks. You can even give your grains a gentle wash in cool, filtered water before putting into fresh milk and back into the fridge.
***This recipe makes 1 pint. I suggest you start by making a pint to find the perfect taste and fermentation duration for you. Once you find it, you can easily double this recipe to a quart.
Did you know Monica teaches classes in fermentation and much more? Check out the services page for more info.

Do you make your own kefir? How do you use your kefir? Tell us about it in the comments below!

How to Make a Cultured French 75 Cocktail
By Monica Ford - realfooddevotee.com
Did you use my recipe to make Probiotic Grape Soda? It’s so sweet and crisp it’s hard to believe this grape soda is a health tonic! It’s made with organic ingredients and is full of beneficial bacteria and hydrating electrolytes.

Cultured grape soda also makes a fun, probiotic mixer for grown-up drinks, like this concord grape French 75. Concord grapes are that perfect bridge between summer and fall and I adore the delicious and unique way they give new life to this classic cocktail.

The beneficial bacteria in fermented beverages are said to help to buffer the effects of alcohol on the liver and the hydrating qualities of electrolytes & B vitamins produced during fermentation make a hang over far less likely.

Cultured French 75 Ingredients:


• 1 lemon for zest and juice
• 3 T gin (1 ½ ounces)
• ½ tsp. St. Germain elderflower liqueur
• ½ T lemon juice (3/4 ounce)
• ¼ cup probiotic grape soda– Learn How to Make a Probiotic Grape Soda Here

Cultured French 75 Method:

1. Use a pairing knife or zester to slice a long thin ribbon of zest & set aside to use later. Make a few of these if you will be making a few cocktails
2. Juice the lemon and strain pulp from juice.
3. In a cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients except lemon zest.
4. Add ice and shake for approximately 20 seconds
5. Strain into a chilled champagne glass or your favorite cocktail glass.
6. Twirl lemon peel around your finger to curl. Garnish cocktail and serve immediately.

Active Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1 cocktail
Did you know Monica teaches classes in probiotic soda making, cultured cocktail mixing and much more? Check out the services page for more info.
Do you make your own cultured cocktails? What’s your favorite? Tell us about it in the comments below!

How to Make Probiotic Grape Soda
By Monica Ford - realfooddevotee.com
Do you want your kids to eat more fermented foods? Sauerkraut not enticing them? Want the life-hack for kid-centric fermented foods your little ones will love? Cultured grape soda seems work on the most stubborn of kiddos. And who can blame them? Grape soda tastes like summer to me! It makes me want to wear tube socks, short shorts and roller skates. This is such a delicious, crisp drink; many who’ve enjoyed it cannot believe it’s organic and full of beneficial bacteria and hydrating electrolytes.

Cultured grape soda also makes a fun mixer for grown-up drinks, like this one. The beneficial bacteria in fermented beverages are said to help to protect the liver during alcohol consumption. AND the hydrating qualities of electrolytes & B vitamins produced during fermentation decrease the likelihood of a hangover – or at least make a hangover less intense.

Any way you choose to enjoy it, this cultured grape soda is so darn good.
Probiotic Grape Soda Ingredients:

• 3 ½ cups organic concord grape juice – I like this one
• ½ cup ginger bug – learn how to make a ginger bug here

Probiotic Grape Soda Method:

1. Brace yourself for how easy this is…
2. If you are juicing grapes for fresh juice, make certain strain any pulp or grit from your juice
3. Strain ½ cup of ginger bug and add to a bowl or container for mixing
4. Add grape juice to strained ginger bug liquid - Mix well
5. Pour mixture into bottles with tightly fitting lids. You’ll need one 32 oz. bottle or a few smaller bottles for fermenting this soda. I like reusing 12 oz. or 16 oz. kombucha bottles or 32 oz. apple cider vinegar bottles.
6. Place a tight lid on the bottles and allow them to ferment out of direct sunlight in a warm or room temperature spot in your home for approximately 12-24 hours.

NOTE: If your home tends to be cool at night, consider getting a seedling heating mat – like this one . I always use a seedling mat because I so enjoy having consistently perfect results.

How to Know When Your Soda is Ready

• Watch for tiny bubbles rising to the top of the bottle and if you are unsure your soda is ready, give the bottle a gentle shake and look for ascension of tiny champagne-like bubbles. That means your soda is ready
• Still unsure? Give the lid a slight twist and listen for a gas release. If there is a hiss, it is ready.

What if I fermented my soda a little too long?

• If there are foaming bubbles visible in the neck of your bottle, your soda is ready and may have been fermented slightly longer than needed. It also means that your soda is likely VERY active. You can give it a little burp over the sink (slight twist of the bottle lid without fully opening). Do NOT open the bottle completely and DO listen for the sound of gas escaping the bottle. If you hear this, your soda is ready to be placed in the fridge.
• Store your soda in the fridge for approximately 4 hours before enjoying.

Active Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 32 ounces
Did you know Monica teaches classes in probiotic soda making and much more? Check out the services page for more info.
Do you make your own grape soda, or another kind? What’s your family’s favorite? Tell us about it in the comments below!

How To Make Bone Broth That Gels!

Many of my clients referred by a health care practitioner specifically for good quality bone broth. I have seen quality bone broth change the health of clients, friends and loved ones. It has also changed my health for the better. So, if you’re in the SoCal area, we’d be happy to deliver it to your door but, if you want to make it in your home, read on! 

First, bone broth is the secret to any good sauce, soup or meal. Chefs and our ancestors have known this for ages. In fact, MSG is now added to thousands of processed foods as a cheap - all be it neuro-toxic - method of mimicking the bone broth taste we have evolved to seek and love. It is that savory umami saturated flavor of real quality bone broth that we desire. 

Second, bone broth has long been the traditional food of healing. Chicken soup is our age old, go-to cure for a cold. That philosophy remains even through we have all but lost the art of making true chicken bone broth. 

Read More

How to Make a Ginger Bug

I love introducing skeptics to the wonderful world of fermented food with naturally fermented sodas. They are probiotically rich, effervescent, delicious and beautiful to behold. I recently taught a class of skeptical teens how to make fun fermented foods like traditional sodas. We made Real Root Beer Floats and they were blown away by the taste and sweet effervescence. Food should be fun, health promoting and a time-slowing joy. That’s what naturally fermented sodas are…joy in a bottle! 

So, what makes a naturally fermented soda bubble in the bottle? That would be the starter of your choice. Should you choose whey, water kefir, kombucha, ginger bug or something else, it’s all about creating a tingle on the tongue and a strong bio-diverse gut ecology!

Start maturing your own ginger bug today. Post about your experience and any questions in the comments section. We’ll all help each other. Sometimes it takes a cyber village, y’all! Meet me back here in a few when your ginger bug will be ready to work for you. 

Then, I’ll teach you how to make a lovely light soda. 

Read More

THE SECRET TO CRUNCHY PICKLES (AND RECIPE)!

I know it sounds crazy but I have fermented hundreds of gallons of pickled veggies. I’m a therapeutic chef and I’m focused on ancestral cuisine including fermentation. So, when you use one of my recipes, you can be sure I’ve tested it and made it as foolproof as possible. 

Have you made sauerkraut, chutneys and pickles galore? How were your pickles? Were they crisp and delicious? It’s ok. You can tell me the truth.

One of the most frequent fermentation flops I see are soft or hollow pickles. It’s a shame, because pickles are a classic, fundamental and can be an encouraging way to begin your metamorphosis into a confident, master fermenter.

Science is now showing that fermented foods support the good health of our vital systems. Amazing new findings show a link between balanced gut bacteria and lower incidence of dementia, autistic spectrum disorders, better blood pressure, lower risk of diabetes, efficient digestion and of course, a strong immune system. Want to learn more about this? Check out my favorite book right now Brain Maker . It’s mind-blowing!

Read More