2014’s new favorites in our kitchen

Tonight as I was searching through some homesteading posts, I came across this one from much earlier in the year.  Was a great surprise to be reminded of a few items I’d not used in awhile.

I figure since we are rounding out 2014, I’d repost the blog and update the list with other great culinary finds we delighted in this year.  ~cameron

1.  Pomegranate vinegar–wow, what a difference it makes for salad dressings, especially salads with fruit like pears and apples, and for sauteed greens (recipes here).  I especially like the pomegranate vinegar from Trader Joe’s as it has a floral highlights that add another layer of flavor.

2.  Turmeric–in an effort to find anti-inflammatory foods, herbs, and spices, I came across turmeric.  I add it to everything–soup, tuna or chicken salad, and stir fry.  I love the savory flavor it adds without overriding the flavor of food. Try this great stew we created last winter.

turmeric
turmeric

3.  Turnips–In an effort to find some substitutes for nightshade veggies, I have discovered turnips as a great option instead of potatoes.  I cube them and add them to the slow cooker with chicken, carrots, and celery or roast them with root vegetables and maple syrup (recipe here).  Plus, what a great vegetable to grow in the cooler weather.

4. Root veggies and winter squashes–I’ve always eaten root veggies and winter squashes, but when I realize that nightshade veggies don’t sit well with me, I began to rely on roots and squashes as my primary source of vegetable matter.  I experiment with them regularly, from including them in frittatas (recipe here) to creating new and interesting juice recipes.

fresh from the garden
fresh from the garden

5.  Raw honey and cinnamon and lemon–in my effort to find more holistic forms of healthcare, I’ve started taking a daily tablespoon of raw honey and cinnamon.  It’s a bit sweet, but when I start feeling something coming on, I up the dosage to 3x per day plus adding it to green tea with lemon.  I have found that my colds have been shorter and less intense.

6.  Candied ginger and raw ginger–I’ve been eating a piece or two of this every day and find that it not only settles my stomach but in general, supports my overall health.  I chop it and add it to dishes, I stir fry it, I add a few pieces to brew with tea, and I juice it.  It has become one of my top 10 staples in my kitchen.  (making candied ginger here)

7.  Apple chips–one of our new favorite snacks around here.  Easy to make, delicious to eat.  They’re great for salads and trail mixes too.  (recipe here)

apple chips

8.  Homemade chicken broth–until I started making my own, I had no idea how flavorful homemade broth could be.  If you have a slow cooker, it is well worth the time it takes to make your own broth for soups, etc.  Rarely do I buy box brands anymore.  (recipe here)

9.  Citrus vinaigrettes–whether homemade or store bought (my new favorite is Whole Food’s tangerine vinaigrette), I have come to include these as a staple in our refrigerator.  It’s is amazing what a little splash can do to most meals–whether it’s a salad, roasted veggies or sauteed poultry or fish.

10.  Bittersweet chocolate chips–I’ve taken a liking to those made by Ghirardelli in the dark brown bag.  They have been a great addition to banana pancakes, fudge, and a good old chocolate chip cookie.  They’re much healthier than milk chocolate and only take a few to satisfy any sweet tooth craving you have.

11.  Coconut oil and coconut flour–Both have become staples for this gluten/grain free girl.  If you’re into paleo dieting, you know that the coconut offers many great alternatives to grains and dairy products.  The flour has allowed me to enjoy some long missed breakfast foods (see the banana pancake recipe in #10), and the oil has become a great go-to for cooking.  (A side note:  I’ve started using a refined, organic coconut oil as my face and body lotion.  My skin has never looked better.)

12.  Grade B maple syrup–again, borrowed from paleo cook books, I’ve started using this sweetener as an alternative to sugars.  Its rich flavor adds depth to most recipes that sugar does not, and because it is so flavorful, I end up using less of it.    My favorite way to eat it?  A teaspoon full drizzled over a dollop of Greek yogurt and sprinkled with cinnamon.

 

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