Saturday, March 15, 2014

Beef Jerky Time!

Beef jerky is a tasty, high protein snack that's easy to throw in your purse or gym bag for nourishment on the go. However, if you are buying it from the store, you can easily end up eating more sugar than you'd like. Making your own gives you a lot more control over the ingredients and it can be a lot less expensive, too.

Since I already own a dehydrator, deciding to make my own jerky was a total no-brainer. (No dehydrator? Go here to see how to make jerky with just a box fan) After searching through some recipes and found one that looked pretty good here. A few tweaks later and voila! A spicy, slightly sweet jerky that can be made either paleo or low carb depending on your choice of sweetener.

I really like the peppery bite and hubby likes it too. I don't see this batch lasting long!

Sweet and Spicy Beef Jerky*

2 pounds beef round steak, London broil, flank steak or other lean cut of meat cut into thin strips. Be sure to trim off any fat. (Make strips approximately 1/8" thick. The meat is easier to slice evenly if it is a little bit frozen)

1/4 cup soy sauce or coconut aminos
3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar, splenda or honey
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl or glass pan. Add the beef strips one at a time to make sure they are thoroughly coated with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Place strips on dehydrator trays, making sure the pieces do not touch. Dry on highest setting or 165ยบ. See your user manual for approximate times.

* For a milder flavor, change the cayenne pepper to 1 tsp paprika and reduce the black pepper to 1 tsp.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Saint Patrick's Day is rapidly approaching. Even though I have plenty of Irish ancestry, I am not a fan of boiled cabbage or corned beef. I forgo the traditional holiday meal, but still take total advantage of the fact that cabbage goes on sale during the week or so before everyone pretends they are Irish and seeks out green beer. I use the cheap cabbage to make two incredibly healthy and tasty foods; kimchi and sauerkraut. I posted my recipe for kimchi here but somehow forgot to type up the instructions for the kraut. The recipe itself is pretty easy, but you can get a work out pounding the cabbage, which is a necessary step for proper fermentation. You also have to have patience since it requires time to ferment so plan ahead. Based on the recipe from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, this is far superior to anything you can buy in the stores. For more about the health benefits of sauerkraut, click here.

SAUERKRAUT (Makes 1 quart)

1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon course sea salt
1 shredded carrot
4 tablespoons whey*

*if not available, use an additional 1 tablespoon salt

Mix cabbage with caraway seeds, sea salt and whey. Pound with a wooden mallet for about 10 minutes to release the juices from the cabbage leaves. Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly 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. Use a clean stone or a bag filled with water to hold the cabbage below the liquid. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. The sauerkraut can be eaten immediately, but it will improve with age.