Nourish | What's in store for 2019

No, this post doesn’t include a soup recipe. It just so happens that thinking of the word nourish evokes thoughts of warm “nourishing” soup. Don’t get excited lol

I’m not much for joining in on kitschy beginning of the year things, like having a “word” or “book lists” etc. I firmly believe any time of the year is a wonderful time to make changes, to grow, to set goals. Why limit yourself to one time of year that you’re most likely going to overload yourself with change and fail? We’ve been in a traditional phase after losing our home to mold anyway, so changes for our life, and mine individually, happen to coincide with the beginning of the year. So many people in the health community start off the year by punishing themselves, although they’ll deeply defend that they’re doing no such thing: only aiming to become a better version of themselves. They start the year with a grueling round of whole 30 (yes, grueling, it’s an elimination diet mean for therapeutic uses only under the supervision of a practitioner), a juice cleanse, non religious fasting, Keto, or some other fad diet famed to cure you of everything. 2018 was an incredible year for me as a practitioner, a year of learning and growth that I’ll forever be grateful for because it had me hop off the punishment train and instead I’ve learned to solely focus on nourishing myself. I no longer care what my weight is (haven’t owned a scale in years and never will again) or what size I wear in any type of clothing. This year I realized that I’m no longer a prepubescent ballerina, not a waif college girl, I’m a woman in the prime of her child bearing years. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not been completely ignoring what I put in my mouth, do you even know me?!  But starting off the year with such restriction (often labeled under the guise of “discipline” or “self control”) is not mentally healthy, and ultimately our mental health toward our bodies rules its function. If we treat ourselves with such animosity, it will begin to decay faster either way, no matter how many juice cleanses or rounds of whole 30 you do.

There was a time when I would have rolled my eyes at this advice and scoffed “you just don’t care enough” or “you’re just lazy” or something similar I’m sure. If that’s your inclination, take a step back and breathe. I’m NOT advocating unhealthy lifestyles. But, I’m also not advocating for orthorexia.

If you’re a health/nutrition practitioner or advocate, you may want to look into that term and see if it’s something you possibly identify with or have in the past. And if you don’t, it may be good to be aware of it anyway so you know what people deeply involved in the health and wellness community are easily afflicted with. I laughed when I first heard about it, but man is it pervasive in the health/wellness community. If you’re inclined to start the new year off with a crazy health goals, a round of whole 30 or unrealistic workout schedules.

How about you adopt my word of the year? Nourish.

*I just threw up in my mouth watching myself write that*

I need nourishment this year in more ways than one. I desperately need to nourish my soul after the few years I’ve had and with the goal of trying to get pregnant in the near future I desperately need to make sure my cells are nourished as to reduce postpartum depletion and to house/feed a tiny human in utero.

That’s what I teach my clients to do and that’s what I do with myself. Nourish encompasses so many facets of life that we do desperately need in this day and age. My only “health” goal for the year is to nourish myself and to return the favor to my clients. To nourish myself spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically and to teach others how to do that well. I’m not allowing fear to dictate this my life this year.

So yeah, I guess I have a word for the year.

Now that we’ve had that little chat, let’s talk about what you can expect from the website this year. Like I’ve mentioned here and on other platforms. The only real health goal I have is to nourish myself and to hopefully get pregnant. I took a lot of time thinking about whether I wanted to let the internet know that was a goal since it’s such a sensitive and personal topic for myself and others. We don’t have any fertility issues, that we’re aware of, but I do recognize that in choosing to expose our journey toward baby Ritchie we’re potentially exposing the fact that it may be difficult for us. We have no reason to think that it will, but I like to be prepared for all possibilities.

Because that will be my own personal focus, and is now a primary focus for many of my clients (five who have gotten pregnant since beginning to work with me…whoooohoooo babies!) I want to do a fertility related post here once a week. The first thing I want to talk about this coming week is how nutritional therapy relates to fertility. How it can help if you have issues, how it can be preventative by learning your own bioindividuality, nourishing yourself accordingly, and preventing post partum depletion among other things, and how it can help to grow/make healhy babies and mama’s.

So many people in my life are in the height of their fertile prime and so many people in my life are experiencing devastating fertility struggles. I want to sympathize while also offering hope and healing. I’ve seen wonderful things come from nourishing your body well, in every aspect. I’m really excited to unleash all sorts of information, nourishing recipes, advice, suggestions etc. It’s going to be a fun and exciting year!

New Year Blessings, friends!

~ Hippie Hayden

Lacto-Fermented Jalapeno's

I have a serious addiction to spicy. A story my family loves to tell about my addiction dates back to when I was an infant, not yet one with a pacifier in my mouth. Sitting in a famous Mexican restaurant in Dallas my mother had taken the chip bowl away from me to ensure I would eat whatever mess, rice and beans I’m sure, they were about to spoon feed me. But tiny me didn’t get a rats backside about the chips, I just wanted the salsa. If they had really been paying attention they would have noticed I wasn’t really eating the chips anyway. I continued to dip the same chip into the salsa bowl until rendered soggy and useless. Upon taking the chips, I proceeded to use my pacifier as a vessel for shoveling the spiciest salsa on the table into my tiny mouth. They all laughed, so I’m told, and let me do my thing. No one was stopping this Texas born baby from getting her fix.

Still to this day I want to feel the burn, sweat, contemplate if this will be my last meal because it’s just too much to handle. When I order at Thai and Indian restaurants I usually get blown off when I request they use the traditional amount of heat when preparing the dish I’ve ordered. And then there are the restaurants that know me and know this lil white girl can absolutely handle her spice just fine.

Bless you kind humans.

Jalapenos aren’t particularly spicy to me, but I add them to just about everything in an attempt to bump up the heat level of whatever I’m eating. I throw it on my breakfasts, chili, salads; if I’m eating the jar of jalapenos is probably close by.

Once I began my fermentation journey, I realized I could procure a jar of the goods as long as I had fresh jalapenos, a jar, and salt around.

It’s that simple.

And the best part is, you can keep the recipe as simple, or complicate it, as you like. Over the years I’ve played around with adding different flavors to it just to make them even more delectable. Now a days I pretty much stick to the same recipe, or same ingredients, because I’m fermenting jalapenos regularly. About twice a month to be exact.

Ingredients

Fresh Jalapenos ( as little or as much as you want)

Good Salt (real salt or celtic grey is fine)

Fresh rough chopped onion or dried onion flakes

Fresh crushed garlic

Filtered water

A glass container large enough to hold however much you’re fermenting

Directions

  • Slice fresh jalapenos (I like mine pretty thin. Just remember, the thinner they are the faster they will ferment and that’s not always the best thing)

  • Rough chop onion and crush garlic if using fresh

  • Place your fresh ingredients in a glass jar of your choosing, packing things in decently but not too tight

  • Fill jar with your brine (traditional fermentation brine is 1-3T of good salt dissolved in 1 qt of water, I like my jalapeno brine on the saltier side so using the full 3T per qt of water)

  • Seal to finger tight and label with the day you set it up.

  • Burp 1-2 times a day so your jar doesn’t explode.

  • Ferment as long as you like. My home ferments ferment rather quickly 3-4 days usually.

Told ya’ll. All ferments are just about that simple. Not to mention you just upped the enzyme level, nutrient bioavailability, wild crafted probiotics from your own home environment, and have a quick and tasty pickled jalapeno! You can practically smell the enthusiasm I have for fermenting ha. I really do love it and hope you do too! If you haven’t tried to do one yet, get on it!

Enjoy friends,

~ Hippie Hayden

How to Grow Your Own SCOBY | Kombucha

I went to an itty bitty VERY Baptist college when I first ventured into kombucha. Did I mention it was small and Baptist? If you know anything about the Baptist faith, because yes it is it’s own religion entirely, you know that they’re tee-totaler’s. I, however, was the ugly duckling of campus as a reformed Presbyterian; man oh man did my theology professors love me. Not. We were required to live on campus all four years which included, for many of us, our twenty-first year of life. I was a good little Presbyterian and obeyed their rules. I didn’t bring or hide alcohol in my townhome……like the majority of my Baptist counterparts. I swear there was enough booze hidden in most peoples homes to pickle the entire campus. But I digress. When I first ventured into my home fermentation journey, I started with Kombucha and naturally wanted to grow my own SCOBY. Bottled kombucha at Whole Paycheck was just that, my whole paycheck; so brewing my own appealed to me to save a lot of money as well. My very Baptist, very prudish roommates were convinced I was brewing satan’s liquor in our kitchen as I found out by being informed, mid class, that apartment life was in the middle of raiding my home on the hunt for this home brewed booze. Needless to say, they found nothing and soon were educated that the round, rubbery, slimy, disk thing sitting in a jar on the counter was nothing more than tea, sugar, and water. No alcohol content is present at the end of kombucha fermenting, or most lacto fermented beverages for that matter. Definitely one of my fondest memories from my college experience. It’ll make a great story for the kids one day. The time when mom was raided by apartment life and campus police for having………tea.

For those of you who aren’t submersed into the world of fermentation, SCOBY stand for: Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. It’s a pretty generic term for the powerhouse that is a SCOBY. When I dove head first into the home fermentation world there wasn’t much on the internet at the time, especially about growing your own SCOBY. If anything, there were more words of caution that growing your own was nigh impossible and you might as well buy one on the internet or get one from a friend if they happened to have extras. It was a little mysterious as to how SCOBY’s came about exactly, kind of like kefir grains. Needless to say, I ignored the nay sayers and took a giant leap of fermentation faith. I formulated this recipe entirely on my own with a little college ingenuity thinking this must be how it worked. So I bought a bottle of plain kombucha that had a decent amount of yeast on the bottle, brought it home, and put on my thinking cap.

After having done this a few different times in my life, I can attest that you don’t need a plain kombucha flavor to make this successful. If you have some that does happened to be second fermented with a different flavor, it will work just as well and it won’t make your batches from here on out that same flavor. I will caution you not to use any flavors that might have straight up pureed fruit in them, like the GT Mystic Mango; that might not yield the best of results. I probably also wouldn’t use any of the chlorophyll ones either, unless you want a green SCOBY ha.

These are the only things you need to grow your own SCOBY for home kombucha brew.

Ingredients:

1 Bottle of kombucha with a decent amount of yeast at the bottom (plain if you have it but any other clear flavors will work)

1 Bag of plain black tea and plain green tea (no earl grey, the oils will mess up the SCOBY formation)

1 C filtered water (Chlorine free if you can and not tap)

1/4 C Organic sugar

1 Wide mouth quart mason jar

Directions:

  • Bring the water to a boil

  • Pour into the quart mason jar, careful not to shatter the glass, and dissolve the sugar into the hot water

  • Add the two tea bags and let the tea mixture sit out till room temp. I mean it when I say room temp. Let it sit all day if you have too.

  • Once the tea is room temp add the bottom half of your kombucha (roughly 8oz) to the jar and mix it a round a bit.

  • Cover the jar with cheese cloth, a dishtowel, or coffee filter and secure.

  • Let it sit out and grow.

It’s really is as simple as that. I’ve never had a failure in ten years of growing my own SCOBY’s and brewing my own kombucha. Ideally you’ll only have to do this once, but I’ve had to grow a few new ones over the years with moves or long breaks in brewing (although you can absolutely store them to use later). You’ll want to let it get about 1.5-2” in thickness before you take it out and move it into a larger vessel for brewing. And it will duplicate pretty much every time you brew a batch of kombucha. Before long you’ll have more SCOBY’s than you know what to do with and then I’ll teach ya’ll have to make dog treats with your hotel of SCOBY’s.

It will take about two weeks for it to grow. Sometimes less, depending on how much natural yeast is in the air of your home. Once it’s strong and fully grown it will be ready for it’s first feeding. I do this by simply making a normal gallon of kombucha brew tea and sticking the new SCOBY in that tea mixture. You can drink what brews or pitch it and drink the next batch, totally up to you. I usually drink the first batch as it’s never not been strong normal komobucha for me.

If you want to find all of my favorite jars and other brewing equipment (although you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen) check our my “favorites” tab and find everything there!

Alrighty ya’ll, this is part one! So go grow some SCOBY’s and check back here for a post on how to brew your first batch of kombucha! After that we’ll talk all about second fermentation and different flavors!

Tell me if you’ve done this before and how it’s worked out for you; if you’ve done anything different etc! And let me know if you’re just jumping into the world of home brewing and taking a stab at growing your own SCOBY! I promise it really is this simple!

Enjoy, friends

~ Hippie Hayden

Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Kneading and baking bread is a holy experience. I have a habit of listening to my favorite podcasts, music, or poetry reading while I mix, knead, and bake my weekly bread, that in itself is a holy rhythm, a liturgy if you will. I’m making a few extra loaves this week to bring to friends and stocking the freezer with pre-made goodies to enjoy during the week, like cinnamon rolls and english muffins. My starter died when we went out of town for a few days and I completely forget to feed it and stash it in the fridge. Since then I’ve been patiently feeding and building it up, making it nice and strong so it could rise bread loaves well. Yesterday something told me it was ready, so I put down my work and resumed my favorite habit. I know some people don’t like the act of kneading bread, that I simply don’t understand and don’t identify with. It bring me so much peace. I hope that you can find the same kind of solace and refreshment from something as simple as bread making that I do.

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This is not a fancy artisan loaf recipe. This is a simple, country honey whole wheat sandwich bread loaf. It does look simple, but the flavor, if allowed to develop, is out of this world. I like to let mine rise for about 24 hours, sometimes a little less, so the sourdough flavor is bold. If you don’t like a borderline San Franciscan sourdough flavor, you can let it sour/rise for only 12 hours, or until it’s a height you like.

The flours I work with are all non gmo, organic heirloom varieties, freshly milled the day I’m going to use it using a nutrimill. This guarantees you’re getting the most nutrition possible out of your grains. I prefer spelt, einkorn, farro, and kamut. You can look in the “shopping guide” tab and find where I like to buy grains in bulk.

Also, if you’re not someone who enjoys kneading bread by hand, or certain physical limitations make that difficult I highly recommend this mixer specifically for bread kneading. It’s a huge time saver for those who don’t like kneading by hand or who need to save some time cranking out a few more loaves of bread for bigger families etc.

Ingredients:

2C 12 hour sourdough starter (12 hour meaning fed and doubled before pouring off)

1C Water

1/4C Honey

1/4C Butter

1T Salt

6C Flour (I do 2C Whole Grain and 4C unbleached)

Directions:

  • Mix starter, water, salt, and honey together

  • *Add your whole grain flour to the liquid and butter and mix thoroughly

  • Add two more cups of flour, mix well

  • Turn the sticky ball out on to a well floured surface and knead remaining two cups of flour or until it reaches the right texture. (not too sticky and not too firm)

  • Knead for roughly 10 minutes

  • Let the dough rest for 30 minutes and check after to see if it needs more flour

  • Add more flour if necessary and knead or

  • Divide the dough in half, knead each half and form into into loaf sizes

  • Grease your hands with butter and the loaves slightly so they don’t dry out while rising

  • Put into load pans that are greased and floured

  • Let the loaves rise till doubled in size covered with a damp cloth (12-24 hours, remember sourdough bread is a much slower rise than commercial yeast bread)

  • After rising, dust with flour is desired and score (I also score the top otherwise the sides will crack and that’s just not pretty)

  • In a 400 degree oven, bake the loaves for 40 minutes or until the top is a decent shade of light to medium brown.

* Start with four cups of flour and evaluate how much the dough needs from there. Baking is finicky and changes with the weather. Some days you may use all six cups or more, some you may use less. Your hands will tell you what is right!

Simple enough, right? We absolutely love this recipe. Anytime I have fresh hot loaves out of the oven we can’t hardly wait to slice into it before it’s properly cooled. More often than not half a loaf is gone in a matter minute, as well as a decent amount of good butter!

These loaves make great gifts to bring with you to friends homes for dinner or to accompany a simple bowl of good soup. It also makes a mean grilled cheese and toast for any meal of the day! In fact, I’m going to go slice off a hunk now and slather it with good butter.

Enjoy friends,

~Hippie Hayden

Sourdough Starter Pancakes

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One of the gifts of having a sourdough starter is sourdough pancakes. It’s a great way to use up the waste that is starter pour off and they’re absolutely delectable! It’s also a great way to get comfortable using your starter before you dive into other sourdough products and baked goods; especially the first few months where you building it up to be strong enough for bread. My husband asks for them just about every morning in his pre coffee stupor. They’re easy and versatile, not to mention actually healthy and full of protein and fiber! As long as you’ve got an active sourdough starter sitting out on your counter that needs to be fed soon, you can make pancakes! 

 

 

Batter Ingredients:

1C sourdough starter  

1 egg

1/2t of baking soda

1 Rounded T of fat (I use coconut oil, sour cream, lard, bacon fat, tallow, whatever is on hand)  

1T sweetener (honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar)  

1 pinch of salt  

Splash of vanilla

Extra fat for frying the pancakes in and topping of choice  

*this recipe is easily doubled or tripled  

 

 

Directions: 

• Heat, on medium,  a well seasoned cast iron with frying fat of choice.

• While the pan is heating up, pour off 1-2 cups of sourdough starter (depending on how many pancakes you’re making)  

• Add all the ingredients to the start except for the baking soda.  

• Once the pan is heating well and the batter mixed up, add the baking soda to the batter. Make sure you use a big enough bowl or measuring cup because the batter will about double once you add the baking soda 

• Only mix the baking soda in enough to incorporate. 

•  Pour pancakes onto the frying pan and flip once the edges are cooked and top is bubbly.

•Serve with butter and pure maple syrup or other toppings of choice. We like berry compote in the summer with whipped cream.  

 

You can make so many variations on the recipe can be made! As long as you stick to the basic batter recipe it can be livened up many ways! Cinnamon roll pancakes, blueberry pancakes, pumpkin spice pancakes, gingerbread pancakes, the list goes on!  

 

Variations

 

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Ingredients: 

Original pancake batter recipe (made with sour cream as the fat) 

1/4 C Powdered sugar

1-2t Milk

1T Cinnamon  

 

Directions: 

• Make sourdough pancake batter as normal  

• Mix together cinnamon, sugar, and milk until a decently thick but pourable frosting is made

• While the pancakes are cooking on the frying pan swirl the cinnamon sugar icing into the pancake and flip once ready.

I serve these with only a pat of good pasture butter on top. Saves you from using your expensive pure organic maple syrup some mornings!  

 

 

Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients: 

Original pancake batter recipe  

1/2 C pumpkin  

1/2t Pumpkin pie spice  

1T Brown sugar  

 

Directions: 

• Make sourdough starter pancake batter as normal 

• Add pumpkin, spices and sugar

• Make pancakes as normal

• Serve with whipped cream  

 

Ginger Bread Pancakes  

Ingredients:

Original pancake batter recipe 

1T Unsulfured blackstrap molasses  

1/2t Ground ginger

1/4t Cloves

1/4t Cinnamon  

1/4t Nutmeg 

1/8t Pumpkin pie spice  

2T Brown sugar or coconut sugar  

 

Directions: 

• Make sourdough pancake batter as normak

• Add molasses, spices, and sweetener of choice  

• Make pancakes as normal  

• Serve with whipped cream, maple syrup butter, or fermented applesauce! 

 

 

Berry Compote:

Ingredients:   

1C Frozen mixed organic berries  

1T Fresh lemon juice  

1t Sweetener if needed (honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar etc) 

 

Directions:

• Heat the berries in a small saucepan on medium low with lemon juice until soft

• Mash the berries or blend and add sweetener if using. 

• While still hot pour onto fresh pancakes and serve  

 

 

As you you can see, we love pancakes in this house! I make many variations on them a few times a week and serve with all the other usual breakfast fair; eggs, sausage, fermented sides, and lots of hot coffee. Breakfast is our favorite! 

 

Tell me what what your favorite flavors of pancakes are! I love trying new things! Enjoy these recipes y’all! 

 

~ Hippie Hayden  

 

Media Consumption and Mental Illness | Part 1

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(Part 1 of 2)

I have an unpopular opinion. Shocking I know .

Do we take the Bible seriously when it says:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9) or is it just a cute decal pasted on our white washed walls?

Stay with me for a minute while I make my point. Wait till the actual end to be offended, if you must. There will be a caveat, promise.

My generation has put mental illness on a pedestal. It’s almost “cool” to have a mental illness. It’s hip to need a Xanax prescription or to pop psych meds to keep your composure. Depression, anxiety, emotional instability, OCD etc I mean there are t-shirts peddled on Instagram that have “anxiety queen” written on the front. It seems everyone is professionally or self diagnosed to some extent.

Parents would rather push a random spectrum diagnosis on their child than take responsibility for their shoddy parenting. Young adults would rather perpetuate confusion (gender confusion, conspiracy theories etc) than meditate on truth. People in general would rather entertain the macabre and unnatural.

It’s cute to be “dark and twisty,” to enjoy horror, psychological thrillers, sick and crude humor.

I have to wonder if accepting these wrong thoughts and meditating on them is adding to the mental illness culture we currently live in. I believe that verse in Philippians is more than a nice thought, it’s a command to protect our minds, to meditate on lovely things, truth, excellence, the just, honorable, and pure. Do you think maybe The Lord knew how vast the heartaches of this world would be? That our humans hearts and minds would be better off and healthier if we strived to focus on Truth above all?

I don’t believe it’s a call to stick our necks in the sand, plug our ears, close our eyes and completely shut ourselves off from the horrors of life here on earth in ignorance. But why would we willingly invite it into our lives?

Have you browsed through Netflix lately? What about Hulu or Amazon Video? It’s contents are primarily dark subjects. Glorifying teen suicide, normalizing homosexuality, a show where a teenage girl literally gives her soul over to the devil and it ends up being a good thing (?). I saw the dark direction TV/movie streaming services were headed back in college. It had been a hot minute since I’d logged into my Netflix account and when I did I was pretty shocked by the offering.

Social media is another outlet that is like an uncapped fire hydrant, practically drowning you in terrifying, anxiety laden sin and heartbreak. We were never meant to intake this much bad news. Whether it be the latest news story about how a child is being abused by their mentally unstable parent who is forcing chemical and physical sex change therapies on said child, a father that murders his entire family, or the latest political scandal. Funny enough, we’re living in the most peaceful time in history. The only change is the access we have to the entire world and all the hurt people are experiencing.

I’ll admit, I used to enjoy the dark and twisty and was not deeply phased, like I am now, to dreadful news; and then I gained experience with the real world dark and twisty, with trauma, and evil forces. Let me tell you people, I understand how it might be entertaining to those who have never had any real world experience with these things, but your human heart can’t handle it all and neither can your mind. You’re human, depraved, fragile. The best thing you could ever do for yourself is to obey God’s commands. For your spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental well being.

Caveat time.


All that being said. As someone who works very closely in the holistic health world, I’m more than aware that mental illness (as well as anxiety, and depression) can be out of someone’s control when it is a real physical imbalance or the symptom of some deeper physical illness. I know that cutting dark media out of your life won’t necessarily fix everyone’s mental state. But hey, it can only help unload some of the mental burden we’re all under, and also, it’s commanded of us. I also understand that not all parents are seeking diagnosis’s for their kids in lieu of taking responsibility for their parenting. But I have seen that happen more often than not.

I think as Christians we have largely underestimated the power of the mind (and the tongue) although we’re urged/warned/commanded in scripture many times over to guard our thoughts, to take control over our thoughts, to renew our mind from our old worldview, replenishing it with the things of The Lord. We have no idea how much time we do or don’t have have left on this earth. Why spend any of our minds precious time thinking on things that are of the flesh. Thoughts that don’t create a sound mind. We had a rule growing up. You were only allowed to watch as much TV, movies, spend time on the internet as you had spent in your Bible that day. I say that’s not too shabby of a requirement to have in adulthood either. Let’s make that our new goal. Feed your mind with life giving thoughts, friends.

In part two I will discuss some practical steps you can take to unload the mental burden of media.

“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” - Luke 21:34

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:2

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” - Proverbs 4:23

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” - 2 Corinthians 10:5

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” - Colossians 3:1-2

Pumpkin Chai Spices Whoopie Pies (GF/DF)

I’m not ashamed of my love for all things pumpkin and spice and everything nice. Not one bit. So I combined my favorite fall dessert flavor and my favorite dessert to make the ultimate. Pumpkin chai spiced whoopie pies.

I fell in love with whoopie pies in the fourth grade on a trip to Pennsylvania Dutch country. It seemed pretty smart to me that they would basically make a cake eatable with your hands, instead of requiring a proper dish and silverware.

I can taste my first one now. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s absolutely true. It was a perfectly baked, moist, delectable two rounds of cake with a beautifully fluffy creme in the middle that wasn’t too sweet and complimented the cake perfectly.

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The girls operating the farm stand where we bought them were dressed traditional PA dutch, one older, one younger, and then a toddler. All bare foot. In fact, I remember the feet of the toddler because she clearly had an infected toe, due to an ingrown toenail (only my ballerina self would realize that was the problem) and didn’t seem to mind one bit. Maybe not the most picturesque memory, but a memory nonetheless.

Only a few weeks after getting home from our trip I grabbed one of the cookbooks I bought while in Lancaster county and made a whole spread for me and my childhood best friend that included whoopie pies for dessert. I formulated this recipe later on in life and recently made it for a group of my husbands friends who all came over for a fall party we hosted.

Cake Ingredients:

3C All purpose gf flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill one to one, you can probably get away using the gluten free flour you like, but I don’t suggest using anything super out there like paleo flour….just don’t)

1T Ground Cinnamon

2t Pumpkin Pie Spice

2t Ground Ginger

1t Nutmeg, fresh grated preferably

1t Ground Clove

1t Baking Soda

1t Baking Powder

1/2t Salt

1C Brown Sugar

1C Granulated Sugar

1C Organic Palm Shortening (you can get some here)

1 Can Pumpkin Puree (not pumpkin pie mix)

2 Eggs

1T Vanilla

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350

  • Combine dry ingredients and set aside

  • Combine Sugars and palm shortening, mix with a hand or stand mixer

  • Mix in egg and vanilla, just till combined

  • Slowly mix the dry ingredients with the wet by hand, or in your stand mixer

  • Once the batter has come together, allow it to sit for rougly 30 minutes or until you’re ready to pipe out your individual whoopie pie rounds. If you don’t want your mix to be typical gluten free grainy, don’t skip this step. It helps any gf baking tremendously.

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a sil pat.

  • Pipe out each individual cake round, roughly 3” in diameter. You can use a piping bag or a ziploc bag with one of the corner tips cut off — I prefer this because it gets messy and can be thrown away. Easy clean up!

  • ** The batter is THICK ** This is why I recommend only piping out 3’ diameter cake round at first. Once you do that, oil your hand with coconut oil or butter, you’re choice. Using your oiled hands spread each piped cake round out 2 ish more inches in diameter by pressing down and out making sure the piped batter comes together. This step makes them flatter. Otherwise, because of the batters thickness, they would be obnoxiously tall. This is why I recommend only piping out about 3” cakes, if you piped out the full size they would be way to big to handle. Not that I’ve done that. Learn from my mistakes lol

  • Once you have all your cake round spread out, pop into your preheated oven for 10 minutes or until they’re cooked through and slightly firm.

  • Set them aside to cool on a cookie rack and make the chai spiced creme filling

Chai Spiced Creme Filling Ingredients:

1C Organic Palm Shortening

3C Powdered Sugar

2t Vanilla

1/2t Ground Black Pepper

1/2t Cardamom

1/2t Cinnamon

1/2t Ginger

1/2t Nutmeg

1/2t Clove

Directions:

  • Beat the shortening, vanilla, and spices together until combined

  • Add the powdered sugar slowly until all combined.

Assembly

  • With a piping bag of choice half full with your chai spiced creme filling, pipe a decent sized swirl onto one pumpkin cake round

  • Top with another cake round and press until the creme holds the two together

  • Tada! You have your first whoopie pie

Makes roughly 18-20 individual sized whoopie pies

There ya have it folks! These are a huge hit with everyone! My husband loves them and asks for them often, texting me from work to make a batch before he gets home ha. They were also a huge hit with friends at our party, the gluten free and dairy free people were especially thrilled there was something safe for them to enjoy. In fact, I only told the people I knew had specific allergies that these desserts were safe for them, I told no one else and I assume as much that no one else even thought to question these whoopie pies “real-ness.” Most gluten free desserts really are great! In fact I prefer gluten free chocolate chip cookies over “normal” ones any day! Whether eating gluten free or diary free is a requirement for your dietary needs, I suggest you give these a try, they really are that good!

As usual, let me know if you do try them! I love hearing how you like these recipes <3

Enjoy friends,

~Hippie Hayden

Elderberry Two Ways

I get a kind of nesting syndrome before fall hits where I start batch making bone broth, fortifying some of the batches with extra herbs to boost the immune system, making sure I have plenty of good fats stocked in the pantry as well as holiday baking supplies, setting up fire cider, cough syrup, canning fresh veggies and fruits, baking up a storm to stock up the freezer. You name it, I’m probably stocking up on it!

Elderberry Syrup is one of those things I stock up on. I make not only some pretty large batches of syrup (some with echinacea and some without), but a tincture form of it as well. I’ve been making both since college and can proudly report I haven’t had a cold since. “Flu season” doesn’t bother my immune system and I know I have this magical liquid to thank for it. It frequently reminds me of the magic liquid Marry Poppins whips out to give the rowdy Banks kids. I even put it in these flip top bottles because it makes the same glug glug sound that hers did coming out of the bottle onto the spoon.

It’s the little things.

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I’m super thankful that I stocked up last year on enough elderberries to carry me through this winter as well. If you’ve seen the price spike, because you make your own as well, you know why I’m thankful. Demand is high and so is the price. Most of my usual sources are out of stock as well. This year I put up two 44.4 oz and two 16.9 oz bottles of plain and echinacea elderberry syrup and Two 64oz bottles of elderberry tincture. Plenty to go around and to give as gifts!

Elderberry Syrup Ingredients:

2C Dried organic elderberries

3C Filtered water

1t Orange zest

2 Cinnamon Sticks

2t Whole cloves

2 Whole star anise pods

1T Fresh grated ginger or 2t ground

Raw local honey

Cheese cloth

Glass bottles to store the syrup in

Directions:

  • In a pot combine all the ingredients above, except the honey.

  • Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes with the lid on.

  • After simmering, take the pot off the heat and allow to cool down to room temp. This can take a while.

  • Mash the berries in the liquid with a potato masher or you hands, take your pick.

  • Strain the liquid with cheesecloth into an easily pour-able vessle

  • Pour the juice into the glass bottles you’ve chosen to store you syrup in and fill 2/3 of the way full

  • Fill the rest of the way with raw honey.

  • Close the container and shake to combine

*you do make to make sure the juice isn’t hot so it doesn’t kill the good properties of the raw honey you add to it.

Elderberry Tincture Ingredients:

ACV (apple cider vinegar) or 100 proof non grain vodka

1 Quart mason jar

Dried Elderberries

1t Cinnamon chips

1t Dehydrated orange peel

1t Whole cloves

2t ginger

1 Star anise pod

Directions:

  • In you quart jar, fill 1/2 full with dried elderberries and the remaining herbs/spices

  • Fill the jar with tincture medium of choice, ACV or Vodka.

  • Let it sit for 2-3 months, shaking the jar every so often.

  • Strain the berries and spices from the liquid and bottle in amber or cobalt tincture bottles

Either recipe you choose, you can add echinacea herb and root too. Be aware that echinacea should only be taken two weeks on, one month off. Do not take it continuously. Hence why I make a batch of each.

You don’t need each and ever additional spice I add, but it does give it a nice fall flavor that I’ve come to love. And like anything else you can absolutely add different things as well to fit your own families taste buds! I’ve linked my favorite places to buy herbs under the Shopping Guide , you’re sure to find some berries and other herbs/spices you need to liven your syrup or tincture!

If you try adding something new, let me know in the comments! I love hearing what you all come up with!

Enjoy friends,

~Hippie Hayden

Simple Sauerkraut

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I think sauerkraut is one of the more difficult ferments (great way to start off a recipe eh?) and that’s saying a lot because overall, fermenting veggies or fruits is nothing more than salt, water, whey (if you want) and the veggie or fruit in question. If you want to get real fancy you can season your ferment with different spices making it extra tasty. But, today I’m keeping it simple. Sauerkraut is nothing more than shredded cabbage and salt. That’s it. It’s incredibly cheap and incredibly effective. I find myself dipping into this exact jar a few times a day with meals or as a quick snack while I do things like plan recipes and write for the website. I’m not going to dive into a full blown lecture on why homemade ferments need to find a place in you and your families life, just know that they absolutely do and your digestive system will be the better for it.

Two ingredients, that’s it:

1 head of cabbage

1-2 T of salt

Equipment:

1 relatively airtight container (glass or pottery only, no metal or plastic)

Some sort of weight to ensure the cabbage stays submerged under it’s liquid (you can buy a pickle puck on amazon, or use a shot glass, disinfected rocks etc.)

A large bowl to squeeze the cabbage in

1 ferment mallet (optional, I use my hands)

Directions:

  1. Shred the cabbage fine. Either with a knife, a mandolin, or food processor. I like mine pretty fine and shredded. *Save the outer layer leaves of the cabbage for the very end, set aside.

  2. Place the shredded cabbage in a bowl and add 1T of salt. Mix it up a bit and let it sit for 15-20 minutes to get a little soft before you start the pounding process.

  3. After the cabbage has sat out, begin pounding or squeezing extracting as much of the cabbage’s natural liquid as possible. This part can take some considerable time.

  4. Once your cabbage has been worked down and is roughly 1/3 it’s original volume you can begin packing it into your container for fermentation.

  5. Pack into your container of choice in layers pounding down the layers as you go making sure there are no air bubbles.

  6. Once your container is completely packed, top it off with any excess cabbage liquid and get the outer layer leaves of the cabbage you set aside in the beginning

  7. Take the outer cabbage leaves and use them to “tuck down” the packed cabbage as a sort of extra security that it stays submerged below it’s liquid.

  8. Once your cabbage leaves are in place securely, you can grab your weight of choice and place on top to keep your hard work submerged completely while it ferments.

  9. Depending on the container you’ve chosen to ferment with you’ll want to close it somewhat or at least cover the top of your container with secured cheese cloth, a coffee filter, or a hand towel etc The jar I have pictured is perfect for the amount I ferment since it’s just the two of us at home. It fits one head of cabbage snuggly with all the excess cabbage liquid and a shot glass which I shut the lid on top of after taking the rubbing ring off so it’s not completely air tight. I don’t recommend closing anything completely lest it explode in the fermentation process. This is where a super duper fermentation crock comes in handy.

  10. Once your relatively sure that your cabbage will stay completely submerged place it on a tray or in a bowl while it sits to ferment. Depending on how packed your jar is, most likely some liquid will overflow out. It is quite the mess to wake up too, especially if you use purple cabbage, like me, which has an affinity for staining anything it so much as thinks about touching. So do yourself a favor and make sure it’s in some kind of vessel to catch liquid spillage.

  11. Now you wait. Sauerkraut takes a bit longer to ferment if you want it to really develop that signature sauerkraut flavor, witch I do. In total I probably let mine sit out for two ish weeks. That’s all it took for this amount of cabbage to get the really pungent flavor I was going for. Technically veggies don’t need more than about 4-5 days, at the absolute max, to ferment completely. It does depend on a few thing much like sourdough starter. The temp of your kitchen, how much you’re fermenting etc.

  12. Once it’s at the flavor and fermentation stage you prefer, it’s ready to move to long term storage. A fridge, cellar, or basement will do just fine. It will keep indefinitely as long as no mold appears. (mold is fuzzy, grey scum is not mold and can be scraped off the top and discarded)

TROUBLESHOOTING

The only thing that can make your sauerkraut fail is if the presence of oxygen gets into the actual ferment itself. That doesn’t mean that your ferment needs a lid, or needs to be in a airtight container. The only part that needs to be in an “anaerobic” environment is what all resides under the liquid, the actual sauerkraut. That’s the way it is with any ferment. What can end up spoiling your ferment is if there are too many air bubbles that didn’t get let out during the packing process, cabbage rises to the top of the liquid it should be submerged under, or any other way oxygen could possibly get into your ferment. There is a possibility that you could pack the kraut too tight, it expands, and then spoils because it’s no longer under liquid. So keep your eye on it the first few hours/days of fermentation to make sure you did the job just right. I like to leave a decent amount of head-space in my jars to account for the pack settling/shifting once I put it up to ferment. I also mess with it a few times to make sure it stays under it’s liquid. (can you tell I’m paranoid about my kraut staying under it’s liquid lol)

If you see anything floating on top it’s fine so long as it isn’t fuzzy. Grey scum is totally normal with kraut. Just scrape it off the top, discard, and continue on your merry way. But if you see fuzz, pitch it.

If you’re fermenting more than one thing in your kitchen/home, make sure your ferments aren’t fermenting congregated in the same space. This can actually cause them to spoil and/or mold. So if you come over to my home at a time where I’m fermenting multiple things, you may see beet kvass in the living room, sauerkraut in the kitchen, kombucha in my office, and ginger carrots in the bedroom. It doesn’t need to be that extreme, you can usually get away with just putting them in separate places about the kitchen, I just prefer to remain captain of “team no chances.” So different rooms they go.

It really is simple. Yes, sauerkraut is the more testy of home fermented foods, but it only has two technical ingredients. So doable, and so economical! There are many things that can be done to spice it up and make it a little more pizazzy, if you so desire. I really do like the old world flavor of just salt and cabbage sauerkraut, but I do have a few fun sauerkraut recipes to share with ya’ll here in the near future. For now, go grab the well intended cabbage you bought that’s somewhere deep in your crisper, good quality salt, and a crock. Master this basic and the possibilities are truly endless!

* If you would like to see all of my fermenting favorites, including fermenting crocks, weights, jars, and my favorite books on fermentation, check out the favorites tab in the website navigation bar. *

Enjoy, friends!

~Hippie Hayden

Hayden's Famous Chili

I went to a small Baptist University for college and every fall they had a chili cook-off. I always wanted to compete and win. I knew my chili would win, hands down; of that I was confident. Only problem was, my school only let males compete. Maybe because they knew they didn’t stand a chance against female cooking? That’s what I keep telling myself. I did find a way to get around that distasteful rule. insert Grinch smile here I let a fraternity on campus enter with my chili recipe….and guess what? They won. So take that, small Baptist University which shall remain nameless. It’s won a few awards in addition to that first delicious victory and today I share with you all the recipe I’ve kept most under lock and key. I haven’t gone completely mad. I am keeping a few tricks to myself. But you all are getting the base recipe that bolstered this chili’s fame.

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Ingredients:

1 lb Ground meat of choice (I use beef and greatly prefer that. At least 80/20)

1/2 lb Chorizo

1 Sweet onion chopped

1 Can of Rotel

1 Small can of tomato sauce

1 Can of Ranch Style Beans (The can with the black label and yellow/white writing, if you don’t have access to these, a can of chili style pinto or red beans will do. If you’re not in the US you will have to make chili beans in a chili gravy)

2 Tsp chili powder

1-2 dashes of cayenne, depending on how hot you like it

1/4 tsp cinnamon

A sprinkle of two of dark brown sugar

Chips of choice (Mine are scooable frito’s always and forever)

Toppings: shredded and american cheese, jalapeno’s, sour cream, cilantro, guacamole, etc

Seasoning salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a sizable chili pot on medium high heat, add chopped onion and saute for a few minutes to soften before adding ground meat in.

  2. Add in ground meat and season rather liberally with seasoning salt of choice (in the original recipe I used Lawry’s. Since learning the error of my ways, I make my own seasoning salt that is comparable but not full of nasty toxins. But if you want the OG, buy a bottle of the nasty.)

  3. Once the meat is no longer pink, add in each of the canned ingredients with all their liquid.*

  4. Once the base of the chili is combined, add in your other seasonings; chili powder, cayenne, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

  5. Let the chili simmer covered for about 30 -45 minutes.

  6. Test to see if any seasoning needs to be tweaked.

  7. Serve with your favorite chili ‘fixins. I top my high with cheese and eat with scoopable Frito’s (yes Frito’s) instead of a spoon. It’s the most holy way to eat chili I’m convinced. Other acceptable toppings are sour cream, cilantro, fresh or pickled jalapeno’s, cornbread, or cheese biscuits.

*This recipe double, triples, quadruples etc easily. The only caution I would advise is paying attention to the excess liquid in the canned Rotel. If you like a thicker chili, like me, you will want to possible drain 1-2 cans of Rotel depending on how thick or thin you want it. You also might need to cut the onion down so it’s not overpowering.

This recipe has won me boyfriends and eventually a husband, comforted me in my darkest of times, and celebrated with me in joyous seasons. It has fed many many people over the years; from Halloween parties to football tailgates, with friends after a high school dance and family around our table once the weather is cold. It is a constant in my life and I hope it becomes one for you as well.

Enjoy, friends,

~ Hippie Hayden