Sources of Non- Dairy Calcium

September 7, 2012 Comments Off on Sources of Non- Dairy Calcium

So I recently went in for my yearly check up(all good!) and told my doctor that I had stopped drinking milk. He immediately  responded with concern that I might not be receiving enough calcium. I wanted to immediately respond that calcium is naturally occurring in a wide variety of food , but alas I am no health or nutritionist. But thought I would share a few of my favorite calcium rich foods.


One you might not immediately think of is strawberries, which have about 166 grams of calicum per cup.


Also, leafy greens, like cooked kale which has about 179 grams of calcium per cup. But  cooked collards pack a whopping 350 grams per cup and turnip greens which have about 250 grams.

Also if you wondering how much Calcium one might need the NIH has this handy table.

Also remember that calcium is better absorbed by vitamin D, so get just a bit of sun.

Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Calcium [1]
Age Male Female Pregnant Lactating
0–6 months* 200 mg 200 mg
7–12 months* 260 mg 260 mg
1–3 years 700 mg 700 mg
4–8 years 1,000 mg 1,000 mg
9–13 years 1,300 mg 1,300 mg
14–18 years 1,300 mg 1,300 mg 1,300 mg 1,300 mg
19–50 years 1,000 mg 1,000 mg 1,000 mg 1,000 mg
51–70 years 1,000 mg 1,200 mg
71+ years 1,200 mg 1,200 mg

* Adequate Intake (AI)


Say Cheese!

April 26, 2012 § 2 Comments

Last year for christmas I received the book nourishing traditions which put the seed in my mind about making my own cheese. However like most things in my life it wasn’t a priority and so has yet to happen. I initially used the excuse that I didn’t have access to a milk I thought would be sufficient. Virginia has very strict and some might say needlessly obtrusive restrictions on raw milk. However as it turns out you don’t actually need raw milk you just need milk that is not ultra, that means not  ultra pasteurized or ultra homogenized.  These extend shelf life of the milk , but it not so good for the cheese making. I have since found milk through a local dairy as well as a few in store varieties that could be used. I haven’t yet taken the plunge, Urban Cheesecraft  has affordable $25  cheese kits that I’m thinking about trying. Any thoughts?

Cost Comparison: Coffee

April 16, 2012 Comments Off on Cost Comparison: Coffee

I didn’t start to drink coffee until I was in college. It was my bribe to hang out in the library. Go  to the library drink a coffee flavored milkshake. It seemed like a decent trade at the time.  Little did I know those coffee flavored milkshakes are quite the gate way drug. I’m already well on my way to french pressing my way to snobbery.

There’s a gamut of options to consider when finding your favorite coffee,is  it fair trade, what roast, what flavor, what region, local, non local, organic, non organic.  I haven’t been using my french press long enough to  to know the implications of each choice, so I won’t pretend.  My preference is for something local, fair trade, the flavor is mostly irrelevant  for me because I  frequently change what I am drinking. But if we’re being honest here, I also frequent Starbucks just as much as my local coffee house, which makes me just a little bit of a hypocrite. Although this mostly dictated by location. However my favorite by far is Trager Brothers coffee. When I was working my dismal job in the hospital it was the only thing that I looked forward to.


Blend 50 by Trager Brothers (local, organic, fair trade) at $11.99/pound  this is roasted locally in Nelson County Virginia and is honestly the best coffee I have ever had.

Whole Foods 365 Bulk (traditional and organic) $8.99 to $10.99/pound

Starbucks Sumatra (making an effort to be fair trade)$13.50/pound

Folgers (probably not fair trade) ~$8.96/per pound

For just a few dollars more you can really get a higher quality and potentially more ethical cup of joe.  Now you’ll say of the folgers only cost be $6.00, yes this is true, but they are also giving you less coffee about 11 or 12ounces, so the comparable cost  to many “premium” brands is actually closer.

Now how much do you save by making your own coffee?

I have found a pound makes about 8 cups(32 ounces) of coffee for 6-7 days, comparably if you were buying two grande coffees(at a coffee house, not a gas station) at $4/a day it comes out to be $24-$28/week. Meaning if you brew your own coffee you are saving $12-$15/a week spread out over the year $624-$780.

Cold Brew Coffee-Making Iced Coffee

April 8, 2012 § 1 Comment

There is nothing like drinking a cup of coffee when you don’t have to go to work.It becomes something you can enjoy slowly instead of something you need to get through the drudgery of the day. Or maybe you have an enjoyable job and get to experience this every day!

This weekend I experimented with  cold brewing coffee, the process of letting coffee grounds steep in room temperature water for an extended period of time.  The cold brew method results in a lowers acidity  and this is what primarily results in the change in flavor.  The lower acidity is something I rather enjoy, as someone who stresses quite a bit and often has some acid reflux going on! Opponents say this method lack complexity of its heated brethren, however I found the flavors complete and enjoyed the smoothness. They do sell cold brew systems out there, but I find this rather unnecessary.

The recipe for the batch below makes quite a bit of coffee, and you can do smaller batches if you wish, but I enjoy having the extra on hand in the fridge. As an added bonus, every cup  saves you $2-$3 and who  doesn’t love saving money.

Have you tried cold brew coffee? What did you think?

Cold Brew Coffee

What you’ll need:

About a half pound of course ground coffee

10 cups of filtered room temperature water

A large container

Something to strain the  mixture with, I filtered batches in my french press but you can buy filters or even filter through cheese cloth.

What you need to do:

Take the coffee and put it into your container add the water, I chose to stir the mixture at that time, but you can also let it sit for ten minutes and then stir.

Cover the mixture  and let sit for at least 12-72 hours. I steeped mine for 24 hours, which seems to be happy medium.


This next one is important, DILUTE! This process actually creates a concentrate, that you can drink straight if you are a strong coffee fan. You can dilute with water, milk, cream,or even soy. I first tried the dilution with soy , but it actually seemed to overpower the flavor of the flavor. I found I much more enjoyed the following dilution:1/2 cup concentrate, 1/4 cup of water, 1/4 of milk.

If you do want to add sweetener you may want to try making a simple syrup that will mix better. You make simple syrup by using 2 parts sugar and 1 part water. Bring the water to a boil and dissolve the sugar.

Friday Reading

April 6, 2012 Comments Off on Friday Reading

Beautiful photos and a delicious looking recipe for roast chicken.

Salt cured salmon!

If I was the egg dying type I would try these natural dyes.

Some interesting looking books on botanical drawings. I’ll have to add them to my paperbackswap list.

The dutch may have had a mania for them and painted them quite well , but did you know tulips were originally introduced to the Dutch by the Turks.

Let’s Talk about Mint Jelly

February 24, 2012 Comments Off on Let’s Talk about Mint Jelly

A brief  of tour my brain.

I was thinking about spring, which made me think about planting my front yard, which made me think about deer deterrence, which made me think about mint, which reminded me I wanted to post about  mint jelly.

I cannot think of anything more disgusting, maybe green jello, which might as well be the same thing. I will give a pass to naturally made mint jelly  and its fancy cousin (I’m looking at you mint chutney.) But the processed in a jar food coloring dye based food is just inedible.I reserve eating things that color  for once a year on St. Patrick’s Day, and even then they tend to be booze or cake related.

This made me ask where did it start? A quick search of the internet let me down, but I need to know this people! Think about the boring conversations I could get out of  while simultaneously showing people up.

My Theory

Meat in short demand was often a little rancid, mint being a strong flavor hides this.

But seriously does anyone know where mint jelly originated?

Better than Bouillon/ Easy Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale

January 24, 2012 Comments Off on Better than Bouillon/ Easy Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale

It was about this time  last year when I was lamenting over how labor intensive making your own broths are. There are great advantages to making your broth, they are rich in nutrients and is very cost effective, not mention you can’t beat meaningful work.  But let’s be honest there isn’t always the time or storage for self made broth. This is where Better than Bouillon comes it, as a paste like substance stored in the refrigerator, that not so magically turns into soup base. You simply mix one teaspoon of base with 8 ounces of  boiling water and voila you have broth. It has a much richer flavor than regular bouillon and comes in an organic variety.  It’s also a little more flexible than bouillon and you can add it into different types of dishes, but I have yet to be this industrious.

Easy Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale


-Half an Onion

– Salt and Pepper

-3 cups of  chicken stock

-Pound of Beans

-Bunch of organic Kale

-A little bit of Olive oil

-2 cups of heavy cream

I’ve been using dried beans lately. I’ve starting to steer away from canned foods, as there has been some evidence that the BPA in the can liners  leaches into food. I figure why chance it. So if you are using dried beans you will need to soak your beans ahead of time.

-Cut up and sautee onion in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, until onion is translucent.

– Add in Beans and chicken broth, then simmer for about 30 minutes. If your beans are  crunchy you can simmer at a higher temp.

-Add in cream, and bring back  to a simmer. Be careful not to boil it or your cream will no longer look appetizing.

– Add in Kale and simmer for another 10 minutes.


-This is a pretty basic soup so you could  add in any vegetables you like.

– For a vegan version you can cut out the cream,swap the chicken for vegetable stock, and after the 30 minute simmer run the soup through a food processor for a creamy soup.You may want to add in your favorite spices  because this soup is  so simple the cream adds a lot of flavor.

-You can also add sausage or root vegetables  for  a heartier soup.

-If you like things spicy you can add in some red pepper

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