By: Kurt Stradtman, CFNC, CPT
Between the rise in popularity of Kombucha and bone broth, these miracle tonics can treat and prevent a number of ailments. Most notable of Bone Broth’s benefits is its ability to repair and treat Leaky Gut Syndrome. If you’re unfamiliar with the benefits of bone broth, or what it does, here’s a quick lesson:
Bone broth is the love child of slowly simmering bones with aromatic herbs and vegetables like onion, carrot, and celery for nearly 48 hours to create a rich and nutritious broth. Bone Broth is rich in vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Most notable of these nutrients is collagen. This collagen is the what makes this magical elixir so magical.
As we age, we begin to lose collagen. You see this most prominently as sagging or wrinkled skin. But this is just an outside cosmetic appearance. But what a lot of people don’t realize is this decrease is collagen can cause stiff, painful joints and degenerating tendons. Diving even further into this collagen subject is digestive health. Your stomach lining is also made up of collagen.
Age isn’t the only thing that decreases collagen in the body. Poor diet, lack of exercise, and certain diseases can cause collagen to decrease. When you have conditions such as Leaky Gut Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Celiac disease, among other conditions need collagen to help rebuild, repair and improve the stomach and intestinal lining.
From the first sip of bone broth, health and vitality begins to restore in the body. Remember hearing them say chicken soup can cure a cold? Well, with all the nutrients present, there is some truth to this old wives’ tale, but there is a huge difference in homemade, slow-simmered bone broth and the broth you buy from the store. Even the brands that say slow simmered, are filled with other additives like sugar, bullion, and salt that aren’t good for you, not to mention they probably weren’t simmered long enough (24+ hours). Adding apple cider vinegar helps pull these minerals out of the bones, and the big boxed brands just don’t cut it.
Lately there have been a rise in true bone broth. Brand’s like Kettle & Fire have revolutionized the way slowly simmered bone broth can be packaged where it can increase shelf life and still maintain it’s high nutrient content.
Broth vs. Bone Broth:
Regular broth is made from simmering meat with aromatic vegetables and herbs. Bone Broth (aka Stock) is made from slowly simmering (24-48 hours) aromatic herbs, vegetables and bones. This process of slowly simmering the bones allow the broth to absorb the collagen.
Those following a plant based diet can make vegetable broth which still creates a nutrient rich beverage that can help with healing Leaky Gut Syndrome and relieving digestive discomfort as well.
How is Bone Broth Made?
Well, the recipe is simple. Take a coupe pounds of bones, add chopped vegetables (garlic, onion, carrot, celery, etc.), and your favorite herbs (parsley, thyme, etc.), cover with water and add a dash of vinegar. Slowly simmer this mixture for nearly 48 hours, skim off the top, strain the broth (discard the vegetables), and sip. Cheers to good health! It’s crucial for the full health benefit of the bone broth is to buy only organic grass-fed bones, and use organic vegetables and herbs, and filtered or distilled water. It’s not cheap to make, although the benefits are worth every penny. (Remember my motto: healthy living and eating can be expensive but will never be as expensive as medical bills from being unhealthy!)
Of course you can freeze the left overs, but to drink your 3-5 mugs of hot broth each week, that’s a lot of time and money spent on making bone broth. I’ve told clients for years they only need to make their own, and never buy the boxed kind. Until now.
Now, there’s a boxed broth you can buy, it’s shelf stable (so you can stock up), and it’s from a company out of San Francisco called Kettle & Fire.
I heard about Kettle & Fire after reading an article online about these two brothers revolutionizing boxed bone broth. Using only grass-fed organic beef bones (check), slow simmers 24+ hours (check, check), and used vinegar to bring out the minerals (check, check, sold!). So, I ordered a couple boxes to try and it was amazing! I was eating my words – there is a boxed broth out there, that provides all the health benefits of homemade without the hassle of making it yourself.
I had a chance to chat with Justin, one of the founders of Kettle & Fire, because I still had several questions (like how you can pack so much nutrition and health in a tiny box and still be shelf stable)? Because I want to offer my clients the best advice and products, I had to be sure this was legit. I asked Justin what exactly they put in their broth, and how do they package it to be shelf stable. Here’s his response:
“We first make our broth from all organic ingredients and use marrow bones from 100% certified grass-fed, grass-finished cattle. Then, once the broth has been simmered for 24+ hours, we package it. It’s the way we pack it that’s so revolutionary. We package it while it’s hot (so no bacteria are present in the broth), and in what’s known as an “aseptic” vacuum environment. This means that, when our bone broth goes into the packaging, there are zero pathogens in the box or in the packaging area. Really, there's not even air! Because there’s no air or anything present when we package and seal each container, there’s nothing that can react with the broth and cause it to spoil. That’s why we don’t need to add any preservatives, additives, hormones or other gunk to the product, because it's all in our packaging process!”
If you can make your own bone broth, do it. There's something so wholesome about the smell of broth simmering in your kitchen. But when time doesn't permit, reach for Kettle & Fire.
By: Kurt Stradtman, CFNC, CPT
By this day and age, you've probably heard the phrase "Leaky Gut Syndrome", medically referred to as "Intestinal Permeability". This is a serious condition that effects millions of people, and probably even you! Fortunately, it can be treated, and with time and mindful diet choices and supplements, this condition and the symptoms it brings with it can be greatly improved. But what is Leaky Gut Syndrome and how does it happen, you ask? Well it all starts with a simple protein called Zonulin.
Zonulin is a protein that is produced inside the small intestine. This protein modulates the permeability of tight junctions between cells of the wall of the small intestines. When given the right environment, this protein can be dangerous! Eating foods that you unknowingly have an intolerance to can damage these tight junctions allowing microbes, toxins, and partially digested food leak into the blood stream (hence "Leaky" Gut Syndrome).
Inside your small intestines, where most of nutritional absorption takes place, there lies a barrier, a barrier dividing up your intestinal chute and your bloodstream. What’s inside the intestines needs to stay inside the intestines where it can be properly processed and metabolized. However, certain foods we eat can begin wreaking havoc on the digestive system, damaging the cells that are the barrier for the intestines from the bloodstream. Not only does partially digested food leak out into your bloodstream (where it doesn’t belong!), but other critters like microbes, toxins and bacteria can leak out too! Once these microbes and toxins get into the bloodstream as partially digested food escapes the small intestines, your immune system kicks in, and releases inflammatory inducing eicosanoids that are released to eradicate this new foreign attacker. After these eicosanoids are released, inflammation begins and inadvertently begins to cause chaos on your digestive system, creating an autoimmune attack. The result is your body having a difficult time to absorb the much-needed nutrients. But it doesn’t stop there! It gets worse. Much worse.
At some point, this partially digested food will then join IgG antibodies and create immune complexes. These immune complexes float around the body via the bloodstream until finally, tissues absorb them, and more inflammatory eicosanoids are released creating target inflammation. This is how food intolerance's cause joint pain, headaches, and other physically painful side effects. As Leaky Gut continues throughout your life uncorrected, more and more symptoms appear. Many of us chock it up as a normal part of the aging process, when the reality is aging shouldn’t have symptoms.
As you continue to keep eating the foods that are preventing your Leaky Gut from healing, you begin to crave the very foods that are damaging your digestive system. These IgG antibodies that your body created, are now roaming around, programmed to attack the foods that are causing your reaction, they’re hungry, thus you begin craving the foods that are hurting your digestive symptom. Pretty ironic, huh?
Leaky Gut Syndrome can be considered a cycle. And a vicious one at that! You see, once you consume a food like gluten or dairy that begins to break away the cell wall of the small intestine (exposing the bloodstream), your body can repair these cells efficiently, within three days or so. No big deal. But when you continue to consume these foods (in most cases, multiple foods), your body has a hard time to keep up with the repair demand. So, like a pick axe at a rock, one or two whacks is no big deal. Continue to take repeated whacks, and soon, there will be nothing left.
The cycle begins with foods that cause these cells to break up, causing intestinal permeability. This then causes inflammation (hence inflammatory foods). Next, this inflammation causes nutrient malabsorption. Your body then has a hard time absorbing nutrient’s such as Vitamin B-12, Magnesium, Iron, etc., potentially causing vitamin deficiencies. Because your body is having a hard time absorbing these nutrients, your immune system kicks in thinking you’re sick, sending antibodies and attacking where the “damage is happening”. This immune response is then triggering various GI issues, thus creating food intolerances. After repeated attacks by your own immune system, autoimmune diseases begin to develop. After these autoimmune disease symptoms begin, consuming certain foods will trigger intestinal inflammation even more, thus completing, and at the same time, restarting this inflammatory auto-immune cycle.
If you have symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), chronic constipation, nausea, or any other digestive disorder, you could be dealing with Leaky Gut Syndrome. Many people do, so you are not alone! Fortunately, with simple diet changes and lab testing, you can initiate the healing process of Leaky Gut Syndrome. As I have mentioned before, the healing of the gut is a process. It won’t happen immediately, however, once you continue this journey to wellness, and modify your lifestyle, you will begin paving the way to healing your gut and regaining your life.
Contact me and we can work out a plan of action to begin regaining control of your health. Simple blood tests can reveal food intolerance's you might have that could be jeopardizing your gastrointestinal health.
There's a chill setting in Seattle, and the rainy days are upon us. This means Autumn is setting in. That said, I love making all sorts of stews and soups during the fall. I wanted to share my vegetarian chili with you (and also vegan!) to help you and your family stay warm and cozy this fall. Enjoy!
I wanted to take my normal Chili and take it up a notch, packing it full of vegetables and flavor. It's filled with your typical chili aromatics, and a few unexpected others like carrot and celery. It has a variety of beans, seasonings, and red wine vinegar to brighten the entire dish. I used my Chili Seasoning for this recipe.
When I cook stews and soups (and pretty much anything, really), I like to prep all of my ingredients, even down to the seasonings and have them already measured and laid out so I can seamlessly prepare whatever dish I'm making.
To start, I went ahead and chopped all of my aromatic vegetables (except the garlic) and put them together because these will all cook together initially.
Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil into your dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add your carrot, bell peppers, onion, celery, and jalapeno. Add a dash of salt to help draw out the moisture and lock in the flavor of the vegetables. Saute, stirring frequently for about seven minutes. After the vegetables become soft, and the red onion begins to lose it's color, add your chili seasoning (You can use my chili seasoning recipe, Click Here) and the minced garlic and stir frequently until the spices become aromatic, about 1-2 minutes.
After the seasoning and spices have become aromatic, add your drained (un-rinsed) beans, the can of tomatoes (with the liquid), and your vegetable broth. Lightly stir the chili, careful not to break up the beans. Top with two bay leaves. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally.
After the chili has simmered for 45 minutes, taste test for salt and seasoning. Add more salt if you'd like. Then, using a potato masher, mash the chili several times to break up some of the beans and vegetables. This will help the chili thicken some. Don't mash too much. You don't want it pureed. Just a 5-7 smashes would be good.
Notice between the two images how mashing it made the chili thicker, but there is still plenty of texture? After you mashed the chili, allow it to lightly simmer another five minutes. Next, remove the dutch oven from the heat and add 3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro, and 2 tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar. This vinegar and cilantro stirred into the chili really helps to raise up the flavors and enhance the chili to it's awesomeness.
I like to top my chili with fresh jalapenos, a dollop of Salsa Verde, fresh cilantro, and sliced avocado. But you can go your own way at this point. Top it however your heart desires.
Let me know if you made this and what you think!
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Medium Red Onion, Chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
2 Jalapenos (1 for the chili, 1 for garnish)
2 Medium Carrots, Chopped
2 Celery Ribs, Chopped
1 teaspoon of salt.
1 tablespoon of minced garlic (or 4 minced cloves)
3 1/2 Tablespoons of Chili Seasoning
1 28oz. can of diced tomatoes, un-drained
1 Can (15 oz.) Black Beans, drained
1 Can (15 oz.) Red Kidney Beans, drained
1 Can (15 oz.) Pinto Beans, drained
2 cups of Vegetable broth
2 Bay Leaves
3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro (more for garnish)
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven. Add the chopped onion, bell peppers, carrots, celery, and about a teaspoon of salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, and the red onion has lost it's color. About 7 minutes.
2. Add the chili seasoning and garlic and cook until aromatic, about a minute.
3. Add the beans (drained, but un-rinsed), the can of tomatoes (with liquid), and vegetable broth. Stir lightly to combine. Add two bay leaves on top of the chili. After the chili comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
4. After the chili has simmered, using a potato masher, mash the chili 5-7 times to break up some of the beans and vegetables to thicken the chili. Careful not to mash too much. You want texture. You're just thickening the chili.
5. Simmer the chili for 5 more minutes then remove from heat.
6. Stir in the cilantro and Red Wine Vinegar. Serve in bowls, and garnish. I like to garnish with a dollop of Salsa Verde, fresh cilantro, fresh jalapeno, and slice avocado.
I love making chili. But I really don't like buying seasoning mixes. They're filled with who knows what, and a lot of times heaps of sodium. It's far easier, and way more economical to make your seasonings from scratch and store in an air tight container like a mason jar.
This way, you know exactly what you're putting in.
This recipe makes enough Chili Powder for 5 of my Vegetarian Chili recipes.
10 Tablespoons: Chili Powder
3 Tablespoons: Cumin
2 Tablespoons + 1 1/2 Teaspoons: Smoked Paprika
1 Tablespoon + 2 Teaspoons: Oregano
2 Teaspoons: Cayenne Pepper (Optional)
Place all of your ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Store in an airtight container, such as a mason jar. This Chili Powder goes perfect with my Vegetarian Chili Recipe.
If you're sensitive to spice, modify the Smoked Paprika, and/or leave the Cayenne completely out. I don't recommend adding any salt, garlic salt, or black or white pepper to this seasoning so that you can add those to whatever dish you're making.
Persian cuisine is my absolute favorite! I was introduced to it a couple years ago by Persian friends of mine. This was the first dish she ever shared with me, and it's still my favorite. This is not the traditional recipe, I've made this traditional Iranian dish with my own spin, adding more vegetables and nutrients to this already nutritious dish. It's so easy to make, and like Italian food, Persian cuisine is so much better the next day after the flavors have melded together. I try to make this dish once a week.
This is a very fresh dish, full of herbs and vegetables that are almost always in season. It's green enough for Springtime, and warm and wholesome enough for a chilly Autumn night. If you're new to cooking Persian, you'll want to add a couple inexpensive staples to your spice cabinet, including Persian Dried Limes, Turmeric, and Advieh. Advieh is a Persian spice blend, and it varies from region to region in Iran. Ultimately it'll almost always have ground rose, cinnamon, and cardamon. Essentially any Advieh you purchase from your local Persian market or Amazon would be fine. This particular blend was given to me when my friend visited Iran. If you don't have Persian dried limes, or don't want to purchase them, adding fresh lime juice at the end will work perfectly. I used fresh lime juice for the first year I made this recipe. Persian dried limes are laid to dry in the sun for up to six weeks. They have a fermented citrus smell, and taste amazing in Persian cuisine, adding a uniquely fresh taste.
You can tell from the picture above that this stew is packed full of vegetables. I'm a huge Alium fan (Onion family) and my rendition of this recipe adds in green onion, leek, garlic, and white onion. If you're not a fan of onion, you may not like it. Also, as the name suggests, this is a celery stew, so celery is the shining star of this show. If you don't like the taste of cooked celery, then you definitely won't like this dish.
You'll want to do some prep work on all of your ingredients since this version is vegetarian (traditionally with lamb it would stew for three hours), the beginning will go quick and then everything will simmer together for about an hour.
My version of this stew calls for 5-6 celery stalks. You want to be picky when selecting your celery stalks and choose the dark, vibrant green stalks (most often on the outside of the head). You'll want to use the celery leaves and sometimes the leaves aren't pretty, or are yellow further into the head of celery. Select the vibrant, green leaves. Use all of the leaves, or whatever you can salvage from the head of celery.
Next, wash the celery thoroughly to remove any dirt. Chop them in half inch pieces and put them into a large bowl. You're bowl should be large enough to hold all of your ingredients at the end.
Next, take your bunch of Parsley and chop off majority of the stems. You don't want the stems because they are tough and add a strange contrast in the texture of the stew. Divide your bunch of Parsley into two, and work in two batches. Finally chop your Parsley, making sure what little stems are left, are finally chopped. I love this part because the smell of the Parsley starts filling your kitchen.
Add the Parsley to your bowl with the celery. Next, chop the dark green leaves off your leek. We're only going to use the bottom half. Chop off the roots and slice the leek length wise. Rinse under cold water, separating the leek layers to remove any dirt (and sometimes small stones) that hide in these layers. Chop the leek into half moon shapes, about 1/4 inch thick. Add the leek to your bowl of celery.
Next, chop about 4-5 green onions in small pieces. Add this to your bowl of vegetables.
Stir your vegetables and set aside. The herbs will marinade in each others flavors.
Next chop your white onion into small pieces. Slice two cloves of garlic like you would slice almonds. Keep your onion and garlic separate from your other vegetables. You'll cook the onions and garlic next.
In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat two tablespoons of olive oil. When you notice the oil shimmering, add the garlic and chopped onion with a dash of salt. You'll want to stir frequently until the onions become soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
After the onions have become soft, you'll want to add the turmeric that will immediately fill your kitchen with the wholesome smell that is Persian cooking.
Smell that smell?? That's the smell of amazing. After the spices cook and become fragrant, stir in you vegetable mix (Celery, Parsley, etc.). Cook for 1-2 minutes until the vegetables become bright green. At this time, you should have a kettle of water on the burner heating up. Pour two cups of hot water into the pot. It's best to add nearly boiling water instead of cold. Let this mixture simmer for about 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally. Be careful not to let too much water evaporate. If it becomes too thick, add a little bit of more water a splash at a time.
As I mentioned earlier, traditionally this dish is served with lamb that has simmered for several hours. Making this dish vegetarian, I wanted to add some protein. I love red kidney beans. It's best to use dried beans that you soaked for several hours, but canned works well too (and it's convenient). Just make sure you rinse the beans really well under cold water. Toss the beans around and wash off the liquid they were canned with. You can tell they're washed thoroughly when they quit foaming.
After the stew simmers for 15-20 minutes add the red kidney beans. Fold the beans into the stew, carefully making sure you're not smashing the beans.
When the beans are added and the stew is simmering, covered, take two Persian dried limes and put them in a glass and cover with boiling water from your kettle. You want the dried limes to become re-hydrated and soften slightly, this usually takes about 15 minutes. You don't want to wait too long or they'll leak out their flavor into the water that's re-hydrating them.
Tip: The dried limes will float to the top, so you may want to weigh them down with another glass on top.
After the limes have been re-hydrating for 15 minutes, using a fork, poke a couple holes into the limes and add them into the stew and simmer another 10-15 minutes, paying attention to the amount of water in the stew. Some people prefer their stew to be more watery, others (like myself) prefer it to be a bit more heartier. Add more boiling water if you need.
If you're not using dried limes, add the juice of 1 lime at this point.
All done! Serve this stew as is, in a bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil on top, or cook some Basmati rice and serve over rice (my favorite way).
Persian Celery Stew - Khoreshte Karafs (Vegetarian)
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 White Onion, Large - Chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic - Sliced
5-6 Celery Stalks - Sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 Bunch of Parsley - Finely Chopped
1 Leek, green leaves removed. Cut into 1/4" pieces
4 Green Onions, Chopped
1 Cup or 1 Can of Red Kidney Beans - Drained, Rinsed.
1 Teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Teaspoon of Advieh
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Mint Leaves
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Persian Dried Limes, Soaked (or Juice of 1 Lime)
1 Teaspoon Salt
2-3 Cups of boiling water.
Prep: Put a pot of water on to heat up, nearly boiling.
1. Heat the oil of medium-high heat. When it's shimmering, add the onion and garlic and salt. Cook until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the turmeric and paprika, and cook until spices become fragrant, about a minute or so.
2. Add the chopped celery, parsley, leek, and green onions and saute for 1-2 minutes until the vegetables turn bright green, then add 2 cups of the boiling water. Add your Advieh. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
3. Re-hydrate your dried limes in a glass with boiling water. Allow them to soak about 15 minutes.
4. After the stew has simmered for 20 minutes or so, add the beans and fold them in gently. Monitor the water. If the stew is reduced too much, add a little more boiling water. Continue to simmer another 10-15 minutes.
5. Remove your limes from the soaking liquid and discard the water they were re-hydrating in. Poke a couple holes in the limes using a fork. Add these to the stew and simmer another 10 minutes. If using fresh lime juice, add it at this time.
Serve the stew as is, or over Basmati rice. The stew makes for great leftovers, and in my opinion tastes even better the next day! Enjoy!!
Jazz it up: You can adjust the salt and pepper to your liking, and you can add red pepper flakes while it's simmering. Experiment with adding fresh mint, and cilantro.
Let me know what you think, and how you changed this recipe to work for you.
We read the ingredient list on the food we put into our body's, but why not our pets too? If I can't pronounce it, I don't eat it. The same for my pups. These natural dog biscuits are super easy to make, require just a few ingredients you probably always have in your pantry, and the puppies go insane every time you pop open the container.
1 Cup smooth peanut butter
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
2/4 cups of milk
1/4 cup of chicken broth
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the milk, chicken broth, egg, flour, and peanut butter. You may have to use your hands. Adding more flour if too wet, and a tad more milk or broth if too dry. Your dough should be the same consistency as Play-Doh or Gingerbread dough.
Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Using a bottle cap or small circle cookie cutter press out as many circle biscuits as you can. Place them on a foil lined ungreased baking pan.
Combine and roll out the remaining dough and repeat until the dough is used up. Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes and then flip the biscuits and continue baking for another 15 minutes or so.
After they completely cool store the biscuits in an airtight container in the freezer. The cold biscuits is an added treat to the pup's snack time.
Okay, it's not a secret family recipe. This is how I make my homemade marinara sauce. I love this marinara sauce, and it brings Spaghetti Tuesday to a whole new level. When I was visiting my family recently in Georgia, I taught my sister how to make this, and it was all the rage in her household. She even froze it and made it a week later, still tasting great! It's so simple, and if you make this for your next family dinner, or friends night, I assure you they're going to think your grandmother came over and slaved over the stove all day! Shhh.... it'll be our little secret how easy it is! This sauce pairs well with a glass (or bottle if that's how you roll) of your favorite red wine and friends and family.
8 oz. Baby Bella mushrooms, chopped finely
1 28oz. can of tomato sauce
1 28oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes
1 Can of stewed tomatoes
1 Small can of tomato paste
1 Stalk of Celery (plus leaves if available)
3 Cloves of garlic thinly sliced
Salt and Pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons of dried herbs of your choice (Italian blend, oregano, etc.)
1/2 Teaspoon red pepper flakes.
Half of a large onion
1/4 Cup red wine (My favorite is Pinot Noir)
1 Teaspoon of freshly chopped rosemary
3-6 Chopped fresh basil leaves
The prep work for this sauce is the hardest and most time consuming part (and it doesn't take long). The rest of the time is allowing this sauce to simmer slowly, allowing all the magic to happen.
Take your onion, 1 carrot (leaving 1 carrot aside for the simmering), celery stalk (and leaves if you have them) and run through a food processor until chopped small. Thinly slice garlic longways (like sliced almonds). Thinly slice and chop your shallot. Wipe off your mushrooms with a damp paper towel to remove dirt. Don't put the mushrooms under running water. Finely chop the mushrooms. Chop fresh herbs. Then, take your can of whole peeled tomatoes and pour into a bowl (don't drain off the liquid). With your hands, gently squeeze and squish the tomatoes to create a sauce.
In a large dutch oven or sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add carrot, celery, onion mixture, and shallot and season with some salt. Sautee for 1-2 minutes, then add garlic, and season with a tad of salt. Sautee for another minute or so and then add mushrooms. After 1 - 2 minutes more, add tomato paste and stir. After about 30 seconds, add wine and simmer until most of the alcohol cooks off, about a minute. Add all the remaining tomatoes, entire carrot, red pepper flakes and dried and fresh herbs. Season once more with salt and pepper and a quick pour (about half a teaspoon) of olive oil on top of the sauce. Stir and slowly simmer with lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Simmer for 45 minutes to over an hour, stirring occasionally. After 45 minutes or so, taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed. The longer the sauce cooks, the more the flavor develops. After sauce is done, remove the entire carrot and discard.
This sauce is amazing over cooked pasta, the sauce for your favorite lasagna recipe, or anywhere marinara sauce is called for.
Wondering why we had a whole carrot, and then throw it away?
I was taught a while ago that adding an entire carrot to your tomato sauce absorbs the acid. I thought this was an old wives tale, so I took a bite of the carrot after cooking it, and it was so bitter! I'm not sure of the chemistry behind it, but it works!
I love making my chicken broth homemade, but let's face it, sometimes we just don't have time! Here's my way of jazzing up store bought chicken broth. Keep in mind, the health benefits of bone broth come from simmering for 24+ hours, and when you buy store bought chicken broth it can contain hidden sugars and artificial bullion flavors. My favorite is Trader Joe's organic free range chicken broth. It has the least amount of ingredients for typical store bought chicken broth.
1 Bunch of Parsley
2-4 Sprigs of fresh Thyme
4-5 Cloves of garlic
2 Stalks of celery, with leaves
1 Onion, quartered
2 Boxes of Organic Chicken Both
You ready for this? This is where things get complicated. Just kidding! Pour your chicken broth in a pot, throw in the vegetables. Simmer on low for 45 minutes to an hour and a half. Strain the broth through a collander, reserving the broth. Discard the vegetables. Viola! USe the broth in your favorite recipes calling for chicken broth, or sip it on a bone-chilling night.