Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Making Cave Ketchup (includes recipe)

I recently picked up a copy of Paleo Comfort Foods, at the recommendation of my doctor (he follows a "mostly" paleo diet himself). It is a cookbook full of recipes that fit the Paleo Diet. I'm not on a strict Paleo diet, but because if my diabetes I avoid grains, including bread, cereals, rice, and pasta, as well as white potatoes, and added sugar in my foods, as part of eating a healthy diet. Paleo foods fit my requirements nicely.

For those not familiar with the Paleo Diet, it rejects industrialized (highly processed) foods, and most Agricultural Age foods (such as grains, and most legumes). Folks following a Paleo Diet eat lots of meat, fish, fowl, eggs, most veggies, mushrooms, fruits, herbs & spices, honey, and most nuts & seeds. They avoid bread, cereal, rice, and grains of all sorts, white potatoes, most beans, added sugars (they sweeten with honey or fruit), and the artificial flavors, coloring, & preservatives so common in modern foods. That is an over-simplification of the Paleo Diet, of course, but it gives you the basic idea. 

One of the recipes in Paleo Comfort Foods is for a Paleo version of ketchup. Since I can't eat regular ketchup, because it is loaded with added sugars, I was quite happy to find a recipe for home-made ketchup without all that extra sugar, found in store-bought ketchup. I made it over the weekend, and have tried it on several foods. Here is the recipe (given in the context of an overall book review, so as to not violate copyright), along with my comments on how it turned out, along with the book review.

Cave Ketchup

Ingredients:
6 ounces of tomato paste (no salt, no sugar added variety)
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch allspice
1 pinch salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika (optional)
1 clove garlic (I used minced garlic instead)
1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients (except the garlic clove and bay leaf) in a medium sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Add in the garlic clove and bay leaf (whole). Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally. Watch for desired consistency, as this stuff will thicken quickly toward the end. If you overdo it, you can add a tablespoon of water back to the mix. Remove the bay leaf and garlic clove, and allow the ketchup to cool.

My Comments

I didn't have a garlic clove, so I substituted some minced garlic instead. It took close to the 30 minutes for my ketchup to thicken to how I liked it. The BIG advantage of cave ketchup for me is no added sugar (Regular Ketchup is loaded with added sugar). It also is missing all the artificial preservatives and other chemicals typically found in store-bought ketchup. 

Taste: Cave Ketchup tastes a lot like regular ketchup, except its is not nearly as sweet (which is the point, as far as I'm concerned). It does have a slightly more vinegary taste, and I can taste the cinnamon, which is missing from store-bought ketchup. Overall, Cave Ketchup is more favorable than regular ketchup. I will be using Cave Ketchup as my version of ketchup from now own. 

Disclaimer: I have avoided sugar and sweets for over a year now, and am no longer used to most store-bought foods, which tend to be loaded with lots of salt and sugar. Store-bought ketchup now tastes so sweet to me as to be almost nauseating. If you are used to sweet ketchup, it make take some time to adjust your taste buds to Cave Ketchup, but it is so much healthier for you that it is worth the effort.

Paleo Comfort Foods - Homestyle Cooking for a Gluten-Free Kitchen

http://amzn.to/2arvPPxThe book by  Julie & Charles Mayfield is primarily a cookbook, not a Paleo Diet book, in that it is almost all recipes - more than 125 - but not much explanation of the Paleo Diet itself. I've already given you the gist, and if you want more info on the Paleo Diet just search for it on You Tube.

The recipes are divided into six sections:

1 - Starters & Snacks (examples: Paleo Spiced Nuts, Deviled Eggs, Spicy Chicken Wings)

2- Sauces & Staples (examples: Paleo Mayonnaise, Turkey Gravy, Tartar Sauce)

3- Soups & Salads (examples: Chicken & Grape Salad, Chicken Soup, Beef Stew)

4-  On The Side (examples: Grilled Veggies, Oven-Roasted Okra, Paleo Grits)

5- Main Dishes (examples: Green Eggs & Turkey, Pot of Chicken Pie, Fish Tacos, Braised Rabbit, Venison Medallions with Mustard Sauce, Country Captain Chicken, Cedar-Plank Chipotle Salmon)

6- Deserts (examples: Poached Pears, Sweet Potato Pie, Apple Crisp)

Folks, there is nothing fancy about these recipes. Its just healthy foods that regular folks like me can fix and eat! 

I've also tried (this morning!) the Breakfast Egg Muffins. Delicious and healthy!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Preparedness & Survival: My New Recommendations

Over the last year-and-a-half or so, there have been a number of events that have caused me to rethink my own preparedness and survival plans:
  • A sharp rise of ISIS inspired terrorism (San Bernardino, Paris, Brussels, Orlando, Turkey, etc.)
  • The ongoing "open borders invasion" of Europe by Muslims
  • The ongoing "open borders invasion" of the United States by whoever wants to walk across our southern border
  • A weak (and politically correct) response from most politicians and other "Elites" to those problems 
  • The outright rejection of Capitalism, personal responsibility, and traditional values by many Americans, including a majority of younger Americans, along with the rise in popularity of Socialism, political correctness, and other forms of Collectivism.
  • The frightening example of the failure of Socialism in Venezuela

On a personal level, dealing with health problems (my diabetes and related eye problems which I've previously written about) has also provided new challenges and insights.

My New Recommendations

FOOD IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN WE THOUGHT

Double your goals for food and water storage. You aren't storing enough. Nor am I. In Venezuela, even formerly middle-class folks have been reduced to dumpster-diving and even eating family pets to survive. The problem isn't just high inflation, or even temporary disruptions in the supply chain. There simply isn't much food to be had for any price. Store shelves are empty, and staying empty. And here's the dirty little secret: food scarcity is even hitting rural areas, as few country folk are fully self-reliant when it comes to food. I am in the process of doubling my food storage.
  
Increase your ability to produce food.  If you have land, even a small yard, maximize your garden space. Plant more fruit and nut trees. Raise chickens (eggs, meat) and/or goats (meat, milk, cheese, butter). Greatly extend the growing season by putting in a greenhouse. Turn your swimming pool into a fish farm. Have very limited space? Get into container gardening. Live in an apartment? Do whatever it takes to move somewhere else, even if you can only afford a small yard. You don't need a lot of land to produce a lot of your own food. Check out the book Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre.

MAKE SECURITY A TOP PRIORITY

Take personal responsibility for the security of yourself and your family. Get your concealed-carry permit if it is legal in your area, and carry! Take a good self-defense shooting course (shooting at a moving target that shoots at you is vastly different from shooting a fixed target at the gun range). Your local gun shop can probably tell you where to get training. I also suggest you double the amount of ammo you have on-hand. Consider learning how to reload, and stock up on reloading supplies. Everyone in your family or group, regardless of their age, should also take a non-lethal self-defense course. Remember that security isn't just about guns & ammo, but also about hardening your home, security doors, dead-bolt locks, exterior home lighting, avoiding bad areas of town, practicing situational awareness, exercising commonsense, and many other things less exciting, yet probably more important, than guns.

Avoid high-density, high-visibility targets. There's a reason terrorists target night clubs, movie theaters, sporting events, bus stations, shopping malls, airports, and the like, especially in large cities and other tourist destinations. There are lots of people to kill, and they will get lots of media attention. Their goal is to spread fear, after all. Depending on where you live, and what your personal habits are, avoiding these kind of targets may require major changes in your lifestyle. I highly recommend you do whatever it takes to Get Out of Babylon!

HEALTH AND FITNESS ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT

Food, supplies, guns & ammo, and even skills are ultimately worthless you you aren't healthy or fit enough to use them.  Health and fitness MUST be your number one preparedness & survival priority (your relationship to God is your number one Life Priority).

You and everyone in your family/group should get a complete physical exam within the next few months. Also, dental and vision exams this year for everyone. I've chronicled my mistake of putting off a doctor's visit until I absolutely had to, and it cost me dearly in terms of my health, my vision, and my finances. Learn form my mistake.

Start taking your health and fitness VERY seriously. Learn how to eat right (watch this website for future articles on this topic), and then do it! Stop smoking NOW, if you smoke. Confront any other addictions you may have (drugs, alcohol, etc.). Lose weight if you need to lose weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is extremely important.  Start and exercise routine (routine meaning you do it consistently, not occasionally), even if all you can do at the moment is walk around your neighborhood everyday. Learn your family's medical history (talk to the your family matriarch's - they usually keep up with such things).

See my January article, Steps to Good Health, for more on health and fitness.