Tiered Trays

Tiered Trays

Tiered Tray Blog HeaderThis post is not food or crafts, it’s sort of a little out of left field for me. Hope that’s ok with everyone.:) It’s fun to spice things up a little sometimes, right? So how about a little home decor!! Or more so just a tribute to my love affair with these tiered stands and trays lately.

I’ve been seeing this look all over Instagram and Pinterest but usually the items people post about are out of stock/no longer being made/or like $200 😦

My hubs and I bought our first house recently and are moving in soon (ahhhhh so excited!) so interior decorating and interior errrrrythang is on my mind lately. I just love the way these stands look, adding functionality as well as style. I don’t want to go overboard but I can see it in the kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room….I mean no, I’m not going to put one in every room but I think the options are pretty versatile.

I was researching to find a reasonable priced stand that also had “the look”. I came across some really pretty good deals and thought I would share them with you. First a little inspiration (none of these are my photos)4bda948f4ab84257e2ca10e39ff0e85a4d619d01b8712db22bf97d2e6de357fd9520af66832ffd91274b617e12461539b1bf3790374515f13e6dc002a9b10f5dc36ecbea3c9cc12c6b2730a3a7ca4543633474f4d28c2328b0b4cb7021efdf5fd837a9d83e8e654295ef80e3e034f7d0

SO cute right?? Now onto where you can find one of these bad boys for yourself! Just click on the numbers below to link over to buy. Tiered Tray Shopping List1    2    3    4    5    (another option for #5)    6

I can’t even pick a favorite. Which one do you love most? And sorry not sorry in advance for the possibility of more home projects in the near future. These creative juices are flowing with a whole new house to redo, put my own touch on, and decorate like a page out of Restoration Hardware 🙂

How do you guys feel about this trend? Take it or leave it? Let me know if the comments below!!

xoxo

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*None of the links in this post are affiliate or sponsored links. I’m just sharing products I liked and where to find them. 🙂 

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Creamy Lentil Stew

Creamy Lentil Stew

Creamy Lentil Stew Blog HeaderYou might be thinking, it’s April, it’s not “stew season” it’s starting to get warm! I want to see fun fresh veggies and salads and grilled foods.

And to that I would say hold your horses. I hear ya, I reeealllly do but the fact of the matter is that I woke up to snow this morning.

SNOWWWWWWWW. Onemoretimefordramaticeffect. S.N.O.W.

So yes, while I have me eyes on some delicious spring and summer inspired dishes like this and this; please excuse me while I curl up into a ball, shed a tear, and eat this comforting and oh so delicious stew

I’m ready for spring. I really actually appreciate each season and love what each one offers but I start to get antsy in April when it’s 70° one day and snowy the next. In the words of the Backstreet Boys, quit playing games with my heart. 💔

But on the bright side, because there’s ALWAYS a bright side, the colder & cozier temps allow me to share this seriously good stew with you.

It’s a breeze to whip up, makes a LOT (who doesn’t love leftovers?), it’s great for you, and most importantly tastes GREAT too!Creamy Lentil Stew 4Creamy Lentil Stew 6Creamy Lentil Stew RecipeCreamy Lentil Stew 3Creamy Lentil Stew 8Creamy Lentil Stew 7Creamy Lentil Stew 5Creamy Lentil Stew 2Creamy Lentil Stew 1So there you have it- easy and delicious soup!

If you are lucky enough to live somewhere warm and sunny and you just can’t possibly think of soup……please get off my site! Kidding. I’m jealous. It’s a hard emotion to control.

Send some of that sunshine and warm temps over here!  If you are still subject to the winter blues like me, I promise this stew will make you feel better. 🙂 Enjoy!!

xoxo

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Creamy Lentil Stew Pinterest

Bibimbap Korean Rice Bowl Featuring Zymbiotics

Bibimbap Korean Rice Bowl Featuring Zymbiotics

Bibimbap Fermented Foods RecipeYesterday we shared a lengthy and wordy post (sorry not sorry) on the topic of fermented foods. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out HERE.

As promised, before we get to the fermented food deliciousness that is in Bibimbap (korean rice bowl) I want to share a little more about a great local Wisconsin company that is embracing and thriving in the fermented foods market.

Zymbiotics is a company out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin that specializes in naturally fermented foods. Jeff who is a UW Madison alum, is an entrepreneur at heart and has started and successfully run several businesses prior to Zymbiotics. Inspired by the calling to help people live healthier happier lives he teamed up with his partner Betty who is a registered holistic nutritionist and a local Wisconsin supplier Mammoth farms run by Ed & Diane and started Zymbiotics. Since its start, it has quickly become a favorite for Wisconsin locals. At first it was available primarily at farmers markets around the area and now you can find it it at a lot of grocery stores around the Milwaukee and Madison area. Here’s a full list of where it’s available. And Jeff has plans in the works to make it available to purchase through their website, so soon you’ll be able to enjoy it from all over the place!! You can check out their website and you can find them on Facebook too.

Currently they offer 4 products. Kimchi, Vegan Kimchi, Ginger Carrots, & Sauerkraut, clever named Zimchi, Vegan Zimchi, Zarrots, and Zauerkraut. Zymbiotics 2They are all delicious but my hands down favorite and the one I keep putting on almost everything is the Ginger Zarrots. You guyyyssss. THEY.ARE.SO.GOOD. Zymbiotics 1If you live anywhere where you can get these, do yourself a solid and pick these up! As you’ll see below, I put them in the Bipimbap bowl and they were the perfect addition.

Zimbiotics are filled with all ingredients you know how to pronounce and can easily identify. Like the carrots for example. 4 ingredients. Can it get any simpler and good for you? Nope. If you’ve never purchased fresh fermented foods before here are my top 3 tips:

  1. Naturally and fresh fermented foods should be kept in the refrigerator. If you don’t find them in the refrigerator section of your grocery store, don’t buy them. Heat kills the bacteria so if it’s a quality product it needs to be kept in a cool environment. Once you purchase your products and bring them home you should also store your products in the fridge until they’re gone.
  2. When opening your product for the first time, open your products over the sink. Fermentation produces gases and carbonation, sometimes those gases can build up within the jar or container which can cause some liquid to bubble or fizz over. It doesn’t happen that often but to be safe and avoid a clean up, just open over the sink. 🙂
  3. When just starting  to eat fermented foods, start slowly. Eat about 3 tablespoons of the food a day. You’ll still reap the benefits and it will give your body time to adjust to the influx of good and healthy bacteria in your gut.

Now to focus on the delicious and outrageously power packed Bibimbap bowl. It has so many flavors that blend together so well. Before the recipe, here’s a tip on rice preparation.

If you want non sticky jasmine style rice it’s SO IMPORTANT to rinse your rice. Not only for non sticky rice but also to reduce the amount of starch you ingest. Rice will turn your rinsing water cloudy like this:Rinsing Rice 1Continue to rinse and stir, rinse and stir your rice until the water is mostly clear, like shown here:
Rinsing Rice 2

It might seem like there’s a lot of stuff you need to make to put this all together but you can use the same pan, and each step is really pretty quick. I know I always say this but this is probably one of the best recipes for you to take your own liberties with. Do what you want. Make the veggies you want. Don’t like mushrooms? Don’t make them. You could caramelize some onions in their place, or anything you want! If you want more protein add in some meat or beans. There are no rules.

Make what you and your family love, do it together, eat together, enjoy it, and have fun!Fermented Food Bipimbap 1Fermented Food Bipimbap RecipeFermented Food Bipimbap 8Fermented Food Bipimbap 6Fermented Food Bipimbap 5Fermented Food Bipimbap 4Fermented Food Bipimbap 2This is what happens when you let your hand model (my sweet brother) reap the rewards for his free labor:wp-1459614422112.jpg

xoxo

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*While I did receive free product from Jeff and Zymbiotics I was not monetarily compensation and all opinions here are my own. 

Bipimbap Fermented Foods Pinterest

Fermented Food Basics

Fermented Food Basics

Fermented Food Basics Blog HeaderI’m a nerd;  a self-proclaimed nerd. Anything space and the cosmos blows my mind. World history is my favorite topic and historical fiction books are my weakness.  I read science and educational articles daily. I’m constantly thinking about how the world around me works.

Over the past two years or so I have become extremely interested in a more holistic lifestyle, putting more thought and emphasis on what I’m eating and putting in my body, what I’m putting ON my body, as well as being selective and critical of ingredients in day to day household and lifestyle products.

One of the things that I’ve come to know more about and  love that plays a really important role in my overall heath (and happiness!) is fermented foods. Fermentation and fermented foods is not a difficult concept but it tends to freak people out a bit and confuse them. So fasten your seat belts because I’m about to nerd out on you and give you the 411 on just what the heck fermented foods really are.

fermentation food jars

Fermenting jars have a way for built up gases to release so the pressure doesn’t become too high within the jar.

Keep in mind, I am not an expert, some of this stuff I didn’t know until I put this post together. My intention is to simply share more about the topic, make you more comfortable with the concept and maybe have you learn a thing or two!

What Is Fermentation?

On a very basic level, fermentation is the process of the chemical breakdown of food that inhibits bad bacteria growth and supports and promotes good bacteria growth!

Bacteria?!? ewww gross.

Nope. Actually bacteria is amazing and without it, none of us would be alive!

Fermenting food introduces healthy microbes (a bunch of bacteria & yeast) into food. Without making you all run for the hills ->come back I promise this will be fun!<- Fermentation creates an anaerobic environment (no oxygen) in which bad bacteria cannot survive and good bacteria can. The good microbes feed on sugars and starches in the foods which essentially remove them from said foods, leaving you with a more nutritious version of the food with a longer shelf life! This is why before people had refrigeration, fermentation was the method everyone used to keep and store food all year round.

Some other terms commonly used for fermented foods include:

  • Cultured
  • Cured
  • Brined
water kefir fermentation

Water kefir grains aren’t really “grains” but sort of look like it!

People usually think of sauerkraut when they hear “fermented foods”, but virtually every single food group can be fermented. If you love beer and sourdough bread, that’s fermented grains. If you love cheese and yogurt, that’s fermented dairy. Love pickles? Fermented veggies. And can’t live with out jam on your toast? That would be fermented fruit 🙂 You get the idea.

Types of Fermentation

Here is something I didn’t realize until I began researching this topic, there are actually three different types of fermentation!

  1. Lactic acid fermentation also known as lacto-fermentation, happens when the natural starches and sugars in foods are converted to lactic acid by good bacteria.  The term “lacto” in lacto-fermentation, refers to the production of lactic acid, lactase and not lactose which causes problems for many peoples digestive tracts (um HI, hello, me). The acid acts as a natural preservative, inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria. Lacto-fermentation products have been proven to helps with blood circulation, prevent and ease constipation, balances digestive acids and aids in pre-digestion.
  2. Ethyl alcohol fermentation occurs when the good microorganisms convert the carbohydrates in foods into alcohol. They say (idk who they is) that alcohol used to be more nutritious and contained lots of beneficial organisms. Today I’m not so sure. They speed the process up, use high heat which destroys all microorganisms, and usually add a lot of sugar. 😦
  3. Acetic fermentation takes place when alcohol is oxidized (exposed to air) and is magically converted to acetic acid which is commonly known as vinegar.  Yep, your vinegar was likely once a cider or wine 🙂

All of that is interesting right?! But why do you/should you care? Well because it’s AWESOME for your body!
Healthy-Gut-body

The Health Benefits of Fermented Food

The health benefits of fermented foods are almost too many to name. But I’ll name some of the coolest.

  1. Fermentation increases vitamins and minerals in food. Fermentation increases B and C vitamins as well as folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and biotin. The best part is the probiotics, enzymes and lactic acid in fermented foods allow these abundant vitamins and minerals to be more easily absorbed into the body.
  2. Fermented foods provide digestive enzymes. Fermented foods contain the enzymes that are required to break down food best. Our enzyme stores deplete as we age. The best thing we can do to slow down the depletion is to eat foods high in enzymes. Cooked food has no enzymes, raw food has a few, and fermented food has a TON.
  3. Fermentation aids in pre-digestion during the fermentation process, the microorganisms feed on sugars and starches, essentially beginning to digest and break down the food before you even eat it, which makes the actual digesting your body will do, that much easier on your system!
  4. Fermented foods are rich in probiotics which are microorganisms consumed by the body that are responsible for maintaining a healthy gut flora (your gut bacteria). A healthy gut is capable of better pulling nutrients from the food you eat, whether it’s fermented food or not.
  5. Eating fermented food helps maintain a healthy immune system because a healthy gut produces anti-biotic, anti-tumor, anti-viral, and anti-fungal substances. Also, the acids in fermented food make the gut an acidic place for pathogens so they have a harder chance of thriving there and improve your bodies ability to fight off germs and heal faster.

There’s also this awesome infographic (that I did not make) that lists some of the major benefits:

151006_fermentation2WHEW! Are you guys still awake? Hopefully you didn’t all bolt on me. I’m wrapping up. Promise.

So I mean fermenting sounds pretty awesome right? Easy to do, healthy, nutritious…so why isn’t it more common place?

People have been fermenting food for thousands of years, all over the world but in the past 100 or so years,  it has declined as a common “cooking” technique.  An obvious contributor is just the modern world and industrialized food. Pickling and preservatives took the place of fermentation. While I still love me some homemade pickled foods, they are less nutritious (than fermented) and some store bought versions with added preservatives can be plain ole bad for you.

I think there is a more recent swing in several social circles which shed light on the awesomeness that is fermented foods and show that it’s not a scary thing. You can easily make it yourself and even buy it already made!

Bimpbap Fermented Foods Recipe

The Bimipbap dish. We’ll be sharing the recipe tomorrow!

Kombucha, kefir, fresh sauerkraut, kimchi, these are all things that can probably be found in most grocery stores. You don’t need to eat or drink that much to get the benefits. In fact if you’re just starting to add fermented foods into your diet, you’ll want to take it slow. Trust me.Over the next few weeks I want to share with you some great and easy ways to incorporate fermented foods into you and your families diet. I’ll share some great fermented food brands and products that you can buy at your grocery store or order online, some great tips and techniques for making your own fermented foods and drinks AND some delicious recipes to make! Make sure you check back so you don’t miss anything ❤

Tune in TOMORROW when we share the story of one of our favorite Wisconsin local fermented food brands that we’ve teamed up with and see the amazing and super delicious bibimbap (korean rice bowl) recipe!

xoxo

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*I always feel compelled to say this. I’m not a doctor, this is not medical advice. I’m not a dietitian, this is not diet advice. I’m just a food geek sharing some interesting stuff. If you were out there taking medical advice from a food blog titled Eat Laugh Craft, I’d have to wonder about your sanity. * 

References and Readings:

The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from around the World, by Sandor Ellix Katz

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-phytates-phytic-acid

Fermenting Vegetables Demystified: The Basics of Fermenting Vegetables

Bringing Back the Lost Art (and Science) of Fermented Foods

http://fermentacap.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=116

Fermented Foods Pinterest

Healthy Flourless Dark Chocolate Brownies {Gluten & Dairy Free}

Healthy Flourless Dark Chocolate Brownies

{Gluten & Dairy Free}

Healhty Brownie 3You know those annoying “ads” on Facebook that are so misleading? Like the picture of a banana with the title “10 foods that are slowly killing you”. Yeah, you totally know the ones. They’re a buzzkill. Sometimes I’m deceived and click on them and read the craziest things and always wonder…what are these sites that only have that stuff? Who’s making money from this? How is this a real thing? Who writes that stuff? Do people believe this stuff? I probably spend too much time thinking about it to be honest.

What does that have to do with brownies? Ummmm not much.

I think I saw one one time about being addicted to sugar and how sugar is the devil. Totally agree…sort of. Too people people eat too much sugar and sugar is unnecessarily added to so many things. While I struggle um, try really hard um, attempt to keep processed sugars to a minimum in our diet, natural sugars are fair game! Honey, syrup, all fruits, molasses, rapadura, yes please, sign me up.

Inappropriate side note: if you love black and sweet coffee,  honey in coffee is delicious.

Focus. Back to the brownies!  These puppies are made with beans and nuts  (last time made dessert with beans it turned out great too) cocao powder and sweetness from maple syrup. They’re too good to be true! But it is true. +Plus+ if you add chocolate or carob chips you gets extra special gooey spots, which lets face it, just make the world a better place. Healthy Brownie 9Healthy Grain Free Brownie Recipe100% disclosure here…. I’m having a hard time not making these every day and eating them and rationalizing it as healthy for me. So far only the one batch of them, but I can feel another one coming on. I mean c’mon you guys….like, how could you not?Healthy Brownie 11Healthy Brownie 8Healthy Brownie 4Healthy Brownie 7Healthy Brownie 5You’re hungry for them now, right? Make them. You’ll love them. *pinkey swear promise*

xoxo

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Healthy Brownies Pinterest