Long lazy lingering Sundays are my favourite. A big family meal to seal the sweet deal complete with the ultimate comfort food. We’re lucky to still have some elk in the freezer, a rare treat from someone who undoubtedly worked very hard to attain. The ground elk is amazing for these meatballs but you could substitute it for another wild meat like venison, bison, boar or even beef.
We went to Ikea the other day, I’ve never been tempted to dine in the DIY furniture hoarder packed cafeteria filled with hangry consumers. Ikea and Costco cafeterias remain scary places for me. But it doesn’t alter the fact that Ikea meatballs are always a temptation. Personally I think meatballs are much better in creamy sauces than tomatoey ones. And I don’t like when they’re massive, little creamy meatballs are where its at. So I thought I’d go to town and create my own wild version of the ikea staple. On a side note, when I wasn’t busy fantasizing about meatballs I scored the coolest bed sheets ever. Have you ever seen those old herb books? The ones with the very detailed plant diagrams and latin names. Well its basically an herb encyclopedia on a bed spread. I am soaking up all that knowledge while I sleep, oh yeah!
These elk meatballs go fabulously with creamy mashed potatoes and a big salad. If you’re not normally a fan of wild meats I urge you to give them another chance. When high quality stuff is procured there are no weird tastes just pure meaty forest filled goodness. If your looking for more elk inspired recipes try these elk lettuce wraps, they are so easy and make a great lunch. I’m a big fan of Hank Shaw on his website honest food he has many fabulous wild meat dishes. I’m dying to try making steak au poivre with elk.
1 lb ground elk meat or substitute for venison, bison or beef
1/3 C almond meal
1 Tbs coconut flour
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp sea salt
For the Sauce
1 tbsp white wine vinegar or white wine
1 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2 C chopped assorted mushrooms of any variety
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 tsp thyme
sea salt and pepper to taste
For the Meatballs
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and form into tablespoon sized meat balls, set aside.
Heat a large skillet with the oil and place each meatball spaced about an inch apart, brown on two sides, remove and brown the rest. Don't worry if they aren't fully cooked as you will return them to the sauce.
For the sauce
Using the same hot skillet, add the white wine to deglaze the pan, allow the liquid to evaporate slight before adding your oil, garlic and onions. Cook until golden.
Add mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper and stir for a minute before adding the coconut milk.
Add the remaining meatballs to the sauce and cover for another ten minutes.
Nettles, the stinging sisters as Susun Weed calls them, these magical stinging weeds turn into luscious nourishment once the heat touches them.
Nettles make me so giddy, they are such a treat and they don’t last long. When they arrive in early spring I stalk them and try to get them at their most prime, before they go to seed and get too rough and woody to enjoy. They are one of the first fresh local greens to come on the scene.
They like to grow in marshy wet places, alongside fields and swamps, near creeks and moist woodlands. When harvesting nettles, wear gloves and long pants, bring scissors to snip off the tender top shoots and if you’re lucky you can go around for a second harvest.
Many people see stinging nettles as an invasive weed, but they are actually a delicious food. All wild foods are far more nutrient dense than the domesticated plants we eat most often. Stinging nettles when lightly steamed to remove their sting, are reminiscent of spinach. They make a delicious earthy tasting tea and when infused for 4 hours or more offer an amazing source of key minerals that many of us are lacking.
We eat a lot of nettles this time of year, basically you can enjoy them in any dish you would use spinach for. So far we’ve really been digging stinging nettle omelettes, hummus, palak paneer, teas and other delightful nettle experiments.
This pesto is ah-ma-zing, it’s really a classic pesto just nettles instead of basil, which gives it a more demure taste but equally satisfying. We ate it with zoodles (zucchini noodles) and roast chicken which was divine, the next days leftovers were spread on crusty sourdough bread from the french bakery in town.
Henry David Thoreau once said ” All good things are wild and free.” I would have to agree, and nettles definitely fall into that category. Food is meant to be free and the Earth provides plentifully, we just have to know where to look.
I live in a place that resembles a town by the sea, the vastness of Kootenay lake allows the imagination to easily play pretend. Walking along the shore line there’s even a faint fishy smell and the rocks could easily be shells. The fish aren’t as abundant as they were once upon a time, but alas, things change.
I keep a little stockpile of wild sockeye salmon for days where the extra omega-3’s are a Godsend. Have I mentioned how important omega-3 fatty acids really are, seriously when I am lacking in these healthy fats my whole demeanour changes and my skin gets all mangled. So having steadfast super yummy and omega-3 rich recipe like this bomb dot com chowdah is essential!
I implore you to try it out even if your a chowder skeptic like J, this chowder passes the test. Brimming with nourishing creamy broth, tender scallops and nutrient dense wild salmon. I like to keep the spices minimal, a bit of fresh dill and green onion is all that’s needed and this dish comes together in a pinch. Searing the scallops before adding them to the soup gives a really nice texture but its totally optional, check out my post on how to perfectly sear scallops.
Let me just start by saying, I never knew making gravlax or lox as some call it, to be so astoundingly easy. If you’re unfamiliar gravlax is cured salmon, just as flavourful as smoked salmon without all the work. Seriously guys this is easier than cooking a salmon in the oven, it took me all of 5 minutes and 2 days in the fridge and the result is stunning! The colour from the beetroot is just unbelievable, wild salmon is beautiful to begin with but infuse it with beetroot and the monochromatic natural fuchsia hue is almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
Winter is officially here, it’s bloody hard to take a good photograph with the sun hidden behind the mountains all day. Now is the essential time to ensure we’re getting enough omega-3 and vitamin D. What’s more enjoyable way than salmon? Those who know me, know that I adore Jamie Oliver. His show Jamie Does, shows him gallivanting on foodie adventures all over the world. This recipe is from the Stockholm edition, I didn’t follow the recipe to the T but it worked out great anyways.
There you have it, I’m going to post my version of the recipe as well. This homemade beetroot gravlax is so beautiful just by itself but I have been enjoying it with fresh simple salads, poached eggs and with india curries.
The Vitamin C of the North, we may not have citrus trees and schizandra berries but we do have an abundance of wild rose hips. Rose hips are rich in Vitamin C (1000mg/100g) and other flavanoids,polyphenols,Vitamins B1,B2,B3 and Vitamins K and A, making them particularly useful for those long winter months. I love going for walks and balking at the huge juicy rose hips growing everywhere we go. They are very abundant in these parts, as in much of the world particularly North America, China and Europe. During the Second World War, the people of England gathered wild rose hips and made a vitamin C syrup, for general consumption, and in particular for children. Citrus fruits were understandbly very difficult to find during wartime. Not only are rose hips good for the immune system they are also amazing for the skin.
The best time to pick them is after the first frost, then you really get the sweetness that they stow away to burst forth for a relatively small window in the late fall. You can pick them before the frost, just make sure they are nice and red, if you want to sweeten them up just pop them in the freezer. The outer flesh of the rose hip is edible when raw, but you do want to discard the hard hairy seeds. However, if you are drying the rose hips you don’t have to worry about taking the seeds out.
Make rose hip oil
1 C fresh or dry rose hips, chopped into little pieces (don’t worry about the seeds)
2 C preferred carrier oil such as almond or olive oil
In a slow cooker add both rose hip pieces and oil and allow to heat on low for 8 hours. Strain with a fine cheesecloth until the oil runs clear. Store in glass jars out of any light. Use as a natural skin remedy, treatment for scars/stretch marks and moisturizer.
Simply add a few whole dried rose hips to your tea blend and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Alternately you could pulverize your dried rose hips and add the powder to your tea blends instead.
Remove the seeds and any hard bits. Simmer the rose hips in 4 cups of water for about an hour. Mash them all up as they cook. Strain using a fine mesh, extracting as much juice as possible. Return juice to pot and add lemon, sugar and pectin. Ladle into jars and secure lids. Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes.
Guess It’s time to get pickin’!
How did the rose ever open its heart
And give to the world all of its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light against its being,
Otherwise we all remain too frightened. Hafiz
Smoothies make me happy, and this one is specifically designed to ward off depression and anxiety, nourish you with mood lifting minerals and make your spirit soar with ethereal delights. To really boost your mood, try this, positive affirmations can have a huge impact on how we feel, this is one of Louise Hays suggestions for depression, I am enough just as I am. It may seem silly but say it with meaning a few times a day and you may be surprised at the peaceful feeling that grows within.
Fall has arrived, I don’t know about you guys but shorter days for me, bring on a bit of the blues. There are so many foods that can help fight depression, an illness that ails more than 121 million people worldwide. I’ve noticed huge differences in my mood when I make sure I’m taking good care of myself. Adequate omega-3, magnesium,vitamin D and probiotics are among the most important tools in your armament for fighting off the blues. Self-love and equipping ourselves with the knowledge of how to feel better on a holistic scale can drastically improve depression and anxiety (and a lot of other diseases). Smoothies are a really enjoyable way of getting those nutrients into your life and feeling happier every day.
2 handfuls of raw cashews are the therapeutic equivalent to a dose of prozac.
Coconut helps fight off candida and parasites which can inhibit good bacteria and cause brain fog.
Organic plain yogurt is packed with probiotics for healthy gut flora which is necessary for serotonin (the happy hormone which is formed in the gut) to pass the blood brain barrier and work its magic upstairs.
Berries are filled with antioxidants and help reduce inflammation and improve digestion.
Bananas are high in the amino acid tryptophan which coverts into serotonin.
Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, a factor commonly overlooked when treating depression.
Bee pollen contains key neuro-nutrients such as GABA, tryptophan and norepinephrine which help to correct brain chemistry.
Elderflowers magical essence adds sweetness and imbibes powerful renewal of energy.
Honestly, it’s like nothing I’ve done lately works, and it was really bumming me out all weekend. I tried to make 3 different things for the blog and nothing was good enough (I only want to give you the best of the very best!) Frustrated and anxious to DO more and BE better I had to really step aside and pop my own bubble. Hello, this isn’t about perfection, it’s about sharing and growing and learning. I’m not perfect, I burn the roast chicken, I make butt ugly but darn delicious beetroot tarts with cauliflower crust, I dust coconut flour all over the camera and piss off J but whatever. Everybody is going through it, every person is looking at the state of the planet and looking at their children and thinking- wow, how can we change this for their sake? Well I guess my answer to that,from my humble perspective, is we need to love ourselves more, with all our hearts wide open the world can change. Every day is a new day and a chance to improve, whether it be physically, spiritually or mentally, all those realms play a huge part in our happiness. I am enough just as I am.
2 handfuls raw cashews- soaked for 6-8 hours and drained
¾ C fresh or frozen mixed berries
½ C plain organic yogurt
3 tsp coconut oil
¼ C coconut flakes
2 Tbs elderflower syrup or honey
1 C water
1 tsp bee pollen, for sprinkling on top
1 tsp chia seeds, for sprinkling on top
In a blender add cashews, berries,banana,yogurt,coconut oil, coconut flakes and elderflower syrup or honey. Blend on high until smooth and creamy, you can adjust the consistency by adding more or less water, start with ½ cup and work your way up from there.
Sprinkle chia seeds and bee pollen on top with a drizzle of honey or elderflower syrup
I would love to hear your ways of fighting off the blues, drop me a line in the comments, by e-mail or on any of my social networks.
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Hey I'm Chantelle, my alter ego would be a mermaid if I wasn't such a terrible swimmer. I love writing authentically and cooking in my pyjamas. My favourite pastimes include eating avocados, travelling the world and hanging out with a toddler.