Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Let’s Set a Huge Fitness Goal, Right Now.”

I’ve never been very good at making lists of goals and then following through with them. This is especially true with fitness goals. Even when I decide to pick up a new fitness activity (i.e. running) it has little to do with a specific goal.

I’m hoping to change that.

In his book No Meat Athlete Matt Frazier stresses the importance of taking action to make our goals (or decisions) a reality. Here are the things I plan on doing in the next year and in the future.


Step 1: Get Some Dreams on Paper

  • Run a Half Marathon & Marathon
  • Run a 50 miler, preferably in a canyon.
  • Bike 100 miles.
  • Eat raw for a month.
  • Learn to swim
  • Run the Warrior Dash

Step 2: Create a Timeline for Each Goal

In progress!

Step 3: Circle Your Top Three One-Year Goals

  • Learn to Swim
  • Run a Half Marathon
  • Eat Raw for a Month

Step 4: Get Specific About Your Three One-Year Fitness Goals

  • I don’t know how to swim. By halloween of next year I will be able to feel safe jumping off of my friend’s boat. Additionally I will be able to swim laps at the local pool.
  • By June ’14 I will run a half marathon, preferably with my brother. . .barring injuries! My training has already started.
  • I have long thought about eating a raw diet. I will eat raw for a month in the spring or summer of 2014. To do so I will follow the dietary suggestions in Brendan Brazier’s books.

Step 5: Make Plans and Take An Action

In progress!


My Front Yard

My Front Yard

Great Mullein is one of my favorite plants.

Beer Pickled Okra

Today was hot. There is no way around it. Fortunately I was able to make it to the Farmers’ Market before the heat really picked up. When I got there I realized that okra season is in full swing. This is great considering that my plants still need another week or so. I picked up a few pounds of okra from two different farmers. Here’s what I made:

Ad Astra Okra Pickles
Okra (Lawrence, KS)
1 pt Ad Astra Ale (Free State Brewery)
1 pt Filtered Water
1 pt White Vinegar
1 tsp Black Peppercorn
1 tsp Brown Mustard Seed
Onion Powder to taste
Habanero Pepper to taste
3 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf

312Okra Pickles
1 pt 312 Urban Wheat Ale (Goose Island)
1 pt Filtered Water
1 pt White Vinegar
1 tsp Black Peppercorn
1 tsp Brown Mustard Seed
Onion Powder to taste
Habanero Pepper to taste
3 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf

Each recipe makes approximately one quart.

We Need Your Kale Recipes!

ImageMy friends and I recently traded some garden fresh kale for kale chips. We shortly started talking about the many recipes that include kale and how cool it would be to compile them into one zine. With that I am asking for your kale recipes.

This cookZine will be crowdsourced and anti-copyright. The cookZine’s contents will be freely downloadable. Our only requirements are that 1) kale is the star of the dish and 2) the recipe is vegan. Recipes can be posted in the comment section of this post or emailed to kristapslentil (at) gmail (dot) com. Questions/comments can be submitted the same way.

Kale Chips FTW

Two weeks ago my parents visited the Pickles Not Pipe Bombs factory. They, like me, enjoy vegetables and experimenting in food preparation. While at the farmer’s market we picked up A LOT of kale. All different varieties. It was great. However, we realized that we had to do something with it. I went into the ceegar box of recipes and came up with gundru and kale chips.

Consensus said that we’d make Kale chips. That was fine with me as it gave me a chance to use a recipe from Thrive Foods: 200 Plant-Based Recipes for Peak Health. This book is chock full of vegetable based recipes. Some are super simple and others are gourmet. On top of that, Brendan Brazier also dedicates a portion of the book to making the connection between diet and the environment.

Try this recipe and then buy the book.

Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Water for blending
1/2 tsp sea salt, to taste
1 bunch curly kale (I’ve used many times of kale. All have worked.)

  • Combine the sunflower seeds, both vinegars, and sea salt in a blender or food processor. Blend for several minutes until a chunky paste has formed, adding a tablespoon of water into the blender as needed to assist with blending. (The more water that is added, the longer the chips will take in the oven.)
  • Strip off the kale leaves into a bowl and discard the stems. Tear up any large pieces roughly, and pour the creamed mixture on top of the kale. Using clean hands, massage the mixture into the kale for one more minute to evenly coat the leaves.

Oven Method

  • Heat the oven to 200°F. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of a baking sheet, then spread out the kale chips evenly over the surfaceto ensure even cooking time
  • Bake for about 2 hours (time varies according to relative humidity), or until kale has dried out and is crispy. Keep a close eye on the kale at the end of its cooking process to make sure it does not burn.
  • Enjoy immediately or keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Dehydrator Method

  • Warm the dehydrator to 115°F. Spread out the kale onto 4 mesh dehydrator sheets, and dehydrate for 10-12 hours, or until crispy (time may very depending on relative humidity).
  • Enjoy immediately or keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Where’s the okra?

I have an okra failure. That’s right, it looks like I will not be growing okra this year. I haven’t entirely given up, but it isn’t looking good. For too many reasons to go into, my okra starts are not taking. Today I will be attempting to remedy the situation, but if this doesn’t work I’ll have to go to Plan B – buying/bartering from local growers. I don’t mind this option, but I haven’t found a local source for my beloved Silver Queen.

I’ll counter my negative announcement with two okra recipes:

Pickled Okra (excerpted from Canning for the Really, Really Free Market)
3 qt. water
1 qt. pickling vinegar
1 c. canning salt
Dill seeds
Onions, slicedCanning for the Really, Really Free Market
Garlic, sliced
Jalapeno peppers

Heat water, vinegar and salt to boiling stage. Wash, wipe and pack raw okra into canning jars. Add a few slices of onion, garlic, 1 teaspoon dill seeds and 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers in each jar. Pour boiling mixture over okra and seal jars. Place jars in pot and add enough water to cover the jars. Bring to a slow boil, turn heat very low, and let cook for 1 hour. Turn heat off and allow jars to cool in pot before removing. Unused prepared mixture can be kept for later use.

Easy Okra (from VegWeb)

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 pound okra
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 medium onion
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and chopped finely
salt, to taste
jalapeno, to taste, optional
pepper, to taste


1. Cut both ends off each okra, and then cut them in two halves longitudinally.  Mix them with lime juice in a bowl. Cut peeled onion into two halves then each half into longitudinal slices.

2. Put the oil in a sauce pan , add chopped garlic and ginger and fry for 1 minute. Add onion. Fry all these together until onion becomes very light brown (4-5 minutes).

3. Stir in okra mixture.  Sprinkle salt to taste, and add chopped jalapeno (if using).

4. Cook for 8-10 minutes, but stir after every 1-2 minute until okra is tender. Sprinkle freshly ground pepper on top.

Serve as side dish or with vegan bread.

Serves: 4, Preparation time: 15 minutes

Fermented Yu Choi

Fermented foods are one of my biggest pleasures in life. That may make me a weirdo, but I am a-ok with that. I’ve been digging yu choi ever since first bought a bunch from my local grocery store. At first I lightly stir fried the leaves and pickled the stems. The next logical step was to stay true to the experimentation in food preparation tag line and ferment it. I tried it two separate ways. The first was with the leaves and the second the stalks. Here’s how I did it.

Fermented Yu Choi Leaves
First I rinsed the yu choi (this should be obvious). Then I separated the leaves and stems. I used the s blade on my food processor to finely shred the leaves. about half way through I added salt.* I then removed the shredded, salty leaves and packed them into a jar. The jar was then covered with cheesecloth and rested on my cabinet of curiosities. Four days later I have fermented Yu Choi (sauer-choi?).

I’m happy with the results! The brine is amazing.

Fermented Stems
Next I took the stems and put them in a pint jar. The jar was then filled with salt water and covered in cheese cloth. It’s still hanging out on the cabinet of curiosities, but I plan on trying it tomorrow.

I’d add pictures, but I don’t have a functioning camera at the moment.

*I didn’t measure the salt. Here is a recipe for making sauerkraut that recommends three tablespoons to 5lbs of cabbage:

Updates and goings on.

It’s been a while since this page has been updated. I have been working on new recipes and a new direction for this project. I hope to have an overhauled site launched on or around Valentine’s Day. With luck there will also be an update cookZine.

In the meantime, check out this awesome recipe:

RECIPE: Chia Seed Drink

Yesterday I made an extremely rare visit to a leading big box “health” food store. While there I quickly starting scoping the various aisles for new product ideas. Looking at the refrigerated beverage section I saw a bottled chia seed beverage. For those that don’t know, chia seeds are being pushed as a sort of super food. I’m not sure if they are a super food, but their nutritional profile is pretty good.

While I’m glad that different kinds of food and beverage are getting some recognition, I am amazed at how pricey these things are. I support cottage industry and I definitely support small-scale producers. What I don’t support, however, are a few brands taking over a “niche” market. For example, I have been told that my pickled okra is too expensive at $5.00 a pint. That’s because people can find mass-produced “pickles” at the locally grocery store for half the price. I would argue that local, small-scale producers use superior ingredients and also support other local producers and markets. Now with people accustomed to paying $2.50 a pint for pickled okra, there is a barrier to entry for small-scale producers. Consumers are left with supporting the large-scale producers or search for competing markets. (This leads to a different topic for a different article.)

Back to chia seed drinks!

While seeing chia seeds floating in a glass bottle brought a smile to my face, I was saddened at the reputation that this sort of drink would now get. Just like kombucha has been solidified as a health food or bourgeois novelty, the delightful chia seed elixir will be as well.

Instead of sitting idly by, I would like to a share a basic adaptation of a Chia Seed drink that I started making after I read Thrive Nutrition by Brendan Brazier. I also suggest picking up Pinole Recipes by Matt Frazier. This book has a number of recipes using chia seeds.

Basic Chia Seed Elixir

Soak one teaspoon of chia seeds in  ten ounces of water. Let sit for ten minutes and then add the juice of one lime. Sweeten with agave, stevia, or honey to taste. The last step is optional as I generally skip the sweetener.

I use this recipe more as a guide. I have used many other juices and have even left the juice out. Experiment to your palate’s content.

Please note that the links in this post are affiliate links.

Extra Cabbage? Make Sauerkraut!

Although sauerkraut – German for “sour cabbage” – is thought of as a German invention, Chinese laborers building the Great Wall of China over 2,000 years ago ate it as standard fare. Chinese sauerkraut, made from shredded cabbage fermented in RICE WINE, most likely it was brought to Europe 1000 years later by Gengis Kahn after plundering China. 

Although in Germany instead of using the wine they dry cured it by sprinkling salt on the shredded cabbage. The water is then drawn out of the cabbage to make the juice that you see that accompanies the kraut.

The Dutch , who were great sea-fearing traders used sauerkraut on their ships as it did not need refrigeration and helped prevent scurvy.

Excerpted from The History of Sauerkraut.

My friends approached me with a problem. They had ten heads of cabbage but could no longer stand the smell of it. Not because the cabbage was  bad, but because they had grown so much of it. I was more than happy to take it off their hands as it was a long time since I made sauerkraut.

I didn’t have much time, so I decided to use the food processor to shred the cabbage quickly. I added about a quarter cup of rejuvelac. I then layered the cabbage and sprinkled salt and caraway seeds in between the layers. This is all done to taste.

I covered the jar per Sally Fallon’s recipes and put it in a dark place. After a couple of days I had a nice jar of on the fly sauerkraut.

sea salt
caraway seeds (optional)
rejuvelac (optional)

- Shred the cabbage
– Layer the cabbage, salt, and caraway seeds
– Add rejuvelac

I don’t usually measure my ingredients when I ferment food. Peruse my cookZines for approximations for salt usage.

For more information check out this free eBook on Sauerkraut: