Thursday, December 27, 2012

Chicken Stock - just in time for Soup Season!

Alan caught my cold so I made him some chicken soup yesterday. That reminded me to finish my blog posting on how to make stock. This is just in time for "Soup Season"!

You can read the complete blog posting on my own web site:

I'll be posting some of my favorite soup recipes soon!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Blog has Moved!

I have decided to move my "Unprocessing Your Food" blog from to my own web site.

You can find it here:

I found that I was getting frustrated with trying to get the layout and look I was striving for. My frustration led to losing interest, despite my passion for this issue, and therefore, not posting any new entires. On my own web site, I can also have all the recipes available as a .pdf to make it easy for everyone to print them for their own use, which is something people couldn't do here.

There are a few disadvantages - there is no ability to leave comments. If you have a comment, please just email me. When I get time, I will work on the code to set up a way for people to leave comments.

There is also no way to list 'followers'. I really don't care how many people follow my blog, so this isn't that important of an option.

I am planning on adding more blog posts and recipes more often, especially now that I have taken care of my frustration.

I hope you enjoy the information on 'unprocessing your food' and the recipes. I would love to hear what you think of the recipes when you try them. Also, feel free to share your recipes with me!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


This journey of unprocessing food actually began with finding out we could make our own vanilla extract. That was 3 years ago and we are presently on our 4th bottle of home-made vanilla extract.

So many baking recipes require vanilla. Oh sure, you can buy the cheap vanilla extract, and you get exactly what you paid for - a cheap tasting product. Have you ever tried the real thing? It is more expensive, but the difference in taste makes it so worthwhile!

It is the expense of the real vanilla extract that is tough to swallow. Sure, the taste is worth it, but it is hard on the wallet.

I cheered when I came across a recipe to make your own! The recipe calls for vanilla beans which I had been using in recipes for a few years now. Vanilla beans aren’t cheap either. I found Costco had the best price on them (found with the baking goods and spices, usually in the fall, closer to Christmas). As I remember, I paid $10 - $12 for 2 tubes of vanilla beans and there were 5 beans in each tube. Safeway was $6.99 for a tube of 2. Definitely worth going to Costco! If you don’t have a Costco membership yourself, find a friend who does and join them on a shopping day.

The downfall to making your own vanilla extract is the time for the vanilla beans to infuse their flavor, about 4 to 6 months. Oh, the taste is so worth the wait! I started the second bottle when I was 1/3 of the way through the first bottle so I wouldn’t run out.

Cost Comparison

With the price of the Real Vanilla Extract being so high, it is certainly worth making your own vanilla extract. Home-made Vanilla Extract will cost you ½ of what it costs in the store.

Store Bought

Artificial Vanilla Extract: $1.64 for 100 ml
($0.0164 / ml)
Vanilla Beans: $4.00
Vodka: $14.00 for 375 ml bottle
Total Cost: $18.00 / 375 ml
Real Vanilla Extract:
$10.00 for 100 ml
($.10 / ml)

Here lies the problem with Artificial Vanilla Extract. It contains the additive Sodium Benzoate. Definitely an additive that you don't want to be ingesting.
Here lies the problem with Artificial Vanilla Extract. It contains the additive Sodium Benzoate. Definitely an additive that you don't want to be ingesting.

Health Issues
Sodium Benzoate
(aka E211)
- Forms a chemical known as Benzene when in the presence of vitamin C, which is a known carcinogenic substance.
- Has been found to damage an important area of DNA in the "power station" of cells known as the mitochondria. DNA damage is known to contribute to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's, and more generally, is likely to speed up the entire aging process
Here is a source:
Feel free to explore some more on the health problems associated with these additive.

Here is the Recipe

Let me know when you make this and what you think of the flavor!

Friday, November 11, 2011


A friend of mine recently asked me for my Rolladen recipe so I thought I would share it with all of you as well.

I had told her that it is my husband's 'favorite' winter meal and I was making it for him to welcome him home after working all week away from home (he was excited to have it for supper and thoroughly enjoyed it!).

I fondly remember my grandmother making rolladen when I was young and it was always considered a special treat in my home. It was so delicious! My "Ome" never used a pickle.  As an adult, I had heard of Rolladen with a pickle so I thought I would try it. Now, I can't decide which is better - Rolladen with a pickle or without. Which do you like better?

Rolladen is a German recipe, uses a tougher cut of meat (meaning it is quite affordable given how yummy it is), and is very tasty. It is a bit time consuming to make, but then it cooks on its own for a few hours (or all day if using a slow cooker). I have always received rave reviews when I have made it so I consider it a 'keeper' recipe.

Here is the Recipe.

 I hope you decide to try Rolladen one day. When you do, please let me know what you think of it, and do you prefer Rolladen with the pickle or not?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Wasabi Dressing

I was planning one of my husband's favorite suppers (to welcome him home after being on the road all week teaching) when I remembered a salad dressing that I forgot to include with the others.

This recipe was originally to be used as a dip for shrimp (and no doubt other things could be dipped into it as well).  It is fresh tasting, tangy, and delicious!

A number of years ago, the taste of this dip made me think that it might also go well with cole slaw.  I tried it out as a cole slaw dressing and WOW, was it ever good!  It is our main cole slaw recipe now.  Even kids like it!

I know that you are probably thinking how could kids (or even some adults) enjoy the heat of wasabi.  Fortunately, the heat is spread out throughout the dressing and it just provides a good tangy, taste.  I can not do a lot of heat and this recipe works well for me.   Of course, one could adjust the amount of wasabi to lighten up the tangy flavor or add more to have more heat.  I find that the 2 teasponns of wasabi safe and enjoyable for most palettes.

Wasabi Dressing Recipe

Give it a try and let me know what you think. 

Do you have any wasabi recipes?  I would love to try other recipes that uses wasabi paste!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Not Cool (er) !

After doing my research on Sodium Benzoate and finding out that if mixed with Vitamin C, a chemical reaction happens and Benzene is formed. Benzene is a known carcinogen. That knowledge is very scary and it certainly has me looking closer at other items in my home.

A week or so after finding out the problems of Sodium Benzoate, my husband discovered that it is an ingredient in my favorite vodka cooler (starts with a S and ends with an F). Adding insult to injury, another ingredient is Citric Acid. Tell me that Citric Acid doesn’t have Vitamin C in it.

That means that my favorite cooler is OFF the list!

ARG!!!! I so enjoy my cooler, especially on a hot day or after working on the house we are building.
Now I am beginning the search for a replacement ‘hot day’ or ‘after working hard‘ drink. I do enjoy beer, but I have to admit that I really prefer coolers. Any suggestions? What do you prefer to drink on a hot day or after putting in some serious physical work?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Teriyaki Sauce

Who doesn’t love Teriyaki Sauce? On rice, with chicken, beef, pork or salmon, it is always a favorite!

Teriyaki Sauce has been a favorite of mine too since I was a little kid, and I still love it today. I think it is so popular because of its gentle touch of sweetness along with a very nice, unique flavor. No wonder most kids are happy to put Teriyaki Sauce on so many things!

One of our favorite salmon dishes is Teriyaki Salmon. Of course, it calls for Teriyaki Sauce both as a marinade and a sauce to be baked in.

Here lies the problem. Teriyaki Sauce bought in a bottle in the grocery store includes the additives of Xanthan Gum, Disodium Inosinate, and Sodium Benzoate. You won’t believe the affect on our health these additives can have!


Health Issues
Sodium Benzoate
(aka E211)
- Forms a chemical known as Benzene when in the presence of vitamin C,
which is a known carcinogenic substance.

- Has been found to damage an important area of DNA in the "power station"
of cells known as the mitochondria. DNA damage is known to contribute
to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's, and more generally,
is likely to speed up the entire aging process
Disodium Inosinate
(aka E631)
- Frequently contains MSG (E621).

- Allergy reactions:

- flushed skin or burning sensation;

- numbness and tightness in the upper body;

- migraine headaches;

- profuse sweating;

- a sense of swelling, usually accompanied by gastric discomfort.
- Asthmatic people and Gout sufferers should avoid
Xanthan Gum- Intestinal bloating and diarrhea.

- people with allergies to wheat, dairy, corn, or soy are advised to avoid
Here are some sources:

Feel free to explore some more on the health problems associated with these additives.


I can’t believe Sodium Benzoate is allowed to be used as a food additive. There is a very good chance of it being turned into a carcinogen if consumed with Vitamin C... What if you had an apple after school? Or apple pie for dessert? We probably don’t even know if it is causing us problems until it is too late!

Making home-made Teriyaki Sauce
To prevent further health issues by using bought Teriyaki Sauce, I began researching if making it is possible and how easy it would be. Well, it is not only possible, but very easy! Who knew?

You don't even have to be that good in the kitchen - it is that easy to make!

Cost Comparison

There is the issue of cost as well. Home-made Teriyaki Sauce will cost you ½ of what it costs in the store. Plus, you only have to make exactly what you need. There is no more wondering how long that bottle has been in the fridge and is it still safe to use? There will be no more waste and you will be a lot healthier!

Store Bought

$3.79 - $4.48 for 296 ml$1.41 for 175 ml
average: $4.14 for 296 ml 
$0.14 / ml$0.008 / ml


Here are 2 recipes.  The first is the basic Teriyaki Sauce.  It can be used as a marinade, as a dipping (or drizzling) sauce,  or used to cook whatever food you like to have with it - chicken, beef, pork, or salmon for example.  It literally only takes a few minutes to make and voila, you have a superb and tasty Teriyaki Sauce!

The second is our Salmon Teriyaki recipe. 

Teriyaki Sauce Recipe

Salmon Teriyaki Recipe

I have no doubt that you will love this sauce!  It is very easy to make and so darn tasty too.  We have even impressed guests with it.

Let me know when you try it and what you think of it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Caesar Salad Dressing

My husband, Alan, has made his own Caesar Salad dressing for the past 30 years or so. I thought I would also share this recipe with you - it so yummy!

Caesar Salad Dressing Recipe

I hope you give it a try. It really is quite easy to make and tastes so good!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Salad Dressings

As I remember, salad dressings were the very first un-processed food items we made at home instead of buying the processed and pre-made salad dressings available on the market today.

We found a common ingredient used in various pre-made salad dressings is Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum. This ingredient is typically used as a thickener. It is also used as a stabilizer for some products.

Unfortunately Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum cause serious health problems in many people. When it caused us some issues, we started to investigate this ingredient and were surprised to find out about the health issues it can cause.

Health Issues
AllergiesIt turns out that Xanthan Gum (or Guar Gum) is derived from a number of products that can be common allergens. Examples are wheat, dairy, corn, or soy. Because of this, people with allergies to wheat, dairy, corn, or soy are advised to avoid foods that have Xanthan Gum (or Guar Gum) in them.
Effect on Digestive SystemThe second issue Xanthan Gum (or Guar Gum) is that it is considered a "highly efficient laxative". Some people react to very small amounts of Xanthan Gum (or Guar Gum), with symptoms of intestinal bloating and diarrhea.
People who produce productthen, there is the issue of the workers who work with this ingredient. An evaluation of workers exposed to xanthan gum dust found evidence of a link to respiratory symptoms. This is very scary for anyone dealing with respiratory issues. What about people that have asthma? What effect would it have on them? What if it causes permanent breathing problems? Some how, that just doesn’t seem right to me!
Here is one link that we used as a reference: free to explore some more on the health problems associated with Xanthan Gum (or Guar Gum).

I have to admit that I am quite surprised that the "powers that be" continue to allow a dangerous product like this to be used. Actually, you will be amazed at how many processed foods use Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum. We certainly were once we started checking ingredients on products!

Okay, so you say that you have store bought salad dressing all the time and seem to have no ill effects. My thought and concern is that if it affects some people with noticeable symptoms, what if it is still causing problems in people that don’t see any issues with it? Will ingesting this non-natural ingredient cause problems, possibly irreversible problems, over time? Why take the chance?

Making our own Salad Dressings

Now knowing the detrimental health issues Xanthan Gum (or Guar Gum) can cause, we decided to start making our salad dressings. We enjoy various types of salads (what a great way to get our veggies into our diet) so we have come up with recipes for a number of different types of dressings.

Although you may think it is easier & faster to just grab the bottle of salad dressing off the shelf in the grocery store as you are doing your shopping, it really only is a few minutes to make, and you probably have the ingredients needed already.

Cost Comparison

There is the issue of cost as well. Salad dressings will cost on average around $3.42 for 250 ml (1 cup). This equals $0.14 / ml. You can also buy larger sizes for a bit cheaper. The 475 ml bottle averages out to $4.25, which equals $.009 / ml. In comparison, our Fruit based Vinaigrette costs us $0.005 / ml.

Have you ever used a whole bottle of salad dressing before its expiry date or did you end up throwing it out? If you threw it out, you also threw out some of your money.

You can control how much you make when you making your own salad dressing at home, therefore, you can control the cost. You also know exactly what you put into it so you know that you will have no problems with it. Plus, it will probably taste better with using fresh ingredients!


We have provided the recipes for 4 different types of salad dressings that we make on a regular basis. They are a versatile fruit based vinaigrette that we use most often, a ranch dressing, an asian dressing, and a blue cheese dressing
Fruit Based Vinaigrette:

This is one of our favorite dressings to make. Because you can use different fruits, you can change up the flavor, depending on your mood, the salad you are serving, or what fruit is fresh and available. We especially love it on a spinach salad!

Ranch Dressing:

This is a very popular dressing so it only seems right to include a recipe for it. We have only made this a few times, but it is yummy and we quite enjoy it! I think this is a very versatile recipe too because you can add those extra things like bacon, peppercorns, cheeses, etc.

Asian Dressing:

Many times we’ll have an asian inspired meal, like Ahi Tuna or I’ll make Vietnamese salad rolls so a salad with asian dressing just seems to go very well.

Blue Cheese Dressing:

For those of you who like blue cheese and want a bit more of kick out of your dressing. We enjoy this dressing with a salad when we serve steak or lamb, for example. That way the flavor of the salad doesn’t get lost with the strong flavors of the meat.

I hope you enjoy these recipes.

Hey, let me know when you try one and tell me what you think. Also, send me a recipe for a salad dressing that you have made - I love trying new recipes!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Beginning of the Journey

We have been on a journey the past few years with making food at home that are processed foods found in the stores. We discovered that these processed foods contained additives, chemicals, and preservatives that were affecting our health, most particular our digestive and intestinal health.

Knowing that these non-natural ingredients in processed foods were causing us issues in the lower gut in particular, we asked ourselves, "what other problems are they causing?" Could these additives, preservatives, and chemicals be causing any long term health problems? Could they lead to something WAY more serious? At the very least, we know that our bodies are just not made to digest and deal with chemicals, so it can’t be doing our bodies any good....

As we discovered a processed food that caused us problems, we started looking if there was a way to make this same food at home. And so far, every one of these foods can be made at home!

I can’t believe how easy it is to make these foods and affordable too. Foods like salad dressings, cream cheese, and sweet Thai chilli sauce for example. Did you know that you can corn your own beef? Even the time commitment to make these foods at home is very little, usually just a few minutes. That is certainly worth considering!

We know someone who has constant intestinal issues and we believe that the damage has been done over the years from the chemicals in processed foods. For her, it is probably too late. We hope it isn’t too late for us, nor for any of you.
Join us on our journey of discovering how to make these "convenience" foods at home. We’ll share what processed foods have caused us grief; what additives, chemicals or preservatives are in them; our research on what these non-natural ingredients can cause; and recipes on how to make these same foods at home. We hope you’ll share your recipes too.