Pickled daikon and carrots without vinegar

Pickled carrots and daikonI’ve been doing quite a bit of ferments lately. It’s a great way to enhance your food by adding probiotics to it. I decided to julienne two classics: carrots and daikon. They are traditionally pickled in vinegar but I decided to lacto-ferment them.

It can’t be any easier!

1. First, create a 2% brine. Put 2 teaspoon of salt in 2 cups of water. Stir until dissolved.

2. Julienne some carrots and daikon. I use this julienne cutter. I toss whatever I can’t get (because I don’t want to julienne my fingers too) into the broth pot.

3. Pack the carrots and daikon in the jar however you wish. I layered them. Pour the brine over the daikon and carrots.

pickled daikon and carrots

pickled daikon and carrots

Close your jar and let it do its magic! These are fast and can be ready in approximately 1 to 2 weeks. Once the taste is to your liking, put it in the fridge to slow down the fermentation process.

There really is not a need to weigh these down because they are packed in so tight.

These are great for sandwiches, salads, or a side for dinner.

pickled daikon and carrots

Pickled daikon and carrots without vinegar
  • 1 large or 2 small daikon
  • 2 to 3 carrots
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups filtered water
  1. Dissolve kosher salt in the water.
  2. Julienne the daikon and carrots.
  3. Pack it in a medium clip top jar.
  4. Pour brine over the daikon and carrots until it is covered.
  5. Close the top and let ferment 1 to 2 weeks.
  6. Taste after 1 week. When it is to your liking, put it in the fridge.


Have you made something similar? I’d love to hear of ways you incorporate these into your meals. 





Experiment: Black garlic in the rice cooker

Making black garlic in the rice cooker

Black garlic is all the rage these days. It is often mislabeled as fermented. Really… it’s just cooked in a really low heat for a really long time. Many have successfully made black garlic in a dehydrator for 30 to 40 days. I purchased some black garlic at Trader Joe’s. It tasted good. Moist, tangy, and slightly sweet.

I joined in a black garlic making event via a Facebook fermenting group. One of the recipes that got everyone excited was a recipe that makes black garlic in the rice cooker and it only require 9 days. I didn’t want to have a machine on my counter for 30 days, but 9 days I can handle. I have tested the heat in my current rice cooker on warm, and it holds a steady 140 F.

So I lugged both kiddos out and bought some of the most gorgeous organic garlics I’ve ever seen.

Black garlic in the rice cooker

Black garlic in the rice cooker

Black garlic in the rice cooker

One of the other members in the BG event used the same rice cooker as mine (except hers was white) and after day 9, her garlic was brown. So I ventured out to the inter webs to search for an answer. One site suggested 10 days in the rice cooker, and then let it “hang out” in there for another 10 days after unplugging.

After day 10, I took a clove out and it was black… but tasted very bitter. I let it cook some more…and testing a clove each day. Some of the cloves I took out were brown. Even though the garlic was no where near “done” taste wise, some of the garlic were getting hard so I unplugged it. I still let the garlic “hang out.”

Here’s my conclusion: If the garlic is not done by the time you unplug, no amount of sitting around is going to make it taste right.

The only thing I can think of that made a significant difference was probably the original poster of this recipe used a different rice cooker. It does not have a vent hole and the lid is attached to the rice cooker and appears to have a tighter seal. While temperature is important, the seal is also important in keeping in the humidity. I’ve read of others who put the garlic in a mason jar inside the rice cooker and have had good results. I may give this method a try and report back if I do.

Even though this was a failed experiment, I will still make good use of the garlic “rocks” I have. I’m throwing a clove or two in the bone broth pot. I may grind it up to have black garlic powder.

Have you successfully made black garlic in the rice cooker? If you have, please comment below with what type of rice cooker you used and length of time the garlic was in there. 


Soba noodle soup

Soba noodle soup
A noodle soup is my go-to meal for lunches. It is fast and easy. It is fast like making instant noodles but so much healthier. It is a great way to incorporate my bone broth into our diet. I’m just not into drinking plain broth.

Soba noodles are a mixture of buckwheat and wheat flour. It cooks up very fast. I like to add turmeric to my soups because not only does it give it wonderful flavor, but it’s also amazing for you health. It is anti-inflammatory, helps prevent and heart attacks. Hey, it’s all about eating good food and taking preventive caution. :)

Soba noodle soup

I hope you give this a try!

Soba noodle soup
  • 2 cups bone broth
  • 1 bundle of soba noodles
  • ¾ cup peas (or other veggies of choice)
  • ¼ cup cooked meat like shredded chicken (optional)
  • ½ t tumeric powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring broth to a boil.
  2. Add in peas and noodles.
  3. Reduce to medium heat. Let cook about 2 to 3 mins.



Blender trick with regular mouth mason jars

Regular mouth mason jar and blender attachmentMost people these days have one of those fancy blenders. I don’t. I still have a cheapo blender. But… did you know that you can use a regular mouth mason jar in place of of the glass blender? I’m drinking a lot more smoothies lately because of it.

I prepare smoothie ingredients in pint or 16 oz jelly jars and keep them in the fridge. When I’m ready for one, I pop on the blender blade and give it a few whirls. Put on a Ball sip and straw lid, and you are ready to go on the road with your smoothie!

Blender trick with mason jarsThis would be perfect for salad dressings, guacamole, and making baby food too. The possibilities are endless. There is no need to lug out the giant glass jug that comes with the blender.

Move over Magic Bullet!

Blender using mason jarBlender using mason jar












Perpetual broth in the crockpot

perpetual bone broth

Why am I only finding out about perpetual broth now? My parents had one going in a giant stock pot when they owned a restaurant. But I never really thought to do this at home. I’ve been doing it the sucker way! Bone broth is rich in minerals and is amazing for your health, gut, skin, and nails. It’s also amazing for fighting off colds. I’ve been making bone broth for weeks now since the whole family was sick in October.

For this batch, I cooked the ox tails on low until it browned and added some Vietnamese pho ingredients in it: ginger, onions, one daikon, coriander, star anise, cardamom. I didn’t really measure…just whatever I felt like it. Plus a splash of apple cider vinegar to bring out the minerals in the bones.

The kids and I went to the store the next day and got some rice noodles,  beef, bean sprouts, cilantro and had a delicious pho noodle soup that night. I didn’t plan on blogging about this so I did not take a photo of that delicious looking meal!

I added more water in and added some more vegetable scraps we had. I had kale stalks, broccoli ends, cilantro ends. Some say the kale and broccoli makes the broth bitter but I didn’t notice anything. I’ve also some chicken bones in it during the week.

Perpetual beef broth

And the delicious noodle soups kept on coming!

Pho style beef noodle soup with rice noodles, thinly sliced beef, and baby kale greens.

Pho style beef noodle soup with rice noodles, thinly sliced beef, and baby kale greens.

Pho broth with brown rice noodles, sliced beef, and baby kale greens.

Pho broth with brown rice noodles, sliced beef, and baby kale greens.

Mama brand brown rice noodles
This is the brand of noodles I used. The ingredients were only brown rice and water. For some odd reason, they didn’t have the ingredients in English but they did have it in Chinese and French… which I can read a bit of in both. If you can’t find this brand at your local Asian store, here is one you can get online.

I also made congee and using the broth instead of water in making rice and quinoa. It’s been over a week and it is still making some flavorful broth because of the extra bones I’ve been throwing in. I will wash the crockpot and give it a rest for a day or two while I use it to make yogurt.

It can’t get easier than this to help boost the family’s immune system!


Guilt free healthy instant noodles

Healthy instant noodles

I found some instant noodles at the grocery store that has only two ingredients. Wheat and water. The healthy instant noodle recipes  I’ve seen recipes online always used the noodles and discarded the seasoning packet. The noodles themselves are made with a gazillion ingredients still and most times include msg too.

This Tyling brand of Chinese noodles has only two ingredients. It comes three to a pack and cooks up fast. The price was very reasonable too. You can buy it online if you can’t find it at your local Asian market. I use chicken or beef stock. I season with salt, pepper, and some turmeric. Add some cooked chicken or an egg. Top with your favorite hot sauce if you like.

Tyling instant noodles

Healthy instant noodles The next time you have a craving for instant noodles, this will sure hit the spot. You won’t feel guilty one bit!


I love Paris, Heart and eiffel tower earrings from Live, Love, Maria

Gift giving season is just around the corner and I want to share these earrings I purchased last January from Live, Love, Maria. I wanted to share them sooner but with the kids demanding all my time, I never got around to it until now.

I loved it the moment I saw them on her Facebook page. I’m pretty crafty myself, but I love supporting other artisans. Maria crochets these using tiny thread and then modge-podges them to get them stiffened. I adore these because they are dangly and yet so light weight. The only thing I did when I got them was switch out the ear wires to sterling silver ones. I have sensitive ears.

Heart eiffel tower earrings from Live Love Maria

I hope you find something from her etsy shop for yourself or someone you love. Thanks for supporting handmade!


Lemons in raw honey

Lemon covered lemons

Cold and flu season is here and this year, I’ve been using many more home remedies. Lemon and honey are great for sore throats, cold and flu. In this house, when we feel something coming on, we usually make a drink with apple cider vinegar and honey. Now, we add in some honey’ed lemon. It is also a great gift to prepare for your loved ones as gifts.

Cut up organic lemons however you like. You’ll want to use organic lemons because the skin is going to be smothered in the honey as well. Scoop out raw honey and put it on top of the lemons. You may want to warm up the honey by putting the jar in some warm water. I was lazy so I just scooped it right on top. Put a lid on, and let the honey just drip down and “melt.” You’ll want to use raw honey because it has been unpasteurized and will have retain all its natural benefits.

I let it do its thing and then I re-jarred it in a smaller jar. If you melt the honey slightly beforehand, you may not need to re-jar.

Slap a fancy label on it and you’ve got yourself a very nice gift.

Organic lemons in honey.



Making keifr cheese and Kefir Cheese wrap pinwheel sandwiches

Kefir Cheese wrap pinwheel sandwichesI’ve been making milk kefir lately. And since it’s been culturing so much faster than we can drink, I decided to make some kefir cheese. My method of making kefir cheese is simple. I put a rubber band around a nut milk bag in a quart sized mason jar and just put it in the fridge.

Kefir cheese wrap pinwheel sandwichesLeave it overnight and you’ll wake up to some delicious creamy cheese. I decided to use the kefir cheese to make a cheese spread for some sandwich wraps. I threw in some salt, pepper, and some black garlic that I found at Trader Joe’s. Instead of using something like mayo or store bought cream cheese, I’m adding a healthy dose of probiotics into our meal. Sneaky mama ;).

To make the wraps, spread cheese over a tortilla. Top with greens, meat, and other topping of choice. Roll. Spread some cheese at the end of the tortilla to glue it together. Cut and enjoy!




Vietnamese yogurt in the crockpot

Vietnamese Yogurt in the crockpot
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Claire started teething and not sleeping through the night. Caleb stopped napping during the day. Plus, during this whole time, I started making more fermented foods and drinks for the family.
I’ve been making yogurt for awhile. Through one of my groups on Facebook, someone mentioned Vietnamese yogurt using sweetened condensed milk. I was intrigued. The recipes I found online involved a little whole milk, a can of condensed milk and water. Then everything is mixed together, put in little cups, and then they all go into the oven (with it off) in a hot water bath.

First of all, I didn’t want to mess with a hot water bath. I’m a klutz as it is. I did see a recipe that used no water. It looked similar to my recipe so I decided to convert this to a Vietnamese yogurt in the crockpot.

Vietnamese yogurt in the crockpot

The result was a creamy lightly sweet custard-like yogurt. It is almost like pudding! It feels indulgent eating this but it is quite healthy despite the sugar in the condensed milk. This will make a lovely dessert! This will be one of those treats that your family thinks they’re eating something sinful when it’s actually full of beneficial bacterias for their gut.

Vietnamese yogurt in the crockpotThe method is similar to my regular recipe. Put milk in the crock on low. Unplug and let sit until it reaches about 115 F to 120 F. Dump condensed milk in a big bowl or measuring cup. Scoop out some warm milk and stir. Add in yogurt starter. Pour it all back in the crockpot. Cover with a towel and put in a warm place to incubate for 8 hours.


Vietnamese yogurt in the crockpotRemember to reserve 1/2 cup of yogurt for your next batch!

The verdict: A lightly sweet thick creamy custard yogurt. If you like Greek-style yogurt but don’t like the sourness of it, then this Vietnamese yogurt is for you.

Other Notes: I used Trader Joe’s organic sweetened condensed milk. It goes for 2.99 at the store. But if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s around you or have access to other organic brands, you can get them online for a bazillion dollars.


Vietnamese yogurt in the crockpot
  • 7 cups whole milk
  • 1 14 oz can/bottle of condensed milk
  • ½ cup yogurt (plain commercial yogurt or yogurt from a previous batch)
  1. Put milk in the crockpot and turn it on low for 2 hrs 15 mins.
  2. Unplug
  3. Let sit for 2.5 hours to 3 hours with the lid on or until it reaches 115 F to 120 F or 45 C to 48 C. Note: I was impatient and just stuck a thermometer in there with the lid ajar until the milk cooled down enough. That took 1 hour.
  4. Pour the condensed milk in a large cup/bowl. Scoop some warm milk on and stir. Then add the yogurt starter to the mixture.
  5. Add the whole mixture back into the crockpot and put the lid back on.
  6. Wrap the crockpot with a towel or warm blanket.
  7. Put it someplace warm for 8 hours. Note: I put it in the oven with the oven light on. That usually keeps the inside of the oven at 100′ish F..which is great for incubating. I usually also turn off the oven light the last few hours because I don’t like to put a hot crockpot in the cold fridge.
  8. After 8 hours, take out the crockpot and put it in the fridge and let chill for at least 4 hours before serving.