Tag Archives: fatworks

Getting Ready for the WLC: Pantry Stuffers

Since the Whole Life Challenge is coming up fast, I thought I’d write a post about canned goods and items I frequently keep in the pantry. Of course, with things like vegetables, you want to buy fresh when possible, but there are inevitably items that you are going to purchase canned, I’ll also touch on fat sources (which are usually in a jar not a can). All I can say is – READ LABELS! You can’t even trust a particular brand, since ingredients may differ from product to product. If you find one thing that is compliant, don’t assume that all related items are also compliant. For example, legumes are allowed on the challenge. Here is a picture of 3 cans of various beans. Two are 365 (Whole Foods) and one is Stop and Shop. All 3 are compliant to the WLC, as the only ingredients are the beans, water, and maybe sea salt.

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Awesome. Now here is a can of Dark Red Kidney Beans – Also Stop and Shop brand. Very NOT compliant. It contains a bunch of forbidden ingredients, including sugar, calcium chloride, and Disodium EDTA! WHY…..why does it need that? The others just needed water…..I don’t get it!

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Anyway, Here is a list of products I use all the time, that should be pretty easy for you to find, so stock up!

1. Coconut Milk: Trader Joe’s Light Coconut Milk

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I use this A LOT. You can use it for anything, from gravies to curries, smoothies to sauces. This stuff is really versatile. It is one of the few brands I’ve seen (without buying online) that does not include guar gum. It’s also really yummy, and I haven’t had any issues with it being a little thinner than traditional full fat coconut milk when using it in recipes. I wouldn’t mind finding a full fat coconut milk, but in a pinch, and in most curries and smoothies, this works just fine. It’s affordable too at only $0.99 a can!

Ingredients: Coconut Milk, Water

2. Cento Brand Crushed Tomatoes

20130821-225924.jpgThis is great for sauces and stews. I get the large 28 oz cans. You have to be careful though, most of Cento’s other products contain Citric Acid.

Ingredients: Fresh Vine Ripened Tomatoes

3. Wild Planet Sardines in Water

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Now I know this nutritious little fish is not for everyone, but you should really learn to embrace this potent little swimmer. They are packed with good protein, calcium (eat the bones and all… really they’re good!), and omega 3’s. I’ve always just eaten them straight from the can, but throw them on a salad, or cook them into a sauce if you want to mask the flavor a bit. I stay away from “Natural Smoke Flavors”, and while you can find quite a few cheaper WLC compliant brands, I find Wild Planet Sardines the most enjoyable. Some of the cheaper ones have grainy roe in their stomachs, and off flavors. Most of the really cheap ones have additives, and are just really poor quality. More expensive Brislings are always safe flavor wise, and might be better for newbies as they are smaller and easier to eat, but read labels. Wild Planet Sardines are sustainably produced and look and taste fresher than any sardine I’ve tried in the past. They are kind of mid range in price, and can usually be found under $3 a can.

Ingredients: Sardines, Water, Sea Salt

4. Trader Joe’s Pitted Green Olives

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These are awesome. They don’t contain citric acid, or sulfites, or any of the colorings and nasties that are in most canned olives. I love chopping them up for recipes, or adding them to salads. Just for your information, if you are put off by variances in color, you may be alarmed. I have never found a can without flaws, as there are always spots, or discolorations between the olives. I just take it as a sign that they are not hiding the fact that fruits, vegetables, and seeds are hardly ever perfectly uniform. They always taste good, and so I embrace it!

Ingredients: Green Olives, Water, Sea Salt

5. Purity Farms Ghee

20130821-221830.jpgOk, so let’s talk Ghee. I discovered it when I ran out of Duck Fat. I was skeptical, because it’s made from butter/dairy, but this brand which is Organic and GMO Free, is Lactose (The protein found in milk) and Casein (The protein found in cheese) free. Because of this, it doesn’t seem to bother my stomach (While butter, milk, and cheese will), though I still try to limit its use. I use it as a backup, in case I run out of other fats. Unfortunately, because I do have a problem with dairy products, I’ve noticed that if I have ghee a few  days in a row, my sinuses start acting up, which is annoying because it’s tasty, but for many of you it won’t cause problems. For myself, I’m going to stick with Duck Fat and Tallow, but my love affair with ghee was nice while it lasted.  I found it in Wild By Nature, but you should be able to find it in most natural food stores (or online). It has a really nice, rich, buttery flavor, and is better for cooking as it doesn’t burn like butter does. Sometimes, you don’t want to use coconut oil, and in those cases you should use this ghee (or get yourself some FatWorks!)

Ingredients: Clarified Butter

6. Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil

20130821-221958.jpgAs you can tell by the picture, I go through a lot of this. I think it’s $5.99 which isn’t too bad. I haven’t really tried any other brands, but I am happy with Trader Joe’s product so far, and always have a jar (or two!) in the pantry. The flavor is nice, and it behaves beautifully when cooking. Sometimes I blend it into my coffee….yum.

Ingredients: 100% Organic Coconut Oil

7. Trader Joe’s Spanish Olive Oil

20130821-222035.jpgYou can find a lot of information about what to look for in an olive oil. I don’t know how this stacks up against some of the more expensive brands (I think I pay around $8), but it has a fantastic flavor, and is perfect on salads, marinades, and drizzled over food for flavor. I keep it in the pantry, so it’s stored away from light, and I don’t cook with it, so for what I do use Olive Oil for, this is a really good option.

Ingredients: Olive Oil

8. FatWorks Duck Fat

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I am completely I FatWorks fan girl, I admit. I just ordered another jar of this stuff, since I’ve been out of it for a couple of weeks (*Sobbing*). I ALSO ordered the Tallow (which is rendered beef fat) so I’m sure that will end up on this list as well. Like I said, I had my brief love affair with ghee, even though it was mean to me (aka sinus inflammation), but my true love lies here, with this glorious golden goodness (hows THAT for alliteration!). Now, you can buy duck fat elsewhere (my mom proudly showed me her shiny SMALL jar of Duck fat she got off amazon, for practically the same price as this nice big FatWorks jar), but WHY on earth would you do that! FatWorks is quality, and most importantly, it comes from pastured ducks. So really, what are you waiting for! There is a permanent link to the FatWorks website on the left side of my blog. I love them THAT much.


Duck Fat Love and Sweet Potato Wedges with Garlic and Shallots

Duck Fat. I’ve long heard of its golden status among chefs. I’ve often been told within recipes to hoard the drippings for later when cooking with duck. All of this was in the back of my mind, until I found Fatworks. [You can find a link to the website on the left sidebar of my blog]

I first heard of Fatworks from a colleague at Crossfit. I checked it out, and immediately was interested. You see, I am trying to get away from using seed oils when cooking. They are terribly unstable, have low smoke points, and are generally better suited for cold use in salads. The most stable fat I owned at this point was coconut oil, and although I’d cook everything in it, it does have a discernible taste, and my boyfriend wasn’t a fan of coconut oil on everything, so i needed options. I generally can get away with a small amount of butter, but knowing how dairy affects me, I don’t really like the idea of using it, and avoid it. This left me using olive and sesame oil, even though it’s less than ideal.

Now, Fatworks gave me access to some high quality, pure, animal fat, giving me more dairy free and stable saturated fat options to bring to my kitchen. I ordered the Duck as soon as it was back in stock. [Next thing I have to order is Tallow!] I was ecstatic when it came yesterday.

Duck Fat Yum! - Click to go to Fatworks and get some for yourself!

Duck Fat Yum! – Click to go to Fatworks and get some for yourself!

Now what to make!

It was a crossfit night, so I decided to roast a chicken. I figured the duck fat, being poultry, would go well, help bring some crispness to the skin, and give some nice flavor. I poured a spoon over the skin, rubbed it over, and then used my fingers to push some more  under the skin via the few holes I poked around the skin of the breast area. I shoved a few garlic cloves in the holes, seasoned with rosemary, salt, pepper, and orange peel, and put it in the oven. My general go to technique [As I’ve mentioned before] is to bake at 450 for 15 minutes, and 20 minutes per pound at 350 after that.

Then in the 10 minutes I had before leaving, I peeled a sweet potato and cut it into medium wedges and strips.

Went to the gym, came home to a yummy smelling house, took a shower, and took this beauty out of the oven!

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Seriously – I think this was the best looking bird I’ve roasted. Thank you Duck Fat!

While I was letting it rest, I sliced up a shallot, and two cloves of garlic and kept them off to the side. I turned the burner to medium-high, put 5 spoons or so of  the duck fat in the pan, and when it was hot, I threw the sweet potato wedges in, covered, and tossed. I let them cook for about 5-10 minutes, tossing occasionally, and then seasoned them with a little salt, cinnamon, and ground ginger. Keeping an eye on them, when I saw they were getting soft, I threw in the shallots and garlic, and tossed. Putting them in late like this, let them caramelize and crisp, without burning.

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Beautiful! The sweet potatoes, onions, and shallots all got a beautiful caramelization. The foodie in me was singing with joy and anticipation.

Now all that was left was to eat!

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Yum does not even cover it. The chicken skin was divine. It had a beautiful crispness and full flavor. The meat itself was juicy and delicious. The sweet potatoes were sweet, with a savory note, and addictive. I was beyond pleased.

I highly recommend buying some of this fabulous fat!

Complementary note – Even though I don’t drink too often anymore [When I do it’s usually red wine or spirits], I’ve been trying out some Gluten Free beers.  Especially in the heat of the summer , I find my mood longing for a beer over wine, and sometimes hard liquor can be a little harsh on my system. In the past I used to love beer, craft beer, robust beer, stouts, porters, imperial ales, I was a fan. Unfortunately, due to [likely] the grain sensitivity, they also would often give me a headache and mess my stomach up. I’ve avoided going back to them….until now!

I was curious to try some of the Gluten Free beers, to see if I had better reaction to them. So far [I’ve tried 2 different ones], my post beer experience has been night and day; no headaches, no digestive system anger. For dinner tonight I tried this one from Dogfish head, and it was very nice. Light in flavor with subtle notes of the strawberry and buckwheat honey. I will definitely be buying it again!

Gluten Free Beer!

Gluten Free Beer!


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