Beef Jerky

For the past few months I have been watching my sugar intake and I noticed that all of the commercially available beef jerky packages that I find list sugar in some form as an ingredient. I am not sure why it is that everyone adds sugar to their jerky (I see it in most jerky recipes as well) but I dislike the sweet flavor. Here is my version without sugar or sweeteners. The look and color will vary depending on what meat you use, how thick you cut it, and how long you marinate it and dry it. Hope you like it.


1.3 lbs beef, thinly sliced
1/3 cup tamari (soy sauce)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp korean red pepper or cayenne (or to taste)
1 gallon ziploc bag

Preparation and Cooking

Slice the beef into slices just under 1/4 inch thick. Partially freezing the beef will make it easier to slice into even slices. In a ziploc bag, pour in the soy sauce and remaining ingredients except the beef. Seal the bag and shake to mix all the ingredients together. Add the beef to the bag then seal the bag squeezing out most of the air. Gently massage the bag to get the marinade between all the slices and to cover all the beef. Refrigerate for 4 hours, or overnight if preparing the day before.

Food dehydrator method:
When ready to dehydrate, remove the meat from the bag and pat the slices dry with paper towel. Lay the slices on the racks of the food dehydrator taking care to make sure the meat is in single layers and not overlapping. Dry according to the directions included with the dehydrator, usually between 12 to 20 hours. The temperature, air circulation, and thickness of the meat will determine how long the drying process takes.

Oven method:

If using the oven lay the slices on a baking rack over a baking sheet to catch any drippings. Set the oven to about 140 degrees fahrenheit – or the lowest setting if it doesn’t go that low, place the baking sheet in the oven, and leave the door cracked open. Dry for about 6-8 hours.


  • To simplify this recipe you can leave out the Worcestershire sauce and the liquid smoke, and even the cayenne if you do not like spicy foods.
  • You can use regular soy sauce if wheat and organic are not a concern to you, though I used organic gluten-free tamari.
  • Other drying methods which I have not tried but have seen or read about are using a smoker – in which case you definitely would leave out the liquid smoke, and a dry box, where you dry in full sun. I would definitely try the dry box method if we had enough sun and heat where we live, but unfortunately that is not possible.


Coconut Tapioca Pudding

We decided that spring break would be the best time for our son to get his braces put on and boy are we thankful for that. I had no idea how uncomfortable the first week of wearing braces would be! Getting them on during spring break gave me some time to plan the lunches and snacks that he would eat once he went back to school. Everything I prepared had to be something he could eat quickly (he only has 25 minutes to eat at school) and nutrient dense with enough healthy fats to keep him satisfied if he couldn’t finish his lunch in time.

This coconut tapioca pudding has always been one of my son’s favorites and I made it as a treat to get him through his first week back at school. The original recipe calls for 3/4 cup of granulated sugar but I substituted with a small amount of honey instead. I find that the natural sweetness of the coconut milk and small amount of honey is enough to satisfy his sweet-tooth (and mine too).

Coconut Tapioca Pudding

adapted from “Thai the essence of Asian cooking”

2/3 cup tapioca (I use Bob’s Red Mill)

2 cups of water

2 T honey (you can certainly add more or less depending on your taste for sweetness)

pinch of salt

1 cup of full-fat, canned coconut milk (lite if you prefer)

Put the tapioca in a bowl and pour warm water over to cover. Leave to soak for 1 hour. Drain using a fine mesh colander. Pour the measured water in a large pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the honey and salt and stir until both are dissolved. Add the tapioca and coconut milk, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the tapioca becomes transparent. Once the tapioca is finished, spoon into a bowl and enjoy warm with fresh fruit. You may also refrigerate the leftovers in a covered container.


Spiced Nuts and Seeds

Spiced Nuts and Seeds
adapted from Powerfoods

2 cups of raw cashews
2 cups almonds
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
2 large egg whites (I used Ener-G egg replacer)
1/4 t.cayenne
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 cup of brown rice syrup

Preheat oven to 325 F. Mix nuts, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg whites or follow the instructions on the box of Ener-G to make egg whites. To the egg whites, add the salt, cayenne, and brown rice syrup. Pour the egg white/brown rice syrup mixture over the mixture. Spread the nuts on Silpat-lined (parchment or a greased pan will do) baking sheet, and bake until dry and darkened, stirring occasionally, roughly 30 minutes. Once done, give the nuts a good scraping with a spatula to loosen the nuts and let them cool in the pan. Store in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.