Leave a Comment April 5, 2013
Food produced organically or sustainably provides a host of benefits, not only to the (lucky) consumer, but to those who produce the products they enjoy. Below are a few of the many immediate and long-range benefits of eating food that can honestly claim it’s “natural”.
The Bad Things Go Down:
- Decreased exposure to pesticides, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and other unhealthy additives (e.g., growth-hormones)
- Decreased total cholesterol levels, risk of certain cancers
- Up to 50% less consumption of fossil fuels
- Less damage to local ecosystems
- Less encroachment upon (and threat) to wild habitats
The Positives Go Up:
- Increased intake of vital vitamins and nutrients
- Increased colon function
- Improved soil health and longevity
- Animal by-products from healthier animals, and,
- Better living conditions for animals
In addition to these, there is the greater benefit of supporting sustainable agriculture. Soil degradation has reached epic proportions (currently around 25% of all agricultural land is highly degraded, chiefly from over the intensification of industrial farming). Sustainable farming, on the other hand, employs systems that are soil-restorative, are more resistant to droughts, and produce long-range benefits for local ecosystems, better conditions for farm labor, and an overall better-tasting product.
When you buy organic, you are supporting the enjoyment of great-tasting and nutritious food for this generation and generations to come. At From the Farm.com, you get all the value of enjoying produce that’s been picked that day, without having to leave home. Please visit our online “Farmers’ Market” to have fresh and in-season organic produce delivered straight to your door.
Leave a Comment February 20, 2013
When I think of comfort food my mind goes back to my childhood and dinnertime. My mom used to make fried pork chops with a milk gravy. The pork chops were crispy but moist and tender and the milk gravy had bits of the crispy coating from the pork chops. My favorite part of the meal was the milk gravy over bread. I haven’t eaten this since I was a kid.
My kids would say their comfort food is macaroni and cheese. The most tasty and easiest recipe we have found comes from the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook. We altered the recipe to suit our tastes.
Mac n’ Cheese
16 ounces macaroni (4 cups) I prefer Rotelle pasta. I use the whole wheat from Trader Joe’s.
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, dissolved in a teaspoon of water
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
12 ounces grated cheddar cheese ( approx 3 cups)
Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a large pot for the macaroni. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and the macaroni and cook until almost tender but still a little firm to the bite.
While the pasta is cooking mix together the eggs, half of the evaporated milk, the mustard mixture, Tabasco, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Set the pot over low heat and stir in the butter until melted.
Stir in the egg mixture and half of the cheddar until the cheese is melted. Continue to cook over low heat, gradually stirring the remain milk and cheddar, until the mixture is hot and creamy, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
62 Comments September 25, 2010
A generation ago we didn’t have choices on what kind of oils to buy, let alone flavored olive oils. Now there are so many options it can be daunting to pick the right one. Using flavored olive oils saves time, boosts flavor and is a healthy alternative to butter and bottled salad dressings.
Flavored olive oils have more uses than just as a dipping sauce for bread.
Try them with the following:
Use in the frying pan instead of butter when making scambled eggs. (Chipotle garlic gives the eggs a spicy kick.)
Heat up oil and drizzle over raw spinach for a barely wilted spinach salad.
Sprinkle over mixed greens.
Pour a tablespoon of flavored olive oil over steamed vegetables like broccoli or squash.
Drizzle over fresh tomatoes.
Toss 2 tablespoons of oil with raw veggies and cook on the grill or roast in the oven at 400 degrees until a fork inserts easily.
Sierra Olive Oil Company creates award winning flavored olive oils without preservatives or chemicals. I have tried the Rosemary Garlic and the Chipotle Garlic( a little spicy but tasty). The flavors are bold but not overpowering. They are a good balance between seasoning, spice and oil.
64 Comments September 17, 2010
It’s that time of year again. The cold and flu season. I can tell because I’m starting to see signs for flu shots everywhere I go.
This is a worry for any family especially if you have young children and elderly. I recently read an article in the Washington Post by Carolyn Butler with some practical tips on how to increase the bodies immune function.
“It can be a challenge to boost immunity in this situation, it is possible, says Philip Tierno Jr., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “People tend to . . . take special supplements figuring, ‘That will protect me,’ ” he says. “Well, no, your body is what you have to work on: You need to get your organ in perfect shape to be able to defend itself, because the normal body is well adapted to do that.”
“Experts agree that getting yourself into shape starts with good, balanced nutrition. That means avoiding processed foods, red meat and saturated fats; not overeating; and consuming produce and foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as salmon, says Mullin, who is also a nutritionist.”
“It’s interesting that in the fall, root vegetables like yams and carrots, which are all very rich in Vitamin A and antioxidants, which play a huge role in immunity, come up in our diet,” he explains. “If you focus on eating seasonal fruits and vegetables, you’ll get all of the immune-boosting vitamins and minerals you need without having to think about supplements.” He adds that a wide variety of mushrooms, including shitakes and even plain old white buttons, have also been proven to improve immune function. And since, according to Mullin, it has now been firmly established that the gut is the center of immunity, he suggests regularly eating yogurt with probiotics, which help maintain healthy gut flora.”
“In addition to urging people to eat their way to an optimal defense against colds, viruses and the like, NYU’s Tierno, the author of “The Secret Life of Germs,” offers these tips, which he says are all backed by research:
– Get moving. Sedentary people are more likely than others to become ill. Exercise — even just a half-hour to an hour of walking — has been shown to keep you functioning and to boost immunity.
– Stay rested. It’s essential to get enough sleep — ideally 7 1/2 to nine hours — because proper rest helps the body repair injuries caused by stress, illness and invading organisms such as viruses.
– Don’t stress. Stress hormones can make you more susceptible to infection. So try not to get worked up over that resurgent rush-hour traffic and focus on maintaining a less confrontational and low-stress lifestyle.
– Look on the bright side. Optimistic people tend to have a better immune response.
– Drink up. If you feel a cold coming on, consume plenty of fluids. This helps keep your organ systems functioning optimally and is very important for proper immune response.
– Avoid germs. Many people don’t follow basic rules of hygiene. Tierno said it’s important to wash or sanitize your hands frequently — such as after using that germy shared pen at the supermarket — and to steer clear of coughing, sneezing or otherwise obviously ill people.
– Get a flu shot. This is one of the simplest means of staying well, particularly for the very young, for older people and for those whose immune systems are compromised.
“And what about supplements? While drugstore shelves are filled with a plethora of powders and products touting their immune-boosting benefits, the evidence on effectiveness is decidedly lacking.”
“There’s all types of stuff out there, but even for patients who do have quite significant suppression of the immune system from cancer or HIV, really no pharmacologic means have ever been successful in stimulating the immune system,” says physician David Parenti, an infectious-diseases expert at the George Washington University Medical Center, who doesn’t “think that high doses of any vitamins or other immune stimulants are necessary.”
Tierno does recommend taking around 2,000 to 3,000 IU (international units) of Vitamin D daily. But for the most part, claims about immune-boosting products “are bunk, because if you practice all of these diet and lifestyle rules you are going to be getting enough amino acids and vitamins already,” explains Tierney, who says he hasn’t been sick in more than five years.
118 Comments September 9, 2010
What will you be grilling on the BBQ for Labor Day weekend?
My sister turned me on to the fabulous grilled fajita recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. Everything is cooked on the grill, right down to heating up the tortillas. This recipe saves clean up time and keeps the house from heating up.
The marinade is not spicy. If you prefer more heat add some jalapeno seeds. When grilling the tortillas have a large sheet of foil ready to wrap the tortillas in to keep them warm.
Chicken Fajitas for the Grill
1/3 cup Lime juice , from 2 to 3 limes
6 tablespoons Vegetable oil
3 Medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Brown sugar
1 Jalapeño chile , seeds and ribs removed, chile minced
1 1/2 tablespoons Minced fresh cilantro leaves
Table salt and ground black pepper
3 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed of fat, tenderloins removed, breasts pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
1 Large red onion (about 14 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds (do not separate rings)
1 Large red bell pepper (about 10 ounces), quartered, stemmed, and seeded
1 Large green bell pepper (about 10 ounces), quartered, stemmed, and seeded
8 – 12 plain flour tortillas (6-inch)
1. In medium bowl, whisk together lime juice, 4 tablespoons oil, garlic, Worcestershire, brown sugar, jalapeño, cilantro, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup marinade in small bowl; set aside. Add another teaspoon salt to remaining marinade. Place chicken in marinade; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 15 minutes. Brush both sides of onion rounds and peppers with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Light all burners on gas grill and turn to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes; scrape grill grate clean with grill brush. Leave one burner on high heat while turning remaining burner(s) down to medium.
3. Remove chicken from marinade and place chicken smooth side down on hotter side of grill; discard remaining marinade. Place onion rounds and peppers (skin side down) on cooler side of grill. Cook (covered) chicken until well browned, 4 to 5 minutes; using tongs, flip chicken and continue grilling until chicken is no longer pink when cut into with paring knife or instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers about 160 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Meanwhile, cook peppers until spottily charred and crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once or twice as needed; cook onions until tender and charred on both sides, 10 to 12 minutes, turning every 3 to4 minutes. When chicken and vegetables are done, transfer to large plate; tent with foil to keep warm.
4. When grill is empty, set all burners to medium. Working in batches, if necessary, place tortillas in single layer on grate and grill until warm and lightly browned, about 20 seconds per side. As they are done, wrap tortillas in kitchen towel or large sheet of foil.
5. Separate onions into rings and place in medium bowl; slice bell peppers lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips and place in bowl with onions. Add 2 tablespoons reserved unused marinade to vegetables and toss well to combine. Slice chicken into 1/4-inch strips and toss with remaining 2 tablespoons reserved marinade in another bowl; arrange chicken and vegetables on large platter and serve with warmed tortillas.
Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated
Leave a Comment August 30, 2010
I read an article about farm stays in the US. Vacationers can reserve time away at a working farm. ” A back to the land experience”. ”The most satisfying approach to these trips is to wholly embrace unplugged living”. September 2010 issue of Whole Living
I am familiar with this type of living because I grew up on a small ranch. I didn’t appreciate the simpleness of my upbringing until I had children of my own. When we would visit my parents, my dad would take the kids out to feed the cows with him every morning. He would let them sit on his lap and drive the tractor. It was thrilling for them. He would make a slide for them in the barn with stacks of hay. It was a amusement park of dirt, mud and livestock. They loved it. It was a rich, imaginative environment for them. They were farmers and cowboys.
My children are and were completely unaware of the education they were getting. To them understanding that what you eat comes from the animals or food you raise was common knowledge. Like me, they won’t appreciate the value of whole living until they have children of their own.
136 Comments August 24, 2010
I love camping. We are going next week and I am looking forward to unplugging for a short time. Part of the excitement is the anticipation and planning for the trip. I have to plan our menu for our time away. I try to make and freeze meals beforehand so I don’t have to do a lot of cooking while I’m there. Part of the menu is something I like to call “camp food”.
“Camp food” usually requires that it be cooked on a open fire. Our best-loved camp food is banana boats. Banana boats are simple to make and easy for kids to prepare themselves. An extra bonus is that the kids get to place the banana boats in the coals of the fire. (with adult supervision of course.) Kids love to put stuff in the campfire. These can also be made on a grill or in a backyard fire pit.
1 banana(with peel on) per person
1 bag of mini chocolate chips
1 bag of mini marshmallows
Optional add ins: coconut, chopped nuts
12 inch x 10 sheet of aluminum foil(one per banana)
Hold the banana curved side up. Take a sharp knife, shallowly split the peel down middle. Open the peel wide enough to stuff with chocolate chips and marshmallows. Make sure to push the chocolate chips and marshmallows down inside the banana. Close up the peel and wrap the banana in foil. Place the foil wrapped banana in the coals. Cook until chocolate chips and marshmallows are melted, approximately 5 minutes.
Remove from the fire and peel open foil carefully. The banana and the contents will be syrupy and hot. Use a spoon.
To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug. ~Helen Keller
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. ~John Muir
58 Comments August 11, 2010
What are you passionate about? What inspires you?
I’m inspired by what other food bloggers write. There are many opinions about what to write and how to write it. One comment I read stated that bloggers should write what they are passionate about; I agree. When I think about what I’m passionate about one thought comes to mind, my family. I know this may sound strange to some people but I get excited about preparing a meal for them. I want them to love the taste of real, whole foods. We do our children a disservice by feeding them processed foods pressed into shapes. How will they know what real food looks and tastes like if that’s all they are exposed to.
Sunday is the day I plan a big family meal. One of the most requested meals is pot roast and noodles. It’s satisfying to see excited faces run to the table and their plates scraped clean at the end of a meal with minimal leftovers. I look forward to the day when my children make these dishes for their families and the tradition continues to the next generation. They will never forget the feeling of affection and contentment we shared over a memorable meal. I know this because it is the example I remember my parents setting.
“A family is a unit composed not only of children, but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.” Ogden Nash
55 Comments August 3, 2010
Making jam from scratch requires time, planning and a few ingredients but it is a task that anyone can accomplish. Every summer I watched my mom make jam from local grown, summer fruit. I suppose seeing her do it and how simple it was gave me the confidence to try it myself. If you’ve ever tasted homemade jam you understand why it is worth the effort.
I’ve posted some photos of my process so you can see how easy it is. I follow the recipe and directions in the Sure Jell package for cooked jam.
As you can see from my photos I don’t water bath process my jars of jam. I use the inversion method which is not recommended by the USDA. Sure Jell used to recommend this processing method for jams and jellies with high sugar content until a couple of years ago. This is the way I was taught to make jam and I haven’t had any problems.
92 Comments July 24, 2010