Category Archives: Everything Else

Foodie Elitists Anyone?

Note* This article was originally written but never published by me several years ago before I took a break from this blog. I have decided to go ahead and post it now, because now that the weather is getting better we (at least I do) begin to look locally again for my food source. Since moving back from arid Arizona I now have fresh  fruits, veggies, meats, and dairy local to me at an affordable rate, which in something I took for granted before moving west. So I thought that since it was on my mind and plate lately I would share this article to give another reason for more insight into the why behind all of this. 

Are you a “food snob” or “food elitist”? If being one means that you actually care about what goes in your mouth then according to big food business you must be. Check out this article published by The Washington Post about why some of the bigger players in our “Real Food Revolution” are essentially being name called. They are being targeted because they go against big corporations with their fact based opinions on how we as an American population are killing our small family farms while giving money to the major industrialized farms that utilize deplorable farming practices to get more food on our tables with less nutrition and more waste in our landfills.

” The “elitist” epithet is a familiar line of attack. In the decade since my book “Fast Food Nation” was published, I’ve been called not only an elitist, but also a socialist, a communist and un-American. In 2009, the documentary “Food, Inc.,” directed by Robby Kenner, was described as “elitist foodie propaganda” by a prominent corporate lobbyist. Nutritionist Marion Nestle has been called a “food fascist,” while an attempt was recently made to cancel a university appearance by Michael Pollan, author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” who was accused of being an “anti-agricultural” elitist by a wealthy donor.

This name-calling is a form of misdirection, an attempt to evade a serious debate about U.S. agricultural policies. And it gets the elitism charge precisely backward. America’s current system of food production — overly centralized and industrialized, overly controlled by a handful of companies, overly reliant on monocultures, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, chemical additives, genetically modified organisms, factory farms, government subsidies and fossil fuels — is profoundly undemocratic. It is one more sign of how the few now rule the many. And it’s inflicting tremendous harm on American farmers, workers and consumers. “

The article goes on to talk about the meat-packing industry and how there are only a few plants that are responsible for roughly 85% of America’s meat up from about 20% and is now one of the lowest paid industries, where as it used to be on of the highest.

Another thing that was pointed out in this article was about how nearly HALF of the meat from large factories may be contaminated with anti-biotic resistant bacteria. There is no wonder considering that nearly 80% of anti-biotic sales go to livestock to speed their growth and treat them with preventable diseases .

Not that it’s my intent to ruin you from all factory processed meat (because hey we’re not all perfect all the time nor do we need to be) but I think you will think about that the next time you pick up that juicy steak at the grocery store, or that hamburger meat that uses aging roast meat as a filler or, the next time you bite into a fat injected sugar filled quarter-pounder at McDonald’s, or allow your kid’s to eat school lunch meat, especially now with all our “revisions” to the school meal system. Instead of giving yourself a guilt trip over the past look to the future for change and think about the New York Times Article that talks about how the meat is treated with AMMONIA. This USDA approved practice is done so salmonella and E. Coli amounts are reduced.

“The company, Beef Products Inc., had been looking to expand into the hamburger business with a product made from beef that included fatty trimmings the industry once relegated to pet food and cooking oil. The trimmings were particularly susceptible to contamination, but a study commissioned by the company showed that the ammonia process would kill E. coli as well as salmonella.

Officials at the United States Department of Agriculture endorsed the company’s ammonia treatment, and have said it destroys E. coli “to an undetectable level.” They decided it was so effective that in 2007, when the department began routine testing of meat used in hamburger sold to the general public, they exempted Beef Products.”

With the U.S.D.A.’s stamp of approval, the company’s processed beef has become a mainstay in America’s hamburgers. McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast-food giants use it as a component in ground beef, as do grocery chains. The federal school lunch program used an estimated 5.5 million pounds of the processed beef last year alone.” See the New York Times Article for more

YUM! So, if caring about what I feed my family makes me a “foodie elitist” that I am proud to wear that label and so should you.

As you read this post and hopefully pass it along please know that I am not writing this to gross people out or to use scare tactics. I am posting this so create a discussion and thinking as where and how we as a nation and as individuals are getting our food.  And always to encourage people to VOTE WITH YOUR FORKS! Eat fresh and local produce, clean grass-fed meat processed locally, and grass-fed dairy.  Learn where more of your food is coming from and HOW it got there. It’s not as tough as you think!

Sources:

  • Washington Post Article “Why being a foodie isn’t elitist” By Eric Schlosser, Published: April 29 (Eric Schlosser is the author of “Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal” and a co-producer of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Food, Inc.”)
  • New York Times Article “Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned ” by MICHAEL MOSSPublished: December 30, 2009 ( Griff Palmer contributed reporting. A version of this article appeared in print on December 31, 2009, on page A1 of the New York edition.)
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What’s on Your Plate Sunday 5/22

This is the second week where I am asking everyone what’s on YOUR PLATE tonight. (This was last weeks post) I want to know what everyone is cooking up over the weekend, so please share! And if you have a recipe you would like to share, they are very welcomed as well.

I wasn’t feeling all that well yesterday (yes even real foodies do get sick sometimes) so we didn’t get to do our big grill out that we had planned. So today I am feeling better and still want to grill up those yummy grass-fed steaks that are staring at me from the fridge. To accompany our steaks I am going to steam my hubby’s favorite vegetable, which is asparagus, and top it with an easy blender hollandaise sauce. We will serve it with either a potato dish or jasmine rice-not sure yet!

I have the makings for vanilla ice cream that are happily chilling in the fridge right now and plan to make a delicious chocolate sauce to top it all off. We also have a couple of Kefir water sodas that should be about done with their secondary ferment that will go nicely with dinner. I am making “ginger-ail” this time. I need to do a post on kefir soda soon! It’s SO much fun and ridiculously easy, you wouldn’t believe it. Plus it’s amazingly good for you! You can’t beat it. Kids love it AND adults love which makes it a win-win for me!

Oh and I will get up recipe’s for the sauce and ice cream this week. I finally figured how to make the best basic ice cream without having to make the vanilla into a custard which is fantastic but it does take a while. This method can be whipped up in about 7 minutes (not including the chilling time and the actual 15 mins. or so it takes in the ice cream maker)


Almost Done!

The new Pure Homemaking blog is almost done! It looks fabulous, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone. We are just doing the finishing touches and hopefully it will be live this week. I will be kicking off the blog make-over with my first ever give away! Stay tuned for what’s to come.


Thoughts on Marriage

As you may have come to understand by now I am a lover of good, pure, REAL food. But I didn’t start off that way, and that’s not all there is to me either.  I was 20 years old when I got married and was ill prepared for a world of marriage, adulthood, and motherhood that was soon to follow. The early years of our marriage were tough; I’m not going to lie. We knew each other for a whopping four months before we decided to devote our lives to one another. Were we maybe a bit too young to fully understand that commitment? Perhaps we were, but we both felt that God had brought us together for a purpose and we knew that if we were faithful to put Him at the core of our relationship that we would be ok. Of course, we wanted to be more than ok and it took several long years of faith, prayer, growing up, and commitment to get to a place in our marriage where we can honestly say that we are deeply in love and simply enjoy one another more than anyone else. Love is a commitment. While it starts as a feeling that is not what true love is about. Love is sacrificial and it’s a decision that you make time and time again that is sometimes much harder than you would ever think possible.  Love is also extremely gratifying and rewarding and is truly a blessing to have and give.

Some people get married and have it perfect right from the start and never have any problems. I don’t know any of those people and I would venture to guess that you probably don’t either. Not if we’re all being honest here. And that brings me to the foundation of what a marriage should have- well any relationship really. Honesty. Now I don’t mean the cruel type of honesty where you say whatever is on your mind at a given time, even if it is hurtful. No, I am talking about being honest first with yourself, then with God, and then with your partner. Relationships are built on trust and it takes work on both parts to establish that trust and to re-establish it, should it ever be broken. And sometimes that happens.  But we are called to forgive just as Christ forgave us, and part of having a healthy relationship is forgiveness. Never hold a grudge. If something is bothering you, take a step back and try to figure out why and how to express it. Then bring it to your mate in an open and un-accusatory manner that is both respectful and vulnerable.  This part takes some practice and it’s important to have patience with one another as you learn how best to communicate with one another. It can sometimes take years to learn how to talk in a way that you can both really hear what each other is saying, and not get lost it the translation.

I will never claim to be an expert on marriage on any level but I have learned things, mostly the hard way and I have a passion for helping those who have been through similar circumstances as I have. I learned early on that marriage takes work, real work on both parts. But boy is it ever worth it. I love my husband more now than the day I said I do, and after nine years of marriage and three kids I can honestly say that our love for one another grows deeper every year we are together.  Every day is NOT perfect nor will it ever be; and honestly I think we need some of the rough times to enjoy the great times.

If anyone has any thoughts to share about relationships, I would love to hear them! I will be putting up a resources page soon on helpful books about tricky topics in marriages and relationships. A book that really helped me in our early years of marriage that was extremely humbling is The Book “A Wife After God’s Own Heart” by Elizabeth George. I highly recommend any wife or wife to be to check it out. It really helped me grow as a women and see what I out to be doing. It’s a tough read though!


Three Day Mom Marathon!

I feel like I just ran a three-day Mom Marathon! I have been cooking up a storm in the kitchen (details to follow) and dealing with a sick three-year old, who I might add pretty much never gets sick (thank you Jesus), as well as the day-to-day life stuff. I have only left my house to do short errands and oh yea today I also went to get a consult about getting my wisdom teeth removed. Joy of all joys.

Logan, my son came down with a random fever bug. High fever, no appetite,  and a sore throat and that’s pretty much it. His fever never got too terribly high but we had him sleep with us to keep an eye on him and I’m glad we did as both night his fever spiked pretty bad. But thank to Lord he is pretty much all better now, his appetite is slowly returning.

As for the kitchen duty, well my stores of goodies had gotten pretty low and I set about replenishing them. See, so I don’t spend my entire day in the kitchen I do a lot of batch cooking and baking. It really is the best way to do the whole Real Foods thing with it taking over your life. Because it can if you let it.

Anyhow, I needed to get to work so this is what I have made since Monday afternoon (it’s Wednesday now):

  1. Soaked Granola 
  2. Soaked whole grain apple-spiced pop-over (more like baked french toast but without the toast-SO amazing!)
  3. Spaghetti with easy homemade tomato-meat sauce
  4. Chicken Soup made from bones with soaked brown rice-for Logan
  5. Water Kefir Soda
  6. Milk Kefir
  7. 4 loaves of soaked whole wheat bread (recipe coming soon)
  8. Soaked whole wheat crackers-think wheat thins (recipe also coming soon)
  9. An amazing dinner that involved wilted spinach topped with crispy garlic, homemade egg noodles that I got from my CSA share tossed in olive oil, and sea prawns (fancy shrimp) YUM!
  10. Currently soaking more oats for granola bars and to have soaked oats on hand for whatever
  11. Something else I can’t think of I’m sure

That’s a LOT of dishes! Thankfully I have a wonderful husband that helps out or I would be mad tired.  I am now able to step out of the kitchen for a while. We have a couple easy breakfasts in that mix: homemade wheat bread topped with grass-fed butter and kefir smoothies, and granola with grass-fed raw milk. There is also enough left-overs for two full meals. So I really just have to worry about lunch and that’s easy-maybe peanut butter and raw honey on some more of my homemade bread-decisions, decisions!

So, I’m not really sure what the moral of the post is other than I think I need some sleep. But here’s an idea to chew on-spend a couple of days in the kitchen and then take a couple of days off so you don’t burn yourself out! I know, I have done it many a times.

Check back over the next few days for some of the recipes that I listed above so you can hopefully add them to your queue. And try some of the ones I already have up!


An Intro to Dairy Kefir-A guest post I did at another blog

So I have this very good friend named Lisa and she has undergone a VERY dramatic food conversion over the past couple of years. Most of the changing has taken place over the past several months and I am amazed at her enthusiasm and conviction that she has about it. I remember the first time I took her to Whole Foods right before she got married   ( about 4 years ago I think) and bought some organic meat. She didn’t understand why I would pay more for meat and what the benefits where. Well, we just placed our third joint purchase for half a grass-fed cow and are entering our third year as CSA members at our local farm.  I must say that I have enjoyed watching her family grow and the steps that she has made to provide her family with the most healthful food that she can. I feel the sense of pride that she got when she made her first soaked grain granola. I LOVE it, it makes me happy.
So just a couple of weeks ago I asked Lisa if she wanted some Kefir grains after I had talked to her a bit about how we were making kefir smoothies and how good they were. She said “sure why not”? She is now an old hand at making kefir but first she had a couple of questions for me and asked me to just do a guest blog post for her wonderful blog All Things Gale which you must check out. Girl has mad coupon-ing skills that she is now putting into our food club a data-base administrator.  She gave me a very heartwarming intro that I am too modest to put here but you can find it on her blog.
So…not to digress or anything (who, me?) here is the short Q and A we did on making milk kefir! I hope you enjoy it! Oh and the pictures belong to her too!
1) What IS kefir???

Kefir is a probiotic dairy beverage that is made using dairy kefir grains. The grains are actually scoby’s which stands for “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast’. When the grains come into contact with the milk they begin to ferment the milk into a drinkable probiotic packed beverage. Kefir has a much higher concentration of probiotics then yogurt and is also much easier to make. Probiotics are extremely beneficial to our gut as they help to kill off the bad bacteria while allowing the beneficial bacteria to flourish. This helps our immune system tremendously and is especially helpful after a round of anti-biotics.

Kefir grains

2) How do I use it?

Kefir can be used a variety of ways. My personal favorite way to use it is to make smoothies! My family loves them and I know that we are getting our daily dose of probiotics when I give it to them. Another great way to use kefir other than drinking it is to soak your own grain in it to expedite the breakdown of phytic acid. By soaking your grains with an acid solution such as kefir, your body is able to break down the nutrients that are locked inside the grain and make them more digestible to your body.

You can also make milk kefir cheese by fermenting the kefir grains in cream and then allowing it to drain for a few hours in a cheese cloth. Kefir is very versatile and making your own is a very frugal alternative then purchasing it at the health food store for about $4 per QUART! You can also use kefir instead of buttermilk or even yogurt in any recipe that calls for it.

3) Can I put the tiny jar of kefir in regular milk or does it have to be raw?

The milk does not have to be raw however it is preferred as raw milk does not go bad the way regular pasteurized milk does. Raw milk will only sour but it is still very edible. In fact, you can make a wonderful version of sour cream by simply putting a little bit of buttermilk in some cream and allowing it to sit at room temperature for about a day. If you are using pastured milk, than I would suggest only allowing it to sit out for about 12 hours to prevent the milk from going bad. Alternately you can use coconut milk. I have never personally tried this but it is on my list as I have heard that it’s wonderful!

Jar of kefir with the grains on top

4) Here is the timeline: Kefir grains get put in the jar and I pour milk over top. Close the lid and wait 12-18 hours for it to ferment properly. Now it is ready to use. So the question is: Do I take the kefir grains out right away? Or do I wait until the jar of kefir milk is gone and then put the grain in the little jar to store until next time. (I usually pull the grains out after the fermentation period on my counter-top.)

Making Kefir is very forgiving. Provided that you don’t let the grains hang out in a metal dish (which would weaken the grains) you have a lot of flexibility. Once you are done fermenting the kefir you can do what’s called a continuous ferment where you simply strain the grains from the newly made batch of kefir and place them in another quart of fresh milk to begin the process over again. You can also just take your batch of kefir that you just allowed to ferment and place it in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Just be sure to strain your grains out before you use the kefir so you can make another batch. You can also take a “rest” from making kefir by simply putting the grains in enough kefir to cover them and placing them in the fridge. You should also rinse the grains every few batches with FILTERED water. It’s important to use filtered water because the chlorine in tap water can kill the grains. Remember that kefir grains are a living food! They contain healthy bacteria and yeast and need to be well cared for.

5) Does kefir go bad? Or can I keep skimming from the milk to keep the kefir alive? At what point are those grains “bad” or do they last a long time? Like a month? A year? When will I need to purchase a new scoby or kefir grain?

Kefir grains do not go bad under normal circumstances. Healthy grains will multiply over time in which case you can share them with a friend, keep a back up in the fridge if you happen to kill your grains, or even put some of the grains in your smoothie for an added boost of pro-biotics. The grains may weaken over time but will not go bad unless you have mistreated them by exposing them to metal for long periods of time, or excessive heat. Your kefir grains should last indefinitely, remember they multiply!

These are the only tools needed to make kefir!!

6) How do I eat it? Is it the same as milk? Or will we notice the difference in flavor?

As I mentioned before there are several ways to consume kefir. It is not the same as milk but depending on how long you allowed it to ferment it will be thin, making in similar in consistency to milk. The flavor will be tart but refreshing. It does take a while to get used to the taste of freshly made kefir and a great way to start is to use it in smoothies! Here is a great recipe to start with:

Kefir Smoothie
2 cups kefir
1-2 cups frozen berries
1 banana
1 tbls. coconut cream concentrate or coconut oil

Blend well and enjoy!


What’s on Your Plate Tonight?

Tonight (provided the weather holds out) we are grilling up a few grass-fed Delmonico and Porterhouse steaks. We are serving it with some left-over mashed potatoes that my lovely husband made last night, and a fresh salad. I got many of the ingredients for the salad including the lettuce in my CSA share this week, and I can’t wait to use it up! I just made up this yummy dressing to top the salad with:

1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
3/4 cups cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
few squirts lemon juice
2ish tsp. Dijon mustard
dried herbs to taste:
basil, thyme, rosemary
pinch of sea salt, dried onion, and freshly ground pepper
1 crushed garlic clove
1 tsp. raw honey

Put in a jar or salad dressing carafe and shake well. Best if made at least an hour in advance so the flavors can mix together.

Thank you Plus Other Good Stuff for the inspiration for the dressing!

Oh and I forgot to add that we will be drinking Kefir soda to go with it! I have three different flavors all ready to go. We have ginger-ale, cream soda, and grape! YUM!


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