Oct 27, 2010

Chicken a la King - The Arkansas Dinner.

These recipes were used for our previous Weston A. Price Foundation chapter meeting.

When my family sat down for dinner I realized that almost everything was from Arkansas.

Chicken a la King

1/2 C. butter (1 stick)
1/2 C. onions, finely chopped
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. thyme (from my container garden)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 C. flour
1-3/4 C. chicken bone broth
1-1/2 C. whole milk
8 oz. finely chopped mushrooms (any variety, mine were Shiitake mushrooms are from 3-Buddies Berry and Mushroom Farm. )
2 - 3 C. diced, cooked chicken (from Cove Creek Acres)

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, spices, salt and pepper. Cook until onions are transparent. Add flour a bit at a time, stirring constantly —stir and cook until hot and bubbly (to make a roux).  Next, gradually add bone broth and then milk, mixing continuously. Add mushrooms.

If you stopped at this point, you'd have cream of mushroom soup.
Turn burner down to med-low. Gently and nearly continuously keep stirring mixture. It may seem a bit lumpy at first, but will smooth out. Bring to a gentle boil and stir for 1 minute. Add chicken and heat through.  (I cooked the chicken and stock the day before in my crock pot.)

UPDATE JUNE 2011:  If you add 1/2 cup of white wine to this you won't regret it.  Super yumma-lish.

Optional: Add 4 - 6oz. frozen green peas.

Serve over brown rice.

Soaked Brown Rice—oven recipe, perfect for cooking rice in advance!

3 C. long-grain brown basmati rice (uncooked)
5 C. bone broth
2 Tbls. olive oil or butter
1-1/2 tsp. salt

Soak rice in 6 cups water and 4 tablespoons kefir, cultured buttermilk, etc. for about 7 hours.

Drain rice, but do not rinse. Turn oven on to 375°. Grease 3 quart baking dish and pour in rice. On
stovetop bring broth, oil, and salt to a boil over high heat. Pour hot liquid mixture over rice. Cover with
double layer of foil. Bake 50-60 minutes, until tender.

Collard Greens from Kellogg Valley Farms
Remove thick stems from leaves.
Melt a generous pat of butter in a sauce pan (bacon grease would be yummy, too - but I didn't have any.)  Toss in your collard greens, place the lid on pan for about 1 minute.  Remove lid, stir greens, add salt, cover for another minute.  Repeat until greens are wilted to desired consistency.

My family really enjoyed the bitter taste of the greens with the rich creamy chicken a la king.

If you've not tried collard greens lately - try them!  They are so good for us.  Buy some Arkansas food this weekend at the farmers market!  Here is a list of other seasonal Arkansas food.

also posted at Works for Me Wednesday and Real Food Wednesday.

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Oct 26, 2010

Makes You Wonder

I just got an e-mail from Slow Food USA which starts with the following statement of outrage with regard to the FDA's response to the recent egg contamination problem:

The largest ever egg recall, then this from the FDA: "Failure to take prompt corrective action may result in regulatory action being initiated by the FDA without further notice." Are they serious? A warning letter is all you get for spreading disease across the nation?

The e-mail caused me to wonder about another e-mail I had just received from the Weston A. Price Foundation soliciting help for a small farm in Missouri.

This is the story in brief from the website set up to collect financial help for Morningland Dairy which stands to lose a quarter of a million dollars if their cheese is destroyed.

Morningland Dairy, Mountain View, MO, is under orders by the FDA and the Milk Board to destroy 50,000 lbs of cheese that has never been tested for pathogens. Morningland Dairy is just the latest attempt by the FDA to fulfill the Healthy People 2020 objective to kill raw dairy.

Morningland is owned by Joseph and Denise Dixon, who operate the cheese plant and make raw cheese from cows kept right on the property and managed by one of their eldest daughters. They have 12 children, 4 of who still live at home, and they have been actively engaged in real food for three decades.

They were caught up in the Rawesome Raid dragnet and many believe the questionable California Dept of Food and Agriculture tests on their cheese are the legal justification for the multi-agency guns drawn raid at Rawesome. The FDA is trying very hard to kill our nation’s local food supply.

By the way, you read that right – the Rawsome food club was raided with guns drawn.

The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund is providing legal assistance to the owners of Morningland Dairy.   Makes me glad I am a member.

Big supplier of eggs that make people sick gets a warning letter; farmers producing cheese that has not made anyone sick get run out of business. Hmm….makes you wonder; doesn't it?


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Oct 25, 2010

*Special* Farm Girl Natural Foods

From Farm Girl Natural Foods...
As we finish up the 2010 market season, we're evaluating our pork inventory and realizing we need to move a real volume of several cuts, sausage especially, to clear freezer space for early 2011.

1. On the online* markets we're now offering bulk sausage packs of 5 lbs at 30% off, compared to retail. Ten pound packs are 35% off retail. These are five or ten 1 lb packages of loose sausage with either original, jalapeno, or hot seasoning.

2. Online* and at the Certified Arkansas Farmers Market - Argenta market - orders of 2 pkgs of chops and all roasts include a free "Who's your farmer?" bumpersticker.

3. Online* we're now offering mini-shares which include 4 thick cut pork chops, a boneless ham, a picnic roast, and two lbs of original sausage. All for $60, that's less than $5/lb.

Katie Short
Farm Girl Natural Foods
(501) 215-0419
email: katie AT farmgirlfood.com
Check out our blog for ongoing deals!

*Online Markets Include:
Little Rock

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Oct 24, 2010

Monday Farmers Market in WLR

Please make time to stop by the farmers market in West Little Rock, Monday from 2-5pm.  It's set up in the Pulaski Academy parking lot, just down the hill from the Terry Library - on the corner of Hinson and Napa Valley.

Barnhill Orchards will have
Turnip Greens
Mustard Greens
Kentucky Wonder pole beans
shelled pecans
purple hull peas
farm fresh eggs

Garden at Becky Lane (chemical free) will have
sweet potatoes

K-Bee Honey will be have local honey

North Pulaski Farms (certified organic) will have
Tyria & Little Leaf Cucumbers
Red and Green Bell Peppers
Mustard Greens
Prize Choy
Romaine Lettuce
Sylvesta Butterhead Lettuce
Fordhook Acorn
Delicata Squash
and will feature 3-Buddy’s Shiitake Mushrooms

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Oct 23, 2010

Eat Fat Lose Fat

This is an email response from a local reader, after Lisa and I recommended the book Eat Fat Lose Fat.  You can see other book recommendations here.

Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans FatsThanks for pointing me to Eat Fat Lose Fat!  I am devouring it.  I feel like the heavens opened up and explained the mystery of life to me.  HaHa…okay…not quite …but CLOSE!

Where I was dabbling in some of this before I feel like I am ready to wade deeper now and feel very motivated to incorporate these principles.  I am not finished with the book yet because for some reason children need feeding and schooling and husbands expect acknowledgement…otherwise I’d have finished it within 24 hours!  Anyway, thanks so much!  I am a believer for sure!  -Melissa
After reading that book, people often ask me (Julie) where I buy coconut oil.  There is a difference in coconut oils.  The most important thing is to buy unrefined coconut oil.  Refined coconut oil is used for cosmetic (or external) purposes.  I buy unrefined, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil on-line from Mountain Rose Herbs (MRH) in a five-gallon bucket.   Our family uses about a gallon every two months.  Coconut oil has a two-year shelf life and does not need to be refrigerated.  It is much cheaper to buy it on-line than at Whole Foods, and I think MRH is a better quality oil than anything at Whole Foods.  Lisa Lipe buys the gold label coconut oil from Tropical Traditions.  I've used both oils from MRH and TT and both are quality oils.

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Oct 21, 2010

Real Food Budget Tips

The following article is written by Erin.

Are you frustrated that healthy choices seem to be more expensive?  Me too.  Here is an interesting take on why local food is more expensive.

My family is a year into this journey and we're still working on our real food budget!

We have found it especially challenging to budget for bulk buying.  I can confidently say that buying a meat share is cost effective.  It's a big chunk up front, but the farmer we're dealing with is very flexible with payments after the initial deposit.

One of our cost-cutting measures is to eat about 3 meat-less dinners a week. 

I think it's more expensive when you're first starting out because you are experimenting and discovering what works best for your family.  Once you can get a basic weekly meal plan put together it gets easier and you're not wasting as much food.  There is also a learning curve when cooking seasonally with what is locally available.

I'm so glad cold weather is almost here because I can save alot of money (and time!) by making soups with homemade stock.  Everyone in my family enjoys soup and it is so nourishing!

We eat lots of farm fresh eggs, too.  They are cheap, filling, and healthy.  I hard-boil a dozen eggs at the beginning of each week for snacks.

I make weekly trips to Drug Emporium, Whole Foods, Kroger, Walmart SuperCenter (mostly non-food items), and the WLR farmer's market.  I could probably avoid Whole Foods most of the time if we weren't getting our filtered water there.  We order from Azure Standard at the end of every month because they have very good prices on many items.

Here is a basic breakdown of where we shop and what we buy, though I'm sure I've left a few things out.  Keep in mind, we avoid dairy most of the time because hubby and eldest daughter are allergic.

Drug Emporium
Herbal/Homeopathic remedies, supplements/vitamins, essential oils, Dr. Bronner's soap, Burt's Bees shampoo, cocoa powder, Bubbie's pickles, Brown Cow yogurt, rice pasta, sprouted bread

Whole Foods
Reverse osmosis filtered water (39 cents per gallon), salsa, bulk spices, frozen organic vegetables, fresh organic produce (parsley, green onions, 5-lb bags of potatoes, yellow onions)

fresh organic produce (carrots, celery), bulk organic raisins.  Always check for clearance/manager's special items at Kroger.  They can have some really great deals on organic items.

Walmart Supercenter
toiletries, household items.  The only food I buy at Walmart is bananas, avacadoes, and organic lemons.

baking soda and white vinegar for cleaning, organic spaghetti sauce

Local Farmers
eggs, meat, honey, in-season fruits and vegetables

Azure Standard
raw walnuts, peanut butter, coconut milk (used as a dairy substitute at my house), bulk spices, popcorn kernels, oats, dry beans, assorted household items

Specialty items bought online
fermented cod liver oil and coconut butter ghee from Green Pasture; coconut oil and various herbs for homemade teas/tinctures/salves from Mountain Rose Herbs.

Instead of giving a sample of my weekly meal plan, I'm going to suggest that you start by choosing some of your simpler recipes and try substituting healthier ingredients.

For example, if you normally use canola oil for stir frying, try switching to coconut oil.  If you normally use table salt, try using sea salt (RealSalt is a good brand).  If you normally use margarine, try using real butter or ghee (clarified butter).  If you use white sugar or artificial products as sweeteners, try substituting sucanat, honey, or maple syrup.  You get the picture.

If you are past that point and want to totally re-tool your recipe box there are many good recipes on this blog and other blogs like The Nourishing Gourmet.

We save on cleaning supplies by mostly using baking soda, white vinegar (both bought in bulk at Sam's), and Dr. Bronner's soap (Drug Emporium, sometimes Kroger).

Don't stress yourself out by comparing your food choices to those who have been eating the real food way for years or have a much bigger budget.  We ALL started out slowly and felt just as overwhelmed (still do at times!).

More Frugal Tips
Kroger puts their overripe bananas (even organic ones) in sacks for 39 cents per pound.  Snatch those puppies up, take them home, cut them into large chunks, and pop them in a freezer bag.  They make great additions to smoothies.

Drug Emporium is notorious for changing their prices.  Before you put an item in your cart, look at all the price stickers.  Sometimes the ones at the back of the shelf will be significantly cheaper than the ones at the front.  Don't be ashamed to dig around.  They are also very good about stocking items at your request if they don't currently carry it.

Check for coupons on the Whole Foods website and in their flyer called The Whole Deal.  They will also give a 10% discount if you buy by the case (which is twelve of any item.)

Remember to take baby steps.  Try not to get discouraged, and ask your real food friends for more tips.

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Oct 20, 2010

Real Cheese Dip

Hi, I'm HB and I love food. I love lots of different types of food. Most of what I grew up loving is really, really bad for me.

One of my fave cravings is my ma's cheese dip. If you were born and raised in the south, I am sure your mom makes this cheese dip, too. The recipe is quite simple: velveeta, rotel and occasionally hamburger meat thrown in for good measure. I actually did not know that Velveeta was not real cheese until sometime in my early 20's. My hubby loves a good cheese dip as well and I set out to recreate our beloved cheese dip sans velveeta. Here's what I came up with:

Real Cheese Dip
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 can rotel
1 can enchilada sauce (or 1-2 tablespoons of chili powder)
1 teaspoon of cumin
dash of red pepper
dash of salt
2 or 3 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese

Brown the beef, onion and bell pepper. Drain beef. Over low heat, add rotel and cream cheese to meat mixture. Once the cream cheese is melted, add the enchilada sauce or chili powder to desired color and consistency. Add cumin and remaining spices to taste.

This recipe is very flexible. You can add more cream cheese if desired. The ground beef we purchased from Falling Sky Farm came in 1 1/2 pound packages, which explains the above quantity. The recipe could easily sustain less ground beef.

Tweak away and have fun!

Also posted at Works for Me Wednesday and Real Food Wednesday.

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Oct 17, 2010

Message from Sally Fallon, WAPF President

The following is reprinted with permission from the Fall 2010 Wise Traditions Journal, a quarterly journal from the Weston A. Price Foundation.  My journal came in the mail last week; I love reading it cover to cover.  The main reason I became a member of the Weston A. Price Foundation was to receive the journal. It is chocked full of interesting information.  Let me encourage you to become a member today.  -Julie

Use of lead pipes and lead cooking vessels is given as one reason for the decline of ancient Rome.  Ingestion of lead over time leads to brain and kidney damage, gastrointestinal symptoms, anemia, neurological symptoms, depressed sperm count and increased risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight and impaired mental development.  The Romans were largely unaware of the insidious effects of lead in their food, wine and water.

The plant-based, low-fat, low-salt diet enshrined in the USDA dietary guidelines is contributing to chronic disease, digestive disorders, infertility and increasing developmental problems in our children; yet few are aware of the relationship between these dictates and the steady decline in our health.  If followed, these guidelines are a lead pipe cinch for increasing infertility, fatigue, learning disorders and all manner of illness, which sap the lifeblood of our society and will result in its inevitable decline.  And the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee is determined that they will be followed, focusing its attention on behavior modification techniques to ensure compliance and stipulating adherence in schools, hospitals, prisons and other institutions.  The Committee admits that most people don adhere to their strictures, but prefers that we indulge in processed foods made with industrial fats, specifically, warning against eggs, bacon and cheese.

We at the Weston A. Price Foundation have been following the actions of the Committee as it moves relentlessly towards new 2010 guidelines that are even stricter than earlier versions - specifically with lower recommended levels of saturated fat and salt, two nutrients that are key to brain function.  We have submitted testimony, listened to webinars, attended hearings and issued press releases.  In fact, it was only due to the efforts of our publicist, Kimberly Hartke, that there was any media representation at all at recent hearings.  To read testimony from those who oppose the guidelines, visit Kimberly's blog.  WAPF is also developing a colorful poster and booklet describing the principles of healthy, nutrient-dense diets.  Our alternative guidelines recommended four groups: animal foods including dairy; grains, legumes and nuts; fruits and vegetables; and healthy fats.  We'll keep you posted on our progress and announce these materials with appropriate publicity.

Meanwhile, the best way to learn about the latest in nutrition science and to enjoy delicious healthy food is to attend Wise Traditions 2010, our 11th annual conference.  We urge you not to delay in pre-registering; ticket sales are funning way ahead of last year and we'd hate to turn away any of our members for lack of space.  Click here for details on our speakers.

Sally Fallon Morell, MA

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Oct 15, 2010

Starting Your Real Food Journey

I often find myself talking to people who have come to the realization that what they are eating is harming themselves and their families. Sometimes the realization has been sneaking up on them for a few years but then hits with full force when a health challenge manifests itself or becomes unbearable. I recently received a phone call from a mother who had just decided that things must change at her dinner table. She was feeling determine to provide more help for her son who struggles with learning and attention. A friend suggested that she call me for help. She told me she was on her way to the grocery store and wanted to know what to buy for dinner that night.

There are those of us, my new friend most likely included, that when we see a problem we feel the need to fix it immediately. The fact that most everything we are putting in our mouths may be contributing to our health, emotional, and/or mental functioning issues can be frightening. If you find yourself in this situation, I recommend that you take a deep breath and then take one step forward.

Do not attempt to change your entire eating and food preparation habits overnight. It is virtually impossible, and will most likely result in a mental breakdown for yourself and a rebellion in your home, if you are feeding a family. Remind yourself that mental breakdowns and anarchy in your home are health dangers you want to avoid.

The good news is that you will be able to take the first step today, and perhaps another step tomorrow and a few more steps this month. With every step you take, congratulate yourself that you are receiving more nutrition and fewer toxins from your food choices. Every little bit counts. If you are feeding a family, give them time to learn and adjust also.

Local WAPFer John Majors wrote a great post on how to “help your man” with this change. My teenage daughter wrote an encouraging post that will help you realize that teenagers can make healthy changes also. You can read a series of posts with stories of how other families in our area got started entitled "small beginnings.” These articles can be found under the label "baby steps" on the right hand side near the bottom of our blog homepage.

Each step should be celebrated. At the end of the month, look at how far you have come not how far you have to go. Remind yourself that a year from now you will have made an amazing amount of change.

We are planning a Weston A. Price Foundation Little Rock Chapter meeting on the evening of Monday, November 15th. This will be a discussion panel where we will do our best to answer your questions. Mark your calendar and stay tuned for more details.

If you’d like to get started today or you’d like to find out what step to take next, click on “Getting Started” in the top menu of our blog. You will find a list of steps to start you on your Real Food journey.


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Oct 14, 2010

School Children Served Fake Milk

The following was taken from the back of a carton of 1% chocolate lowfatmilk in a school cafeteria.

Ingredients: Lowfat Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Chocolate Premix (cocoaprocessed with Alkali, Food Starch, Salt, Carrageenan,Vanillin (artificialflavor) Skim Milk Powder, Mono & Diglicerides, Polysorbate 80, PropyleneGlycol, Disodium Phosphate, Sodium Citrate, Cellulose gum, Dextrose, VitaminA, Palmitate, Vitamin D3

Need I say more?


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Oct 13, 2010

Linky Love

--Cold and flu season is approaching.  Have you made chicken broth yet?  Here's a recipe for Homemade Chicken Broth and Six Reasons to Make Your Own.  If you want to make it extra nutritious, be brave: add the chicken feet.  You can buy them locally, here.

--Looking for recipes to reduce your food budget yet with nourishing recipes?  Each Thursday The Nourishing Gourmet hosts a Pennywise Platter Carnival where bloggers submit nourishing and frugal recipes and ideas.

--In the news this week: The High Fructose Corn Syrup Bloggers - a symptom of a larger problem.

--Ladies, read about A Natural Approach to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  Cheeseslave writes about How to Balance Hormones Naturally.

--Whole Foods has coupons on-line.  I printed the Thai Kitchen, Lundberg rice, two yogurt, Muir Glen, and Organic Valley sour cream coupons.

--Homemade Lara Bars.

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Oct 11, 2010

How to Get Your Man to Eat Like a Girl

***This article is written by guest blogger, John Majors, to women everywhere.  Two years ago he said, "our eating habits haven't changed that much," when indeed they have changed drastically.  Our family's food journey took baby steps for about ten years.***

So you married a manly man that has spent his entire life eating nothing but bologna, white bread, Doritos, and individually wrapped slices of processed cheese food product. Now that you’ve been married a few years, you’ve started to realize that no life form can live on “food” that is basically a molecule or two removed from existing as a Ziploc bag. Assuming you love this man, you thought it might be advantageous to keep him around a few more years, and thus the need arose to begin to introduce some real food into his life.

Where do you begin? How do you get this man to eat something that is green because it is supposed to be?

This is a complex question that requires some thinking. Not because men are complex, heaven knows most men are not much more complicated than a single celled amoeba, but because food is a complex issue with all kinds of emotions, memories and identities wrapped together like a tightly bound bean burrito.

Food is much more about identity than knowledge. You eat certain foods for a long list of reasons, (to feel good, because it reminds you of Grandpa, it tastes good, it’s easy, brings back memories of your childhood). Some motivations of which you may not even be aware. Food is also like religion and culture, in that if you assault either, you are also belittling the person’s family, history, and a part of their very essence.

You must tread carefully and respectfully or your man will feel attacked, rejected and possibly tune you out.

So since I’ve been accused of ‘eating like a girl’ by many men (some of whom have slowly seen the wisdom of such a diet), I’m uniquely qualified to speak into this issue with some authority, experience, and irreverence.

So here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Start by realizing that it’s not your job to change him.

The adage is old but true: most men marry thinking their wives will never change, and wives marry knowing that their man must. Thus when a woman starts to change and learn and become a better person, the man becomes confused. What happened? What went wrong? He asks. This is because when a man finally has something the way he likes it, he just wants it to stay the same. That’s why the concept of ‘wheel alignments’ has always been frustrating to most men. Why can’t they tires just stay aligned?

If you have as your goal in life to change the way your husband eats, you will be uptight, he will stay in a constant state of confusion, and everyone in the home will stay tensed and frustrated. Drop the goal and everyone will be happier. Ultimately, he is the only person that can change himself. Instead of trying to change him, keep your goal much simpler, which leads to number two.

2. Think one meal at a time.

If you try to launch an entire new regiment and master plan of eating, you’ll likely be met with much resistance. But if you introduce something new occasionally, without all the hoopla and guilt trips, then you’re much more likely to get some buy in.

Instead of saying “Honey, I’ve noticed that you have been putting on weight, and that your blood pressure has been going up, and that your cholesterol is through the roof - oh and you never exercise. If you want to live to see 40, we have to get rid of everything fried, sweetened and carbonated in this house today!”

Rather, try “Honey, I made something new tonight and wanted to see if you liked it.”

If he likes it, make it again.  If not, tweak it. Over time you’ll have a staple of healthy meals that you know he likes. Remember, men are simple. If it tastes good, they will eat it, especially if they don’t have to cook it.

3. Speak his language.

Probably the main response women face with their men is the fact that good food costs more.  So, many men think “we just can’t afford to eat that way.”

But this can be navigated carefully and winsomely. Help a man realize how eating healthy is not necessarily more expensive when everything is factored into the cost. Men understand this - but just not necessarily related to food.

Every man knows that not all the cars are the same. There is a good reason you would purchase one type of vehicle over another.

Let’s say a man wants to start a firewood delivery service. Is it cheaper to purchase a 1998 4-door Malibu sedan, or a 2002 Chevy pickup? Of course the Malibu is “cheaper,” but you will never get the work done with that fine piece of American ingenuity. In fact, you will probably lose money trying to deliver firewood in that car because of the extra trips needed to make all your runs in a day. When you compare apples to apples, men understand this, but you just have to speak their language. There is a reason front row tickets to a basketball game cost more than the top row tickets. They get this.

Now, how do you present this information to them? The first time they get sticker shock when they see that your farm-fresh chicken cost three times as much as Tyson’s teetering turkey sized cave dwelling fowl, you can simply say “You know, I realized that this whole bird was about the same price as these two little boneless/skinless chicken breasts… crazy, huh? So much more for so much less!” No need to unload all the fine details just yet. Just a little bit of info and comparison detail to help him compare apples to apples.

4. Dribble small bits of information his way...one bite at a time.

Instead of forwarding long emails to him on the horrors of GMO’s, pesticides, aluminum cookware, and vaccinated meat, just pass along little tidbits and zingers here and there.

At our home it works like this: some evenings my wife and I will sit in our chairs and read from various books of personal interest. Inevitably, I will be reading something about war, death, politics, history, or theology. She is likely reading a book that is somehow linked to food. Occasionally she’ll stop and say “Huh. Amazing. I just read that cows in most modern dairies only live 2 or 3 years while pastured cows live 15. Huh.” Now, if I’m listening (meaning, if she waited till she had my attention) I will respond with a “Huh - wow.” And move on.

If I found the factoid fascinating, then I might ask “hmmm… I wonder why that is?” And now you’ve started into a discussion, rather than a lecture, that might eventually lead to being able to talk more about the benefits of raw milk.

5. Provide a safe environment for him to learn and change.

If a man feels that he will be looked down upon if he does not change, he will likely get defensive or withdraw.

Don’t let your nightly meals together - your precious family time - don’t let that time turn into another Cold War. “Tear down that wall" and choose to make every meal a relaxing, fun environment where he feels safe to try new things without guilt.

You can do this by also offering him things you know he likes whenever you try something new. Keep the communication open so that he feels he has a say in what you are putting on the table. Maybe even give him the option to choose from a couple of new things you would like to try.

So these few tips are by no means exhaustive or complete. This is merely a starting point for women out there with manly men that like things to stay the way they are. Eventually, you’ll want to get to a place where you can pass on much more information to him, but doing so before he’s interested will be frustrating. Hopefully, as he begins to eat good food, he’ll want to know more about what he’s eating and start asking about it. Good luck!

Linked to Monday Mania and Real Food Wednesday.

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Oct 8, 2010

Meet your Meat: Boneless Ham

This article is written by guest blogger, Katie of Farm Girl Natural Foods, and was orginally posted on her blog The Inside Dirt.

A ham is a ham is a ham, or is it?

To most, a ham is a giant hunk of meat that arrives in our shopping carts already cured, smoked, and spiral sliced and just needs a little heating to make a holiday table centerpiece. It's also a large, lean section of a pig's leg.

At Farm Girl Natural Foods, ours come either as whole hams (15+ lbs) or as 4-6 lb boneless roasts. Center cut roasts will have very little fat around the outside while most others will include the fat normally surrounding the whole leg.

As I learned early on in pig farming, there's traditionally a lot of work in taking a ham from lean, neutral meat to that state of caramelized, cured succulence. The crucial step, curing and smoking, is nearly impossible for the small farmer to do legally for retail. I'll save the full story of local butchers and smokehouses for another post and say: our hams are fresh (not smoked) and ready to take your culinary direction. To me, this was a daunting discovery.

How do you make a ham into a ham when you have to do it all yourself? I did a lot of reading and found two keys: brining and creating a caramel rind. Both are simple if you give the whole project some time. Below is the least confusing and most appetizing recipe I found at Cooks Illustrated.

Roast Fresh Ham


1. Carefully slice the outside of the meat in a cross-hatch pattern with a serrated knife (I used a bread knife).

2. In 1 gallon of water, combine the following:

  2 cups salt
  1.5 cups packed brown sugar
  10 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed and peeled
  5-8 bay leaves
  fresh ground black peppercorns

3. Submerge the ham and let soak, refrigerated for 8-24 hours

the finished product

1. Puree together 1/4 cup sage, 1/4 cup parsley, 8 medium garlic cloves (peeled), 1.5 tsp table salt, 1/2 tablespoon black pepper, and 1/4 cup olive oil.

2. Remove the ham from the brine, rinse thoroughly, pat dry, and place on roasting pan, rind (or fatty side) up. Massage all over with herb rub, making sure to get it in all those nooks and crannies.

3. Roast in the oven on the lowest rack at 500 degrees for 20 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the glaze:

  1 cup apple cider
  2 cups packed brown sugar
  5 cloves

Bring to a boil, simmer 5-7 minutes and let cool.

4. After 20 mins at 500, turn the oven down to 350 and baste the ham with the glaze. Roast for an additional 15 mins/lb and glaze when removed from the oven. It may smoke a little as the glaze caramelizes, just tell your smoke detector to chill out.

5. Carve and enjoy!!
If you'd like to purchase a ham from Farm Girl Natural Foods, you'll find Katie on Saturdays at the Certified Arkansas Farmers Market or purchase on-line through the Arkansas Sustainability Network.  Or email her:  katie AT farmgirlfood DOT com

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Oct 7, 2010

What's New on the Blog

The great majority of our readers receive new blog posts in their email inbox.  If you are an email (or Google) reader, you may be unaware of  recent updates on the blog.

Across the top of the blog there are different pages you can click on.  For instance, if you wanted to see a list of farmers - click on "Sources."  At the bottom of that page is also information on bulk ordering from Azure Standard and Country Life.

Another page recently added is called REAL Milk Videos.  Sally Fallon, the Weston A. Price Foundation president, explains the safety, health, economic and legal issues surrounding raw milk.  Raw (or real) milk is a pillar of the WAPF philosophy.  If you've never thought about pasteurized versus raw milk, these videos could be an eye opener to you.  If you drink raw milk and your relatives think you're weird, the videos could be helpful for persuasive talking points at dinner.

Also to help expand your horizons is a list of books on its own page.  All of the recommended books can be found in the Central Arkansas Library System.  Some of them you'll want to add to your Amazon wish list, I'm sure.

Of course, if you're looking for recipes - we've tried to "label" them all.  In the far right column, if you scroll down a bit, you'll see LABELS.  You can click on a host of subjects that catorgize past posts.  Not only will you find recipes but you can read previous articles with labels like "Meet Your Farmers" or lacto-fermenting.

Last but not least is a page created by former WAPF chapter leader, Rita O'Kelley.  She compiled a list of Complementary and Alternative Resources from suggestions from friends and readers alike.  Among other things, you'll find recommendations for chiropractors, dentists, and massage therapists in central Arkansas.

Six-months ago this blog was just a fun idea.  It has really blossomed!  I'll be the first to say - the writers of this blog have had a grand time writing about one of our favorite subjects, real food.

Thank you for being supportive in our journey.  Thank you for encouraging us.  Thank you for being patient with us as we iron out wrinkles!  Most of all, thank you for being responsive.  We love comments on the blog but the greatest compliment of all is when you tell friends and family what you're learning about real food.  "Like" us on Facebook or tell others to subscribe to Real Food in Little Rock.

 - Julie

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Oct 6, 2010

"New" USDA Dietary Guidelines

Recently I participated in a complementary “health screening” being given by some very nice student nurses at the Certified Arkansas Farmers Market. My blood pressure, body mass index, and blood sugar were checked. I received perfect marks across the board.

Undaunted by the large USDA food pyramid looming in the background of the booth, I shared my “secret” of eating plenty of fat to stabilize my blood sugar. Of course, I was cautioned about the dangers of eating saturated fat to which I replied that I eat LOTS of saturated fat – cream in my whole milk, butter spread thick on my sprouted wheat bread, coconut oil, and fat from grass-fed animals. I told the nurse that my cholesterol scores are good too.

These are the scores from my last check-up (August 2009):

Total cholesterol 189
Triglycerides 49
HDL 64 (HDL over 59 is considered a negative risk factor for heart disease)
LDL 115

(If you would like to watch a very informative video which explains what cholesterol scores really do and do not mean, Dr. Robert H. Lustig, MD, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinologyat the University of California explains it well in this video presentation, "Sugar: The Bitter Truth".)

The sweet nurse I was talking with didn’t know what to say to me. She was just trying to be polite and helpful, and I admit I can be a smidgeon overbearing at times. She is just teaching what she has been taught. I left a Weston A. Price Foundation brochure with the hopes that I might make some small impact on a member of our medical system.

It saddens me that disease and obesity are running rampant in our nation, while our government continues to hold a “death grip” on a food pyramid that promotes a low fat grain-based diet. The USDA dietary guidelines are reviewed and reissued every 5 years, but unfortunately, it looks like we are in for more of the same as the USDA prepares to release “new” dietary guidelines this Fall.

Below you will find the first portion of Weston A. Price Foundation President Sally Fallon Morell’s comments regarding the USDA dietary guidelines.


Current USDA dietary guidelines are based on the flawed notion that cholesterol and saturated fat are unhealthy. They are unrealistic, unworkable, unscientific and impractical; they have resulted in widespread nutrient deficiencies and contributed to a proliferation of obesity and degenerative disease, including problems with growth, behavior and learning in children. The US government is promoting a low fat, plant-based diet that ignores the vital role animal protein and fats have played in human nutrition throughout the ages.

The pyramid with its strictures against fat consumption does not recognize variations in human metabolism. Recommendations for fat restriction are predicated on the assumption that fat causes weight gain and heart disease; several recent studies have shown that that restriction of natural fats actually leads to more obesity in both children and adults, while the refined carbohydrates, polyunsaturated and trans fats that frequently replace natural saturated fats contribute to weight gain and chronic disease. Restriction of animal fats in children leads increased markers for heart disease and to deficiencies of vitamins A, D and K2, needed for growth, strong bones, immunity, neurological function, and protection from tooth decay.


The Weston A. Price Foundation strongly urges the USDA Dietary Guidelines committee to scrap the food pyramid and replace it with the following Healthy 4 Life guidelines, based on four groups of whole foods.

Every day, eat high quality, whole foods to provide an abundance of nutrients, chosen from each of the following four groups:

1. Animal foods: meat and organ meats, poultry, and eggs from pastured animals; fish and shellfish; whole raw cheese, milk and other dairy products from pastured animals; and broth made from animal bones.

2. Grains, legumes and nuts: whole-grain baked goods, breakfast porridges, whole grain rice; beans and lentils; peanuts, cashews and nuts, properly prepared to improve digestibility.

3. Fruits and Vegetables: preferably fresh or frozen, preferably locally grown, either raw, cooked or in soups and stews, and also as lacto-fermented condiments.

4. Fats and Oils: unrefined saturated and monounsaturated fats including butter, lard, tallow and other animal fats; palm oil and coconut oil; olive oil; cod liver oil for vitamins A and D.

Avoid: foods containing refined sweeteners such as candies, sodas, cookies, cakes etc.; white flour products such as pasta and white bread; processed foods; modern soy foods; polyunsaturated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and fried foods.

You can read Sally Fallon Morell’s full comments here.


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Oct 5, 2010

Reasons to Pay More for Grass-Fed Meat

This article is written by guest blogger, Katie from Farm Girl Food.

Over the years we’ve had quite a few customers ask why pay more for grass-fed or pastured meats and eggs when the grocery store counterpart costs less.

It’s a legitimate question if you’re discovering products with the same names as those in the grocery store, but with prices sometimes twice as high. In this case, the age-old adage is true: “you get what you pay for.”

There are three very real reasons why everyone should consider their local meats a steal, no matter the price.

Reason #1
Your body will thank you. Not only are grass-fed and pastured animals happier, but the foods they produce are simply better for you.

Eggs from hens living on pasture like ours do have from three to six times more vitamin D and 30% more vitamin E than eggs from hens raised in confinement. This benefit comes only from chickens that are free to graze, eat bugs, and bask in the sun, activities that are not guaranteed when you buy simply “certified organic,” “un-caged,” “free-range,” or “vegetarian diet” eggs.

Even fat from pastured pigs like ours is different- lower in saturated fats with higher total omega-3s and a healthier ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, like fish oils this fat can be good for you.
Totally grass-fed beef and lamb show similar differences from their “big-box” counterparts, with leaner meat and higher protein per serving. Well-known farmer Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, describes this kind of red meat as “salad bar” quality because it’s health benefits and nutritional properties can rival those of vegetables.

Reason #2
Building community - we’re smaller and more personal in every way than the producers supplying Walmart or Kroger. Each of our animals gets our personal attention everyday, we are the ones that load, move, and drive the animals and meat, and we are the ones who sell it to you. When you spend a little more at our stand, you’re paying for the chance to have a real relationship with your food; to know where it comes from, how it gets to you, who cares for it along the way.

And on an economic level, every dollar spent closer to home stays closer to home, multiplying as it is spent and re-spent to create and maintain local jobs, radiating into the public sector as tax dollars for our schools and public works. Even if you don’t care for us, purchasing our products creates further support for the rest of your community.

Reason #3
The animals and the environment - Not only are grocery store foods trucked an average of 1500 miles by the time they reach that store’s shelves, the ingredients are grown using extremely energy intensive, ultimate scale methods that increase stress in the lives of the animals and create toxic manure runoff.

Our pigs know us, and the sounds of our boots in the grass, not an automated feed timer and the hum of fluorescent lights. Our critters get to be their natural selves, which inevitably means they fit into nature so much better (and studies show they taste better too).

So spend an extra dollar to turn manure back into fertilizer, revitalize your community, and to restore the real food qualities of the things you eat.

Farm Girl Foods began in Katie’s mind when she was just a youth in the heart of the natural, "green" food movement in Berkeley, California. She's always had a passion for healthy, delicious food, for working outdoors, and for sustainable living.  In 2003 she signed on as a livestock intern at the Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas. At the Heifer Ranch, Katie learned more about sustainable livestock production, rotational grazing, and helped with grant-funded research projects. What started as a farm adventure and a curiosity in food production developed into a passion for the endless challenges of farming.  Katie started Farm Girl Natural Foods on leased land in 2004.  She also has a blog where she frequently posts specials for their meat as well as recipes.

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