Dec 13, 2012

Party Food for Real Food Lovers

My husband was slated to bring "a salad" type of hor d'ourve to his daytime office party.  Being that I am GREAT with child and don't wanna be standing in the kitchen, I made a super easy appetizer for him to take: olives.

They're red and green, festive right?  Those colors are for the season...right?

And because I was feeling all Martha Stewart-ish, I decided to arrange them all fancy and in a spiffy Pyrex dish.  Just kidding.
 These would have been cuter but a bit more time consuming.

If you're going to a more intimate party and are willing to spend a bit more for appetizers, or just want to impress, salmon roe is a tasty nutritious treat.  Below we ate Ikura from Vital Choice on a cracker with cream cheese and green onions.
Other types of caviar can be found at Whole Foods (Call ahead to check for availability; I wouldn't make a special trip because it is not always in stock.  Ask about it at the deli.)


Other ideas posted here before:

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Dec 7, 2012

Warm Winter Salad with Arugula, Beets, and Sweet Potatoes

I wanna slap myself.  This salad was so good.  It was a combination of this recipe and this one.  Most of the ingredients are in season and can be found locally.

This is how I made it for 2 dinner sized portions.  Yes, it is a bit time consuming but oh-so-delicious and worth it, if it is the main course.  Grocery list is at the bottom of my tutorial recipe.

Preheat oven to 400*.

Remove greens from one bunch of beets, saving greens - they are a powerhouse of nutrition!  Use vegetable peeler to remove rough outer skin from beets.  You could also use a paring knife.  Chop beets into equal sizes, mine were roughly 3/4 inches, cubed.  Put beet cubes in a bowl and pour 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over them, sprinkling some kosher salt on them.

Sweet Potatoes
Peel 2 small sweet potatoes or one large one then chop into equal sized cubes.  It helps if they are the same size as the beets so that everything roasts at the same rate.  Add the sweet potatoes to the bowl of beets and stir them around in the olive oil, add more oil if necessary to coat the potatoes.  I had 2 small sweet potatoes that I'd previously roasted in the fridge so I just re-heated them the last 10 minutes with the beets.

Roast beets and sweet potatoes 20-30 minutes in 400* oven, stirring once or twice.  I used parchment paper on my cookie sheet so that clean up would be faster.  If you don't have green onions (see below) you could also roast some onions during this step - red or sweet onions would be my preference.

In the last 5-10 minutes of roasting, make room for toasting some nuts to sprinkle on the salad.  I used a generous 1/2 cup of walnuts, but pecans or hazelnuts would be yum.  Just scoot the veggies enough the side to make enough room for the nuts to get toasty brown.  Watch them - they will burn quickly!

[You could roast veggies and toast nuts a day or so in advance, just reheat the veggies before serving.]

When everything is roasted, pull it out of the oven to cool.  After 5-10 minutes, shred some parmesan cheese on the veggies.  My portion of cheese was quite small (there's a cheese eating mouse in the family!)  At least 2 ounces of cheese would be nice and of course you can omit it completely.  If you omit the cheese, you will probably want to add salt to the dressing.

While things are getting roasted, turn your attention to the greens from the beets you saved.  Start a pot of water boiling on the stove.  Rinse the dirt from the greens and remove woody stems (I fold the leaf and cut the stem out with a knife).  Give it a rough chop.  When the water has come to a boil, toss in a bit of salt (1/2 teaspoon?) then your greens.  Set the timer for one minute then pour greens into a strainer.  Once the majority of the water has drained off the greens, transfer wilted greens to a bowl and pour a bit of dressing over them, recipe below.

In a measuring cup, whisk the dressing together:
1/2 orange, squeezed (or 2+ ounces orange juice or omit completely and just add more vinegar)
2-3 ounces of balsamic vinegar - or other tasty vinegar
1-2 T honey, depending on your sweet tooth
1 T mustard, I used spicy
3+ ounces olive oil

In a large serving bowl, rough chop giant handful or more of arugula.  Add 2-3 green onions, chopped.  Then add your warm beets, sweet potatoes, and walnuts.  Toss the remaining salad dressing on top.  Add more parmesan cheese if you'd like.

On the dinner table, I kept the warm greens separately and served them on the bottom of the salad plate.  Don't ask why, it just seemed to make sense at the time.  I suppose you could toss everything all together in one big bowl.  

Grocery List
One bunch of beets, with greens
1-2 sweet potatoes
1/2 cup nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, etc.)
onions: 2-3 green (raw) or 1/2 red or sweet onion for roasting
parmesan cheese or other hard cheese, 2 ounces
arugula, giant handful or more
1/2 orange or 2 ounces juice
balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
1-2 T honey
1 T spicy mustard
5 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


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Nov 28, 2012

Green Tomato Salsa

I'm participating in the Arkansas Farmshare and in the last few weeks members been receiving green tomatoes.  What the heck is one to do with green tomatoes?  Yes, southerners, we can fry them.  But have you made green tomato salsa?

Thank you, culinary expert and friend HB, for giving me the courage to try it.  She made it first and let me taste.  She knows I hate to try a new recipe only to have it flop.  This one does not flop.  I promise.

1/2 pound green tomatoes, about 2-3
2 serrano peppers or 1 jalapeño pepper*, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
, heaping
1/2 teaspoon salt

squeeze of lime or lemon juice
optional: 1/2 teaspoon cumin

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse to combine and get juices flowing.  Blend on low speed until a coarse puree is formed.  Pour into a dish, taste and add more salt or lime if desired.  Salsa can be thinned with a bit of water if desired.

For a milder salsa, remove the pepper seeds or reduce the number of peppers.

*I still have jalapeño peppers growing in my raised garden!

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Nov 4, 2012

Tips for Tasty Greens {+ Recipe!}

Even though I've been on a real food journey for 8+ years, eating greens has only been a recent thing.  Because they are packed full of vitamins and minerals I know I should be eating them.  Fall is the time of year to snag you some...order on-line, even.

That said (being a newbie here), please feel free to leave comments or email me with your tips for tasty greens.

Here are a few of my tips for tasty greens:

1. Wash them thoroughly.
This will sound like a no brainer for some (but I like to skip steps when I can.  This is a step that I've learned not to skip. *crunch*)  Because greens are grown close to the ground and often in sandy soil, usually you'll find traces of dirt on the leaves - especially if you're buying them from a farmer.  A salad spinner is a great tool for rinsing greens quickly, effectively and efficiently.

2.  Remove woody stems.
Pictured below is kale, but the same method can be used with other greens.  Fold the leaf in half and slice out the stem.  You could use your hand for this, but I like using a knife.  It can be time consuming, especially if you're stemming a huge batch.  For those who are texture sensitive, this is a worthwhile step.

3.  Cut or shred leaves in small bites.
This tip came to me last year after I proudly presented a pot of greens to a friend who had lived in Africa for 20+ years.  Their family ate greens almost everyday.  After her first bite my friend said, in a kind way, "Most people keep their greens in big pieces.  Eating greens is all about the texture." Once I started to shred the leaves it made a HUGE TEXTURE DIFFERENCE. (Shredding could be defined as in 1/2 inch slices then also a cut perpendicular.)  After she gave me that tip, I've been shredding ever since - it does make a difference.

4. Use a healthy, traditional fat - Saute your greens in bacon grease (from pastured pork), coconut oil, ghee, or butter.  As was hammered home to me last year at the WAPF conference, our bodies need healthy fat to assimilate vitamins and minerals.  If you're going through the motions to eat something healthy, be sure that your body can absorb these minerals - eat fat with every meal.  Plus, fat just tastes good!

5. Add salt, pepper and other spices of choice.
Don't be afraid to experiment with the flava!  I have a spice bottle of something like Ms. Dash (21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe's) that I like to add to my greens.  Also, if there is extra broth in my refrigerator, I have added a few tablespoons to the pan for flavor and moisture - not necessary but yumm-o.

6. Boil in salted water for a few minutes.
The recipe below calls for this method.  But as I mentioned above, I like to skip steps so I usually just saute my greens for a bit longer and they turn out just fine.

My husband's birthday was this weekend so we tried this recipe and loved it.  The coconut milk is not too pronounced.  Very delicious, actually.

Braised Greens in Coconut milk
compliments of Katie Short of Farm Girl Natural Foods

- 2 lbs cooking greens, stemmed and rough chopped
- 2 tbl olive oil (or bacon grease)
- 1 small onion, thinly chopped
- ¾ c coconut milk
- 1 tbl lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add greens and cook 2 mins; drain well and set aside
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent, 5-7 mins. Add reserved greens, coconut milk and lemon juice, stir well and simmer until tender, 5-7 minutes more. Salt and pepper to taste.

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Oct 30, 2012

Sweet...But Scary: What to Do with Halloween Candy

Reposted from October 2011.

So...what's got you shaking in your boots right about now?

Christmas shopping on the horizon??  Your neighbor's freaky Halloween displays??  ...OR the idea that in a few days your children might be bringing home a boatload of Halloween "goodies" and then proceeding to bounce off the walls right before your very eyes?! (Never mind possibly get sick.)

We parents sometimes laugh amongst ourselves about the sugar highs and the inevitable sugar crashes our children experience, as if there are no real lasting effects. However, refined sugar (the kind found in candy and other processed treats) is a bit more frightening than many of us realize. Just Google it...for quite the fright, indeed. (Here--I'll do it for ya.) Once you really start doing some research, you will want to run as far away from sugar as you can!

Speaking from personal experience, as one who was utterly and completely given over to an addiction to sugar, there are severe consequences over time. Was I addicted to sugar as a child? Of course, not! But, honestly, it was so readily available to me and any possible consequences so remote and seemingly far-fetched, that eating it as much as I did was simply NOT a big deal whatsoever. So I did. Thank you very much.

And now, at 37, I sincerely regret the life I once lived, nutritionally-speaking. Because NOW here I am with a damaged thyroid and fatigued adrenals, no thanks to the sweet stuff (among other things). If I could do it all over again, I would. But things don't usually work that way. So instead, I'm trying to train my kiddos to do better. To KNOW better. They will still have personal choices to make, of course, but they will be more educated than I was and are already far healthier--because they eat "real food" and their mean ol' mommy makes them avoid the sugars and corn syrups and other freaky substances found in all those brightly-colored, fun packages at the check-out line...or at the movies. (Resist, people, resist, no matter how cute they look when they beg!)

The truth is, though, we don't always resist. In fact, many times we're not even present when our children are offered the unfriendly fare. And candy-related holidays are certainly not the most helpful to us health-conscious parents. So, we recently polled our Facebook followers for ideas on what to do with the Halloween candy that threatens to destroy our kids could soon fill our kids' buckets. Well, we got a grand total of ONE response, by the way, which is probably an indication that we parents...ummmm...NEED some ideas. So we compiled a handful of options for you.

Top Ten Things to Do With Unwanted Candy:

1. Explain to your kids that there are men and women serving our country overseas, and then send a large family donation to the troops through Operation Shoebox. Or perhaps you have a personal favorite soldier!

Operation Shoebox
8360 E Highway 25
Belleview, FL 34420

Along the same vein, maybe your church supports foreign missionaries. Missionaries have kids, too, and they often don't "get" to partake of sweets as readily as we in the States do. You could put together a care package for them. 

2. Lots of churches in central Arkansas participate in Operation Christmas Child, a ministry that sends Christmas packages to needy children all over the world, and could use candy to help fill their boxes. (Chocolate is not the best choice in this case, however.) If interested in this option, leave a comment and I'll get you the proper contact information. National Collection Week is November 12th through 19th.

3. There are other, more local, places to donate candy as well: Food banks, homeless shelters, battered women's shelters, schools, senior citizens' centers, or Dad's friendly office staff.  ;)  Just drop it off and wave a happy goodbye!

4. Save it until Christmas, use it to decorate a gingerbread house...and then give the house to a neighbor or friend.

5. Make a deal with your precious offspring: candy for money. (Toy shopping to follow.) I'm thinking this one could work year-round...

6. If your kids are young, you might manage to get away with hiding it and then hoping they'll just forget about it. It happens. *hangs head in shame*

7. But if that's too deceitful for you, there's always the "Halloween Fairy," the "Candy Fairy," the "Great Pumpkin," or whatever you want to call the one who comes to empty the gigantic bowls (cute trick-or-treat containers, paper bags, etc.) of Halloween candy and put a much-wanted toy or gift inside as a replacement. Convenient service, huh?

8. Have your very own mini-parade (no specific occasion necessary) through your neighborhood. Get all the neighborhood kids on board. Let them ride their bikes, pull their wagons, wear costumes, play instruments, maybe even decorate floats. Be sure to invite everyone to come out for the event. And then? Throw the candy to the onlookers and be done with it.

9. Run and hide. Seriously. Go somewhere entirely non-Halloween-related as a family. This way you avoid the crowds at your front door (and, by default, don't have to shop for them) and your children will have empty treat bags! Or...turn off your front lights, go to the back of the house, and hide there for a special family movie night with your own much-healthier, homemade treats like ice cream, caramel corn, or soaked cookies.

10. There's always the trash can.

One more friendly tip:  If you DO give out "treats" at your own house to all the cute, masked door-knockers, do yourself a favor and give out non-candy treats so you won't have to deal with the leftovers. Things like stickers, bubbles, small toys, party-favor-type-doohickeys, or small bags of pretzels, trail-mix, popcorn, and small boxes of raisins.

Whatever you choose to do with the stuff, the key is in educating your children about making healthy choices and why it's important.

We'd love to hear any other creative ideas our readers may have!


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Oct 29, 2012

Local Food All Year Long

Frequently on the blog, I talk about taking baby steps. If you are looking for your next baby step, here's a challenge for you: buy something this week from online farmers' market described below. Sam Hedges, from ALFN, gives us the skinny.   This is part II of what he started yesterday. - Julie

What is the Arkansas Local Food Network?  That’s a question we, the network, ask ourselves all the time.  Not because we have an identity crisis, but because we’ve always been an organization shaped by our community.  A better question to ask may be, “What do you think we are?”

Formerly the Arkansas Sustainability Network, ALFN is a non-profit committed to growing healthy food locally, through our farms, gardens, communities, businesses, the whole shebang.  We are small but strong in our community support and presence.  Over the years we’ve supported a number of initiatives.  A few more recent ones include our Community Fund (a small grant for community projects working on local food), the FRESH Local Food Directory (a community resource of Central Arkansas’ gardens, farms, markets, non-profits, and restaurants), and the Little Rock Local Food Tour (a walking-biking tour of Little Rock’s local food landscape).  The truth, however, is that our local food landscape is changing and growing all the time, and so are we.  

Year 'Round Online Farmers' Market
Our dearest project, our bread and butter, is the Local Food Club.  It’s an online farmers’ market in which you, a member, order local meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, herbs, cheese, jams, bread (and so on) on our site, from Arkansas producers, and pick up the following Saturday or Monday at our headquarters in Christ Episcopal Church.  You pay when you pickup (in case a grower over predicts his or her harvest and fails to fulfill all his or her orders), and enjoy your products at home.  It’s that simple.

Online markets are a new and growing segment of the local food world, and they provide an interesting set of benefits for customers and growers.

Easy for Customers
First, as a customer, you have access to hundreds of locally grown products every week.  All you have to do is click your mouse and pickup a few days later, and you have total control over what you put in your grocery bag.  Your weekly meal plan can revolve around what is in season.  Not sure what to do with all the okra you ordered?  Check out the recipe page.  If you are unfamiliar with a grower, check out the grower page to learn more about them.

Great for Growers
For our growers, an online market is an opportunity to easily sell their products without the need for their physical presence or the risk of low sales.  Physical farmers’ markets are time-consuming for farmers, usually taking a whole day, and there’s no guarantee they’ll sell enough even to cover the cost of getting there.  Of course, on the flipside, you get to meet the people behind the produce at a physical market.  While our market is convenient, it lacks that level of meaningful encounter.  You do still get to know our growers over time, through the things you buy from them, and the events we hold.

I like to say that our Food Club is for the serious local eater.  By that I mean the person who stocks their kitchen week after week with locally grown fare, who’s changed the way they eat to reflect their values.

Which raises the question, Why eat locally?”

There are a multitude of answers, and the truth is that every person finds his or her own reason.  Let me share mine with you.  There are few things more fundamental than food.  The tradition of sharing a table and meal together is ancient.  If you want to connect deeply with the people around you, food is the best way.  Eating locally gives character and definition to the things that sustain you in a way that grocery stores will never be able to do.  Your relationships come to define your kitchen.  In a very real sense, I know my community because my food comes from my community.  That isn’t to say that local tomatoes are noticeably better than grocery tomatoes (though really, they are) or that Arkansas, pasture-raised pork is obviously the only way to go.  It’s just that eating locally is noticeably better than eating any other way.

Eating locally can be tough.  You have to accept limitations.  Seasonality, availability.  It takes patience, and you’ll have to force yourself to cook even when you don’t want to.  But these small annoyances get lost in the bigger tradeoff, of feeling connected, of feeling good about what you eat, of knowing the stories of your farmers and gardeners and neighbors.  And we, the Arkansas Local Food Network, are here to make that as easy for you as possible.  Step outside your door and see what’s growing!

-Sam Hedges
Arkansas Local Food Network

Live nearer to Conway?  Here's the market link there.
Live nearer to Russellville?  Click here.

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Oct 28, 2012

Arkansas Local Food Network {ALFN}

Now that the farmers markets are closing many readers have asked, "How can I get local eggs, meat and veggies?" Today's blog post is written by Sam Hedges, the Director of Operations for the Arkansas Local Food Network.  Each week I enjoy receiving an email from Sam that reminds me to place an online order for local food. As you will read, he is an interesting writer.  - Julie

My first encounter with the Arkansas Local Food Network (ALFN) occurred four years ago.  It was the Arkansas Sustainability Network then; most people still refer to us as “ASN”.  I’d come home from school with a burgeoning interest in local food.  It’d become a bit of a thing on campus, and Dad told me about this online farmers’ market he’d been using.  I took a look at the site and came with him on pickup day, and I thought, “Wow.  This is happening in Little Rock now?”  I didn’t realize I was looking at the tip of an iceberg.
A year at Overlook Farm in Massachusetts proceeded graduation.  Sigh.  New England.  Where the local food movement is so established it’s old news.  People farm up there like it’s watching television.  For me, it’s where I tangibly experienced the agricultural lifestyle: the seasons, the cycles of life, the basic work of survival.
  I came back to Little Rock, and I set up my account with ALFN’s online market that week.  I needed my customary supply of locally grown-raised-produced food to continue.  I remember how excited I was, to be a part of a food club, to come in on Saturdays with other members and pick my order up, to scheme about what I was going to buy next week.  These high moments were usually interrupted by a midweek exasperation with myself over all the vegetables and fruits slowly turning in my fridge.  I couldn’t even remember why I’d chosen half of them.  I habitually over ordered, with no thought to what I was actually going to cook or eat.  Using online markets, it turns out, takes a bit of a refining.  I now order with actual recipes in mind, as well as a realistic sense of what I’m going to want to eat next week.  It takes time, but you get there.
As to my dedication to eating locally, I can’t say why exactly.  In the broad world of green living, food is just my thing, more so than eco products or recycling.  I love its fundamental nature.  People choose good food every time.  A place like The Root Café, which promotes and uses local ingredients in all its food, plays host to a wide variety of patrons.  You’ll see Obama and NRA stickers on hybrids and trucks out front.  Inside, people of every ideology and social clique nest side by side over hamburgers and pancakes.  When good food is present, these differences don’t matter.  It’s an experience that speaks to everyone, and locally grown food speaks for itself.
Which is why I’ve dug myself knee deep into local food here.  As a bread baker, then a market manager.  The big change came when an ALFN board member invited me onto the board and, several months later, the position for Director of Operations opened.  I was in a “Yes” phase.  I applied, no hope for actually getting the job, and, yikes, became director.  I’ve learned more about our local food system than most would consider healthy to know.  It’s all I talk about these days.  At this juncture, there is unbelievable growth: more farmers, more markets, more projects and ideas, as well as an amazing amount of potential to scheme over.
Take the Arkansas Local Food Network, for example.  We changed our name last Spring as a reflection of what we really care about.  Our online market is in the cool warmth of Fall, with lots of greens, eggs, pasture-raised meats, and plans for growth and change.  We printed FRESH, a Directory of Local Food.  We’re seeing new growers on our market and all kinds of new products.  We just hosted the first annual Little Rock Local Food Tour.  That was a wonderful experience.  Lots of people came together to tour South Main’s vegetable gardens, urban farms, and restaurants, and we topped the whole thing off with an outdoor dinner of delicious, locally-sourced food catered by Boulevard Bread Co., and tales by Tales from the South.  Beneath the twinkling lights of Bernice Garden, everyone relaxed, ate, and laughed over stories.  Something felt very special about that day, like real things were happening in our community.  Once again, good food prevailed.
When I moved back to Little Rock, I hadn’t planned on staying.  Little Rock was home, and home is where you run from.  Three years later, it’s hard to imagine leaving.  Community runs as deep as roots here, and there is an energy for celebration and togetherness that I haven’t seen everywhere else.  In my humble observation, in Little Rock and Central Arkansas beyond, if something is going to succeed, it must come from within, from its own community members, and it must involve a party.  Preferably with tasty eats.

-Sam Hedges
Director of Operations
Arkansas Local Food Network

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Oct 18, 2012

Local Food Research

Imagine a strong and vibrant sustainable community based local food system in Little Rock. What are its characteristics? What is the culture surrounding food in Central Arkansas? Who produces the food? Where is food sold? How are you involved? What is your role in this food economy?

A new project partnering Little Rock Urban Farming with Dylan Perry, a Masters Candidate at the Clinton School of Public Service, intends to identify opportunities to strengthen our local food system through a community needs assessment.  This project will engage a diverse group of stakeholders ranging from civic leaders, institutional leaders, politicians, business leaders, food producers, and consumers. The project will collect and document ideas from the community about developing a strong, vibrant, sustainable community based food system in Central Arkansas through a participatory process including interviews, community conversations, and surveys.

Little Rock Urban Farming (LRUF) is a community based food enterprise that specializes in the sustainable production and distribution of vegetables, fruits, flowers, honey, eggs and herbs. Chris Hiryak, the founder and Creative Director of LRUF, says, “We are ready to branch out and actively engage the community. Everyone in our community has a part to play in this food movement.”

Hiryak is a proponent of food citizenship, defined as the practice of engaging in food-related behaviors that support rather than threaten the development of a democratic, socially and economically just, and environmentally sustainable food system. LRUF will facilitate this process by getting the community to share ideas on what they expect and demand from their food system. LRUF will use that information to develop a program that is consistent with the shared vision of the community.

You may see LRUF conducting surveys at the following locations:

Farmers’ Markets:
Hillcrest Farmers’ Market - Saturdays 8am-12pm
Bernice Garden Farmers’ Market - Sundays 10am-2pm
Community Conversations:
Fletcher Library – October 20th, 4:00pm
Terry Library – November 10th, 10:00am
Cox Center – December 15th, 2:00pm
Other Events:
First Thursday at the Shops at Woodlawn – 5:00-9:00pm
SOMA Food Truck Thursdays – Second Thursday of every month, 5:30-8:30pm

Everyone is invited to attend any or all of these meetings.

Feel free to email Dylan Perry dlperry AT with any questions.

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Oct 15, 2012

Another Freezer Cooking Day

Whew!  Another freezer cooking day under our belt - and this one was the most relaxing by far.    Experience has taught us a few things.  Most importantly: lower thy expectations.
Today's menu
Chicken pot pie (tripled)
beef tips
60 burritos (half beef, half bean)
pizza sauce

Ingredients prepared in advanced
15 cups carrots, celery - chopped
18 onions - chopped
12 cups broth
4 pounds dried beans, soaked and cooked
3 whole chickens
2 beef roasts
20+ bell peppers, chopped and roasted

Additional thoughts
1.  I (Julie) feel quite confident about making chicken pot pie filling because I have made it so many times.  Today I couldn't get the sauce (or soup) to thicken and I'm not sure why.  HB reminded me that the last time we tripled the recipe that it was rather soupy then, too.  I do not have this problem when making smaller batches.  So - next time I will make either one batch at a time or make the cream of soup completely separately.

2.  We both enjoyed today's relaxing pace and lower expectations.  The last cooking marathon was too much.  Starting roughly at 9am and walking out the door of a clean kitchen at 1:45 was a pace that this pregnant lady can keep.  We even sat at the table for lunch!

3.  I regret not having a picture of two dear friends that joined us - Lori (who writes here sometimes) and Kelly (who is on furlough from Uganda).

4.  It was a great day.  I hope to get one more cooking day in before the rush of the holidays - and before baby BOY comes, the first week of January.

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Beef Tips and Rice {Recipe}

This is a super-delicious recipe, a childhood favorite from HB's recipe box.  We've made it at least 3 times on our cooking days.  I've been hesitant to add the recipe to this blog because I'm not really sure of the ingredients in Kitchen Bouquet.  However, because this is a crowd pleaser and because the recipe only calls for one teaspoon, I've decided to share.  - Julie  

3 lb. chuck beef, cubed (or stew meat)
2 t. nonseasoned meat tenderizer*
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. thyme
2 c. water or broth (includes meat drippings)
4 t. butter
4 t. flour
1 1/2 cups. milk
1 1/2 cups beef broth, can use chicken broth
1 t. kitchen bouquet* (in a brown bottle with yellow label in spice aisle)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 T. parsley

(t. = teaspoon, T. = tablespoon)
*EDIT: We've since made it without the Kitchen Bouquet and the flavor is not missed.  Meat tenderizer is simply salt and sugar.

Sprinkle meat tenderizer, pepper, salt and thyme on beef. Turn meat several times to distribute seasoning. Cook in heavy roaster in oven at 400, uncovered for 45 minutes. While the beef is cooking, melt the butter on stovetop in a skillet, once butter is melted, stir in flour. Very slowly add beef broth and milk until you have a thick sauce. Taste this sauce and add a little salt if necessary, but don't overdo it.

Once beef is done in the oven, pour the drippings into a 2 cup measuring cup. Add enough water (or substitute broth) to the leftover beef drippings to make 2 cups. Then, mix the water and the sauce till smooth, then add all the kitchen bouquet to this mixture. Next, combine sauce, beef and veggies and cook them covered in the roaster at 350 for about 2 hours, or until tender. Be sure to cover the roaster tightly.

Serve over hot, buttered rice or potatoes. Enjoy!

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Oct 13, 2012

HB's New Dream Kitchen

Because there are several writers for this blog some people have been confused about who moved and who is pregnant.

I (Julie) am pregnant and it has taken a toll on me - thus the lack of posts.  This summer my best gal pal, who calls herself HB, wrote a post about real food during a move.   HB and her family moved three doors down from me!  How super fun is that?!

This post is dedicated to HB's glorious kitchen.  She waited a long time to upgrade.  Her patience paid off!  This new kitchen is a dream, as you will see below.
Our neighborhood was built in the late '60s and many people are the original owners, as was the case when HB bought their house.  The previous owners had done some updating but HB, with all her mad design skillz, totally renovated the downstairs to this phat crib.

Below is a picture of the kitchen when they were considering the house.
Once owners, they opened up the space by knocking down the blue wall between the kitchen and formal dining room, as well as removed the pantry (gold doorknob on right).

Wow - look at the difference that removing a wall can make!  They also added canister lights.
The wall between the kitchen/dining room and formal living room also came tumbling down.
The cabinets were built on site.  The below picture is taken from the current dining room, looking into the kitchen.
And here you can see the kitchen into the dining room.  The walls are actually gray, like the island, but look sort of green here.
Ta-da!  The amazing dream kitchen!  Granite counters, industrial stove, and wood floors adorn this work of art.
This stove was a steal from Craig's List - 6 burners and double ovens.  Just for an extrovert, behind the stove is a giant mirror so that she can talk to her guests whilst making dinner for them.
 She even has a built-in desk.  Look at the wall of cookbooks above it.
 The island will be perfect for our huge batch cooking days.
 From the below picture, you can see the edge of their dining table as well as the island.
 The crowning glory to her kitchen is this floor to ceiling pantry.
 It probably deserves a post all to itself.  Sweet mercy look at all that storage.
On Monday we plan to dirty up this beautiful kitchen and break it in right with a batch freezer cooking day.  It won't be as crazy as the last time we cooked together (which about killed me.)  

Until then, I'm trying to rest up.

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Oct 11, 2012

Linky Love

170 Reasons to Lose the Soy in Your Diet - from The Healthy Home Economist (Wow. This is a well documented post.  If you eat soy, please read it.)

Coconut Cream Pie - from Mississippi Kitchen (I made this for my mom's birthday, yum! I only used 1/4c. sucanat and unsweetened coconut - it was plenty sweet.)

Canning Applesauce - from Thy Hand Hath Provided - this is batch cooking at its finest...142 QUARTS at once.  She also posted about her year end tally (preservation) from their garden.  Inspiring.

Ladeled: Nourishing Soups for all Seasons - from The Nourishing Gourmet.  Soup season is upon us and this looks to be a soup-er resource!  This soup was our dinner tonight; it is frugal, fast, delicious and nourishing.

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Oct 7, 2012

Infrared Thermal Scans Available in Little Rock

Thermography was approved by the FDA more than 20 years ago as a viable adjunct to mammograms.  Thermal imaging is a safe, painless and accurate means of early breast cancer detection.  Due to concern regarding radiation exposure, many women are choosing thermography as an alternative to mammography.

November 3rd and 4th Body Scan for Health of Rogers, AR will be providing breast, half body, and full body thermal imaging at the Wellness Revolution on Chenal Parkway in Little Rock.

If you are interested in making an appointment or finding out more, please e-mail your phone number to  Lisa Lipe who is scheduling all appointments. (lisa8 AT sbcglobal DOT net)  Please do not contact Wellness Revolution regarding thermal imaging appointments.  Appointment spaces are very limited.

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Oct 5, 2012

How to Get a Toddler to Eat (Real Food)

My parents came into town this week.  During dinner, my 2.5 year old daughter didn't eat as well as she normally does.  I attributed this lack of appetite to the distraction of new people at our table.

After they left, an epiphany came to me.  There are some "tricks" I have for getting her to eat real food.

The biggest, most important one is...drumroll please...

1.  If I only serve real food, she will only eat real food.

No duh, huh? 

When my parents were here I served saltine crackers with our chili.  For the chili I'd soaked the beans, cooked them in broth, used organic onions and tomatoes with grass-fed beef.  What did my child want to eat?  Crackers.  She didn't want to touch the chili.  The next day, she ate a huge bowl of chili when I didn't offer crackers.

I can't really blame her.  She hasn't learned the fine art of self-control.  After all, what's not to love about the salty, crispy crunch of crackers?

Truth be told, this is one reason I do not buy potato chips often.  If they are in my pantry I want to eat the whole bag in one sitting.  I haven't learned the fine art of self-control.

2.  Offer real food when you know she is hungry.

Usually when she wakes from an afternoon nap I offer a snack.  This has a two-fold purpose.  The snack helps ward off the before-dinner-crankies while helping her to re-enter life, post-nap.  If I were to offer chips or pretzels, I'm sure she could eat her weight in them then snub her nose at a nutritious dinner.

One day recently, I decided to re-heat leftovers to serve as the 4pm snack.  She ate an adult dinner portion!  Of course when dinner rolled around she only picked at her plate.  I didn't mind, because I knew her belly was already full with real food.  If I'd given her a cookie after nap, I would have been mad (at myself and her!) for not eating dinner.

Also because my children tend to eat light dinners (i.e. their taste buds don't yet appreciate the real food I offer) they are usually starving for breakfast.  In our home, I make it my aim to make a nutrient dense breakfast in the form of local pastured eggs, nitrate free bacon or sausage, soaked oatmeal, and fresh- from-the-cow raw milk.  Recipes we like: oatmeal bake, soaked muffins, granola with full fat yogurt.

3.  Save milk for after dinner.

Children (maybe it's just my children) are notorious for filling up on milk then not being hungry for dinner.  At our house, we usually drink water with dinner or maybe a very small cup of milk or kombucha (unless it has been a particularly hot day and we are dehydrated).  I am happy to serve more milk after the plates are clean.  Milk is a good mid-afternoon snack, as well.

4.  Bribe them with dessert.

Dessert is not a frequent offering on our table.  However if I am serving a dish that is less than palatable to tiny mouths, I have been known to say, "If you eat all of your xxxx, you may have a bowl of ice cream."  This tactic works better with children who can reason, not necessarily with 2.5 year olds.

Those are four of the tricks up my sleeve.

What else do you recommend?


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Sep 28, 2012

Cooking Greens

by guest blogger, Kelly Carney of North Pulaski Farms

I am asked often how I prepare greens so here is how I do it.  I usually cook in large batches so I can have leftovers that I happily eat over and over every day until they are gone.  Anyone who likes greens will tell you they get better each day they sit in the fridge.

I started with 3 bunches of my Purple Top Turnip Greens,  5 slices of Freckle Face Farms Bacon, one of my Marconi Peppers, a handful of sliced Jalapenos that a friend grew and one of my Hickory Smoked Peppers.

I first rinse and soak the greens in the sink to remove any grit that may be on the leaves.

 Then I slice the marconi pepper, jalapenos, bacon and the stalks of the greens and sauté them with a teaspoon of sea salt for about 15 minutes on high.

After that I add the rest of the greens, a tablespoon of sea salt, the hickory smoked pepper and add water 2 inches over the greens (you have to hold the greens down to guesstimate the water level) then boil at least 30 minutes.

The greens with a very slight hickory flavor combined with the mild heat from the jalapenos warm your taste buds.  Tomorrow they will even be better!!!

-Kelly Carney
North Pulaski Farms

One commenter wrote: And greens are an excellent and easy way to incorporate more bone broth into your diet - just substitute the broth for the water! If you can imagine, it makes the greens even better tasting, too!

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Sep 25, 2012

Tips for Eating Less Meat (& Recipes)

by guest blogger, Katie Short from Farm Girl Natural Foods

Fairly frequently over the years I have heard that while people prefer grass-fed and pastured meats, they simply can’t afford to eat them all the time.  They often only purchase these pricier meats just for special occasions, relying more often on cheaper, lower quality options. 

Just as often these people are surprised to hear that while I grow meat animals for a living, I don’t eat very much meat. That probably sounds crazy, and maybe it is a little. I love meat and it is included in nearly every meal of the day. But while delicious, I know very intimately how dang expensive it can be.  [Here's a post I wrote on why you should pay more for grass-fed meats.]

If I wasn’t the grower, we couldn’t afford to buy such high quality grass-fed and pasture-raised animal products and it’s taken me years to learn how to eat in line with local and “organic” ideals while not breaking the bank. 

In this light, I thought it might be fun to share some of my experience in living with less meat. Of course, this doesn’t mean depriving my family of meat when we would have otherwise enjoyed a boatload of it. Through a combination of tricks, we feel like we’re eating just as much meat as before when we’re actually spending less and eating about 2/3 as much of it. I am not claiming any level of expertise here; just passing along some things I’ve found work for my family and would love to hear your tips and ideas too.

1. More flavor
-First, I double the seasoning in nearly every recipe. Studies have shown that we often eat until our senses are satisfied as much, if not more than our stomachs. To this end, if there’s more flavor in the meal, we will likely feel satiated literally eating less of it. Experimentation is key here since it might take a little while to find just how much extra spice is still tasty and not overloaded.

-One of the great things about our meats (and those of many other local producers) is that it’s more flavorful, often more lean, and more healthful than it’s grocery store counter part. In a practical way, this means that each pound of meat can go further. In adding flavor and protein to a meal, our sausage can be just as satisfying in smaller quantities partly because there’s literally more meat per lb and partly because the flavors are so much better. Where I used to use a whole package for a meaty spaghetti sauce or veggie hash, I can now get away with just half a pound and we don’t even notice the difference. That’s two meals per pound where there would have been only one.

2. Mixing in other proteins
-Another trick is mixing in high quality whole grains and beans for added substance. Among my favorites are quinoa and lentils. These are both relatively new in my pantry and I’m totally in love with them, though for different reasons. Quinoa is quick to cook, has a stellar nutritional profile, and makes a fantastic substitute for rice and pasta in all my regular dishes. Since it’s high in protein and fiber, its also very filling and can make a meal that’s light on meat feel more substantial in your mouth and in your belly. About once a week I make a big pot of quinoa, which keeps well in the fridge for use over the next few days. I’ve even substituted it for pasta in lasagna with great success.

Lentils are my other go to. These guys come in an almost infinite array of varieties, which I am just beginning to explore. Like quinoa, they can be relatively quick to cook (much faster than other beans) and add a really nice heartiness. I especially like lentils mixed in stews and stir-fries. They’re also great mashed and mixed into burger meat. Both lentils and quinoa are readily available and are only marginally more expensive Certified Organic. 

3. The two-meal rule
-Finally, I have an unofficial rule that every package of meat has to last for at least two meals. For sausage and ground meat, I usually brown the whole package and set half of it aside in the fridge for later in the week. Roasts make a great initial meal but also make fantastic left-over sandwiches, tacos, and when chopped “beef-up” a veggie stir fry nicely. Of course the bones and juices left from a roast, especially a crock pot roast, are the start of killer stock. I often save those by freezing it all in used yogurt tubs for a time when all the other stock ingredients (celery, carrots, etc) are readily available locally. Whole chickens can be 3 or even 4 meals if every scrap is saved this way.

-The essence here is not just thinking, “I’ll cook extra and save the leftovers for later” but planning from the outset to use that item for multiple meals.

-The big exceptions to this rule are pork chops and steaks. Unless either is ridiculously large, it’s pretty hard to have any leftover from a ratio of one steak per person. For this reason, we tend to save steaks and chops for more special meals when a little bit of luxury seems warranted. We still eat them, just not as often.

Here’s a link to the simplest and best basic quinoa recipe I’ve found yet. It’s just basic quinoa but it’s a great place to start.  Julie has a yummy side dish recipe for quinoa, feta and chard here.  Quinoa is one of the easiest grains to sprout which boosts the nutritional content even more (how to sprout quinoa here). 

And my favorite meat-stretching recipes? Well, my all time favorite is the carnitas recipe found here at Real Food Little Rock. I make that one about once a week and use the left over pork for many meals, from pulled pork sandwiches to pizza. 

Otherwise, this is my go-to 30-min skillet dinner. Serves 4. For an Asian flair, try sesame oil, ground beef or mild sausage, and toss in a handful of plain peanuts.
2-3 tbl coconut oil, olive oil, or lard
1 onion, diced
a couple cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped fine
Vegetables! These are all great options: A Half bunch of kale, ½ head cabbage chopped, a cup of purple hull peas, large handful of green beans, one yellow or zephyr squash sliced, diced eggplant, any tomatoes. The more variety, the better.
½ lb sausage, Cajun, chorizo, and jalapeno are all good options.
2 cups quinoa, whole wheat couscous, lentils, or precooked rice.

1. Begin preparing your quinoa or other base grain/pasta/bean.
2. Heat a heavy skillet (I use an extra large cast iron one) over medium heat. Add the oil and brown the sausage. I usually cook a whole package and set at least half aside for another meal. 
3. Once evenly cooked through, remove the meat leaving any sausage grease and oil that may have accumulated in the pan- remember, this is antioxidant-rich healthy fat from happy pastured animals. It will boost the flavor of your whole dish while passing along great omegas and micronutrients. Now add onions and garlic and brown gently. If you are including eggplant, I recommend adding it now since it can take a little longer than other veggies.
4. After a couple minutes, add all the other, and toss. Cook for 10-15 mins, stirring occasionally. 
5. Toss in your cooked sausage and stir.
6. Add half of your quinoa or lentils or couscous or whatever it is you have been preparing, reserving the rest for another time. I like to add it directly to the mix in the skillet and toss together, but you may prefer to serve your stir-fry over the top of your grains. Salt to taste and serve.

-Katie Short

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Sep 18, 2012

Real Food Favorite Recipes

Here are some of my favorite real food recipes:

Beef (or Chicken) Enchiladas*
Falafel*, quinoa tabbouleh, hummus* and tzatziki sauce
Red Beans and Rice for the slow cooker*
Chicken Pot Pie*
Chicken salad (Sunday's lunch - I used 9 pounds of chicken!)
*doubles and freezes well.

made this last week and it is yumma
chicken shawarma (similar to Layla's recipe)

cheap, nutritious, fast
poached egg in marinara (don't knock it till you try it!)
stir fry

salad dressings
Italian - seriously my fav!
Ranch & Honey Dijon
probiotic salad dressing & how to toss a salad

All your recipes require cream of mushroom?  Here's how you can make it with real food.

What are your favorite recipes?


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Sep 16, 2012

Reader's Question: Thyroid & Hormone Balance

Often when medical doctors scratch their heads or only write prescriptions as a cure, real food can help immeasurably.  Below is a question a reader sent to us.  It was answered by frequent guest blogger, Erin, who has a degree in health science and loves to research.  Erin is not a doctor but provides thought provoking advice.  --Julie

Reader's question:
In the last few months have had ovarian cysts that are rupturing frequently. When I was 17, I had thyroid cancer and had my thyroid removed.  Now I take thyroid supplements.  The doctor does not know why I am having cysts nor why they are rupturing (which my abdomen fills with blood and then my body absorbs it back).  It is excruciatingly painful. I have been told the only option is birth control or to get pregnant. Apparently, this can make this cysts stop. Taking the pill and putting those synthetic hormones in my body is not a good idea in my mind.  My thyroid doctor says my hormones are not in a place for a safe pregnancy. However, the longer I wait and the cysts continue to occur, it can cause more of a threat to fertility. What are some natural things I can do to heal my body?

Erin's response:
I tend to go a little overboard with info, so please don't feel overwhelmed by my response. :)  My degree is in health science, so these topics are very interesting to me.

Your thyroid gland and ovaries have a definite connection.  Both are controlled by the pituitary gland.  I'm assuming that you received radioactive iodine as part of your cancer treatment?  The ovaries have iodine receptors like the thyroid, so they would have been affected by the treatment (though I'm not sure to what extent). Also, an under-active/absent thyroid causes the pituitary gland to secrete a hormone which interferes with the hormones that tell your ovaries to release eggs (ovulate).  The thyroid supplement you are taking should help with that, but I'm trying to demonstrate how the thyroid and ovaries are indeed connected.

Iodine deficiency can cause of ovarian cysts.  Iodine in the body is used as follows: 3% by the thyroid, 70% by muscles and fat, 20% by the skin, and 7% by the ovaries.  It is not enough to take an iodine supplement, however.  Iodine is one of 4 halogens (iodine, bromine, chlorine, and fluorine).  The same receptors that are made to use iodine can also accept other halogens.  So if you are eating bromated bread or bleached flour of any kind, the bromine in the bread is competing with iodine.  If you are drinking fluoridated water or using fluoride toothpaste, then the fluoride is competing with iodine.  The problem is your body does not NEED fluoride or bromine--it needs IODINE!

I have no idea what your food philosophy is, but that is usually the first place I start when trying to figure out health concerns.  Cysts (both on ovaries and breasts) can also be caused by inflammation.  The #1 inflammatory agent in the American diet is SUGAR.  If you are eating processed foods (food in packages), then you are getting too much sugar in your diet.

My recommendations:

  1. Get an appointment with a natural-minded doctor.  I'm not sure where you live, but I've heard good things about Debra Velez in downtown Little Rock (she is a nurse practitioner). {Julie interjects: on the blog we also have a list of complementary and alternative resources for central Arkansas.}
  2. Cut out all sweetened beverages, including fruit juice.
  3. Avoid soy (the phytoestrogens can contribute to cysts).
  4. Avoid meat and dairy products treated with hormones and antibiotics.
  5. Avoid caffeine.
  6. Drink red raspberry leaf tea or take a supplement.  This herb is beneficial for regulating your cycle.
  7. Use castor oil packs on the painful ovary.
  8. If you are eating a low-fat diet, STOP.  Your ovaries need the animal fats and cholesterol found in food in order to make the proper levels of estrogen and progesterone.  Replace the sugar and carbs in your diet with healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado, butter, raw dairy, etc.  
  9. Take an iodine supplement.  Kelp and seaweed are good sources.  Some people take a brand called Lugol's orally and some rub iodine on their skin to be absorbed.  A good practitioner can help you.
  10. Use reverse-osmosis filtered water and fluoride-free toothpaste to avoid fluoride.  Here's a post I wrote about the dangers of fluoride.

In conclusion, you might find this excerpt from helpful (he is a well-respected licensed acupuncturist):

Chris Kresser:
I do have a lot of success using botanical medicine for shrinking ovarian cysts, but I’m reluctant… Yeah, I can’t just throw out some herbs to take because, number one, the formula really needs to be personalized based on the individual’s particular characteristics.  That’s a really important part of Chinese medicine and making these formulas.  And number two, the botanicals that are used in these formulas are quite strong and definitely should not be used without supervision and shouldn’t be used for an extended period of time.  So unfortunately, the best I can do is to recommend that someone seek out a qualified herbalist, practitioner of Chinese medicine who is trained in this sort of thing, or a Western herbalist.  These formulas have a long history of successful use for this kind of thing.  You can look in Chinese medicine texts that are over 2000 years old, and they don’t call them ovarian cysts, but they have a different way of talking about them.  And I’ve had patients with multiple large ovarian cysts that have disappeared completely, and that’s been confirmed with ultrasound after use of these formulas.  So they work pretty well.  I think they’re pretty safe when they’re used under supervision, but I think you definitely need to take them with somebody’s supervision.   
It’s true that PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is definitely connected to insulin resistance. So I would be way more likely to suggest a fairly high-fat, low-carb diet to control the blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. And I would probably couple that with some high-intensity strength training, which has a really big effect on insulin sensitivity and improving glucose tolerance. And I would have her measure her blood sugar with a glucometer to determine what her carbohydrate tolerance is. So that’s a device that a lot of diabetics use. You just prick your finger and put a drop of little blood on a strip, goes in a machine and it tells you what your blood sugar is. 
And the way that you use that to test your carbohydrate tolerance is you eat a meal, you take your blood sugar right before you eat the meal, and then you wait an hour and you take it an hour later, and then you take it two hours later. The deal is, you don’t want your blood sugar going above 140 after one hour and you don’t want it above 120 after two hours. And if it’s going above that, then you’re eating more carbohydrate than you can tolerate, in general.

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Sep 4, 2012

Homemade Baby Formula Testimonial

by guest blogger, Sarah Baker Wellons

I’ve always been interested in health and nutrition, but it wasn’t until my son, Noah, was born that I became adamant about real food. I wanted the absolute best for him and of course, it was going to work according to “my plan.”

This plan of mine included breastfeeding until at least the age of one and never, ever, ever (did I say never?) would I feed him commercial formula. To me this was the ultimate failure of my motherly duties if I had to resort to the plastic carton of powdered milk.

Well one cold January night I found myself sitting in a hotel room, not enjoying my vacation, while my three month old son screamed his lungs out because he was hungry. For weeks, I had pumped myself to death, eaten all the foods that were supposed to help my milk supply, and was downing as much water as possible.

However, this was to no avail because my stress and anxiety level was through the roof and all mommies know that stress affects your milk supply.  So I was at a crossroad… either let my baby scream and be hungry because I had to make “my plan” succeed or supplement.

Considering I had never seen a baby die because of eating commercial formula, I decided I would do it. To my surprise, Noah stopped crying and became a more content baby with a full tummy.

While the formula helped my stress level at first, I still didn’t have a peace about feeding it to him. Matter of fact, I was wrestling with it every day, wishing there was another option.

I hated reading the back of the Enfamil package with an ingredients list as long as a novel, and most of which I could not even pronounce. I also knew the dangers of soy and didn’t want Noah exposed to it at all, much less in that amount. But again, I thought it was the only option.

Then my friend Julie told me about homemade formula and it has changed baby Noah’s life.

When I first heard about homemade formula, I thought there was no way I would be able to do something like that. I thought I was not qualified enough or educated enough on this to try it.

However, I have been pleasantly surprised at the simplicity and ease of it. I use the homemade formula recipe from Nourishing Traditions. There are also videos on this link so that you can watch a mom make the formula in her kitchen.

Sarah Baker making homemade baby formula.
The ingredients can be gathered on your own at health food stores but some of the items you will have to order. I found the easiest option is to order the ingredients from Radiant Life because they have a homemade formula kit that you can purchase with everything you need.  The only thing it does not include is raw milk, cream and whey.  I did not have regular access to raw cream, so I omitted it from his formula.

Every baby is unique in what their body needs so you can tailor it specific to your baby. For example, when I first started the formula, Noah was having diarrhea.  So I omitted the vitamin c and his upset tummy settled.

Another trial and error I experienced was with the yeast flakes. Yeast flakes are full of b12 which is so good for your baby but they caused some vomiting for Noah so I omitted those as well.

Some positives I saw immediately.  First was Noah’s demeanor.  He was content, happy, and relaxed. He guzzled down his bottle at feeding time and absolutely loved the taste.

Next I noticed an improvement in an overactive tear duct that was constantly draining and oozing since the time he was born. The doctor had given him eye drops which did nothing, but two days after starting the formula, it was completely healed.

One time he had an allergic reaction to my parent’s dog and his face was starting to break out. I fed him his bottle and I literally watched the red spots go down as he was eating.

If he has a cold or runny nose, I can boost the nutrition by doubling the probiotic and vitamin c.

It is so comforting to know exactly what goes into his formula (and it there is no soy!)  Noah has now been on the formula for 7 months and he is a healthy 22 pound, 10 month old boy.

Friends and family always comment on his peaceful and relaxed demeanor and I attribute a lot of this to the homemade formula. He has thrived on it and I am loving watching him learn and grow.  Even though “my plan” didn’t work out like I thought it was supposed to, the Lord provided and I am very thankful.

Sarah Baker Wellons

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