Meat Eaters Rejoice!

If You Are Concerned About The Source of Your Meat, Then This Post is For You

I love meat but really don’t love commercially raised feedlot animals. As I became pickier and pickier in selecting the meats I choose for my family and friends, I found the quality harder to find in easy to shop food locations.

When I did find grass-fed beef, it was expensive!

To the tune of $20.00 each 6 ounce steak expensive.

At that price, not many people can afford to eat grass-fed beef.

Until now!

Butcher Block is a company that specializes in grass-fed beef, organic chicken and heirloom pork. And the home deliver is sustainable packaging, not Styrofoam.

I ordered a box of mixed meats from them and got: 2 – 6 ounce Filet Mignon, 2 – NY Strips, 2 # ground beef, 2 sirloin steaks, 1 pork tenderloin and 1 bag of chicken tenderloin. Each box has 8-11 pounds of meat per box which is enough to make 20-28 meals.

Guess What,

I arranged for anyone ordering their Butcher Block Box through this link, to get:

$10.00 Off and 1# of free BACON

If you don’t eat bacon, then I’m absolutely positive there is someone you know who does who you could gift it to. But I have to tell you , it makes the most amazing BLT you will ever eat. Just saying.

Here is a video about the company. Watch, decide, the follow the link to order your box.

You’ll be glad you can get this quality of excellent meat shipped to your door at a price you can afford.

Here’s the link again:

Get My Butcher Box!

 

Now the biggest decision you need to make is to choose from one of the options:

There are 5 boxes to choose from: 1) all beef, 2) beef and chicken, 3) beef and pork, 4) chicken and pork, 5) Classic mixed box: beef, chicken, and pork.

I got the Classic Mixed Box and was more than satisfied with it. 8-11 pounds of meat per box which is enough to make 20-28 meals.

Meat Eaters Rejoice!

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Happy Healthy Holidays Starting Soon!

Healthy-Holiday-Facebook-cover

FREE – Happy Healthy Holidays
Transform Your Holidays!

Next Monday marks the start of our FREE Holiday Event! We will transform our holiday season together and start the New Year out right!

Do you want to join us? It is FREE and we are all participants.

We can all do it our own way. All you have to do is set goals and be accountable for your actions and progress at least once a week.

Goals should include:

  • Nutrition (adding in at least one healthy food per week)
  • Exercise (a minimum of 30 minutes 6 days a week)
  • Gratitude (take the time to be grateful for at least 3 things in your life daily)
  • Giving (challenge yourself to give without expectation of reciprocation once daily)

Nutrition
Don’t be hard on yourself this holiday season. Our goal is to simply add in one healthy whole food each week. Enjoy your holiday traditions and don’t eat beyond what feels good to you.

Exercise
Resolve to get at least 30 minutes of good healthy exercise in each day (with one day of rest). You will feel better through the holidays. Exercise is good for depression, weight maintenance and your general health.

Gratitude
List 3 things that you are grateful for each day. By focusing on gratitude, we see our lives from a different perspective. Instead of seeing what is going wrong, we see the more important picture of what is right in our lives.

Giving
You don’t have to brag about your giving, but if someone gives and it turns out to be really special, share it with us. You may also want to include it as a part of your goal. In prior years, my goal was to give without cost; it does not have to be an expensive gift, just thoughtful and meaningful.

Do you know anyone who is struggling through the holidays? Invite them along!
This weekend I will work on my own goals and post them here.

Please click on the “Secret Facebook Group” page that you can be invited to if you would like to be involved!

Comment below or Follow this link to the Face Book Group to join in, this will be fun!

Share this with your friends!

The group will close on Monday, 11/24, 2014 so be sure to request to join by then. See you there!

Happy Healthy Holidays fb group banner#happyhealthyholidays #holidayfun #holidaysupport #holidayweightgain #avoidweightgain #healthyyou

#stayontrack

 

Eat Fresh! What’s in Season Now: November 2014

Eat Fresh! What’s in Season Now: November 2014

Fall colors are in full swing, we are anticipating the first frost and freeze.

Today, the first day of November is rainy, cold and there are flurries in the forecast.

It’s a great day to pull out the crock out and put on a warming soup or maybe Chai tea.

Gather these things to make Chai. include black tea or burdock root or another herb if you prefer.

Gather these things to make Chai. include black tea or burdock root or another herb if you prefer.

If you’re heading to the market this month, here’s what you’ll find in season:

Apples: We’ve had some amazing local apples! The flavors this year are so delicious. Eat them raw, slather with almond butter and toasted almonds, make pies, turnovers or apple dumplings. Apple DumplingGrab extra to make apple butter for Christmas.

Apple Snack!

Apple Snack!

Beets: What a powerhouse of nutrition. Red, gold, big or baby beets, roast them, peel them , eat them. Make salads, pickles, noodles, you will feel your blood getting healthier with every tasty mouthful. Don’t toss those green tops! Chop the stems and saute, cook the greens like you would spinach, wash and saute until tender. I love the greens with a splash of Ume Plum Vinegar.

Bok Choy: This season is closing very soon due to frosts and cold weather. Grab some for stir fry, use instead of plain green cabbage in making bok choy slaw.

Brussels Sprouts: OK, try shredding them, saute with shiitake mushrooms, onions and pecans.

Put pecans on top

Put pecans on top

Use them in making slaw to. Get them before the freezes set in!

Kale and cabbages at the market

Kale and cabbages at the market

Cabbages: Fresh available through mid December. Time to make some sauerkraut! A good New England Boiled Diner with potatoes, celery, onions, carrots, cabbage and brisket would be nice on a chilly evening. Sweet and Sour Cabbage is great with roasted pork or pork chops, sautéed onions and apples. (See, staying seasonal!)

Collard Greens: My favorite choice for Meatless Mondays! Boiled collards, pinto beans and organic blue cornbread.

Greens from the market

Greens from the market

Yummy! Don’t salt the water you cook the collards in so you save it to use as a base for vegetable soup. Being November, chilly days are surely ahead. Nothing smells better or warms you better than homemade soup. Except chopping and burning wood.

Cranberries:

3 Cranberry sauces from left to right: Orange Cranberry, Easy Cranberry Sauce and Sherried Cranberry Sauce

3 Cranberry sauces from left to right: Orange Cranberry, Easy Cranberry Sauce and Sherried Cranberry Sauce

Although not local, these fresh berries only appear for a short while. Buy several bags and freeze them now for later. Make a batch of Cranberry Liquor or use left over cranberry sauce to make these oatmeal cranberry bars.

Oatmeal Cranberry Bars

Oatmeal Cranberry Bars

 

 

Cucumbers: Going quickly!

Greens: All kinds from whatever was planted in late summer for fall harvest. Make soup or saute yourself up a big bowl.

Fresh Herbs: Grow some of your own. Fresh herbs are expensive and why waste an entire bunch if you only need a leaf or a pinch? Besides having herbs growing in your kitchen is pretty darn cool. You’d be surprised how easy it is.

Kale: One of my favorite greens cooked or raw. If you’re prone to kidney stones, be careful as too much kale may encourage stone formation. Add dried cranberries to your kale salads.

Massaged Kale Salad

Massaged Kale Salad

Saute it with bacon and onions or use Kale in soups, it’s quite delicious! Crispy kale chips are another way to use this amazing leafy green.

Lettuce: Tender lettuce will be gone once freeze happens. While you can buy lettuces year round, you may notice a slight price increase for it not being local.

Mushrooms: Only until the end of the month. Duck kale white bean soup 031

Mustard Greens: Spicy and greatly nutritious! If you don’t like how spicy they are, tame them by combining with kale, collards or other greens.

Napa Cabbage: Another good green about to retire for the season. I like this lightly blanched, stuffed and steamed.

Peanuts: Year Round, good source of protein. Have you ever made your own peanut butter?

Pecans: Pecan pie is just around the corner with the holidays fast approaching. Store your fresh pecans in a tightly sealed bag in the freezer for longer storage.Make Spiced Pecans for holiday gifts or make Pecan crusted okra for a new way to serve okra.

Pecan Crusted Okra

Pecan Crusted Okra

Radishes: One of my favorite salad vegetables, but try slicing them on a ham sandwich. Top a piece of lightly buttered bread with thinly sliced radishes, you’ll thank me later.

Romaine: Lettuces planted in the fall for the second planting, are coming to an end. Leaves should be strong and dark green.

Snow Peas: A crispy tasty treat. I love these as a nibbling snack or quickly saute. Be sure to “string” them before eating or cooking.

Snow Pea Tips: A trendy garnish for your plates

Spinach: Before the freezes set in for the winter, you’ll still find fresh spinach. Saute it, make omelets, spanikopita or spinach salads

Inside a baked garnet sweet potato; isn't that a great color?!

Inside a baked garnet sweet potato; isn’t that a great color?!

Sweet Potatoes: Available all year. Make Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries; save on fat and full on flavorSweet potatoes

Turnips: Roast turnips to bring out their sweetness. Mash carrots, turnips and potatoes together for a fun change to mashed potatoes

The foods are changing from light fresh foods to hearty, sometimes long cooked foods. The aroma of a simmering soup, a slow roasting chicken or pork roast is comforting and warming as the seasons change.

Thanksgiving is this month; time to reflect and express appreciation and gratitude for all you have in your life. With delicious produce still in the markets, plan your Thanksgiving menu around what you discover fresh.

The farmers will appreciate it.

#freshfood #whatsinseason #eatinglocal #eatrealfood #wholefood #realfood #seasonalfood #apples #cranberries #winteriscoming #staywarm #makesoup

mailboxes in winter

#happyhealthyholidays #healthyholidays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m working on some things for all of you. Your answers will help.

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Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

Quick and Easy: Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

Who can resist?!

Use honey to sweeten, dark cocoa powder  and nut butters, that’s about it.

Remember Reese’s? Same concept, only much more healthy!

Nutrition notes:

Use fresh ground nut butters, if you can. Certainly do not use any that have added sugars! The labels should read ground peanuts or ground almonds.

Read the labels on your cocoa, it should be pure raw cocoa for best benefits

Toast your own nuts, it’s easy and you are doing the process.

Add dry milk powder or protein powder for added nutritional boost. I like to use maca powder for this.

Using dry milk powder will also help them hold shape better when at room temperature.

Extra virgin coconut oil please. Or grass-fed butter, but that’s a lot and it would be decadent but certainly not vegan.

Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

  • Servings: 24 small cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Before you begin, line a mini-muffin tin with pleated paper liners. It is important to use paper liners as you’ll need it to hold them while eating.

Make two layers, chocolate first as it needs to firm up before adding the top layer.

Use mini-muffin tins. Fill cups half way with chocolate mixture

Use mini-muffin tins.
Fill cups half way with chocolate mixture

Chocolate Almond Layer:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup local honey (use maple syrup if vegan)
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup maca powder, if desired
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted almonds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Using a double boiler, melt the coconut oil, honey and almond butter until smooth. Realize that it won’t be totally smooth due to the nuts you may choose to use.

Rub the cocoa powder and maca powder through a mesh strainer to remove any lumps. Add a pinch of salt to the dry ingredients.

Fold the almonds into the dry ingredients

Fold melted coconut oil mixture into the cocoa powder mixture, stir to totally incorporate; add vanilla and salt and stir well.

Fill each of the paper-lined muffin tins half way up with the chocolate mixture. Be careful not to dribble along the edges so the final product has a clean appearance. Work carefully.

Once filled half way, pop the tray into the freezer to firm up while you make the next mixture.

Add the peanut butter layer, top with toasted nuts before freezing

Add the peanut butter layer, top with toasted nuts before freezing

Peanut Butter Layer

  • 1/2 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter (I love the chunky kind!)
  • 1/4 cup local honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Sliced toasted almonds to garnish the tops

Melt everything over a double boiler until everything has melted. Depending on the texture you chose, it may be smooth or lumpy.

Remove the chocolate cups from the freezer, fill each cup with the peanut butter mixture to the rim of the paper.

Sprinkle the top of each cup with toasted almonds and a piece of Maldon salt if desired.

Freeze for a couple of hours before serving.

These are best served frozen or extremely cold. if serving as finger food, leave the paper on, if plating a dessert with them, remove the paper. They will become rather soft as they remain in room temperature.

If a firmer room temperature texture is desired, add 1/2 cup dry milk powder to each mixture. This will boost nutritional value as well.

Irresistible Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

Irresistible Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate Almond Peanut Butter Cups

 

#vegandessert #peanutbuttercups #healthypeanutbuttercups #chocolatealmondpeanutbuttercups #honey #honeydesserts #nutbutter #chocolatealmond

#glutenfree #musteatnow #healthytreats #healthydesserts

 

 

Questioning the Ethics of Farmers Markets

Is everything you buy from the farmers market from a local farm? If you think so, I hate to tell you, but in some cases,  you would be wrong.

As with every industry, business and activity, there are those who will jump on an opportunity for a quick buck.

Got to be NC Agriculture

Got to be NC Agriculture

There are ethical markets that vet their vendors to prove the products they are selling are indeed from the local area. Locally, the Matthews Farmers Market, Atherton Mills Market and Yorkmont Markets are truly farmers markets. Then there are others.

It really irks me when I see opportunists take advantage of trusting customers. Our local Farmers Markets  sell produce, hoop cheese and country ham; primary season is from April through October 31; adding pumpkins and squashes as the season comes to a close. The markets are extremely busy.

Ask about how the animals are raised

Ask about how the animals are raised

People buy there thinking they are in some manner, doing better for their families, communities and supporting farmers.

I remember when Robert used to tell me of the farmers market on the corner near his house. I lived in the mountains of North Carolina at the time and walking to a weekly farmers market painted romantic dreams of urban living.

There is a corner market nearby that I have been observing for years. It is a family run business, they own a nice block or two of land in what would be considered “prime commercial real estate” for mid-town Charlotte.

On market days, there are often traffic jams which require hiring off-duty police to direct traffic. People pile in and load up their baskets with whatever produce they find; feeling good about feeding their families on fresh “farmers market” foods.

They don’t ask questions, they just flock in and buy.

Vegetables at the marketEarly in the morning, restaurants show up at the market to buy the produce at wholesale prices. In turn, the restaurants go back and advertise on their menu’s that they offer “local vegetables bought from the farmers market.”

The biggest buzzwords in food lately are “local, sustainable and organic.” Claim that and you gain an easy audience in your marketing; your marketing image leans towards a caring business who supports the local community.

However, the public is being duped.

People don’t ask questions!

On my visits to the market, I noticed they would have the same bagged greens that we could buy in the grocery store.

Locally grown? Chiquita, really? Mangoes? Pineapples?

Locally grown? Chiquita, really? Mangoes? Pineapples?

I noticed they always had corn. Always have corn, from April through the end of November. And the corn has a sign on it, written with highlighter, “Non-GMO.” Somehow I don’t believe it. I’d like to ask for proof.

What really caught my attention and lit my fire was the last time I was there. Each check out station was surrounded by pulp baskets of strawberries with signs on them declaring “Sweet Strawberries $3.99 qt.”

Being July and knowing it is well past strawberry season here, I asked:

Commercially grown strawberries dressed up to look like farm-fresh. These "local" berries are from California and sometimes Driscolls grows in Mexico too.

Commercially grown strawberries dressed up to look like farm-fresh. These “local” berries are from California and sometimes Driscoll’s grows in Mexico too.

“Where the berries were from?”

“California. . .”

“Are they organic?”

“No, they are Driscoll’s.”

This makes them no different from what you buy in the grocery store! Driscoll’s just happens to be a huge mono-culture farmer of commercial berries.

Commercially grown strawberries are sprayed and hold residue of many different chemicals. Here is an in-depth article you can read here:

Pesticides are a Danger to Health and the Environment – Choose Organic!

The article will tell you about the research and how dangerous chemicals are being used on commercially grown strawberries and other produce and best of all, what you can do about it!

So when people buy the berries from this market, they are not getting an organic berry but commercially grown berries instead. The berries are packaged to look like farm fresh; the hand written signs are casual and fit the marketing image.

Muscadine grapes

Muscadine grapes

I looked around and saw shoppers scarfing up the berries and other produce thinking they are in some way or another doing good because they are buying their food from the farmers market.

The problem is, they are buying the same as they would get from the grocery without it being disclosed! They are buying the same stuff commercial restaurants buy from commercial broadband vendors and smaller vendors like Restaurant Depot.

 The are buying the commercially grown food they are trying to avoid by shopping at the farmers market in the first place.

This is the kind of food we try to avoid for better health.

I think all markets should be required have signage on every product that says where it was grown and by whom. All items should be labeled how it was grown and be able to provide the paperwork to prove it, if asked.

Full Disclosure!

Let us have the right to make a choice and they should be prepared to provide the proof. I’ve lost my trust in our corner farmers market. They may have a few farmers but I don’t believe their corn in Non-GMO, I don’t believe their claims. Broccoli is not coming out of any local garden at this time of year, yet they have a table full of it.

The public needs to be aware of this practice so they can actually support the real farmers; go to a real market.

At this time of year, you won’t see any strawberries because they aren’t in season.

California has passed a bill to crack down on Farmers Market Fraud. See the article below for information.

 http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2014/08/27/california-legislature-passes-bill-to-crack-down-on-farmers-market-fraud/

In the meantime, when you go to a market, ask questions. If they can’t or won’t tell you, don’t buy it! They are probably a commercial enterprise posing as a farmers market for easy money.October 15, 2011 farmers market 021

Here are some easy questions to ask:

  • “Where are these (insert whatever fruit or vegetable) from?”
  • “Are they organically grown?”
  • “Does the farm have a website?” Then use your phone and look them up. You’ll know if it is a commercial farm or a local farm.
  • “Why do you have broccoli in August? Where is it being grown? and how far did it travel to come to be here?” [To people wanting to reduce their carbon footprint, this matters!]

The Farmers Market industry currently has few regulations. Some require you to apply and be approved before you can sell there. They actually verify you are truly a local food producer.

However, if you own a few acres of vacant land, you can throw up some awnings, spread tables with produce you bought at the broad distributor food service uses, invite a few folks to sell grass-fed beef, home-made cakes, pies, flowers, and you too can be in the Farmers Market business as long as you have a business license.

I think this is scandalous and it really makes me quite angry.

Don’t Assume!

We’ve all got brains in our heads, it’s time to put them to use. This is something everyone who goes to a farmers market should be aware of.

Do some research, find out what kind of farmers market you patronize.

Be sure you are actually getting what you think you are getting. Ask a few questions. The answers may surprise you.

Don’t be duped!

#eatfresh #farmersmarkets #ethicalfarmersmarkets #Knowyourfood #wheredoesyourfoodcomefrom #eatwell #freshfood #fruit

#vegetables #freshproduce #healthyfood

Support your Local Farmer!

Support your Local Farmer!