Marinated Flank Steak and Veggie Kabobs

Marinated Flank Steak and Veggies


It's a toss up!  We can't decide if these marinated kabobs or my Sweet & Spicy Sriracha Chicken Wings are the most favorite.  Maybe it depends on the mood?  Both have a sweet and savory combo that's always a hit. With grill season upon us, I wanted to try something we'd never done before. Plus, during a recent illness, my husband made due with frozen pizzas for so long that I actually CRIED because I wanted vegetables so badly!  Tyner Pond Farm's flank steak from their pasture-raised cows is so perfect for these kabobs.  You can slice them into long thin strips that marinate and cook quickly.  I found that a lower slower cooking over medium heat on the grill is best to allow the veggies to lose their rawness while preventing the meat from overcooking.

 

This was such a great meal to make with my almost 5-year-old.  I've worked with her on using a sharp knife since she was two years old.  We worked side-by-side at the kitchen island cutting veggies and filling skewers.  I have metal skewers, but if you're using wood skewers, be sure to soak them in water for at least an hour before assembling your kabobs.  The key to even cooking is to cut your veggies small and ribbon your meat like you're using the skewer as a needle to sew a stitch.

 

Ingredients:

 

1 1/2 lbs. TPF Flank Steak

1/3 c. oil (olive, sunflower seed, safflower, avocado)

1/3 c. soy sauce

1/3 c. honey

2 cloves minced garlic

1 T. balsamic vinegar

1/4 t. dried powdered ginger (or a few small slices of fresh ginger)

1/2 t. red chili pepper flakes

1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

A variety of your favorite fresh vegetables like bell peppers, onions, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, and whatever else you might like on a kabob.

 

Directions:

 

1.  Slice flank steak against the grain in long thin strips.  I like about 1/8 to 3/16" in width.

 

 

2.  In a medium-sized bowl or dish, combine the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Add meat slices and coat evenly.  Cover and refrigerate.

 

 

3.  While the steak is marinating, chop vegetables roughly the same size and width to ensure even cooking.  

 

 

4.  Using either metal skewers or wood skewers soaked in water, begin assembling the kabobs.  Keep your veggies fairly centered and the ends of your steak slices from hanging too far off to avoid burning.  Poke the skewer into the meat close to one end, then overlap the meat back-and-forth onto the skewer with the last poke close to the end.  Push it down so that it is roughly the same overall diameter as the veggies.

 

 

5.  Over medium heat, place kabobs on the grill.  Cook for approximately 15-20 minutes making quarter-turns to grill all sides.  As always, keep an eye on doneness and adjust accordingly!  If some seem to be cooking faster, move them off the direct heat.

 

 

ENJOY!!

 

(0) Leave a Comment

Easy Egg Casserole For Mother's Day!

 

Attention Those With Mothers, Grandmothers, Aunts, Partners or Wives that have children and don't want to cook ONE DAY OF THE YEAR! Mother's Day is Sunday, May 8th!

 

It's time to plan out the menu NOW and impress your loved ones with your thoughtfulness.  I've got a super-simple egg casserole that is just as delicious as it is easy-to-make!  You're welcome.  You can prepare it ahead of time and just warm it in the oven before serving, or grab and go if you need to 'bake and take' to a brunch you will be attending.  My 6-year-old could follow this recipe, but I won't have him do it because I don't want to have to clean anything up on "my" day.  A girl can dream.

 

"Easy Bacon and Cheddar Casserole"

 

Ingredients

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk.  Add onions, hash browns, crumbled bacon, 2 cups of cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Pour all ingredients into a lightly greased casserole pan.

4. Bake covered for 25 minutes.

5. Uncover and top with remaining 1 cup cheese.

6. Bake an additional 15-25 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

 

 

*** Substitution ideas:  Sausage, mushrooms, leeks, tomatoes, swiss cheese, green onion, spinach etc.  But, this recipe is classic and scrumptious just as it is!

 

 

All you need to complete your perfect and easy Mother's Day Brunch is a few sides, a fruit platter, and a mimosas and Bloody Mary bar (for "Mom" of course)!  Whip together this super-yummy casserole in no time so you can spend real time with your family this Mother's Day!

 

 

 

 

(0) Leave a Comment

Chicken and Rice Soup with Homemade Bone Broth

Chicken and Rice Soup

 

Spring and Fall, the two seasons I can bet on getting a head cold that knocks me down and out.  Indiana weather is a finicky flighty beast in the spring.  60 degrees and sunny one day, then 34 degrees with sleet and snow the next.  Looking at my Facebook feed, it seems every other person is bemoaning their own illness or that of their child's.  I have been in the midst of a cold for the last several days.  All I can think of is sipping down some warm soothing bone broth and feasting on my favorite chicken and rice soup.  Colds make me feel so hungry... is that normal?

 

The notion of eating chicken soup when you're sick is more than an old wive's tale.  It's known as one of the most healing staples a person can have in their diet.  It has a high mineral content in a form that is easy for the body to digest and put to use, the yellow fat in pasture-raised chicken has immune-boosting properties, and the warmth of it is, quite simply, soothing to the throat and chest.  Those are just the benefits of it for fighting a common cold!  It's also proven to fight inflammation, promote healthy hair and skin, heal your gut, and strengthen bones.  Using Tyner Pond Farm's pasture-raised chicken makes for the best, most nutritious bone broth around.

 

This recipe is really an extension of the Slow Cooker Whole Chicken instructions I shared with you before.  From there, you'll clean the meat off the chicken frame (nicer way of saying carcass) and set it aside.  I do this with every single whole chicken I cook in order to keep a supply of bone broth tucked away in the freezer.

 

Making the broth:

You can use two methods.  Either simmer on the stove for a couple of hours or place back into the slow-cooker on low for 12 up to 24 hrs.  The longer it's cooked, the more minerals are pulled from the bones. 

 

Ingredients:

chicken frame from a cooked TPF whole chicken

1 medium onion

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

water to cover

salt & pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Place chicken frame back into the slow cooker or into a large stock pot.  I usually put in the bones, skin, joints and everything.  Add vegetables and enough water to cover.  On the stovetop, bring to a slow boil, then reduce to simmer. Simmer uncovered for a couple of hours.  In the slow-cooker, cover and set to low for at least 12 hrs.  Both methods can be cooked for up to 24 hours for the richest most mineral-dense broth possible.  If doing a long-simmer on the stove, reduce heat until it's barely maintaining a simmer.  Remove bones and strain broth through a cheesecloth or jelly bag. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator (5 days) or freezer.  

 

When using TPF chickens, skimming the fat is optional because of its nutritional profile.   You'll also find the TPF birds don't produce a gray scummy layer that conventional birds do.  This layer is important to skim off and dispose because it contains impurities that leave your broth with a bitter flavor.

 

      

 

The longer you simmer your broth, the richer and darker it becomes.

 

 

**Note that long simmered broths contain higher amounts of naturally occurring glutamic acids.  If you're sensitive to MSG or other glutamic acids, you may want to stick with the short-cooked stovetop method.

 

Chicken and Rice Soup

 

Ingredients:

1-2 Tbs. butter

1 cup diced onions

1 cup chopped carrots

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 t. dried thyme

1 t. dried sage

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups pre-cooked white rice 

2 cups white meat chicken  

salt & pepper to taste 

 
Directions:

1.  In a large stock pot, heat butter on medium heat and add onions, celery and garlic.  Cook until translucent.

2.  Add carrots, herbs, and two cups of the broth.  Cover and simmer until carrots are just tender.

3.  Add rice, chicken, and remaining broth.  Simmer for 5 minutes to heat thoroughly.  Salt and pepper to your liking.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(0) Leave a Comment

Farm Fresh Banana Bread with a TPF Secret Ingredient

Farm Fresh Banana Bread


My passion in life is baking. There's something about getting lost in the measuring of flour and scraping of bowls that brings a sense of calm and peace to my life. I feel very strongly that the ingredients you use when baking must be the highest in quality, and because of that I always use Tyner Pond Farm pork lard (my secret ingredient!) and farm fresh eggs in my baking creations. 
 

Why use lard instead of butter or shortening in baking? First of all, it's sustainable. Cooking with lard is one way of guaranteeing you use every part of the pig! Second, lard adds a unique flavor to your baking that butter and shortening don't. In general, lard will often bring a more savory note to your baking (some say 'piggy') which can add a nice complexity and depth. For this banana bread, it also helps to create a super moist and lovely texture. Don't be afraid of lard! I promise, promise you won't regret making the switch.  
 

I'm always up for a new baking adventure but the tried and true recipes continue to get their spotlight in my kitchen. Homemade banana bread is definitely that kind of recipe. I will intentionally buy bananas and allow them to ripen just so I can make banana bread. Hopefully you will too!

 

Ingredients:

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 cup TPF Pork Lard

2 farm fresh eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons sour milk*

1 cup sugar

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda 

 

*to sour milk put milk in small bowl and add a splash of vinegar to it, let sit for a minute or 2 before adding to the batter

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease bread pan

2. In large bowl combine flour, salt, and baking soda, set aside

3. In mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream lard and sugar together

4. Add beaten eggs, sour milk, and mashed bananas, mix until well combined

5. Add flour mixture and mix until well combined

6. Pour batter in to greased bread pan and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean

7. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool.

 

Enjoy! 

 

Want more recipes with lard? See our customer Kami's recipe for Old Fashioned Lard and Butter Pie Crust.  

(0) Leave a Comment

Make These Awesome Thai Pork Spring Rolls



Spring rolls are great for parties or just having a couple friends over.  The last ones will be better than the first ones you make because they always get better with practice.  If you've ever rolled a burrito, it's the same principle, just much smaller.  Spring rolls are all about the veggies, so fill these guys up with enough good stuff, and if you need to, make a few without meat for your vegetarian guests.  The sauces are not classic recipes, but its better than buying a bottle of sauce, and are pretty easy to make with ingredients that are probably laying around your kitchen.  You can make a special trip to an Asian market, but usually grocery stores have spring roll wrappers somewhere in the ethnic foods section.  It also helps to have some parchment or wax paper to roll on so the wet wrappers don't stick to your counter.  The vegetables could be anything you want - cabbage, grated carrot, peas, bean sprouts, etc.

Ingredients:

1 lb  Tyner Pond Farm Ground Pork

2T Savage Spice Thai Spice

2T Fresh Ginger

1Tbsp Salt

Rice paper spring roll wrappers

Veggies (whatever you want, I used snap peas and green onion)


Peanut Sauce

2Tbsp Creamy Peanut Butter

2tsp Soy Sauce

1 dash Savage Spice Thai Spice

1tsp Grated Fresh Ginger


Sweet & Sour

1/2 C Apple Cider Vinegar

1Tbsp Sugar

2tsp Ketchup
 

Instructions:
 

1. Cook all the ground pork with a splash of cooking oil, salt, and the Savage Spice Thai Spice.  Set aside so you can handle it when rolling.


2. Slice your veggies as thinly as possible.  You don't want to chew big pieces, or have the spring roll empty when taking a bite or dipping into the sauces.  If you aren't comfortable with your knife skills to shred the ginger, use a grater or a microplane.


3. Get your spring roll wrappers and a pan or platter with water in it.  Soak the wrappers for a few seconds until they stop feeling brittle.  Place the wet wrapper onto the parchment sheet.  


4. Put a Tbsp of ground pork and top with your veggie mix.  Fold the sides of the wrap up first, followed by the bottom.  It should look slightly like an envelope.  Use the bottom part of the roll to tighten the filling up as you roll up the spring roll.


5. Roll up nice and tight and let the spring rolls dry a little on the parchment or wax paper, preferably in the refrigerator.  Eat the first couple practice spring rolls you made and people with think you've rolled spring rolls for years.  They really do get easier after doing a couple.  Just be sure to not over or under fill your rolls or they will fall apart.  Fill them based on the size of your wraps, and try your best to keep them even.


6. To make the sauces, simply place all the ingredients in a pan for each sauce, turn on low, and stir until all ingredients are dissolved and mixed well.  Put into some ramekins and set out your rolls to share.
 

See Ian's recipe for DIY Hoosier Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

(0) Leave a Comment

Tasty Sloppy Joes with Grass-Fed Ground Beef



This sandwich always make me think back to the "good" school lunches, and when mom was just too busy after work to do anything but heat up a can, and maybe get some hamburger buns if we were lucky.  When I was younger I'd eat the sandwich plain, but I've come to love Swiss cheese and pickles as I've grown older.  This homemade version is much better for you than the can of mystery meat filled with preservatives, and let's face it, it tastes better when the meat came from just down the road.  It seems like a lot of ingredients, but don't be intimidated.  It's about the easiest thing you could make for dinner, and everyone will think you went overboard making your own Sloppy Joes.  
 

Ingredients:
1lb TPF Grass-fed ground beef
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic (or 1tsp garlic granules)
1 Tbsp dried parsley (or a few stems of fresh)
1/2 C ketchup
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp sherry or apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 C favorite BBQ sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Your favorite pan (I love using my cast iron for this!)

Directions:
1. Sweat the diced onion in the olive oil on medium heat until they start to take on a little color.

2. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the garlic and beef.  Stir occasionally until most of the beef has started to brown and has broken up mostly.

3. Add 1 tsp of salt and a little pepper, then add all the other ingredients.  4. Bring to a simmer and turn down the heat.  Simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

5. Check your seasoning and shut off the burner.  Toast up some bread or buns, grab your sides, and get to eating!
 

See.  It really is easy to have a home cooked meal, and its even easier when you don't have to worry about what your ground beef was eating or living in before it got to your kitchen.
 

(0) Leave a Comment

Chicken Parm You Taste So Good!


It's not just a catchy jingle, Peyton is right - chicken parmesan, you do taste so good.  And this isn't just good, it's also lighter than the typical version of this Italian favorite.  By baking the chicken instead of frying, it's not weighed down with extra fat and oil.  I like to serve this on a bed of linguine, however it's also great with a side of steamed vegetables or soup and bread.  Pair it with a Chianti or pinot noir and caesar salad for dinner.  Make a couple extra to put on hoagie buns with extra sauce for a lunch you'll want to sing about.  


Ingredients (4 Servings)

4 Tyner Pond Farm boneless chicken breasts, about two pounds

3 Tyner Pond Farm eggs plus 1 TBSP water, beaten

2 cups Italian-style bread crumbs

1 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper

6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese 

4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, added to bread crumbs

16 ounces pasta sauce

16 ounces cooked linguine

Spray olive oil


Instructions

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Prep a baking dish with a raised rack.  Cooking on a rack helps it get crispy on all sides.

2. Rinse chicken breasts and shake dry.  Dredge in seasoned flour to coat.

3. Dip each breast in egg mixture and then transfer to the bread crumbs.

4. Press each side into the crumbs to coat.  Transfer to cooking rack.

5. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on size. Make pasta according to package instructions.  

6. Remove chicken to a plate.  Remove rack from baking dish.

7. Spread a thin layer of pasta sauce over bottom of dish.  Place chicken back in baking dish in a single layer.  

8.  Top each breast with two tablespoons of pasta sauce and an ounce of mozzarella.

9. Return to oven and cook to heat sauce and melt cheese, about ten minutes.  

10.  Serve over pasta with extra sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and enjoy.  

 

See Scott's recipe for Everybody's Favorite Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
 

 

(0) Leave a Comment

Shop Like a European: Save money and stay organized!

This is a guest post by Elizabeth Edwards, a Registered Dietitian and founder of dietitianlivinggreen.com, a blog on how to live your healthiest life, in and out of the kitchen.

 

OK, so now you've simplified and organized, great! (If you haven't, read the preceding post here.) But how to keep from ending up back where you started? To answer this, let me share with you my inspiration that changed the way I shopped. As part of my nutrition undergrad, I traveled to France to study the French Paradox, which, if you aren't familiar, is the curious phenomenon of how the French have a diet rich in saturated fats and yet a low incidence of coronary heart disease. In addition to noting several factors that could explain this paradox, I also noticed a fundamental difference in the way the French people purchase their food, keep their food, and go about mealtime in general.


A couple walking to the market in France


In France and many other countries, they shop DAILY for fresh ingredients for that evening's supper. This is in rather stark contrast to the American way of shopping, where most people gear up for a marathon shopping trip once a week (or less often, yikes). On these trips, we buy all kinds of items while perusing the store, getting sucked in to "sale" prices on things we don't need or even really want-- and I'm willing to bet aren't too high on the list for nutritional integrity. Now that I shop differently, I really notice this difference when I am swinging by the store for my short list of items. Most people are creeping along, lingering at displays, and absentmindedly dropping things into their bathtub-sized carts.  On these marathon shopping sessions, many also load up on produce with the best intentions-- to stock the fridge with healthy food, only to watch it sit on the shelf and hope it gets eaten before it goes bad. This method is no good because you are most likely over-buying dry goods, which contributes heavily to a disorganized & over-flowing pantry, and you are over-buying fresh items, which often go bad in the fridge before you get to them. Simply put, you are wasting lots of money!!!
 

 


Items for sale at an open air market in France 

 

Now you may be thinking, "but Elizabeth! I don't have TIME to go to the store every day!", and I do understand the initial panic. But the major difference in going to the store more often is that you are only buying what you actually need... meaning, the trip is quick! You're in -on a mission- and then out & on your way with no overspending, no hour (or more) spent at the store, and no unloading bag after bag of groceries and wondering where it's all going to fit. That sounds exhausting just typing it!  Here's what I suggest for how to easily accomplish this new quick-trip shopping strategy.
 

Most people have a store somewhere close to them, whether it be close to home, work, the babysitter's house, or somewhere else visited routinely. Locate the store(s) near you.
On the weekend, take a few minutes and write down a list of 5-7 dinners that sound good for the week. Stick the list on the fridge. Decide what sounds good for Monday & Tuesday and swing by the store for those items only.  On Tuesday, look at the list and decide what sounds good for the next two days, and hit the store for just those items. Continue on like so for the rest of the week. 

 

Want one more time-saving tip? Buy your meat online from Tyner Pond Farm and have it delivered right to your door! This will save you even more time at the store and will ensure you always have a high quality, grass-fed or pasture-raised, organic meat on hand!  This is the perfect option for those who are extra-busy (which, let's be honest, is most all of us!) or for those who may not have a location that sells high quality meats close to them. I love Tyner Pond Farm deliveries for all of these reasons. I will usually leave two items out and pop the rest in the freezer and pull them out as needed for dinners through the week.

 

Remember: Food waste = $$$ waste!

 

Most people greatly underestimate the amount of food waste they are generating. Saving money by not wasting it in the first place is an important concept to understand when switching to an organized and quicker-shopping lifestyle. Take dinner leftovers for lunch the next day. Use what you have before buying more. Be mindful of what you are doing and the effect it is having on your wallet, your health, and the world's sustainable resources. I believe with all my heart the future of food and the solution of feeding our world has less to do with asking 'how can we produce enough food', but rather in asking 'how can we use what we have in the most sensible, resourceful way'. That concept is major food for thought for the future!

 


The pressure was on in this culinary class in France. That's me on the right!

 

 

As a dietitian, I think about the abundance and availability of 'convenience food' often and what we've given up in exchange for this convenience. Is it worth it? We live in a nation where over a third of the adult population is obese and over a third of our children are overweight or obese. This so-called convenience has come a a cost, and a scary one. We need to make food a priority in our lives again and treat it like it matters-- because it does. The good news is that we all have the power to change our habits, waste less, become more resourceful human beings, and not become a part of the statistics above! 

 

In Summary:

  •  By keeping only what you use regularly-- the staples-- in your pantry, you will ensure no more money is wasted on an abundance of dry goods
  • Shopping every day or two for fresh items ensures no more produce will go bad before you get to it
     
  • Both of the above save you money and more importantly, save your health!
     

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Maybe you have more questions about organization or about shopping more frequently, or maybe you already shop like this and love it! Either way, I'd love to hear about it. Comment below with your thoughts! Happy organizing and happy shopping! :-) 

 

I made simplified lists of both topics above. To get the pantry-organizing steps in list form, click here. For the steps to simplified shopping list, click here.

(0) Leave a Comment

Is your pantry organized? Here's why it's important and how to do it.

Pantry Foods

This is a guest post by Elizabeth Edwards, a Registered Dietitian and founder of dietitianlivinggreen.com
, a blog on how to live your healthiest life, in and out of the kitchen.

 

Close your eyes and think about your pantry or cupboards. What does it look like? Is it organized, or stuffed close to capacity with cans and packages shoved every which way and in every little nook & cranny? If you're like most people, it's the latter. Mine used to be too, until I decided enough was enough, threw my hands up, and declared, "There has to be another way!" in true Mr. Wonderful on Shark Tank style. And there is a better way!  Have you ever come home from the store only to find you already had 3 cans of tomato paste shoved in the back or the cupboard? Or had stacks of cans and bottles go flying as you tried to dig through to grab something in the back? De-cluttering your pantry will simplify your life, cause you less stress at mealtimes, and save you money. You'll know exactly what's in your pantry, because you'll be able to actually SEE every item whenever you open the door! 

In this two-part series, we're diving headfirst into the pantry and talking about shopping habits.
I'm going to show you how to very simply:

 

  • create and keep an organized pantry

  • shop smarter

  • eliminate (or greatly reduce) food waste

 

I like to think of the pantry as storage space for the items you REGULARLY use. Your pantry should mainly just contain the staples. Take, for example, chicken broth and raw almonds. I use broth in recipes regularly. I make my own almond milk regularly. So, when raw almonds and chicken broth go on sale, I stock up! I know with the recipes I routinely use, these items will be used up AND I know they will be in my pantry ready to go whenever I need them last-minute. Plus, my dog really likes chicken broth poured over her food, so there's also that. :)

 

Your pantry should contain staple items you regularly use.

 

The first step in getting organized is assessing the damage. You need to scrutinize your pantry. I recommend taking everything out one by one and checking the expiration date. If it's expired, toss it out. If the item is not expired but it was an impulse buy or something you know you won't use, either toss it as well, or (preferably) start a bag of items to donate to your local pantry. If the item is already opened and half-used (think spice packets, pasta, etc.) and haven't been used in a while, toss it. If the item is not expired and you know you will use it, set it aside.


Once you've done this, wipe down shelves. Now you've got a clean slate. Look at the items you have left and separate them into categories that make sense to you. To give you an idea, I listed the categories I have mine organized into at the bottom of the page.
Place each category of items back in the pantry in their new respective sections. Don't crowd the sections, and leave a bit of space between each item if you can. 

 

TIP: I recommend getting small bins or baskets to contain anything loose, like snack bars, and small items in each category like baking powder & soda, cocoa, maca, flax and chia seeds, which all come in smaller packages. I have a small basket for mine and it really helps reduce the look of clutter and keeps those items in one place and from getting knocked over. Under-shelf baskets that hook onto the shelf above are also very helpful, especially if space is an issue. You can also make tags or print off labels for your different sections if you're really feeling the organizational vibes! 


Now, step back and admire your work! Pretty awesome, right?! Take this same approach to your freezer, refrigerator, and spice cabinet. What, you thought we were stopping with the pantry? ;) Toss everything old, expired, freezer-burned, stale, of questionable integrity, etc. and wipe down these shelves too. You're getting a big head start on Spring Cleaning... brag to all your friends!


My pantry categories:

  • Baking: Flours (almond, tapioca, and coconut in my pantry), nutritional yeast, baking powder and soda, oats, sugars, flax seed, chia seeds, raw cocoa powder, shredded coconut, choc chips 
  • Snack foods: Organic blue corn tortilla chips, the occasional kettle chip. This is a small section :)
  • Bulk items: Almonds, cashews, dates, seeds, rice
  • Jars: Coconut oil, olive oil, tahini, almond butter, peanut butter, raw honey
  • Teas: A section just for tea, you bet! 
  • Canned: Chicken broth, vinegars, beans, coconut milk, coconut aminos, tuna, Worcestershire, hot sauce
  • Small Basket on shelf: Snack bars (KIND and Lara) and CHOCOLATE, of course!
     

The above list is literally what is in my pantry. The staples! This also leaves plenty of room for non-food storage, like parchment paper, kleenex, toilet paper, etc on the bottom shelf. The top-most shelf is clear also and stores my crock pot, fondue pot, trifle dish, etc. that I use less often. 


Just getting organized in the first place is the first step in maintaining organization! The other factors are to take care when removing and replacing items (don't just chuck things back on a shelf) and be mindful of what you are bringing home, which I'll go over in part two about shopping and food waste, coming up next!

I've also compiled a quick list of the aforementioned steps, which you can find here.  

--> Already organized and want more? Check out my previous posts for Tyner Pond Farm: Grass Fed? Organic, or All Natural? Popular food buzz words you need to know and 3 Resolutions for a Healthy, Green New Year. 

 

(0) Leave a Comment

Real Easy, Big Easy! Mardi Gras in 5 Simple Steps

TPF Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

Even though we are stuck in frigid Indiana this Fat Tuesday, it’s kind of like Bourbon Street around here; beverages spilled all over the floor, people with no shirts on, incomprehensible language, just general melee.  The culprits are all under age 7 so, pretty much the same thing.  No?  I wish I could escape to the “Big Easy”, but instead I am going to throw together a real easy last-minute Mardi Gras for my little heathens.  And, BTW, Mardi Gras just means Fat Tuesday in French.  It’s kind of a no-brainer.  Kind of like my 5 Simple Steps to a Real Easy, ‘Big Easy’

Step 1:  Everyone put on purple, green, gold, or at least a shirt.

Step 2:  Hurricanes.  The drink, not the winds outside. For the adults, try Emeril Lagasse's recipe. Here is my “Virgin Hurricanes” for the kiddos...

  • Pineapple juice from canned pineapple in pantry.
  • Splash of orange juice.
  • Maraschino cherries.

Warning:  Drink a ‘grown up’ hurricane at your own risk.  Unless you are used to rum, which I am not.  I quite famously (or infamously) spent much of Fat Tuesday ’07 on the floor in between the cocktail table and couch.

Step 3:  Costumes. Well, actually I just am having the kids decorate their own Mardi Gras masques while I whip the food together.  Find the free printable template here.  We also are all wearing beads, whatever I can find around the house.  I would also like to add that all kids love a parade.  Pull up some Cajun music on Pandora or YouTube and just have everybody march around in their “costumes”.  Why is this so fun?

Step 4:  A traditional cajun dish.
Here is Emeril Lagasse's Cajun Jambalaya which was the inspiration for my "easier" Chicken and Sausage Dish. Here is my version ce soir…

Tyner Pond Farm Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
Ingredients

1 lb. Tyner Pond Farm Hot Pork Sausage
1 lb. Tyner Pond Farm Chicken Breast, cubed
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 1/2 cups white rice
5 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper

Directions: In a large pot, brown the sausage and sauté the vegetables until soft in olive oil.  Add Creole seasoning, garlic, diced tomatoes, Worcestershire and hot sauces.  Stir in rice and add broth.  Reduce to a simmer and cook 10 minutes.  Add chicken and cook until meat is done, about 15-20 minutes more.  Add additional broth as needed.  Season with salt and pepper.***You can substitute or add shrimp or Andouille Sausage!

Step 5: Get a King Cake. 
I actually had the foresight the other day to buy a store-bought King’s Cake.  I was fore-seeing that I wouldn’t possibly be able to bake one on my own.  If you don’t have the chance to pick one up, you can substitute with basically any white cupcake or cake mix or pastry dough.  Traditionally, a King Cake has purple and green icing, find more information here.  But, if all you have is some green sprinkles, go for it!  I don’t think anyone is going to complain!

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Translation:  Let the good times rolls!  Happy Mardi Gras!

(0) Leave a Comment

Porterhouse with Cabernet-Shallot Butter

TPF Porterhouse Steak


The Porterhouse.  A magnificent cut of tenderloin and strip steak served on the bone for extra flavor.  This is the steak that makes occasions special.  Due to the quality of the cut, porterhouse should be grilled or broiled to rare or medium rare with minimal seasoning in advance.  A common technique used by steakhouses is to top a porterhouse with a slice of butter after cooking.  The butter melts into the steak and makes it even more succulent.  This recipe takes that a step further, adding red wine, shallot, parsley and thyme to organic butter.  Melted into grass-fed beef, you might wish you'd bought a nicer wine to go with it!  

 

It's hard to beat a crispy-skinned baked potato with a steak like this.  I like mine full of chopped parsley with sour cream on top.  If another vegetable is needed on the plate try roasted broccoli.  Drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper, broccoli florets can be cooked alongside the potatoes for the last ten or fifteen minutes.   

Ingredients

- Tyner Pond Farm Porterhouse steaks, ~1" thick

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

For butter:

1/4 cup Cabernet Sauvignon or other red wine

- 4 oz unsalted butter, softened

2 tbsp minced shallot

1 tbsp fresh diced parsley

1 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Directions

1. Simmer the wine and shallot in a small saucepan until the wine is reduced and mostly absorbed by the shallot, about five minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

2. Remove steak from refrigerator to start warming.  Salt and pepper both sides. 

3. Place the butter, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Add the wine and shallot mixture and stir to combine.  

4. Place parchment or wax paper on a counter or cutting board.  Scoop the butter mixture onto it and shape into a log.  Roll the paper around the log and twist the ends to seal.  Butter can keep, refrigerated, for several days.

5. Heat grill to 450 degrees, clean and oil cooking grate.

6. Allow steaks to sit at room temperature 20-30 minutes before cooking.  Place on grill over direct heat.  

7. Grill four minutes, covered.  Turn, close lid, and and grill another four minutes.  Remove to a plate.  

8. Top steak with a tablespoon of seasoned butter and cover loosely with foil for 3-5 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Shop Porterhouse Steaks

 

 

(0) Leave a Comment

Kid-Friendly Super Bowl App: Super Simple Teeny Tiny Hamburger Sliders

 

The Morton gang is super-excited for the Superbowl this Sunday, February 7!  I keep telling my three young children about the game, Peyton Manning, the commercials, and...the food!  So now I have them all pumped up for delicious appetizers, but the problem is, they barely will try anything I want to make without some kind of epic meltdown.  I decided to make a giant batch of kid-friendly appetizers so they can have something fun and yummy to eat while I am in front of the TV with my second plate of taco ring dip.  The kids and I discussed our options and, somehow, we decided to make the "World's Smallest Hamburgers"!

 

 

All you need is...

1 lb. of Tyner Pond Farm Ground Beef (or Turkey)

Teeny, Tiny Hamburger Buns (*I Made My Own - See Below)

Your Favorite Toppings (Whatever Isn't Too Messy)

 

We made little, bitty hamburgers and sautéed them in a pan for 2-3 min. on each side on medium heat.

 

 

Since we couldn't find buns at the store small enough for our tiny burgers, we decided we had to make our own.  Sort of.  I don't bake so I grabbed a package of frozen bread dough and thawed it out.  Bonus:  The kids loved helping with the dough and this occupied Baby Girl for a whole 7 minutes!

 

Mini Hamburger Buns

Thaw Frozen Bread Dough

Roll into Balls About the Size of a Cherry Tomato

Brush with Olive Oil or Mixture of Half Melted Butter and Honey

Bake at 350 Degrees for 10-12 Minutes

Sprinkle with Water and Sesame Seeds if Desired (The water helps them stick to the bun)

 

This recipe is great because you can make it ahead of time, slice the mini buns, and secure the hamburgers in place with a toothpick.  Line a baking sheet and simply warm before serving!  The kids LOVED them!  My boys enjoyed eating them in one bite and Baby Girl exclaimed, "They are sooo cute!"

 

 

My oldest told me, "Thank you for making the best dinner ever!"  And then, he asked for dessert.  He plans on being in the Superbowl some day so he agreed with my suggestion that he should probably just eat more mini hamburgers.  We can't wait to make another batch of the "World's Smallest Hamburgers for the World's Biggest Game" this Sunday!

 

(0) Leave a Comment

Around the Tanner's Table in 80 Days with Tyner Pond Farm

Matt and Christine Tanner

​We recently learned that Christine and Matt Tanner, customers of ours since November, had made the commitment to eat Tyner Pond meats in every meal for 80 days straight! So naturally, we had to learn more about this awesome, active couple to see what lead them to our farm and making the change to ordering local, pasture-raised online every week. Read more about this pair and hear from Christine on what motivates she and Matt to continue to live a healthier, happier lifestyle starting with the foods they consume.
 

TPF: How did you first learn about Tyner Pond Farm?
Christine: My friend Jacque introduced my husband, Matt, and I to Tyner Pond Farm. Not to long after we learned about the farm, we drove out to Greenfield to see the farm for ourselves! We had no idea what we were going to find, but I was looking for another farm where I could buy local, pasture-raised meats. When we pulled up we saw a beautiful farmhouse and realized that there was a small barn/shed that housed the farm store. In the farm store we found fridges and freezers FULL of awesome food! I was overwhelmed with all the meat options available. The honor system was in full swing and we put our order in and paid for our meats right on an iPad. How crazy is that?

 

On our way home with all of our frozen meat, I told Matt that I want to come out here every week! He looked at me a little sideways because it’s almost an hour drive from our house in Carmel. Good food is that important to me, and I do all the cooking and was willing to do it. Well, I found out later that Tyner Pond Farm delivers! WHAT?! Oh, and it’s FREE! 

TPF: What made you decide to eat TPF meats for 80+ days?
Christine: My first day experiencing products from the farm started with the delicious farm fresh eggs for breakfast. Later that night I cooked up some of the pasture-raised bratwurst. I continued every morning and most nights making food with Tyner Pond Farm meats. After we began eating them consistently and tasting how incredibly good they were, I suggested to Matt that we should try to eat ALL three meals at home during the month of December to help us eat 100% clean. And that's how our obsession started – and it was right before Thanksgiving! We’ve been eating Tyner Pond Farm meats every day since.
 

TPF: Tell us a little more about your experience with the taste of our meats?
Christine: The taste of the meat is what I remember eating as a child. The beef is so flavorful and tender. I would get upset when I would spend money on a piece of expensive beef at the grocery only to cook it and be disappointed in the flavor. Not Tyner Pond Farm meats, every items has been delicious! 

Around the Tanner's Table with TPF

 

TPF: What drove you to want to find local, pasture-raised meats from our farm?
Christine: Growing up in Indianapolis, I had parents who bought a cow and a pig from a farm and we had a huge basement freezer to house our yearly meat consumption. My mom had a garden and in the spring, summer and fall, and we always had a wonderful array of fresh produce! In the fall, my mom would can, which would hold us for most of the winter. YES, my parents went to the grocery and YES my brother and I ate a few Ding Dongs in our young life, BUT what my parents taught me, and what I have tried to teach my kids, is that naturally raised animals and locally grown produce will always be better for you than what you may find in big box stores.


TPF: Why is it important to you to eat local, pasture-raised, healthier meats?
Christine: Matt and I lead a very active lifestyle. He is a competitive cyclist and I spend two hours/day staying fit. I have been living this lifestyle most of my adult life and when I met Matt, it was a perfect match. He needed someone who could take him to the next level nutritionally and I loved showing him how to tweak his diet to increase performance. Being his wife has made it so easy to cook the right foods his body needs. 


TPF: What made you commit to Tyner Pond Farm meats over other foods?
Christine: Over the past 5 years, we have experimented with all kinds of “diets”. First we went vegetarian, then quickly went vegan, then moved to Keto, and now we have realized that what we were eating all along is the BEST “diet” for our life. Homegrown meat and produce is what works and it’s what the kids like to eat as well. Fast-forward to today; I just finished cooking a Tyner Pond Farm sirloin steak with carrots, sweet potatoes and a side salad. That was lunch! Tonight I am roasting a whole chicken and smashing some red skin potatoes with a side of green beans. And tomorrow morning I will have my usual three fried eggs...all thanks to TPF.
 

TPF: So what's next? Has eating Tyner Pond Farm meats now become a way of life for you instead of a challenge?
Christine: Matt and I started out our journey with an 80 day commitment but found out that it is now easier to eat three meals a day at home than to go out to eat. No longer do we have that "bloated" feeling you can get when eating out. Or, the fact that we KNOW exactly what we are eating and where it comes from at every meal. It gives us peace of mind knowing that we are feeding our bodies the best nutritional food to function at the highest level. I think of TPF meat as a prescription from your doctor. Food should nourish and heal your body. 
 

(0) Leave a Comment

Paleo Sweet & Spicy Sriracha Chicken Wings

Recipe adapted from Baker by Nature.

 

I've never made wings before.  They've always intimidated me, but I'm not sure why. Maybe because my family enjoys them so much at restaurants that I was afraid to disappoint.  Then, Tyner Pond Farm had an amazing sale that I simply could not pass up. So, there I was, with 3 lbs. of chicken wings.  Pinterest to the rescue!  I found a recipe posted by Baker by Nature and had to try it.  We were NOT disappointed!  Wings will now be making a regular appearance at the dinner table.

 

As with many recipes, I looked to see what I could do to make this more Paleo-friendly. This one was so easy to adapt!  For starters, I checked the ingredients on the classic "rooster" sriracha sauce.  Not paleo.  Since this post is about chicken and not sriracha sauce, I won't go into the details of making it, but Nom Nom Paleo has an awesome and fast Paleo sriracha sauce recipe that fits the bill.  Mmm... I love me some spice!  They even have a Whole30 sriracha recipe!  Only two substitutes were required:  arrowroot powder for cornstarch and coconut aminos for soy sauce.  If you don't have those substitutes and aren't worried about making the recipe Paleo-friendly, then just make a 1:1 swap with the cornstarch and soy sauce.

 

Ingredients:  

 

3 lbs. thawed and cut TPF pasture-raised chicken wings

3 T. grass-fed butter (melted)

2 T. sesame oil

2 1/2 t. garlic powder

1 t. pink Himalayan salt

3/4 t. freshly ground black pepper

1/4 t. cayenne pepper

Sweet & Spicy Sauce:

4 T. grass-fed butter

1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes

1 t. fresh ginger (finely grated)

1/3 c. local honey

1/3 c. homemade sriracha sauce

1 T. coconut aminos

1 T. fresh lime juice

1 T. white wine vinegar

1 t. arrowroot powder

2 t shelled hemp seeds (garnish)

1/4 c. chopped green onion (garnish)

 

Directions: (Preheat oven to 400°F)

 

1.  TPF wings come whole, so you'll need to cut them at the joints and remove the wing tip. I used my hands to break the joint, then a sharp boning knife to cut the wing into pieces at the joints.  Each wing will have two cuts.  

 

 

2.  In a large bowl, combine melted butter, sesame oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne.  Add wings and toss with your hands to coat evenly.

 

***TIP:  If you have little ones or guests who don't like spicy foods, mix everything but cayenne and coat a portion of the wings, then add cayenne to do the rest.  Set apart on your pan so you'll know which wings are sans spice. They will be delicious as is without the final coating of sweet & spicy sauce.

 

3.  Lay wings onto a broiler pan or shallow baking pan.  Bake at 400° degrees until browned and crisp, about 45-50 minutes.  Use tongs to turn them over halfway through baking.

 

 

4.  While wings are baking, start on the sauce.  Melt butter in a small sauce pan on the stove.  Add chili flakes and ginger, cook for 1 minute.  Add honey, sriracha sauce, aminos, lime juice, and vinegar.  Bring mixture to a boil, then add arrowroot powder.  Stir constantly and cook until just thickened, about 30 seconds.  Remove from heat.

 

 

5.  Once wings have finished baking remove them from the oven and set oven on broil. Move wings to a large bowl and pour sauce over top.  Toss to evenly and generously coat with sauce.  If using a baking pan, drain any excess fat and drippings.  Transfer coated wings back onto broiling or baking pan.  Broil for 4-5 minutes, but keep an eye on them because broilers brown quickly!

 

 

6.  Remove from oven and let them rest a moment because they will be HOT!  Carefully remove from pan and garnish with hemp seeds and green onions.

 

 

These wings are AMAZING!

 

If you want to try out other wing recipes, I also found a list of interesting flavors at Rock Recipes: 15 Fantastic Chicken Wing Recipes

 

 

(0) Leave a Comment

Moroccan Lamb Kefta Kabobs with Creamy Tzatziki Salad

 

One of the things I love about buying my meat from Tyner Pond Farm, besides their amazing methods of pasture-raising animals,  is the opportunity I have to break from the norm and try meat cuts I've not used before.  In March of last year, I tried lamb for the first time with my Lamb Neck Stew.  Tonight, I tried ground lamb.  It was delicious, tender and juicy!

 

After doing a bit of research online for different ways to use ground lamb, I decided on lamb kefta with Moroccan seasonings of cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cayenne among other things.  It turned out great!  We've enjoyed gyros before with a cucumber tzatziki sauce, so I thought using that as a dressing for a bed of salad sounded perfect.  It was!  My husband wants to stuff the whole shebang into a pita.  That would totally work, too!  If you want to skip the salad, the tzatziki makes a tasty dip for the kefta.

 

Cooking these on the grill would have added another dimension of delicious flavor. Unfortunately, it's below freezing outside, so I used the oven broiler.  Did I mention they were quick and easy?  It's like making a meatloaf that cooks really fast. Hmm... American meatloaf kabobs... on a bed of mashed potatoes. Has that been done?  I think I have more experimenting to do!

 

Kabob Ingredients: (Makes 4 servings)

1 lb. TPF ground lamb

1 medium onion diced

1 TPF farm fresh egg

1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped (I didn't have fresh, so I used dried)

1 T. fresh mint leaves, chopped

2 t. smoked paprika

1 t. cumin

1 t. salt

1/2 t. ground coriander

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/2 t. ground cloves

1/4 t. fresh ground pepper

1/8 t. cayenne pepper

a dab of beef tallow or lard for greasing the broiler pan or grill rack

 

Salad Ingredients:

4 c. chopped Romaine lettuce

1 c. feta cheese

1/2 c. dried cranberries

tomatoes, cucumber slices (optional)

 

Cucumber Tzatziki Dressing:

1 c. sour cream

1/2 c. Greek yogurt

1/2  of a large cucumber, diced 

1 garlic clove, minced

1 T. fresh dill (If using dried, make in advance without cucumber and garlic.  Allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator.  Add cucumber and garlic the next day in step 1 of directions.)

1 T. white wine vinegar

1/2 t. kosher salt

1/4 t. fresh ground pepper

 

Directions: (preheat grill to high heat or oven broiler to 450°)

 

 

1.  Mix dressing ingredients and allow to sit in the refrigerator while preparing the rest of the meal.

 

2.  In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients.  It's easiest to get in there with clean hands.  Be careful not to overwork the meat.  Mix it just until blended.

 

 

2.  At this stage, you can make kabobs, meatballs, or a loaf.  My cooking instructions are for kabobs, so adjust the time and temperature accordingly for other forms.  To make even portions, divide meat mixture in half, then half again twice more until you have eight even portions.  Shape into a flattened oval and push skewer through the center with two portions on each skewer.  If using wooden skewers, soak in water first to prevent burning.

 

 

3.  Lay kabobs onto a greased broiler pan and broil in the oven at 450° for 8 minutes.  Turn kabobs and broil for another 8 minutes.  If using the grill, preheat to high heat and cook for the same amount of time.  Take care not to dry out the lamb from overcooking.

 

4.  Chop lettuce, cut tomatoes, slice cucumbers

 

5.  Toss lettuce with dressing.

 

6. Add cheese and cranberries to lettuce mix, lightly incorporate using tongs.  

 

 

Serve kabobs on a bed of mixed salad.  Garnish with tomatoes and sliced cucumbers.

 

(0) Leave a Comment

Grass-fed? Organic, or all-natural? Popular food 'buzz words' you need to know!

This is a guest post by Elizabeth Edwards, a Registered Dietitian and founder of www.dietitianlivinggreen.com, a blog on how to live your healthiest life, in and out of the kitchen.

 

Organic. Grass fed. Free range. We hear these buzz words a lot now, but what do they exactly mean? As I touched on in my previous post about 3 great New Year's Resolutions you can make, I believe it is so important to know where your food comes from, what it went through, and how it was made. Today I will go over these food buzz words so the next time conversation rolls around to these, you can drop some knowledge like a boss. 

 

All natural: Not much drives me crazier as a dietitian than seeing "all natural" or something similar plastered all over processed food products. There still remains no definition for what "all natural" means, so companies are pretty much free to use it as they wish. The FDA does say the following about the use of the word, 

 

"FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances."

 

The product could still be (and usually is) chock-full of added sugar and is highly processed, but hey-- it can bear an "all natural" label and dupe people into thinking it's something decent. Currently, there is a push for the FDA to evaluate the use of "all natural", as many feel the word is being used to deliberately mislead consumers into thinking a product is much healthier than it actually is. The FDA has extended the comment period for the public until May 10, 2016 on this issue, so if you'd like to add your thoughts on the matter, follow this link and scroll down to add your comment. To sum it up, seeing "natural" or "all natural" on a product is meaningless, so don't let it influence your purchasing decision. I've seen a few products that I WOULD in fact classify as all natural, but more often I see the term used on products I wouldn't classify as natural by any means. 

 

Organic:   The organic market is worth $35 billion and growing. In order to sell a product as organic, it must be certified to ensure it meets organic standards set by the USDA. Organic foods can not be or contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). This means the seeds cannot be GMO, organic animals must not be fed GMO feed, and products containing multiple ingredients must all be free of GMOs. Every year, organic farmers update their farm plan and complete an inspection to ensure compliance. You probably recognize the organic symbol below.

 

                                                      USDA's National Organic Program logo

 

The USDA provides the following definition for organic:

 

"Organic agriculture produces products using methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics. USDA organic standards describe how farmers grow crops and raise livestock and which materials they may use. Organic farmers, ranchers, and food processors follow a defined set of standards to produce organic food and fiber. The USDA defines specific organic standards. These standards cover the product from farm to table, including soil and water quality, pest control, livestock practices, and rules for food additives."

 

The following list describes qualities of organic farms and processors:

  • Preserve natural resources and biodiversity
    • minimizing manure runoff (contamination)
    • maintaining soil fertility through rotational grazing
    • protect water and soil quality naturally
       
  • Provide access to the outdoors so that animals can exercise their natural behaviors
     
  • Only use approved materials
    • Most synthetic pesticides not allowed--the limited list of the only synthetic pesticides allowed for use is here, and this is only allowed on two conditions. 1- if the use of the substance will not contaminate the crops, soil, or water, and 2-  they may only be used if non-chemical methods have not worked to control the pest. 
    • no antibiotics, added growth hormones, animal byproducts, and no feed ingredients like urea, manure, or arsenic compounds are allowed
    • no ionizing radiation used, no use of sewage sludge
    • no genetically engineered ingredients
       
  • Support animal health and welfare
    • allowed year-round access outside
    • given shade, direct sunlight, space to exercise, shelter, clean & dry bedding, and clean water to drink
    • raised on certified organic land
    • preventive health strategies used before any medicine is considered (and then, only given if the animal is ill and needs it)
      (Source: Organic Livestock Requirements)
       
  • Receive annual onsite inspections
     
  • Separate organic food from non-organic food (Source)

Don't those sound like standards that should be in place for all food? I sure think so. Interestingly, all food WAS organic until after World War 2. Put another way, there was no such thing as organic, because that's just what food WAS. As I recommended before, choose organic meat, poultry, and dairy 100% of the time if you can. Toxins like chemical pesticides do get stored in human and animal tissue-- specifically in the fat-- so it is important to take the steps we can to reduce this exposure. Because of this, if you absolutely cannot buy organic in these "priority" items, choose lean to avoid the toxin build-up and add your own healthy fat source, like avocado, coconut oils, or grass-fed butter.

 

Free-range: Oh, chickens. I think chickens may be the worst of all the animal industries as far as inhumane treatment. As you may remember from my previous article, I grew up raising chickens. That's me pictured below, with one of my favorite chickens growing up. They were my pets (I didn't have a cat, dog, or hamster like most kids), they had names, and occasionally even spent some time in the house (sorry mom!). Don't worry, my mom is well aware of my affinity for bringing chickens inside, I didn't just drop a bombshell. She'd walk around the corner and catch me inside with a chicken and I'd hear "Get that chicken out of my house!" and back outside we'd go. It was great fun. Anyway, I loved watching them interact and bop about the yard and garden, looking for bugs, worms, and scavenging other goodies. Watching their dirt-baths was my favorite! Growing up with this experience gives me rather strong convictions in my belief about the way all animals, and specifically chickens, are raised.

 

Free-range according to the USDA's Meat & Poultry Labeling Terms is simply, "Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside".  (Source.) This, as you might imagine, has a million loopholes. In my talks and experience with chicken farmers, "access to the outside" pretty much means a small door or hole in the wall where chickens could walk out to a very small patch of concrete, IF they wanted to. Most chickens raised on these large farms do not choose to go outside. They are so far removed from their natural way of living that they don't even know how to be chickens! We have raised chicks from this type of large-scale farm environment, and let me tell you, they have to be taught what outside is, and taught how to dig and forage in the dirt and grass. Bottom line: Free-range basically means nothing because it doesn't ensure the chicken actually spent a single minute outdoors. Cage Free on the other hand, has a tad more merit. It means the chickens are free move around and can spread their wings, as opposed to kept in battery cages where they cannot flap their wings and barely have any room to move.
Ideally, you want to buy eggs from a farm where you know the conditions the chickens are living in and can assure they are not fed animal by-products or GMO feed, are cage-free, and ideally free-range to a level that satisfies your concern for animal welfare. 

 


This is me with my pet chicken, Hannah, in 1994.

 

Grass-Fed:  Every time I hear or use the term grass-fed butter I imagine a lovely slab of butter chowing down on a big pile of grass, and it makes me giggle. Of course, the term grass-fed refers to the cow whose milk was turned into butter. It's much easier to say grass-fed butter than it is to say butter-from-a-cow-who-was-grass-fed! :-) Like so much in the food industry, there isn't a cut-and-dry definition for grass-fed. The American Grassfed Association (AGA) and the USDA have different standards for their beef. In short, the USDA defines grass fed as ruminant animals (grazing animals with 4 stomachs) fed only their mother's milk followed by grass and forage (grass, vegetation, hay, grains in unprocessed form, etc) from weaning to harvest with no confinement during the growing season. The AGA decided this was too narrow of a definition, as it still allows the animals to be pumped full of hormones and antibiotics, and fed GMO forage. The AGA feels many consumers who care about grass fed beef would also care about other junk being given to the animal, and I quite agree. So, the AGA takes that definition and expands it to include no confinement ever, no hormones or antibiotics, and animals who were born and raised in the USA. (Source.) Food Alliance also has a similar grass-fed definition to the AGA. 

Cows at pasture on Tyner Pond Farm
Grass-fed cows at pasture on Tyner Pond Farm.

 

You may not find the AGA grass fed label on many products, so the best course of action is to know your farmer and your meat source! As with organic, knowing your farmer and their practices will assure you the processes are indeed grass-fed even though the "official" certification may not be in place, as this can be quite costly. Tyner Pond Farm is an organic-practicing farm that fits the AGA's expanded definition of grass-fed. They also have the option of both 100% grass-fed cows and grass-fed + some grain-allowed cows. No hormones or antibiotics are ever given, and all cows are bred on the farm or sourced from like-minded farmers in the USA. Awesome!

 

OK great, so now we know what it means, but why does it matter? Aside from much-higher quality of life for the animal, research continues to show grass-fed beef is higher in nutrients than conventional beef. Consumers often note a much better taste as well, and this is something you can easily do at home and see for yourself! I was very surprised at the difference in appearance and taste when I did this experiment.  Conventional beef may be fed grass for a short time, but the animals are then sent to confinement where they are fattened up on an unnatural diet of corn and grain. Animals who are allowed to live the way nature intended them to are happier and healthier, yielding a healthier product for humans to consume. Ruminants who have been grass-fed have a different body composition than those unnaturally fed corn. Corn and other grains are highly processed, and much like they have a poor effect on human health, so too do they have a negative effect on animals who were not meant to eat them. Grass-fed cows have more muscle, less saturated fat and fat overall, and more polyunsaturated fats and  than their conventional counterparts, and higher amount of healthy omega-3 fatty acids in their muscle.  (Source.) Grain-fed animals have a much poorer omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, with several times more Omega-6's than Omega 3's. Without getting onto another topic entirely, we are currently seeing a heavy imbalance in our diets with these two fats. While Omega-6's are good for us, they are not good in high amounts as they cause inflammation. Omega-3's, by contrast, are anti-inflammatory. (Source.) 

To sum it up in a sentence: Going grass-fed is better for the animal, better for us to consume (healthier), and better for the environment!


Cows at pasture on Tyner Pond Farm

 

 

Pasture-raised: This is where it can get a little confusing, so bear with me here. As we just learned, grass-fed tackles the topic of WHAT the cow ate. Pasture-raised tackles the topic of WHERE the cow ate. I think that is the easiest way to explain it. So, thinking of a pasture-raised cow may make you think of a cow strolling freely through a lush, green landscape, but it doesn't guarantee that cow wasn't given a trough full of GMO corn to chow on once he returned from gallivanting through the pasture. Basically, it again boils down to knowing your farmer and the farming practices he/she uses. Pasture-raised can be also grass-fed, or it could just be pasture-raised but allowed to eat grain. Most grass-fed animals are also pasture-raised, but it is worth asking, because it is conceivable that the animals could be fed all grass (hay) and be kept indoors. The best choice would be choosing a farm/source where the meat is both pasture-raised and grass-fed, where the animals are allowed to eat and live the way nature intended them to. Luckily for us in the Indianapolis area, Tyner Pond Farms has products that are just that-- grass-fed, pasture-raised, and organic! Woo hoo! 

 

There is one more point to mention regarding pasture raised. Pigs and chickens will often have the pasture-raised label and not grass-fed, because they are not grazing ruminants whose diet can be make up solely of grass. Pigs and chickens are omnivores and while they do eat grass, also need more than that in their diets. So for these animals, pasture-raised is the way to go, along with organic to ensure they were not fed GMOs.

 

Consumers like you are gaining more and more of an interest in where their food comes from and what the impact of growing it has on the environment. Once again, know your farmer! Many small farms, like Tyner Pond Farm, are following all of the above-mentioned high standards for food yet may not have gone through the expensive and often arduous process of getting the label. Knowing and having a relationship with your food source allows you to ascertain that the farms do indeed meet the qualifications for the labels. Supporting humane and as-nature-intended practices for raising animals is not only better for us as 'top of the food chain' carnivores, but is better for the animals AND is crucial to supporting our environment, ecosystems, and natural resources. They are being decimated at alarming levels by large-scale factory farming. I truly believe the wave of the future of food lies with people going back to basics-- knowing your farmer, shopping local, and supporting your community. 

(0) Leave a Comment

Everybody's Favorite Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry


Who doesn't like a good stir-fry?  It's mouthwatering strips of marinated meat tossed with crisp vegetables and aromatics served piping hot over rice.  Instead of ordering from the local take-out place, try making this simple, delicious beef and broccoli at home.  In less than thirty minutes, you can make a stir-fry that puts take-out to shame.

 

There are two keys to a successful stir-fry.  First is preparation.  Once the cooking starts it goes fast, so it's essential to have all ingredients ready to go.  And you'll want a couple extra bowls standing by.  Second, work in batches.  High heat is required for the fast cooking needed.  Placing too much food in the wok will prevent it from staying hot enough.  Cook in batches of a half pound or less. 

 

A nonstick wok is great for this however a large pan or skillet with high sides will do fine.  Remember to make your favorite rice on the side.  Jasmine rice goes very well with this.  Chopsticks are optional. 

 

Ingredients

For stir fry:

  • 1lb Tyner Pond Farm sirloin
  • 1 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1lb broccoli florets
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • Chopped scallions and chives to garnish
  • Sliced almonds
  • Oil for cooking such as peanut or coconut

For sauce:

  • 2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp cornstarch

 

Instructions

1.  Slice steak against the grain into thin strips.  Toss meat with soy sauce and set aside.

2.  Combine sauce ingredients in separate container, set aside.

3.  Slice broccoli into small even-sized pieces.

4.  Clean and peel onion; cut into six wedges.

5.  Mince garlic and ginger.  Set all ingredients together.

6.  Set wok or skillet on stove over medium high heat.  Add one teaspoon oil.

7.  When the oil is shimmering hot add one half of the steak. Leave space between slices.

8.  Cook for one minute.  Do not stir.  Turn slices over.  Cook another minute and remove to a bowl.  Repeat with rest of meat.  

9.  Add oil if needed and reheat.  Add half the broccoli and cook, stirring occasionally, until broccoli turns bright green and is still crisp.  Remove to a bowl and repeat with remaining broccoli.

10. Add the onion wedges, garlic, ginger, and more oil if needed.  Toss or stir for three minutes. 

11. Add the meat and broccoli back to the wok.  Add the sauce.  Toss or stir to combine. 

12. Reheat ingredients while stirring frequently.  If sauce becomes too thick, add a couple teaspoons of water.

13. Serve over rice, noodles, or as-is.  Enjoy!

 

(0) Leave a Comment

3 Resolutions for a Healthy, Green New Year

This is a guest post from Elizabeth Edwards, a Registered Dietitian and founder of dietitianlivinggreen.com, a blog on how to live your healthiest life-- in and out of the kitchen.

Another new year begins! To be honest, I'm really not one for resolution-making, I'm more of a believer in going cold-turkey and not waiting to start desirable behaviors. Most people aren't this way, though, so if you're ready to start fresh in the new year, I've put together three excellent resolutions to consider making a part of your lifestyle in 2016 and on.

Before we dive in, a little about me. I'm a Registered Dietitian with a passion for living a healthy and simple life. My mission is to show how living green is not only simple but key in being our best, healthiest selves and supporting our beautiful planet! So how did I get here? I have experienced many different areas of work as a Dietitian, and have seen the need for preventive nutrition in every one of them. I've spent time in hospitals educating patients on diet changes they need to make to improve their condition (or at least not worsen it), I've worked as a sports dietitian coaching clients on their health and weight loss goals, and am currently working as the Nutrition Program Director for a small group of Catholic schools in Indianapolis. Here, I have big goals and ideas to revolutionize school lunch. 

My experiences and observations in each of these areas have formed my opinion that there is nothing more important than preventive health, and this is what led me to start Dietitian Living Green. With the incredible amount of misinformation out there and big food companies spending millions for a near-constant bombardment with junk food, there is a desperate need for a fresh voice of truth and reason. My mission is to bring unbiased, research-based truth to the public and coach people to make lifestyle changes to be their best, healthiest selves. In other words, to Live Green! In my free time, I love gardening, cooking, being outside, playing tennis, ballroom dancing, and spending time with my family.

Alright, enough about me-- onto the resolutions! I have put together 3 New Years Resolutions that are most likely to apply to most people.

1. Ditch fast & processed foods
It's probably no surprise (I sure hope it's no surprise!) that fast food and 
processed foods aren't doing your waistline (or your arteries, or brain, or gut, or immune system...you get the idea) any favors. There is no better time than NOW to make the decision to ditch the drive-thru and the stuff in shiny, crinkly packaging and vow to eat and snack healthier in the new year! With just a bit of planning ahead, you can ensure the hangry snack monster doesn't attack and set you up for a processed snack binge disaster. I always recommend everyone eat balanced meals and snacks-- doing this will keep your blood sugar stable and keep cravings at bay. I define balance as having quality protein, fat, and carbohydrate in every meal and snack. Ensuring your meals and snacks are balanced and from real, unprocessed, whole foods in an excellent place to begin in the new year. Fast foods and processed food contain nothing that is helpful to your body or health, and contain a lot that is seriously unhealthy and detrimental to your health, which brings me to resolution #2. 


2. Go Organic
Most of the chemicals used on foods have not been tested for safety in long-term use. The FDA states the EPA reviews the data on chemicals before registering or licensing it for use on food. The FDA is the body responsible for enforcing the regulations, along with the USDA.
(Source) Any guesses who is providing the data on the chemicals for the EPA to review? If you said the chemical manufacturers, you're correct. Making this worse, the FDA doesn't have the ability to test all--or even the majority-- of foods for pesticide residue. In the 2012 Pesticide Report on acceptable levels of pesticides in foods, over 11% of the tested imported foods had pesticide levels higher than the levels deemed safe, and almost 3% of domestic foods were above safe levels. (Source) This is extremely alarming, because those percentages are just of the small pool of foods that were actually tested! The true percentage of highly contaminated foods would be much, much higher. Further, I maintain the position that there is really no "safe" level of pesticides on food. Remember, there are tons of chemical pesticides in use, including insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and other agricultural chemicals. Even in minuscule levels deemed "safe", these chemicals are still very harmful and taxing on the body to neutralize. When most every food item we consume is contaminated with a plethora of different chemicals of which cannot truly be appropriately regulated, the amounts add up. This is not acceptable. 

These chemical residues are also harming the environment, contaminating waterways, depleting soil integrity, and harming the animals living in these ecosystems.  The large scale dying-off of bees we are experiencing is a result of pesticide contamination. I like this article by Rolling Stone, which discusses the bee situation and the new research proving pesticides are the cause. Choosing organic foods greatly reduces your exposure to harmful chemicals, many of which are doused heavily on conventional crops and are now being shown to be incredibly toxic, harming fertility and impacting proper hormone action, impacting the immune system, and are cancer-causing. Many of the harmful chemicals and hormones in our diets come by way of the animals we eat, as toxins are stored in animal fat, so it is imperative that all meat consumed be organic. And then there's the GMO issue. In short, there have been zero long-term studies on the safety of GMO's, and there is very valid, major concern for the effect on not only human life but on the environment.

I know it can be daunting to think about making the switch 100% to organic food, and while I do recommend all meat and any dairy consumed be organic, there is some wiggle room for produce. The Environmental Working group has put together a list of "The Dirty Dozen" and "The Clean 15". These are lists of the top 12 worst-contaminated and 15-least contaminated foods, respectively. You can view the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 below. Studies also continue to show organic foods DO have higher levels of nutrients than non-organic. Organic produce also tastes better-- this is a test you can do yourself!

3. Eat Local & Shop Small
You may recognize those words as up and coming trends, and they are for good reason! Consumers are beginning to become more savvy about how they are spending their dollar and becoming aware of the power of that dollar. This is a phenomenal and encouraging change, and it needs to continue!

  • When you support local shops and businesses, you are supporting the local economy as more of that money stays in your local community. Small business tend to source products and ingredients from other local small businesses, further spreading the local love.
  • Buying local also significantly reduces your carbon footprint, a concern of growing importance in sustainability of the environment.
  • Buying local is also better for your health when the products are food. When you purchase from local farmers, you have the opportunity to get to know your farmer and how the food you are eating was raised or grown. I grew up in the country next to a farm that raised cattle. My own family had (and still has) a very large fruit and vegetable garden in which we grew much of our own produce, and we also had free range chickens that were my pets and also the source of our family's eggs. This provided me with an inside look, a connection, to where food comes from and how it gets onto our plates. Many people lack this insight and are completely disconnected with the food supply. I believe it is SO important to have an understanding of where your food came from before it got to you-- after all, you are putting it in your body, shouldn't you be aware of what it went through?

I hope these points have provided some food for thought (pun intended) as you begin a new year. Resolution maker or not, I find it helpful to take a few moments and quietly reflect on the past year. What were your successes and failures? What was positive? What was negative? How many of those things were in your control? Of the things not in your control, did you react in the best way possible? What would you like to do differently or see happen in this new year? These are some excellent questions to get started. Write them down! Answering these will allow you to move on to answering the question of what you need to do to make your goals a reality. I am a firm believer that a positive mindset is part of the equation in being your healthiest, happiest self. Here's to a healthy and productive 2016! 

Cheers!

-Elizabeth

(0) Leave a Comment

Enjoy Delicious Honey Bourbon Chicken at Home


Buying whole chicken is not only the most economical way to get your poultry it's also the most versatile.  Whole Chicken is great for roasting, grilling, and slow cooking, and is easy to cut up when smaller pieces are needed.  I like to order the small two to three pound birds and butterfly them and make each half a serving.  Splitting into halves allows faster marinating and cooking times since there’s more direct exposure.  If you have a larger chicken and want to try this it’s no problem – break it down a step further into leg quarters and bone-on breasts. 

 

I ended up making this twice in a week.  Both attempts were cooked in the oven and I really think this recipe benefits from a bit of smoke.  So to try and make up for not cooking this on the grill or campfire I added a couple dashes of liquid smoke to the marinade the second time around and thought it made a nice addition.  Second, in my first attempt I saved the marinade, simmered it, and then used it to baste the chicken.  I must have done that too soon because it blackened the skin.  The second time I skipped the basting entirely.  With enough marinating, it’s not needed, although I might be tempted it try it on the grill when just a couple minutes are left.


Ingredients

  • 1 small Tyner Pond Farm Chicken, ~2 - 2.5#
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 2 garlic gloves, finely minced
  • 1 TBSP ginger, finely minced
  • 2 dashes liquid smoke (not needed if grilling)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. 

2. Rinse chicken inside and out, dry.

3. Lay chicken breast-side down on a cutting board.  Using shears, cut along both sides of the backbone and remove.  Use the sides of the neck as a guide where to cut if unsure.


4. Turn chicken over and spread the now-open bottom while pressing down on the top of the chicken.  When the bird is flattened, turn it back over to remove the breastbone.
 

5. Turn the chicken over so it's skin side up.  Arrange the halves so they're symmetrical and cut the skin between the two breasts.  Voila!  Two perfect chicken halves.


6.  Place chicken in a gallon size zipper lock bag.  Add the marinade, seal the bag, and jostle it around until the chicken is coated.  Place in the fridge on its side, turning each hour.  Marinate at least two hours and up to four.

7. Thirty minutes before cooking remove the bag from the fridge to warm up.  After 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 


8. Place a cooking rack in a pan and coat with a little oil to prevent sticking. 


9. Remove chicken from bag, let excess marinade drip off, and place each half on the cooking rack.  Arrange so the skin covers as much of the meat as possible. 


10. Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes for a two-pounder, 25 minutes for 2.5#, and up to 30 for three pounds.  When done, remove from rack, cover, and let rest five minutes before serving.  
 

Enjoy!

 

(0) Leave a Comment

Holiday Smoked Ham with Pineapple Honey Mustard Glaze

 

Turkey isn't the only star of a traditional Christmas meal.  Several online surveys show families opt for a ham or roast to celebrate Christmas, while leaving the turkey to Thanksgiving.  We tend to do the same.

 

Baking a Tyner Pond Farm smoked ham is really easy because the ham has already been cooked for you.  You're essentially reheating it and adding your glaze.  To be honest, I've never been responsible for the holiday ham, so this is a first for me. After looking online for some flavor possibilities, I decided to try my own mix of honey mustard with pineapple. Lots of recipes call for brown sugar.  I don't keep brown sugar because I make my own with dried cane syrup and molasses.  If you'd prefer, just sub 1/2 c. brown sugar for the cane syrup and molasses.  

 

TIPS!

**Your TPF smoked ham is going to be dark from the smoking process and will get darker during baking.  Don't be alarmed, it's not burning!  

**These measurements and directions are for a 4-6 lb. ham.  If you're making a larger ham, just double the ingredients for more glaze.  

**Baking times are roughly 10-15 minutes per lb. of ham.  Keep your ham covered with foil until the last quarter of baking. 

 

Ingredients: 

TPF Boneless or Bone-In Smoked Ham

1 c. water

1/2 c. evaporated cane juice

1/2 c. raw honey

1/2 c. pineapple juice

2 T. molassas

2 T. dijon mustard

1/4 t. onion powder

pinch of salt

1/2 c. crushed pineapple

**Double if baking a large ham

 

Directions: (Preheat oven to 325)

1.  Place thawed ham in baking dish at least 2" deep.  Put water in bottom of pan.  Cover tightly with foil and place in oven for about 30 minutes (**longer for a larger ham).

 

    

 

2.  While ham is heating, combine sugar, molasses, honey, mustard, juice, onion powder, and salt in a small sauce pan.  Stir and heat until sugar is dissolved.

 

    

 

3.  Once the glaze is prepared, uncover the ham and generously brush all over.  If it hasn't been at least 3/4 the total cooking time, replace with foil and continue baking.  At the last quarter of baking time, remove foil, generously glaze again and continue baking uncovered.  Keep glazing every 10 minutes or so. You'll do this 2 or 3 times.

 

 

4.  For the last glazing, with about 1/4 c. or so of glaze left, mix in the crushed pineapple.  Spread it on your ham.  Feel free to grab a spoon and baste with the juices at the bottom of the pan. 

 

 

5.  After about an hour of baking (**longer for a larger ham) and once the ham is heated through, remove from oven and let rest.  Don't discard those pan drippings!  If your drippings are thick and syrupy, add a touch of water to thin.  Pour or spoon over your sliced ham.

 

    

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(0) Leave a Comment

Keep Up With The Farm

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Latest Posts

by Kami Noland on
It's a toss up!  We can't decide if these marinated kabobs or my Sweet & Spicy Sriracha Chicken...read more
by Megan Morton on
  Attention Those With Mothers, Grandmothers, Aunts, Partners or Wives that have children and don't...read more
by Kami Noland on
  Spring and Fall, the two seasons I can bet on getting a head cold that knocks me down and out.  ...read more
by Kathleen Moyta on
My passion in life is baking. There's something about getting lost in the measuring of flour and...read more
by Ian Rossman on
Spring rolls are great for parties or just having a couple friends over.  The last ones will be...read more
by Ian Rossman on
This sandwich always make me think back to the "good" school lunches, and when mom was just too busy...read more
by Scott Andrews on
It's not just a catchy jingle, Peyton is right - chicken parmesan, you do taste so good.  And this...read more
by Elizabeth Edwards on
This is a guest post by Elizabeth Edwards, a Registered Dietitian and founder of ...read more
by Elizabeth Edwards on
This is a guest post by Elizabeth Edwards, a Registered Dietitian and founder of...read more
by Megan Morton on
Even though we are stuck in frigid Indiana this Fat Tuesday, it’s kind of like Bourbon Street around...read more