Guiltless Super Bowl Bacon Cheeseburger Dip



Your favorite burger as a dip? Yes, please! We all are entitled to indulge a bit while celebrating the big game, but this dip is one you can feel less guilty about the next morning! This Super Bowl Bacon Cheeseburger Dip recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats is one you can serve at home or just as easily pack up and take to a viewing party on Sunday. In under 30 minutes, you can pull together this delicious appetizer that is sure to be the hit of the party! 

 

Ingredients

4 slices Tyner Pond Farm all-natural bacon, chopped
3/4 lb Tyner Pond Farm 100% grass-fed ground beef
1 large shallot or 1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1 Tablespoon mustard (optional)
1 Tablespoon worcestershire sauce
4 oz 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
4 oz plain non-fat Greek yogurt
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 
Toppings: green onions, tomato, shredded lettuce
Variety of Dippers - tortilla chips, crackers, veggies, etc. 


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside then pour out bacon fat from skillet and discard (or save.)
  2. Turn heat up to medium-high then add ground beef, shallot, and garlic to skillet. Season with salt and pepper then cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain if necessary then return to skillet and stir in ketchup, mustard, and worcestershire sauce. Pour ground beef mixture into a large bowl.
  3. Add cream cheese, Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup each mozzarella and cheddar cheese, and 3/4 of the cooked bacon to the bowl then mix to combine. Spread in a 9" pie pan then top with remaining cheese. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Top with remaining bacon and optional toppings then serve.

Recipe adapted from Iowa Girl Eats. Photo courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats. 
 

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Easy Weeknight Slow Cooker Whole Chicken Quesadillas

What do you do when you are about to prepare dinner and after turning on your oven it begins to smoke? My boyfriend and I were making pineapple upside down cake this past weekend. It was a recipe from Martha Stewart, who I trust for all of my baking needs. We decided to use a springform cake pan, placing it in the oven for 35 minutes until it was ready. The cake was terrible - the batter didn't cook all the way through in the middle but the edges were burnt, and it seemed like it was supposed to rise much further. 

It wasn't until two days later when we realized the cake leaked onto the bottom of the oven and proceeded to burn wildly. I was just about to roll up the chicken enchiladas to bake, but once I smelled the burning in the oven I knew I couldn't use it to make these enchiladas. Instead, we quickly decided to make chicken quesadillas on the stovetop - with enchilada sauce! 

This recipe is meant to be a time saver for weeknight dinners. Cooking a whole Tyner Pond Farm chicken can be accomplished with a slow cooker on low for 8 hours. All you have to do is pull the meat off the bones, which means you can make the chicken a few days in advance if you like. The enchilada sauce can also be made a few days ahead, leaving the assembly of the quesadillas as the only prep work needed. Though I do hope your reason for not using the oven isn't the same as mine! 

Chicken Quesadillas

Chicken Quesadillas

Ingredients:

  • One medium 3-4 pound Tyner Pond Farm whole chicken
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 large yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth (make your own broth from Tyner Pond Farm Whole Chickens!)
  • 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 7-ounce can diced green chiles 
  • Enchilada sauce (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Shredded queso fresco


Directions:
1. Remove the whole chicken from its packaging 24 hours before you plan to enjoy the chicken quesadillas. Pat the skin dry with paper towels and place it on a plate. Sprinkle salt and black pepper on both sides until lightly covered. Allow to sit in the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight. 

2. The next morning, pull the chicken out of the refrigerator. Stuff half of a roughly chopped yellow onion into the chicken. Add the rest of the chopped onions to the slow cooker. Set the chicken breast-side up onto the onions. Pour in the chicken broth around the chicken, then set the lid on top. Let cook on low for 7 hours. 

3. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and let cool until you can tear off the skin and begin to break down the chicken. Set the bones aside for making your own broth later. Finely shred the meat with your fingers. You should end up with about 6 cups.

4. In a large bowl, stir together as much shredded chicken, enchilada sauce and green chilies to your liking. For two quesadillas I used about 2 cups of chicken, 1/2 can diced green chilies and 1 cup of sauce. 

5. Assemble the quesadillas by spreading the mix evenly across the tortilla, leaving about 1/2 inch at the edge. Top with shredded queso fresco and place another tortilla on top. 

6. Place a large skillet on the stove and heat to medium. Cook the quesadilla for a few minutes, and once it begins to brown, carefully flip it over using a large spatula. Cook the other side, then remove and cut into quarter pieces. Serve with chopped fresh cilantro and more queso fresco on top with a small side of enchilada sauce.
 

Enchilada Sauce

Enchilada Sauce
Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Directions:
1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil with the chili powder over medium heat. Whisk until bubbly, then add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until simmering. Let cook for 5 minutes.

3. Store extra enchilada sauce in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months. 

 

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Baby Steps to Buying and Eating Local for the Busy Family

It's a New Year! In case you never made a resolution, or maybe have already given up, I have a new one for ya...purchase and eat local food more often! Don't be intimidated. It's not going to stretch your budget or make your already crazy life even crazier. It's going to make life more simple, more healthy, and eating local makes a difference in your community. It's something you can feel good about as a family!

I've found that making the switch to shopping local and eating more organic isn't one that can happen overnight.  I've tried to make an instant switch to this lifestyle and it has always ended in an epic fail with a frantic mama and 3 screaming kids. Something worth doing, is worth doing well, so, what's the expression? "Slow and steady wins the race."

So, this year I decided to make it easy on myself.  Baby steps.
 

Baby Feet


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 







Little by little I will be incorporating more locally-sourced products into our daily menu.  With a few simple steps I will make weekly meal planning and shopping easier, on myself.  All the while doing something good for my family.  Feeding them more organic food and pasture-raised meats.  Here are the teeny tiny baby steps I will be following...

1.  Plan Ahead.
2.  Shop for Food Online
.
3.  Make Meal Preparation a Family Experience, Not a Chore.


So, let's get started!

Baby Step #1 - Plan Ahead
Seriously, steal 5 minutes out of your week and sit down to plan your weekly menu. No complaints! With websites like Pepperplate and an array of free apps with Apple, this can almost be done for you. Many of these tools store your recipes and transfer items automatically to your grocery list when you put them in your weekly menu online.  Or use an old-fashioned piece of paper. Either option will have you starting off your week with a little less stress and your grocery list already planned out. Additionally, you can now budget more efficiently without grabbing last-minute items just to fill little tummies. Of course, that day will come where you will have to grab a Happy Meal, or a snow storm cancels a trip to Whole Foods. That's okay, cut yourself some slack. Remember, baby steps.  One trick is to start the week off making a staple meat that can be used throughout the week. I like to start out Monday with a big crock pot of Tyner Pond Chicken in a flavorful broth. Here is an example of a work week of local, flavorful meals for the whole crew that is so simple, with a little planning.

Day 1

Chicken Breasts with Vegetables (from the crock pot) and potatoes or french fries.

Day 2

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas (Shred leftover chicken and add barbeque sauce, fold into tortillas with cheese)

Day 3

Pizza! (Half BBQ Chicken with red onion and half cheese on a store-bought pizza dough) Side salad.

Day 4

Grilled Cheese and Soup (Made from leftover broth and vegetables.  Add meat as desired)

Day 5

Get out of the house or order in!  Baby feet are tired! *If you are feeling really ambitious, prepare another staple meat Day 1 (or the day before) to incorporate throughout the week.  A simple Tyner Pond Chuck Roast can be a meal itself, or be shredded into the soup, put into quesadillas, breakfast wrap, get creative.

Baby Step #2 - Shop Online
Next, do yourself the favor of completing some of your shopping online. Tyner Pond Farm is so simple and delivery is free! Once you've planned out your weekly menu, go online, order your meat, and then open your door when it arrives. This has been a game-changer for me. I love that I am supporting a local farm and providing my family with pasture-raised meats from non-GMO animals that receive drug-free feed, and have enjoyed the sun on their back!  You can order other local staples online as well from websites like Green Bean Delivery. The key is choosing what is in season or on sale to incorporate into your weekly menu. And if after all this cyber shopping you are feeling a bit stir crazy, don't let the Polar Vortex stop you from the farmer's market! Indy offers several Winter Farmer's Markets.

Baby Step #3 - Make Meal Preparation a Family Experience, Not a Chore
To fully make the switch to a more locally-sourced lifestyle, I can't do it alone. I want my entire family to understand the importance of eating healthy and the value of supporting a real Indiana farm like Tyner Pond Farm. I want my children to see where our food comes from, touch the soil that grows it, and feel like they are involved in the process. I want to have them "help" me prepare our food. I want to explain about the different cooking processes, herbs, and flavors. I know those little food critics' whiny voices aren't going to disappear overnight, but I am confident that if they are involved in the experience of preparing a meal, they will be much more willing to at least try it. I want them to grow up feeling proud to support a local business and to contribute to a more sustainable way of living.

And then that day will come.  You will be late to pick the kids up from daycare.  You will forget to turn on the oven.  The kids will all be fighting, or complaining about homework, or sick or, all of the above.  It's okay.  Throw a frozen pizza in and call it a day.  You will be back on top of your game tomorrow!  Baby steps people.  Eat that frozen people, and rent What About Bob.  If "Baby Steps" worked for that guy, it should be a breeze for you.  Before you know it, you will have changed your lifestyle.  Maybe even your wardrobe...
 

Bill Murray in What About Bob

 

 

 

 

 

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Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

When the temperature drops below zero, it seems like soup is the only meal that could potentially warm one up from deep down to the bones. As I stood in my kitchen gathering the ingredients, I couldn't help but think of my trip to Tyner Pond Farm. It was the first chilly day of the fall season, enough so that we had to put on heavy coats in order to stay warm as we walked across the farm to see the pigs.

Looking back, that day was nothing compared to the cold we have now. A warm cup of soup is not enough in the dead of winter. The flavors should excite you so you not only begin to warm up inside, but you look forward to each spoonful.

Non-GMO butternut squash from HUSK is perfect for winter soups for so many reasons. Not only does the color of butternut squash brighten up the dull, gray winter, but HUSK does all the hard work of removing the tough rind and chopping up the hard squash so you don't have to. With all of that prep time completed, this soup can be on the dinner table in 30 minutes or less.

To complement the butternut squash, I selected a few Indian spices to create a distinct sweet and spicy soup. Sweetness comes from garam masala, which is a mix of cinnamon, cardamon and nutmeg, while turmeric, cumin, ginger and paprika lend to the earthy savory flavors.

What I love most about this soup is that it is perfectly creamy without a drop of milk, heavy cream, or yogurt. I prefer the immersion blender method though you can use a food processor or blender if you like. Once the soup is pulsed and processed, it is ready to serve with your favorite toppings. A creamy soup needs a few crunchy flavors such as homemade croutons and crispy Tyner Pond Farm bacon. But hey, I give myself any excuse to add bacon to a meal.

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 slices of day old bread
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 slices Tyner Pond Farm bacon, roughly chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 12-ounce bags HUSK butternut squash
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (make your own broth using Tyner Pond Farm Whole Chickens or Chicken Frames)


Directions:
1. Prepare the croutons by heating the oven to 350 degrees and slicing or tearing the day old bread into 1/2 inch pieces. Lightly spray the bread with cooking spray and sprinkle the dried oregano on top. Toss to evenly coat the bread. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until lightly golden in color.

2. In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, turn the heat to medium and cook the bacon until crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. Set the bacon aside.

3. Sweat the diced onions in the bacon grease for about 5 minutes or until they are soft and translucent.

4. Stir in all of the seasonings and add the frozen HUSK butternut squash. Place the lid on the pot and turn the heat to low, stirring occasionally. Once the squash is no longer frozen, add the chicken or vegetable broth and turn the heat up to high. Let the broth come to a boil for 5 minutes.

5. Remove the pot from the heat and carefully process the soup either with an immersion blender, food processor or hand blender. Stir the soup to ensure that all of the butternut squash has been pureed. Pour the soup into bowls and top with croutons and crisp bacon pieces. Bon appetit! 

 

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5 Reasons to Make Your Own Beef Broth

Beef Bone Broth Recipe

How many boxes of chicken, beef or vegetable broth or stock have you purchased in the past year? It is easy to grab a few boxes to make your favorite soup or to braise a large rump roast, but the price ads up in more ways than just the cost.

Making your own beef broth can seem intimidating if you have never tried it before, but if you employ the services of your slow cooker, the process is so easy you won't want to make another soup without it. If you need more convincing, read through these five reasons before you scroll down to the recipe.

Salt content - Are you counting the milligrams of sodium on every nutrition label you see? Do you prefer to manage the amount of salt in your food? Store-bought broths and stocks have an incredible amount of sodium in them to preserve their lifespan. You can make broth with absolutely no added salt at all and still have wonderful layers of flavor. Even if you are not paying close attention to your salt intake, homemade broth allows you to have better control over the flavors in your final dish.

Depth of flavor - Have you ever tasted beef broth that actually has a lingering flavor of beef in it? What about onions, carrots and celery? The glory of anything homemade is your ability to make it your own. Beef broth requires only a few basic ingredients, but what about toasting fennel seeds and cloves to make a spiced version? Or adding a bulb of garlic for those garlic lovers out there? All of this is achievable when you make your broth at home.

Health benefits - I do not claim to be a doctor, but there are several studies out there that discuss how broth made from bones contains gelatin and collagen, two things that are used to aid in indigestion and boost your immune system. Many of us grew up with a parent or grandparent feeding us soup when we felt ill, not because of the delicious savory taste but because of the nutrients.

Sustainable and responsible farming - As a kid, I remember learning about Native Americans and how they used every single piece of an animal they harvested, from the fur to the bones. If you eat meat, then it is imperative that you use as many parts of the animal as possible. Not only is it respectful to the animal, it is a sustainable, responsible farming practice. Aside from cooking the offal (the organ meats I like to refer to as odd bits), the bones can be repurposed through slow cooking beef broth.

Inactive cooking time - Once the bones and vegetables are roasted, everything goes into the slow cooker. There's no need to constantly stir, whisk, or mess with the broth while it is cooking. You do not need any special equipment, nor do you need to spend hours preparing ingredients. I do not know of another meal that is this nourishing and is made with such little effort!

Convinced yet? My simple beef bone broth recipe uses ingredients you probably have in your pantry right now. Tyner Pond Farm sells 100% grass-fed beef soup bones for about 1 to 1.5 pounds each and you'll need about 4 pounds to make 2 quarts of broth. Whole black peppercorns and bay leaves can be found at your local grocery store or my favorite spice retailer, Penzey's Spices, on Allisonville and 82nd Street. 
 

Simple Beef Bone Broth 

Makes about 2 quarts

Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds Tyner Pond Farm beef bones
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 large carrots
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 1/2 quarts of water
     

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place the beef bones on a large baking sheet with at least a one inch rim.
2. Roast the bones for 30 minutes, turning the bones halfway through.
3. Peel and halve the onions. Cut the celery stalks and carrots into thirds. Place them on the baking sheet with the bones and roast for another 30 minutes.
4. Remove the roasted bones and vegetables from the oven and place them into the slow cooker. Add the whole peppercorns, bay leaves and water.
5. Secure the lid and set the slow cooker on low for 5 hours. no need to constantly stir, whisk, or mess with the broth while it is cooking. You do not need any special equipment, nor do you need to spend hours preparing ingredients.

I do not know of another meal that is this nourishing and is made with such little effort!

Here are a few other articles outlining the health benefits of drinking beef bone broth:

Bone Broth Evolves From Prehistoric Food to Paleo Drink
The Health Benefits of Beef Bone Broth
Top Five Reasons Why Bone Broth is the Bomb

 

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7 Ways to Support Local Farming in 2015

Trader's Point Creamery

Maybe making New Year's resolutions isn't exactly for you, or possibly, you're the type to contemplate all December what your January 1st resolution(s) will be...either way, big or small, we all know that if you don't fully commit to something, it will eventually fall off your radar.

But, what if everyone made a change in 2015 that requires just a bit of personal commitment and helps an entire community? I'm talking about joining the local food movement and incorporating more locally grown and produced foods & goods into your diet and lifestyle. A little but here, and little bit there -- that's it! Whether you've already committed to doing so (bravo, keep it up!), or you're looking for a place to start, making a conscious effort to buy local is not only healthier for you, but it also lends to the economic health and overall betterment of a community.

So, in addition to shopping Tyner Pond Farm online and having our local, pasture-raised, hormone-free meat delivered to your door, I pulled together a few of my favorites around Indy that can help you consume local, fresh goods of all kinds in the New Year, even the winter months where finding local produce sometimes seems more difficult.

1. Visit the Indy Winter Farmer’s Market - Downtown Indy
The Indy Winter Farmer’s Market is an initiative of Growing Places Indy that takes place Saturdays in November through April from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the historic Indianapolis City Market. Shoppers can find a variety of offerings from local farmers and producers including fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, baked goods & herbs. The Platform at Indianapolis City Market, 202 E Market St., indywinterfarmersmarket.org

2. Buy HUSK, Indiana, Non-GMO Vegetables 
Not only can you purchase Indiana-grown, HUSK non-gmo vegetables on our website, you can also purchase HUSK at several local grocers in the Indianapolis-area, including Marsh, Kroger and Fresh Thyme. Check out the HUSK store locator to see if HUSK is carried at your neighborhood grocery store. huskfoods.com

3. Order Local Goods at HoosierHarvestMarket.com
Hoosier Harvest Market works like a year-round “farmers market meets the internet”. Customers place orders online, local farmers and food producers fulfill the order, and lastly, the orders are distributed weekly to specified customer pick-up locations. Hoosier Harvest Market offers an array of seasonal produce and products, everything from fruits and vegetables, meats and cheeses, to chocolates, granola, honey and more! hoosierharvestmarket.com

4. Make a Family Trip to Trader's Point Creamery - Zionsville
Trader's Point Creamery is a true gem you must experience for yourself. Located in Zionsville, Indiana, Trader's Point Creamery has been an organic dairy farm and artisan creamery since 2003. They raise 100% grass-fed dairy cows, producing delicious and delectable milks, cheeses, yogurts & more. The farm has grown to include an on-site farm-to-table restaurant, farm store, dairy bar and summer farmer's market. 9101 Moore Road, Zionsville, IN., traderspointcreamery.com

5. Dine and Give Back at Public Greens - Broad Ripple
A new favorite in the Broad Ripple area, Public Greens is an Urban Kitchen with a Mission - a "farm-market inspired urban cafeteria" in which all profits and crops go to feeding kids via The Patachou Foundation. The restaurant has its own garden planted nearby and is committed to using other local farmers and producers. 902 E. 64th St., Indianapolis, IN. publicgreensurbankitchen.com

6. Become a Member of Slow Food Indy
Slow Food Indy is the local chapter of an international grassroots organization "promoting good, clean and fair food." Focused on building relationships and community through food, the group helps the public get to know area farmers and their food through events like tastings, workshops, farm tours and deliciously prepared group meals. Become a supporter or a member starting at just $10 a year. Learn more at slowfoodindy.com

7. Shop at the Winter's Farmer's Market at Founder's Park - Carmel
Founders Park is the brand new location for the Carmel Farmer's Market. The Market is open each Saturday from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. through March 14. With 23 vendors, the winter market offers Indiana-grown and/or produced products of a wide range; meats, poultry, vegetables, micro-greens, gourmet coffee, artisan chocolates and breads, baked goods and gluten-free foods. Hazel Dell Parkway and 116th Street, carmelfarmersmarket.com
 
Have a favorite way to buy local and support local farmers and producers in Central Indiana? Share it below!

 

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The Future Of Grass-fed Beef In Indiana

So a gentleman tried to make an argument against grass-fed beef by saying "Corn Finished Beef is never going away!". Hmmm... in the grass-fed industry, I don't really hear anyone saying that it will.

I agree (maybe) that corn-fed beef will never go away, however, in this country where 98% of grass-fed beef is imported, and it represents about 6% of the total market and demand is growing 25% a year...well, as an entrepreneur, that sure looks like a terrific opportunity.    
 

Grass Fed Beef Indiana


Indiana consumes $8.8 billion dollars a year in meat of which 56% is beef. That gives us a nearly $300,000,000 opportunity based on the 6% number, which of course is growing. The reality is that as more people are becoming aware of the benefits of saturated fats to our health, coupled with the rapid awareness of the dangers of Antibiotics in the factory food system, the rate of growth is going to only increase.

Consider that the parent company of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's is adding a drug & hormone free grass-fed burger to their lineup.  This meat will be sourced from Australia and retail for $4.69 a burger.  Surely, we can do this less expensively in Indiana...(oh wait, we do at The Mug in Greenfield where you can find a 100% Indiana grass-fed burger for $2.00).

 

Tyner Pond Farm Grassfed Beef Indiana


The economics for grass-fed vs. feedlot are changing, too - with the EPA taking a greater interest in waterways and runoff and the restrictions coming on antibiotic use.  It's got the big guys including the Farm Bureau in a panic.

Consider that 8 Americans died as a result of terrorism last year.  Tragic and intolerable as that sounds, 23,000 Americans died from Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria last year.

This opportunity is enormous, not only for the health, environmental and animal welfare benefits, but also for the economic impact of a brand new industry that creates hundreds of quality jobs and keeps more Indiana money in Indiana.

It's enough opportunity to get mine and a lot of other entrepreneurially minded farmers attention for sure. :-)

 

 

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The Merriest Memories of All...Food.

Everybody has one.  A very favorite holiday memory.  I've been asking around, and pretty much every single person I've talked to has started out by saying, "Mmmmm...." and then gone on to describe, in elaborate detail, their family's traditional ham glaze or secret stuffing recipe.  All of the memories involve food.  I have heard about hand made pastas and pot roasts, cookies and pies.  I am so glad it isn't just me!  My parents always said I "live to eat, not the other way around".  At this time of year, it seems everyone practices this little mantra.  Gathering around the table together and enjoying delicious traditions is the real substance of  the holidays.  The things that memories are made of.  Food.
 

Normal Rockwell Christmas Dinner


Food engages all the senses.  The smell of the poultry seasoning tickling your nose.  The sound of the kettle corn cracking over the fire.  The feel of soft, buttery rolls in your hand.  The sight of the table overflowing with delicacies.  And that taste.  The taste of your very favorite holiday memory, as it melts into your mouth.

 

My mom always has the biggest smile when she talks about their Christmas turkey when she was little.  This year I saw that same smile as we enjoyed our turkey for Thanksgiving.  "Now, this is like the turkey I had growing up!"  It was delicious and I think we have a new tradition, Tyner Pond Farm pasture-raised turkey.  My husband has always said his favorite part of the holidays are his Grandma's noodles.  It's not just that their flavor is sensational and familiar, it's that he knows she gets up extra early to carefully make them by hand.  It's a gesture of love.  A simple recipe and an early alarm means so much.  He can't remember what was under the tree every year, but he certainly knows what was on the table.

 

Every Christmas Eve, I dream that I will wake up in my Grandpa's house in downtown Lafayette.  I can smell the coffee brewing and taste the sugary coffee cake from the local bakery.  I help my mom stuff the bird as the smell of sauteed onions hangs in the air.  The windows are foggy from all the family and food packed into the tiny kitchen.  There isn't a moment of the day the table isn't overflowing with delicious, savory memories.  One year, Cousin Joanie's gravy was too salty.  Another year the sweet potatoes were burnt.  But, every year, there were perfect, creamy ice cream molds in the pull-out freezer.  My little sister and I would peel away the thin, brown paper and bite through the waxy shell.  I can still taste it now.  That. Exact. Flavor.  A creamy goodness that I will never truly taste again.  My mom said that the lady who used to make the ice cream molds is long gone and no one knows whatever happened to the recipe.  So, that's all it is now.  A memory.  And one that is as heart-warming as it is delicious.  Many of us will enjoy our traditions at the table this year, and some we will enjoy with closed, nostalgic eyes, savoring the memory of a childhood or loved one.  My Grandpa has been gone for over 12 years now, and a new family fills that tiny kitchen on Christmas.  My Christmas Eve dream is just that, and I wake in my own home.  But, it too is the home of my little ones who lay nestled all snug in their beds.  And I will wake extra early, to create yummy memories and fill our table with food and love.


I would love to hear about the foods that bring back your favorite Christmas memories and holiday nostalgia.  Share your stories below!

- Megan
 

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The Lazy Mom's Guide to Beat the 'Last Minute Gift' Blues

Last Minute Gift Idea

There are only 5 days left until Christmas!  This means that the only thing growing bigger than the kid's excitement, is my panic!  I swear I started shopping in July, but somehow I still have some loose gift ends to tie.  So here is my guide to completing holiday shopping, without lifting a finger.  Okay, so you do have to lift a finger, but that's pretty much it! 

Instead of grabbing the closest piece of meaningless junk at the local superstore, I am going to take just a few moments to order and create a gift that any individual or family could appreciate...a Tyner Pond Farm online gift certificate! The gift certificates are offered in $25, $50, and $100 increments and can be delivered with your weekly order! They come in a festive red envelope that you can stuff in a stocking, place in a mail box or put under the tree. 

Currently, TPF is offering a promo that is extended through the weekend (12.21) for your last minute gifts; Buy $100 worth of gift certificates and get a $25 gift certificate FREE when you use promo code GIVETOGET at checkout.  I am so excited to share Tyner Pond Farm's delicious, healthy food with my family and friends and show them how easy it is to order online and have it delivered locally for free. And I am extremely excited I can do this without loading the whole gang into the minivan and battling the crowds at Walmart. 

So, to really make this gift unique, I am going to add a couple little touches, without ever leaving the house.  Included in the lucky recipient's gift they will also find...

 

  • DIY Custom Recipe Cards - I am using this easy recipe card website that provides a recipe card template in fun designs.  Choose your favorite recipes, customize your cards, print and trim! Like I said, I don't plan on leaving the house.
     
  •  Tyner Pond Farm Summer Sausage  
    I have to suggest a Tyner Pond Farm's All-Natural Summer Sausage that Butcher Brad freshly smoked up this week! The set will include two, 1lb summer sausages made from grass-fed beef -- all in a cute hand-stamped reusable gift bag. The great thing is, when you gift this, it's something the entire family will enjoy together!


I just love gifts that I can actually use and I know that my family and friends will be excited to try Tyner Pond Farm's REAL food and taste the difference that local, pasture-raised, hormone-free meats can make.  Happiest of holidays!
 

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Holiday Roast Beef in a Pot with Gravy

If you love to cook, the holidays are probably one of your favorite times of the year. There is a natural excuse allowing you to bake five dozen batches of cookies, a 20 pound turkey, ham, and multiple varieties of pie and nobody will flinch because it is the holidays. Not everyone enjoys cooking as much as I do, but that does not mean you have to sacrifice taste for time.

Grass-fed meat from Tyner Pond Farm tastes phenomenal and one bite was enough for me to continue purchasing more and more from their easy, online delivery service. After visiting the farm and seeing for myself their sustainable, responsible farming practices, I feel better about the food I am eating. There truly is something special about knowing exactly where your food comes from.

Roast beef is one of the most simple yet rewarding holiday recipes. Easily transformed by just a few herbs and spices, a large rump roast from Tyner Pond Farm makes a tender, lean beef that can be sliced and served with creamy mashed potatoes and homemade gravy. Sold in two sizes, I purchased the smaller two pound roast for my family of two, but the five pound size will yield more if you are feeding a crowd and it will not take too much longer to cook. Slow cooking is required to loosen up the muscle fibers allowing the majority of the cooking time to be inactive.

Coriander, mustard, garlic, onion, salt and pepper are traditional seasonings for a roast. It's like that saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," and while I enjoy challenging that status quo, I have to agree that sometimes it just makes sense to keep it traditional. What is unique about this holiday recipe is the vessel in which the roast is cooked. It is a French technique to cook a whole bird in a pot or Dutch oven, and I figured the same could work with a rump roast. After the beef was seasoned I placed it in the pot and arranged the vegetables around it. Adding a touch of beef broth kept the vegetables from drying out as the beef is so lean it will not render much fat.

And then there's the gravy. I should confess, this recipe was an excuse to make gravy. If I could eat gravy on everything, I would. Butter is added to the vegetables with flour to make a roux, followed by beef broth. After about ten minutes, the mix will have thickened to a brown gravy that can be poured on top of your sliced roast beef. Nobody will judge you for licking your plate. 


Holiday Roast Beef in a Pot with Gravy

Ingredients:

  • Tyner Pond Farm rump roast, about 2 pounds
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1/4 cup + 4 cups beef broth, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Mix all of the seasonings together in a small bowl. Pat the rump roast dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the seasoning on all sides of the beef, rubbing it in with your fingers.
3. Place the roast in the middle of a large oven safe pot or Dutch oven. Arrange the diced vegetables around the meat and pour in the 1/4 cup beef broth.
4. Place the pot in the oven, uncovered, and immediately turn the heat down to 375. Cook until the thickest part of the meat reaches 145 degrees, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours for a 2 pound roast or 2-3 1/2 hours for a five pound roast. Remove the roast to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes covered under foil.
5. Add the butter to the vegetables and place the pot over medium heat on a burner. Whisk in the flour a little at a time until the roux becomes thick and creamy. Continue whisking and cooking for three minutes.
6. Slowly pour in the beef broth and turn the heat up to medium high. Whisk for five to ten minutes or until the gravy has thickened. Taste for seasoning and add salt or pepper if necessary.
7. Slice the roast beef and pour the gravy on top. Best served with a side of mashed potatoes.

 

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Important: Help Us Protect Country Of Origin Labeling! Please Read This

Country Of Origin Label Requirement

 

Apparently, language has shown up in the conference report for the bill that would fund federal government operations through the summer of 2015.   COOL legislation, (Country Of Origin Labeling) (http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/cool )   passed as part of the farm bill in 2002 and again in 2008, has been a constant target of the global meat processing heavy weights. They have sued the federal government four times in the past decade, hoping to avoid the requirement to label imported foods as to their country of origin.

 

 

It looks like language has been inserted in the new budget proposal that would eliminate COOL as well as prevent USDA’s implementation of pending regulations of the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Act (GIPSA) – curbing anti-competitive behavior in the meat packing industry. Another segment of this “hat trick” of nefarious behavior was the insertion of language to prohibit the Secretary of Agriculture from pursuing reforms of the national beef checkoff program.

 

 

We are asking everyone who believes in fair markets and their right to know where their beef, poultry and pork came from to contact their members of Congress (http://www.house.gov/ )  to request that language affecting COOL, the beef checkoff program and USDA GIPSA regulations be removed from the bill.

 

The the nation’s second largest beef packer is now JBS, a Brazilian company. Meanwhile, the largest U.S. pork packer is Shanghui International Holdings, a Chinese company partially owned by the government of China. These recent foreign acquisitions of major livestock processing companies are but one illustration of the tremendous influence that multi-national corporations have over our food supply and even our democratic process.

 

These enormous multi-nationals benefit greatly by shopping the world for low cost meats and maximize returns if they can sell them in American supermarkets without labeling their sources. They are aided by organizations including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the prime contractor of the beef checkoff program.
 

Due to industry consolidation, vertical integration and globalization the machinery of the checkoff has fallen under the influence of large meat processing and marketing companies.
 

The beef “checkoff” program is a mandatory one dollar per head tax on each animal sold at market. Congress approved a law some 30 years ago enabling the checkoff because the money was supposed to be used to market and build the U.S. beef market.

 

I’m not sure if you have seen what’s happening with food & ag Entrepreneurship here in the U.S. as well as Indiana.  Please read this article from the San Jose Mercury News…  http://rapidcityjournal.com/business/local/ag-tech-could-change-how-the-world-eats/article_e0353a05-8ad1-5aac-a0cf-9f3ad67d9e61.html

 

A large part of my career was spent at RR Donnelley where we controlled nearly 80% of all printed magazines and catalogs and Phone Books (remember them) in the country.  We tried to get them to see the disruption that was coming but they could never shake the channel conflict.   The result, ExactTarget at 12 years old sold for more than double what 150 year old Donnelley is worth. 

 

I just feel it's my role as the member of the group who has built VC backed technology companies that have created billions in value and thousands of jobs to remind us not to forget the potential for entrepreneurship here.  

 

Facebook, Email and Google destroyed print media growth.  Uber & Lyft have destroyed the traditional urban transportation model.  

 

eCommerce is destroying retail shopping.  

Crowdfunding is totally disrupting the banking industry.   (Lending Club's IPO last week gave them a $9 bbl valuation....making something most of us never even heard of the 10th largest financial institution in the country)  

 

 

The Global Food Companies see all of this and are working hard not to make the same mistakes.  They are fighting hard to protect what’s theirs but at the same time stifling free completion and as a result Entrepreneurship.  

 

Adam Smith wrote “The Wealth Of Nations” deploring monopolies and supporting the “Invisible Hand” of the Free Market. 

 

Indiana is uniquely qualified to be the leader here.   We are well recognized as a technology hotbed.  We have had several tech IPO's and amazing buyouts over the past 5 years and are absolutely on the radar of all the National Venture Capitalists.   Our additional benefit is that we are also an Agricultural State.  We just have to make sure we keep our Ag minds open to the opportunity and preventing Multi-National Corporations to stifle competition. 

 

Happy to discuss this in person if you would like.

 

Sincerely,

 

Chris Baggott

www.TynerPondFarm.com

www.HuskFoods.com

 

Co-Founder of ExactTarget and Compendium Software.

 

 

 

 

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Meat Lovers Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide for Meat Lovers


Looking for a unique holiday gift that will surprise the meat lovers in your life? We've compiled a few of our favorites (at all different price-points!) below:

1.) Anova Precision Cooker
Sous vide cooking has never been easier! Home chefs can now cook meat like a top chef at a high-end restaurant. The state-of-the-art Anova Precision Cooker locks in all the juices and flavor, cooking all kinds of meat, poultry and fish to complete perfection! Watch the Anova Kickstarter campaign (fully funded in June!) to see how easy it is to use and read the article about sous vide cooking in The New York Times. $179, anovaculinary.com

2.) Bear Paw Meat Handlers
These "paws" are a great gadget to have on hand - they're like an extension of your own hand! Made of durable plastic, they are perfect for shredding meat (hello, pulled pork!), moving hot food items from pan to platter and holding food while carving. $15.95, Amazon.com

3.) Tyner Pond Farm Online Gift Certificate
We know you’re already a fan of our local meats and now it's time to spread the word. Give the gift of good, clean, local meat this holiday. We have gift certificates in increments of $25, $50 and $100. Shop tynerpondfarm.com

4.) Meat Pyramid Grilling Turner
This cool & kitschy meat turner adds some fun to grilling. Made with solid rosewood, stainless steel and leather, it's a step up from your everyday turner! $32, visit Silver in the City (434 Massachusetts Ave.) or find it at silverinthecity.com

5.) Pizzology Craft Pizza + Pub Gift Card
Who doesn’t love pizza? And better yet, pizza topped with fresh, locally-sourced, pasture-raised meat? A gift card to our friends and partners at Pizzology is a great gift for not only meat lovers, but for any food-loving family member. Pizzology has locations in downtown Indy and Carmel and they're opening up a third location this month. Visit pizzologyindy.com for the menu, directions, hours & more.

6.) Ultimate Grilling Rub Collection
This is an ideal gift for the grill master in your life (and don’t we all know one?). This spice rub sampler features four spice rubs - Chili-lime, Potlatch, Spicy Chipotle and Smokehouse - each with a unique blend of spices and seasonings to enhance the natural flavors of your favorite meats and vegetables. $22, Online exclusive at williams-sonoma.com  

7.) Meat Freezer
We'd prefer our customers take their meat straight to their refrigerators, but we know that it's not always possible, especially if you buy in bulk. An extra chest or upright freezer can solve the problem of an overstocked, over-flowing freezer and comes in many sizes, depending on space and needs. Read Sarah Croft's guest blog post, Tips to Buying Your First Freezer. Starting at $150. Visit your local home appliance retailers for options.

Have other gift ideas for meat lovers? Share them with us below!

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Top Tips for Buying your First Freezer

Three years ago, my boyfriend and I moved out of an apartment into our first house, complete with a basement, outdoor garage and fenced in backyard for Dollar and Brandy, our two dogs. With it came a larger kitchen with more cabinet and counter space, and I started to take photos and write about my joy of cooking. That hobby has led to trying all kinds of new foods, many of which have started or ended in our freezer. It did not take long for our family of two to outgrow the freezer that sits on top of the refrigerator and I started to think about how, when and what kind of free-standing freezer I should purchase.


Where would we put the freezer? How big should it be? Do we want an upright freezer or a chest freezer? Understanding how you will use the freezer will help you make an informed decision. Here are five tips for buying your first freezer:


Freezers come in two varieties: upright freezer and chest freezer. 
An upright freezer…

  •  Takes up less floor space but requires a room with high ceiling
  •   Comes with shelving for organization
  •   Comes in a manual defrost or frost-free configurations and is less energy efficient
  •   Lighted interior making it easier to see what you are storing
  •   Typically more expensive and comes with more advanced features


A chest freezer…

  • Comes with limited shelving
  • ​ Has room for large, bulky items such as Tyner Pond Farms’ hams, turkeys and items packaged in bulk that do not easily fit on shelves
  • Comes in a manual defrost, sometimes available in frost-free, and are more energy efficient
  •  Requires you to open the lid and reach down into it
  • Typically less expensive and comes with less features


Location - Aesthetics are important with appliances that will be seen inside your house. Black and stainless steel look great in a kitchen, but I did not need anything fancy for the basement. Ours is unfinished but dry and clean, and the only other prerequisite was to ensure the electrical outlets were working. If you are purchasing a chest freezer, you will want to place it near a drain or a hose for manual defrosting. Freezers should not be placed near a heat source such as an oven or air vent.

Size - When I was growing up, I would frequently visit the 9 cubic foot chest freezer located in the garage. It held the important things - pizza, after school snacks, and meat. For our family of four, the freezer gave plenty of space for everything a growing family needed. I do not remember a time when it was not filled to the top with everything we could possibly need. 

Freezers come in four basic sizes: compact (5 cubic feet), small (6 to 9 cubic feet), medium (12 to 18 cubic feet) and large (more than 18 cubic feet). For my family of two, I knew the freezer my parents owned offered more space than I could possibly need. While I could probably fill a 9 cubic foot chest freezer with a half a cow or more, the likelyhood of us eating through the food before it would become freezer burnt or too old was not very high. A 7 cubic foot chest freezer seemed more appropriate. Don’t forget to measure the door space that you will be fitting your freezer through! Upright freezers are usually wider than chest freezers. 

Energy - All freezers require energy to stay powered on and keep your goods frozen, so you will need to expect an increase in your monthly energy bill - but how much? Freezers are advertised with an energy label explaining how much you should expect to pay per year. My 7 foot cubic freezer will cost me an additional $30.00 a year in energy, or an average of $2.50 per month, but that is not guaranteed. Freezers that are ⅔ full require less energy. Fill your empty freezer with jugs of water until you purchase enough food to fill it (or plan in advance and buy from Tyner Pond Farms!) You can view the EnergyStar rating of appliances online here: http://www.energystar.gov/ 

There are several models of freezers available and each may offer one or more of these features:

  • Adjustable temperature - If you know your food should be kept at a certain temperature, some models will give you the option to change the setting or set the freezer to an exact temperature.
  • Shelving and baskets - Some chest freezers come with one shelf and one basket (like mine) or a variation so you can reach into the freezer and access your food. Upright freezers offer much more in the way of shelving and storage space inside the door.
  • Warranty - Many manufacturers offer food spoliage warranties if the freezer fails and food spoils.
  • Door locks - A handy option if you have young children who may leave the door open or should not have access to the freezer.


Purchasing a freezer is not a decision that should be made without discussing how much space you need, where the freezer will be located, and the long-term cost. Once you make your decision, you will be grateful for Tyner Pond Farm’s delivery service! I can now order items in bulk or place orders when certain items are on sale knowing that I have a place to store them before cooking. Tyner Pond Farms’ meats are sent in vacuum sealed bags, but for other food items or leftovers, a purchase of a vacuum sealer is well-worth the price for saving food longer without freezer burn.

Do you have a freezer? How did you determine which one was right for you and your family? I’d love to hear about your freezer making decisions in the comments!

Sara Croft is the author of the blog Solid Gold Eats, where she supplies delicious, one-of-a-kind recipes and encourages readers to try new things and make dishes that are 'solid gold hits' at the dinner table and beyond. She writes about her life in Indianapolis with her boyfriend and two dogs, Dollar and Brandy, as well as her growing interest in the science of how food works. 

 

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Stock up on Family Favorites for Your Holiday Celebrations!






















We're spreading extra holiday cheer this week at the farm! Save on your online orders today through Tuesday, December 16th when you use the following promo codes:

* Spend $50 get $5 off with code HOLIDAY50
* Spend $100 get $10 off with code HOLIDAY100
* Spend $150 get $15 off with code HOLIDAY150
 
Stock up on local, pasture-raised favorites for your crock-pot, grill & oven that the whole family will enjoy. May we suggest a Whole Turkey or a delicious Beef Shoulder Roast for your Christmas dinner, or a Tyner breakfast favorite, Sausage Links with Sage. As always, FREE delivery within 50 miles of our farm! Shop Now
 
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An Easy Way to Give Back with Husk Foods this Holiday

Give Back with Husk Foods


Shop Husk and Give Back Pound for Pound to Gleaners Food Bank
Everyone deserves easy access to locally grown, healthy and fresh produce. Help us give back to those in need this holiday season with Husk Foods! Shop Husk Indiana-grown, non-GMO sweet corn, green beans and butternut squash on our site and Husk will give back pound for pound to Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana until December 12th. You'll be doing something good for yourself, your family AND for the community. Check out Husk's super simple Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe below - a quick & easy dish for the cold winter season! Be sure to include our pasture-raised whole chicken for a deliciously local meal the entire family will enjoy!

Husk’s Chicken Tortilla Soup
Ingredients:
1 of each bell pepper; red, yellow, green, and orange (diced)
1 onion diced garlic salt with parsley
1 whole rotisserie chicken (remove meat from bone)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 of a bag of HUSK Sweet Corn
1 package of Spanish rice
2 cans diced tomatoes with chilies
1 carton chicken broth toppings of your choice

Directions: Saute onion and peppers and season with garlic salt with parsley. Put all ingredients inside of crock pot. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado and tortilla chips. Savor every bite!
 

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How I Conquered and Perfected REAL Chicken Nuggets

Lately, my very delectable attempts at expanding my children's palettes usually ends with them requesting just one particular "something else" to eat.  Yep, you guessed it.  Chicken nuggets.  No real surprise here.  But, I have to say, the things generally just freak me out.  Maybe it's some of the mystery commercially surrounding their, umm, content.  Or maybe its a certain experience I had at age 8 at a certain fast food chain.  Regardless, I have come to the conclusion that for the foreseeable future, these nuggets are just going to have to be a kid/mom compromise as part of our weekly menu.

Wikipedia tells me that, "A chicken nugget is a chicken product made from either meat slurry..."  Okay!  Stop right there!  Meat slurry?!?!  No!  So, I will see what my self-proclaimed 'chicken nugget experts' think they are actually eating...

Me:  What do you guys think is in a chicken nugget?
Preschoolers:  Probably just, ummm, chicken?
Me:  It wasn't a trick question.
Preschoolers:  Chicken.  Final answer.  Why? Are we having some right now?  We're not having them with green beans, right?  I'll get the ketchup.

Well, how about this definition... "A chicken nugget is a portion of a chicken breast or chicken tender coated in a savory bread crumb mixture and either baked or fried to moist, crispy perfection." OK, so I made that up, but that's what I want!  That is what I want to feed my family!  So, we started with pasture-raised Tyner Pond Farm boneless chicken breasts.  There was literally no fat to trim off, so here's how it went:

Step 1:  Cut the chicken breasts (I used two) into the nugget or tender size you desire. Mine were about 2" each or three bites. Note: The Tyner Pond Farm chicken breasts were so large and plump, I had a 5-year-old tenderize them a bit with a mallet to achieve the texture we wanted.  He enjoyed chanting, "Beat that meat!  Beat that meat!"

Step 2:  Coat with flour and egg wash, or just a light swipe of Mayonnaise. (If you actually do this ahead of time, let them chill in the Mayonnaise for a few hours for extra tenderness!)

Step 3:  Coat in your own breadcrumb mixture. I used dry bread crumbs, salt & pepper and parmesan cheese. You can also add cayenne pepper.

Step 4:  Bake or fry. I put mine in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping one time.

Step 5:  Eat and enjoy! (Somebody get me some honey mustard!)

So...what do the experts think?

Boy 1: "This is good chicken!"
Boy 2:"Hey, I know this is just chicken, because it came right from the farm!"
Baby Girl: "AAAAHhhhhhhh!  Baaaaa Blaahhhh Baaaa!!!!!!" (That was Baby Girl asking politely for more.)

My husband and I added a little olive oil and lemon for a make-shift Chicken Piccata.  It.  Was.  Delicious.  Am I saying we are never going through the fast food drive-thru ever again?  No.  It happens.  But, these are the kind of chicken nuggets that make my meal happy.  Okay, everybody help clear the table, and then go back to doing whatever it is you 'nugget experts' do...
 

 

 

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Our Family's First Red Bag Delivery

Getting into Tyner Red Bag
I don't care who you are, or where you are from, you have got to love having some of your grocery shopping done with a click.  And then, "ding dong"!  Our first 'Big Red Bag' is waiting for us on our front porch.  I have been anticipating this moment sincdiscovering Tyner Pond Farm!  Everybody loves a farm-to-door delivery, for free.  Well, unless you are a 4-year-old and you think that Santa left his bag on your stoop.  I guess I shouldn't have said, "I wonder who left a big red bag on our porch!?"  But, once he was over the initial disappointment, he had some fun with Baby Girl opening our delivery from Tyner Pond Farm.


So it is actually like Christmas morning, if you are a busy mom and just want some healthy, high quality food without having to load the whole gang into the minivan(if you are cool like me) and empty your wallet.  I usually go to 3 different stores to be able to get the best prices on the items I am not willing to sacrifice quality for; meat, milk, fruit and vegetables.  We don't have the time to go on a scavenger hunt every week, just trying to find some real food people!  I am thrilled to find the meat I want for my family; pasture-raised and natural, the way I believe animals were created to live, and be consumed.

Tyner Online Ordering

And the Tyner Pond Farm website is so easy to navigate, a pre-schooler could do it! 

Well, almost.  They clicked "Place Order".  And I began sorting through recipe ideas for our order of chicken breasts, Husk butternut squash, sweet Italian sausage, pork shoulder, and ground beef!


Now, it is time to get cooking some real food!  I will let you know how dinner time goes tonight.  Will someone throw themselves on the floor because I am not providing a Dora yogurt?  Will someone else be hysterically sobbing because he claims he heard someone mention "green beans"?  Probably.  Will we all be sitting down together at the same table?  Sort of.  Will we be eating delicious, healthy food?  Definitely.

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The Local Food We've Stored Away for Winter...and You Can too!

local food sunflowersHonestly, this post is not meant to be a brag, it's really not. OK, maybe a little bit it is, because I have been working my ass off and I want a little recognition I guess. :-) But really, I hope it's simply motivational... 

 

So what's my brag? The amount of local food we've stored away for the winter--not "amount" as in quantity, because that will have to come later. Rather, I mean "amount" in terms of variety. Right now, between our fridge, freezer, pantry, garden and a shed outside, we have: 

  • kale (in the garden)
  • chard (in the garden)
  • dill pickles
  • bread and butter pickles
  • pickled beets
  • beets
  • carrots (in the fridge and in the ground)
  • sauerkraut
  • potatoes (packed in hay in boxes in the shed)
  • pork
  • corn (frozen)
  • green beans (frozen)
  • salsa
  • stewed tomatoes
  • pasta sauce
  • peaches (canned)
  • pears (canned)
  • apple cider
  • raspberry jam
  • strawberries (frozen)
  • blackberries (frozen)
  • blueberries (frozen)
  • pears (dried)
  • apples (dried)
  • applesauce
  • corn relish
  • turkey meat (freezer)
  • turkey stock (canned)
  • butternut squash (stored)
  • delicata squash (stored)
  • heirloom pumpkins (stored)
  • And in the greenhouse, spinach, chard, lettuce and green onion seedlings that will either get planted in raised beds outside or nursed along in the greenhouse as an experiment

local food Cinderella pumpkins in our gardenAnd I'm not done. Well, it's November. I probably am done. There are quite a few things I didn't get done yet, like salsa verde, catsup, and hard cider, and I still have a bunch of apples that I was hoping to get pressed into apple juice for the hard cider but that didn't happen (so they'll probably become applesauce). 

 

Best of all, every single thing you see on that list is local, either grown by us or purchased from a local farmer (except the peaches and pears which came from the other side of the state where they are happier to grow). 

 

Do you know how good I feel reading through that list???? Do you know how awesome it feels to be able to make a meal that's not completely but mostly local, and from our own stores? 

 

view of our local food garden from the pig penThe Hubby and I are not striving to be completely self-sufficient. We couldn't be because we both work, for one thing, so we don't have time to. (As a farming neighbor down the road says, "We work so we can farm!" because farming is not cheap!) Raising just the little bit of food that we do takes a lot of time (and money). Raising even more would take more time...time we don't have, and definitely money we don't have. 

 

So it's not that we're trying to be totally self-sufficient. But we are trying to be a bit more food independent, by growing some vegetables in a garden that's slowly taking shape, harvesting what we can from the orchard that came with our old farm, buying other produce from local farmers, and either raising pastured meats or buying pastured meats locally. 

 

That picture above is one I took in August, looking towards the back of our house. It only shows a little bit of the garden, and really, only about half of the area got plowed up (by pastured pigs!), but it's a good start for next year. I have really ambitious plans for our garden, but getting to the end goal will take time and money (and blood, sweat and tears). And we grew more sunflowers and pumpkins than anything else! Yes, those are our sunflowers and pumpkins in the picture, and no, I won't grow as many next year. I just got a little carried away. :-) 

 

But you don't have to have a garden, you don't have to raise all your own, in order to have local food stored away for the winter. In fact, most of what I've put up was not grown by us, but by local farmers. And really, it's not that hard to put food up. It's not. I spread this out over three months, and there were only a few times where it was all-consuming. It's also helpful to do it with someone. It makes the tasks go faster to have an extra set of hands and company. (I find wine makes it more enjoyable too, along with fun music). 

 

And...it's just a little bit addictive, once you start thinking about local food that's in season and ways you can preserve it for later. Even now, I am thinking about buying local cranberries and making preserves to give to friends for their Thanksgiving meals...and I'm the only one at my house who eats cranberries! Even now, I'm looking at all the apples I've picked and not used yet, and debating between applesauce or trying one more time to get the cider press guy to let me come over. And, even now, I'm thinking about all the things I could have but didn't preserve. 

 

Because it's not only addictive, it's so very satisfying. It gives you a feeling of self-sufficiency like no other. 

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Does Your Kitchen Stop You From Cooking? 5 Tips for a Usable Kitchen You'll WANT to Cook in

I am on a one-person campaign to get more people back in the kitchen and back to cooking. Why? Several reasons, all of them important: so people will eat healthier, so families will eat together, and so local farmers will be more likely to be patronized (and therefore profitable). 

 

This campaign means I spend a lot of time thinking (and talking and writing) about food and farmers and recipes and dinners and stuff like that. But then it hit me that maybe some people don't cook for a totally unrelated reason: Maybe some people are put off by their kitchens. 

 

I had this epiphany because one of my many freelance writing jobs involves writing about kitchens once a week. That means I spend more time thinking about kitchens than the average Bear (or the average American!). In addition to that, I have an ongoing point of contention with The Hubby, because I insist on getting the dishes all washed, dried and put away before bed while he wants them to sit out and dry overnight (mostly so he doesn't have to feel guilty about drying them), plus I try to sweep the kitchen floor before bed too, which also bugs him as something that "can wait." But hold on: Putting off tasks like sweeping or putting dishes away does not make that task go away! It just moves those tasks to the next day's list, making that list even longer. I was getting tired of this argument until I read this article on 5 things to do in the kitchen before you go to bed. Then I felt justified. So now I just clean up the kitchen and ignore him. 

 

But thinking about cleaning up the kitchen before bed (and arguing about it) got me thinking: Maybe people are less likely to cook because they walk into a kitchen that's unusable! I'm not talking about a kitchen that's unusable because the fridge is on the fritz, or the oven doesn't work. (Heck, I have TWO ovens and the handles are now broken off of both, so I know a thing or two about "unusable" appliances, sadly.) Maybe people walk into the kitchen and see a sink full of dirty dishes, mail all over the counter, someone's craft project taking over the kitchen table, and cat food scattered across the floor. 

 

Would you want to cook in that kitchen? Me either! In fact, the first thing I do before I start dinner is wash the breakfast and lunch dishes that sat in the sink all day, as well as clear off the counter. No matter how late I am starting dinner prep, if there's clutter to work around, I can't work around it. First the clutter goes, then the cooking starts. 

 

If a cluttered, unusable or unwelcome kitchen sounds even a little bit familiar to you, here are five tips that might make your kitchen more usable, welcoming and likely to get cooked in...so you can get cooking some local food and support those local farmers. :-) 

 

1. Clear off the counter: I don't know why it is, but we seem to have a knack for cluttering our counters. On mine right now sit a microwave, a mixer, a radio, an empty canning jar, a coffee maker, a soap dispenser, a bowl full of eggshells, a compost bucket, a fruit fly trap, a cookie far, a knife block, a cutting board, a butter dish, a sugar bowl, and an antique coffee can full of cooking utensils...and I have a tiny kitchen! I can tell you right now, this woman is going to be doing some decluttering in the next week or two! Because that stuff just gets in my way when I am cooking, and THAT makes cooking more of a hassle. 

 

2. Keep up with the dishes: We don't have a dishwasher for a couple of reasons, so I have nowhere to hide dishes until they get washed. Instead, they sit in our deep sink until I get them done. Sometimes they pile up more than other times, but at some point every day, every single dish, pot, plan, glass and fork is washed dried and put away. This can happen at your house in the morning or at night. It's no fun, and it feels like a never-ending battle, but keeping up with the dishes will give you room to work when you are ready to cook...a clean slate, if you will. 

 

3. Clean as you go: I know some cooks who just pile, pile, pile up the dishes, pots and pans as they're cooking until at the end of meal prep, the kitchen looks like a war zone. That would stop me from cooking for sure! Instead, I find it's a lot more efficient to clean as I go, washing and putting away one pot while moving on to another, etc. Constantly wiping down the countertop helps too. That way, once you're done cooking, cleanup is minimal...and not intimidating! 

 

4. Have lots of towels: I made my first husband crazy in all kinds of ways. One of them was my seemingly indiscriminate use of kitchen towels. He'd complain about how many towels I went through while cooking, which made no sense to me since I did all the cooking AND all the laundry, but I still hear his voice when I toss yet another towel into the laundry basket, and I still know my way is fine. I keep LOTS of towels around because I clean as I go and I like to simply toss the used towel and grab a clean one and keep going. Running out of towels while cooking, on the other hand, would be frustrating. So I have lots of towels. :-) 

 

5. Respect your space, and make the family respect it too: Keeping the kitchen clean so it's ready for use is kind of like keeping your living room picked up in case you have company, or making your bed in the morning. Learn to respect the space that's used to nourish your family, and teach that family they need to respect it too. Remind them of the common-sense rules about if you get it out, put it back, etc. 

 

I can't guarantee putting these tips into practice will make you want to spend every evening in the kitchen cooking a local food dinner. But I can guarantee that making even a little effort to make your kitchen a place that's usable will go a long ways towards making that local food feasting possible! 

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Free Apples! Changing How We Value Food

cider as local foodsOn Sunday, we headed over to the neighbors for a cider pressing. We didn't pick any apples from our trees for this because we are "between" apples, with three trees being done and the other three not quite ripe yet. But that didn't matter because the neighbor had raided trees throughout our valley and had at least 500 pounds of apples for us to use! It was an impressive sight for sure! Miss Picky Eater and I worked at it for 3 hours. We came home with only 4 gallons of cider for our own use, but we had a blast working the press and making the cider for other people. 

 

Now, other than telling you about a fun Sunday afternoon spend with really nice people, making really tasty cider, and finishing it off with some much appreciated hot spicy pork sausage soup (that went perfectly with the cider!), why am I going on and on about this? 

 

I think because it's a reflection of how we do or don't value food. 

 

All of these apples our neighbor got hold of, they would all have dropped to the ground to be eaten by the deer or simply rot away. And he didn't even make a dent in our valley's apple supply! I am laughing this week as I drive to and from work and I see all of the apples he didn't get, all of the trees still covered in bountiful quantities of fruit! 

 

Our valley was never an orchard, but it was homesteaded well over a century ago (our house was built in 1890) and the homesteaders all planted apple trees as a food supply. Our farm has six apple trees, three pear trees, a plum tree and a prune tree. And I'm pretty sure the cherry trees across the street in our neighbor's yard were originally part of our farm's orchard before the property was subdivided and sold off. And that's the case up and down the valley, with big huge old apple trees continuing to produce fruit year after year, long after the homesteaders have passed away and the families have moved on. 

 

But one hundred years ago, people would have used those apples! The apples would have gone into applesauce for canning and cider for drinking and hard cider for imbibing. Some would have been storage apples and carefully tucked away for use in the winter months. Others would have been dried. And whatever didn't get used would probably have been fed to pigs and cows. Back before grocery stores that make procuring food simply a matter of needing transportation to get there and money to spend, those apples had value as food, now when ripe and later in the winter. 

 

Yet today the apples go unused while the grocery stores stock and sell apples brought in from elsewhere. I would even bet money that there are people living in my valley who are driving past these apple trees to go to the grocery store and buy--among other things--apples to eat. 

 

The problem? We don't see the "free" apples as real food! We'd rather go to the store and buy the shipped in waxy ones than the real ones in our own backyards! We don't give the free ones any value, I suspect in part because they aren't as perfect as the storebought ones. 

 

Maybe it's time to rethink the way we view and value ALL food, whether it's an apple off of a tree, a chicken for the oven, or processed frozen dinner. Maybe if we step back and take another look with a more critical eye, we'll choose the food local in origin and sustainably raised. 

 

Maybe. 

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