My Kids' Top 5 From Their Visit to the Farm


Every little kid, and big kid, wants to visit a real, working, all-American farm.  My two oldest, both dirty, rough-and-tumble boys, have been anxiously awaiting a trip to Tyner Pond Farm since we first talked about What Preschoolers Think a Real Farm Looks Like.  So, we set out to Greenfield, IN on a beautiful afternoon, ready to discover where all our meat comes from, Tyner Pond Farm!  Here are a 4 year old and 5 year old's Top 5 from their first trip to a living, working farm...


#5  Baby turkeys

These little guys were just about ready to head out to pasture when we visited them.  They were very friendly and chatty.  My boys loved meeting them and someone commented that we will see them again at Thanksgiving.




#4  The dock at Tyner Pond

Yes, we found the "real" Tyner Pond for which the farm bares its name.  A quaint watering hole in the cow pasture with a little dock.  A young cow who had gone "rogue" from the rest of the cow gang was comfortable enough with my little guys for an almost face-to-face chat.




#3  Cow pasture

Walking out into the cow pasture is amazing!  It's grass and sky for as far thee eye can see.  The cows very curiously eyed us, and seemed to enjoy our presence. 



#2  Getting inside the hen house

This is an amazing experience!  The hens are a rowdy bunch, so be ready for a lot of clucking and a little pecking.  Don't worry, it doesn't hurt.  You can actually reach in and grab a freshly laid egg!  Just like my kids, you always know that the chicken lays the egg, but until you see it happen, you don't appreciate the process. 



#1 Poop

 Yes, coming in at their absolute favorite part of their visit to the farm is how amazingly huge cow patties are.  They were fascinated.  They told everyone they saw for the next few days; neighbors, a priest, the guy at Kroger.  They are pretty big, and they are everywhere in the pasture.  As my kids pointed out, "you can't potty train a cow".  Which brings me to a farm tip.. Don't plan on wearing any cute new shoes when you make the trip!  Old sneakers or rubber boots are the most ideal.  Sorry, no pictures.  So, come on out and see for yourselves! 

Next adventure... an overnight stay at The Farmhouse!  The boys have already picked out their bunks.  We will escape the city for a few days and experience life in the beautiful country.  The Farmhouse even has a Keurig, so I'm on board.  These farm boys are ready to get back to Tyner Pond Farm!


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Sara's Bona Fide Beans and Weenies

I find it fascinating to learn about the foods people ate or didn't eat while they were children. So much of what we choose to eat as adults is shaped by what we learn about food when we are young. My mother was buying organic, sustainable food from a co-op long before Whole Foods arrived, and while I can't say I've made the best decisions all the time (we all need some potato chips every so often, right?), I know that many of my choices are based on the knowledge my mother gave while I grew up.

Beans & Weenies

Beans and weenies is a meal I never ate that others did. Hot dogs were a rare treat for me as were baked beans, and so I never had the craving to make it myself when I got older. Now that I've found high quality hot dogs and bacon ends from Tyner Pond Farm, I decided to make an attempt at beans and weenies. Surly I could make a dish that resembled what you found upon opening a can but with better ingredients, I thought. 

I was right. This dish is sticky, saucy, chunky, and has layers upon layers of flavors. Once John and I took a bite, we knew we had a home run and needed to keep this recipe we just created. 

To achieve a thick syrup that covers the beans and hot dogs, I used maple syrup, ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. A vinegar kick from the mustard balances the sweetness of the other ingredients, and everything cooks down to a sticky sauce. Diced onions and garlic deepen the flavors of the sauce without fighting for the smoke of the Tyner Pond Farm bacon ends. Seriously - the smoke on the bacon ends and pulled pork is incredible, and I cannot replicate the flavor at home. I don't have a smoker, so I rely on the smoked meats that Tyner Pond Farm offers.

Cornbread compliments the beans and weenies with color and texture. You may just want to crumble it on top! 

Beans and Weenies

Serves 4


  • 1 handful Tyner Pond Farm bacon ends
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 Tyner Pond Farm hot dogs sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 15-oz cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1. In a large skillet, begin to brown the bacon ends over medium heat. Stir to brown on all sides. Remove and set aside on a paper towel.

2. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Cook the minced shallots and garlic for two minutes.

3. Add the sliced hot dogs and brown on each side for about 2 minutes. 

4. Pour in the brown sugar, ketchup, yellow mustard and maple syrup and stir. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper, and stir in the pinto beans. 

5. Set the heat to low and let cook for 5 minutes. Chop the bacon into small pieces and then add it to the beans and weenies. Serve with or without cornbread.


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Chicken and Rice Aztec Stew


When spring temperatures take a sudden 20° nose dive, I like to make a warm and hearty meal.  After some fantastic rain, we woke up to cooler weather that had me thinking stew. We LOVE stew around here.  It's incredibly versatile, low maintenance, and always gifts us with leftovers.


This particular stew is an attempt at reverse engineering one of my favorite dishes from a certain specialty grocery store that boasts impressive hot and cold self-service bars.  I photographed the ingredients label and made some modifications.  Their dish has a couple more exotic grains that I couldn't easily find.  Sprouted brown rice and split peas fill the bill in my version.  This is a broth heavy stew, so use those chicken carcasses to have homemade nutrient-dense bone broth on the ready!


Aztec Stew is the perfect example of what you can do with leftover chicken.  I've mentioned before how much I like to put a large Tyner Pond Farm whole chicken into the slow cooker with nothing more than some salt and pepper.  Sometimes, I'll add some onion and thyme, too.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  Don't be alarmed when a leg pulls right off as you try to remove the chicken from the slow cooker!  It's the best chicken to use in recipes like loaded chicken saladBBQ party sliders, or toasted chicken nachos.  Having chicken cooked and ready to use is a huge time saver for busy weekdays!


Ingredients:  Makes about 6 servings

32 oz. water or broth (for cooking rice and peas)

1 c. sprouted brown rice

1/2 c. dry split peas (rinsed and sorted)

1/2 c. diced tomatoes

1/2 c. Husk sweet corn

2-3 c. chicken broth (more or less depending on your preference)

2 c. cooked TPF chicken from a whole chicken or breasts (as chunky or shredded as you like)

juice from 2 limes

2 c. course chopped cilantro leaves

sliced avocado

salt to taste






1. Add 32 oz. broth, rice, and peas to a large skillet.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover, simmer on low for about 45 minutes or until rice and peas are al dente tender. 



2.  Add 2-3 c. broth (adjust according to how loose or thick you want your stew), tomatoes, and frozen corn.  **If your chicken is cold or frozen, add it in this step.  Simmer about 5 minutes  until tomatoes are cooked through and corn is fully heated.  


3.  Stir in lime juice and cilantro.  **If your chicken is fresh from the crock pot, add it in this step.  Add salt to taste.  


Serve hot and garnish with tomato, avocado and cilantro.  Enjoy!






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DIY Hoosier Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

DIY Hooser Pork Tenderloin

A tenderloin sandwich, to me, really represents the Hoosier state. It's a sandwich that is larger than life, or at least always the bun it is served upon. Rolled in breadcrumbs and served with melted cheese and red sauce, or topped with the classic burger toppings, and everything in between, the pork tenderloin sandwich has become a staple of the Indiana food scene. Found on school lunch plates, dive bars, and hole-in-the-wall places around the state, I want to show you how easy it is to serve them on your own plate at home, at a far lower cost than going out to eat.  


2  Tyner Pond Farm Mug Pork Cubed Tenderloin
2  Tyner Pond Farm Fresh Eggs
2 C. All-Purpose Flour
1 Tb. Black Pepper
1 Tb. Savage Spice AP Seasoned Salt
Olive Oil
You'll also need: one large 
sauté pan, 3 large bowls and whatever bread and toppings you like!

PREP: Mix the flour, pepper, and 2 Tb seasoned salt in a bowl, and split between 2 bowls. Whisk the eggs with 1 Tb seasoned salt. Coat the tenderloins in the first flour mixture, just enough to make sure the entire piece of meat is dusted. Place into the egg mixture and be sure to cover all the meat with egg. After making sure the egg isn't dripping off the meat, put the tenderloins into the second bowl of flour, making sure to cover the egg completely with flour.

COOK: Heat a large skillet on med-high heat with enough olive oil to cover the pan.  The flour will absorb a lot of oil. Place the tenderloins into the oil, give a gentle shake to make sure they aren't sticking. Turn down the heat to medium once the meat starts to sizzle.  You only want to turn these one time, so make sure they don't burn before finishing cooking!  They are thin, so it should only take a few minutes on either side. Cook until both sides are golden brown.

Top with your favorite toppings and condiments.  I like mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and maybe some pickle or onion.  

TIP: When breading your tenderloin, or anything else using the 3-step breading process, always try to keep one hand for going into the flour, and the other for touching egg.  If not, you will have a pasty mess on your hands -- literally.


See and read about more delicious eats from Chef Ian Rossman at!

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Restaurant Style Toasted Chicken Nachos


When it comes to feeding a lot of people easily, you can't go wrong with a nacho bar.  Providing a variety of toppings, shells, chips or whole lettuce leaves for wraps, ensures there will be a little something for everyone.  We like to do nacho night... or "taco stuff" as we call it.  Oven toasted nachos are reminiscent of some I've had in restaurants.  This dish can be toasted on individual oven-safe plates, or in a larger pan or cast iron skillet to serve up family style.  So fast and easy, the most time-consuming part is prepping all the toppings!


Use your favorite packaged taco seasoning, or make a batch of homemade seasoning from the recipe linked below in the ingredients.  Whether you choose hamburger or shredded chicken, this versatile taco meat is great to make in advance for freezer storage.


Tyner Pond Farm's large whole chickens are my FAVORITE!  I like to sit one in the slow cooker on low for 6 hours with nothing more than a generous topping of salt & pepper.  It makes for a tender chicken that can be seasoned and used several different ways. I almost always make up some chicken salad, too, and save a little in the freezer for a soup or casserole later.  Of course, with a  family of three (including a toddler), our whole chickens can stretch further than they would for a larger family.



1 lb. shredded chicken (from breasts or whole)

3 T. taco seasoning (your favorite brand or a homemade version like this, use more or less to taste)**

1/2 c. water (use less if your meat is fresh from the slow cooker)

Tortilla chips (there are some tasty non-GMO chips on the market cooked in organic expeller-pressed oils)

Toppings (rice, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, olives, peppers, sour cream... all your favorites!)

**if making homemade seasoning, add 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder to your dry mix for a saucier consistency.




Directions:  Preheat oven to 400° F

1. In a large skillet on medium heat, combine chicken, seasoning, and water.  Bring to a simmer and cook for a minute or two until the water has evaporated and left a moist seasoned chicken.  If you cook too long, add a bit more water to loosen it back up.


2.  Layer your plate or dish with a base of chips topped evenly with meat and shredded cheese.  However little or much you like! If you're using other warm toppings like rice or beans, you can add them before toasting.



3.  Toast in the oven a few minutes just until the cheese melts and the chips barely start to toast on the edges.  Be sure to stick around and keep an eye on it.  Once it gets to a certain point, it will begin to brown FAST.



4. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!  If you're using a single skillet, top the whole thing at once, or let each person pull some chips from the pan and top individually on their own plates. 


Ditch the carbs by wrapping your meat and toppings into a fresh Romaine lettuce leaf.  Delicious with red bell pepper and sour cream!  




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What Preschoolers Think a Real Farm Looks Like

What do you think a farm looks like?  Do you picture a big red barn and white fences, like the Fisher Price farm you played with as a child?  Does the farm have fields of green grass, piles of hay, and animals rolling in the mud?   Or do you envision a dark, giant warehouse, with perhaps as many as 5,000 animals stuffed inside its walls?  Do the animals you picture spend their short lives confined in tiny cages full of their own feces?  Which image do you envision?  And which one do you know to be the reality?

Like most children, I assumed all animals grew up on a farm that looked just like the toy ones I played with, or the farms I saw in my Little Golden books.  At some point in my youth, I learned the dark reality that there were less and less of these smaller, family-run farms, and more and more commercial farms producing our chicken nuggets.  So, what do kids these days think a real farm looks like?   Is the quintessential all-American farm still portrayed as the big red barn to the next generation?  Or do they learn the reality of American farming at a very young age?  Well, let's find out...

To test my "farm image theory", I find myself 2 real-life all-American kiddos.  The subjects are ages 4 1/2 and 5 1/2.  They are not actual farming experts, although they indicated they would be presenting themselves as such for the purpose of this study. 

Okay gentlemen, I am going to ask you a few questions about farms and I want you to answer each question truthfully, while keeping your hands to yourself.

What do you think a farm looks like?

"A big red barn with clouds."

"Baby animals are being born!"

"The mommy is licking flies off the baby cow."

"All of the animals are probably running around."

"There is lots of mud.  I know because animals love to play in mud.  And kids do too."

"Some animal probably just pooped some where."  (Snickers and giggles.  Well, we made it through 5 whole sentences without a bathroom reference.)

So, does this picture look like a farm to you?

Commercial Cow Farm

"That's not a farm!"

"They have to stick their heads through metal to eat?  That's weird!"

Did you guys know that most of the meat people eat comes from these kind of farms?


Do you want to go visit a real farm?  The kind with a big red barn?  Or the other kind of "farm"?

A "Real farm!  Real farm!  Real farm!"  chant breaks out.

The next stop for the Morton Family Field Trip is...Tyner Pond Farm!  They have an open farm so you can come visit, too! Find out more here.  We will be heading there May 5th for this year's first Chicken Round Up!!!

So, now 2 preschoolers know the truth about real farms.  Was this a slightly cruel exercise?  I don't think so.  I just showed them some pictures, I didn't share all the gory details.  If they ask me some day, I will tell them more.  They are old enough to choose what goes on their bodies.  Like wearing knee-high basketball socks and a Purdue jersey for the last 12 days in a row.  They should be able to be involved in deciding what goes in their bodies, too. 

So, what do you want your farm to look like?  We grown-ups know they don't all have white fences and clouds.  So which farm do you choose?  It's an easy decision, but not always the most convenient one.  What is important, is that the choices we make can begin to impact an industry.  And, if you don't care where your meat comes from, that's okay, too.  Trust me, we all have enough to worry about.  But, we should all be informed, we should all know the truth, regardless of our age.  Maybe if we think with our hearts, the only way a couple of preschoolers know how, there will start to be more farms with green grass and big red barns.

Want to read more of Megan's adventures with kids and cooking? Read her blog post on DIY Family Pizza Night.

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Steak Tacos with Spicy & Sweet Honey Habanero Salsa

Flank Steak Tacos

Since Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow, we thought this sweet and spicy taco recipe would be the perfect dish to celebrate the occasion! Whether your dining solo or entertaining friends and family, this recipe is one you'll want to keep on hand all summer long.


Flank Steak Tacos with Spicy & Sweet Honey Habanero Salsa
1 Tyner Pond Farm flank steak (or any other steak from TPF) 
Season the steak heavily with salt, pepper to cover all side
Sprinkle with a mixture of cumin, coriander, garlic powder and ancho chile pepper powder 

Season the flank steak and let set 30 minutes outside of the fridge. A charcoal grill is recommended for this recipe. Start the grill and get the coals screaming hot, around 500 degrees. When ready, place the steak on the grill for 5-8 minutes on each side. This recipe calls for well done steak, but you can cook however you'd like -- just be sure to keep an eye on it! Take the steak off the grill and let the meat rest for 10 minutes. Lastly, cube it up. Place a few ounces of meat on each corn tortilla. Make it both sweet and spicy with this fun and fresh salsa recipe.

Honey Habanero Salsa
3 habanero chilies, seeded
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup of Pure Local Honey
2 oz tequila
1/2 lime for fresh lime juice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Start with three habanero peppers, seeded and steamed. Roast peppers and garlic cloves together on the grill until you get a nice char. Once done, place both in a hot pan and add a shot of tequila (Note: be very careful if you do this off of your stove -- be sure keep your head back!). I used white Jose Cuervo tequila. Cook off the alcohol place and place it in a blender with the pepper and garlic cloves. Next, add one cup of pure local honey to your warm pan until it becomes liquified. Once liquified, place in the blender with other ingredients. Add a pinch of sea salt, fresh pepper and squeeze the juice of half of a lime and blend until garlic and peppers are blended. Add a handful of fresh cilantro and you're ready to roll!

Top the tacos with the honey habanero salsa, chopped red onion, fresh cilantro and lime. Enjoy alongside a cold margarita rimmed with salt!


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Asian Style Beef and Broccoli


Mmmm... beef and broccoli!  This dish was my very first taste of Chinese food as a high school student many years ago.  As I got older, I began to notice that Chinese take-out, among other restaurant foods, wasn't working for me anymore.  A stiff achiness would overwhelm me, my hands would swell, and I would feel pretty much lousy afterwards. Once I started cooking regularly for my family, in an effort to clean up my diet and take control of my health, I decided to try my hand at some restaurant-style dishes with a healthier twist.  Many beef and broccoli recipes call for brown sugar.  I adapted my recipe to use honey and molasses as the sweetener. I also use other ingredients that some people may not have on hand such as, Tamari soy sauce and arrowroot powder. Don't worry, I'll include the common ingredients as well.  Ultimately, I'd like to further modify the recipe to avoid soy.  I've read a lot about coconut aminos, and look forward to trying it as a substitute for soy sauce.  Doing so would make this recipe both legume and gluten-free!


In the past, I've made beef and broccoli with flank steak. This time, I already had a large Tyner Pond Farm round steak thawed in my refrigerator.  It was perfect!  Like lamb neck, I had never cooked round steak before, either.  The original plan was to come up with a recipe for fancy stuffing filled braised steak rolls.  Yeah... I always think I have more time than I actually do!  I'm so happy with how this turned out.  It's perfect served over a bed of rice.  If you're trying to reduce carbs, it's every bit as delicious on it's own.  Hope you like it!


Ingredients:  (makes four servings)

approx. 1.5 lbs. TPF round steak or flank steak

1 T. beef tallow (or other high-heat tolerant whole natural fat)

1 c. beef broth or water

1/2 c. Tamari or regular soy sauce (if sodium is an issue, use low-sodium soy sauce)

1/3 c. honey

2 T. unsulphered molasses (or your favorite kind)

1/2 t. fresh grated ginger 

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 t. arrowroot powder or cornstarch

2 c. broccoli florets, steamed to just fork tender

red pepper flakes (optional)

cooked white rice (optional)




1.  Trim fat, bone, and connective tissue from round steak.  Slice in VERY thin slices no more than 1/8" thick.  If using flank steak, make sure to cut against the grain.



2.  In medium-sized bowl, mix together honey, molasses, soy sauce, broth, garlic and ginger.  Add meat and place in refrigerator while you clean up and prep the rest of the meal. This can be prep a few hours in advance and left to marinate.



3.  Clean and cut broccoli.  Steam cook broccoli to desired tenderness (fork tender, but still with a bit of tooth)

.  Be careful not to overcook it!



4.  Prepare rice according to package instructions. 


5.  In a large skillet, heat tallow or other fat to medium-high heat.  Using tongs, pull beef strips out of marinade, shake off excess, and place single layer in skillet (leave marinade in bowl... this will become your sauce). The beef will cook very quickly.  Once you see the bottom browning, turn the pieces over and cook a few more seconds (stir and flipping to cook evenly).  AS SOON AS the meat is no longer pink, remove from pan with clean utensil (large spoon) and set aside.  Do this until the rest of the meat is cooked.  This will happen quickly, so be ready!  Cook small batches of beef at a time to ensure your ability to remove it quickly without overcooking. As you remove the cooked meat, leave sauce liquid in pan.



6.  In a small bowl, add arrowroot or cornstarch powder.  Make a slurry by slowly adding a teaspoon at a time of the chilled marinade from the bowl. Add 2-3 teaspoons of marinade. Stir until smooth.  



7.  Pour remaining marinade from bowl into skillet, bring to a simmer.  Stir in slurry, boil until reduced and thickened, about a minute or less. Stir constantly. NOTE: This is not going to make a thick sticky sauce.  It will be like a slightly runny gravy.



8. Add meat and broccoli to the pan with sauce. Remove from heat, stir to evenly distribute sauce.


Serve over a bed of rice and sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes. Enjoy!





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"Aunt Margie's" Sweet Deviled Eggs

Sweet Deviled Eggs


Sweet deviled eggs.  My mom always made them with a bit of sugar, so that's how I like them.  As I get older, I find myself wanting to venture into something spicier, but for now, I'll stick with what I know.  "Aunt Margie's" deviled eggs, as my cousins call them, are holiday staples in our family.  At parties, if you're late... too bad, the deviled eggs are gone.


Did you know that deviled eggs, or something very similar, can be traced back to Roman times?  I won't go into too much detail here, but actually has a post titled "The Ancient History of Deviled Eggs."  Taking a look at how ancient "stuffed" eggs were made, this recipe looks tame in comparison!  The devilish name was given in 1786 Britain as a reference to the spices used.


There is always debate over the best way to hard-boil eggs.  I'm showing my favorite in the directions, but feel free to follow your own tried and true methods.  A general rule of thumb is to buy your eggs two weeks early before hard-boiling.  Fresh eggs are known for sticky shells that don't want to peel.  If you have fresh eggs, you can add 1/4 cup of salt to your boiling water.  I learned that trick from a farm-to-table chef who uses it for eggs grabbed from her coop earlier the same day.  In my experience, it works!  While I haven't tried it, others swear by steaming eggs.


Tyner Pond Farm Eggs are so fantastic for several reasons.  They come from chickens that are free to do what chickens do best.  Peck, roam, roost, and eat bugs, seeds, grass, or whatever else they can catch.  This natural diet produces a richer yellow yoke that looks bright and beautiful in a display of deviled eggs.  Additionally, Tyner Pond Farm never uses antibiotics or hormones on their birds.  It doesn't get much better than that!


Ingredients: (makes 12 deviled eggs - recipe may be multiplied for larger quantities)

6 Tyner Pond Farm Farm Fresh Eggs

3 T. mayo or salad dressing

3 T. sweet pickle relish (my favorite homemade relish recipe)

1 t. yellow mustard

1 t. sugar or honey

1 t. apple cider vinegar

salt & pepper to taste

garnish (paprika, chives, dill, crumbled bacon, whatever you'd like)



1. Place eggs in a medium sauce pan.  Fill pan with cold water to about one inch above the eggs.  Bring to a rolling boil over high heat.  Once a rolling boil is reached, boil for one minute.  Remove from heat and cover, let stand 15 minutes (12 minutes for smaller eggs).



2. Allow eggs to cool completely.  To stop the cooking, empty hot water, and refill pan with cold water.  Repeat when water becomes lukewarm.  Once eggs cool completely peel away the shells.


3.  Cut eggs in half, remove yolks into a small bowl and crumble with a fork or pastry cutter.




***If eggs are left in the hot water too long, or set out to cool naturally, they will develop a green color around the yolks from overcooking.  This is harmless, so if it happens, don't sweat it.  By the time your deviled eggs are finished, no one will ever know.


4.  Add ingredients.  Blend until creamy.  I usually just use a fork, but you can use a hand mixer for an even creamier texture.



5.  Fill egg whites with mixture.  You can spoon it in or use a pastry bag if you have one.  I often put the filling into a Ziploc bag and cut the corner off for an impromptu pastry bag.



5. Garnish as desired, eating one or two as you go to make sure you get your fair share for making them! 







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Baked BBQ Party Sliders with Honey Butter Sauce (beef, pork or chicken)


Oh boy, I'm excited to share this recipe with you!  It's so easy and scrumptious (be prepared to lick your fingers).  While I try to avoid bread most days, I do make the occasional exception.  If I'm going to have a "cheat" food, this is a good one to have!  These sandwiches are so great for parties because you can feed a lot of people with minimal effort.  I've yet to serve these sliders to anyone who didn't love them.  


I first had these sweet little butter baked sandwiches on Hawaiian rolls at a baby shower a few years ago.  Those were made with deli meats topped with a honey mustard butter sauce and poppy seeds.  After searching for recipes and trying them out a few times, I realized these are great "wing-it" sandwiches.  You can shake them up in so many different ways.  This barbecue version came about from using what I had available.  It's become our favorite version, and can be made with shredded beef, pulled pork, or shredded chicken.  They're a fantastic way to use leftover meat!


I'm not going to lie.  These sandwiches are messy to make and can be messy to eat... in the best kind of way!  They're covered in a honey butter sauce prior to baking that makes the bread an irresistible combination of sweet, savory, sticky, buttery, toastiness.  My mouth is watering.  Let's get to it!





1 flat of sweet Hawaiian rolls (12)

3 c. shredded TPF beef, pork,or chicken

1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce

12 small slices of your favorite cheese (we like pepper jack and cheddar)


(honey butter sauce)

1 stick butter

1 T. honey

1 T. minced/crushed tomato (a couple cherry tomatoes work great)

1 t. dried minced onion 

A pinch of salt with fresh ground pepper to taste


Directions: (preheat oven to 375°)


1. In a small saucepan over medium heat mix shredded meat with barbecue sauce until warmed.  Add the sauce in parts to make it as saucy (or not) as you like.  You probably won't use the whole bottle.  Keep a fork handy to give it a taste (ahem... maybe a couple of clean ones if you're cooking for others).



2. Place Hawaiian rolls on a cookie sheet and cut in half (making tops and bottoms).  I find it's faster to separate the rolls down the middle with two sections of six rolls each, then cut each section in half all at once. Separate all the rolls from each other and remove the tops.


3.  Assemble the sandwiches with a spoonful of meat topped with a slice of cheese.  Replace the roll tops.



4.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sauce ingredients.  Cook until butter is melted and it begins to simmer.



5.  Spoon sauce over assembled sandwiches.  Take care to keep your bits of tomatoes and onions on top.  I like to make sure the sides are covered in sauce, too.  You can use a brush, or, if you're careful, pick the sandwich up and turn it to sweep it in the butter beginning to accumulate at the bottom of the cookie sheet.



6.  Bake at 375° for about 10 minutes or until they've begun to brown and toast.


This recipe easily doubles to make more.  Enjoy!!







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Oven-Braised Lamb Neck Stew with Carrots and Peas


I ordered lamb neck from Tyner Pond Farm without having a clue what it was... other than lamb... which I had never cooked before.  Once the delivery truck dropped off my order, I have to admit, I wasn't thrilled.  It was heavily marbled, fatty, and sinewy.  Not my favorite qualities. I will tediously pick out actual muscle from a nicely marbled ribeye while my husband cuts off a hunk and eats it without looking.  If you're like me, don't let this stop you from reading more.  There's a way around it all... I promise!


The lamb neck sat in my freezer for a couple of weeks while I contemplated what to do with it.  Just as the TPF store description indicates, it is an underrated cut with huge potential for tender meaty morsels.  It's considered an offal cut like organs, tails, and tongues.  The universally recommended method for cooking this tough cut of meat is low and slow. Low and slow is the best method for all pasture-raised meats. When I saw that it was often braised with vegetables for hearty stews, I knew exactly what to do with it.  


Stew is easily my husband's favorite winter meal, aside from the occasional roast.  He's a meat-and-potatoes guy through and through.  Made with potatoes, carrots, and onions, stews are appropriate when eating seasonally during winter months in Indiana.  It's one of those things I never make quite the same way twice.  It can be a good clean-out-the-fridge kind of dish with carrots, peas, corn, whatever potatoes I have, Brussels sprouts, squash, tomatoes, etc.  Sometimes I make it with the meat dusted in a seasoned gluten-free flour or sprouted brown rice flour, then add only water or broth after browning for a thick Irish stew.  Other times, I choose a tomato and red wine sauce.  We like both equally, so this time I opted for tomato and red wine.  Mostly, because I had two sad looking tomatoes that needed used and two bottles of dry red wine left from my birthday that I'll never drink.  Also, I decided to leave the potatoes out of the stew, and instead, serve it atop a portion of mashed potatoes. I'm looking forward to ordering more lamb neck and trying the Irish stew version. 


Ingredients:  (makes four servings)

  • 3 lamb neck slices with bone
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 t. dried rosemary
  • 1 3/4 c. carrots biased-cut (make-the carrots a generous thickness to avoid over cooking)
  • 2 medium tomatoes finely diced (remove pulp and seeds)
  • 1/2 c. dry red wine
  • 1 c. beef broth 
  • 1 c. frozen sweet peas
  • Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste



Directions:  (preheat oven to 300° F)


1.  In a heavy skillet with lid or Dutch oven that can be used for both stove-top and oven, brown both sides of lamb neck. The lamb neck is fatty enough, I didn't feel the need for additional fat.  Salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.



2.  Using the same pan, reduce heat to medium and add onions, garlic and rosemary to heated fat and juices rendered from lamb neck.  Sauté until onions are translucent.  Add carrots and tomatoes.



3.  Deglaze the pan with red wine. Add beef broth and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.


4.  Nestle browned lamb neck slices back into the pan.  Cover and braise in the oven for 2 - 2 1/2 hours until lamb is tender.



5.  Once lamb neck is tender, remove from oven and use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove slices from sauce.  Return sauce to stove-top and simmer on medium heat 3-5 minutes until thickened. Stir frequently.


6.  While sauce is reducing, strip lamb meat from the bone, sinew, and fat.  I found it best to use clean hands for some of this (remember - it's hot!).   Be careful not to miss any of the meat that can be hiding in little pockets of fat and sinew.



7.  Add lamb meat back into the sauce.  Rinse frozen sweet peas in cold water, stir into stew and serve.  


This stew was delicious served over creamy mashed red potatoes.  If you'd prefer to include potato chunks directly to the stew, just add 4 quartered large red potatoes at the same time as the carrots and tomatoes.  Add a splash more broth and wine to compensate.


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Healthy Saturated Fat: Rendering Your Own Tallow from Beef Suet


Tallow is to beef what lard is to pork.  Many are familiar with lard, but unless you've looked into whole natural fats, you've likely not heard of tallow.  Tallow is rendered from suet.  Suet is the solid raw fat surrounding the heart and kidneys in animals like beef and mutton. Tallow is not only used for high-heat cooking like frying, but also in pastries, candles, lotions, and soaps.  The word "rendering" means a slow melting process to extract the pure fat from any connective tissue. Saving drippings, while a great idea, isn't the same at rendering tallow or lard. Pure tallow is shelf-stable and will keep tightly covered at room-temperature without becoming rancid.  If you won't be using it up within a couple of months, it's a good idea to put it in the refrigerator.  Tallow will keep indefinitely in the freezer.  


Saturated fats have gotten a bad rap throughout the last century. They've been falsely blamed for causing cardiovascular and heart diseases. The result of these accusations are market shelves filled with industrially produced vegetable oils made through complex chemical processing.  These oils are often oxidized, even prior to high-heat exposure, releasing free-radicals into the body.  Free-radicals damage cells... you can see where this is heading.  Industrially produced vegetable oils are BAD for your body!


The war against saturated animal fats like tallow and lard began in the early 1900's when then candle makers, Proctor & Gamble, faced competition from the newly invented light bulb.  They owned growingly less-profitable cottonseed oil factories.  The discovery of hydrogenation allowed them to turn that oil into a product that looked and behaved like lard. The company launched a savvy marketing campaign for their new product, Crisco, effectively killing the lard industry in America and altering perceptions of what's healthy.  In 1955, doctors began blaming all saturated animal fats for clogged arteries and heart disease based solely on the lipid theory of researcher Ancel Keys and his flawed Seven Countries Study.


In 1990, due to pressures from both misinformed health care communities and oil producers, McDonald's switched from beef tallow to vegetable oil in their fryers.  If only they would switch back!  Natural tallow, along with lard, are by far the  healthier options for high-heat cooking.  As the tides begin to turn regarding saturated fats, more and more people are learning about the many benefits like improved cellular structure, stronger bones, protection against heart disease, and enhanced immune system among several others.


Now that you know more about the truth and importance of natural saturated fats, let's make some tallow!  I bought my suet from the farm store at Tyner Pond Farm, and it's now being offered in their online shop.  I was impressed with the quality of their suet.  It was nice and clean with very little meat, arteries, and connective tissue.  This made for a cleaner smelling tallow that only needed a single processing.  Tallow rendered from poor quality suet, as found in factory farmed animals, or still with lots of non-fat tissue, can have a distinctive smell that some find unpleasant.  Subsequent heating and filtering help to reduce that odor.


The only ingredient is high-quality suet from grass-fed or pasture-raised cows.  I've found that roughly two pounds of suet renders approximately 22 ounces of tallow





1.  Clean your suet.  Using a knife, cut away any meat or arteries that may still be attached.  Then, with your hands, pull any connective tissue away from the suet. Taking just a few minutes to do this makes chopping a bit easier and will keep your tallow cleaner during rendering.  The thin membranes to pull away will be obvious.  Remember, you're not looking for perfection here.  The membranes that hold the suet together are all throughout, so it's impossible to remove all of it by hand. The majority of it will be released during processing. 


**Don't throw these trimmings away. Seal them up and keep in the fridge. If you're planning to brown a roast or pan-fry something, toss your trimmings into a skillet on medium-low heat and render the remaining fat.  Remove and discard any connective tissue (my dog loves it!) and use the remaining melted fat.



2. Cut your suet into small pieces.  The more surface area, the faster and more efficiently the tallow will render.  The first time I made tallow, I cut it up by hand with a knife.  Ouch!  Suet is hard and that was a lot of work.  My little hands were throbbing!  Now, I use the large shredder blade on my food processor.  Cut suet into sections just small enough to feed through the processor.  This step takes some patience.  As you go, you'll be pulling out more rubbery connective tissue that doesn't want to go through the shredder (add this to the pile you cut away in step one).  You'll want to occasionally remove the lid and scrape away the creamed suet that builds up.  You can also cut into large cubes and pulse it in the food processor.


**Remember - you are working with raw beef product.  Wash hands and surfaces well after working with the suet.


3.  A slow-cooker on low is the set-and-forget method I prefer.  Add diced/shredded suet and melt about 2-3 hours until fully rendered.  More or less time depending on how fine your suet is chopped and how big your batch.  You can also render tallow on the stove top set to low heat, stirring every 20-30 minutes for several hours.  The oven set at 250° is the longest method, but also works well.  If you're concerned about the odor that comes with rendering tallow, the oven works best to contain the aroma.



4.  Once the tallow is fully rendered, you'll be left with "cracklins" sitting atop the melted fat.  Use a slotted spoon or strainer to skim off the top.



5.  Using a cheesecloth to line a mesh strainer, filter your tallow to remove any particles.  Pour into a clean glass jar and store in a cool dark place or in the refrigerator.  


It's that easy!  Cost-wise, a 16 oz. jar of home rendered beef tallow comes out to the exact same price as a 16 oz. can of Crisco!  That's a HUGE nutritional increase without  paying more.  


Check out the links below for some other great DIY projects for using beef tallow.


Candles - 

Soaps -

Skin Balm -






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Make Your Own Pizza Night: A Fun Family-Friendly Meal for Any Day of the Week

At our house, pizza is definitely everyone's favorite food.  Even Baby Girl has been known to take down about 3 entire pieces of Papa Johns in under 10 minutes.  If I announce to the gang that it's "Pizza Night", everyone immediately begins some sort of Papa John's chant and runs around fist-pumping.  Sorry folks, we just order delivery for special occasions or super-busy nights.  The only other way everyone gets that excited is when we make our own.  My version of MYO Pizza takes about 10 minutes and I incorporate whatever leftover meat and produce I have from the days before.  Kids love to make their own pizza, and my husband even asked for a little MYO pizza tutorial.  Read on to learn how to create an easy and healthy pizza that fits your family's schedule and appetites...

Pillsbury Pizza CrustStart with Store Bought Pizza Crust
Or make your own pizza dough.  If you can do this than you clearly have way better time management skills than me!  I use Pillsbury Thin Crust which gives you more than enough dough to fill a sheet pan.

I tear off little pieces and let the kids roll out their own dough while the crust is pre-baking for a couple of minutes.  The directions say to use an ungreased pan, but I drizzle a little olive oil to get a crispier crust.


The Toppings
Below are some of our very favorite pizza themes.  I only use what I have in the fridge and incorporate whatever Tyner Pond Farm meat I have prepared earlier in the week.  The kids love to help with the toppings and your chances of them actually trying something new have now increased by 34%. Note: This is not scientific data, but the results my experiments have produced!


Pizza Boys Putting on the Sauce

Philly Cheese Steak Pizza

Shredded Pot Roast, leftover from Tyner Pond Farm Chuck Roast

Sliced bell peppers and onions

Shredded provolone cheese and/or colby jack

Hawaiian Pizza

Tyner Pond Farm Bacon, cooked and crumbled

Diced pineapple

Diced green pepper and onion

Shredded mozzarella cheese


BLT Pizza

Tyner Pond Farm Bacon, cooked and crumbled

Sliced or diced tomatoes (I like them cold, so I put them on after I've baked the pizza)

Shredded mozzarella cheese

Shredded iceberg or romaine lettuce, put on while pizza is cooling


BBQ Chicken Pizza

Tyner Pond Farm Chicken, shredded or cut in small pieces

Your favorite store bought BBQ sauce, or make your own

Red onion, thinly sliced

Shredded mozzarella cheese

Crazy Pizza Boys
***We always leave some of the pizza plain cheese for the less-adventurous palate.

Okay, if you are also craving a little Papa John's-esque pizza (like me), you can use Pillsbury Regular pizza crust.  This gives you a big, fluffy crust to dip in MYO garlic butter sauce!  What?!  Yes, it's even slightly healthier.

MYO Papa's John's Garlic Sauce 

1/2 stick salted butter

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons garlic powder

Instructions: Heat in a saucepan on low heat until incorporated or microwave for 1.5 minutes at power level 7.  You can refrigerate leftover, but it will need to be re-heated and stirred to achieve the right consistency.

Now, if you are feeling really creative, you can create your own delivery experience.  We save a not-too greasy Papa John's takeout box and put our pizza in it.  The kids take turns "ordering" the pizza on my cell phone and going to the front door and pretending to be the delivery guy.  I don't know why this is so fun, but it occupies everyone long enough for me to get the table set, clean some dishes, and pour a glass of wine.

I hope your family can enjoy a new version of "Pizza Night", and if you have any favorite pizza recipes that are easy and yummy, please share.  We always love to try something new!

Read Megan's previous post, Baby Steps to Buying and Eating Local for the Busy Family.


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Why Switching to Local was Easy

Whole Chicken

January 1, 2014 came with a resolution: try to make healthier food choices the majority of the time.  It sounded good but where to start?  I already cooked the majority of meals at home and bought lots of produce from the local farmers markets so I felt okay there.  A coworker had been raving about the meat from a co-op and that sounded Tyner Pond Farm chickenlike a good place to look.  The descriptions and customer reviews were great.  However, there were fees involved and waiting lists and orders had to be placed weeks in advance.  Some items came in ten-pound increments.  I didn’t want to do all that just to try it, so kept looking for a place that would not only let me shop on my schedule but also had no minimum for orders.  Searching led to a family beef farm that happened to also sell chicken 'raised locally via the Joel Salatin method' in their farm store.  They didn't have any of the chicken parts I wanted to try but they did have a few whole chickens from a place called Tyner Pond Farm.  I bought one.  

I've had one almost every week since.  

That first Tyner Pond Farm chicken was all the proof I needed that pasture-raised makes a difference.  With only a dry seasoning it turned into a golden brown, crispy-skinned tender and juicy delicacy.  This is chicken so good you may find yourself eating dinner while standing in the kitchen.  After letting it rest, flip it over and carve out the 'oysters,' those two knuckles of dark meat on either side of the backbone.  Many consider these the two best bites on a chicken.  Then try the crispy middle wing sections.  Finally, there is that strip used to truss Tyner Pond chickens.  It comes out so crunchy and delicious that hands are reaching for a piece as soon as the chicken comes off the heat.  If the thought of eating chicken skin makes you cringe, you might just reconsider your position once you try this.  That crispy strip might even become your favorite reason for making chicken.

The chickens became a weekly order and regular Sunday dinner.  I took them to cookouts locally and sometimes on the road for people to try.  The response was unanimous – it’s the best chicken ever.  I’d like to take all the credit but I know it’s really the quality of meat making the difference.  Pasture-raised tastes better. 

This success led to trying other Tyner proTyner Pond Farm Beefducts and my first beef order was the 100% grass-fed sirloin.  It was as flavorful as ribeye and lean as strip steak.  The texture and grain was noticeably different.  Maybe this is due to the cows being more active?  Steak isn't on the menu too often at home so the real gem for me has been the ground beef.  It's coming from the same cows that spend the days grazing on pasture and makes for incredible grilled burgers and meatloaf.  It makes great jerky, too.  And cheeseburger salad (try this).  Recent experiments with cooking sous-vide have brought a tremendous new appreciation for grass-fed beef.  This simple way of cooking focuses on the quality of the meat itself and having access to local grass-fed beef makes for home meals like you’d see on television or in cookbooks.

It came as no surprise that the pork happens to be great, too.  If you cook pork, you know it can be tricky not to endTyner Pond Farm Pork up with something dry.  Instead of marinating for hours, I found that Tyner pork could take a dry rub, go straight on the grill or roasting pan, and come out juicy as something brined.  The ‘catfish’ tenderloin is second only to the whole chicken as my favorite Tyner Pond item.  If you really want to see what a difference an active pig makes buy a pork shoulder from a factory and buy one from Tyner Pond.  Put them both in a slow cooker for the same amount of time.  When you then pull them apart and separate the fat and gristle you’ll see how much cleaner the Tyner pork is.  There will be no question as to which one you would rather eat.

Back to the chickens.  Those happy chickens are doing what chickens do and laying eggs.  Everyone should try Tyner's fresh farm eggs.  The difference between eggs from pastured chickens and eggs from chicken factories is as vast as the difference between factory chickens and pastured chickens.  It’s apparent as soon as you crack one open.  The shell is strongTyner Pond Farm Eggser.  The yolk is brighter yet more deeply colored and more orange than yellow.  It’s shiny and reflective.  The whites are more cohesive.  There are even double-yolkers occasionally.  And since I trust my source, I feel ok with eating soft-boiled eggs again.  With little toast sticks, just like at Grandma’s when I was a kid.

As the year went on turkey and lamb became available.  Each Tyner product proved better than what I had been buying at the grocery.  That superior taste is what made me a customer from day one.  Truthfully, even if this Tyner Pond Farm Turkeypasture-raised method was less healthy than the factory version I’d probably still be eating it because it tastes so darn good.  Fortunately, animals raised this way are supposed to be much healthier.  I encourage everyone to read about the methods used at Tyner Pond Farm, research the benefits of animals raised this way, and make your own decisions as to whether you think it is worthwhile.  To me, it tastes far better and I believe it is healthier.  The free weekly delivery meant more meals planned around those deliveries and that reduced waste from otherwise shopping three or four times a week.  Finally, cooking all that weekly Tyner goodness with lots of vegetables meant I could check my resolution off as fulfilled.

Tyner Pond Farm food - it tastes incredible and it's healthy.  Those are really the only two reasons needed to order.  It’s fresher and I’ve actually been to the farm where my food is raised, twice.  Two more reasons.  Also, ordering from Tyner Pond Farm and similar outfits supports local farmers, better stewardship of animals and the land, and promotes sustainable farming practices.  I even enjoy cooking more with Tyner products just knowing how great they turn out.  These are all the many reasons why Tyner Pond replaced Tyson and Perdue in my kitchen.


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"Secret" Ingredient Paleo Chili (gluten-free, legume-free)


After two days of single-digit temperatures followed by, in my opinion, the Indianapolis area's first real snow of the year, I needed chili.  I'm not sure anything warms me quite like it.  I've mentioned before about switching to a predominantly Paleo lifestyle and modifying our favorite dishes to be in-line with this more primal way of eating.  


It was early spring with plenty of lingering cold the first time I changed the way I made chili for my family.  Traditionally, we had always made chili with kidney beans and macaroni pasta.  According to Paleo philosophy, those two items are not considered healthy.  You can start reading here if you're curious to know why.  Interestingly enough, chili was never originally made with beans, pasta, OR tomatoes.  A somewhat famous quote in chili circles says, "If you know beans about chili, then you know chili doesn't have beans."  In reality, chili has evolved from region-to-region, cook-to-cook, and even from each time I make it to the next.  For a fun read, check out the history of chili from the International Chili Society.


This chili recipe adds a "secret" ingredient to enhance its flavor (I know, not so secret when I'm posting it on the internet). The key ingredient, however, is Tyner Pond Farm's 100% grass-fed ground beef.  This is a meat-heavy chili... as chili should be!  Because of grass-fed beef's healthier composition, every bit of the fat and juices are used.  While I agree that avoiding commercially canned foods is best due to endocrine disrupting BPA in the can linings, I know that isn't always possible. Maybe one day, I'll be able to store up enough from my garden to last through the winter.  This recipe is written to the use of canned tomato products, but I've added measurements for fresh and homemade ingredients in parenthesis.  


Easy one-pot cooking.  That's how I like to roll.  These ingredients could also be added to a slow-cooker on low.  Be sure to brown your ground beef in a skillet before adding to the slow-cooker.  Just check on it occasionally, and decide for yourself when it's ready to eat.  Like any recipe, and in the true spirit of chili, tweak it to your satisfaction!  


Ingredients: (makes about 4-5 meal-sized servings.  Recipe may be doubled for a larger batch)


2 lbs. TPF 100% grass-fed ground beef

1 t. salt

1 t. fresh ground black pepper

6 oz. organic tomato paste (3/4 cup)

1 - 28 oz. can diced organic tomatoes (about 3.5 cups peeled diced fresh tomatoes)

1 - 15 oz. can organic tomato sauce (about 2 cups)

1 medium deseeded diced squash w/ edible rind (delicata, zucchini, yellow)

1 medium onions, diced

1 c. diced green bell peppers

1/2 c. red bell peppers

1/2 c. orange bell peppers

1 large clove of garlic, minced

2 T. chili powder

1 1/2 t. raw cacao powder (sub cocoa powder)  << secret ingredient! 

1 t. ground cumin

1/8 t. red chile flakes


This time, I used some frozen green bell peppers and some dried red and orange peppers. I also forgot to put the cacao powder and tomato paste into the photo... I had a hungry family breathing down my neck!




1. Slowly brown ground beef in a stock pot with salt and pepper.  Use a medium-low heat and cover with a lid to keep the juices from evaporating.  Do not drain.  TPF grass-fed beef is so healthy and drug-free, with less fat, and more nutritional whole fat that we want to eat it!


2.  Once the beef is browned, stir in tomato paste until evenly distributed, add onions, peppers, squash, spices, and cacao powder.  Blend well and simmer a couple more minutes.


3. Once the aromas of the onions, peppers and spices are released, add diced tomatoes and sauce.  Cover and simmer until veggies are soft and chili reaches the desired thickness.  Stirring occasional.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.




4.  Serve and top with whatever sounds good.  I love a sprinkle of shredded organic aged cheddar and minced red onion.  Sour cream and hot sauce is yummy, too.  


**Dairy consumption is debated among Paleo enthusiasts... personally, I can't yet give it up and am not entirely sure I should. 


Your chili will be thicker the next day.  If you wish, add some water or broth to loosen it back up before preheating.


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How I Converted From a Vegetarian to a Happy and Healthy Meat Eater!


So, let me tell you a story about a little girl from Indiana.  She was a green-eyed, barefoot, forest dweller.  She talked to animals in "their language" until an age she is embarrassed to admit.  She famously pretended to be a jaguar for a week or so.  She harbored snakes, salamanders, toads, frogs, and dogs.  She performed CPR on a baby bunny found at the bottom of a swimming pool.  Instead of killing house flies, she caught them in plastic bags and released them "back to their families".  Some would say she had an animal sensitivity complex (mainly her parents). She came across a video in young adulthood that would change the way she ate for over a decade.  It was a video showing the horrific living conditions of cows in a commercial setting, ending with their undignified slaughter.  She was horrified.


Well, after I saw that video I didn't eat much of anything for quite some time.  It's painfully obvious this little girl is me, just sort of grown up now.  I still "talk" to animals, now I can just blame it on my kids if a rogue neighbor happens to appear in my yard.  Yes.  I was a vegetarian.  I couldn't bring myself to eat an animal that had lived a life in squalor and filth, perhaps never even knowing that sunshine existed.  I have always believed that some animals were created to be consumed.  I believe in the forces of nature and the cycle of life.  I know that animals must one day die, perhaps at the hands of man or another predator.  I just don't know how to justify treating living creatures as objects. I don't know how to enjoy eating something that lived a life of misery.


Commercial Pig Factory


While traveling through the French countryside with my husband years ago, I marveled at the number of sprawling farms.  The animals roamed in green pastures, enjoying the warm sunshine on their backs.  While chatting with our server at a Parisian restaurant one night, he was more than a little perturbed when I asked if their meat came from a local or commercial provider.  "Que ce que c'est?  A commercial farm?  Non!"  That night, I enjoyed a fabulous duck confit.  It was divine.  The decade of meat deprivation had ended in a most delicious way.  No guilt, but a very full tummy!  We ate like kings and never felt healthier!


Food in France


Once we were back in "The States", we tried desperately to recreate our culinary adventures from Europe.  It was next-to-impossible!  Why?  Why?  Why is it so difficult to just find real food around here?  Even our wine has unnecessary additives.  Tragic!  Why is it so hard to just drive to the closest market and support a local farmer?  Why is it so expensive to try to provide pasture-raised, non-GMO food for our families?  Why are all of our animals stuffed into giant prisons of cement and steel?  I fell back into my vegetarian ways, enjoying the occasional meat when I could come across something that didn't threaten my principles.


Then, things started to change.  People started to become interested in where their food came from.  And, why shouldn't they?!  There has been a surge of popularity toward supporting the local farmer and consuming real food.  Truthfully, isn't is just common sense?  It's just the way things used to be, before animals had to be pumped with antibiotics since they were forced to live in each others filth.  Passionate farmers are turning the tides across our country!  I am so grateful to have come across a real gem here in Indiana, Tyner Pond Farm!  Local, pasture-raised, non-GMO food!  GMOs are bad news folks!  Read more about them here.  My carnivore conversion is complete!  My principles and beliefs have not changed, now I just have access to food that doesn't challenge my beliefs. Tyner Pond Farm is a "happy place".  Pigs playing in the mud, baby calves alongside their mothers, everything just as it should be. I can purchase meat products and feel good about the farm I am supporting and pleased that the animals live in the sunshine.




It's been a long time since I first actually enjoyed eating meat in France, and I am now trying to teach my own little carnivores about the importance of where their food comes from.  I love them with all my heart, and just like every parent, I want to fill their little tummies with the most nutritious food I can.  Sure, they have the occasional Happy Meal, that's okay.  The impact I want to make on them is more of a lifestyle choice, a belief, a desire to take care of their bodies, and respect the animals they consume.  And if I see one of them trying to catch house flies with a Ziploc, I have to say, my heart will swell with pride.


Check back soon for a very honest interview with these two little fellows and hear what they think a "real" farm looks like and their views on the commercial food industry here in America...


Boys at the Farm



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Paleo Sweet and Sour Meatballs (gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free)


About three years ago, after the birth of my daughter, I began experiencing pain all over my body that couldn't be explained or alleviated.  Because I had been diagnosed with Crohn's disease six years earlier, my doctors felt I was suffering a secondary onset of fibromyalgia.  With my Crohn's symptoms worsening, immunosuppressant therapy was on the horizon.  The possible side effects of suppressing my immune system terrified me, so I began researching.  That's when I discovered the Paleo way of eating.  Named after the Paleolithic Period, it takes us back to the time of hunters and gatherers.  Eschewing all processed sugars, artificial ingredients, gluten containing grains, and industrially produced oils turned out to be exactly what my body needed to quickly put my symptoms into remission.  


In the beginning, going Paleo was difficult and intense.  However, the longer I do it, the easier it becomes. I still fall off the wagon every now and again when it starts rolling too fast, but so far, I've always gotten back on.  I credit Paleo with teaching me how to really cook.  It forced me to learn new techniques for adapting some of our favorite meals.  I also learned about new ingredients, like grass-fed meats, arrowroot powder, whole natural fats, and fermented foods, as well as the amazing benefits of bone broth.  My diet is still not perfect, but the permanent changes I've made in at-home food preparation have improved my gut health tremendously. There was also the bonus side effect of losing 30 lbs. while eating bacon and eggs for breakfast most days!


To celebrate my 40th birthday with friends and family, I decided to adapt one of our favorite party foods, sweet and sour meatballs. Made with Tyner Pond Farm 100% grass-fed ground beef and pasture-raised ground pork this recipe avoids the bread crumbs often found in meatballs.  The meat mixture can also be baked in a loaf pan for a yummy Paleo meatloaf.  The sauce is made from scratch to eliminate the processed bottled ingredients, soy sauce, and brown sugar often found in other traditional sweet and sour recipes.  While not a low-carb sauce, considering the tropical fruits, honey, molasses, and arrowroot powder, it is still a wonderfully natural alternative to chemical-laden commercial sauces.


This recipe makes approximately 42 meatballs depending on how large or small you make them (...or how many get eaten while you prepare the sauce!).  You can halve the ingredients for a smaller batch.  My husband, not so concerned with eating Paleo, likes to eat his meatballs served over a bed of steamed white rice with a dash of teriyaki sauce.  The meatballs work beautifully prepared ahead of time and frozen until ready to heat and serve. I've not yet tried the sauce with chicken, but I'm guessing it would be delicious.




Sweet and Sour Sauce:

  • 2 c. diced peeled tomatoes (about one large can)
  • 1 c. fresh cut pineapple tidbits (I like to give mine another rough chop to make them a bit smaller)
  • 1 c. chopped mangoes (I use frozen organic mangoes to prevent overcooking)
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1/4 c. raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 T. full flavor molasses
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 2 t. arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1/4 t. sea salt


Meatball Directions: (Preheat oven to 350º)

1.  Set aside the whole natural fat and combine remaining meatball ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  Use your hands to mix everything together until evenly distributed.



2.  Roll meat mixture into approximately 1 1/4 inch balls.  Using a large melon baller or ice cream scoop with release lever works great for keeping your meatballs uniformed.



3.  Melt 2 T. of the natural fat in a large skillet on medium heat.  Preheat pan and oil thoroughly before adding the meatballs. Brown meatballs in skillet, rolling and turning until all sides are browned. If meatballs are sticking, add additional natural fat. **You are NOT trying to thoroughly cook the meatballs at this stage, only browning the outside.



4. After all the meatballs have been browned, transfer to baking dish and finish in the oven at 350º for about 10 minutes or until cooked through. 


Once meatballs are cooked, add them directly into sweet and sour sauce as prepared below, or cool completely and freeze them for later.  If you want to prepare your sweet and sour meatballs in a slow cooker, prepare them in advance and freeze. For freezing, I like to put my cooled meatballs into a Ziploc freezer bag.


Sauce Directions:

1. Stir together everything but arrowroot powder in a medium saucepan on medium heat until it begins to bubble.

2. While stirring, evenly and thinly shake arrowroot powder into the mixture.  Mix thoroughly.

3. Reduce to medium-low heat, cover and simmer about 15 - 20 minutes or until sauce slightly thickens and vegetables reach desired tenderness.  Stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add meatballs, stir to coat.



**If you want to prepare your sweet and sour meatballs in a slow cooker, follow steps 1-2, then pour sauce mixture over frozen meatballs placed in slow cooker.  Stir to coat meatballs.  Slow cook on high about 2 hours until meatballs are heated and vegetables reach desired tenderness, stirring occasionally.


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Three Course Valentine's Dinner: Coffee Crusted Rib Eyes, Pear Salad with Bacon and Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

Valentine's Day Three Course Meal

When you love to cook like I do, holidays are less about spending a lot of money at a fancy restaurant and more about having fun in my own kitchen. Sure, there are some things I prefer not to prepare myself, but a great meal does not have to requires hundreds of ingredients or days of preparation. And while a quick glance at this meal may seem daunting, you will realize that most of these ingredients are already in your refrigerator or pantry. The rest is left to Tyner Pond Farm!

Strawberries are my favorite fruit, but unfortunately they are just not available in Indiana in February. Instead I chose to add a fresh winter red anjou pear to these salads for texture and a sweet contrast to the tang of the feta cheese, crunch of the salty walnuts and Tyner Pond Farm bacon, and sharp acidity from the homemade vinaigrette. This salad takes less than 10 minutes to prepare but looks a step above your everyday salad bar.

There are few things I enjoy more than a simply cooked Tyner Pond Farm rib eye steak because it is so flavorful without any fussy ingredients and it can be prepared quickly. Yet I couldn't look at the steak without thinking of some way to take it to a new level, so I decided to ground locally roasted coffee beans and create a simple rub. Mixing in chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder and salt gives a little heat and savory notes to balance the sweet and bitter coffee. Just remember that a little rub goes a long way here!

If you don't have an electric ice cream maker yet, I sure hope this chocolate ice cream convinces you to purchase one because once you make your own ice cream at home, you will never want to purchase it at a grocery store again. This is a thick and creamy custard style ice cream made with 6 Tyner Pond Farm egg yolks that can be prepared days in advance. My recipe makes a little more than 1 quart so you will have plenty for dessert days to come.

Pear Salad

Pear Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette


  • 4 slices Tyner Pond Farm bacon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Salad greens such as romaine, spinach and arugula
  • 1 red anjou pear, thinly sliced
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • Feta cheese crumbles
  • Walnuts

1. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut the bacon into small pieces. Place a small skillet over medium heat and add the bacon, cooking until crisp, about 5-8 minutes. Remove the bacon and set aside.
2. Grab a glass measuring cup for the vinaigrette. Add the oregano, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder and salt to the cup. Whisk in the lemon juice, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Set aside.
3. Prepare the salad by roughly chopping the greens and placing them in two serving bowls.
4. Top with slices of pear, shallot, feta crumbles, walnuts and bacon. Give the vinaigrette a good whisk, then pour about two tablespoons over each salad. Stir together and serve. Extra vinaigrette can be stored in the refrigerator for about one week.

Coffee Crusted Rib Eye SteaksCoffee Crusted Ribeye Steak

  • 2 Tyner Pond Farm rib eye steaks
  • 2 tablespoons medium ground coffee
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Allow the steaks to sit at room temp for 25 minutes before cooking.
2. Stir together the ground coffee, chili powder, salt, onion powder and garlic powder in a small bowl.
3. Heat a grill plate on your stove and preheat the oven to broil.
4. Rub 2-3 teaspoons of the spices on each rib eye until covered.
5. Spray a light coating of cooking spray on the indoor grill plate. Sear the steaks on both sides for about 3-4 minutes or until the coffee coating has crusted.
6. Place the steaks into a skillet and continue cooking in the oven until medium rare (130-135 degrees Fahrenheit), about 5-8 minutes.
7. Serve steaks immediately with pear salads.

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

  • 6 Tyner Pond Farm egg yolks
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 3 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • Red sprinkles

1. Crack the egg yolks into a large bowl and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, stir the whole milk, heavy cream, white granulated sugar, pinch of salt and vanilla extract together. Turn the heat to medium and warm through to dissolve the sugar and salt.
3. In a small saucepan, stir together the brewed coffee and Dutch process cocoa powder over medium heat.
4. Roughly chop the semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate, then stir into the coffee and cocoa powder. Continue stirring until melted, where it will thicken up like a paste.
5. Gently add the chocolate mixture into the warmed milk. Whisk together until melted throughout.
6. Begin to carefully pour a small amount of the ice cream base into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Continue to add a small amount at a time until all of the ice cream base is mixed into the egg yolks.
7. Pour this mixture into a large container with a lid and place in your refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
8. Turn on your ice cream maker and gently pour the base inside. Churn per the manufacturer's directions until the base begins to solidify. Spoon the ice cream into a freezer-safe container and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
9. Serve with red sprinkles for a cute pop of color.

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Tips to Cooking Pasture-Raised & Grass-Fed Meat

"How do you cook pasture-raised meat?" and "What makes grass-fed meat different?". We get these two questions a lot and want to clarify what makes pasture-raised / grass-fed meat very different than conventional meat. Below we've provided some information on cooking grass-fed and pasture-raised meat along with some tips to help you get the best tasting end product from our meat!

First off, the biggest thing you should know is that pasture-raised and grass-fed meat has a different fat profile than what most people are used to coming out of the conventional systems. Conventional foods need to be cooked usually to around 165 degrees or above. This is primarily done to kill pathogens inherent in the confinement system and because of the presence of yellow fat vs. white fat. Yellow fats have a lower melting temperature than the fat found in conventionally raised meat, so a lot of people new to this tend to overcook, which results in drying out the meat.

Pasture-raised animals are also live in a much healthier environment and don't require antibiotics to thrive. They get everything they need from their natural environment. (i.e. Think about a child in a crowded classroom vs. playing outside). Also, because pasture-raised animals by definition eat a varied diet that includes live plants, their meat is high in carotenoids, which provide many health benefits to both the animals and humans. 

Tips to Preparing and Cooking Pasture-Raised and Grass-Fed Meat


  • Allow frozen products to fully thaw in your refrigerator
  • Make sure your meats are room temperature before cooking
  • Always preheat your oven, grill or frying pan before beginning to cook meat
  • Do not rinse beef or pork products; chicken can be rinsed in cold water 

General Cooking Information

  • Pasture-raised meats (and eggs) cook faster than conventionally farmed products, just be careful not to overcook!
  • Since our animals are outside running around on pasture, trudging up hillsides and just plain being active as opposed to being locked in confinement, our products have much more muscle tissue. 
  • Cooking low and slow is key! Our products are a bit more delicate. We recommend searing them first on the outside for cuts like pork chops, steaks, leg quarters, etc. on very high heat for a couple minutes per side then reduce the temperature to very low if continuing to cook on the stovetop or grill or transfer to the oven.
  • Use a meat thermometer; a digital read thermometer usually works fine and you can buy one for around $20. 
  • For best results, use a cast iron or french steel pan when using the stovetop. 
  • Let the meat rest for around  5-10 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute to the edges for a more tender cut. 
  • Always cut against the grain when cutting your meat. This prevents the muscle from shrinking and getting tough.

Bottom line, ​pasture-raised and grass-fed meats are expectedly different than factory-farmed products in taste, texture, appearance, and preparation. They are leaner and cook up to 30% quicker. So, the short answer to the question "How do you cook pasture-raised / grass-fed meat?" is that you should cook it at a lower temperature and more slowly. When you first start cooking Tyner Pond Farm meat, make sure to keep an eye on the cut as it cooks and don't forget to use your meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat at its thickest part.  

Of course, there are also special tips and tricks to cook different meats depending on the type you'll be consuming. We'll follow up with another blog post sharing tips on how to cook our grass-fed beef, pasture-rasied pork and chicken.  


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Loaded Cranberry Chicken Salad Recipe

Cranberry Chicken Salad

This recipe can be made with either chicken or turkey.  Seeing as how my freezer is overflowing with roasted turkey from the Tyner Pond Farm post-holiday sale, I went with turkey today (seriously, I bought a 24 lb. turkey... for a family of three).  Usually, for salads like this one, I like to cook chicken in the slow cooker.  It makes it ridiculously tender with a finer shred perfect for salads.  I look forward to trying the TPF stewing hens, which are a bit more economical and best prepared low and slow.  

Chicken salad is pretty much a staple food for me. Making it with expeller pressed high-oleic safflower oil mayonnaise and my homemade sweet relish keeps it healthy. I make it so often, I don't even look at the recipe anymore! It's great on bread for sandwiches, even better as a grilled sandwich, or as a topping for crackers and salads.  Usually, I end up standing at the counter next to the fridge, eating it with a fork straight from the bowl!


2 c. shredded TPF chicken (or turkey) 
¼ c. mayo (can substitute plain Greek yogurt)
¼ c. sweet relish
¼ c. chopped celery
¼ c. whole walnuts (chopped)
¼ c. dried cranberries
1 t. yellow mustard
salt & pepper to taste

Chicken Salad Ingredients

Directions:  Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until well incorporated.

Best when refrigerated several hours or overnight.  That's it!

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