Tag: organic

Zesty Orange Cranberry Muffins

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Oh, yeah.  They taste as good as they look!  I found this recipe for Orange Cranberry Muffins after googling “What to do with cranberries?”  I’ve never cooked or baked with them.  Ever.  But I got them in my weekly Bountiful Baskets order and didn’t want them to go to waste.  Thank you Google Search, and thank you Bakingdom.com!!!  Hubs is hard to please when it comes to food, and he LOVED them.

Just a suggestion… I doubled the glaze recipe after a gut feeling that it wouldn’t be enough. My gut was right.  If you don’t want to have to skimp on the glaze, make double.  And in an effort to try to be healthier, I used whole wheat flour, and, as always, organic, fair trade cane sugar, which always pleases with the chunky sugary crystals!

Feeling nostalgic, Sinead O’Connor’s “Am I Not Your Girl” album was the soundtrack to my baking : )

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Preserving Eggs Without Refrigeration

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Did you know that you can leave your farm fresh chicken eggs out on your counter for about two weeks before going bad?  They do not have to be refrigerated as long as you do not wash them (until you use them), which takes away the natural bloom that acts as a coating to protect the egg from rotting.  As long as the natural bloom stays on, no air can penetrate it to spoil it.  We keep our eggs in a plastic strainer sitting on the counter until they are used.

Likewise, did you know that you can store eggs for up to one year in your food storage without refrigeration?  Yes, you can!  There is an all natural product, called KePeg Egg Preserver, that you can coat on your eggs and it acts just like the natural bloom, but lasts longer.

My Prepper friend, Kellene Bishop of Preparedness Pro, originally told me about this idea, though, she uses mineral oil.  I’ve used mineral oil to preserve my eggs in the past, but decided to switch to KePeg because there is controversy with ingesting mineral oil.  For those of us who worry about estrogen over-production (which is a cause of infertility), we should probably stay away from using mineral oil, especially when there is an alternative (and an all natural one, all the better).

And I have eaten year-old eggs using this unrefrigerated method – so you can rest assure this is good information!  Just be sure to flip the stored eggs about once per month to keep the yolks in tact.  The best use for year-old eggs is for baking or hard boiling.  If you wonder at all if they are good any more, just remember that your nose won’t fool you!

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Profound Lessons On a Farm

 

IMG 61021 e1352573480441 Profound Lessons On a Farm

Hubs and I recently took a drive into the heart and true boonies of Utah to get a closer look at a more agrarian lifestyle.   Driving to nowhere, we eventually found ourselves driving into what felt like the land of milk and honey.  Truly beautiful and breathtaking.  A land some may only ever read about in books.  Green.  Water.  Abundant water.  Rivers.  Fish.  Wildlife.  Edible berries strewn throughout.  And they were good.  So good.  Trees.  Amazing trees.  Canyons.  Wildlife.  Wild turkeys.  Deer herds galore.  Large ranches.  Cattle.   Horses.  Sheep.  Country bumpkins.  Nicest county bumpkins.

A hard-working, simple kind of life.  A place worthy of receiving Zion.  A place so glorious I could not find it in me to take any pictures.  None.  So not like me.  It was too pretty and too sacred feeling.  At least for the time I was there then.

We ended up meeting up with some people who we had mutual friends in common with.  We went to their home.  Their life-giving/producing land.  Their homestead along the raging river where their kids play and their animals drink.  Where they get their own water.  Given freely by a God without regulations and additives.  Given freely with abundance in mind.  Sometimes, there is free lunch.

Driving on to their property we were greeted first by horses, then by turkeys and chickens.  Around the bend up the road were the sheep, and then the dogs.  So many dogs! And puppies.  After getting out of the car, we walked through the vegetable garden and fruit trees.  Which then led us to the river, by which the rabbits and pigs (and some of the chickens) lived.  Oh, and the peacocks.  Beautiful, amazing peacocks.

We asked them question after question about living a self-reliant life.  ”Do you feel free?” I asked her.  ”Yes.” she said simply and with a radiant smile.  I knew she was speaking the truth.

These kind people fed us dinner.  They are over an hour away from any real grocery store. But they don’t need one.  They picked carrots, potatoes, onions, lettuce, and cabbage from their garden (some stored in a root cellar), and together, we made a delicious soup and salad.  This is how they roll.  Every day.  Somehow with variety.

If that wasn’t enough, (they could tell we didn’t want to leave) they invited us to stay the night.  In the morning their preteen and teenage girls made us German Pancakes for breakfast.  And then off to church we went with them (to the smallest little congregation I’ve ever seen).  In the same clothes we came the day before in and slept in.  In clothes not worthy of church.  At all.  Yet we were welcomed and encouraged to go with them.

When we got home, the Mister of the house said he had some sheep to kill.  Around four in the morning he had heard some of them screaming and crying.  It turns out that two of his dogs got in there and roughed four of them up.  Two of them (at least) so badly that they had to be taken out of their misery.  My heart sunk.  But knowing this was true life stuff for a farmer/rancher, something in me was compelled to watch.

I cried when I looked upon the sheep with mangled up hind quarters and fresh blood still oozing.  And then of course, he had to shoot them.  I didn’t watch that part.  I couldn’t.  I watched, with a heavy heart, him skin, gut, and cut up the sheep.  There would be ribs for dinner that night, if we wanted to stay.

One of the dog culprits was wandering around the property casually and freely.  I could hardly look at him.  I was so mad at him.  At one point when we crossed paths, I couldn’t help but tell him how I felt, and scolded him.  He couldn’t care less, and walked on.

But the other dog culprit was made to be in the gated area where the sheep were being slaughtered.  After the Mister skinned the first one, he threw the sheep skins (with head attached) onto the dog.  The dog laid still, face and body covered in the skin of the sheep he had helped maim several hours before.  I was horrified.  It seemed a cruel, mean, and extreme punishment.  Then he tied the sheep’s legs around the dogs neck with a rope, like a necklace and made him wear it all day.

What is he doing?  I wondered to myself, in disgust.

“I’m punishing him.  This is how you teach them to never do it again.” he said to me, seeing my disturbance.

“What about the other dog, roaming around freely?”

“He’s not worth it.  I’m getting rid of him.”

A pause in my mind.

And then, the epiphany.

Of course, when life seems cruel and hard and impossible, and we cry out to God, “Why are you allowing this for me?  Why aren’t you saving me?  Why are you punishing me?”

He says,

“Because you’re worth it.”

“Because I don’t want to throw you out.”

Wow.  Just wow.

All these stimulations, and inspirations, and lessons within just 24-hours on a ranchers farm.  It’s no wonder why God told Adam to spend his time ‘working the land’.  How many lessons are there for us, if we were to take up the challenge and command to work the land as in the days of Adam and his posterity?

My heart is full and inspired.  My mind is reeling with possibilities.  How I would love to say goodbye to Babylon.  Farewell.  We’re going to the mountains of Ephraim to dwell.

That afternoon, I took the Missus blue-eyed, 7-month old, chubby-cheeked baby down by the river.  We sat on a rock inches away from the water, and I pondered all of these things by the quiet of the raging water.  The baby sat contentedly with me for almost an hour, looking into the water in a hypnotic gaze.

What a beautiful life.

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Community Supported Agricultural Farm

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It was seven weeks ago that Mark and I sought out and found a Community Supported Agricultural Farm.  After becoming so disenchanted with what we’ve learned about most store bought foods, we thought, if only we could find a local farm to buy organic, in-season fruits and vegetables from. To our extreme delight, our cute little CSA Farm turned up… right up the road from us.

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So for the past seven weeks, we’ve gone to this little farm to collect our food for the week.  When we first get there, we sign in.  You actually become a shareholder in the farm for the period that you sign up for.  And they were having a problem with outsiders dropping in, thus leaving the shareholders short of their own food.

Above the tables are white boards with instructions of what to take.  A pound of eggplant.  A head of lettuce.  A bunch of herbs.  Etc.  On our first pick-up, we had no idea what to expect.  I literally showed up in my crocks and clothes I figured would get dirty, thinking we’d be pulling our own food out of the ground or off the trees.  As fun as that would have been, that’s not the way it’s done.  It’s all picked for us and displayed on tables inside the barn.  Oh, and every week, we also got a surprise baked good.  The yummiest treat ever.

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So the summer CSA is over and now the winter one begins.  The hard part for us was that we got so much food that we weren’t accustomed to eating and did not really know what to do with – so much went to waste if not given to neighbors.  We decided not to sign up for the winter CSA, and instead scoured out all the grocery stores around us for the best organic and local options.  In a perfect world, I wish the CSA farm worked for us.  But it was too expensive to keep up, considering the amounts of foods we did not use.  The ubiquitous ‘someday’ when we have more time, perhaps we’ll be more adventurous with our foods.

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I’m so grateful for the experience and the joy that it was to be on this life-giving farm.  A simple kind of life that I dream about living ‘someday’.  Goodbye, for now.

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