Archive for September, 2009

Homemade Naan Bread

We love Naan Bread and this is a very easy recipe.  We grind our own whole wheat flour and depending on my mood (and how much flour I have ground), I use all whole wheat or ½ whole wheat and ½ unbleached white flour. If you buy your whole wheat, I recommend organic whole wheat pastry flour as it’s lighter for baking. This recipe makes 8 big, or 16 small pieces of naan bread. If you don’t have three teenaged boys at home, like we do, feel free to cut the recipe in half. You can also take ½ of the dough and put it in the refrigerator, instead of letting it rise.  It will last up to a week and you can take the rest out, let it rise and bake another day.  You will be surprised at how easy these are to make.  You do need a pizza or hot stone.  We got one a few years ago for $10 and use it all the time. You can use them for breads, pizza, even to reheat any kind of bread.


2 ½ cups lukewarm water

2 tsp dry active yeast

6 cups organic whole wheat flour  – or ½ whole wheat, ½ unbleached white

1 tsp salt

Dissolve yeast in water. Allow the yeast to sit in the warm water for around 5 minutes until it blooms (bubbles).

Add half the flour, a cup at a time, stirring until incorporated.

Sprinkle in the salt.

Add remaining flour a cup at a time.

Shape into a ball and let rise until double in size.

Pre-heat oven to 500 F

Divide dough into portion sizes.

Flatten each piece into an oval and let rest for 10 minutes.

Wet fingers (very liberally) and “dimple” surface. This will help to make the dough very thin.  After you dimple, just before you put it in the oven, you can sprinkle things on top.  We usually drip a bit of olive oil and then sprinkle some minced garlic or Celtic sea salt.  You could also use pepper, hot pepper, whatever you’d like.

Transfer onto a hot baking stone.

Bake for about 5 minutes or until top is golden and bottom is brown and crusty. Once they’re out of the oven you can spread a little butter on, just before you eat them.   Enjoy!

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Raw Milk Vanilla Ice Cream

We drink raw milk, and we make fresh kefir with it too.  This summer I decided to make raw milk ice cream. It was delicious.  Note: I do use raw eggs in this recipe.  If you use raw eggs it’s at your own risk. I only use local organic eggs – soon to be from our own back yard chickens.  If you are not comfortable using raw eggs the recipe works well with pasteurized eggs, like eggbeaters, too. I’ve made it both ways.

If you want to read more about why we love real, raw milk, click here:

I’ve made many types of ice cream and with many recipes you need to make the mix and then chill it for a few hours or overnight.  This recipe is super easy because you just mix it and put it in your ice cream maker.

If you’ve never made your own ice cream it’s really worth the effort.  You can find many different machines, including an attachment for your Kitchen Aid mixer, that make great ice cream.

I got the original recipe in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream book and tweaked it a bit to make it my own.  This book and David Lebovitz’s Perfect Scoop are my two favorite Ice Cream recipe books.

In the picture, the ice cream was just done. We put it in the freezer for a few hours after and it firms up beautifully.  It makes enough to fill two (empty and cleaned for re-use) quart yogurt containers.


2  large organic, free range eggs, or equivalent amount of eggbeaters (see note above)

3/4 cup  organic sugar

2 cups organic raw cream, heavy or whipping

1 cup organic raw milk

2 tsps. Vanilla extract

You can make it in a mixing bowl or with a stand mixer.  Whisk the eggs until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more.

Pour in the cream, milk and vanilla. Whisk to blend.

Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer’s instructions.  You can mix in anything you like towards the end of the freezing cycle.  Enjoy!

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Jeffrey M. Smith – Everything you have to know about GMO’s

Jeffrey M. Smith, the brilliant author of Seeds of Deception has released a wonderful video, called Everything you HAVE TO KNOW about Dangerous Genetically Modified Foods.

You can watch the video here or at his site,

Everything You HAVE TO KNOW about Dangerous Genetically Modified Foods from Jeffrey Smith on Vimeo.

If you watch it here at Moms for Safe food, I highly recommend that you visit Jeffrey’s site,  as well.

Jeffrey M Smith is an international best selling author and is the leading spokesperson on the health dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). He documents how the world’s most powerful Ag biotech companies bluff and mislead critics, and put the health of society at risk.

He has a wealth of great articles and you can find a wonderful, free, Non-GMO shopping guide that everyone should have a copy of.

Thank you Jeffrey, for all you do!


Read more, great, Real Food Wednesday posts here:

Below’s a link to Jeffrey’s bestselling book, Seeds of Deception.  I highly recommend it too.

Beef – or Bison – Stew

This is our favorite stew recipe.  For very special occasions I make it with Irish Soda bread.  I’ll share that recipe next time I make it.

It’s even better the next day, if there’s any left over.  For the meat I always use grass fed beef or bison. This recipe is adapted from the Joy of Cooking basic beef stew recipe.

2 pounds boneless stew meat  (beef or bison)

Put the meat in a bowl and toss with ½ cup flour, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I use Emeril’s), ½ tsp. salt & ½ tsp. pepper

Heat a Dutch oven (or any 6 qt. or larger pot) over medium-high heat.

Add 2 tablespoons Coconut or Olive Oil.

Add the meat, in batches if necessary and brown on all sides.  Remove the meat, once it’s browned.

Add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and add:

½ cup chopped onions

¼ cup chopped carrots

¼ cup chopped celery

¼ cup chopped leeks (optional)

3 cloves chopped garlic

Cover and cook, stirring often, over medium heat until the onions are soft, about five minutes.

Then add:

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. of Italian seasoning

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

Add the browned meat back into the pot and add 3 cups of any of the following, red wine, white wine, stock (beef, chicken or veggie) or beer.  I usually use two cups of red wine and one cup of veggie stock.  Make sure the meat is covered with liquid.

Then, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer over low heat until the meat is fork tender, 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Then add:

2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

3-4 new potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks

And you can also add 1-2 of any other root vegetables you have on hand: parsnips, turnips or rutabaga

Once you’ve added the vegetables cover and cook until they’re tender 35-40 minutes. 

At the last minute I add one of the following, ½ cup chopped parsley or 1-2 cups chopped Swiss chard or Kale, stir and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

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Food is Power and the Powerful are Poisoning Us

by Chris Hedges

Our most potent political weapon is food. If we take back our agriculture, if we buy and raise produce locally, we can begin to break the grip of corporations that control a food system as fragile, unsafe and destined for collapse as our financial system. If we continue to allow corporations to determine what we eat, as well as how food is harvested and distributed, then we will become captive to rising prices and shortages and increasingly dependent on cheap, mass-produced food filled with sugar and fat. Food,

along with energy, will be the most pressing issue of our age. And if we do not build alternative food networks soon, the social and political ramifications of shortages and hunger will be devastating.

The effects of climate change, especially with widespread droughts in Australia, Africa, California and the Midwest, coupled with the rising cost of fossil fuels, have already blighted the environments of millions. The poor can often no longer afford a balanced diet. Global food prices increased an average of 43 percent since 2007, according to the International Monetary Fund. These increases have been horrific for the approximately 1 billion people-one-sixth of the world’s population-who subsist on less than $1 per day. And 162 million of these people survive on less than 50 cents per day. The global poor spend as much as 60 percent of their income on food, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute.

There have been food riots in many parts of the world, including Austria, Hungary, Mexico, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Yemen, Mauritania, Senegal and Uzbekistan. Russia and Pakistan have introduced food rationing. Pakistani troops guard imported wheat. India has banned the export of rice, except for

high-end basmati. And the shortages and price increases are being felt in the industrialized world as we continue to shed hundreds of thousands of jobs and food prices climb. There are 33.2 million Americans, or one in nine, who depend on food stamps. And in 20 states as many as one in eight are on the food stamp program, according to the Food Research Center. The average monthly benefit was $113.87 per person, leaving many, even with government assistance, without adequate food. The USDA says 36.2 million Americans, or 11 percent of households, struggle to get enough food, and one-third of them have to sometimes skip or cut back on meals. Congress allocated some $54 billion for food stamps this fiscal year, up from $39 billion last year. In the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, costs will be $60 billion, according to estimates.

Food shortages have been tinder for social upheaval throughout history. But this time around, because we have lost the skills to feed and clothe ourselves, it will be much harder for most of us to become self-sustaining. The large agro-businesses have largely wiped out small farmers. They have poisoned our soil with pesticides and contaminated animals in filthy and overcrowded stockyards with high doses of antibiotics and steroids. They have pumped nutrients and phosphorus into water systems, causing algae bloom and fish die-off in our rivers and streams. Crop yields, under the onslaught of changing weather patterns and chemical pollution, are declining in the Northeast, where a blight has nearly wiped out the tomato crop. The draconian Food Modernization Safety Act, another gift from our governing elite to corporations, means small farms will only continue to dwindle in number. Sites such as La Via Campesina do a good job of tracking these disturbing global trends.

“The entire economy built around food is unsafe and unethical,” activist Henry Harris of the Food Security Roundtable told me. The group builds distribution systems between independent farmers and city residents.

“Food is the greatest place for communities to start taking back power,” he said. “The national food system is collapsing by degrees. More than 50 percent of what we eat comes from the Central Valley of California. What happens when gasoline becomes $5 a gallon or drought sweeps across the cropland? The monolithic system of food production is highly unstable. It has to be replaced very soon with small, diverse sources that provide greater food security.”

Cornell University recently did a study to determine whether New York state could feed itself. The research is described in two articles published in 2006 and 2008 by the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems. If all agricultural land were in use, and food distribution were optimized to

minimize the total distance that food travels, New York state could, the researchers found, have 34 percent of its food needs met from within its boundaries. This is not encouraging news to those who live in New York City. New York once relied on New Jersey, still known as the Garden State, instead of having food shipped from across the country. But New Jersey farms have largely given way to soulless housing developments. Farming communities upstate, their downtowns boarded up and desolate, have been gutted by industrial farming.

The ties most Americans had to rural communities during the Great Depression kept many alive. A barter economy replaced the formal economy. Families could grow food or had relatives to feed them. But in a world where we do not know where our food comes from, or how to produce it, we have become

vulnerable. And many will be forced, as food prices continue to rise, to shift to a diet of cheap, fatty, mass-produced foods, already a staple of the nation’s poor. Junk food, a major factor in obesity, diabetes and heart disease, is often the only food those in the inner city can buy because supermarkets and nutritious food are geographically and financially beyond reach. As the economy continues to deteriorate, the middle class will soon join them.

“It is clear to anyone who looks carefully at any crowd that we are wasting our bodies exactly as we are wasting our land,” Wendell Berry observed in “The Unsettling of America.” “Our bodies are fat, weak, joyless, sickly, ugly, the virtual prey of the manufacturers of medicine and cosmetics. Our bodies have become marginal; they are growing useless like our ‘marginal land’ because we have less and less use for them. After the games and idle flourishes of modern youth, we use them only as shipping cartons to

transport our brains and our few employable muscles back and forth to work.”

Berry, who lives on a farm in Kentucky where his family has farmed for generations, argues that local farming is fundamental to sustaining communities. Industrial farming, he says, has estranged us from the land. It has rendered us powerless to provide for ourselves. It has left us complicit in the corporate destruction of the ecosystem. Its moral cost, Berry argues, has been as devastating as its physical cost.

“The people will eat what the corporations decide for them to eat,” writes Berry. “They will be detached and remote from the sources of their life, joined to them only by corporate tolerance. They will have become consumers purely-consumptive machines-which is to say, the slaves of producers. What… model farms very powerfully suggest, then, is that the concept of total control may be impossible to confine within the boundaries of the specialist enterprise-that it is impossible to mechanize production without mechanizing consumption, impossible to make machines of soil, plants, and animals without making machines also of people.”

The nascent effort by communities to reclaim local food production is the first step toward reclaiming lives severed and fragmented by corporate culture. It is more than a return to local food production. It is a return to community. It brings us back to the values that sustain community. It is a return to the recognition of the fragility, interconnectedness and sacredness of all living systems and our dependence on each other. It turns back to an ethic that can save us.

“[The commercial] revolution … , ” writes Berry, “did not stop with the subjugation of the Indians, but went on to impose substantially the same catastrophe upon the small farms and the farm communities, upon the shops of small local tradesmen of all sorts, upon the workshops of independent craftsmen, and upon the households of citizens. It is a revolution that is still going on. The economy is still substantially that of the fur trade, still based on the same general kinds of commercial items: technology, weapons, ornaments, novelties, and drugs. The one great difference is that by now the revolution has deprived the mass of consumers of any independent access to the staples of life: clothing, shelter, food, even water. Air

remains the only necessity that the average user can still get for himself, and the revolution has imposed a heavy tax on that by way of pollution. Commercial conquest is far more thorough and final than military defeat.

“The inevitable result of such an economy,” Berry adds, “is that no farm or any other usable property can safely be regarded by anyone as a home, no home is ultimately worthy of our loyalty, nothing is ultimately worth doing, and no place or task or person is worth a lifetime’s devotion. ‘Waste,’ in such an economy, must eventually include several categories of humans-the unborn, the old, ‘disinvested’ farmers, the unemployed, the ‘unemployable.’ Indeed, once our homeland, our source, is regarded as a resource, we are all sliding downward toward the ash heap or the dump.”

© 2009

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should

Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.”

Homemade Spanish Rice

This Spanish rice is great as side dish to any number of Mexican recipes.  I most often make it for ‘Burrito Night’.  I make rice, beans,  grass fed beef or organic chicken, guacamole, salad and shredded cheese and everyone takes what they like on either a tortilla (whole wheat, Ezekiel or organic white) or just served on a plate. Once I made it myself, I’d never use a boxed Spanish rice again, and it’s so easy.  It’s a great crown pleaser!


    * 2 quart sauce pan or 12 inch frying pan, with tight fitting lid

    * 2 cups organic long grain brown or white rice

    * 1/4 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil

    * 1 yellow onion cut into 1-inch chunks

    * 1 bell pepper, any color, cut into 1 inch pieces

    * 3 cloves of garlic, minced

    * 15 oz. can organic tomato puree, sauce or chopped tomatoes – your choice

    * 2 cups of homemade/ organic chicken or vegetable broth.


Add the oil to the pan and put heat on to medium high. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté 5 – 10 minutes.

Then add the rice and sauté until golden brown approximately another 5 – 10  minutes.

The important thing is to make sure the rice is toasted to a nice golden brown.

Using a garlic press, add the minced fresh garlic by squeezing the press and cutting off the garlic as it comes out, with a knife.

Continue to sauté for an additional 3 minutes. You will notice a wonderful garlic aroma.

Add the tomato puree and chicken broth. Stir and turn heat up to high. Bring to a full boil while stirring. Continue to boil for 2 minutes.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes for white rice and 40-50 for brown rice.  I do sometimes stir once or twice during cooking.  Serves 6-8.

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Tender Grassfed Meat Cookbook Review

One of my new favorite cookbooks!

About 5 years ago, as I started to learn more about how factory farms were treating animals in this country, I started looking into buying grassfed meat.  Grassfed meat is raised on pasture, not on feedlots. They eat and are raised as nature intended eating grass. Cows, bison and lambs are herbivores and are not supposed to be eating grain, it makes them sick.

So we started buying grassfed beef, lamb and bison. Everyone in the family loved it but it was challenging to cook as it’s not as fatty as feedlot beef, but it’s much healthier, and tastier so we kept experimenting. I wish we had this cookbook then. It’s a wonderful cookbook about cooking healthfully and has many recipes for beef, bison, lamb as well as marinades and side dishes. We base a lot of our cooking on the Nourishing Traditions Cookbook by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig (also highly recommended) and this book is a wonderful companion book. The same principles are used and the recipes we’ve tried have been delicious. I learned new techniques that have made a big difference, especially for cooking bison.

The recipes are broken up into easy to find sections. Part one is all the basics, from why grassfed is so good for you, to ingredients, to equipment and techniques. There’s a lot of detailed information here that makes the recipes even easier.

Part two is the wonderful recipes. There’s a broth chapter (we love broth!:), chapters for each grassfed meat; Beef, Bison and Lamb. A chapter on how to sneak healthy food such and liver into your meals, and then marinades and a great chapter on side dishes which include potatoes, vegetables and eggs. We’ve already made the Bone in Bison Rib Steak, and the Swiss Chard Potatoes which were both fantastic. There are many more recipes I can’t wait to try.

And lastly, there’s a terrific index with sources for grassfed meat so you can cook your own healthy and delicious meals. I highly recommended this cookbook if you are looking for great healthy recipes for you and your family.

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Growing Local Farm Movement is Expanding to Meat

It’s great to see articles like this in the mainstream media.  Local, sustainable farmers are the most important people in having a safe and healthy food supply – Mom

By Wes Little

ELBERTON, Georgia  — In a parking lot in suburban Atlanta, customers mill in the summer heat, waiting for freezer bags full of beef, pork, chicken and other meats.

Tim Young raises cattle, pigs, chicken, turkeys and more on his “beyond organic” farm.

The draw that pulled them away from their grocery store and to the tailgate of a packed freezer truck? The meat is from animals raised naturally on a small family farm just two hours away.

“By supporting local farmers, we are essentially voting to support the local economy,” said Anthony Chan, a member of a group that gets its meat monthly from Nature’s Harmony Farm in Elberton, Georgia.

Nature’s Harmony is a member of a growing local-food movement, often referred to as Community-Supported Agriculture. Video Watch video of Nature’s Harmony »

The CSAs, as they’re called, are a model in which consumers pay for their food in advance and receive it directly from the farmer. Working much like a magazine subscription, customers pay for a period of usually at least six months and receive packages either at the farm or at established delivery locations like the one in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Although thousands of farms have sprung up over the past two decades selling fruits and vegetables using the system, experts say there are probably only a few dozen that, like the Georgia farm, offer meat.

Farmers Tim and Liz Young raise cattle, pigs, chickens, turkeys and lambs on their 76-acre farm in northeast Georgia, near the South Carolina state line.

The couple describes their farming technique as “beyond organic,” saying they use no artificial fertilizers, growth hormones or antibiotics and don’t keep their animals penned up.

Life on their property — where cattle and sheep graze in open fields and chickens follow along to clean up after them — looks much like the classic image of a family farm. But the couple say they consider themselves healers to both their customers and, according to their Web site, a food system that “had become a machine with little regard for food safety, food taste and animal welfare.”

“People are becoming very disconnected from the food system,” Liz Young said. “Buying from a local CSA or just shopping at a local farm, you can see where it’s coming from. You can talk to the farmers and figure out how the animals or the produce is raised.”

The couple has 50 subscribers, plus a waiting list, and say 2,000 people receive a newsletter on the farm’s activities.

Members of the nation’s handful of meat CSAs, and the thousands of others, offer a list of reasons.

The food is healthier and tastes better, they say. They like supporting their local economy. Eliminating cross-country delivery is better for the environment, as are the sustainable farming techniques the farmers tend to use.

“Being part of a CSA means that I know the first names of the people who are raising the meat I eat,” said Andrew Johnson of Kansas City, Missouri, a member of the Parker Farms meat CSA in Richmond, Missouri. “Whereas, with the meat I buy from the grocery store, I don’t know where it came from or who raised it.”

Others say they appreciate that animals from the usually small family farms don’t spend their lives in processing plants, conditions that advocates call inhumane.

Because CSA members deal with the farmers directly, they are able to visit the farms and see exactly how their food is produced. The transparency, they say, creates an incentive for farmers to raise their animals as naturally as possible.

“If we have any questions about how it is being grown, we can simply visit the farm ourselves,” said Kristen Johnson, Andrew’s wife.

Robert P. King, a professor of applied economics at the University of Minnesota, said that although community-supported agriculture “provides a good opportunity for farms that want to use sustainable practices to actually do well in the marketplace,” it’s nowhere close to challenging conventional agriculture’s domination of the food market.

King said geographic availability can be limiting to CSAs. Generally, they require a rural area suitable for farming near an urban area that provide enough customers to make it work.

And then, King said, there’s the cost. Operating on a smaller scale and avoiding mega-farm practices designed to cut costs and improve yields almost always mean higher prices.

A six-month Nature’s Harmony membership ranges from $360, or $40 a month, for a poultry-only delivery to $840, or $140 a month, for 20 pounds of a variety of meats.

“Is it as cheap as the lowest-price chicken in the grocery store? Absolutely not,” Tim Young said. “But with our prices and the prices of any sustainable farmer, you’ve got everything baked in: the cost to the environment, the cost to the health care system, the cost of producing that animal [in a humane way].”

Johnson said that any difference in prices at the Missouri farm, which charges a $1,150 annual fee, are worth it.

“I don’t think it is significant, but if it does end up costing a bit more, it is still important to us to make this a priority,” he said. “There are other expenses I am willing to give up rather than give up a safe, trusted food source.”

The Youngs hope more people will get the chance to choose.


“There’s a big, burgeoning demand out there for local meat, for local food, for organic foods and we’d like to see more famers step up to fill that demand,” Tim Young said. “We’re trying to do that but we can never meet the demand that’s out there.

“We’d love to see more farmers try to do what we’re doing.”

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