Eat Local Grand Rapids! {day one}

During the month of August I’m taking the Challenge to purchase only local foods for the month of August!

I’m all about trying category one: “Purchase ALL local foods. This includes meat, dairy, eggs, and produce along with any other pantry staples that are available in your area. You can use previously purchased non-local foods, but from here on out source out foods from within 100 miles of your home. Pantry staples (beans, flour, spices, etc) can be purchased only if needed and essential, but buy them from a locally owned store versus a national chain if possible.”

This won’t be easy at all, and already I’m wondering what I’ll do in a couple different circumstances, but I’m going to try my best to spend almost all of my grocery money locally and on farm fresh foods.

This morning we started out by peeling one of our last oranges to finish off the non-local fruits we still have in the house, and paired it with eggs from our own hens, and I had coffee with local cream (no sugar).
Eating up the last if our nonlocal fruit as we begin our #EatLocal challenge!

One issue I noticed with breakfast is that we love cheese. It’s like a food group in and of itself to my kids. And I have yet to find a locally produced cheese that they enjoy eating……So if you know of a great local source, please let me know!

We also went to the Hudsonville Farmers Market to pick up our loot for the week.
Stocked up on some local foods from the Hudsonville farmers market today! #eatlocal

  • beef and pepperoni from Creswick Farms,
  • potatoes, lettuce, carrots, peaches, and green beans from Larry’s farm market,
  • sweet corn and watermelon from Zanstra Farms, and
  • multi-colored peppers from Crossroad Farms

One veggie I didn’t pick up was broccoli, because I knew ours was starting to ripen in the backyard garden. And you know you’re up close and personal with your food when you find a worm in the wash water. Always wash your food before you eat it, even if it’s from your own organic garden.

Why you wash broccoli before you eat it. #extraprotein #eatlocal

Dinner tonight was a huge success, and deliciously tasty.

An all local dinner! #eatlocal #GR

Do you try to purchase a lot of local foods?

I hope you’ll join me in the challenge! You can choose from all local, mostly local, or local produce – but whether you take the challenge yourself or not, let’s support our local farmers (who have been working twice as hard due to our drought) and buy local.



All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

Four healthy homemade frozen treats

It is HOT here in West Michigan, and nothing cools you better on a hot day than a frozen treat.

Here are some recipes for quick, easy, healthy cold snacks that the whole family will love.  You can make them in traditional popsicle molds (be sure they are BPA free) or just use cups or small mason jars and popsicle sticks.

1. Vanilla Ice Cream Bars

What’s better than ice cream?  Ice cream on a stick!  This simple recipe comes together in minutes.  Stir in fruit or chocolate chips for an extra special treat.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Method of Preparation

Blend all ingredients and pour into molds or cups.  Freeze until solid.

Optional: Fold chopped fresh fruit or mini chocolate chips into the mix before pouring into molds.

2. Frozen Cheesecake Pops

This easy recipe gives you the flavor of cheesecake in frozen form. Plus it’s full of probiotics. You can use any fruit you like and blend it in or keep it whole. To make these really healthy use homemade yogurt and graham crackers!

Ingredients

1 cup plain full fat yogurt
1/4 cup full fat sour cream
1/4 cup cream or whole milk (optional)
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. honey
3/4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (or any fruit you like)
3/4 cups crushed graham crackers (preferably homemade…even better use soaked)

Method of Preparation

1. Crush graham crackers into pea size pieces (you can do this easily by pulsing them in the food processor a few times or do it by hand).

2. Combine yogurt, sour cream, syrup and honey. To make a blended pop, place this mixture in a food processor or blender with the fruit and blend. If keeping the fruit whole, simply mix it all by hand.

3. Pour yogurt/fruit mixture over graham crackers and mix.

4. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds or cups with popsicle sticks and freeze until solid.

 

3. Pudding Pops

Turn your favorite pudding into a frozen treat.  Simply prepare the pudding, let it cool and freeze it.  I use this great recipe for homemade pudding from Heavenly Homemakers.  (you can use your favorite recipe)  Try vanilla, chocolate or butterscotch.

Better yet, mix a couple flavors for a swirled pudding pop!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup rapadura or 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 Tbsp. arrowroot powder (or organic cornstarch)
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Method of Preparation

1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, egg yolks, rapadura or maple syrup, cocoa, arrowroot powder and salt.

2. Cook over medium heat, stirring CONSTANTLY until pudding begins to thicken.

3. Remove immediately from the heat, and continue to stir until pudding is creamy.

4. Add butter and vanilla and continue to stir until mixed.

5. Let the pudding cool for about 30 minutes and pour into popsicle molds or cups (insert sticks).  Freeze until solid.
 

4. Fresh Fruit Popsicles

homemade popsiclesBlend your favorite fruit for a nutritious snack.

  • In season fruit – Strawberries, watermelon, peaches, blueberries, raspberries (or any combination)
  • Honey to taste (if fruit is not very sweet)

Method of Preparation

1. Puree fruit in a blender until smooth.

2. Strain seeds for berry popsicles if desired.

3. Mix in honey if fruit is not sweet enough.

4. Pour into popsicle molds or cups with popsicle sticks.

5. Freeze until solid.

 

Try one (or all!) of these frozen treats to beat the heat!

What are your favorite ways to prepare homemade popsicles?


Mary Voogt is a follower of Christ, a wife, and a mother of two. After 6 years as an electrical engineer she now stays home full time. She is passionate about real food and enjoys spending lots of time in the kitchen cooking and baking from scratch. She blogs at Homemade Dutch Apple Pie on a variety of topics including digestive issues, OCD, anxiety, infertility, natural parenting and healthy food.

Fun with fruit

With all of this warm weather we’ve been having lately, I’ve been trying to keep my family hydrated. But my little ones balk at drinking plain water unless they are super hot and have been outside.

Outside all day or not, I still want to make sure that they have the hydration they need.

And what tastier way to get it than with fruit? Especially a water rich fruit like melon.

Last week we had some fun making “watermelon cookies”.




The best part, was that because it was something “fun” and “different”, my kids thought these were real treats – begging for Watermelon Cookies for dessert. We’ve also brought them camping and to the beach, nicely packed in coolers for a bit of refreshment in the hot sun.

Have you ever made cookie cutter fruit?



All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

Progress, not Perfection

nutrition books(a post by Tammy)

I can sometimes get bogged down when I read books and blogs on nutrition. There is always something different I need to change. And that can get, well, discouraging.

This post is as much to encourage myself, as it is those who read it. Because I don’t always eat “perfectly” or make 100% “green” choices, but I’m doing my best.

My best is the here and now and I’m always making changes and getting new information.

My best today looks different than it did a year ago, and different from it will look in a year to come.

A year ago I used “buttery spread” thinking it was healthier than butter. Now I use coconut oil or butter.

A year ago I wanted to use coconut oil. A few months ago, I purchased a gallon of coconut oil, and have found ways to incorporate it into our diet.

Over two years ago, I learned for the first time about the benefits of raw milk. Three weeks ago, I bought a cow share and now get raw milk. It took a while for this change to take place, as I needed a convenient arrangement, as well as an affordable share.

So don’t be discouraged by all the changes you may need or want to make! Just pick one or two and make them happen.

It has been my experience that the changes I make slowly are better kept than a drastic overhaul, especially when it pertains to diet.

I may not be able to do it all right now. But I’m doing my best right now.

Are you focusing on your progress, or just perfection?

 

Tammy has lived in Grand Rapids for nearly 7 years, and is a wife and stay at home mom. She enjoys learning new ways to save money, crafting, and cooking.



All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

Everything you wanted to know about raw milk but were afraid to ask

This past Tuesday at the Nourishing Ways meeting, Karen Lubbers from Lubbers Family Farm spoke about raw milk. It was so interesting to hear her speak and tell her story! As one of the first cow share programs in the area she spoke from a lot of experience, (they no longer have the program due to insurance companies.) and I took a ton of notes.

Of course it was the night I forgot to bring my notepad.

While it’s still fresh on my mind I thought I’d quick type out some of my notes. And you know….maybe make them a bit more legible.

(all quotes are from Karen unless otherwise noted)

“Our stories guide our decisions.”

She started out the night telling her story, and talking about how each of our stories guide our decisions. In the long run we all have different choices to make, and the way our lives play out really effects how we make them. She talked about how they went on vacation with all of their children, to find out in the middle of it that her youngest daughter had brain cancer.

And there her story changed.

What once wasn’t a thought in her mind (the food they ate) became forefront as she researched, and read, and just happened to sit in on one of Sally Fallon’s sessions on traditional diets.

“My kid got cancer, and we got a cow”

why drink raw milk

photo credit: treborrenrut

The history of milking cows is interesting as well.

  • Cows have a learned helplessness (as do most people now a days) they no longer know how to graze.
  • milking cows go back to about 6500BC
  • up to 40% of the dairy cows in the US have mastitis
  • 25-50% are lame
  • life expectancy for a conventional dairy cow is 3-4 years (normal, grass-fed, pasture raised is bout 8-13 years!)
  • dairy cows saved the Jamestown providence
  • it used to be common for everyone to have a cow – even in the city. City cows were milked in the morning in the families shed and hired help (usually a kid) would gather the cows from house to house and bring them all to a common pasture. (The Boston Commons was such a pasture)

“Raw milk needs to be consumed close to home.”

Karen also talked about how important is was to get your milk close to home, because your surroundings produce the exact nutrients that you need. So the best food for you is from the location in which you live. We need that direct connection to the soil, to the earth.

Think someone who runs a raw milk dairy would be afraid to drink the milk? She was. Especially giving it to an immune suppressed daughter.

So she grabbed some of their new cow’s raw milk and some store-bought milk, poured it into jars and let it sit to see what happened. The raw milk separated and smelled sour – what’s know as clabbered milk. The pasteurized milk was putrid and not indigestible. With her daughter having lost 40% of her body weight, she knew she had to do something and so the girl began to drink it. And it helped her gain the needed weight.

“There are no magic bullets.”

One of may favorite quotes of the evening made mention that there are no magic bullets. Switching to raw milk may help some issues, but it’s not a miracle worker.

raw milk safety

photo credit: sadie_16

Pasteurization

She talked a bit about how pasteurization came to be. If you don’t know, it all started when England cut off our supply of booze and we had to begin making our own. The leftovers, after the beer was made, was then fed to the dairy cows that were housed right next to the distilleries for that purpose. The milk became severely lacking in nutrients and combined with the human tuberculosis that was getting into the milk (often from immigrants who had TB milking the cows) many people, specifically babies, died. So what should have been a short-term cover up for bad farming practices became law.

It was also mentioned that some dairy operations are being built next to ethanol plants for the same purpose of using up the ‘distillery’ mash. (ethanol is an alcohol) Hmmm…..

“It’s not only the bad stuff in the milk, it’s the good stuff that isn’t there.”

While running a cow share program Karen found that their were three types of people coming for milk.

  1. The health conscience – the ones who were trying to better their health or ones that had health problems they were trying to overcome.
  2. The environmentalists – those that drank local milk because it’s better for the environment.
  3. The foodies – the ones who drank it just because it tasted good.

“Flavor is the ultimate sustainability.”

Health problems can be overcome and when one starts to feel better, they get lax on their food intake. Environmental issues are a great reason to eat local food, but it’s not enough to keep people coming. But flavor….if we can get people to taste how good the food is, they’ll keep coming.

unprocessed milk

Hallmarks of a Good Farm

Karen acknowledges that most people don’t know what to look for, or what to ask, and I totally agree. I had no idea what to ask when I started calling around looking for a dairy where I could get fresh, unprocessed milk.

  • They rely on clean practices.
  • They avoid killing pests (de-worming cows, spraying pesticides, etc)
  • They pass a biological test – not a chemical test
  • They allow the animals to go outside
  • A good farm feeds the animals their natural diet.
  • They embrace bio-diversity, meaning they grow multiple types of crops and raise animals to support each other (like chicken who follow the cows on pasture eating the worms that infest cows)
  • They also raise heritage breeds like Jerseys instead of Holsteins
  • A good farm has good dirt.

Books she mentioned:

Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations

Where Our Food Comes From: Retracing Nikolay Vavilov’s Quest to End Famine

14 Cows for America

Website mentioned

Michigan Fresh Unprocessed Whole Milk Work Group – Workgroup members represent an array of perspectives, relative to the issue at hand and the group’s purpose: consumers who seek to ensure access to raw milk*, producers who want to provide a healthy source of raw milk, a grade A milk industry representative and food safety regulators who are looking to balance access and choice issues with protection of the food supply. Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS) and Michigan State University (MSU) serve as facilitators and resource providers to guide the dialog and deliberations of the workgroup as they discuss and contemplate the questions under each topic.

 

Were you there? Did I miss anything?



All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.