Easy and last minute thawing and brining the turkey!

Before I married my lovey, I lived next door to my pastor and his wife and 10 children (yes, ten children and the quietest and most organized home I've ever visited). Very soon after I moved in next door, they invited my children and I to their holiday meals, and it became an annual tradition for almost 10 years. I'd bring a few favorite side dishes, wine, and a dessert, and they'd cook everything else. A wonderful time was had by all!

But then I married my African cowboy and we moved to the ranch. I was a little out of practice on how to put together a family holiday meal and that became painfully obvious at our first Thanksgiving meal preparation at the ranch. I woke up Tuesday morning of the week of Thanksgiving facing the reality that I had a frozen turkey and it had to be cooked and ready by Thursday noon!

In a panicked frenzy, Google came to the rescue and Alton Brown had a two for one solution to my problem. Brine the frozen turkey! You defrost and brine at the same time.

Before I explain Alton's process (which I've used ever since), why should you brine your turkey? According to experts, when a turkey is heated, the moisture in its meat is 'flexed' out. Just like squeezing a tube of toothpaste, this causes the juices to be forced out of the bird and you can end up with dry, stringy meat. The salt in the brine will dissolve the proteins responsible for this flexing. Brining helps make a turkey super juicy and extra flavorful.

So back to Alton's two for one process of defrosting and brining at the same time.

  1. Remove the packaging from the frozen turkey.
  2. Retrieve a 5 gallon bucket or small cooler or commercial food bin and make sure it's clean.
  3. Place frozen turkey in your container and completely submerge in your brine of choice (see below for my favorite brine recipe)
  4. Insert a probe thermometer with an alarm set to go off if the temperature of the brine solution rises above 40 degrees F.
  5. Cover with lid or towel and place it pantry, closet...wherever its safe from children and/or critters.
  6. Depending on the size of the turkey, it'll take at least 12 hours to get it ready for roasting. I've had it take almost 24 hours. Check the turkey for complete thaw.

If you're more organized than I am, and have less projects and events that distract you from preparing ahead of time, and you have your turkey thawed,

  1. Place your thawed turkey into the brine (see below for my favorite recipe) in a stockpot, clean 5 gallon bucket or food bin and place in the fridge.
  2. Allow turkey to brine for 18-24 hours before roasting.

If your turkey is already thawed, you can also do a dry brine by rubbing salt all over the turkey the night before you roast it.

Once the brine is complete, you're ready to roast your turkey into deliciousness!

Turkey Brine Recipe.PNG

Click here to print recipe

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How to Grill a Lamb Loin Chop

We're all busy! How does summer get so busy? Aren't you supposed to be laying on the beach or by the pool, reading a good book and chilling? We've been spending our time on ranch projects and chasing escaping sheep back inside the fence!

But, we all need to eat despite all the demands on our time.

Lamb loin chops are incredibly versatile, as you can bake, broil, pan-fry or deep-fry them. One of the best ways to get the most out of the lamb loin chop is by cooking them on a grill. The meat will sear quickly without cooking the center too well, while adding flavor to the lamb.

When you're hard pressed for time, or life is hectic, grilling up a lamb loin chop with some vegetables or a salad will put a healthy, nutritious meal on the table in less than 20 minutes (it'll take longer to fire up the grill than it will take to grill the chop!).

Eat more lamb, the cows will thank you! And your body will too!

See what I did with the title? Haha!

One of the things I love about lamb is how tender and flavorful it is! I was raised on beef (lots of beef in Argentina and Brasil) so I'm finding lamb to be a nice change of flavor.

Did you know that pastured lamb is a lean meat that is high in protein and is free of carbohydrates, and is endorsed by the American Diabetic Association?

Did you know that the absence of carbs in lamb might allow the very broad B-vitamin content of lamb to help support the metabolism of other carbs provided by other foods that are digested with the lamb?

Did you know that 4 oz. of lamb contains 27.5 g of protein, or 55% the recommended daily intake for an adult? For this reason, eating lamb is especially beneficial for bodybuilders, recovering athletes and post-surgical patients.

For all of these reasons, and a few more, we decided to raise sheep in Texas (and I'm a little bit of a contrarian). Lamb really is a healthy, nutrient rich, and delicious meat to add to your and your family's table.

Check out our Buy Meats and Eggs page to see what lamb cuts we have available!

Interested in how you might prepare lamb for yourself and your family?

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Birthday gift!

Lovey is always bragging that he robbed the cradle when he married me, which I find humorous as I'm only 6 years younger than him. Six years is a huge gap when you're 18 and 24 years old, but not when your 52 and 58 years old. Why is that I wonder?

Did you see the new stamp that has been issued? :D

Did you see the new stamp that has been issued? :D

Anyhow, I have a birthday tomorrow. Growing up, my parents always made a fuss over us when it was our birthdays, and I did the same with my kiddos. Lovey is learning that I expect a big fuss over me for my birthdays, and I've made a fuss over his birthdays (especially his 55th). Celebrating another year of life is important, especially as we get older!

Lovey is working on a job out of town, so he won't be with me on my actual birthday, so I'll just have to make a fuss over myself tomorrow. (He did come home last weekend, and we went out to a nice dinner, came home to eat birthday cake and open gifts, so he's fulfilled his obligation :D)

Due to my own food allergies, I made a paleo chocolate cake (grain, gluten and dairy free). I scoured the internet for recipes, and this one hooked me with the ganache (who doesn't love ganache?). It was delicious! Lovey and I ate the entire cake that weekend!

So I'm going to make it again, and this time I don't have to share it with lovey! I'll eat it for breakfast, lunch, teatime, and dinner this weekend. That'll be my birthday treat!

And because I'm treating myself, I thought I'd give you a gift to celebrate my birthday by sharing the recipe with you. You must try it!

The ganache takes a long time to make, so I made it ahead of time. Also, the original recipe also stated that the cake may turn oily, dense and sink in the middle if you use Bob's Red Mill almond flour, and suggested using Honeyville's almond flour (which I did).

Benefits of Dark Chocolate

When I started trying to eat healthier, one of the first things that disappeared from my diet was any and all chocolate candy bars (my first year of college I ate a Snickers bar every afternoon to give you an example of my depravity). But, due to my love of chocolate, I had to figure out a way to eat a healthier chocolate, so I did research and ended up deciding that I could eat a plain dark chocolate bar. This has been my go to ever since.

I've tried many of the dark chocolates found in the natural/organic section of grocery stores and confectioners, but Central Market's 71% chocolate bar has been a favorite for a while as a first step towards healthy dark chocolate (although it does contain soy as an emulsifier). Green & Black is a close second. One of my vendor colleagues at the Bryan farmer's market makes the BEST dark chocolate bar with only cacao powder, cocoa butter and honey. It is delicious! And super healthy. Truly!

What are the benefits of dark chocolate?

  1. It is thought to contain the highest concentration of antioxidants of any other food, which can benefit healthy gut bacteria and overall digestion.
  2. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and blood clots.
  3. Improves insulin sensitivity.
  4. Reduces blood pressure.
  5. It is memory improving and can reverse age-related memory decline.

Why dark chocolate vs milk or white chocolate?

  1. The antioxidant capacity is contained in the cacao bean. Processing the cacao been through mixing, cutting and adding ingredients lowers the antioxidant capacity. Getting as close to 100% dark chocolate will contain the highest antioxidant capacity.
  2. Milk chocolate and the ingredients in it (sugar, milk solids, artificial sweeteners, etc...) can lead to the hardening of arteries, cancer, arthritis, diabetes and a weak immune system.

So when you next go shopping for chocolate, look for the highest percentage of chocolate, at least 70%. It'll be less sweet than what you've been used to, but your taste buds will soon get accustomed to it.

Eating dark chocolate while drinking red wine is also a delicious pairing! A must try too!

To help you improve your health, and since it's my birthday tomorrow, and one must have chocolate cake at birthday celebrations, I leave you with a delicious, healthy paleo chocolate cake recipe for you to try. It really is decadent!

A few notes about the recipe: 

The ganache take a long time to make, so I make it ahead of time. Also, the original recipe author stated that the cake may turn oily, dense and sink in the middle if you use Bob's Red Mill almond flour, and suggested using Honeyville's almond flour, which I have done and it's worked beautifully every time.

I used an 11" springform pan for the photo in the recipe, and had a hard time with the top not breaking up into pieces after I cut the cake in half - but it was still delicious!

Click here to print the recipe.

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Cage Free, Free Range, Organic, ....What Does It All Mean?

All one has to do is go to the bigger, more affluent neighborhood grocery store and go to the egg cooler and be totally overwhelmed with all the different labeling options on the egg cartons.

At the Houston HEB when I'm in town

At the Houston HEB when I'm in town

At Whole Foods in Houston when I'm in town.

At Whole Foods in Houston when I'm in town.

It's truly overwhelming!

So, because inquiring minds want to know, I've created a simple table to differentiate them all.

At Senter Ranch, our hens are:

  • Pastured- roaming the pasture at all times, eating all the grass and bugs they come across, and never given any antibiotics or hormones.
  • Organic- we supplement with a no soy/no corn/no gmo feed (see here and here for an explanation on why we choose this feed).
    • Our pastures could be labelled organic as they haven't been sprayed with chemicals or herbicides in at least 5 years (the time I courted and have been married to my lovey), but we haven't pursued the certification.

Why do we raise the hens this way at Senter Ranch?

  1. It is our passion to provide healthy, nutrient dense food for our family and yours (the eggs you don't purchase end up being made into egg salad, mayonnaise, omelettes, etc... and eaten by the family)
  2. We strongly believe you are what you eat and digest!
  3. We have seen the benefits to our bodies, our livestock, and our soil by implementing these practices.

What should you do?

  1. Purchase from local farmer/ranchers.
  2. Know your farmer/rancher! Visit their farm/ranch and ask questions about their practices so you understand how they are raising the animals.

While I was at the store taking the photos of the different eggs available, I met Josh and Chris. They were both shopping for healthy eggs. I starting chatting with them and guiding them towards the best purchase. They were both excited that they could find fresh, local, heallthy eggs at Senter Ranch and are now customers!

Thank you Josh and Chris for supporting our ranch! We welcome you to our ranch community!

We'd love to share more with you!

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6 Reasons Why I Drink Broth & Stock

My birthday is coming up next month. Another year older! The other day I was walking by the mirror and glanced at myself, and I noticed I looked older! In my mind, I still look 16 years old!

Another year older! I have to confess that I enjoy being this old and having more wisdom than I did at 16 but every once in a while I feel the stiff joints and dry skin, and experience nights where I can't sleep through the night and forget something because I didn't write it down, and I recriminate myself for not having introduced bone stock and broth sooner in my adult life.

Over a year ago, I started trying to drink a cup of broth/stock a day and almost immediately, I started seeing changes in my body. I felt better. Slept better. And lovey said I looked better too :D

Here are six reasons why I drink broth and stock:

1. Heal and seal your gut

According to many holistic nutritionists, a cup of day works miracles for leaky gut syndrome and also good for non-leaky guts. The gelatin in the bone broth/stock helps seal up the holes in intestines, which helps cure chronic diarrhea, constipation, and even some food intolerances.

2. Gelatin for joint health

Bone broth/stock contains glucosamine and other goodies which helps with joint pain, and helps prevent osteoarthritis.

3. Aids digestion

Another benefit of gelatin is that it'll help your system digest more efficiently, especially milk. Who doesn't need a little help digesting everything these days?

4. Look younger & stronger nails and hair

Bone broth/stock is rich source of collagen, which will improve the elasticity of your skin. Collagen will make you look younger, as well as make your nails stronger and your hair look radiant.

5. Immune support

With the high concentration of minerals, added with the bone marrow, broth/stock can help strengthen your immune system. Remember how your grandmother always made you chicken soup with you got sick?

 6. Stress & cancer fighter, memory and sleep

The gelatin in the bone broth/stock can promote sleep, improves memory and learning behavior, and can help your body battle the effect of stress and cancerous tumor growth.

Now, I always have stock/broth available to drink and add into my cooking. It's become a fixed stock item in our fridge.

On June 3rd, we'll holding another stock and broth class at the ranch. Come see how to make it, taste it, and take home a few jars for your use. Incorporate it into your daily food intake and see how your body will appreciate this liquid gold!

If you have any questions, please email me or text me. You can register for the class by clicking here.

We would love to have you at the ranch and spend the afternoon learning how to cook and use stocks and broths!

See you at the Huntsville Farmers Market!

Starting this Saturday, I will be at the Huntsville Farmers Market on University Avenue between 11th and 12th Street in Huntsville, TX.

My plan is to alternate between Huntsville and Bryan's farmers market. 1st and 3rd Saturdays at Bryan, and 2nd and 4th at Huntsville. (Does this mean I have those fifth Saturdays as a holiday? :D )

I'll be posting on Senter Ranch's Facebook page where I'll be by Thursday each week so that you can keep tabs on me!

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Scrambled eggs leads to less achy joints

Lovey was teasing me the other morning about my bathroom visits in the middle of the night. He imitated me to look like I had wooden legs and arms. It was funny, and true. I'm pretty stiff when I get out of bed as there's not much spring in my step.

It was also a reminder that I need to increase the amount of turmeric I'm using in my cooking. I found out a few years ago how fabulous turmeric works on those achy joints. Simply fabulous!

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-oxidant benefits. When eaten with black pepper (which helps you absorb the turmeric), it can reduce the achiness you feel in your bones.

Turmeric does not add much flavor, especially when raw, so you can add it to many recipes (although it will turn most everything a strong yellow color). You can find fresh turmeric at your local health food store or Asian market. It looks like ginger, but it'll be orange if you break off a piece.

To make it easy for me to use the fresh, raw turmeric, I peel it, chop it (food processors are the best :-) ), and freeze it in thin layers between parchment paper on a tray or container. When I need it, I just break off a piece of turmeric. Easy peasy!

After a few days of making this recipe, I feel the spring in my step return! Why don't you try it, and let me know if you start feeling less achy?

Click here to print.

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See you at the Bryan Farmer's Market

We've been hunkering down at the ranch trying to get projects completed, but alas, I'm not going to be able to meet you unless I go out in public! And it looks like the projects are going to be ongoing, so I've decided that I need to take on another project by taking my first step into the big, fascinating, exciting world of farmer's market.

Starting this Saturday, April 22nd, I will have a table at the Brazos Valley Farmer's Market at 500 North Main Street in downtown Bryan (between Bryan St and Main St on West 21st St.) from 8 am to noon.

I'll have eggs, and as the season develops, I'll also have veggies from the garden.

Please stop by and introduce yourself!

The Truth About Stock & Broth: Simple and Healthy Use for Bones

We've all been there! We've just spent hours baking or roasting a whole chicken or a turkey and then in 10-15 minutes the meal is done, and you're left with the dishes to wash, the kitchen to clean, and the leftover carcass to deal with.

I don't know about you, and in all honesty, I've been known to throw away the chicken or turkey carcass in the past. It just felt like too much hassle to do anything else with it.

And when you decide to start growing your own chickens, and other meats, all of a sudden there's all these bones you don't know exactly what to do with!

So, when I started trying to feed my family more nutrient dense food, I started throwing the carcass/bones in a pot with a little garlic, celery, carrots and sea salt, and left it to simmer down to a lovely broth. I would use the broth I made in recipes and my son loved having a mug full when he was coming down with something.

For years I assumed that 'stock' and 'broth' were interchangeable terms for the same thing: liquid flavored with vegetables, meat scraps, and bones, used as the base for soups, sauces and other dishes.

Primary Difference Between Stock & Broth

It turns out there is a slight difference between stock and broth. Both start off the same way: scraps of vegetable, meat, and bone are slowly simmered to extract as much flavor as possible. But there is technically a difference between the two.

  • Broth: is any liquid that has had meat cooked in it. Of course, now broth really is a catch-all for any flavored cooking liquid, including broths made by simmering fish, vegetables, or even legumes.
  • Stock: always involves bones, simmered for a long time to extract their gelatin and flavor. The thick, often-gelatinous nature of stocks is only possible when bones are present. Roasting the bones makes for a richer, more deeply colored stock, but it's not essential to the process.

Seasoning Makes a Difference

Another difference is the seasoning. Stock is a liquid that is left unseasoned for cooking with. But broth is usually seasoned and can be drunk or eaten on its own.

For the most part, a stock should be an unseasoned liquid. Broths, on the other hand, get some seasoning. We add salt; some other spices, like black pepper; and perhaps a splash of wine — all for the purpose of making this neutral stock taste delicious and drinkable on its own.

Get First Hand Experience

There's nothing like seeing, smelling, touching, and eating to experience a new recipe or way to do something new in the kitchen. (It was a HUGE 'click' for me when I started homeschooling my daughter that we all learn differently- some of us are tactile, auditory, visual, etc... or a mix of all. I'm definitely a visual and tactile learner. She was auditory- anything in a song stayed in her brain for ages.)

We are putting on a class at the ranch to teach and show you the difference between stock and broth.

It's really just an excuse for me to tidy up the house and have you over and spend a lovely afternoon smelling wonderful aromas, and visually seeing the recipes take shape, and sampling the goodness that is stock and broth!

And its a reason for you to come spend a lovely afternoon out in the country, to hear the quiet, and see our progress (or lack thereof) on all of our projects!

We'll be in my kitchen, making three recipes, while we chat, share experiences and funnies, and then you'll be able to take a jar of each recipe we made, as well as the recipes.

The class will be held on April 29th from 2-5 pm.

Registration will close on April 21st. We will only be able to take 6 people due to the size of the kitchen, so please make sure to sign up before the deadline.

Click here to register.

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No Soy Eggs For A Healthier, Improved Body to Last Your Lifetime

After seven months of not having any eggs because those evil raccoons had their way with our hens, we finally have eggs again! And not just any egg- these are no soy, no corn, no GMO, pasture raised eggs!

Do you or your children suffer from eczema rashes? In many cases, the eczema is a symptom of a soy allergy. Our hens are fed a no soy feed, along with all the grass and bugs they can eat, so our eggs have no soy in them.

A friend of mine, now a customer, shared with me how her infant daughter was struggling with eczema on the insides of her elbows, neck, and back of her knees. She purchased a dozen of eggs from me to feed her daughter, and within days, the eczema had cleared up significantly. Boy, was she a happy mom when she called to tell me!

Do store purchased eggs make your asthma flare up? One of the many symptoms of an unrecognized soy allergy is wheezing, runny nose and breathing difficulties.

My daughter suffered from asthma for years. She lived with an inhaler close by at all times. When we started raising our own hens and eggs with a no soy feed, her asthma almost completely disappeared. (Homeopathy did the rest of the healing, but that's for another post!) She used to dislike eating eggs. Now she's much more willing to include them in a meal because they don't trigger any symptoms.

Bluish green, brown and dark brown eggs.  I appear to have forgotten to get white eggs layers!

Bluish green, brown and dark brown eggs.

I appear to have forgotten to get white eggs layers!

You too can enjoy all this goodness! They make the tastiest, healthiest scrambled eggs, boiled egg, deviled eggs, and egg muffins!

Click here to purchase eggs and locate a drop.

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It's garden time!

Before we moved onto the property, lovey kept this place as his sanctuary (where he would come to get right with the world) and as a deer lease. The years and years he attracted deer to the property do not bode very well with a garden. It's amazing how quickly deer will decimate the bounty growing out of the ground!

This spring, we're working on the deer fence, and the garden. We're installing an 8 foot deer fence using 8" treated posts. (A little overkill- but at least we'll know they'll stay!) And, I am ever so grateful for our tractor! At our old place, I spent many an hour with a manual post hole digger digging out holes for posts and trees.

The south side posts, with my handsome lovey on our wonderful tractor!

The south side posts, with my handsome lovey on our wonderful tractor!

The top northwest corner and gate post.

The top northwest corner and gate post.

I'm not sure when we'll be done with the fencing, as we're having to work between the rains and offsite work, but it'll be complete at the right time!

In my excitement for the blank slate we had on this property, I went a little crazy with the fruit tree purchases the winter before we moved (thinking that the deer fence and garden would be put in last winter/spring). So I had to plant them in pots.

See all the pots in the background! A Redskin peach blooming.

See all the pots in the background! A Redskin peach blooming.

These trees must go in the ground! NOW! So while we're installing posts for the fence, I'm also working on the garden beds so that I can plant the trees, and vegetables.

I'm making raised beds on contour. The location of the garden is the lowest spot of our property (and the best soil), so my plan is to slow down and keep the water from flooding the lowest spot in the garden).

Because the ground is so mushy, we couldn't get the tractor in there, so I had to dig by hand. (Shoveling and post hole digging should be included in a crossfit routine- it's great for your arms!)

One raised bed. Many more to go!

One raised bed. Many more to go!

I have a sense of urgency in getting the raised beds made. We've been without a garden for almost a year and a half. I haven't had my vegetables and hands in the dirt for that long (playing with the pots doesn't count!). My soul is thirsting for the freshness of homegrown produce, and for the grounding the dirt between my fingers evokes! And all those seed catalogs have found me in our new home, enticing me and nurturing visions of beautiful flowers, tasty fruit, and nourishing vegetables!

And since I always plant way more than lovey and I can eat, our abundance will be offered to you!

Coming soon!

Aside from the fencing and garden work, I'm also working on scheduling an event at the ranch. The perfectionist in me wants everything to be in ship-shape order, but then it'll never happen because a ranch can never be in perfect order! I'm still working on the details, but as soon as I have it settled, I'll keep you posted. I am eager to have you over, and to get to know you better!

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Another 5 reasons to buy no soy and no corn pastured eggs (Part 2)

In an effort to keep from writing a dissertation (remnants from my graduate school and corporate years), this is a continuation of my last post 5 reasons to buy no soy, and corn, pastured eggs (Part 1)

I truly believe, that you are what you eat! As I related in my previous post, I have first hand experience about how changing your diet can 'heal' your health issues. By eliminating certain foods, or improving the quality of the food, you can work towards a healthier, better you!

Are you dealing with loss of bone density? As I mature into my 50's, and watch my mother's struggles, osteoporosis is a concern for me.

Are you dealing with cancer cells?

Are you forgetting things more often? Dropping things more often? Get confused easily? My husband will accuse me of not listening to him, but the truth of it is, I did hear him, but then forgot what he said! I blame all that we've got going on for the forgetfullness, but I have to pause and consider whether this might the results of my previous poor eating habits.

There has been extensive research done on the effects of the addition of soy into our foods. Below are 5 more reasons to buy no soy, and no corn, pastured eggs:

  • Soy can cause deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D, both needed in healthy bones, allowing for osteoporosis to occur
  • Soy can stimulate the growth of cancer cells.
  • Almost 15 percent of white girls and 50 percent of African-American girls show signs of puberty, such as breast development and pubic hair, before the age of eight. Some girls are showing sexual development before the age of three.
  • Women with the highest levels of estrogen in their blood had the lowest levels of cognitive function.
  • Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys. Chronic aluminum toxicity causes bone and muscle pain, weak bones, anemia, and can eventually cause dementia as the aluminum builds up in the bones, affecting the bone marrow, and causing deposits in the brain.

I made a choice, when I first was diagnosed with my health issues, not to take medication. I'm not sure why, but it didn't make sense to me to treat the symptom. Especially with medication I could barely pronounce! What I really wanted was to treat the cause.

Our bodies are intricate. Super duper intricate! And each one is unique. I am not a doctor and cannot promise that eliminating soy and corn will heal you completely. But I can state boldly, that by eliminating them from your diet, you will have made one step towards eliminating the possible triggers to what is ailing you.

The health we now enjoy, we want for you and your family! We are committed to providing you healthy food to nourish you to well-being!

Take the next step, by purchasing no soy/no corn/no gmo pastured eggs by clicking here.

5 Reasons to buy soy free, and corn free, GMO free pastured eggs (Part 1)

We are only as healthy as the food and animals that we consume so it important to think about the food chain and how it affects our constitution.

When I started having digestive issues, my naturopath doctor kept emphasizing that what I was eating might be the trigger to my issues. To test his prognosis, I eliminated from my diet what he supposed was the trigger, and I felt 100% times better!  To make sure it wasn't a fluke, I put it back into my diet, and I started feeling poorly again. It made me a believer and a promoter of this simple premise!

When I started growing my own food, it was important to me that all inputs were healthy and as natural as possible. And for purely selfish reasons as I am allergic to soy and any grain, I researched feed rations that did not contain both items.

There is a LONG list of reasons why we use a no soy/no corn feed with the poultry and livestock. I'm going to break it down into two posts, and give you the top 10 reasons broken down into 5 reasons each post.

The following 5 reasons are why it is important to seek out soy and corn free pastured chickens and their eggs whenever possible.

  • Soy is one of the most common food allergens and many people who think they are sensitive to eggs are just allergic to the soy that concentrates in the yolks.
  • Chickens are omnivores. Chickens are designed to eat mice, snakes, bugs, worms, and insects. It is not natural for their diet to be 95% “vegetarian” corn and soy.
  • Chickens that eat corn and soy will have an imbalanced omega 3/6 ratio, making these poultry products inflammatory foods for humans.  A pastured chicken that is free to roam on grass and eat bugs will have a 3/1 ratio of omega 6/3 which means eating these chickens and their eggs will be restorative for health. The average American is very inflamed with a 20/1 ratio of omega 6/3, which is a good indicator of future health risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
  • In men, soy has been shown to lower testosterone levels. In women, soy can potentially throw off the body's normal hormone levels which can create an assortment of problems, including preventing ovulation.
  • Eating as little as 30 grams (about 4 tablespoons) of soy per day can result in hypothyroidism with symptoms of lethargy, constipation, weight gain and fatigue.

I don't know about you, but I REALLY DON'T LIKE FEELING SICKLY! I am a terrible patient, and my determined personality really objects to the un-productivity of sick time! And I really don't like when my children are sick- its HEART WRENCHING to see them feeling miserable. Which is why I am committed to growing healthy food for my family and yours! I want my family and your family to be as healthy as we can be!

Are you struggling with constipation, weight gain, bloating, hormone imbalances, fertility, cancer, heart issues?  Please consider adding (or replacing with) no soy/no corn/no gmo pastured eggs to your diet.

Take the step to improved health by eating healthy eggs. Senter Ranch will be happy to assist you by providing you and your family with no soy/no corn/no gmo pastured eggs. Click here to order.

My next post will list the next 5 reasons for why we use a no soy/no corn feed with our poultry and livestock.

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My lovey asks, "Why grass fed?"

When I married my husband (we call each other "lovey" instead of honey or babe, hence the title), I had been eating real food for a number of years. He had not. I started seeing things in my fridge and in the pantry that hadn't been in there in years. I knew that I had to take some steps towards his transformation- just telling him wasn't going to convince him. He was going to have to experience it!

He loves to barbeque. If he could, he would have a barbeque business. So, we eat a lot of meat. (As an aside, I've made some strides in teaching him how to barbeque Argentine style- salt and pepper only, no rub or other condiment over a slow heat- so much so that now he cooks the meat both ways.)

So my plan was to start educating him using meat.

He gave me just the opportunity I needed to start his education! (One of the many reasons I love him is his inquisitiveness!) 

Why Grass Fed Conversation 2.GIF

And, because he loves to tease me, as he walked off towards the freezer room to do an inventory count, he called back to me and said,

I gave him my "you're teasing me again look" and ignored his question!

He cooked the grass fed beef and it tasted delicious!

I get such joy knowing that the meat we're eating is better for his heart and for all of our hearts! I can't wait to have our grass fed lamb available to share in the joy!

Bacon wrapped, chevre filled jalapenos, mushroom and onion skewers, and chicken breasts- all produced locally or on our ranch. A sample of my lovey's BBQ skills!

Bacon wrapped, chevre filled jalapenos, mushroom and onion skewers, and chicken breasts- all produced locally or on our ranch. A sample of my lovey's BBQ skills!

My lovey and his grill/pit.

My lovey and his grill/pit.

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Bored of beef or chicken all the time? How about easy and unique lamb?

How did life get so busy, that we barely have time to prepare and cook a healthy, tasty meal for our husband and children? I don't know about you, but I have been accused of having too many projects going on at the same time, and not enough hours in the day to get them all done. And then you add taking children, or grandchildren (not yet for us, but soon) to their different activities, working a job outside the home, and the sick animal to the list of daily accomplishments. Then suddenly its dark outside and you realize that your own stomach is rumbling with hunger so you resort to the tried and true broiled grass fed steak or baked pastured chicken with olive oil and rosemary (because you threw away all those boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese years ago, together with all the frozen box dinners you used to keep in the freezer for evenings when time just run out).

I'll be honest and confess, that as tasty as the steak and the chicken are, I get bored with them. I wish I had something else in my repertoire of quick meat dishes when I've left fixing a meal to the last minute. I made a comment to my husband of my lament, and with his very logical mind he said, "Well, learn how to fix something else!". He's brilliant isn't he? One of the reasons I fell in love with him! Truly!

So, with my new goal, and given that we'd decided to raise sheep, I set about looking for healthy, simple, easy recipes using lamb meat. And do you know what? It's really not a big change to cook with lamb instead of beef or chicken (well, its closer to cooking with beef or pork than it is with chicken to be more precise). In most recipes, you can replace beef for lamb, and it'll still taste wonderful.

Here are 3 easy, quick and healthy suggestions, with several possible personal variations:

Lamb meatballs

Lamb meatballs

Lamb meatloaf with goat feta

Lamb meatloaf with goat feta

  1. You can 'quick broil' lamb chops, shank/breast and serve with your favorite side of vegetables (lately my favorite side dish is mashed sweet potatoes with a little goat chevre in it, and salt and pepper).
    • To quick broil: preheat the broiler on high and place an all stainless steel skillet or cast iron pan under the heat for 10 minutes to get it very hot (be careful when touching the handle). Place lamb on hot pan and broil for 7-10 minutes, depending on thickness. No need to turn the lamb as both sides are being cooked at the same time.
  2. Use ground lamb instead of ground meat to make burgers, meatballs or meatloaf.
    • If you can make this ahead of time and freeze it, it'll be quicker. But if you have kids, you can have them help by making the meatballs or patties, while you prep rice or a vegetable side.
    • Prepare as you would your favorite meatball or burger recipe. Add goat feta or goat chevre- delicious!
    • If you're feeling a little international, you can fix Greek Lamb Meatballs
  3. For those of us that are a little adventuresome in our tastes, and want to support nose-to-tail eating, I have two recommendations: (please try them before you judge!)
    1. Lamb sweetbreads. Crispy on the outside, juicy and succulent on the inside, this delicacy is a snap to prepare. Simply remove the membrane, dredge in coconut flour and fry in tallow or lard. Or just place on the grill until grispy. Serve with balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of lemon. I promise you, it's delicious!
    2. Lamb liver: Exceptionally high in nutrients (including cancer-fighting choline) simply soak lamb liver in grass-fed milk, then saute or fry in tallow or lard with onions. Not a liver lover? Puree well and pour into an ice cube tray and freeze. Include cubes of nutrient-dense lamb liver into meatloaf, meatballs, chili or meat based spaghetti sauces.
Lamb sweetbreads

Lamb sweetbreads

I'm not sure why, as a culture, we don't eat more lamb in our diet. But we should- its tasty, healthy, and easy to prepare!

Enjoyed reading about how you can make a little change and feed your family healthy, real food?

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Tweens are such a joy....and hungry!

So the chicks have been moved from their brooder to their home on the pasture.

They are now almost 3 months old (about 2 months old in the photos above), and as you can see by the lack of green grass and how they are hovering around the feeder (it was feeding time), they are eating themselves out of their home! Not a blade of grass in sight!

While they are young/small, we like to keep them contained within the tractor (a moveable chicken coop) to keep them safe from predators. We move them as often as needed to make sure they have fresh 'greens and bugs' available at all times but these photos capture what happens when we haven't moved them! We end up with bare ground (which is a no no on this ranch- I had to fire myself, and then rehire myself after retraining!).

Once they get to about 3 months (so currently), we give them free reign within an electric fence to eat all the grass and bugs they want, and move them once they've had their fair share of the grasses. They do a wonderful job of keeping the grasses mowed, and I have frequently considered hiring them out to mow lawns during the summer!

Chicks out pecking at the grasses

Chicks out pecking at the grasses

I sent the above video to my mom to give her an update on how her chicks are doing (everyone knows how Granny's are about wanting to get updates on their 'babies'!). She called me back saying, "They are so grown up! And I loved hearing them!"

The chicks, soon to be hens, will start laying eggs in about 3 months. I know their "Granny" (my mother who helped settle them in as day old chicks) will be so proud of them!