6 Wonderful Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

What do wine, yogurt, beer, pickles, cheese and bread have in common? (Aside from making a delicious meal :D)

They have all been made through FERMENTATION!

Fermentation has been around for ages, and happening every day and everywhere. Cultures around the world have been fermenting longer than when we first started writing down recipes.

Kimchi is Korean. Sauerkraut is German. The French perfected cheese, bread and wine. The best yogurt I ever tasted was one I purchased at a farmers market in France.

Very simplistically, fermentation is the process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, B-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and various strains of probiotics. In short, it adds all sorts of healthy goodness and nutrition to your meal!

When I was starting to use food to heal my body, and nourish my children, doing any fermentation felt overwhelming. But when I learned that cheese, bread and wine were fermented (my staple comfort foods), I convinced myself that if I could make healthy cheese and bread from scratch, I could eat my comfort foods without guilt!

So I taught myself to make cheese (a great reason to have your own dairy cow right?) and bread. Then yogurt (and yes I got close to making an identical yogurt to the French yogurt I had tasted), milk kefir and kombucha quickly followed. Then I made pickles as lovey loves them (not a favorite of mine). I tried making sauerkraut, and eventually made one I liked!

And then I found fermented ketchup! If there's a heaven on earth, I've found it in fermented ketchup! You should really try it.

The BEST part of fermented foods, aside from being delicious, is that they are beneficial to your body. So every bite is a step towards a healthier you!

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Another benefit of fermented foods is that it is budget friendly!

If you've started adding healthy foods into your diet and menus, you know that it can get expensive really quickly. Fermented foods (and drinks) will cost you only pennies per serving. You can turn a cabbage into several jars of sauerkraut to be used on burgers or with sausage. A half gallon of raw milk will not only give you cheese, but you'll also have the whey to use in further ferments.

So fermented foods are not only good for your body, but good for your budget too!

If you don't know where to start with adding fermented foods, or don't know how to make fermented foods, check out our list of events to see our class schedule.

Do you want a healthy 2018?

Is one your 2018 resolutions to start feeling better? I know every year I want to be healthier than the previous one. It's an ongoing goal for me and my family!

One of the ways to jump start this resolution is to have more broth and stock in our meals. 

I've posted about how broth cured my acid reflux and some of the benefits of stock and broth previously, but I'd like to mention another benefit of eating more broth and stock in your diet.

I can now eat gluten and not have my body shut down like it used to!

I'll call it a miracle! In the past, I'd eat any gluten and I would almost feel it immediately. It was horrible. Since the holidays, I've eaten a few gluten foods (by mistake and on purpose) and I'm not reacting like I had. 


I'm still not going on a gluten binge, but this now means that I can eat my comfort food (bread and pasta) occasionally and not have it make me feel like death warmed over.

And how did I do this?

I incorporated broth and stock in my diet, daily, over the last years. 

The gelatin in the broth and stock is beneficial for restoring strength in the gut lining and fighting food sensitivities (such as to wheat or dairy), helping with the growth of probiotics (good bacteria) in the gut, and supporting healthy inflammation levels in the digestive tract.

It's that simple!

Add broth and stock into your diet, and start feeling healthier! (Well, you should also watch what you're eating too! If you're still eating McDonald's and other fast food, you might want to take a break from them and cook meals from scratch, i.e. nothing that comes out of a box or a can).

To help you get started, we're offering a broth and stock class on January 20th at the ranch. Read more details and register here.

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All I want for Christmas is a honey glazed pasture raised ham!

A big part of Christmas to me is all about the traditional foods we ate growing up. My parents are English, so Christmas meant mince pies with brandy butter, a fruitcake with marzipan and white icing, flaming plum pudding with charms inside to indicate one's fortune for the following year, creamed spinach, carrots and peas, and a glazed ham!

See the crackers on the table, and everyone's crowns? And the mustache whistles? And there's mince pies in the center of the table.

See the crackers on the table, and everyone's crowns? And the mustache whistles? And there's mince pies in the center of the table.

Growing up in Brasil and Argentina, my mother had to make everything from scratch as one couldn't find any of these products in the store or ready made. In June, mom would go to the butchers to purchase some suet for the plum pudding and once it was made would then soak in brandy until it was ready by Christmastime. For the fruitcake, she learned to make her own dried fruit as ingredients. For marzipan (and the Christmas crackers- the ones that pop and have a toy and a joke inside them), she'd always have a friend who traveled back and forth from England bring some back for us.

Ham was a treat for us. I'm not sure why, but we didn't eat ham throughout the year, so our Christmas ham was special. I remember as a little girl standing on my kitchen stool, watching my mother score the ham, and meticulously place the cloves at each crossing. I'd watch her baste the ham every half hour or so, and see the ham turn golden brown in the oven.

Our Christmas meal was always on Christmas Eve. We'd set the table with our Christmas china and tablecloth. We would dress up in our best clothes and it was quite a to-do! Mom would walk in with the ham once we were all seated, and dad would carve it. After we finished our meal, we'd pop the crackers and share the jokes, and mom would go into the kitchen to prepare the plum pudding for it's entrance. Everyone had their cracker crowns on, the lights would be dimmed, and mom would walk in with the plum pudding in flames, and we'd sing "Bring Us Our Figgy Pudding"! Mom would then serve us a helping of plum pudding with plenty of brandy butter sauce, and expectantly we'd eat the pudding hoping to find a charm in it (each charm was a forecast of the next year's event- fortune, marriage, etc).

With full tummies, and feeling festive, we'd follow dinner by going to the midnight Christmas Eve candlelight service. It was magical!

Now that I'm a grown woman with children of my own, I look back at all the effort my mother made to make the holiday magical.  I've tried to do the same with my children. My daughter assures me I did!

Except she or her brother never cared for the plum pudding! They didn't mind it with heaps of brandy butter sauce, but they would have preferred to skip that part of the meal- except that that would have required us to miss the flaming pudding which I decreed was not an option!

This year will be a special treat for us, as this will be the first time that we will have our very own home grown ham! I decided to raise Red Wattle pigs this summer to see if they could help root up the brush from under our beautiful oak trees. They didn't do a good job, but the resulting bacon, pork chops and hams far outweigh the fact that they failed to root up the brush!

And since we believe that healthy food comes from healthy animals raised as naturally as possible (i.e. no GMO, no soy, no hormones, no antibiotics), I feel proud to serve our ham knowing that the food I'm providing my family and friends is the healthiest that can be provided!

So after a call to my mother to have her share with me the recipe for our Christmas ham, I'm counting down the days until Christmas Eve so that I can roast my very own home grown, healthy pasture raised ham!

You too can have your very own healthy ham for Christmas! Below is the recipe, and you can click here to place an order for one of our hams.

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To print click here

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It's beginning to look alot like Christmas!

This Christmas we are definitely keeping things simple! I've barely put away the Thanksgiving decorations, and the thought of fighting through the piles of boxes in the storage room is making me drag my feet!

I don't know about you, but I just don't function well when I see clutter and disorganization. And that's the case with the storage room.

I can't even walk into the storage room!

I can't even walk into the storage room!

I know exactly where all the Christmas decorations and dinnerware are, but I need to pull everything out that's sitting in front of it. Added to that, the sagging shelves are really bugging me, and all I want to do is take everything out, rip up the shelving, install new ones, and do some more decluttering (why do we need to keep a big container of Small Farmer's Journal magazines?).

But, I don't have time for all that.

So, Christmas decorations might happen the eve of Christmas eve this year!

But, I will be preparing myself for Christmas with my Advent wreath and readings. I look forward to it every year!

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Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ. It starts the fourth Sunday before Christmas, and culminates on CHRISTmas day, the celebration of the birth of Christ.

My favorite advent reading brings in old testament and new testament scriptures showing the expectation and preparation for Christ's coming. It is only in the shadow of Advent that the miracle of CHRISTmas can be fully understood and appreciated.

My favorite advent wreath has a candle for every day of advent, and a donkey that one moves along as you light the candle.

During my quiet/devotion time, I light a candle and read the day's reading. It's a special time for me. It's simple. It brings everything into it's right perspective. If nothing else gets done this CHRISTmas, the Advent wreath will be used!

Don't throw your turkey carcass away!

I know! I know! The last thing you want to do is spend more time in the kitchen after you've slaved away roasting your delicious turkey, making the mashed potatoes, green beans, creamed spinach, gravy, pumpkin and pecan pies! But making turkey stock is so easy, you'll soon realize it took longer to prepare the main meal than it took to make the stock!

You can make this on your stove top, or your crock pot, or if you have one, your insta-pot (It's on my Christmas wish list!)

Once you taste your homemade turkey stock, you'll make it part of your annual Thanksgiving tradition! Not only is the flavor deep and rich, it's also good for your body and will help keep that winter crud away if you take a daily drink of it. Or use in soups or rice.

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Click here to print.

How I got rid of my acid reflux!

When I was pregnant with both of my kiddos, and wasn't on the all natural bandwagon yet, I had terrible acid reflux the last trimester. Anything I ate caused it. I ate pounds of Tums to no avail. I was so thankful when I birthed them, as the reflux went away!

In my late 30's, I started getting acid reflux again. Every time I ate, I experienced from light to strong acid reflux. I hated it! It seemed that anything I ate caused it. And I love eating!

By this time, I was on my natural, preventative methods mindset, so I started researching what I could do to keep from getting that terrible heartburn after every meal.

I found that a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water will quickly get rid of the heartburn, but I really wanted to find something to keep the acid reflux from happening. I wanted it GONE!

I remember precisely how I learned how to prevent it. I was at church having our fellowship meal after Sunday service and the women were at the table discussing homeschooling, children's discipline, female problems, etc... and I mentioned I was having terrible acid reflux at every meal. One of the ladies at the table promptly said, "Do you make and drink bone broth?".

I was like, "Huh? Bone broth? What's that?". After she explained what it was, I realized she was referring to what I knew as "Caldo" (Portuguese for broth). When I was growing up in Argentina and Brasil, my mother used to 'stew' leftover bones to make a broth, and we'd use that for soups.

But I hadn't been making broth since I moved to the US for college. And I was suffering for it!

My church friend volunteered to come over to coach me on how to make broth (it's super easy) and when it was done, I took a sip of it. It was delicious!

I had a cup of broth every day for a week.

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And by the end of the week, I didn't experience any acid reflux!

I was SO HAPPY not to feel the acid reflux, I think I told everyone I came into contact about this life changing drink for an entire month! Whenever I hear of anyone complaining about heartburn or acid reflux, I'm quick to ask if they use bone broth in their diet.

I'm so thankful to my church friend who reintroduced me to broth, and now it's my mission to pass this tried and true healer onto as many people as I come into contact with.

As such, we're offering a Stock & Broth class at the ranch on October 28th so that you too can experience the benefits and find relief!

Oh my gosh! This is perfect lamb meatloaf!

When I started cooking paleo, gluten-free, and staying away from many of the prepared sauces, the one basic dish that I struggled with was meatloaf.  There didn't appear to be an easy replacement that would fit my new diet restrictions.  I tried many, many recipes but none of them were "Oh my gosh! This is perfect!". So I went on a meatloaf diet (as in we didn't eat meatloaf for a few years). Then I found the perfect paleo lamb meatloaf! Meatloaf is now in our meal program. The world is right again! And to make it even better, its easy to make, and healthy! And, it allows you to be creative with the spices, so no two meatloafs are the same.

Click here to print

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What's the difference between lamb and beef meat?

I've had many ask me, who haven't experienced eating lamb meat, what the difference is between lamb and beef.

As a visual learner, infographics make the point for me much better than any essay!

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When purchasing lamb or beef, always make sure you verify that it has been raised on grass and finished on grass for the healthiest meat. Lamb should always be raised on grass only, but many cattle producers will supplement with grain.

Do you know how and where your holiday turkey is raised?

I was cleaning out and reorganizing the freezer a few days ago trying to make room for 250 pounds of meat we were receiving, and I found three turkeys from last year's rafter. (I had to look that up. I had always thought that a group of turkeys was called a flock, but Google corrected me by explaining that a group of wild turkeys are called a flock and a group of domesticated turkeys are called a rafter. One's never too old to learn something new!) Anyhow, since I needed to make room for all the meat since my lovey wouldn't let me purchase another freezer, I cooked one of the turkeys and used the carcass to make broth and we enjoyed turkey sandwiches for the week.

Until I decided to grow our own turkeys, I really hadn't paid a lot of attention to turkeys. Not having been raised in the States, I didn't grow up eating turkey at holiday celebrations. Once I moved to the States, I understood enough to know that at Thanksgiving and Christmas, one cooked a frozen turkey that the local grocery store stocked ahead of those holidays.

When I started caring about what I was preparing for my family to eat and making sure that it was nutritional and healthy, and did more research into turkeys, I found that there's MUCH more to turkeys than my original understanding. There was also much that I didn't agree with!

Commercially Raised Turkeys

Those frozen turkeys available at the grocery store have been raised in much the same manner as most commercial chickens- in closed-in buildings, confined and jammed packed together, eating feed that is formulated with growth hormones, antibiotics, soy, and other ingredients I can't pronounce. YUCK!

A few days after hatching, the poults (baby turkeys) have their upper beaks snipped off to prevent them from pecking each other in the crammed spaces they are contained in. This also means the poult can no longer pick and choose what it wants to eat. In their natural environment, turkeys are omnivores, but in a commercial farm the turkeys are fed a diet of corn and soy based grain feed with antibiotics.

Turkeys in confined and packed spaces can contract many diseases which is why many commercial farms include antibiotics in the feed as a precaution to preserve the rafter from becoming infected and possibly dying. Most commercial houses grow the double breasted breed and since they grow so fast and so large, the turkeys can injure joints, break legs, or have cardiac and respiratory problems, which is another reason why most commercial feed include antibiotics in their formulation.

The commercial feed also includes soy and corn in its formulation to enhance the protein content and thereby grow the turkey quickly. Aside from soy and corn, most commercial feeds include pesticides to help prevent the spread of disease through the commercial house. Pesticides are chemically manufactured to kill bacteria, insects and other organisms, including the good ones.

Pasture Raised Turkeys

For a number of years now, we've raised our own turkeys for our own holiday celebrations. Our goal was to grow turkeys as healthy and as naturally as possible. As we've grown our production so that we could provide you with the same healthy, nutritious turkey, our practices and goal has not changed.

Day old poults anticipating their new home.

Day old poults anticipating their new home.

Our turkeys are purchased from a local hatchery and we receive them as one day old poults. We do not remove their upper beak- that's atrocious to think of. We place them in a brooder (contained space with a heat lamp, water and feed) for 2 to 3 weeks, and then transfer them to our turkey tractor in the pasture.

The turkey tractor is then moved along the pasture as needed to provide enough grass and bugs for the poults to eat. We supplement with a no soy feed, and they have all the water they need.

Tween poults in the turkey tractor enjoying the grass and bugs.

Tween poults in the turkey tractor enjoying the grass and bugs.

As they get bigger, we allow them to roam in and around their turkey tractor but contained within an electrical netting fence for their protection (we've lost many birds to predators, which is very disheartening after all the care we've given them and the investment in feed up until we loose them). At all times, they have all the grass and bugs they want to eat, and as healthy a feed as possible to supplement their growth.

They have never had any growth hormones, antibiotics, or soy (I've discussed our decision not to use any soy formulated feed for our livestock here and here), and are eating grass that has not been sprayed with any herbicide or pesticide 24/7.

We've had friends and family at our Thanksgiving and Christmas table rave about the turkey they've just eaten. They love the taste and the tenderness (if I haven't overcooked it) of our pasture raised turkey. When I explain how we've grown it, they also appreciate the freshness and the confidence that they've eaten a healthy and naturally raised turkey.

Our hearts swell with gratitude when we hear their lovely compliments, as we realize that all the work we're doing to produce and provide healthy food is being recognized and appreciated! It keeps us going and motivates us to make plans for more ways to provide you with food you would be proud to serve to your family and friends.

Cooked turkey and ready to be carved (looks like one of the kids wanted to touch it to check for tenderness :D )

Cooked turkey and ready to be carved (looks like one of the kids wanted to touch it to check for tenderness :D )

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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!

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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!

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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?

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