Buy Grass-Fed Meats

Aug 15, 2012 by


So, how did you like your organic produce? I hope you gave something new a try and will be adding to your organic options in the future.

Week 3 Challenge: This week, I am challenging you to give grass-fed meats and eggs a try. This is probably the most expensive challenge, but the one with the most health reward. Grass-fed, pasture raised meats are loaded with omega 3’s, essential for quality health (and missing in grain-fed animals.) I am a firm believer that the over abundance of grain (most of it genetically modified) in our diet is systematically ruining our health.

Since I am not an expert and I have used my online resources to learn what I know, I am going to send you to a few sites to get more facts. Learn why these meats are better for you and I am certain you will be convinced this switch is worth it. Get the basics from Eat Wild.

Pasture raised meats do have a slightly different flavor. The best I can describe is what Austin said when he tried grass-fed steak the first time, he said, “it tastes more like the earth.” That doesn’t sound all that appetizing, does it? It is good and clean tasting. Honestly, the meats taste different from farm to farm, depending on what they feed their animals. Try the same item from different farms and taste the differences.

Eggs from grass-fed chickens are amazing. They are bright yellow, even more bright in the summer. They are loaded with Omega 3’s. The farmer’s say you can lower your cholesterol eating their eggs and bacon with your grass-fed butter. It is delicious and you can honestly taste the difference immediately.

A few things I have learned when cooking grass fed meats…

Grass-fed meats don’t need to be cooked as long, as they are so lean. They don’t have injected juices (you know, that injected moisture that you don’t really know what it is) so sometimes you need to add moisture…and not overcook.

Never cook to the recommended temperatures. I take off my pork at about 140-145, no higher or it will be dry.

Make sure to take your meat out of the fridge at least 1/2 hour before cooking. Grass-fed meats don’t like to be cooked cold. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and that is pretty much all you need.

Chicken you should really watch closely as it cooks very quick and drys up quickly. An example for you…I have a recipe for a slow roasted whole chicken, we call it sticky chicken. After coating the chicken with a dry rub and sticking an onion in the cavity (it makes the chicken sweat out juice,) you are supposed to cook at 250 for 5 hours. My grass-fed chickens are done in 3-3 1/2 hours. You also need to add broth or water, as they need that extra moisture so they don’t dry out. Since they aren’t injected with stuff, they need a little natural help.

Grass-fed steaks need very little cooking time and taste best at medium rare. One of my favorite ways to cook steak is to rub with olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt & pepper and sear in a very hot oven-safe pan. Sear for a few minutes on each side and finish off in a hot over (400-450) until desired temperature. The steaks turn out fantastic every time.

Where to buy grass-fed, pastured meats?

My favorite place is the St. Paul farmer’s market. Talk to the farmer, get to know how they raise their animals.

Farm on Wheels

This family is the only certified organic meat farmer at the market. This is my favorite place as they don’t use corn or soy to feed their animals. Their feed is consistent year round. Linda & Dillon Noble are friendly and knowledgeable about what they offer. We love their eggs! Austin loves the jumbo eggs (when they are available,) they are huge.

I also buy all their meats. They have many uncured, nitrate free options for bacon, ham, etc.











Prairie Pride Farms

I really like the Hubmer family’s Berkshire Pork, all non-GMO and delicious. They typically have samples for you to try at the market. They have many nitrate free options, including delicious cinnamon bacon, brats, sausages, etc.






Bar-5 Meat & Poultry

This is one of the first places I bought meat from at the market. It was the end of winter (did you know the farmers are there every Saturday all winter long?) This family is so friendly…I have really enjoyed getting to know Liz and her Dad, John. John processes his own meat, so he is quite creative with what he has to offer. Wild rice blueberry chicken brats; very good! One of my favorite items is the chicken sausage; it has great flavor and I use it for quiche and anywhere else you would use regular sausage. The meat browns up with little to no grease and tastes fantastic. They also have fresh eggs, steaks, chicken (my sister loves the cranberry orange marinated chicken breasts.) They have a large family that works many local markets every week; check out their facebook page to find out where to find them.


Get up early this weekend and head to the market and buy some grass-fed meat and eggs to for dinner (or an amazing breakfast.) I can’t wait to hear what you think. Next week, I will challenge you to change the way you clean your house.

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Boundary Waters Gluten Free Menu

Jul 20, 2012 by

Well, the boys are packed up and ready to go. The food menu planning, shopping and packaging up was a big task…I am glad it is done. I hope everything works for them. Here is the menu and links to where I got the food. The menu is gluten free, soy free (except for occasional Soy Lecithin in moderation), peanut free, cashew free, banana free, nitrate free, casing free, food dye free (except for marshmallows one night…darn that blue food dye #1.) I was able to feed the group of 8 for less than $50/per person for the 5 days in the BWCA. I thought that was pretty good! Everything was vaccuum sealed with my new Food Sealer (this was a great purchase!) Daily snacks are Annie’s Fruit Snacks (Costco), Stretch Island Fruit Leather (Costco), homemade soy free beef jerky, homemade trail mix that is nut, gluten and soy free. When they catch fish, they can batter it in Better Batter’s Seasoned Flour. When traveling to and from Ely, the troop will be stopping at Gordie’s in Cloquet for lunch. Fortunately, the Subway stores in the northern region (Duluth area) are one of three locations doing a trial for gluten free sandwiches. I talked to the manager of the Subway in Cloquet and they have procedures in place for providing a safe environment for Celiac diners. Yeah!


Day 1

Breakfast on the dock: prepackaged blueberry muffin from Bittersweet Bakery, gf Rice Krispies (in a sealed bowl), juice, milk, hot chocolate

Lunch: cheddar and marble jack cheese, Glutino gf cheddar crackers, Applegate Farms nitrate free pepperoni, Enjoy Life Chewy Berry On the Go Bars

Dinner: gf grass-fed beef sloppy joes, gf pita bread, organic white corn (Costco), Hershey bars and a marshmallow or two (everyone else will have smores)


Day 2

Breakfast: Egg Scramble with organic, vegetarian fed eggs, hash browns, Bar 5 chicken sausage (this stuff is awesome), shredded cheddar, Rudi’s gf tortillas

Lunch: bagged chicken, Rudi’s gf tortillas, Trader Joe’s dye free relish, Enjoy Life Bars (see link from Day 1)

Dinner: grass fed steak from Farm on Wheels, baked potatoes, organic green beans (Costco), Pamela’s Mini Ginger Snapz


Day 3

Breakfast: pancakes (made with Better Batter flour and organic applesauce in place of eggs), Three Rivers pure vanilla maple syrup, grass fed Coleman bacon (Costco)

Lunch: Laughing Cow cheese, Glutino gf cheddar crackers, Applegate Farms nitrate free pepperoni, Enjoy Life Chewy Berry On the Go Bars

Dinner: Jamaican black beans & rice (dehydrated and with minor recipe adjustments, using the bagged chicken), Indian flatbread, Organic mixed veggies (Costco), applesauce squeeze tubes (Costco)


Day 4

Breakfast: pancakes (made with Better Batter flour and organic applesauce in place of eggs), Three Rivers pure vanilla maple syrup, grass fed Coleman bacon (Costco)

Lunch: bagged chicken, Rudi’s gf tortillas, Trader Joe’s dye free relish, Enjoy Life Bars (see link from Day 1)

Dinner: Colorado Campfire Chicken Stew using Savory Choice Chicken Broth packets, Indian flatbread, marshmallows, Schar shortbread cookies


Day 5

Breakfast: gf oatmeal packets

Lunch: bagged chicken, Rudi’s gf tortillas, Trader Joe’s dye free relish, Enjoy Life Bars (see link from Day 1)


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Beef Jerky & Indian Flatbread

Jul 15, 2012 by

So, in planning for the BWCA trip, I was challenged with the task of doing grass fed beef jerky with no gluten, soy or nitrates. In searching for a recipe, I ran across this recipe from the blog Jen’s Gone Paelo. Austin really liked the flavor of the jerky and appreciated that it wasn’t as salty as the traditional jerky. It was painful to purchase 3# of grass fed beef from Whole Foods ($30), but I did end up with 5 hearty packages of jerky all vacuum sealed and ready to go. I am thankful for all those on the internet who have shared their recipes. It has made the food planning for my son’s trip so much easier.

3 lbs Round Roast (Grass-Fed and Finished), trimmed of excess fat (the round roast I got at Whole Foods was a bit too fatty for my tastes, I guy told me to try flank steak??)
4 Cups Organic Apple Juice
1T. Garlic Powder
1T. Smoked Paprika
1T. Smoked Sea Salt  (I just used regular sea salt)
1T. Penzey’s BBQ 3000** (I didn’t have any so I used the new Penzey’s Mitchenll St. Steak Seasoning)
  1. Partially freeze meat for 2-4 hours, until mostly solid.
  2. Slice meat into about 1/8” thickness strips (I used an electronic knife and dreamed of using the restaurant meat slicer…next time); cut against the grain of the meat.
  3. Transfer sliced meat to a large container (I used a  plastic bag).
  4. Mix the apple juice and spices in a large measuring cup or bowl and pour over meat, to marinate.  Transfer to the refrigerator. Allow meat to marinate overnight.
  5. I have a convection oven and used the dehydrate setting or 175F; if you have this setting, use it or follow the directions on your food dehydrator.
  6. If using an oven, set up racks (used for cooling cookies and cakes) over cookie sheets lined with aluminum foil (for easier cleanup). Lay strips of beef out on racks and transfer to the oven.
  7. I cooked it for about 8-9 hours flipping the meat over, as I don’t have enough racks to set them up on. Just keep checking for correct consistency. Cooking time will depend on the thickness and size of your meat slices.
  8. Once jerky is to your desired texture, it can be transferred to a tupperware container to retain moisture. If you plan to keep it around longer than a few days, package in airtight packaging (I use FoodSaver bags).


Another cool find for the trip is Indian Flatbread. Apparently, on past trips to the Boundary Waters, my son really enjoyed the packaged flatbread they cooked at the fire. In search for an option to make from scratch, I ran across this recipe from What’s Cooking America. I substituted gluten free flour and they turned out great. It isn’t exactly what I prefer to eat for bread, but my son assured me it will taste great to have warm bread with their fish or other meals.

Navajo Fry Bread Recipe – Indian Fry Bread Recipe
by Cynthia Detterick-Pineda

Recipe Type: Quick Bread, Native American
Yields: 4 servings
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 8 min


1 cup unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup water
Vegetable oil for frying
Extra flour to flour your hands


Sift together the flour, salt, powdered milk, and baking powder into a large bowl. Pour the water over the flour mixture all at once and stir the dough with a fork until it starts to form one big clump. 

Flour your hands well. Using your hands, begin to mix the dough, trying to get all the flour into the mixture to form a ball. You want to mix this well, but you do NOT want to knead it. Kneading it will make for a heavy Fry Bread when cooked. The inside of the dough ball should still be sticky after it is formed, while the outside will be well floured.

Cut the dough into four (4) pieces. Using your floured hands, shape, stretch, pat, and form a disk of about 5 to 7 inches in diameter.  Don’t worry about it being round.

In a deep heavy pot, heat the vegetable oil to about 350 degrees F. You can check if you oil is hot enough by either dropping a small piece of dough in the hot oil and seeing if it begins to fry, or by dipping the end of a wooden spoon in and seeing if that bubbles. Your oil should be about 1-inch deep in a large cast-iron skillet or other large heavy pot. 

Take the formed dough and gently place it into the oil, being careful not to splatter the hot oil. Press down on the dough as it fries so the top is submersed into the hot oil. Fry until brown, and then flip to fry the other side. Each side will take approximately 3 to 4 minutes to cook.  Place the cooked Fry Bread on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Indian Fry Bread can be kept warm in a 200 degree F. oven for up to 1 hour. They refrigerate well and can be reheated in a 350 degree F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

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