Real Food Mama

Musings about cooking, eating and everything in between.

The goat lady – my new party trick. February 28, 2011

Filed under: Animal Husbandry,Politics — realfoodmama @ 12:39 pm
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Got goat?

There are days when I am pretty sure I don’t get out enough, but this weekend I was able to sneak away from my maternal and farm related responsibilities and attend the 30th birthday party of a close friend of mine. I love her parties because there is always great food and interesting conversation, however I seem to be the recently elected expert on all things goat. In fact, at the most recent event the host literally dragged me over to a complete stranger and announced that I “had goats too, you two should talk.”

I don’t really mind talking about my livestock, and given that many of the folks at these parties are hardened foodies who are highly concerned about food politics, local sourcing and re-connecting with our food it seems only natural that they would want to know more about my goats and how it is that I am able to have the animals in the city limits. The really great thing is that there were some other folks at the party who also have goats and we were able to discuss the upcoming kidding season and whether or not my goat is actually pregnant – which I am not sure she is, honestly…but that is another post.

The wonderful thing is that when I am with the food community here I feel as though they are receptive to information about my urban homestead. They want to know what my goats are like and they think it is awesome that I have chickens too. I suppose if I had an audience that was slightly less receptive I might be less comfortable talking about it. I mean, no one wants to be known as “that crazy goat lady”. In fact one of the things I like so much about Santa Fe is that it is incredibly receptive to backyard livestock and in fact, sees it as the norm. Perhaps it is the Hispanic population component or the fact that Santa Fe is a 400 year old settlement, or maybe it really is just due to the fact that it is the City Different. In either case, I am not complaining. I love that I can have my animals without worrying about the legalities or getting permits or having neighbors think I am crazy. I am hopeful that with the urban homesteading movement and with the desire to get back to real food that more places around the country will adopt the same lenient policies as Santa Fe.

Until then, however, I think it is important to work with our neighbors and legislators in order to make them understand that backyard chickens really are the best thing for everyone *wink wink*.

Happy Eating!

 

Yummy seed bars February 26, 2011

Filed under: Home Made — realfoodmama @ 1:48 pm
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One of my favorite snacks from the Co-Op are the all organic and very delicious Bumble Bars.

Since I love them so I find their price tag a bit on the steep side. At over two dollars a pop, they are not really something I can buy with any regularity. Luckily for me, the bars have a very straightforward ingredient list (as all things should!) and I was able to buy the ingredients myself and try a few batches at home. I finally got results I was really happy with today and wanted to share it with my readers because everyone should try these.

Home Made Bumble Bars

2 TBSP unsalted organic butter
1/4 c organic brown rice syrup
1/3 to 1/2 c raw sesame seeds
1/4 c flax seeds
1 TBSP organic raw sliced almonds
1/4 tsp organic almond extract
1/4 tsp organic vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Heat the brown rice syrup and butter over low heat until the mixture starts to bubble. Add the sesame seeds and stir, letting it simmer for a few seconds. This takes the bitter edge off the raw sesame seeds. Add the flax seeds, almonds, extracts and cinnamon and stir until well mixed. Remove from the heat and pour out onto wax paper or greased parchment paper. Spread until at desired thickness (I like mine pretty thin…like a few centimeters.) Let cool and then cut and enjoy.

Store in an airtight container. They should keep for about a week.

Happy Eating!

 

The Ingredients in Milk February 23, 2011

Filed under: Politics,Raw Goat Milk — realfoodmama @ 4:16 pm
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Fish Milk?

Since my goat has been dried off and I am currently waiting for my hopefully (crosses fingers, arms and legs) pregnant doe to kid in April I am without a milk supply at the moment. If it were up to me we would simply go without, but sadly it isn’t. As a result we have had to buy milk recently. While I would prefer to buy goat milk from my local goat dairy, they are all in the same situation I am and have no milk at the moment as they are also expecting kids and their girls are either pregnant or dry. It is that time of year.

This has, of course, led me to buy organic cow milk from my local co-op. I don’t really drink it except for in my tea, but my kiddo asks for a glass now and then and his father consumes quite a bit of it. When I went to buy the first half gallon I noticed something new in the milk isle. Granted I haven’t paid that much attention for nearly a year since the last time I found myself without a goat milk supply, so maybe this isn’t news to everyone reading. Apparently you can buy milk that has added omega-3’s and DHA in it. Upon reading the back I learned that in the case of the additional omega-3’s and DHA in the Organic Valley version, fish oil has been added to supply them. I beg your pardon?

I mean really, who wants milk with fish in it?

Then, this morning, I was made aware of something even more disturbing that fish-milk. According to the Cornucopia Institute, Horizon Dairy (not known for their exemplary record in following organic standards anyway) has added synthetic, non-approved DHA and Omega-3’s to their milk and are still proudly flaunting the organic label. Apparently the synthetic additives come from a processed algae source, rather than actual fish like the additives in the Organic Valley version. The problem, of course, is that the synthetic source has not been approved organic and therefor the addition of it to an organically labeled product is questionable.

In either case, whether organic fish or questionable algae bi-product, I find the addition of these nutrients to a food like milk highly questionable. Milk is a real food, even in its pasteurized form – though I personally believe raw is better. On the one hand it is somewhat inspiring to see that the recognition of the importance of nutrients like omega-3’s has made such an impact, but on the other hand I don’t understand why the food industry – the Organic food industry even – has decided it needs to mess with something that isn’t broken.

It seems to be just another attempt of the industrial food machine to modify a “product” to fit “consumer” patterns in order to make more money. And in the process they have taken a very simple food and given it an ingredient list.

Suffice it to say I am going to be very glad when my goat milk supply comes back.

Happy Eating (and drinking!)

This post has been my contribution to Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday.

 

The Urban Homestead February 21, 2011

Filed under: Animal Husbandry,Food Activism — realfoodmama @ 10:42 am
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Don’t you just love controversy?

This week in the urban homesteading community there was a fairly egregious act perpetrated on the rest of us by one family. The phrase Urban Homestead was trademarked by the Dervaes family in an effort to keep others from using the term, even though the term has been used in multiple publications prior to the trademark and is frequently used to describe what people like myself are doing. And while I consistently refer to my little operation as the urban farm, this move on the part of what I can only assume is a family more interested in fame and fortune than in the proliferation of the urban homesteading movement, has made me reconsider that.

The family has tried to deny that they are actively pursuing bloggers and other internet uses of the phrase Urban Homestead, but this post by Jamie, author of the urbanhomesteadx.com blog was sent a letter by the family informing her of the trademark and asking her to respect their “legally protected intellectual property” by ceasing use of the phrase Urban Homestead. Seriously?

I like to think that those of us interested in real food, self sustainability, urban farming, and all the glorious things that go with it such as canning and chickens, are in this together. I like to think that those of us who are doing these things are doing them in an attempt to take back our food from the corporations and the highly processed machinations of modern food production. But when one of the high profile members of this community actively works to suppress and discourage the rest of us, I can only throw up my hands with frustration and wonder if there is really any progress being made at all.

I sincerely hope that this trademark is overturned and that the Dervaes family is unable to push through any litigation against those of us who are simply trying to fight for healthy food and self sufficiency. However until then, I will proudly stand up and say I am an urban homesteader with an Urban Homestead. And you can’t do anything about it!

Happy Eating and Gardening and Homesteading!

 

Valentine’s Day Treats February 14, 2011

Filed under: Events — realfoodmama @ 10:30 am
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Valentine’s day is known for it’s chocolate, flowers, and the ability to make the unattached feel like second class citizens. All in all, not a very healthy holiday! There are, of course, ways to lessen the blow of the Valentine’s Day unhealthiness.

Chocolate actually isn’t that bad for you in its purer forms. Dark chocolate is full of healthy flavonoids and antioxidants which lower or regulate blood pressure and protect the body from free radicals, respectively. The problems, of course, come from the additives put in many of the chocolate confections sold for the holiday. High Fructose Corn Syrup is an ingredient in many of those heart shaped chocolate collections, and the additional sugars and food dyes that go with it make the standard Valentine’s heart-shaped-box a poor choice for the holiday.

Some better options for your sweetheart include Green & Black’s dark chocolate at 70%. I like the super dark stuff but if you are used to regular chocolate go for the lower percentage. If you are in the NM area and interested in buying local, Chocolove is out of Boulder, CO and they have a fabulous selection of dark chocolates in more romantic packaging, as well as several organic options. My personal favorite, and not just because it is packaged in red with big XOXO’s on it, is the dark chocolate with almonds and cherries.

Of course, you don’t have to stick to chocolate to romance your sweetheart. My favorite food gift for valentine’s day is a huge slab of grass-fed beef, cooked on the grill (or under the broiler if weather interferes). The best way to prepare it is to use some organic or grass-fed butter, a little sea salt and some cracked pepper, then cook until medium rare. Good for the heart and the soul as far as I am concerned!

Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Eating!