Tag Archive | antiobiotic free beef

The “Fruits” of our Garden

It was an idea that I had been brewing all year – having a farm-to-table dinner with the bounties of the ranch. Boy, did we have fun!

We invited friends from our neighborhood to join us for the fixings. For two days before the party, we gathered and chopped fresh fruits and vegetables.

 

Our evening started with cherry tomatoes stuffed with mozzarella and basil and a charred corn and avacado dip. Baked potatoes and homemade bread (yup, Mom's recipe from my blog earlier this year) coupled with our grassfed beef smoked to perfection. One neighbor accepted a “throw down” challenge with the beef, and he and Kevin each prepared their prime rib and New York strip roasts with their own secret seasonings and techniques. Fresh corn on the cob was mouthwatering, and the watermelons were ready for the picking. We finished off our evening with apple crisp and strawberry rhubarb crisp. Many enjoyed our homemade wine with the meal.

I'd love to share one of the appetizer recipes – it's a hodge-podge of garden veggies that is light, colorful and healthy!

 

Charred Corn and Avacado Dip

2 ears of corn

2 avacados, diced

2 jalapeƱos, seeded and diced

1 red onion diced

A handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 can (or fresh cooked) black beans, drained and rinsed

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and pepper (to taste)

Remove the silks from the corn, soak in water for 10 minutes and then place corn on a hot grill for 10 minutes, rotating several times. Cool and remove the kernels from the cob. (note: I have made this several times when corn on the cob was not in season. I simply cooked the frozen or canned corn on the stove in a pan with a bit of EVOO).

Combine all of the remaining ingredients and refrigerate for one hour before serving.

Enjoy!

 

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Grassfed Soap

When I would pass someone a bar of soap that I had made, their smile used to turn to wonderment as they looked at the label. Sure, it's a hefty bar – big enough to be comfortable in Kevin's large hands. And sure, it has a fabulous fragrance. It's even a pretty color. But, oh…..it's made from beef tallow? Really???

 

Yup. I have been making soap for a few years now. I love the joy of giving someone a gift that I have made with my own two hands. I enjoy including a soap shaped like a duck or cow in my grandkid's Christmas stocking, or adding a few bars of soap made especially for an infant to a baby shower gift.

I had always purchased the soap oils online and had accumulated lots of great recipes. It was fun to try new fragrances like sandalwood and pine – and had totally fallen in love with a cinnamon-orange scent. So it seemed like a perfectly natural progression (to me, anyway) to render down the fat from our beef and use it in a soap recipe. After all, our pioneers did it…..

The search began for a recipe using our tallow. Kevin and I wondered whether it would smell funny (who knew?) I figured that some people might be put off by the whole idea even though tallow is actually turned into a different substance through saponification when it is combined with lye. They fear they are spreading animal grease all over them! Actually, some of the characteristics of using tallow in your soap are a creamy lather, mild cleansing, and a fairly hard soap.

Before I get into trouble with anyone, let me first clarify by saying that we raise grass-fed/grass finished beef and our ranch is certified with the Animal Welfare Approved Association. Our cattle are humanely raised without feedlots, antibiotics or hormones, In the interest of trying never to waste, the use of tallow seemed a natural progression.

The recipe I have been using is a blend of coconut oil, olive oil and beef tallow. The amounts I use are as follow:

44 ounces beef tallow

20 ounces olive oil

20 ounces coconut oil

12 ounces of lye

32 ounces cold water

The coconut oil adds a wonderful sudsing quality to your bar, and the olive oil gives it it's mildness.

Well, the soap has been a hit. One friend called to tell me that she had had a patch of skin on her face that she just couldn't get rid of, and it was going away since she started using this soap. She wondered if her old commercially-made soap had been giving her the irritation. We will never know.

I do believe, though, that the less chemicals and preservatives we use, the better we live. The soap makes it just one step closer to healthy living .

 

 

 

Grassfed Beef – It’s What’s for Dinner at Our House!

For the past twenty years or so, we have raised our own beef. In the early days – even as late as about 2006, the final days to “finish” a beef included lots of corn. Yeah boy, get that good marbling in those steaks. It wasn't until I read an article about the healthier ways to raise beef that our family changed it's ways.

I'll never forget the day….I looked at my husband and said, “We will never finish our beef with grain ever again!”. The mystifying look was legendary – followed with a “huh???”

Here is what I learned that day, and it has changed my life.

If cows are raised eating their normal diet of grass, the meat produced will have the right balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fats. However, if cows are fed grain, the omega-3 content is lost. The key with omega-3 is not just digesting enough of it, but getting the right ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s. If there are too many 6s and not enough 3s, you'll develop many of the problems victims of modern food production face today – inflammation, weight gain, depression and disease.

So, what does that all mean? Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that play an important part in growth and metabolism. They can't be synthesized by the human body, so they have to come from our diet. Omega 3s reduce inflammation, lower the amount of serum cholesterol and triglycerides, prevent excess clotting and reduce the risk of cancer. While both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are important individually, they also work in tandem and the ratio is critical.

So, here was the clincher for me…..grainfed beef have a ratio of 20:1 of Omega 6 to Omega 3. Grassfed/grass finished beef have a 4:1 ratio – the ratio your body needs!

Cattle were designed to eat grass, which means that they process it and maintain a healthy digestive system. Feedlot cattle are finished with a grain diet, mainly corn and soy, which makes for a quick weight gain and a higher percentage of fat in the tissues.

Grainfed cattle also receive hormones in their diet, again to make them grow fast and gain weight quickly. This also results in a higher fat content in the muscle. Pasture-raised cattle are not given artificial hormones and so are naturally more lean – the overall total fat content of pasture-raised cattle is usually about 25 percent lower than the grainfed beef.

Now, I am not here to blast feed lots – I am only saying that for me and my family, this is our way of life. Raising cattle naturally, no antiobiotics, no hormones, no grain. Nothing but good forages that they were designed to eat!