Baskets Galore!

The Market has a new shipment of baskets — hand woven by the women in Ghana, Africa. Sturdy. Beautiful. Versatile. Choose a color or style that suits your needs and personality. With hand-crafted leather handles that are soft and supple, these baskets can carry a lot of weight. How to use? For shopping, for a craft project, for books and magazines, for carrying food to a friend, to church — or as gifts for friends and family. Affordably priced, our Fruit Baskets are $19.95, Ovals, Rounds and V-shaped are $32.95, and the beautiful Shopping Totes (exclusive design and craftmanship) are $38.95. Which color do you like?

Baskets6Baskets5Baskets4Baskets2Baskets3Baskets1

 

October GMO Awareness – Let’s Culminate with a Quiz!

All month long we have been creating awareness of the dangers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food. It is an issue on which we need to be personally informed and vigilant. There is no current ban by legislation on the use of GMO seeds, and neither is there any requirement to identify the use of GMO ingredients in our food. The long-term effects of GMOs are untested and unpredictable, and yet, we already know they are hazardous to our environment. When people stop eating GMO foods — their health improves. It’s up to us to research, read labels and shop at stores that honor non-GMO choices, so that we can feed our families, healthy, life-giving foods.

If you would like a quick overview/crash course of GMO awareness, this Quiz is the place to begin!

Your Score:  

Your Ranking:  

For more in-depth knowledge, you can visit the links posted below.

Thank you and feel free to post your comments in the section below. Feel free to share this link with a friend!

Other GMO/non-GMO informational websites:

Non-GMO Month

Non-GMO Project

Why GMOs Can Never Be Safe

 

 

 

Fun with Dehydrating

BananasThere are many ways to preserve your bountiful summer harvests! Most of us are familiar with canning and freezing. In this post we will talk about dehydrating, and feature the Excalibur Dehydrator.

How I got started:

My introduction to dehydrating began when we lived in Indonesia. I did not own a dehydrator, but with the abundant tropical fruits and equatorial sunshine, it was easy to make fruit leathers. I would puree the fruit, which typically included mangoes, bananas, pineapple and sometimes papaya. That’s it. All fruit. Nothing more. I would then spread this fruit puree in a thin layer on bright, shiny metal cookie trays covered with plastic. The trays were then covered with a special screen that were custom-built to fit the cookie trays. It was a must to have the screen covers, due to all the flies and insects. A couple of days in the sun, and the fruit leather was ready. I would carefully peel the leather away from the plastic, roll it up, then cut into serving-size roll-ups. The children loved eating these and they were made with no added sugar or sweeteners.

Homemade fruit roll-ups, done right, are a far better choice to the boxed variety, which are sugar-laden, and made with artificial dyes to intensify colors, as well as other unwanted additives. Check out this ingredient list from one popular fruit roll-up: Pears from concentrate, corn syrup, dried corn syrup, sugar, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, citric acid, sodium, citrate, acetylated monoglycerides, fruit pectin, dextrose, malic acid, vitamin C, natural flavor, color (red 40, yellow 5 & 6, blue 1). Making your own is a nutritious alternative, and a fun event that your children (or grandchildren) can enjoy doing with you!

My first dehydrator was purchased at a garage sale. It was a round tray model, but I gave up its use very quickly after trying to make granola in it. It was frustrating to get the granola on the trays without dropping the mixture down the center of the dehydrator. I also needed to shift the trays around to promote even drying. It was too putzy and far too fussy for me. Soon thereafter, I learned about the Excalibur Dehydrator, commonly called “the king of dehydrators” or the “Cadillac of dehydrators” — and for good reason. It has 9 square trays, totaling 15 square feet of drying space. One fan in the back of the unit evenly distributes the heat, so that rarely do trays need to be moved or repositioned to promote even drying. It doesn’t cost a lot to run — approximately 5-10 cents’ per hour. With a variable temperature thermostat (85-135 degrees), you can choose to dehydrate at temps that preserve enzymes (approximately 110-115 degrees), resulting in live dehydrated foods.

Jars of  Dehydrated GoodiesThe Excalibur opens up a whole new world of dehydrating fun! It is not only versatile, but it is fun to use, turning out treats for your family and staples that you can store for use in winter or for future preparedness. The flavor of foods preserved at peak ripeness only get better – sweeter and tastier, with maximum nutrients preserved. Let’s take a look at some of the foods that have been dehydrated in my kitchen.

Granola

Our family loves granola and I would own a Excalibur for this alone. I have saved hundreds of dollars many times over during the 15+ years that I have had my Excalibur, quickly recouping my initial investment! When making granola, I can dehydrate over 2 gallons of granola (32+ cups) all at one time. It requires no babysitting or tending to — no stirring or flipping or rotating or turning. No mess in the oven to clean up. Simply load up the trays, set the timer for approximately 12 hours and come back to crispy and beautifully yummy, clumpy granola. It’s that easy.

Granola

Fruits & Veggies

One commonly asked question is, “Can you dehydrate more than one type of food at a time?” Yes — just keep fruits together and veggies together. For example, here is an assortment of fruits that I did a couple of weeks’ ago: Plums, pluots, nectarines, pears, apples, kiwi and bananas. I hand-sliced and kept the thickness all about the same, or approximately 1/4″ to 3/8″ thick. Absolutely essential, of course, is a good, sharp knife!

Dehydrator Trays of Fruit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a delightful treat to offer to children (big and small), or to mix into your homemade granola or trail mixes.

Mixed Dried Fruit

The Excalibur Dehydrator is an economical way to cash in on seasonal produce. Purchase when it is in abundance from a neighbor or from other local growers. Most would rather sell it cheaply than to see it rot on the vine.

RomasWith this season’s abundance of tomatoes, I began dehydrating the ingredients for fresh salsa, which I will rehydrate and make this winter. I dehydrated onions and hot peppers along with the tomatoes, and found these very compatible to drying together (with no off-tastes going from one to the other). 9 pounds of tomatoes dehydrated to just 1/3 pound and fit into a quart Mason jar!

Salsa Dehydrating

Shown here: Top tray are Serrano hot peppers; middle tray are Roma tomatoes, diced, and bottom tray are yellow onions, finely chopped. Later, I found a local source and purchased inexpensively a whole boxful of sweet red bell peppers. Approximately 10 cups of diced bell peppers yielded just 3 cups dried.

A little tip here: When working with hot peppers, you do not want to do this with your bare hands. For example, when I did the Serrano peppers, I used foodservice gloves and a Pampered Chef Food Chopper to minimize contact with those hot peppers. Seriously, you can suffer for hours after handling raw hot peppers! And you certainly will not want to rub your eyes!

Chopping Hot Peppers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also found it very effective to  use a small butter spreader (by Pampered Chef) to spread the small diced pieces evenly across the tray. This handy little tool is great for spreading wet mixtures like flax crackers or fruit leathers.

Spreading on Sheets

 

What are some other produce that you might dehydrate and their uses?

Spinach – Use in dips, casseroles, soups

Kale – For kale chips (season with sea salt and/or your favorite excitotoxin-free seasoning, such as the Market’s proprietary Mexican Seasoning.

Mushrooms – For casseroles or soups. My favorite way is to pulverize them in a blender and sprinkle in a white sauce to create a rich and savory, cream of mushroom condensed soup.

Broccoli – Does not dehydrate so well in my experience – but it is still fine for pulverizing and making into a cream of broccoli condensed soup to add to soups and casseroles.

All Peppers - Sweet, a little hot, or a whole lot hot! Peppers dehydrate very well and then can be used in soups and casseroles. Red Bell Peppers

Celery – To use in casseroles and soups and/or pulverize and add to a thick white sauce to make celery condensed soup.

Eggplant – A friend made delicious “eggplant bacon.”

Did you know you can dehydrate yogurt to use as a starter for future batches? Or eggs for dried, powdered eggs?

You can dehydrate meat (beef, venison, chicken), marinated in your favorite spices to make jerky (dehydrated at 145 degrees). Imagine the most delicious jerky, made from grass-fed meat and FREE from nitrates, nitrites and other toxic additives.

Crackers – One of the easiest “first” crackers to try in your dehydrator uses flax seed blended with water and fresh tomatoes, then seasoned with sea salt and your favorite seasoning, spread on dryer sheets and dehydrated until crisp. The variations are endless once you venture into veggie crackers.

Herbs – Fresh mint, basil, parsley, etc.

Greens – Whether from your garden or from foraging, you can dehydrate nutrient dense greens to use in winter smoothies.

Nuts – By soaking raw nuts in water with sea salt, phytic acid is deactivated. Drain and dehydrate until crispy. These are the most delicious — and healthiest “raw” nut of all.

Soaked NutsThere’s a lot more to be said about the how-to and the benefits of dehydrating. I’ll sum it up by saying that dehydrating is an economical, non-messy way to preserve your produce, and one of the healthiest (and funnest) options out there!

 

 

 

 

What does it cost?

Excalibur DehydratorThe price is $249.95 for Model 3900 and comes with a 10-year warranty. Included is a free 192-page book “Preserve it Naturally.” Sheets are $6.95 each (i.e., for fruit leathers, flax crackers) and purchased separately.

We offer a special class on dehydrating and those who purchase the dehydrator attend this class free. Watch for an upcoming announcement on the date for this class. It will be soon!
Update: Class schedule can now be viewed here.

Excalibur Dehydrator, 3900 Series Black You receive “free” the book Preserve It Naturally. Free shipping within the continental United States.

 

Contact Dianna if you have questions about the Excalibur or general questions on dehydrating.

 

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cereal Balls

Sometimes we just want something sweet! These chewy, moist balls are made from whole grain ingredients, and are high in protein and omega 3, making it a healthy and delicious snack to enjoy. We made these with organic ingredients found at the Healthy Living Organic Market. Specific brands are noted. Recipe makes approximately 25 – 1” balls. We definitely made a double batch to share with others and to freeze! Adapted from a recipe at Whole Grain Gourmet website.

Peanut Butter Cereal Balls

Peanut Butter Cereal Balls

Ingredients:

1/3 cup peanut butter (non-hydrogenated) (Maranatha or Field Day)

1/3 cup almond butter (Justin’s)

2/3 cup brown rice syrup (Lundberg’s)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cups Whole O’s (like cheerios – Nature’s Path organic)

1 ½ cups Mesa Sunrise cereal(Mesa Sunrise)

½ cup rolled oats + 1 Tbsp flax seed (blended until fine) (bulk organic)

3 Tbsp dried cranberries (bulk organic)

3 Tbsp raisins (bulk organic)

2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips (bulk, non-GMO)

Directions:

1.    In a large bowl, mix together the O’s and Mesa Sunrise Cereal.

2.    Blend the rolled oats and flax in a blender until fine. Add to the cereal mixture.

3.    Add cranberries, raisins and chocolate chips to the cereal mixture.

4.    In a pan, stir together the peanut butter, almond butter, and brown rice syrup over a low heat until the mixture is warm (not hot!) and thoroughly combined. This process should take about 3 minutes.

5.    Add vanilla extract.

6.    Add the warm syrup mixture to the bowl of cereals, etc.

7.    Stir well until the cereal is evenly coated with the syrup mixture. The best way to do this is with your hands. Note: Make sure the syrup mixture is not too hot before adding in the chocolate, or else the chocolate will melt.

8.    Form into 1” balls and place on a cookie sheet. Cool. Store in tightly covered container, layering with plastic wrap. These freeze well. Make a double recipe to have extra on hand!

 

Leftovers as Main Dish

Learning to use leftovers creatively is a wonderful way to add variety to your menus — and save significant $$!! Here are a few meals that we did in our household this past week, mostly accomplished by my daughter-in-law with only a little tutoring. She is quickly learning the art of cooking.

We’ve created “loosely transcribed recipes” to guide you in the process, but truly, these are just guidelines! Use what you have on hand and create your own wonderful, delicious — and healthy meals!

Clean-the-Fridge Stir Fry

Dig through the fridge and find an assortment of odds-and-ends veggies that you want to use up. In our recipe this week (done right before Market Day), we found broccoli, snow pea pods, red bell pepper, carrots, celery, a little cauliflower, some kale leaves, and of course onion and fresh garlic, which we try to always keep on hand. Prior to washing and cutting these veggies, we began cooking a pot of brown basmati rice. Brown rice takes a little longer than white rice, so allow about 40 minutes (instead of 30). The time it takes to cook the rice and prepare the stir fry is just about perfect! Dinner will be on the table in no time.

To serve four hungry adults, we used about 8-10 cups of veggies. As you cut and chop, think in terms of a variety of colors and shapes. In other words, don’t chop everything exactly the same. Variety is good! Take a large pizza pan or tray and “mound” the veggies, so that they are easy to transfer to the skillet.

Your tray might look something like this:

Veggie Prep

Veggie Prep

Included in the 8-10 cups of veggies is some coarsely sliced onion and 1-2 Tbsp of freshly minced garlic. Fresh garlic adds a lot to any dish that you prepare. It’s worth the extra effort! Organizing your veggies is not only practical, it is also inspiring, when you see the beautiful colors arranged so decoratively on your tray. Time in the kitchen can and should be a wonderfully energizing and enjoyable time.

If you have some leftover chicken, i.e., 1-2 cups, this can be added to your stir-fry (and generally pleases the men around the table!). We used one 8 oz package of Applegate Grilled Chicken Breast Strips. These are precooked, have a nice flavor and are quick! A little spendy, yes, but in a pinch, sure does make cooking easy. And a little bit can go a long way in stir fry.

So you’ve assembled all your ingredients; now it is time to do the stir fry. Heat a skillet with your favorite oil. It could be a dollop of coconut oil, grape seed oil, or olive oil. Just remember with the olive oil, to not heat your pan too high, as it has a lower smoke point than the other two oils. You can “steam stir fry” and minimize the amount of oil you use by adding a tablespoon or two of water during the process.

In stir frying, begin with the hardest veggies first (like the carrots), and add the other veggies until you get to the red pepper and onion, and then they should cook for only a minute or two. You want crisp tender.

Now, for the sauce. We’re talking super-easy here and we splurged a bit and used 1/2 bottle of San-J Thai Peanut Sauce, drizzled over the veggies in the pan, right before serving, just enough for the pan to heat the sauce.

By now the rice was done cooking and veggies were ready to be served over the rice. A lot of them. It was a meal-in-one. It not only was delicious, but it made our consciences feel good to have used up all those bits and pieces in the fridge and have nothing go to waste.

Clean-the-fridge Stir Fry

Clean-the-fridge Stir Fry

What stir fry can you make tonight? Clean out the fridge and made something delicious!

All ingredients and supplies available at the Healthy Living Organic Market. Open Thursday and Friday, from 10 am until 6 pm. Sign up to be on our weekly Market mailing list.

Easy Egg Bake

Do you have about 3 cups of leftover rice, perhaps from your stir-fry meal? How about a handful or more of assorted fresh veggies? With some local, fresh (no soy) pastured eggs and some milk, you can make a delicious egg bake. Here’s how we did it…

Grease a 9×13 pan with butter or coconut oil. (Our favorite is the Pampered Chef Rectangular Baker.) Crumble 3 cups of leftover cooked rice in the bottom of the dish. Prepare the veggie layer:

1 bunch (1#) asparagus (or may use broccoli) – 2-3 cups total

1/3 cup onion, chopped

1 medium red pepper, diced

Saute the veggies in a skillet with 1-2 Tbsp butter or olive oil, just until slightly softened. This process is mostly to remove some of the excess water in these fresh veggies and to bring out the flavors. Add the freshly minced garlic. Layer these veggies over the rice in the casserole dish. Then sprinkle with 8 oz grated cheese (use whatever you have on hand, even a combination of leftover cheeses is fine).

Finally, prepare the liquid ingredients as follows: 1 dozen pastured eggs, beaten well with  1 1/4 cups milk, and seasoned with 1 tsp sea salt and freshly ground peppercorns to-taste (1/2 tsp or so). Pour this over the veggies and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until is set. I like to test my custardy type foods with a clean, thin-bladed knife that is inserted in the center of the dish. When it comes out clean, then the dish is done. Remove from oven and set on a cooling rack for about 5-10 minutes while you call everyone to the table and do any final preparations, like adding sliced cucumbers (unpeeled if you are using organic). Add a muffin on the side and this can be brunch….or a mighty fine supper meal. We thought so. Leftovers were perfect for breakfast the next day, too.

Egg Bake

Egg Bake

 Gluten Free Muffins

There are many ways to make muffins. Here is a recipe that we “made up as we went” and it happened to turn out quite nicely, so we thought we would share it with you.

Mix together these ingredients: 2 pastured (soy-free) eggs, 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt, 1/3 cup local honey, 1 tsp sea salt, 1/2 cup coconut oil (or softened butter). Whisk together until blended (or you may use a hand mixer, but we liked the little workout). Add 2 cups Pamela’s Baking Mix (a wonderful gluten free blend of flours that even gluten lovers will enjoy!). If desired, stir in 1 cup of fresh blueberries (we did!). Spoon into greased muffin tins (Pampered Chef Muffin Stoneware, our first choice!) or regular muffin pan, lined with chlorine-free paper cups (If You Care, our favorite brand). This recipe will make 12 muffins. Bake at 400 degrees….or if you don’t mind a little compromise, bake at 350 degrees along with the Egg Bake. You won’t get quite as high a rise….but it was economical to do it this way and the muffins were still absolutely delicious!

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pizza – a favorite Stand-by

This is a long post, I know. But sometimes it’s helpful to get a glimpse inside someone else’s kitchen. To be honest, we haven’t been the best at menu planning lately. But with a well-stocked pantry and a refrigerator loaded with plenty of fresh veggies to work with, most anything is possible.

Pizza is a favorite, can be a fun family event — and is also another way to clean out the fridge! So consider pizza for one of your meals this coming week.

Round Pizza

Round Pizza

The Crust

This is the recipe that we use for our frozen pizza crust at the Market (sells for $2.95 for a 1# ball). Now, that is the easiest way to go! But if you want to make it from scratch (also easy), you can. We make ours (always) with 100% whole grain wheat flour, or for a VERY SPECIAL TREAT, we make it with Einkorn Original Wheat. (Soon we will be offering this frozen pizza dough at the Market as well.) We have this freshly ground ancient whole grain flour for you at the Market in the refrigerated section. It is most amazing in its texture and flavor. Here are the ingredients:

2 1/2 cups whole grain flour

1/2 tsp sea salt

3/4 tsp instant rise yeast

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3/4 c. or so of very warm water

Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the olive oil and water. Mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture begins to form a ball. Dough should be soft, not dry, crumbly or tough. Adjust water as needed. Turn onto a lightly floured counter and knead the dough a few times, until smooth. Grease the bowl you were using with olive oil and return the ball of dough to the bowl, then turn the ball “greased side up” and cover with a plate. Let sit for as little as 15 minutes or for as long as a few hours. Punch down and with greased hands (again, olive oil), pat onto your favorite pizza pan. This dough is enough to fit a 10×15 Pampered Chef stoneware pan or Round Pizza Stoneware. Pinch up the edges, then prick the crust generously with a table fork. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until crust looks baked and begins to smell delicious. (It should not look wet.).

Mini Pizza

Mini Pizza

While the pizza is baking, you can prepare your toppings. Anything goes! We always use a generous amount of chopped veggies (broccoli, onion, red or green peppers – even cauliflower, kale or spinach). You can add a little browned hamburger — or nitrite free pepperoni slices (Applegate Farms). For more specialty pizzas, add fresh mushrooms, olives or artichokes, or whatever suits your fancy.

You’ll need about 1 cup (8 oz) of tomato sauce, pizza sauce or crushed tomatoes. It’s up to you if you want to put the sauce on first, then the toppings, or do the toppings first, and then drizzle the sauce over the top. Sprinkle generously with Italian Seasoning and approximately 8 oz of grated cheese (typically mozzarella, but you can use whatever you have on hand). Bake in the preheated oven for about 8 minutes more, or until cheese is melted and a little golden. Pizza is always best after it has rested on a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes, to allow the sauce to settle and thicken.

Deep Dish Pizza

Deep Dish Pizza

A delicious tossed salad with homemade dressing can be eaten while the pizza is still baking. There will be no finer restaurant than eating right at home.

Tossed Salad

Tossed Salad

My favorite way to eat pizza? Leftover the next day for breakfast or lunch. To do this: Heat a little olive oil in a stainless steel saute pan, add the pizza and turn heat way down and wait about 5 minutes. Pizza should be warmed through by then and crust will be very crisp and delicious.

There you go. Three menu options to have fun with.

Time to head to our kitchens!

All ingredients and supplies available at the Healthy Living Organic Market. Open Thursday and Friday, from 10 am until 6 pm. Sign up to be on our weekly Market mailing list.

You Don’t Have to Plant Your Rows Straight to Have a Garden

You don't have to plant your rows straight to  have a garden

You don’t have to plant your rows straight to have a garden

I love the beauty of a garden that has been planted according to order: you know, the kind where the small plants are on one end of the garden in straight, evenly spaced rows, graduating to the largest plants on the opposite end of the garden. It is a beautiful sight!

This is how my mother always planted her garden, though over time, it became just a fraction of the size that she tended to when her children were all home and she raised vegetables to feed her family of ten.

Mom inherited the love of gardening from both her parents. They each had their own garden, meticulously planted and cared for.

When our family moved from Indonesia to Mora back in 1992, I had my first real opportunity to try my own hand at gardening. Perhaps it is an inherited passion, but I longed to plant a beautiful garden too. But I met with only a little success. For one thing, the soil in our yard had been spoiled through the use of too many pesticides and there was very little microbial activity in the soil. Secondly, we were blessed (or cursed?) with thistles that outgrew the plants each year. Then, one particular spring, we planted three times due to unexpected frosts in the area. By the time of the third planting, I decided that straight rows weren’t quite as important any more — just get the plants in the ground!

This year I faced a similar dilemma with simply finding time to plant. There was rain, rain, rain on the days that I wanted to plant, plant, plant! Finally, I decided to just get the plants in the ground, rows or not.

And this brings me to the main point of this writing. I learned that you don’t have to plant your rows straight to have a garden. Granted, evenly spaced, parallel rows are a beautiful sight. But it is possible — even though your rows aren’t straight — to have a garden that will bring much joy and produce a bountiful harvest.

My very humble garden reminds me that God is still able to use me, even when I don’t have everything in perfect order, whether it be my family, my life, or my home. Yet I still make it my goal to be more like Christ every day. He reminds me that it is in my weaknesses that His strength is made perfect and that it is in my brokenness that He brings wholeness. No, my rows aren’t all straight, but God has a plan! Like the tapestry viewed from underneath, it isn’t always beautiful, but be assured, there is a beautiful top side that He keeps in view and continues to weave – and He will accomplish the pattern He has designed.

 And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns. Philippians 1:6 (TLB) 

9 Foods You Should Never Eat

The 9 Foods You Should Never Eat by Dr. Mercola
To view article in its entirety (HIGHLY recommended), click here.

Story at-a-glance

  • Studies have repeatedly shown artificial sweeteners stimulate appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings, stimulate fat storage and weight gain. One recent study found both saccharin and aspartame cause greater weight gain than sugar
  • Processed meats increase your risk of cancer, especially bowel cancer, and NO amount of processed meat is “safe.” So ditch the deli meats and opt instead for fresh organically-raised grass-fed or pastured meats, or wild caught salmon
  • Margarine and vegetable oils are two of the absolute worst fats to eat, for many of the same reasons. Both contain heart-harming trans fats, for example. Your best alternative for cooking is coconut oil, as it’s less susceptible to heat damage and use cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil for drizzling over foods.
  • Microwave popcorn, table salt, non-organic produce like potatoes, and unfermented soy products, including soy protein isolate, are more harmful than beneficial as they all contain hazardous contaminants
  • Most canned foods contain BPA, a toxic chemical. Acidity causes BPA to leach into your food. Stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, or switch over to brands that use glass containers instead—especially for acidic foods like tomatoes

Guidelines for Healthy Food

Whatever food you’re looking to eat, whether organic or locally grown, from either your local supermarket or a farmer’s market, the following are signs of a high-quality, healthy food. Most often, the best place to find these foods is from a sustainable agricultural group in your area. You can also review my free nutrition plan to get started on a healthy eating program today:

  • It’s grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers (organic foods fit this description, but so do some non-organic foods)
  • It’s not genetically engineered
  • It contains no added growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs
  • It does not contain artificial anything, nor any preservatives
  • It is fresh (if you have to choose between wilted organic produce or fresh conventional produce, the latter may still be the better option as freshness is important for optimal nutrient content)
  • It did not grown in a factory farm
  • It is grown with the laws of nature in mind (meaning animals are fed their native diets, not a mix of grains and animal byproducts, and have free-range access to the outdoors)
  • It is grown in a sustainable way (using minimal amounts of water, protecting the soil from burnout, and turning animal wastes into natural fertilizers instead of environmental pollutants)

Post Script by Dianna:

As I reviewed this article, I did a mental checklist of the standards by which the Market selects foods for our shelves and found that we are in 100% agreement with the information found in this article by Dr. Mercola. It is the mission of the Market to be a “snapshot view of what healthy looks like,” so this article was affirmative that we are on the right track. We will continue to provide only the best foods for you and your family!

To view this article in its entirety (HIGHLY recommended), click here.

Open House at two Amish Homes on June 8, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Open House Announcement! (mark your calendar)

There will be two Open Houses on Saturday, June 8th from 1:00 – 4:00 pm.              Ben Lambright and Menno Lambright and their families are inviting us to visit them! These two homes are approximately 6 miles from Mora and about 2 miles apart. So come and visit both families! To read more, click here:

How to Make Healthy Pasta Salads

Tuna Pasta Salad

Tuna Pasta Salad

With summer picnics and open houses just around the corner, it’s a good time to review how to make healthy (and very delicious!) pasta salads. We’ve broken it down into several steps.

Choose organic ingredients!

Organic means foods that are grown and raised without the use of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fumicides, hormones, and anything else that is “unnatural” to the way food is grown. Your liver (the major detoxifying organ in our bodies) will love you for choosing organic, because you will lighten its load of filtering out the free radicals and toxins that come in through what we eat, drink and breathe. (P.S. Organic is also more delicious! The finest of chefs choose organic ingredients and you can too!)

Choose whole grain pastas!

The Market has a great variety of whole grain pastas to choose from. Choose spirals, penne, chiocciole, fusilli…vary your salads with great tasting (organic) pasta. There are also wonderful gluten free pasta options too, so you are not limited to wheat pasta. Always cook al dente (“firm to the tooth”). Your pasta will be more delicious and also have a lower glycemic index — good for diabetics, good for all of us. (Watch for a post soon on a wheat-free salad alternative, made with quinoa.)

Add generous amounts of veggies!

What veggies can you use? Most anything. We like broccoli, cauliflower, broccolini, red and green peppers, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, summer squash, snap peas, Roma or cherry/grape tomatoes, and of course onion and celery. Vary how you cut or chop the veggies, so as to complement the pasta you have chosen. Veggies can be added raw or sometimes lightly steamed or sauteed to reduce wateriness or “raw” flavor, sometimes objectionable to people who are new to generous amounts of veggies in their cooked salads. (Note: when using organic veggies, we never peel! I wonder how much we are saving in our food costs by not peeling?)

Choose a healthy dressing!

Toss your salads with a made-from-scratch dressing with ingredients such as organic cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil (the best olive oils are always found in dark colored glass bottles), fresh garlic and herbs, lemon juice or a specialty vinegar, seasonings and sea salt. Your salad will be heart-healthy and delicious!

Salads also are made with mayo — and our mayo of choice (if not making from scratch) is Soy-Free Vegenaise by Follow-Your-Heart. You may have noticed that we use soy-free products. That is because (1) non-organic soy is the second largest genetically modified crop in the US (behind corn), and because soy is believed to be a hormone disrupter and implicated in major health problems. (A healthy soy product is one that is organic and fermented.) To learn more about soy, click here.

Add something special!

This might be cubed cheese (our favorite is Organic Valley Raw Sharp Cheddar) — or wild-caught whole Albacore Tuna — or chicken breast. Something special.

Serve  on a generous bed of greens!

Serving your salad on greens not only greatly enhances the nutritional value, but also makes a beautiful presentation. Greens that we like to use when serving a large salad are Romaine and leafy green. If serving individuals at the table, we like to heap a mound of baby lettuces (i.e., Mesclun Spring Mix) and then top with the pasta salad. It’s beautiful and delicious.

Today we feature an old-fashioned salad, often served at summer picnics and church potlucks, but reinvented with healthier ingredients and with a definite gourmet touch. It’s creamy, with perfectly cooked al dente pasta, and has won our vote for great summer salads!

You’ll find this salad in our Deli fridge this week, or pick up the ingredients to make your own. You can find all ingredients at the Healthy Living Organic Market, open Thursday and Friday from 10 am – 6 pm. Contact us.

Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad

Serves 6-12

Ingredients

  • 1 - 16 oz pkg penne rigate pasta (I used Bionaturae Organic)
  • 2-4 Tbsp extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil
  • 3 cans (6 ozs each) wild caught albacore tuna, solid, drained (not flaked or chunk)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 8 ozs. sharp cheddar cheese, cubed (I used Organic Valley Raw Sharp Cheddar)
  • 2 cups soy-free Vegenaise (or homemade mayo (made with extra virgin olive oil))
  • 1 cup (6 oz) frozen peas (I used Alexia Frozen Peas)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground peppercorns, or to taste

Directions

Step 1. Bring water to boil in a large kettle, add 1 Tbsp sea salt, then add pasta and cook al dente, as per pasta directions. I usually cut time back by 1-2 minutes to reach the perfect texture.
Step 2. Meanwhile, drain the tuna, chop the onion, dice the celery and cube the cheese. Set aside.
Step 3. When the pasta has finished cooking, drain, lightly shake or toss to be sure the water has drained out of the penne pasta. Return pasta back to the pan and drizzle with the olive oil.
Step 4. Add the onion, celery and Vegenaise to the pasta and toss together. Add the tuna and lightly fold in, together with the cheese cubes.
Step 5. Lastly, fold in the peas. Check seasoning and adjust to taste. Serve on a generous bed of greens, with tomato and cucumber slices on the side.

 

Our Barn is Completed!!

(Updated July 1, 2013. Scroll down to see most recent pictures of our Barn after it was delivered on-site.)

Today I visited Ben’s shop outside of Mora and saw our completed Barn. It is beautiful! Solidly built construction. Finished size is 12′ x 20′ – we won’t regret the larger size.

Cost of the building is $4,115 (oversize barn shed, plus heavy duty ramp). Custom built — just the way we wanted it. We won’t move it to our land until Ben’s four power pallet jacks arrive, which will ensure a safe “landing” off the truck to its new home.

The paint was custom mixed for us by Ace Hardware and they did a marvelous job!

Do you need a small out building? We highly recommend Ben. He trained with the finest of his Amish brethren in Virginia (East Coast) and has carried on this rich heritage right here in Mora. To view basic pricing, download pricing page: Price List – May 2013. Receive 5% off your order, whatever your specifications. Print coupon here: Save 5% off list or custom built prices

Or contact us to set up a time to meet with Ben. (Be sure to print your coupon and bring with.)

Now, for the pictures of our barn!

Updated July 1, 2013

Front view of Barn:

Barn Front View

Barn Front View

Notice the plank for rolling equipment into the building. It’s not going anywhere — it’s heavy!

Back View of Barn

Back View

Back View

 

Inside View of Barn

 

Inside View of Lofts

Inside View of Lofts

There are two loft areas where items can be stored. Ben is also making us a ladder to attach to the loft areas. We are very happy with our Barn!

One more building that Ben built….Our Out House

Thought you might like to see this too — an old-fashioned out house! Complete with two seats, “lift” panel where the two 5-gallon pails are stored, two toilet paper roll holders, and back window (up high). $600 total – includes painting of the building to match color of your choice! (Delivery not included.) Save 5% off all listed prices applies to your purchase.

Outhouse

Outhouse

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Do you need a small out building? Ben can make exactly what you want. To view basic pricing, download pricing page: Price List – May 2013. Receive 5% off your order, whatever your specifications. Print coupon here: Save 5% off list or custom built prices

Or contact us to set up a time to meet with Ben. (Be sure to print your coupon and bring with.)