Ta Da!

Real Food Transformation ImageHave you ever worked hard on a project, focused time energy and funds to something that you truly believed in?  If so, then hopefully you’re also familiar with that giant sigh of relief when it’s done.

That’s where I’m at folks, I’ve completed my Real Food Transformation eCourse and it’s already changing the way people look at food.  Through videos, documents for you to print and use, journal assignments, and daily emails, this course will help you change the way you look at food and your body.  This course will walk you at your own pace, step-by-step through changing your diet and changing your life.

I’m in that lovely place of having a finished product, wanting to share it with the world so badly that I’m nearly giving it away.  If you take this course with me one-on-one, you’ll pay over $400.  However, I’m offering the eCourse at the incredibly discounted rate of $70.   That’s right, just $70 until October 31 when the price will go up to the regular (and still low) price of $95.

Share this with your friends and family.  This is an awesome way for anyone who’s interested in nutrition to get started on healthy eating.   Join me for the ride!

 

 

 

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Celebration Eggnog

Eggnog
‘Tis the season for celebration.  Here in Massachusetts, we are celebrating something special and rare in this country: a win for a nearly 300 year old farm and its supporters in a debate over raw milk regulation.

Last night, at a town hearing that drew over 300 people and filled the Ahern Middle School auditorium in Foxborough, the volunteers on the Foxborough Board of Health decided in a 2-1 vote to allow the state of Massachusetts to continue its monitoring of the Foxborough farm without any additional regulations by the town.

Countrywide, raw milk is a heated issue.  Supporters see raw milk as a health food that has helped solve many a health issue.  They see pasteurized milk as colored water at its best, and a toxic and damaging substance at its worst.

Those against raw milk cite bacteria levels as proof of its dangers, along with a myriad of government agencies that agree on the issue of bacteria levels.  Of course, these bacteria are exactly what the raw milk drinkers are after. Indeed, demand for raw milk is rising nationwide.

As it now stands, consumers in eastern Massachusetts have the freedom to choose raw milk and the Lawton family has the freedom to continue running their business under the state laws.  Those who do not wish to drink raw milk have other options, but what is important is choice for all of us.

To celebrate the win for freedom of choice, this morning I mixed up some fresh raw milk eggnog for my family.  Although the milk is indeed heated, it is not boiled or pasteurized so the good bacteria is still in tact.  Same goes for the egg yolks- raw is the best way to reap the nutritional benefits of eggs IF you know and trust your farmer and their practices. If you do not know/trust your farmer, you can heat the milk/yolk mixture a bit more.

This recipe can be dressed up with spices, spirits, or other flavors such as peppermint extract as desired.

Basic eggnog
2 cups raw local milk
4 egg yolks from pastured hens
1/4-1/3 cup pure maple syrup
a sprinkle of cinnamon & nutmeg, or more if you enjoy the taste
tiny pinch of salt

Warm milk on low heat in a small sauce pan.  Do not let boil.  If a layer of “skin” forms on the top, skim off and discard.  When warm, turn off the burner and add the four egg yolks.  Whisk until combined, then add the syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and mix.

Enjoy!

Update:  If you heat this after you put in the eggs in order to slightly “cook” the eggs to minimize risk, be very sure you’re whisking the mixture constantly while its heating.  If you do not, you risk getting something like lumpy scrambled eggs in milk.  This is why I recommend heating only before putting the egg yolks in, as they will then stay smooth and add only richness, not lumps.

Raw Milk Threatened in Foxboro!

This is a rare piece of activism from me, however I find it extremely necessary.  On November 25, the Foxboro, MA Board of Health will be voting on whether to adopt new and unprecedented town regulations of raw milk. 

These new regulations would likely put this Lawton’s Family Farm, a small family-run farm, out of business.  The proposed measures would lower the allowable bacteria to levels lower than that legally allowed for pasteurized milk, and give authority to the town’s Board of Health to shut the farm down for up to a month or longer and giving them alone the authority to re-open the farm.  Currently, the State has authority to shut the farm down only until a sample comes back with the current allowable bacteria levels.

The state of MA, no town has ever taken over this role from the state, as it is completely and utterly unnecessary.  These major changes transfers power to extremely anti-raw-milk authorities without need and will essentially shut the farm down and prevent access to this high quality health food.

Now is the time to act!  Read these proposed guidelines for more details, and then do the following:

  • Take the time to send letters and emails and PLEASE send copies to the farm or drop your copies off there
  • PLEASE be sure to send the farm copies as they do not trust our agent to pass them along to her board members
  • When writing your letters, please explain your rights to choose what you put in your body, the benefits of raw milk, and also include if you are a professional ( nutritionist, doctor, nurse, scientist , wellness person  for added emphasis) and all others : your educated and researched choices
  • Foxboro Residents: Please send letters to the Editor of the Foxboro Reporter as to your confidence in  the State Dept of Agriculture to regulate raw milk as well as the health benefits you receive from drinking raw milk.
  • Your efforts need to be in the paper before 11/25/13.
  • There is a public hearing on November 25 at 7:45 in the McGinty room of the Public Safety Building(which is located at the end of North St away from Route 1) WE NEED YOU THERE TO SPEAK OR JUST YOUR PRESENCE FOR SUPPORT IN RAW MILK

Email addresses: Pauline Clifford , town Health Agent     pclifford@town.foxborough.ma.us
Cc: oake_knoll_ayrshires@lawtonsfamilyfarm.com

OR hard copy:  Foxborough Board of Health, Pauline Clifford
40 South St, Foxboro, MA 02035
Cc: Terri, Ed or Nancy Lawton 70 North St Foxboro, MA 02035 or drop off at stand

Why I Still Eat Cannoli

I do, only occasionally.  Here’s why:

Food is one of the largest parts of our life, something we need to be consuming several times every day.  While nutritional value is incredibly important, it is not the whole meal.

I grew up in the blessed world of family meals.  One set of my grandparents lived with us growing up, and there was often a friend or relative visiting who joined us.  If someone was going to be late and regardless of who was around, my mom would keep everything warm on the stove and try to keep the kids from snacking too much.   Whenever the latecomer arrived, we sat and all ate together.

We usually started with only a few simple “buon appetito”’s.   Friends often asked about something they liked that their parents didn’t make, or us kids were asked about school or sports.  I imagine the adults spoke of more serious matters, but I have no recollection of those or nearly any conversations.  Rather, what remains is the memory and the feeling of sharing a meal, day-in day-out, with my family.  The daily coming together.

We certainly weren’t the Brady Bunch with deep conversations, and fine-tuned conflict-resolution skills; rather we had our fair share of dysfunction along side the home-cooked meals my mother and grandmother made.  Somehow, the discussions, arguments, grumpy kids or adults, nagging to eat or “just try” something was something I looked forward to.  During the busy years of after school activities, it was sometimes leftovers or “pizza Friday’s”.   But there was always a homemade salad to accompany the meal, and we always sat down together.

On the extra special days, my grandparents would have made a trip into NYC to Arthur Avenue, where the Italian-Americans go to forget they’ve left the motherland.  From there, amazing things would come back: loaves of bread with a taste only found there, sfogliatelle, millefoglie, cannoli.  The day-of is always the best with Italian desserts, so after dinner we’d all sit down and eat too many.  The next day, I’d toast sfogliatelle for breakfast & eat them with my grandmother, one of our favorite things and almost as good as the night before.

So when friends come to town and we find ourselves in the North End of Boston, we buy fresh, homemade cannoli & milefoglie and head to a park.  Bad jokes quoting The Godfather sneak out of everyone’s mouth as we dine.  The kids are silent as they sit on benches and gobble away.  And everyone nods in the shared goodness of fantastic treats and old friends.  Secretly, I am transported back in time.

I imagine my children’s food memories will be full of rich bone-broth soups, bread thick with cultured butter, raw milk & homemade ice cream.  But I do hope I’m able to teach them that good food comes from family, friends and laughter also, not only farms and gardens.

Into every life, a little cannoli must fall.

Cinnamon-Plum Ice Cream!

I’m in a “use what you have” phase of life right now, which extends very nicely into the kitchen.  In lieu of finding a recipe and then going out and getting specific ingredients, we instead see what we have and what we could make with it.

When my kids wanted a treat and we all wanted something beyond vanilla, we looked no further than the fridge where a few plums had been forgotten, and I almost always have raw milk & cream on hand.  The taste of plums alone can be quite mild, so we added in some cinnamon for a spicy treat that has a host of health benefits.

Here’s how we did it:

3 plums, diced
1 cup of cream (you can add in up to 1 cup more for even richer ice cream, as desired)
1 cup of raw milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup raw honey, the more mild the better
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
a splash of water

Place the plums and water in a small sauce pan, and simmer.  Leave on heat until plums are soft.  If all the water cooks off, add a bit more to cover the bottom and prevent burning but be careful not to add too much- it will wash out the plum flavor and make the ice cream too watery.  At the end of the simmering process, add honey after the heat has been turned off.  Mix & set aside to cool.

In a separate bowl, or while the plums are simmering, mix all the rest of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl, then place in the refrigerator.

Push the plum & honey mixture through a fine sieve, pushing the contents through with the back of a spoon, spatula or other utensil.  Continue until only the skins are left in the sieve. This may take a while, especially if the plums were not very ripe, but do not skip this step!  The smoothness of the ice cream is well worth the effort.

Add the plum mixture to the ice cream mixture and combine.  Place all ingredients in an ice cream maker until thick.   I like to top with shredded coconut or crispy almonds.  Enjoy!