Jun 21 2015

Father’s Day comes but once a year, but thoughts of Daddy go on forever. Whenever I make his world famous Ultimate Cole Slaw recipe, I know he’s nearby, helping me get it just right.

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My Dad loved to entertain. The son of a well known hostess, my grandmother, Daddy had grown up on the thrill and satisfaction of planning social affairs. In his later years, he loved bringing happiness to those around him, coming up with novel party touches for our gathered fun-seekers. When a get-together was planned at our home, therefore, a flurry of activity would ensue. First and foremost was the menu, as food and beverages were the star attractions.

Menu planning, therefore, was the reason my Dad clipped recipes constantly. From the newspaper; from any magazine that crossed his path; from a dish he favored at a restaurant that, “required,” he call the Chef to the dining room for a consultation, he was obsessed with having recipe resource files handy for ready reference. He wanted to be able to produce just the right treat at just the right time, to dependably provide what any social situation demanded, at a moment’s notice. Now, we must remember this was in the 1980s and 90s, before the widespread Internet, much less Pinterest, so keeping track of favorite foods required proactive forethought and a filing system.

And, what a filing system he had! Boxes and boxes of 3″ x 5″ cards in plastic file boxes filling up the bottom of a bookcase near his reading chair. Directly next to his chair was a table with a drawer holding his “clipping” supplies: an X-acto knife to accurately cut out the recipe, fresh 3″ x 5″ cards and a roll of Scotch Magic Tape. While the family talked after dinner, Daddy would be clipping and filing, delighted with his latest conquests and acquisitions. He would excitedly interrupt conversation to read recipes, wanting to see if they, “sounded good,” as we would, “Ooh!,” and, “Ah!,” his latest find.

My Dad's Ultimate Cole Slaw, recent recreations (click to enlarge)Dad’s Ultimate Cole Slaw, recently recreated (click to enlarge)

And, things proceeded predictably in such a fashion for years. The quiet rattling of the Washington Post Newspaper Wednesday Food Section, along with the opening and closing of the drawer in the table next to his chair. This, comfortably blanketed by the flickering cocoon of the TV screen, made for pleasant evenings, and now, warm memories. It was an idyllic suburban scene, that is, it was…until he became even more acutely obsessed with one particular dish: Cole Slaw.

How it happened and why it happened, I cannot be sure. There is a good chance he was refused the revelation of a Cole Slaw recipe at a church supper, and became determined to recreate the elusive dish. But, all I know is he started buying cabbages. Lots of cabbages. The cabbages marched into the refrigerator with carrots and seemingly endless jars of mayonnaise, followed by a legion or  two of fresh lemons. These were his art materials, and my grandmother’s Pyrex mixing bowls were his canvas.

Cole Slaw, he had decided was the perfect pot luck supper dish. It was inexpensive to make; was healthy and, “provided roughage.” That was Daddy’s Cole Slaw strategy. And, when one stopped to think about it, Cole Slaw was indeed the perfect side dish, fitting into any church supper array of serving tabled fancies.

And, so the search began. 3″ x 5″ file boxes were no longer adequate. He moved to taping Cole Slaw recipes to 8 1/2″ x 11″ pieces of paper. As he made a recipe in the kitchen, if it made the cut, it remained unsullied, but if it was rejected, it was crossed off, right through it, with a mighty, “X.” This frantic quest went on for months, but as the research continued, he began to fine tune his efforts.

He said he wanted a natural Cole Slaw, with a cold, not cooked dressing. One with a lemon, not vinegar base. He wanted the creaminess of mayonnaise, but not to have it, too “mayonnaisey,” because, “All that fat makes me sick.” He liked adding celery seeds, but not too many. And, for color, there should be one carrot, and one carrot only, grated in along with the cabbage. Salt and pepper should be added, and finally the Ultimate Cole Slaw recipe had been born.

And, I am ready to share it. Here, right now.

But, you must understand the recipe is presented with the same persnickety-ness of my Dad’s approach. In other words, he felt there was NO WAY to accurately represent the proportions like any other recipe, because, “…of COURSE that depends upon the size of your cabbage!” So, I am going to give his recipe to you and hope for the best. I am hoping you can bridge the gap, blending the simple flavors to your tastes and that, with a bit of research and development, you will come up with your own Cole Slaw recipe, sure to be an heirloom hit at friend and family gatherings.

Dad’s Ultimate Cole Slaw

1 Cabbage, cored, quartered and grated

1 Carrot, grated

Lemon juice to taste (I usually use three)

Granulated sugar to taste (Not overwhelming sweet…unless you like that)

Mayonnaise (Start with a cup and add, if needed, to make a runny dressing as you stir with a big spoon and the juices are released from the cabbage)

A sprinkle of whole Celery Seed. (Start with a TBSP, and see what you think.)

Salt and Pepper, to taste, then mix well and refrigerate.

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Feb 29 2012

Carrots are hearty root vegetables that are easily stored for winter.

When times are tough, or even when they’re not, where can you buy ten pounds of organic food for $6.00? COSTCO, that’s where, and probably other places as well, but COSTCO is amazing as they have a number of organic foods I wasn’t expecting at such a large “big box” store. And ten pounds of organic food is ten pounds of organic goodness that can fill lots of tummies for quite a while.

I am talking about COSTCO’s organic carrots, which are the deal of the century. You just have to like carrots and yet be aware that if you eat too many at once, you can turn orange from the carrot coloring, carotene. But, other than that, these handy root vegetables will store for quite a while as long as you take them out of their plastic bags and put them in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator.

Slicing carrots into “Copper Pennies” begins a
side dish that will become a family treat.

COSTCO carrots, I found are even cheaper, in other areas of the country. While ten pounds of COSTCO Organic Carrots are between six and seven dollars outside of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan area, the COSTCO web site shows that ordering on-line allows you to buy ten pounds of organic carrots for, if you can believe it, $ 4.99, plus some shipping and handling, I’m sure.

Overall, carrots are a great addition to any frugal household hoping to sustain life on grated carrot raisin salad, vegetable soup, carrot cake or carrot juice. Why, one could make a whole seven course meal using carrots every step of the way. This is not beginning to mention, however, the best use of all for carrots, making Copper Pennies.

Fill a saucepan with the sliced carrots and cover
with filtered water and some pinches of Real Salt.

When the carrots have cooked, but are still firm
enough to hold their shape and not become mush,
pour off the water.

Food fantasies were big at our house when I was a kid. My dad, more than my mother, tried to make things “kid friendly” and would come up with names for things he thought we might not want to eat. It wasn’t until years later that I learned the real reason he was watching out for us. He, himself, didn’t like the serving choices and that’s why he thought he had to make them fun for us. That’s why we had “Liver Candy” for calves liver and “Baby Cabbages” for Brussels sprouts, in addition to “Copper Pennies” for cooked carrots.

Melt some grass fed organic better in a pan with
organic brown sugar. Add carrots and stir to heat through
and coat with yummy candy-like goodness.

And I suppose I continued the fun food naming trend when my kids were small. There was nothing they liked more than a little bowl of frozen peas. We called them “Pea-sicles,” named after Popsicle brand frozen ice confections.

We Serve our Copper Pennies with sour cream,
walnuts and a sprinkle of brown sugar, all organic.

This making “much over nothing” to bring smiles to the face of a child is lots of fun for adults as well. Coincidentally, the art of entertaining children reminds me of a post I read this week on BlogHer: It will be like an Amusement Park…only Better. A fanciful, creative post by BlogHer “dvorakoelling,” relatively new to our BlogHer world, but already participating handily.

Much like my Dad and I making up little fantasies to tickle a kid, Dvora explains how she took kiddie playacting to new heights when she turned her local supermarket and shopping mall into a Disney World of sorts. I read enchantingly as Dvora described bringing the fun of a trip to FantasyLand to her seventeen month old daughter by using their cooperative imaginations to turn shopping carts into bumper cars and mall escalators into rides. It sounds like they had fun, and I know I did as well, as I read along with Dvora, thinking of my Dad’s tricks to make everyday special. What a childhood rich in love I had with my Dad and Dvora’s daughter, Em, is enjoying everyday with her Mom, today.

I got to thinking, simple games are like COSTCO carrots: both are nourishing; both cost little.

In a world of expensive clothes, plastic and trinkets, these thoughts really made me smile!

NaBloPoMo February 2012

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Jan 18 2012

Visiting “The Future” at the New York World’s Fair, 1964-1965,
while in 1960’s clothes.

When I was a kid, we looked to the future through a TV cartoon time warp called “The Jetsons.” Then, while we watched futuristic “programming” on TV, our parents were also being instructed by mass media that the future would bring better living to us all. We were told daily that the progress to take us blindly into the future would be better, much better than anything in the present. It was inferred that we should just trust whomever was bringing this to pass. And so, when the biggest international event of the decade occurred, the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York City, we knew we were on the cusp of a wave that would carry us aloft to glorious destinies. We didn’t know where we were heading, but we knew we were getting there fast, and that it was going to be better, right?

Bell Telephone Pavillion: New York World’s Fair 1964-1965.
“Peace through Understanding” Moving chairs carry the Fairgoer
past animated exhibits tracing the history of communications.
Anyone may try out “picture phones” -phones equipped with TV
devices showing the person on the other end.

Bigger was better. Faster was better. More, stronger, cheaper was better. New and improved? Well, of course THAT was better. The words new and improved must mean something was really NEW and IMPROVED. It therefore must be better. The box said so, just as the TV had. Who could argue that the product wasn’t actually new and improved? And since the new and improved product was now and the old has-been product was then, this product in the present HAD to be better…but nothing compared to what it would be in the future!

The New York World’s Fair 1964-1965

And so, whirling in this vortex of progress, spiraling upwards, or so we thought, we became very impressionable to the idea that new was better and old served no purpose. Like modern lemmings, we followed the promises of the TV box that guided us through every day to “improve” our otherwise primitive lives. And so, our societal common sense undermined, we believed like children that modern was good and old fashioned was not only outdated, but bad. For example, I can remember visiting my mother’s family home where her cousin had “modernized” and replaced “all of those silly old, dark, heavy walnut doors and matching woodwork” hoping to bring a Federal Period house into the 20th century.

And here are people in 1965, trying their best to be
“Futuristic” with a lamp pole, sunburst wall clock and
“modern art” man-made fiber curtains.

And as fast was better, convenience overcame tried and true. I can remember my mother laughing, as she opened a loaf of spongy white Wonderbread, that Mrs. So-and-so made bread for her family every week. Nobody we knew had ever made bread. And then we went through all of elementary school, junior and senior high school with the same group of kids year, in and year out. We knew everything about everybody. Trust me, no one baked bread, no one, except Mrs. So-and-so. Buying convenience foods, opening cans, heating up frozen food, using cake mixes: no one we knew had mothers that did anything much more than that. On occasion, cookies might be made from scratch, but NEVER a cake.

Convenience and taste, not nutrition, were the selling points.
H-m-m-m. Wonder what chemicals were used to replicate the eggs?

According to the Joy of Baking:  “Eggs play a major role in cake
baking. Eggs add aeration to the batter, provide structure to
the cake, help bind the ingredients together, keep the cake moist
and add flavor and tenderness.”

Eggs sound important to a cake! What did they use instead?

The modern housewife was told by mass media advertising that convenience was the way of the future and the less done the better. It was the futuristic way to do things for those in the know. The whole concept of eating to nurture the body while promoting wellness was not considered. Nutritional content was not considered. The only things that seemed important were taste and convenience. And if that taste were stimulated by a chemical cocktail, no one seemed to mind or notice.

This hash commercial is odd for a number of reasons. You’ll see
that as long as women were invisible and could open a can of
hash, things were fine.

But, how did the woman and the hash feel about it?
And how nutritious was that dinner of canned hash and eggs?

Little by little, convenience foods became fast foods. It wasn’t that long before men, women and families began eating out more and more. In addition, as people ate out more often, cost became a concern and restaurants offering good “home cooking” were expensive compared to McDonald’s “four course meal with change from a dollar.” We were detached from the concept that what we ate physically became our bodies and minds. In fact, I can’t remember chemical additives or preservatives ever being commonly discussed. Maybe there was mention of nitrates and nitrites in hot dogs once in a while, but overall we ate without self awareness.

Now I understand that nutrient dense food is not only medicine, but provides the foundations for living. That’s why “The Jetson’s” putting a pill in a wall unit that looks prognostic of microwave ovens, closing the door and pushing a button to conveniently produce a plate full of food seems out of date. The concept is old fashioned, from when that was considered “modern” and is comically passe. People now know wholesome, unadulterated slow foodstuffs are truly the building blocks of life. Therefore, any quaint desire for convenience, at the expense of nutrition and wellness, has thankfully gone the way of the TV dinner.


Where do great meals begin?

Come to the Table brings you straight to the source of wonderful flavors, beauty, abundance, and pride of place—the small farms of California and the people who tend them season after season.
Alice Waters, the celebrated chef and food activist, introduces a remarkable group of resilient fresh-food artisans who are committed to keeping our food supply delicious, diverse, and safe—for humans and the planet. Meet the folks down on the farm and learn firsthand about the back-to-the-future small-farm economy that’s gaining strength across America. Discover new tastes and memorable traditions. Explore local flavors, wit, and wisdom along with the universal values of a food system that is “good, clean, and fair.” Recreate a range of sumptuous yet simple meals with the farmers’ own family recipes—including breakfast crostata and fresh-fruit jams, stuffed artichokes and black-eyed peas, chile relleno casseroles, pulled pork, and cheesecake.Sustainable food is real food.
Come to the table, and help yourself!

If you have an interest in this book, hover your mouse over:

Slow Food Nation’s Come to the Table: The Slow Food Way of Living

NaBloPoMo January 2012

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Jan 10 2012

Welcome to the second installment of going Up to the Amish for Raw Milk. But, before we get back to traveling to visit the farmers who produce our food, you have GOT to look at this segment from Portlandia, the show that is my new favorite and getting plenty of coverage in the newspaper. Watch the following video to pick up tips about eating locally, knowing your food’s origins and befriending the farmers that produce it:

Portlandia, my new favorite thing.

Getting to know your farmer, is the trendy and right thing to do.  Know your food and from whence it comes. It’s worked for us. We’ve been eating locally and organically since 2008.  We have become well, never felt better and save money. Can’t beat it! Why? Your food is cheaper because you save money on transportation costs and you eat less of it because each bite is nutrient dense, not empty calories.  You can see how your food is prepared, before you decide to incorporate its nutrients into your body and you can bet it’s fresher than anything you can buy at a mainstream grocery.

This sign, the photo taken in summer, tells of the sale of
raw milk at Your Family Cow in Chambersburg, PA.

What’s the point of visiting farms? So you can see how your food is produced and connect with the farmers, their families and the animals they are raising. It’s very important to have a positive energy about how your animal food is treated, both in life and in its humane death. As Melissa Ford of BlogHer, a woman’s blogging forum and community, mentioned, “Treating animals humanely in life and then not being concerned how they die is like smothering granny with a pillow.” An unpleasant image, but one that really hits home and paints a picture.

Your Family Cow shows lots of blue sky and green grass in
their marketing which mirrors all you see when you visit
the farm: clean cows in green grass with blue sky above them.

So, after visiting Trickling Springs Creamery in the last post, we traveled several miles to Your Family Cow where we usually buy milk, meat, eggs, cheese and baked goods. A generational family farm, Your Family Cow farmed conventionally for years, modernizing as did other farmers in the area as every new innovation was added to the agriculture toolbox. But, eventually the owner, Edwin Shank, says his family saw a diminishing rate of return and they studied organic farming and the cost benefits, turning around their operation when they became completely organic in their orientation. They’ve never looked back, lovingly producing a safe, nutritious product in all of their sale areas.

Why look! It’s Colin the chicken, from the Portlandia
video above. A healthy habitat produces healthy chickens,
kids, adults and customers.

What a happy place sustainable farms are to visit. Rather than feel the animal’s dissatisfaction with their drudgery, one can feel them happy while living in pleasant surroundings with good treatment. And the cycle of life with a respectful use for everything is an obvious theme. Things just seem to work better when one farms with nature instead of in opposition to it.

The grass fed beef freezer at Your Family Cow is always
stocked with the best. High quality pastured beef has
more nutrients so is cheaper than one would think.

A natural farming system is in place, set up as if it were planned, and surely it was. All one has to do is work with it, not against it. For instance, the cows graze in the field and spread manure around as they eat which fertilizes and restores the grass for their next season’s feeding. It’s a win-win. Everyone benefits and the cows are happy.

A bounty of homemade organic goods are available at Your
Family Cow and other farms and country stores in the area.

We shopped at Your Family Cow’s farm store for quite a while. Edwin Shank was there and we talked to him about the pastured pork that is in right now, but sure to sell out soon. Customers are increasing every week for Edwin and the Shanks as people are quickly learning to choose wholesome food products. Edwin remarked that the pork farm down the road supplying Your Family Cow with hams, sausage and ground pork will be doubling their stock for next year when they raise their pigs and hogs. This indicates a heartwarming demand showing people are continuing to know what is good for them and act on it while telling their friends.

Your Family Cow offers seasonal vegetables from the garden,
cheese, free range eggs, milk and baked goods, all fresh,
delicious and ready to actively build up bodies and minds.

On our trip last weekend, we purchased 20 pounds of hamburger, a tremendous large, thick ham steak that won’t begin to fit on a plate and a pound of sausage all for $120.00. Better food and at a reasonable price. The ham steak will serve for a number of meals as meat entree, flavoring and then as a soup base. In the past, we have paid $23.00 for nice size pork shoulder and made pulled pork Bar-B-Que for sandwiches, eating them all week.

The residents of the Shank Eco-farm, Your Family Cow, are
bright eyed, curious and eager to connect with visitors.

It is amazing how much longer grass fed and pastured cows live compared to their stockyard counterparts. The stress of living in crowded conditions, not being able to rest or lie down takes its toll. In addition, being over bred to constantly produce milk while being on drugs and antibiotics causes stockyard animals to live about half as long as those cows pastured in the fresh air while eating grass instead of grain. the average life of a stockyard cow is 5-7 years, while a grass fed cow lives 10-15 years. Organic farming studies have determined that cow replacement rates on grass fed farms are 30-46% lower.

Leaving Your Family Cow, we have a cooler full of goodies. The
Shanks are a Mennonite family.  Showing their faith, signs of
comfort welcome customers and send them on their way.

Charles Benbrook, PhD, chief scientist pf the Organic Center and former executive director of the board on agriculture of the National Academy of Sciences, led the study that investigated milk and meat production compared with money earned and environmental effects. To study this article in greater detail, click here.

Free range chickens freely run around many farms and
homes in Pennsylvania. They all seem to stick together
and know what to do to avoid intrusion.

Getting ready to leave Pennsylvania, we go on our way, secure that we have food to put in the freezer when we get home. Scenes of rural harmony are all over as we drive by great stretches of farm land occasionally dotted with small farming villages. On one of the back roads, we had a great time watching this pimped out rooster run around with his three hens. There seemed to be no friction between the individuals in this “polyamorous” relationship, a new word I learned on BlogHer this week.

Finally, the quintessential Amish experience,
seeing an Amish buggy.

When driving on the back roads in an Amish area, one is bound to come across Amish buggies driving around, running errands like everyone else. As much as I would LOVE to take photographs to share of Amish people in their buggies, that would go against the dictates of their religion forbiding the making of graven images. So, finding a buggy without anyone around it that might be offended by the intrusion of a camera made the trip. I mean how can you post about visiting the Amish without Amish people? So, here it is! We were really there. It really happened.

…And I really have a recipe for Amish Hot Fudge.

And you don’t.

Come back tomorrow for “Up to the Amish for Raw Milk III”
for Amish Hot Fudge


One fateful starless night, 17-year-old Ira Wagler got up at 2 AM, left a scribbled note under his pillow, packed all of his earthly belongings into in a little black duffel bag, and walked away from his home in the Amish settlement of Bloomfield, Iowa. Now, in this heartwarming memoir, Ira paints a vivid portrait of Amish life—from his childhood days on the family farm, his Rumspringa rite of passage at age 16, to his ultimate decision to leave the Amish Church for good at age 26. Growing Up Amish is the true story of one man’s quest to discover who he is and where he belongs. Readers will laugh, cry, and be inspired by this charming yet poignant coming of age story set amidst the backdrop of one of the most enigmatic cultures in America today—the Old Order Amish.

If you would are interested in reviewing this book,
hover your mouse over the following link:

Growing Up Amish: A Memoir

NaBloPoMo January 2012

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Jan 08 2012

My family is devoted to the healing benefits of raw milk, grass fed beef and building up the probiotic content of our digestive systems. We follow the beliefs of a very savvy group of people who are health conscious and well. They are so well, they espouse their wellness, rather than their illness. And, with the Weston A. Price Foundation tenets, one is rarely, and I mean rarely, ever sick. There is just no illness to talk about, unless one is beginning the journey and coming to Weston A. Price to heal a chronically ill health condition, which many people are. But even then, they speak of how they are getting well, not about how sick they are.

We left at 10:00am to go north to Pennsylvania. First thing
of note on the journey was this BIG N. I kept looking around
for Big Bird, thinking I was on Sesame Street.

Several times a month we go up to the Amish and Mennonite farms just north of us in Pennsylvania. Each state in the union has its own laws about the sale and distribution of raw milk. Pennsylvania allows the sale of raw milk, while Maryland does not, but Maryland will allow enough to be brought across state lines to feed one’s own family. Raw milk is not pasteurized or homogenized. It is milk drunk fresh from the cow, like it has been all the way down through human history until the last hundred years or so.

Route 70 goes across country and cuts through the State of
Maryland. When I was driving out west in the 1970s, I could
get on Route 70 outside of Washington, D.C. and drive all
the way to Indianapolis, IN without a single stoplight.

The natural enzymes, vitamins, minerals, CLA which is a cancer deterrent and good bacteria of raw milk can not be equaled by any other food product. And I’ll even venture to say, not by any natural or man made medicine. It is a pure and nutrient dense substance that sustains life and promotes health and has for thousands of years.

Maryland is a beautiful state, called America in Miniature,
having the Atlantic Ocean coast, the Chesapeake Bay
and also mountains in the western part.

Years ago, every family had their own cow or had access to one. As people moved to the city, the milkman began making deliveries of cold fresh milk into urban communities. Pasteurization became necessary when, to make money and use up the wasted grain from liquor distilleries, cows began being kept in stockyards so that they lived and died next to the liquor plant, not in fields of grass.

Pennsylvania is a state that allows the sale of raw milk,
while Maryland does not allow the sale. But, each Maryland
family is allowed to drive across state lines and buy milk for
their own family’s use.

The waste grain from liquor manufacturer processes was brought out on conveyor systems to the cows to eat. It was all they had to eat, so they ate it. Cows don’t naturally eat grain and they got sick as a result. Because the cows were sick, their milk had to be pasteurized to be safe. That practice has continued over to today with most milk being pasteurized and homogenized. Cows that are kept clean and safe on grass fed sustainable farms produce a safe and clean product that most times has less of a bacterial count than the milk bought at the store.  Pasteurization and homogenization methods render milk difficult for humans to digest.

Once over the Pennsylvania line, the houses are wood framed
and from another time. Here we are starting to get near where
the Amish and Mennonite farmers live.

It is the inability of people to digest pasteurized and homogenized milk that has lead to the concept of being “lactose intolerant.” The pasteurization kills the enzymes and interrupts actions of the chemical buffers that make it possible for so called “lactose intolerant” people to drink milk. When those who are lactose intolerant drink raw milk as nature intended, many say their problems with milk are easily overcome.

White outbuildings tell the tale of generational, sustainable
farming practices.

I am not the first to tell this story about raw vs. pasteurized milk. The knowledge is common, if one knows where to look. There is a great deal of information on the Weston A. Price web site. In addition, the book The Untold Story of Milk illustrates the system that made milk dirty, so that it had to be cleaned. At the end of this post, there is a link to the book, The Untold Story of Milk.

Hungry and ready for a break from driving, we stopped at
Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg, PA, right off
of the I-81 Interstate.

Trickling Springs Creamery has great dairy products as all of their milk is from grass fed, pastured cows. They “flash” pasteurize their milk. We raw milk fans do not drink that kind of milk on a regular basis, as we do not agree with any pasteurization. The Trickling Springs Ice Cream is SO GOOD, however, sometimes we decide not to be too fussy.

The sign out in front of Trickling Springs Creamery has the
phone number in case you ever want directions.
Worth a trip from anywhere.

You won’t find the word “organic” on the Trickling Springs labels and that’s where eating organically gets a little tricky. At first when you change over to eating organically to start detoxing and getting the industrial chemicals out of your body, it easiest to just follow labels and eat something if the label says it’s organic. Later as one spirals upward with health and habits, it gets easier to know what’s organic or not, regardless of the labeling.

This half gallon of ice cream does not say the contents are
organic, but we buy it and get spoons to share.
Cheaper than cones: $6 not $12!

This is the beauty of buying locally.

We know the cows are raised organically and the manufacturing
process is organic. Besides, this tub contains Amish Hot Fudge.
 It’s Cold Amish Hot Fudge, true, but that’s an important segue
as I’m going to GIVE YOU THE RECIPE for Amish Hot Fudge!

You will thank me. Your children will thank me.
And your children’s children….will thank me.

To qualify for an organic label, companies must pay large sums of money. As one studies the situation, it becomes obvious that small, local organically practicing food companies cannot afford the label. Big corporate conglomerates easily can, although their practices might not be as pure. That is why people who worry about what they put into their bodies get to know the producer of their food. If the food you eat is local, it is easy go see how the food is produced, gauging whether the production and harvesting are wholesome.

An old ladder becomes a handy display rack.

Amish and Mennonites come from a frugal heritage of using what they have to best advantage.  Isn’t this nifty? On the Trickling Springs front porch, we see an old ladder that has been converted into a display rack for sales items. With nothing added but swing-set chain and “S” hooks, the display is ready to go once the ladder is hung from the ceiling. Can you see this adapted to a country kitchen to hang large pots and pans? Maybe not the WHOLE ladder, but several rungs would be great.

The front door leading to the Trickling Springs Creamery store.

See the sign on the front door saying Trickling Spring milk is from grass fed cows? That’s the pedigree you want for your milk. If cows are grass fed in a pasture, they are not being held in overcrowded pens eating grain. It is comforting to know this milk comes from cows free of preemptive antibiotics.

The cow “mothers” of the milk used for Trickling Springs Creamery have not received antibiotics because they don’t need them. They don’t get sick because they are not in close quarters eating unnatural foods they can’t digest. The farms that give milk to Trickling Springs follow organic practices with their cows pastured in fields eating grass and clover like cows naturally do.

And, how do I know? Well, once again these manufacturers are standing right there in front of me. It’s easy to ask them where they get their milk and go see the farmer, the farm, the cows and the fields. And, that is where we are going on the next post: to see a farm that gives milk to Trickling Springs Creamery.

But, in order to go, you must be very good today, read all the BlogHer posts you possibly can, putting all other obligations aside and leave plenty of comments to encourage those writing the blogs. Don’t be a stranger! BlogHer bloggers need to read that someone, somewhere cares.

Join us for tomorrow’s post where we go to an organically
run farm, see a studly rooster and an Amish buggy.
Come back. Have fun! Be better informed!


Ron Schmid, ND, naturopathic physician, writer, teacher and
farmer, has prescribed raw milk for his patients for nearly
25 years. Dr. Schmid is a graduate of MIT and the National
College of Naturopathic Medicine. Author resides in Connecticut.

If you have an interest in this book, hover your mouse
over the link below:

The Untold Story of Milk: Green Pastures, Contented Cows and Raw Dairy Products


NaBloPoMo January 2012

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Dec 29 2011

When you finish the commute home, finally pull into the
driveway and look up to see a scene like this one going
“Waah-Waah-Waah, we’re HUNGRY,”
be thankful you made Scrapple over the weekend.

If you’re like me, you remember being a kid, loving scrapple and then, one morning, making the mistake of reading the wrapper of the commercial product. The realization that Scrapple was made of corn and pig snouts, well, it was a shock that I’m still getting over. But, if you’re also like me and have enjoyed homemade Scrapple with the Amish, made with first quality organic ground pork, then you know you were willing to start anew and go crazy over the stuff.

Scrapple is an old food, mixing cereal with pork, that has origins with the ancient Celts and medieval Germans. Brought to this country by the German Dutch into Pennsylvania, scrapple traveled out to western Ohio and into Pennsylvania’s border states, Maryland and Virginia. Each area has their distinctive treatment as some use oatmeal, corn or wheat for the cereal. But, the common use of cooking cereal mush, adding cooked pork and cooling the mixture into a loaf for slicing and frying ties the regions together.

You’re probably way ahead of me in realizing this post follows the previous one, Amish Fried Corn Meal Mush for a very good reason. To make Scrapple, you cook ground pork, then make corn meal mush and add it to the pork. The rest of the recipe will seem oddly familiar as it follows what we saw yesterday about slicing the congealed loaf of corn meal mush, flouring and frying the slices in coconut oil to a golden brown.

I use a potato masher to break apart two pounds of
organic ground pork into fine crumbles. Add salt,
pepper, and poultry seasoning to taste, but don’t
taste until the pork is fully cooked.

Pour the corn meal mush, the same quantity as
yesterday’s post and made the same way, into the
pan of seasoned cooked ground pork.

Pour the corn meal mush with ground pork, mixed
well together, into loaf pans, the same as yesterday.

Smooth out the surface, let cool at room temperature,
then refrigerate until congealed.

The recipe makes three loaf pans or one loaf pan and
a large refrigerator dish. Slice, dredge in organic
flour and fry in coconut oil.

Fry until golden and sneak eggs onto the griddle
if desired. 

And talk about economical! I bought two pounds of organic ground pork for a little over $10. Combine it with the Organic Polenta Corn Grits from yesterday at about $3 a pack and you have ton of food that will last through many meals for under $15. The taste of the pork moves into the corn satisfying the palate as if there was lots more of it. Satisfying and inexpensive show why this household favorite has been a staple down through history. Try some yourself. I am sure you will like it and go back for more!

BTW, notice how orange the Amish free range organic eggs are? That’s the way eggs should look! When hens are able to eat green plant material the beta carotene concentrates in the yolk making it dark, sometimes even orange. Free range eggs are bursting with vitamins A, E and minerals you just can’t find in industrial eggs. They are worth the extra price. Because they are nutirent dense, you need less of them to feel full so they are actually more economical. For a delightful discussion on egg yolk color, click here.


If you love Scrapple like I do, or are willing to try it
this book may interest you. For more information,
hover your mouse over the link below:

Country Scrapple

William Woys Weaver traces the origins of an American culinary oddity in Country Scrapple. Few twenty-first-century Americans recall their forebears’ scrapple, a hearty mixture of seasoned ground meat and grain that made delicious the scraps left over from butchering. Served sliced and fried, scrapple fed farm families heartily through dark winter months. Each immigrant group had its own scrapple recipe, and the Pennsylvania Dutch version made from pork and cornmeal came to dominate the scene. Ohioans still revel in goetta, which substitutes oats for corn. Weaver documents recipes for the many regional American variations and deftly explains the differences among them. The book even has a directory of German museums with scrapple-related displays. A comprehensive bibliography documents written sources.

NaBloPoMo 2011

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Filed under: Food,Organic — admin @ 5:05 pm Comments (2)
Dec 28 2011

After a hard day of yard work, it’s time to put another
meal on the table.  No biggie!  All you have to do
is fry some ready made Corn Meal Mush!

Corn Meal Mush is a long forgotten staple for those of limited means. I didn’t have the opportunity to forget it as I had never heard of it until I became friends with the Amish. Served at least once a week, it can be found at breakfast, lunch and/or dinner in an Amish home. Corn Meal Mush is their rice or pasta. I sure wish I had known about the option when I was in college, along with slow cooking nutrient dense food. Rather than existing on chicken noodle soup and Cheerios, I could have had nutritious, inexpensive, easy to prepare meals waiting for me in my refrigerator every day of the week. But, I have made up for lost time. I tell everyone I know about the delights and practicality of Corn Meal Mush and its logical endpoint, Fried Corn Meal Mush.

Organic Polenta Corn Grits make the best Corn Meal Mush.

When I first learned about this “new” and amazing food stuff in the 1980s, we used the corn meal made by Quaker Oats, packed in a smaller cardboard round box, much like the Quaker Oats oatmeal. But, now with the Organic Polenta Corn Grits available, my Corn Meal Mush has extra vibrancy and go power. The coarser grit of the Polenta delivers lots of flavor.

Place 9 cups of filtered water and 3 1/2  cups of Organic Corn meal in a saucepan. Add salt to taste. I add 1 1/2 teaspoons of Real Salt.  Now, here is the trick: you MUST stir it the whole time over medium to medium/high heat. Do not answer the phone. Don’t try to put a dish in the dish washer, just STIR YOUR MUSH. That’s the only hard part. Multitasking is not allowed, if it involves hands.

Eventually the corn will expand and become one with the water. DON’T STOP STIRRING until you take it off the stove. It should be like hot cereal and very homogeneous as it starts to bubble.

At this point, you can call it a day and just have hot cereal. Add butter and maple syrup for the pancake route or cheese and tomato sauce for the traditional Southwestern Polenta route. The good news is if you keep going to make the Fried Corn Meal Mush, you will probably have enough left over for a bowl of hot cereal to reward you for your trouble as well.

So, pour the hot cereal Corn Meal Mush into containers. Loaf pans or refrigerator dishes work well and they DON’T need to be greased.  I usually get three loaf pans or one loaf type pan and one large refrigerator dish. Notice I am showing the saucepan full of soapy water, because once you pour the cereal and scrape the pan, the saucepan needs to be filled with water. If you forget, the cereal bits will turn to concrete and be hard to remove.

Now, let the Mush cool to room temperature, then put it in the refrigerator until it congeals. When solid, slice, dredge all sides in flour and fry in organic coconut oil

Here are the Mush slices when they start and…

…here they are when getting golden.

Dinner’s ready! Yum-Yum and Cheap-Cheap!

The evening we made this for dinner, we had organic coleslaw, bacon and organic scrambled eggs cooked in organic bacon grease. Those of you not familiar with the Weston A. Price philosophy will be shocked at eating eggs cooked in bacon fat like people used to do before the misinformation about low-fat diets became popular.

The truth is, high cholesterol has never been scientifically proven to cause heart disease. In fact, this country’s heart disease skyrocketed when low-fat diets became popular. So did many neurological and neuromuscular problems. Most people do not have enough fat in their diets and they are suffering for it.

Here is a very important PDF about the myths of cholesterol that have been foisted upon the public for many years. And, BTW, those of you suffering from depression may be fat starved. This is serious stuff! You must have good organic fats in your diet to survive and thrive.  There are many articles and endless references on the Weston A. Price web site. Be sure to research this information. When you hear it for the first time, it is difficult to believe.

NaBloPoMo 2011

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Dec 21 2011

In November, 2011, I joined BlogHer.com and haven’t looked back. What fun to be a member of a blogging community that shares life, love and bad things, too! This post by “Dorid,” written last January really stopped me in my tracks. What heartfelt advice. And…how nice to have a list in case something happens and heads are not clear. Just get out this post and start plodding ahead…

BlogHer.com’s “Dorid”

How to Prepare for Homelessness

I’m no stranger to homelessness. Sadly, so many people are too familiar with it these days. Battered women, families who’ve lost their income, men who’ve lost their jobs of 25 years and have searched until their unemployment has run out to no avail.  The economy and the social situation in this country seem tailor made to result in homelessness.

In my case, it’s merely red tape.  I’ve been out of work as a result of chronic illness (Lupus) for years, and rely on my social security and housing grants to make ends meet, but this month I was faced with a clash between the apartment complex and the Housing Authority that threatened to leave me without shelter.  As I went about making arrangements to be homeless, I realized that there were a number of things that could be done to minimize the impact of homelessness and make it more likely to be a temporary rather than chronic situation.  For some, homelessness becomes a trap.  I wasn’t about to let it become a trap for me and my family.

 How to Prepare for Homelessness

1. Sort through all your papers. Know what’s really important: ID, legal records, school records, social security and insurance information top the list. There are also some publication-ready critiques I have taken out of my file cabinet (which is now empty) and into a small carry-file.

2. Sort through any possessions that have sentimental value. This one is harder for me. The last time I was without shelter, I at least had my car. Last time I was without shelter was when the girls and I moved from Buffalo to Florida in ’03. Our car broke down a few weeks before the move, and we had to sort everything into three suitcases. I’m afraid we could be there again.

3. Figure out how much you can reasonably carry. There’s a reason you see so many homeless with shopping carts. When I had a van, I was able to keep things like the TV, dishes, and small appliances. If I’m out on New Years Day, I won’t have room for any of those things.

4. Which brings me to the next must: Maximize your carrying space. Rolling suitcases, small shopping/laundry carts and the like increase what you can save. It also makes it more tiring to carry and drag around.

5. Know where the motels, shelters, soup kitchens and food pantries are, and what you need to have/ do to get in. If you’re looking for a shelter, call in advance to find out when they start to line up and if you need some sort of referral to get in. Also make sure that you know what ages and genders they take. Some places only take families, some only children, some only men, and so on. Try to plan around breaking up families… that part might be hard.

6. Have transportation. Get a monthly bus pass. Some agencies will provide them for the homeless. Sometimes, however, any money you get should go toward transportation. Having mobility means having choices.

7. Don’t LOOK homeless. Looking homeless is looking vulnerable. If you look like you’re shopping (or on vacation) by staying clean and fairly well dressed, you’re less likely to be harassed or robbed, and it’ll be easier to impress prospective landlords.

8. Put your money in a roof. Most landlords want to see you pay no more than 1/3 of your income in rent. Let’s face it: Hotels cost a lot more than that, and so do most apartment homes in decent neighborhoods… at least if you’re on Social Security. That doesn’t mean YOU have to agree to that. I’ve paid 1/2 of my monthly income in rent before, and more than that on a few occasions. The thing is, if a landlord lets you in with that little income, he’s more likely to be a slum lord type. If you’re well-dressed and well-spoken, however, you can sometimes convince some of the nicer places to allow you to rent despite the risk.

9. Prepare to be homeless longer than you think. Stupid people think that being homeless means you live cheaper. Unfortunately that’s not true. Hotels on cold nights when you can’t get a place, or buying a tent or the like: those get expensive. Only people who have no income will lie under a bridge in below freezing weather. The rest of us spend most of our income keeping our kids warm and bathed. A sleazy hotel with the basics costs about $200- $250/week, almost twice the rent for a studio here. Saving money when you’re homeless is a lot tougher than most people think.

Join a gym. OK, this sounds counter-intuitive. Some gyms have free short term memberships. Some insurance has free memberships included. Being a gym member means free hot showers and bathrooms.

11. Find a home for your animals. Pets don’t do well on the road, although most homeless I know take better care of their dogs than they do themselves. Cats, birds, and other pets don’t do as well on the streets as dogs might, and shelters don’t take animals. Long term stay hotels may or may not take pets. Best to look forward if you’re at risk for homelessness and find a good place for your pet in advance.

12. Find something to do besides sit on the street corner with a sign. (That will just get you arrested anyway). Volunteer. After all, you’ve got no where else to go, and doing something good for others will keep your mind off your own plight. It’s also important to keep relationships with individuals. Humans are social animals, and being homeless can be isolating.

13. Pack mostly what you need NOW. That means you don’t need to be using up valuable space in your cart or suitcase for that cute little swimsuit if it’s January. You can worry about finding another cute little swimsuit in summer.

14. Keep your cell phone on. Communication is almost as important as shelter. You’re going to find home searches a lot easier with a working phone. If you’re looking for work, having a phone is vital. Go to a cheaper plan, or go to one of those local carriers if you have to, but keep the lines of communication open.

15. Remember to pack your self esteem. Being homeless can happen to anyone, especially in this economy. And yes, it’s going to be crushing and painful and stressful and ugly. But if you go into it feeling defeated than you’re beaten, and it’ll be harder to get back up. Remember, you do NOT deserve this, and you’re worth better. Keeping that in mind will help you get through this, and will be invaluable when it comes to negotiating homeless services or acquiring a new home.

Dorid’s post is so poignant and direct. When hardship happens, direct is good, because many decisions have to be made quickly.

Dorid regularly posts at her blog, The Radula. I love her sharp wit, displayed in even the name of her blog. A radula, she explains with the illustrated panache of National Geographic, “…is a rasping, flexible tongue-like organ in the mouth of gastropods.”


To donate to Dorid use:


Please note: PayPal now disallows the use of the “donate” button except for registered NFPs with tax exempt status. Please select the “Personal” tab, then select “Gift” and use the email address doridoidae@gmail.com

Thank you!


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Dec 17 2011

What’s wrong with this picture? Absolutely nothing.
That’s what wrong with it, as far as the FDA is concerned.

Here’s a family during Colonial times, sitting together outside in the summer. They are sharing the day while enjoying refreshments under shady trees in the garden. Looking closely, we see a gentleman, an officer in the military, relaxing with his upper class wife and children while the milk maid tends to milking the family cow. While the older boy enjoys his milk with mother, the younger boy is eagerly waiting for his glass by getting close and talking with the milkmaid. He leans on the table that holds the glasses waiting to be filled with nutritive fresh milk straight from the cow. Milk is the substance that has sustained humankind throughout known history.

We are now disconnected from the origins of our food, because we live dependent upon large industrial agricultural complexes. We are out of touch with how our food is treated every step of the way from the place where it is raised, to where it is slaughtered, packaged and distributed. Losing sight of these steps from farm to mouth is dangerous, because if we don’t know what we are putting into our bodies and the bodies of our families, we are not responsibly seeing to their health and happiness. Lots of distasteful things are happening in between the source of our food and when it is presented for consumption at the dinner table.

For most of human history, cows and their milk
have been interdependent with people in all cultures.

Because the public is becoming more aware of what is happening to our food supply, many farmers have converted over to strict organic farming to answer the public’s demand for more accountability. The problem is, that so many people are demanding clean food, that organic farms are starting to take a representative market share away from giant industrial operations. And, under the guise of “protecting the consumer,” it seems regulatory agencies are provided oversight where it is not require to shut down small farms and give back the market share to giant agribusinesses.

Quiet, rural farmers that sell organic food directly to the public are having FBI Swat teams wake them up in the morning and pull them and their children out of bed. If you are not aware that extreme measures are being taken against the farmers who are trying to save our wholesome foods, then go here. The movie Farmageddon is a wake-up for us all. If we are limited to the chemical foods government regulators say are OK, but forbidden from eating healthy, organic foods grown naturally, then we, as a people and as a nation, will continue to be malnourished and ill.

Organic Pastures is one of the largest distributors of fresh, wholesome raw milk in the country. To visit Mark McAfee, his family and their life’s work, go here.

Mark McAfee has been involved in a government sting
operation that was just resolved on December 16, 2011.

Although raw milk is actually much safer than pasteurized and homogenized milk, government agencies are dumping hundreds of gallons and shutting down small farms over trumped up charges without valid claims. By filing charges, valid or not, the farm must cease operation. This is a terrible hardship for all concerned, farmer and consumer. The cows must still be milked and the farm operation must continue although daily sales are suspended.  In the case of Mark McAfee, the cessation of operations lasted a month.  Can you imagine the financial loss?

We all need to become more aware of those trying to control our food systems. The information is freely available on the Internet and research on the issue is well worth your time and trouble.  Many of the illnesses that plague you and your family may be easily ameliorated with fresh, natural organic produce, grass fed and free range meats and raw milk dairy products…as long as they are available and we work to keep them so.


NaBloPoMo 2011

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Filed under: Family,Heart — admin @ 3:51 pm Comments (0)
Dec 15 2011

Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, EBTs, have replaced
the Food Stamp vouchers that were used for years.

When someone close to you dies and passes over, the biggest shock is that the world still goes on. As you sit on a park bench, numbly trying to collect yourself and make sense of things, there are children gaily playing on sunny days where everyone is the world is happy…except you.

And when my family’s income shifted and then became non existent, I was amazed how similar feelings of being on the sidelines kept me separate from the flow of what everyone else was doing. Once again, there were pretty summer days and children playing while friends seemed to be doing the most frivolous things. Life was going on, whether or not we knew what we were eating for our next meal.

For example, while we were so hungry and wondering what to do to move forward, we interacted with people actually worried about matching new china to drapes at their ski cabin in Vail, Colorado. While I was trying to make $400 in food stamps last a month to feed a family, I had to listen politely to friends telling me their vacation plans. I really felt like I was on the outside looking in and it was a very isolating feeling.

Living on the amount of food that Food Stamps provide
is very difficult. In 2008, we were on Food Stamps and
believe me, it was a big challenge to stay healthy.

And so, things are better now, but I have not forgotten where we were not so long ago. That’s why, I want to share with you who might be facing similar hardships, or who may desire a better nutritional life while living on a fixed income. I find that many of the skills people had in times past have been forgotten and rather than reinventing the wheel, you are welcome to rely on what my family learned. We could have lived much better with more bang for the buck if we had known, what I am going to share with you, from the get-go.

By the way, we did not learn all of this by ourselves.  Much of it was taught by two friends who understood our situation, perhaps better than we did at the time. These two devoted “angels” came over every Sunday and brought food and cooked it for us so we learned to eat nutrient dense food in order to eat less and enrich our bodies more. The methods were so effective, we didn’t stop once things eased up financially. Now, we have been following the tenets of the Weston A. Price diet for three years, feeling really good and spending MUCH less than we used to on food.

Here’s a shocker! These poor children from the Depression
had less food than you do, but were probably better nourished
than you are. We all need to eat from the Way-Back Machine!

Because of our two friends we learned to include more probiotics, that is more living culture of microorganisms in our food to help us digest and use the nutrients in our nutrient dense food. Did you know that the key to health is the number and kinds of microorganisms in your gut? Each of us should have about three pounds of microorganisms in our intestines to help us digest our food. Most of us don’t have anywhere close to that. So, we suffer with non-nutritive food and an inability to properly digest resulting in modern day malnourishment.

To be healthy, active and wholly engaged in life like
these two requires functional digestive tracts
full of microorganisms.

But, hey! Don’t take my word for it.  Did you know there are whole web sites devoted to the study of the micro-flora of the intestines? Yeah! it’s true. They even have a BLOG.  Go here to see and read this:

“The growing awareness that the functional integrity and microbial residents of the intestinal tract may play a mediating role in both skin inflammation and emotional behavior has shed further light on yet another dimension to the relationship between dermatology and mental health.”  

So, if I had to make a list of what to do for the paycheck
challenged, what would it be? Well, thinking about it
tonight, I would say:

1. If you are still drinking tap water, I would stop it and drink only filtered, reverse osmosis water with 40,000 Volts! minerals added.

2. With the money I had, I would buy a gallon of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar and a quart of unfilterd raw honey. I would go to Patricia’s Bragg’s website and read up on what to do with both of them in Ms. Bragg’s book Apple Cider Vinegar Miracle Health System.

3. I would buy only organic potatoes, organic corn and organic pasta for my starches. Avoid non-organic potatoes, corn and wheat like the plague.

4. Buy organic cabbage and make natural, probiotic laden sauerkraut from the recipe found in the cookbook Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

5. I would buy good organic whole grain bread. Without an organic bakery or making organic bread at home, I would look for Ezekiel Bread, made from organic sprouted wheat. It is often found in the freezer section.

6. Buy raw milk and make kefir and yogurt, once again to increase the number of probiotics in the gut. Instructions for making kefir from raw milk can be found on the Your Family Cow web site.

7. Buy small organic, grass fed cuts of beef and organic free range chicken and turkey and make soup with organic vegetables, frozen if necessary in winter and good water, see Step #1.

8. I would buy organic coconut oil from Tropical Traditions and take one tablespoon everyday as a natural antibiotic to help with a compromised immune system that sometimes comes from financial stress. Now is the time to stay healthy to be able to dig your way out. Also, it is better to cook with coconut oil, rather than olive oil or butter, because coconut oil has healthier properties at high temperatures.

9. I would avoid canned food, opting for frozen to stay away from food that has been in contact with metal for prolonged periods of time.  This is especially true with tomatoes. Eat tomatoes that have been canned in glass, not metal, even if the cans have been coated.

10. I would stop eating ALL restaurant food. Unless the restaurant is organic and provably so, I wouldn’t eat there. Prolonged food storage requires additives and I believe those chemicals are not good for us. Many prepared foods actually contained neuro-excito toxins that over stimulate our brains to think food tastes good when it really doesn’t. That is how MSG functions and why it is found in so many prepared foodstuffs. And besides! Think of how expensive restaurant food is compared to buying the ingredients and making your own.

So, that’s the list. If you are interested in improving
your health and fattening your wallet, just do a few of
these at a time. Any change will be for the better with
the favorable results quickly noticeable


See what you think and let me know if this interests you!


NaBloPoMo 2011

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NaBloPoMo November 2012