How We Said “I LOVE YOU” using Raw Cocao Chocolate Truffles

As we continue to learn more about Raw Food, Cristina likes to remind us Raw food doesn’t need to be just vegetables and fruit. Have fun with it and find replacements for the exact type of food you might be looking to replace the most – SWEETS! Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and a variety of other holidays can often be challenging when trying to stick to a healthy lifestyle. The temptations and treats are at a high and it can be hard to pass up all of those treats that co-workers bring into the office or the kids bring home from school. What we’ve learned can help the most is to have an alternative on hand. And while keeping sweets should be kept to a minimum, chocolates like the ones we are highlighting below can help give you and your family a healthy alternative to use in moderation and when those strongest temptations are knocking on the door. In fact, we’ve found that when keeping snacks and treats like the ones below are available our kids are very willing to give up the processed packaged type we most want them to avoid! Here is a great recipe to try and some fun new ingredients you can easily find and keep on stock at home!

Health and Blessings, Elaine

Raw food doesn’t need to be just vegetables, you can have fun with it. Raw Foods are LIVING FOODS! A raw foods diet is made up of fresh, whole, living, plant-based foods: fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds, which are consumed in their natural state full of enzymes, nutrients, antioxidants and minerals. Eating raw foods allows your body to cleanse, release buried toxins and drop stubborn weight. This all pays a powerful role in allowing nature’s healing properties to take charge. A raw food diet will detox the body as well as the mind in turn free use from harmful habits by allowing us to set up new and positive behaviors.  Here are some notes on two of the ingredients used in this recipe.

Raw Cacao – Raw Cacao is answer for the natural sweet tooth. Cacao is packed full of iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Raw means it is in its unprocessed state filled with beneficial nutrients.   Cacao is the highest whole food source of magnesium, which also happens to be the most deficient mineral in the diet of modern cultures. Magnesium relaxes muscles, improves bowel movements and relaxes the heart. The dark chocolate antioxidants have been clinically proven to dissolve plaque built up in the arteries.

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Raw Agave – Comparing agave nectar and sugar, Raw Agave is much lower on the glycemic index, which measures how much sugar in a food or drink interact with blood sugar in the body.  Raw Agave is also known boosting the immune system and help increase energy levels.

 Miniature Raw Chocolate Truffle Recipe

Truffle Mix:

4 Tablespoons soft Coconut Butter/Manna

2 Tablespoons pure Raw Agave

4 Tablespoons fine Coconut Flour

2 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder

1 ½ Tablespoons of Crushed Pecans (you crush whole pecans or any nut with a mortar)

1/8 Teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of Sea salt

  1. In a glass bowl mix coconut butter, agave, vanilla, and salt. Stir mixture well.
  2. Fold in cacao powder, coconut flour and crushed pecans with your hands.
  3. Form in to small dime size round balls and set aside.

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Liquid Raw Chocolate Dip:

4 Tablespoons Pure Raw Agave Nectar

1 cup Cacao Butter

7 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder

¼ Cup of Crushed Cacoa Nibs

Pinch of White Sea Salt

  1. Crush Cacao butter with mortar and place in a Bain Maire or double boiler on the stove on low heat until cacao butter becomes liquid.
  2. Stir in cacao powder, agave nectar and salt and continue to stir.
  3. Remove the stove and place truffle balls in liquid chocolate.
  4. Quickly and delicately turn the balls in the liquid until surface is coated evenly.
  5. Have a clean plate ready. Place coated truffle in cacao nibs and set on clean plate.
  6. Continue until each ball is coated in chocolate dip and cacao nibs. To set: place truffles in fridge for ten minutes.

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OH  – and with the leftover chocolate, cut up some of your favorite fruit, dip in the chocolate, and freeze!!

“When you eat clean, it calms your stomach. When you calm your stomach, you quiet your mind, and when you have a quiet mind, you can listen to your heart – and your heart speaks the TRUTH.” -Cristina

Fields of Athenry welcomes Cristina Michael to our farm team!

Here at Fields of Athenry we couldn’t get by without the help of our farm family and staff.  We are a small family farm with just a few employees but each of those employees brings a big 160120_FOA-TURKEY-638_LR6_1personality and talent we just couldn’t do without. Recently, with the upswing in our prepared Farm-to-Table meals and ongoing Bone Broth and Meat Stock preparation we recently brought on a new team member, Cristina Michael. She will not only continue to be a side-kick in the kitchen, cooking away with me during the week, but she will also be sharing her love of food – Raw Food mostly – here on the blog! Please take a look at Cristina’s story below including one of her favorite Raw Food juicing recipes, and join me in welcoming Cristina to the Fields of Athenry team and our Farming for Bernie blog! -Elaine

INTRODUCING CRISTINA MICHAEL

Growing up in a Spanish household, my love for food developed at an early age. My mother provided a home where we would often gather around a table of delicious food with the people we loved. When I graduated high school, I decided to journey to Spain and truly immerse myself in the Spanish culture.

While I was in Spain for a total of three years, one of my first and most immediate impressions was how happy everyone was. As I began travelling all around the country I met lots of different people with different views and backgrounds but they all held a common lifestyle around food. From the preparation to the eating of a meal, to taking the time out of their day to enjoy it with people they love, this culture and way of life became near and dear to me. In a sense they held food and the time they spent eating it sacred. As you can imagine I consequently grew an expanding love for fresh home cooked food and good company. I can still say that the best seafood I ever had was in Spain. Pulpo a la Gallega is one of my favorites and I love the simplicity of how it is made: fresh octopus, potatoes, olive oil, paprika and salt.

After 3 great years, I came back to the states and started a family. In raising my children, I found it very hard to find the time to cook many of the traditional dinners I had grown to love. Not only did I stop making the time for it, it also just became so easy, with 4 kids mind you, to make microwavable dinners, buy fast food, and serve prepackaged lunches. My kids were often sick throughout most of the winter months and were always immediately sick when they came across someone with a cold or the flu. I thought it was normal and that all kids were germy: “kids just get sick” right?  However, my patience was wearing thin. I was wasting my time and money at doctor’s offices. Doctors would write a prescription and that would be the end of it, at least until the next round of colds or flu would hit it. It was quickly becoming a never-ending cycle and I needed to make a change for my family and myself.

CM Making ChiliSlowly, I started to eat healthier and began to take care of my body by also working out again. I started to realize what I ate greatly affected how I felt. The better I ate the better I performed! And, oh boy did that open a new chapter in my love for food. Now I also began to pay attention to where my food came from, how it was prepared, and how the food I was now also fueling my family with was having the same positive effects on their health. It was a big turning point in my life and career.

From that point forward, I have continued to merge food and healthy living together.  I sharpened my culinary skills at L’Acadamie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg and Bethesda and worked under multiple chefs including the Washington Capitals and Wizards head chef Robbie Wood. I am now a certified Raw Food Chef and Holistic Health Coach from the Diet for Living Center in New Mexico, and I am furthering my education by participating in a 150 hours Professional Plant-based Culinary Course taught by Rouxbe Cooking School.

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The foods we eat can be either the safest and most powerful forms of medicine or the slowest forms of poison. Raw foods are simple living foods, found in nature, unprocessed and unchanged. Foods in their untampered state are custom made by nature with the exact specifications to make a healthy life possible. My passion is to share with the world my knowledge of how food can heal and prevent illness. I am motivated to change the way people understand food, body and health and the importance of moderation and balance. I know many of you are hungry for a fresh healthy approach and I am blessed to work with such a devoted hardworking team at Fields of Athenry. We are here to help and guide you on your path to wellness and as part of blogging together I will be highlighting recipes using raw foods, vegetables, and other healthy fun treats that are friendly to all taste buds.

When you eat clean, it calms your stomach. When you calm your stomach, you quiet your mind, and when you have a quiet mind, you can listen to your heart – and your heart speaks the TRUTH.” – CM

One of my most favorite food passions is making Raw Juice or what I like to call “liquid nutrition”! One of the most frequent tools I use in my kitchen is the Omega 8006 Juicer; a masticating juicer which extracts juice by pressing and grinding at low speeds to avoid added heat. Since masticating juicers run at slower speeds you get less oxidation and more nutrients when you use them. A little known fact: when you heat food over 118 degrees, you lose 80% of the nutrients, antioxidants, minerals, and 50% of the proteins. The juicer in essence does all the “processing”, pulling the liquid nutrients from the fiber, so that your body doesn’t have to do the work. Raw juices supply oxygen to the cells of the body, allowing our bodies to heal itself by virtue of nature’s law.

160120_FOA-JUICING-488_LR6_1The Omega Juicer is also one of the easiest juicers to clean with just a 2-3 minute clean up period (hello, mom of 4 over here!) and has 10-year warranty. And while it may seem like a big initial investment at $250-$300, did you know that’s just the equivalent of one less Starbucks coffee at $5 per week for a year? And trust me, with more of this juice and less of that caffeine and sugar you’ll feel plenty energized to not even notice!

I’ll talk more about raw foods, juicing, and what else a juicer can do for you in upcoming posts but in the meantime if you have any questions on the brand I chose or why I love juicing, send me a note in the comments. If you currently own one or are thinking of giving it a try, check out this easy recipe below:

Hippocrates Juice – With spinach, tomatoes, peppers, celery, carrots, garlic and an optional kick of jalapeño pepper this juice is full of beneficial nutrients and vitamins.

Serves: 2 – 16 oz portions Active Time: 20 mins Total Time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 5 large carrots
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, or to taste
  • Splash of Apple cider vinegar (optional)

Directions:

To prepare the juice, wash all of the ingredients.

Cut and deseed the peppers, peel the garlic and cut the jalapeño in half. Depending on the size of your carrots, you may also want to cut these into half or thirds. Note: Depending on your spice level preference, you may also want to remove the seeds from the jalapeño.

Put all of the ingredients through a juicer and Serve immediately!

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Benefits of Bone Broth and Momma B’s Mushroom & Parsley Chicken Dinner

As we’ve mentioned before our journey into farming started with the story of our daughter Bernadette and the discovery of the wonderful healing ability with a well-made (and tasting) Bone Broth can make.1P3A8805

It truly is the cornerstone of so much of what we do here at the farm. Staring with the animals we raise to how we feed them, making our broth year round is a huge part of what we do for our own family and our customers.  And while we definitely advocate drinking it straight on a regular and daily basis (try it instead of coffee), it is also a key component in the recipes we make here at the farm. One of our favorite winter traditions and specialties are our Fields of Athenry pre-made meals.

FARM-TO-TABLE MEALS

These are true Farm-to-Table meals made in our kitchen using our meats and our broths as a base. While we do stock quite a few meals year round, typically in these winter months we add to our mix so our customers have even more selection for an easy comforting meal any night of the week. From our Chilis, Stews and Ragus, to our Shepherds Pie and Turkey Pot Pie we can barely keep these healthy and gluten-free meals in stock during the 3 days we are open each week.

Below, we will share with you a simple chicken dish you can make with our broths as a base. While this is not a dish we currently stock in our store, it’s a favorite go-to on our family table. It comes together quickly and with basic ingredients that pack a flavor punch it’s one we think you can easily add to your weekly meal plans.

But before we get to that, we thought it important, with the whole “Bone Broth Diet” with being the rave right now, to note the differences in broths and the benefits of what they can do.

NOT ALL BROTHS ARE CREATED EQUAL

Our Bernadette’s and Mom’s Liquid Gold Bone Broths are simmered or “rolled” for 24-48 hours. The long cooking times make this a much denser richer soup full of nutrients. Our beef and lamb are all pastured-raised and grass fed – there is no “corn finishing” here. Our chickens are also pastured raised and eat straight from the land as well. The supplemental feed they receive is a non-GMO, no-corn, no-soy feed making these meats truly outstanding for the healthiest broths. We also are unique to many bone broths with our addition of organ meats – this gives both our Bernadette’s Broth and Liquid Gold superior nutrient value. Whether you are looking to stay continually healthy, have aches and pains in your joints, or nursing the common cold, this is just the broth your mama ordered and not the kind sold in box or can in your local grocery store.

Now for those of you looking to heal a leaky gut or other intestinal issues this “bone

Meat Stock Complete

Meat Stock Complete

broth” may be too rich for you. You may instead want to try our GAPS Approved “meat stock”.  Meats stocks are simmered and rolled for a much shorter time, 3 hours for chicken and 6-8 hours for beef, with just a hand full of peppercorns and a focus on meatier bones versus organ meats. We also specialize in a meat stock for babies and young children using barely any seasoning, just a sprinkle of salt. Check out this article from our good friend Monica Corrado on the difference between Bone Broth and Meat Stock for even more explanation.

Overall, both broths and stocks have many benefits. Here is a round-up of the top reasons we make broth a year-round staple in our home and shop:

  1. Heal and seal your gut. The gelatin in the bone broth (found in the knuckles, feet, and other joints) helps seal up holes in intestines. This can help cure chronic stomach issues and even some food intolerances.
  2. Protect your joints. The chondroitin sulfatein bone broth has been shown to help prevent osteoarthritis.
  3. Look younger.Bone broth is a rich source of collagen. It can help make your skin, hair, and nails look just as radiant as it did in your younger years.
  4. Sleep better, and better memory. The glycine in bone broth has been shown in several studies to help people sleep better and improve memory.
  5. Immune support. With a high concentration of minerals it’s said that bone marrow can help strengthen your immune system. A Harvard study even showed that some people with auto-immune disorders experienced a relief of symptoms when drinking bone broth, some even achieving a complete remission.
  6. Stronger bones. The phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium in the bones seeps out into the broth leaving you with the essential building blocks for healthy bones.
  7. More energy. This superfood is so packed full of nutrients it also gives you a boost in energy!
  8. It’s very economical! Use can use everything to put a batch together! Use leftover chicken carcasses, soup bones, and veggies going bad in your fridge!

USE HIGH QUALITY INGREDIENTS TO MAKE A NUTRIENT DENSE MEAL

To gain maximum nutrition and benefit from your meals it’s best to start with high quality products and then use the addition of other quality and nutritious ingredients to make simple yet nutritious high quality meals. Think about it, what makes our broths and stocks so superior is the quality of the product from our own livestock. Below, we highlight one of our family go-to meals. This comes together quickly and while it does use fresh produce and herbs they are basics you will likely have on hand and can find year round in any grocery store.

It’ s important to note that the mix of mushrooms and parsley are done so for a few key health benefits, especially in the winter months.  Mushrooms are great for increasing vitamin D levels and improved immune system function. For our version we picked up an organic mushroom blend of baby bella, stiitake and oyster from the local grocery store.  Parsley is an often over-looked herb. Thought of mostly as a garnish fresh parsley is one of a few available year round and an excellent of vitamin K and vitamin C as well as a good source of vitamin A, folate, and iron. With it’s immune boosting properties and anti-oxidant properties it’s a great flavor AND health addition to this meal.

Momma B’s Mushroom Parsley Chicken Dinner

Serves: 2-4  Total Time: 45

Ingredients:

  • 2 Chicken Breasts cut in half = 4 Pieces
  • 1/2 cup FOA Liquid Gold chicken broth
  • ½ – 1 cup of your Favorite Mushroom Blend
  • Chopped Parsley to generously cover
  • FOA Premier Pink Salt and Pepper

Steps:

Preheat oven for 350 degrees. Lay the boneless/skinless chicken breasts in 8×8 baking dish. Ladle the chicken stock over the boneless breast. broth on chicken

Cover the breast in mushrooms and add season with Pepper and Pink Salt to taste. Smother in chopped parsley. Chicken Mushroom Parsley ready for oven

Place in preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes or until finished to your liking. When serving be sure to ladle the juices from the bottom over the parsley and mushroomed covered chicken.

Chicken Mushroom Parsley Cooked

A quick, delicious, & pretty dish.

Serves well with Salad, Mashed Potatoes, and Asparagus. If you can tolerate dairy, a sprinkle of Romano cheese adds a lovely finish.

Health and Blessings,

The FOA Team

The ongoing journey towards Good. Better. Best.

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Good, better, best, is a motto Dr. Pete Hilgartner uses and one I have put into practice as I travel the road of improving our family’s healthy habits for daily living. I know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging life can get when trying to change how you eat especially when trying to implement the diets and foods from books like Nourishing Traditions, GAPS, The Paleo Approach or The Paleo Solution. Each of those books and their relative authors are just oozing with knowledge and real-life solutions to implement; but where to start? Follow along to hear our journey and some tips on beginning one for yourself.

Positive attitudes in turning over a new lease on life can make all the difference in the difficult world of chasing away the bad habits and convenience of the drive-thru burger joint or the sweet driven coffee shops. How can a positive attitude transform our eating habits? The better our attitude, the more likely good will come out of difficult challenges. By taking the bull by the horns and saying, “I’ve got this. I can do this.”, you make the commitment to change a little each day in what you allow or don’t allow into your diet.

Good.

My family’s first huge commitment was a 6 week challenge of no dairy, no bread, no gluten, no grains in any way, shape or form. We did it, all of us together. Then as our health started transforming we made more changes, conquered more challenges and BAM!, we haven’t looked back because it feels good to feel so good!

Better.

As we work through the good, better, best approach some things in food prep came easier than others to me. After 13 years of working on Nourishing Traditions, GAPS and Paleo style cooking, I recognized there was so much for me to learn. Two areas I really needed help with was fermentation and culturing dairy. It was high time for me to invest in my knowledge base so I signed up to take Monica Corrado’s Cooking for Well – Being Teacher Training, Level 1. I flew out to Colorado in early 2014.

2014 MC Class

Some of the 2014 Cooking for Well Being Class in Colorado. From L to R, Kristen of FoodRenegade, Monica Corrado (fearless leader), Alex of FeedMeLikeYouMeanIt and yours truly!

It was a power packed mind blowing learning experience and I loved it! I felt a little more confident in those areas that gave me trouble. I not only learned the techniques Monica teaches but I had a better understanding of the why. In my enthusiasm I invited Monica to teach a course here at Fields of Athenry Farm. She agreed!

Best!

From June 24th thru June 30th, 2015, I had the honor and privilege of working side by side with Monica, 18 amazing students from all over the country, and my daughter Bernadette. Bernadette was Monica’s side kick and she did a tremendous job in having all of Monica’s needed groceries and utensils ready, preliminary food prep, and so much more.

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Monica starting off the day with energy and laughs!

Monica has an approach to life that definitely embraces the attitude that what you put out to others and into your food, circles back to each and every one of us either positively or negatively.

Monica goes for the positive and is addicting. Food is holy, food is sacred and so are we. We are what we eat and we can either become negative, sick, worn out, wrinkled, OR healthy, more vibrant, glowing, fun loving, energized, full of life. It is up to us. Personally, I choose Monica’s positive way. I spent the week embracing her teaching again and continued to learn more.

Good, Better, Best and still growing, still transforming!

She taught us about saturated fats and why they are good for us. She went into explaining cooking with oils, culturing dairy, making Creme Fraiche (yum, yum, yum!!!!), butter, yogurts, whey. The class involves learning an in-depth knowledge behind nutrient dense foods, differences between meat stocks and bone broths, the science behind marinating meat, lacto-fermentation, preparing deep green leafy vegetables, soaking and preparing flours, whole grains, nuts, seeds. She teaches the why, when, and how all in an interactive way that keeps you craving more knowledge! Knowledge we hope to share with you here at the blog and over at the farm.

Let’s start with Liver Shots.

Yup, you heard me, liver shots! I know, I know, for many the thought of eating liver may seem unappealing, undesirable, and just down right icky. And yes, I could have started with something seemingly easier to incorporate into your daily life. But I’m here to tell you LIVER SHOTS are both GOOD FOR YOU and EASY to incorporate into your daily life. Hear me out.

Liver Shot

The class about to partake in a liver shot!

Beef Liver, Lamb Liver, Pork Liver, Chicken Liver in that order are nutritional powerhouses, chalk full of amino acids, minerals, vitamins and more just waiting to pump your body full of vitality and nutrient goodness. (Just ask the coyotes that go after my livestock why they plunge into the organ meat first when they feed their young! Even they know how rich and beneficial organ meat really is.)

As the fun saying goes this is the OFFAL Truth! Organ meats rock, offering B complex, including B12 and folate (folic acid), trace minerals such as copper, zinc and chromium, Vitamin D, CoQ10 (essential for energy production and cardiac function; pre-formed vitamin A (retinol), vitamin K2 and so much more.

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Me and some organ meat. Just another day in the kitchen!

Somehow we have gotten so far away from the good stuff that muscle meat has become the American food of choice. While muscle meat is yummy, it is organ meat that rocks as the true KING in nutritional value. Silly us. We are missing out on what native cultures who have maintained traditional diets have known forever – that is: eat real whole foods from plants and animals.  Take note these cultures were free from disease that plague our societies today in record numbers (think cancer, infertility, diabetes, depression, heart disease, the list goes on).

See the Westin A. Price Foundation for more, because Dr. Prices studies are phenomenal! Fields of Athenry Farm is a Weston A. Price Foundation inspired farm.

Feeling fatigued – take a liver shot today!

Here is how: Slightly freeze your liver for ease in cutting. Lay the slightly frozen liver on your cutting board and begin to make small, literally pill size, easy to swallow pieces. Place the “shots” onto parchment paper on flat plate or cookie sheet and place in freezer. Once fully frozen, transfer the liver shots to a tightly sealed bag or container.

Single Liver pill

Single Liver Shot – Simple and Easy!

Now the fun part. Each morning or before you go to bed pop one in and swallow with a big swig of water or if you’re really feeling adventurous send it down with hearty beet kvass! And when you do – comment below or send us a message and let us know how you feel. Keep in mind this is an extremely rich meat so don’t go overboard. As my grandmother would say, “moderation in everything keeps us in balance.”

So Beet Kvass, you now ask, what is that? Beet  Kvass, as explained in Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions (in my opinion a must have book to fast track to your optimal health) is a drink known for both it’s medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Think about it, beets are LOADED with nutrients making it an excellent blood tonic. A simple 4-oz glass morning and night enhances regularity, aids digestion, alkalizes the blood and cleanses the liver. Just like the Liver pills above, it’s an easy recipe to implement into your daily life.

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A jar of Beet Kvass perfection!

BEET KVASS (recipe adapted from page 610 in Nourishing Traditions)

Ingredients:

  • 3 Medium or 2 Large organic beets, pealed and chopped in quarters/big chunks
  • 1/4 cup whey (use the link to check out a great video from our friend Sarah at the Healthy Home Economist)
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • Filtered water (no chlorine)

Directions: Place beets, whey and salt into a 2-quart glass container. Fill the container with filtered water. Stir well before covering tightly and securely. Keep the container at room temperature for 2 days before moving to the refrigerator.

The key to this recipe is to make sure you do not cut your beets too small, and certainly do not shred them! Small pieces will cause the beets to create too much juice and therefore ferment too rapidly. You’ll be left with an alcohol similar to “Poitin” – an illegal Irish moonshine! (P.S. that is not the goal here!).

Once your Kvass is ready, enjoy a 4 oz glass twice a day and continue on your path to…

Good, Better, Best.

Monica has challenged me to be the very best version of myself. And I pass that challenge to you. Positive attitude! It can make all the difference in the world when properly nourishing from the inside out.

fun class pic

The Cooking for Well Being 2015 Class – Fields of Athenry Farm

Additional resources:

Monica Corrado’s cookbook – With Love From Grandmother’s Kitchen

Dr Natasha Campbell-McBrided developed concept of GAPS (Gut And Psychology Syndrome) – http://www.doctor-natasha.com/dr-natasha.php

Additional Info and Resources on GAPS – http://www.gapsdiet.com/

The Paleo Mom Dr. Sarah Ballantyne PhD – http://www.thepaleomom.com/

Rob Wolf – Author of The Paleo Solution – http://robbwolf.com/

Alex Lewin – Author of Real Food Fermentation and the blog http://feedmelikeyoumeanit.blogspot.com/ 

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“To Love, To Life, To Family, and the time to enjoy them.” Part 2

“To Love, To Life, To Family, and the time to enjoy them.”

Part 2

Photography by Hay Alexander

It was one of those nights where I was exhausted. I had a million things running through my head. Was Bernadette getting better? Was she going to crash again? Did I write down that last Turkey order? I hope those sly foxes or cunning coyotes don’t find their way into the Turkey pens or I will be in big trouble! And then by some divine intervention, I had some sensation in my breast. So I felt around, like I am supposed to do on a frequent basis when you get to be my age, and something was there. It was in my right breast. There was a lump. It wasn’t there before but it is definitely there now. And it is big! I thought to myself, “How on earth have I not noticed this? How long has it been there? When was my last mammogram?” The stream of thoughts went on forever.

The next morning I woke up and told my husband that I needed to get a mammogram. So I did. Of course they found what I could feel, but they needed to see more. I needed a needle aspiration. I was nervous but there was so much going on around the farm that I needed to stay strong. I couldn’t show my fears. The needle aspiration came and went and then I waited and waited and waited for what seemed like FOREVER!

I did what I could, staying focused on running the farm and all the turkey orders!  November, December, January, and finally February rolled around for when my surgery was scheduled. I didn’t dare tell anyone at that time because my amazing customers are the type they would worry and not want to bother me. I was worried the business would fall off, and we’ve come too far to let that happen.

And so it was confirmed. I have a possible Phyllodes tumor (for more details, also click here) – a rare, large breast tumor. (Par for the course with my family history.) What was next? I began my research.

Phyllodes tumors typically are not cancerous, but if they are they don’t respond to treatment like the more common types of breast cancer and are treated like a soft tissue sarcoma. Not good and either way, it had to come out. The doctors would have to take a large enough margin to ensure they removed everything or it could grow back faster and be more aggressive. Once again, THANK GOD for Dr’s Pete and Lolin Hilgartner who ordered my mammogram, guided me, and kept me calm throughout the process. And for Dr. Lando, my endocrinologist, who got me in with Dr. David Weintritt at The National Breast Center.

With the surgery done, tumor benign, and a huge sigh of relief,  I began to focus on the maintenance and healing of my body once again at a renewed level. I am now monitored on a frequent basis. Tumor regrowth or occurrence in my other breast is my reality just as it is Bernadette’s.  Nothing like a little dose of reality to get me back in line and grounded. I know, you must be thinking: Don’t you drink your bone broth every day?

Welllllll sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. I have to admit it gets hard for me to drink a lot of it when I am brewing broth day in and day out. I have to say, I love making “MY BONE BROTH” and touching others in their healthy healing as we ship across the country. This is something really special.

I must also confess it is much easier for me to tell Bernadette and her sisters to drink it! Ha.

Seriously though, in times of stress my approach is to focus on staying healthy. So I discipline myself to get strict in my diet and my personal care: Spiritual, physical, and emotional.

Mary Undoer of Knots

Mary Undoer of Knots

  1. Spiritual: Spirituality has always been of the utmost importance to me. I admit there are times when I feel empty spiritually and it’s more like I’m in a desert. I say my prayers but feel nothing. But here is what I have learned: Do. It. Anyway.

Right now, spiritually, I am in a really good space and I don’t want to lose that. I love this space but sometimes it takes time and repetition to get to. The prayers working for me right now are shared in our Inspiration page.

  1. Physical: Lots of water with lemon, decaf tea’s, bone broth in the morning instead of coffee, lots of veggies, salad and of course, good meat! 

And Oils! I love Young Living Oils. For my breast cancer scare I went deep into using Sacred Frankincense in the months before my surgery and drinking plenty of water with Lemon, Orange and Tangerine oils added in for my belief in their effects in fighting tumor growth. After surgery my oils of choice were Copaiba, Helichrysum and Myrrh. I continue to use a little Sacred Frankincense each week as one drop on my thumb and hold to the roof of my mouth.

I went weekly to Ardelle Baldwin at Hilgartner Health and Wellness for Vibrational Rain Drop Therapy, where oils and vibrations are applied to the body to draw out toxins. It was amazing! This was also something Tara Rayburn had done for Bernadette before her brain surgery.

  1. Emotional: It is easy for one to get caught up in emotions and feelings of discontent. When this happens to me I find that spiritually I am dry, physically I am strapped, and my overall persona is out of balance. The scale is tipped a little too far, one sided.

Mentally I am usually the culprit and not anyone else. This is when I really need to get structured, take time to myself, sleep more, refocus, and remember how beautiful and important my family is to me. I take walks and work more outdoors. This tends to reground me emotionally.

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Peony from the Fields of Athenry Gardens

Each of these areas in my life need continual maintenance, and the fix doesn’t just happen overnight. I am perpetually learning to be patient with myself and with others. This is not something that is necessarily easy for me.  One thing I do know for sure, when I eat right, drink the benefits of MY BONE BROTH I feel strength in my joints, more mental clarity and a soothing way down deep in my soul. I get my act together and regain a new focus and purpose. Check out a favorite summer recipe we use to get our Bone Broth in during the warmer months.

As for Bernadette, she’s also healthy and thriving again. Stay tuned, she’s got more to say soon about what she’s learned about leading a healthy and balanced life.

What are your steps to staying healthy? What do you do to nurture your physical, mental, and emotional sides? Share with us in the comments below!

Summer Broth Pasta – just say no to the microwave!

As the experts say: Never heat a baby’s milk in a microwave! Well why then, would we heat any of our food in one?

We do not recommend using microwave ovens to heat your food, especially My Bone Broth. The microwave oven causes hot spots within the food that also destroys enzymes, kill’s the nutrients you just paid good money for, giving you nothing of value. When the enzymes are destroyed it makes your food lifeless and more difficult to digest. See more from Dr. Mercola on this subject: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/18/microwave-hazards.aspx#!

We suggest you simply warm in a pan and sip away like a cup of tea or coffee! And of course, ENJOY!

Another favorite simple recipe in our household is to use broth in a simple, fresh pasta dish. We especially like this in the summer when fresh herbs and vegetables are in abundance. Check out the steps below, whip some up and tell us what you used to make a lovely round dish.

Summer Time Broth Pasta

  1. Begin to cook the pasta according to the box directions. – My favorite is Bonta’ d’ Italia gluten-free pasta!
  2. Warm our Bernadette’s or Liquid Gold Chicken Broth in pan. At this point you may want to add boneless cubed chicken (if uncooked let simmer for at least 20 to 30 minutes to cook through ), or cubed pre-cooked beef.
  3. Add fresh diced veggies of choice. We are fans of zucchini and yellow squash. Simmer veggies to consistency of products how you like (less simmer time for crunchy veggies, or longer for soft veggies).
  4. Pour broth, meat and veggies over pasta.
  5. If you like cheese, grate some of our favorite Romano over the top and then with kitchen scissors cut fresh parsley to top off. YUM YUM YUM

This really is my favorite Summer Time dish to get Bone Broth into my girls in the heat of the summer!

“To Love, To Life, To Family, and the time to enjoy them.” Part 1

“To Love, To Life, To Family, and the time to enjoy them.”

Part 1

Isn’t this just the perfect motto? This is one of my favorite motto’s, but I have to say, time is one thing there never seems to be enough of. I love it when life goes perfectly smooth but quite honestly that is not the norm. In fact 2014 into 2015 has been quite the “rolly” coaster!

Last summer, 2014, my dear Bernadette decided she was ready to move into a little cottage where she worked at the time, and make life on her own in the big world. I have to admit it was the perfect cottage and not too far from home! At all of 17 years old, it was time for her to move out of our home. In fact, she would be heading into her first year of college come fall, so why wouldn’t she move into her own place? Or so she told her parents.

Bright yellow paint, scrubbed bathroom, successful antiquing for adorable furniture, and even a special place for her dog to sleep (Right on Bernie’s bed!) and she was ready to move in! There was still a smell though. Leave it to Mom’s nose to have forewarned her dearest daughter that the smell coming from the cottage could very well be mold. You see, this cottage dates back to the 1800’s. When you walked into the first floor’s teeny tiny kitchen you might as well have been a solidly drunk sailor navigating on a sloping deck.

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Move In Day with her new roomie! (Bernadette and Molly)

Bernadette was two weeks into living and loving life on her own when I get “that phone call,” “Mom, I am shaky, really shaky. I can’t control my hands and I feel like I could pass out. My hands are shaking like Papa’s hands shake. I can’t even stay on my horse.”

MOLD took her strong healthy body down like a Mohamed Ali blow. Bernadette’s Cushing’s disease leaves her with weakened adrenal glands, immune system and God only knows what else. Bernadette crashed and crashed hard. Her cortisol levels dropped dangerously low and Dr. Howard Lando put her back on cortisol (steroid). We work so hard to avoid the use of cortisol by means of diet and supplements so she hopefully never has to become steroid dependent. There is a delicate balance with the added cortisol. Her body can very easily become dependent on it and could fail to produce cortisol on its own. When her levels fall so low we have to supplement her cortisol to “jump start” her system again. Dr. Pete and Lolin Hilgartner immediately had her back to consuming bone broth every day and on a solid mold fighting regiment.

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Bernadette’s Bone Broth

Strict orders! No if’s, and’s or but’s, from all of her doctors to immediately move out of the cottage and return back home into a mold free environment. She was heartbroken. Brad and I hurt for her too. Nothing worse than living out on your own in the big world, in the perfect slanting cottage, and then having to move back in with your parents! Even Nellie, Bernie’s dog, was devastated, as she would not be treated as the queen bee among our menagerie of farm dogs.

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Queen Bee Nellie

Life back on the farm rolled on day in and day out. Fall came, life was picking up, Bernie was back in school climbing slowly out of her mold fog, and we headed into turkey season full speed ahead. I felt tired, but then again I seemed to always be tired. Let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger and besides, there is a heck of a lot going on here at the farm. So I told myself…