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