Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall Farm Tour - Grassfield's Farm

I think there is nothing better than seeing and learning about where your food is made and where it comes from! We had the fun opportunity to do just that a couple of weekends ago....we attended a "Fall Farm Tour" of Grassfield's Farm in Coopersville, MI.  This event was sponsored by "Local First" which supports local businesses in the Grand Rapids area.

First, we enjoyed a yummy lunch which consisted of all local food - yummy grassfed burgers, chicken wings, homemade potato chips and a salad with raw milk cheese, veggies and dressing. They also had homemade organic apple cider and donuts for dessert! Yum!

After our tummies were full, we enjoyed a fun tractor ride out into the fields to "meet" the animals. We saw their pigs, and after that the cows. They literally drove the tractor and wagon right out into the middle of the cows. I sure was hoping they were friendly cows....

This farm is run by 3 brothers who take care of all the milking, farming, cheese-making, etc. The one driving the tractor said that when its milking time they just ride out to the cows and start talking to them and they know its time to come to the milking barn.

Here's Andrew enjoying one of their organic apples on the ride. Which we subsequently threw to the pigs - apparently some of their favorite treats!

Next stop was their TRUE free-range chickens:

There were chicken "houses" set up in their fields where they kept water and the laying areas for the chickens, but otherwise the chickens are free to roam wherever they like! We bought some of the eggs and they are delicious - not to mention their yolks are a bright orange (meaning healthier and more Omega 3's for you) - click HERE for a great article about the health benefits of eggs!

Afterwards we saw how they make their raw milk cheese (I didn't get pics of this as I was holding on to kids!) and we sampled some of them! The kids paintd pumpkins and then we were done.

It was so great to see how our food was raised and made - it once again reminded me of why I will gladly pay a little extra for REAL, wholesome, organic and LOCAL foods!!!

Stay tuned for recipes......


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Growing up, I LOVED the pot pies you could get in the freezer section - the delicious crispy edges of the crust, the soft mushy part at the bottom, and the veggies and gravy that oozed out when you cut into it. Sometime in my teen years I actually looked at the calorie and fat content on the package (and the ingredients) - and I don't think I've eaten one since!!!

Well, a few years ago my mom visited us when we lived out in Washington and she made this version of a homemade pot pie. Its the best I've tasted. I usually use homemade cream of chicken or mushroom soup in place of the store-bought MSG-laden kind. Or, a good alternative is to use an organic MSG-free canned soup such as these:

Here's the recipe:

top and bottom crust for deep dish pie plate (or make your own)
3 cups cooked and cubed chicken
1 1/2 cups potatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups carrots, diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery (or if you have none, I have simply used celery seeds instead)
1 cup frozen peas

3 T. flour
1/2 t. paprika
2 cups liquid (1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup plus enough liquid from cooked vegetables to add up to 2 cups!)
2 buillon cubes - non MSG kind (or the granulated type that are MSG free)
salt and pepper as desired

1. Assemble bottom of pie crust in pie plate. Preheat oven to 450.

2. Cook together in a medium to large pot the potatoes, carrots, onions and celery in enough water to cover vegetables. I cook until they are just becoming tender. When done, DO NOT DRAIN, but add 1 cup of frozen peas. Cover - will need a bit of the cooking water in a minute.

*note, in this picture I used some sweet potatoes in addition to the white potatoes. It was very yummy!

3. Make your 2 cups of liquid by including in a large glass measuring cup the can of soup plus enough cooking water from the vegetables to make 2 cups. Add bouillon cubes to mixture and stir until they are dissolved. I use the non-MSG kind of these as well. YOU MAY NOW DRAIN THE VEGGIES and add the chicken to the veggies.

4. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and then add the flour paprika and the 2 cups of above liquid, as well as salt and pepper if desired. Bring to a boil. Add to the chicken and veggie mixture. Pour into pie pan and then add the top crust. Cut a few slits in top crust and bake for 20-25 minutes until crust is lightly browned!

*This recipe can easily be changed to include turkey or shredded beef (for beef, use a beef-based cream soup for filling as well as beef bouillon).