In a time when so many companies and farms seem to add unnecessary steps and ingredients to their food, it’s always nice to see people producing food the right way. While it’s important to know the not-so-great part of our food supply, I also want to highlight those who produce food using only the highest standards.
This weekend, we were on our way to see family in San Diego and stopped in Temecula to visit Primal Pastures. Tucked between acres of vineyards, Paul and his family have a small chicken farm and are raising the chickens on pasture and sunshine. The kids ran around with the chickens and we all enjoyed a meal together. When we left, they gave us a few chickens for roasting. The best part about a pastured chicken? You don’t need butter, ghee, or olive oil because there is so much intense flavor from the meat itself. I put a bit of Celtic sea salt on it, roasted it with some root vegetables, and we had a feast! If you’re in Southern California, I recommend you add your name to the Primal Pastures waiting list.
We’ve all heard the cliche “You are what you eat.” Did you know the diet a chicken or cow eats make a difference in the nutritional content of its meat? When a chicken eats a grain-based diet of corn and soy – otherwise known as a “vegetarian” or “conventional” diet – the meat is high in omega-6 fatty acids. When a chicken is pastured – allowed to eat insects and forage in the sunshine – the meat of the chicken is lower in omega-6 fatty acids and higher in omega-3 fatty acids. Apparently, my chicken “is what it eats,” too. When possible, I buy pastured chicken, beef and eggs because of the nutritional content. Also, if you ever see the label “100% vegetarian fed and free range or pastured this should be a red flag. If a chicken is allowed to graze outside, then how could the animal be eating a 100% vegetarian diet?
After leaving the farm, we headed over to the Peltzer Pumpkin Patch down the road. The kids had fun looking at the different gourds, squash and pumpkins. It was nice to get off base for the day and explore.
Beans and sausage have been a favorite combination of mine since I was a kid. My Mom would put a big pot on the stove early in the morning; when I’d return from school the scent wafting through the house said “home” to me. My Mom always made this dish with kidney beans, but since some of us in the family have been on the Gaps diet this year, I decided to see if the recipe worked just as well with white navy beans (since they are allowed on the Gaps regimen). I also tested it in the crock pot to make the whole meal that much easier. To my delight, it tastes just as good as my Mom’s and the crock pot did all the work! If you can handle grains, the beans and sausage are fantastic served over brown rice.
White Beans and Sausage in the Crock Pot
If you don’t have a crock pot you can cook this over low in a large stockpot. The cooking time will be reduced to 3 hours, and instead of putting the lid on tight, leave it slightly ajar. Also, to add more nutritional value, the water can be replaced with homemade chicken stock. Serves 8
4 cups white beans
1 (25-ounce) jar crushed tomatoes (I prefer Eden Organic)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Celtic sea salt
12 ounces kielbasa sausage (organic and nitrate free preferred)
Place navy beans in a large bowl and just cover with water. Leave at room temperature overnight. The next day, drain the beans and pour them into the bowl of a crock pot. Cover the beans with water and stir in the tomatoes, garlic powder, sea salt and sausage. Put the lid on, set the crock pot to high, and cook for 8 hours, or until the beans are tender. Add more salt or garlic powder to taste. Serve.
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