August 22, 2013 @ 12:20 PM

I love, love, LOVE steak. But I'm unhappy about how beef cows have been raised, specifically with regards to what they are being fed.

ZILMAX (aka Zilpaterol) is a steroid fed to beef cattle during their last 20-40 days of life. It quickly turns fat into muscle, raising the weight of the cow. This seems to be good news for farmers that sell beef by the pound. The drug is manufactured by Merck Animal Health.

The problem is that up to 20% of cows eating this food additive are so heavy that they're unable to walk to the slaughterhouse. They show signs that their feet and legs hurt. This raises issues with animal welfare activists who object to the practice as being terribly cruel.

My concern is that consumers turn around and eat this...

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August 16, 2013 @ 4:53 PM

If you can't make it to the Hardywood Park Brewery's FARMERS MARKET on Wednesday evenings, you can also find our zinnia bouquets at Strawberry Fields Flowers & Finds, 423 Strawberry Street in Richmond's beautiful Fan district. It's a beautiful little neighborhood shop with adorable and unique gift items and art work from local artists.

I've been growing zinnias for several years now. From my first crop of 4-5 plants I saved the seeds, and each year I get dozens of new and different varieties; singles, doubles, triples; some even have had ruffled edges. Some are 2-toned, like this peach one that has lavender at the inside of the petals. Some plants are average height of 18-24" tall, but many of mine are often 5-...

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August 16, 2013 @ 4:32 PM

Like other produce, all the cantaloupes seem to come in at once. I no longer grow them because my friend Cathryn usually brings me so many that I can't possibly eat them all, so I found this recipe for cantaloupe bread about 7-8 years ago and have been making it ever since. It's such a fresh tasting treat and very moist thanks to the melon, and the spices make it taste like autumn is just around the corner.

Unfortunately, this wet weather has been awful for melons for lots of farmers around our neck of the woods so >>GASP<<... I had to buy a cantaloupe just to make this! (Cathryn, you've gotten me awfully spoiled!) I did find one the size of a basketball for under $3, and it would probably have made 10 cakes, but ...

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August 9, 2013 @ 12:43 PM

Here's my all-time favorite way to use cucumbers. I LOVE Asian food, and especially love those delicate little salad dishes you can sometimes find on the menu. This will taste just like restaurant cuisine if you can slice the cukes and onions VERY thinly.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cucumber (I like them peeled but  you don't have to)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 red onion (red is prettier but white or yellow is fine)
  • 1 carrot cut into matchsticks (PLEASE, I buy these already cut up!)
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons red Asian chili sauce (I like Magi brand, but any will do)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Sesame seeds for garnish, if desired

Like I said, the key to the authenticity is to slice the cukes and onions paper thin so I use a ...

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August 8, 2013 @ 11:31 AM

 

This photo shows the difference in a store-bought egg (at left) and an organic egg from a free ranging chicken. Notice the deep, orangish color of that yolk?  That darker yolk is much more nutritious and gives you a richer, more buttery flavor..The egg white, the albumen, is clearer and spreads out more because it's thinner in the store-bought egg. The white part of the egg, by the way, has more protein than the yolk so you want it to be thick.

What's all the fuss about free range organic eggs any way?

Chickens just absolutely should not spend their whole lives cooped up in a building, especially in tiny cages or crowded in with thousands of other birds. What kind of life is that?

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August 7, 2013 @ 3:35 PM

Growing food using all-natural practices alone is not, by itself, the end-all to healthy food. Other conditions and practices at the grower's farm or garden are just as important as what kind of seeds are planted, how it is fertilized, how it is watered and how pests are controlled.

Remember, organically grown produce has been raised without chemical pesticide use, so it's easy for little creepy crawlies to hide where they're not visible. As a precaution, try this all-natural vinegar wash for ANY produce you bring home; not only will it help assure that mold, bacteria and bugs are cleaned from the surface, it also helps preserve them for days and days longer!

Mix 1 part vinegar (white, apple cider or rice vinegars) to 10 parts............

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