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Angel Eggs

Angel Eggs

Are you interested in a new family friendly science project to help celebrate the Easter holiday this year?  We are mad about earth friendly projects that cater to kids of all ages around here and  Angel eggs are a great way to teach your kids how to make all natural food coloring.  Plus, this dish is so pretty, it always takes center stage at the Easter dinner table.

In addition to being fun for kids, its a healthier option for the littles and its good for the earth.  Plus, the ingredients can be found right in your local grocery store, so its an easy project for busy moms.

Formerly known as deviled eggs (we’ve changed the name for obvious reasons), angel egg filling and dyes can be prepared a few days before your Easter dinner (just add 2 tbsp. of vinegar to each dye to make them last longer in the refrigerator).

 

Grocery ingredients

Grocery ingredients

Your Farmer’s market grocery list:

4 Beets  (red and pink)

Turmeric (orange)

1 bag of Spinach or Spirulina powder (green)

Baking soda (blue)

1 head of Purple Cabbage  (purple)

How to make homemade, natural,  raw, vegan food dyes:

Create red dye by boiling beets for 10 minutes. Place beet water in ball jar and add 2 tsp of white vinegar.

Orange/Yellow is made by boiling 1 tsp. turmeric in 2 cups water for 30 seconds.  Let cool and add egg halves.  The eggs will dye quickly.  Note: If you would like a deeper shade, add 1/2 tsp. more turmeric and keep eggs in dye longer until you achieve the desired shade.

Green dye is made by boiling spinach for 1 minute and letting it simmer for 10 minutes.  Place green dye mixture in ball jar with 2 tsp. white vinegar.  Place egg halves in jar into refrigerator for at least 24 hours.  Note: The spinach green is a much earthier green than the dye you will find in the store.

Green dye can also be achieved by adding 1 tsp. of Spirulina powder to a quart of boiled water.  Stir in powder and let cool.  Spirulina creates bright green eggs.

Purple dye is from boiling purple cabbage.  Wash the cabbage, cut out stem and cut into large pieces.  Place in pot and cover with water.  Boil for 10 minutes.

Blue: Pour half the cabbage water into a bowl with ½ tsp of baking soda at a time until you get the desired blue hue.

Secret to making eggs peel so easily, your toddler can help you:  place a teaspoon of salt and eggs into pot of water. Turn on high until rolling boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Immediately pour out hot water and replace with ice cold water.

Place halved hard boiled eggs with yolks removed into each color (we use Ball jars with lids). Place in refrigerator overnight for the brightest hues.

We like this filling recipe the best:

6 egg yolks

1 tbsp mayo

1 tbsp of pickled relish

1/2 tbsp whole grain mustard

fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano

salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle paprika on top of finished eggs (we use Emeril’s Essence to top them off)

Enjoy!

Angel Eggs

Angel Eggs

~~~

Easter is a favorite time of year here in the northeast.  The warm sun melts away the last moments of the cold winter days and daylight lingers just a little longer each evening.  But what we love most about this time of year is honoring our Lord and Savior.  As you are dropping the eggs into the food coloring, be sure to share the story of God’s precious gift with your littles.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

xoxo ~D

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Protected: Ode to Penny

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2013-02-18 15.46.00 I have added bison meat to our list of ‘go to’ dinners. There are so many reasons why I love making bison for my family.

Why bison, you ask?  Nutritionally, its healthier for you.  We like it because its the same texture and pretty much the same flavor as beef.  Here are some nutritional facts.

As a nurse, my mother instilled in us the benefit of healthy eating habits.  Growing up, she would harvest numerous brilliantly colored foods from my father’s elaborate vegetable gardens.  I remember playing in the soil while my father taught us to appreciate God’s abundance  in nature.  As an avid hunter, he would bring home his bounty from land and water to feed his family and friends.

With a culmination of both of these beautiful attributes under my belt, I love to share healthy eating habits with respect to God’s abundance.

Here I have included a yummy recipe using my neighbor’s bison meat.  I made this for my Moms group and it was so good I had to share. Enjoy!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound onions, peeled and quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground bison
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs, such as Panko
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons flour
Method:

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse onions and garlic until finely chopped. Set aside 1/2 cup of this mixture. Preheat a tablespoon of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Transfer remaining chopped onions and garlic from the food processor to the hot pan and cook, stirring often until caramelized, about 15 minutes. When onions in pan are caramelized, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, make meatballs. Combine reserved onions and garlic with bison, pepper, salt, soy sauce, ketchup, oregano, cayenne, breadcrumbs and egg. With a spatula, toss lightly to combine. Overworking mixture will create a heavy paste, so use a light hand. Roll into balls and transfer to a plate.

Return pan to medium heat and add remaining olive oil. Add meatballs and brown them on all sides, 5 to 10 minutes. Whisk beef broth, flour and sage into bowl with caramelized onions. When meatballs are browned, stack to one side of the pan. Pour in broth mixture and stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Redistribute meatballs evenly in pan and simmer over medium heat, turning meatballs occasionally with a spoon. Cook until gravy is thickened and meatballs are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. To serve, arrange meatballs on a plate and spoon gravy over them.

Nutritional Info:
PER SERVING:310 calories (100 from fat), 11g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 125mg cholesterol, 770mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 7g sugar), 30g protein

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Buffalo Run Ranch

I turned the corner to make my way down the winding road surrounded by open fields and take a moment to become fully immersed in the panoramic views of Pennsylvania horse country.  Just steps outside the Philadelphia suburbs,  a Texas sized iron arch over a narrow driveway welcomes me to Buffalo Run Ranch.  The driveway seems to disappear over the hill as I travel between hundred acre pastures allowing me to catch a glimpse of a juvenile bison frolicking among the herd and a few new babies grazing in the field.

I have come to meet Bill Rubin to discuss his life as a bison rancher.  Affectionately known as “Buffalo Bill” around town, Bill emerges from working under a truck and waves to me as I park my car in front of his garage.  We enter his newly renovated rustic home he shares with his wife and teenage daughter.  The expansive windows overlook the rolling countryside and a massive bison head is mounted in a place of honor over the stone fireplace. We sit on stools covered in bison leather as he offers meat most recently packed from the butcher.  I survey various cuts of filet and steaks, hamburger patties and his infamous spicy sausage while he shares his favorite recipes.

I was first introduced to bison while working as a pharmaceutical sales rep selling cholesterol medication.  Listed on the diabetic “safe list”, bison (or buffalo meat) is naturally lower in fat and higher in iron and protein than beef.  After learning my family has a history of high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia),  I decided to order bison instead of beef whenever I had the chance.  Bison is a red meat that looks and tastes like a leaner version of red beef.  The texture and taste is so close to that of red meat.  After learning how to prepare it, I realized I could easily substitute beef patties with ground bison at home.  Wintertime pots of meaty chili and hamburgers on the grill during the summer will indeed be healthier.

Shortly after meeting Bill, I began to ask him about the whys and hows and everything in between about raising bison.  As self proclaimed animals lovers, we both strongly believe in the ethical treatment of animals and agree that if you take care of animals, they will take care of us.

DF: Hello Bill, thank you for taking the time to sit down with me.  Tell me how you began raising buffalo.

BR: In the early 80s, I went skiing in Colorado, and ordered a buffalo filet off the menu and really enjoyed it.  From then on wherever I went, I looked for bison on the menu.  After researching bison and learning the health benefits of the meat, it wasn’t long before I bought some land and started raising buffalo in Oklahoma.

DF: Why buffalo?

BR:  I like a good backstory and the American bison has one of the best. They once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds.  In fact, after the railroads were built and the trains came across a herd, the trains would sometimes have to wait for days for the herd to pass.   Then bison became nearly extinct by a combination of commercial hunting and slaughter in the 19th century and by the introduction of bovine diseases from domestic cattle.  But bison ranching is becoming more popular due to the nutritional benefits of bison meat.  Bison ranching is on the rise.

DF: That’s a great story. Would you say that your work here is your way of preserving an American tradition?

BR: Absolutely. I am preserving a part of our nations rich history as well as contributing to open land in our area.

DF: What are the nutritional benefits?
BR:  Nutritionists say buffalo meat is one of the most nutrient rich meats available. According to various published studies, meat from grass-fed beef, bison (and other livestock) compared to feedlot meat are healthier and therefore, more nutritious.

Bison is also better for you.  If you compare a 3-ounce portion of bison meat with the same portion of lean beef you would see that the bison has 143 calories and 2.4 grams of fat, while the lean beef has 211 calories and 10 grams of fat. Likewise, when compared with lean pork, which contains 212 calories and 9 grams of fat, bison is the healthier choice. Also, since bison feed primarily on grass their levels of omega-3 fat and conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) both of which help to reduce cancer, heart disease and diabetes, are higher.

DF:  That’s exactly why I was drawn to it. What is the difference in raising buffalo versus steer/cattle?

BR: Buffalo are not domesticated like cattle. Bison are more aggressive and harder to handle, although these guys (as he nods toward his field) know me.  When I go out there to feed them, they pretty much leave me to refill their hay racks.  But I never trust them or turn my back to them. They are more aggressive than any other farmed animal.

DF: Do you use any medication, any antibiotics to keep them healthy?

BR:  I don’t use any medications.  In fact, a major benefit of raising all animals on pasture is that their products are healthier for you. Buffalo are “natural grazers” and are typically not subject to commercial feed and feedlot treatment. They are more hardy animals and free to forage in open pastures which promote a stress free lifestyle. This virtually eliminates the need for medication and antibiotics.  Read more about the nutritional benefits of raising animals on pasture.

DF: Who are your regular customers?

BR: I sell to local restaurants, Twelves in West Grove, and Brandywine Prime in Chadds Ford.  The Whip Tavern,  Pasquales, and the Half Moon in Kennett Square. I also sell hamburger patties and filet privately to friends, family and neighbors.

DF: Thank you so much for sitting with me today.

When we buy bison for our families, we are saying that our loved ones deserve a healthier diet. In addition, we contribute to the success of our local economy and a greener tomorrow for our children.  All of this as we preserve a piece of our nation’s history.

For more information about bison farming, go to http://www.bisoncentral.com/

And go to Eat Wild to find a farm near you.

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Protected: Perfect Love

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My fiance and I looked around for over a year and finally found a farmhouse with enough land to give our horses a comfortable home.  The house and barn were in disrepair, but I fell in love with the original stonework and surrounding countryside and figured we would update the house little by little over time.

Love the original stone, slate roof and big dormer.

Our barn and countryside.

We rolled up our sleeves as we prepared ourselves for the hard work ahead.  The first weekend we pulled up  the old carpet to reveal pumpkin pine flooring.

Some boards in the random width flooring were as long as 30 feet.

The house dates back to the late 1700’s, and is surrounded by many mature trees.  With the back side of the house tucked into a hill, the sunlight never touched two of the far rooms.  After many days spent huddled under dim lighting, Gregg and I grabbed a couple of sledgehammers, and knocked down walls to let the afternoon light flood into the far corners of the home.

We made a safe place for our horses by adding two post and board paddocks, running water lines and new electric to the lower part of the barn.  After we introduced our horses to their new home, we settled in for our first snowy winter and planned our wedding.

My love affair with barns began as a child and I cherished the soaring ceilings, 17th century stone and precious barn wood that made up our barn. I envisioned turning the rustic space into a romantic backdrop to host our guests on our big day.  We discussed our interests and traditions and with detailed space planning we agreed to host our rehearsal dinner inside our barn.

Our barn in the fall.

With a year to go, our next big project was getting the barn ready for close friends and family.  After replacing the dilapidated roof, we had to remove all of the old trash and moldy hay on the main floor. We carefully took down all of the individual stall half-walls and opened the place up so it created one large room.  After the clean out, we noticed some of the floor boards had rotted through, and Gregg replaced the worn flooring with the old wood from the half walls.

Next, he began wiring the barn for lighting and hung two rustic-looking lights (Home Depot closeout) in the center of the lower beams. While he ran enough electric to properly host the band, I had to come up with creative and low cost ways to add more light and warmth to the barn.

I wrapped grapevine and white lights around the vertical barn beams.

I scavenged my mom’s house and found two large grapevine wreaths, strung lots of white lights around them and asked Gregg for more outlets.  After he graciously agreed, I hung each wreath centered on the two story stone walls.  My friend and I came across five rustic chandeliers in a warehouse and placed no drip candles inside.  We hung one over each seating area and the largest one was centered over the dance floor to add elegance and drama.

Our friends and family enjoying the band.

I found a large branch in the back yard, added more lights and centered it above where the band performed.   We finished off the space with tables and linens, comfortable chairs, and perimeter seating with lots of pillows.

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Hubby and I dancing to our favorite country songs

The fall leaves provided a colorful backdrop while we decorated the inside with bright crysanthemums, Indian corn, hay bales and cornstalks.

We could not have pulled off all of the work without our close friends and family graciously donating their time to help us.  This night was our time to kick back and relax after all of the hard work.  As country music filled the cool autumn air, we laughed and reminisced and created new memories as we cherished our time surrounded by all of our loved ones.

Friends sharing stories around the campfire.

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