Monthly Archives: September 2013

marinated pork chops

Balsamic Marinated Pastured Pork Chops

The farm that hosts our CSA, Snipes, is just about 2 miles from our house. It’s an old farm that has been in the Snipes family for 8 generations!! Our entire region used to be farmland, but theirs is the only one left, still standing after all these years right in the middle of urban sprawl. It’s really something of a miracle. So when they announced last spring that they were starting animal shares (for grass-fed/pastured meat, milk, and eggs) I jumped on board! It’s really pretty cool that, now, the meat we eat is raised just down the road from where we live.

We bought a pig share and a cow share, since they were the most affordable, and it’s been great to be able to see those animals grazing around. It’s a real comfort to know without a doubt the condition my meat is in. It’s not only important to me for humane reasons, but also for health reasons. 

Here are the piggies. They forage free in the brush, and are moved every couple months or so to get new land to dig up!

snipes pigs

Compare that to the way factory farmed pork and ham that’s sold in the supermarket is raised. How healthy do you think these animals really are, cooped up like that, eating only grain (which is probably GMO)? Pigs aren’t supposed to eat grain – they’re supposed to eat roots and bugs and plants. And the meat from animals that eat their natural diet is exponentially healthier for us!!

Pigs confined in metal and concrete pens

And here’s one of the cows, grazing away happily.


We started getting our pig share in the early summer, and an interesting thing happened. As we were eating our first pork chops I was intimately aware of the animal that had died so that we could have that meal. It wasn’t just some anonymous “meat” from the store – it was an actual animal I had met. So in our blessing before dinner I mentioned it, and asked that God help us not take for granted the lives that give us our food.

I’ve also found myself being very conscious of not wasting any of it. I want every morsel to be eaten or used to make soup or something. I find myself wanting to honor the life of the animal by not wasting it.

So it’s all been an interesting – and I think beneficial – change in how we view the meat that we eat.

Okay. So down to the recipe. (After all, that’s really why you’re here, right?)

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buttermilk soaked spelt pancakes

Overnight Soaked Spelt Pancakes

From very early on in this food journey, browned butter banana bread became a staple in my diet. I’d look forward to having it for breakfast almost every day, usually topped with chocolate nut butter. But now the place that banana bread used to have in my heart (or stomach?) has been supplanted. I’ve switched my loyalties to pancakes.

It happened over vacation, when I made an enormous batch of banana pancakes to take along, figuring they’d hold up better than banana bread would. They worked great! So great that I haven’t looked back. Now I make these enormous batches and freeze them so that I have ready pancakes for weeks.

(What it really comes down to is that I hate to have to think about food all the time, and it’s really so much easier to just have things on hand that I know I’m going to eat!)

But consuming these pancakes every day started getting me worried about all the grain, since there’s a lot more flour in these than in banana bread. I believe that grains are safer to consume when they’re prepared in traditional ways – by soaking, sprouting, or fermenting them. I’ve read the articles and they make perfect sense. (Here’s a good one that explains things well.) I just usually can’t be bothered. But now that I’m eating so many pancakes, I decided it was maybe time to think about it.

So, I fiddled with my standard recipe and easily converted it into a soaked version! The verdict? They’re spectacular. Everyone who’s had them likes these pancakes even better than the unsoaked version (and they really liked those!) They’re fluffier and lighter, and have spectacular flavor. So, not only are they better for you (because they’re soaked) but they happen to also be delicious! If you’re at all able to plan ahead for your pancakes and can remember to set the flour out to soak, I highly recommend giving these a try!

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Whole Grain Honey Cornbread

Whole Grain Honey Cornbread

Okay. Cornmeal. Is it inflammatory, or isn’t it? It’s listed on some lists as a grain to stay away from, and is on other lists as safe since it’s a whole grain. So what’s the story?

I have no idea. It’s kind of confusing, so I decided to go with my trusty old “how do I feel when I eat it?” test. All I can say is that, for me, it doesn’t seem to be any problem at all. So I’m putting it back on my safe list!

Which is a really good thing, because we love cornbread in our house. There’s nothing better than a bowl of my favorite chili or a dish of  my BBQ baked beans, cooking all day long in the crock pot, and then accompanied with a hot batch of cornbread fresh from the oven. Mmmmm!

The cornbread I make now is a little different from what I used to make, of course. Instead of white flour, I use whole grain spelt. Instead of sugar, I use honey. And it works great! Since we always liked honey on top of cornbread anyway, the flavor of the honey as the sweetener works really well. If you don’t like or don’t want a sweet cornbread, you can always just leave the honey out!

I also make sure to buy only stone ground, organic cornmeal, because of the problem with the majority of cornmeal being GMO. The best sources around me for this are my health food store, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods. (they don’t have organic cornmeal at my regular grocery store.) So you might have to look around.

This cornbread is slightly sweet, and crunchy on the edges but moist and tender on the inside. Just the way I like it! Perfect.

In a large bowl combine the cornmeal, spelt flour, baking powder, and salt. (It’s best to use aluminum-free baking powder since there’s a lot of it in this recipe; beyond it being healthier anyway, it will avoid the strange metallic aftertaste that often comes with baking powder.)

Whole Grain Honey Cornbread

Melt the butter, and then mix in the honey. You can use more or less honey as you like – whatever you like as far as sweetness in your cornbread.

Whole Grain Honey Cornbread

Pour the butter/honey in with the dry ingredients, along with 2 beaten eggs and milk, and mix until combined.

Whole Grain Honey Cornbread

Grease an 8×8 pan with butter or coconut oil, and pour in the batter. If you double the recipe I suggest using two 8×8 pans rather than a larger 9×13 pan, because the crunchy edge pieces are the best part!

Whole Grain Honey Cornbread

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until the center bounces back when you press it with your finger.

Whole Grain Honey Cornbread

Serve it up!

Whole Grain Honey Cornbread

Preferably with plenty of sweet grass-fed butter! Yum……

Whole Grain Honey Cornbread


Whole Grain Honey Cornbread
Recipe type: Side Dish/Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup whole grain spelt (can use whole wheat if preferred but I haven't tested that for taste)
  • 1 cup stone ground organic cornmeal
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup honey (optional - can increase or decrease amount to taste)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup whole milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Melt the butter, and stir in honey until combined.
  4. Pour the honey/butter mixture, beaten eggs, and milk into the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  5. Grease an 8x8 pan with butter or coconut oil and pour the batter in.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the center bounces back when you press it with your finger.
  7. Serve hot, topped with butter.