Have you ever wished you could buy a quarter or half cow, but then didn’t because you thought it was just too expensive or would take up too much room in the freezer? Let’s break down the costs to see if that is actually true!
Let’s start with the freezer. An entire cow (well, actually just the beef from the cow!) would easily fit into a standard 15 cubic foot chest freezer. (I just purchased two of these on sale at Lowe’s for $419 each!) Besides having stress free dinner plans when you’re snowed in with all this delicious beef in your freezer, extra freezer space is always beneficial from buying strawberries on sale to freeze for later or making a double batch of lasagna to freeze for later!
Now for the beef! Hopefully, you have already watched “The Magic Pill” on Netflix (and if you haven’t you should go do that right now!), so you know how important 100% grass fed beef is for your health. Let’s look at the average cuts you would receive in a quarter of beef. Quarters can range from ab...
For most people, summer means no school, lots of swimming, and time to grill. For us at Living Dirt Ranch, it means time to process beef. I want to explain that process to you and show you why it is so unique at our ranch.
Processing beef is the culmination of 2-3 years of patient, hard work! Most of the beef available in grocery stores are from calves born in February. (This is called “spring” calving, but I think it is more aptly called “winter” calving- especially in the Midwest!) We prefer our calves to be born in the fall, most of them born in the month of September. This means our calves have a good 3-4 months to nurse and grow before they have to deal with February’s cold.
Our calves spend their entire lives right here on our ranch in the exact same fields where they were born. They never have to leave their mamas- we don’t even wean them! The mamas are much more effective at weaning their calves once a new calf comes along the following year, so why mess with a good thing?...
This month I thought I would add some book recommendations to our reading list. Our entire family loves to read. When my girls wanted to stay up later as kids, they knew all they had to do was beg me to read them another story! Reading has always been my soft spot! Having a ranch, large vegetable garden, and orchard means most of my reading occurs during the slower winter months. So with May already well upon us, I am reaching the end of my reading season. (I still manage to get a few books read even during the summer!) Here are some I have recently enjoyed:
Real Food, Fake Food by Larry Olmsted
Warning, this book will change the way you look at food. Our family now only buys olive oil that is extra virgin and has a PDO seal. You may never want to eat parmesan cheese out of a can again!
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
This is primarily a recipe book, but also contains the author’s opinions on our food culture, or lack thereof, and traditional food cultures around the world...
Even though March is almost over, March’s weather is not! A typical March in Missouri wouldn’t be complete without a high of 65 degrees one day and the next day a high of 25 degrees. In addition to the much awaited “spring,” March also signifies something else for me- Corned Beef Cabbage for St. Patty’s Day!
While this is one of the more ambitious recipes I do each year, it is so worth it! I simply can't bring myself to buy a corned beef in the grocery store when I raise my own, healthier beef! A few years ago, I googled how to make my own corned beef and as they say, the rest is history. While the process takes time, the actual steps are not difficult. Basically, the beef has to brine for three weeks prior to cooking and serving it. As for the results, let’s just say it’s a family favorite and I have found myself making larger portions each year, so there will be leftovers! This is also one of those dishes that gets better with reheating, so leftovers are quite delicious.
Winter is supposed to be the slow time of the year for a cattle rancher. Images of being cozied up next to a cheerfully burning fire, sipping hot chocolate with peppermint, and watching the snow accumulate out the living room window kind of slow. While I do actually get to do that sometimes, the reality is often very different.
Picture this: It’s three degrees outside when I wake up in the morning. I drink some homemade beef bone broth to get me warmed up (more on that in another blog) and start the process of layering up. First, I bundle up in my ski pants and heavy winter coat. Then, I use the little elastic band in the hood of the coat that normally everyone ignores, to cinch the hood down snuggly over my head and ears. Next, I don two pairs of gloves, even though I know I will have to keep taking both of them off when I get to the barn. Finally, I pull my boots over two pairs of socks, because if I only wear one pair, they will ball up under my toes which makes me feel like I'm wal...
Our family used to approach food much like any other family with the idea of trying to eat a balanced diet. I think it is reasonable to assume that any person can agree that food is one of their favorite yet incredibly frustrating aspects of life, because they oscillate between "being good" and sticking to a healthy diet or "binging" by eating high amounts of junk food and candy. Our personal food revolution occurred in 2008 after reading a book called The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. This book fundamentally changed the way we viewed the products available in the grocery store as processed, "perfect," and containing a fraction of the original nutrition. So, without further ado, here is our recommended book list to encourage your "food revolution":
1. The Omnivore's Dilemma by Micheal Pollan
Summary: Pollan explores the different ways we as omnivores approach eating a meal. He highlights the difference in the approach pre and post-industri...