Your Favorite Posts of 2011

 

I really want to take a moment to thank all of my readers and blogging friends for your support this year, both on this blog, as well as through Facebook and Twitter! As social media grows, it seems more of our interactions together take place on other websites, for example my Facebook page and Twitter account has amassed so many followers, I am just astounded and overwhelmed. I have really enjoyed getting to know many of you this way! Thank you!

It is hard to believe another year of blogging has gone by! Getting these posts together every year is always a great look back on all the wonderful food we have enjoyed. I hope all of you reading this also had a great 2011 and are all looking forward to 2012! Here are the top 10 posts from this year. If you enjoy something that I post, please click the “like” button at the top, to “like” it on facebook, also feel free to tweet about it or leave me a comment. This is very helpful to me to know what kinds of posts you all want to see!

Please leave a comment and let me know what kinds of posts you would like to see on this blog in 2012! Happy New Year!

 

NUMBER 10: Breakfast of Champions and my First YouTube!


 

Number 9: The BEST Gluten-Free Pancakes EVER

 

Number 8: Drying Apples For Winter Storage

 

Number 7: Raw Avocado Chocolate Pudding

 

Number 6: Coconut Milk Panna Cotta Parfaits

 

Number 5: Musings on Homesteading

 

Number 4: How to Make Kefir at Home…and Why You Should!

 

Number 3: DIY Holiday Gift Series: Dairy-Free Decadent Chocolate Truffles

 

Number 2: Making Yogurt at Home: Filmjölk

 

And your favorite post of 2011: Number 1: Got Raw Milk? Food Freedom Fighters!


Rømmegrøt: Gluten Free Sour Cream Porridge

 

One of my favorite holiday foods is Rømmegrøt – a traditional Norwegian dish, a sour cream(rømme) porridge(grøt) typically eaten on Christmas Eve. I make it every year; it is one of our holiday traditions. I would say though it is delicious to serve any time during the cold winter months.

Last year I made another porridge type dish called Trondheim Soup, a gluten-free porridge. So this year I decided to devise a gluten-free version of Rømmegrøt. I have always made it in the past using cream of wheat, which obviously wasn’t going to work anymore.

Rømmegrøt is a rich, flavorful, stick-to-your-bones kind of food. Perfect for cold weather! It is also a tradition in Norway for children to put out a bowl of porridge for the Nisser–the elves on Christmas eve! Although these elves have nothing to do with Santa, they are associated with and originate from Norwegian farm life. These are the elves that look after the farm animals–and in return for their protection, they want their Christmas porridge on Christmas Eve, so of course we oblige, we owe it to the sheep, goats and chickens!

Rømmegrøt is very easy to make, it is a one pot meal. Don’t be alarmed by the amount of butter, cream, etc. in this dish, if you are using high quality fats, this is good for you, especially in the cold of winter. The most essential ingredient is the rømme – a very high quality full-fat sour cream. We use Green Valley Organics Lactose Free sour cream because Roberto is having trouble with dairy these days, and having good lactose free products just makes life easier. Just make sure the sour cream you use doesn’t have gelatin or other stabilizers added. Or you can just make your own!

Milk is another important ingredient. I used some local raw milk from Applecheek Farm, but you could use any organic milk – raw if you can, or grassfed if you can’t find raw. The only other things you need are a thickener – I used oat bran this year and then some salt. This delectable porridge is then topped with a pat of butter to make the all-important smørøya, literally: “butter island” (isn’t that awesome that there is actually a word for that?), cinnamon, sugar and dried currants or raisins. In Trondheim where I lived, this dish is traditionally eaten as the main meal on Christmas eve with a variety of dried cured meats. If you like you could try serving this for breakfast, or even dessert. It is just that good.

Rømmegrøt (recipe adapted from The Norwegian Kitchen)

INGREDIENTS:

1 quart of high quality, full fat sour cream
3/4 cup oat bran
1 quart of full fat milk
Salt to taste
Toppings: butter, cinnamon, raw cane sugar and dried currants or raisins

METHOD:

Simmer the sour cream for about 15 minutes over low heat, stirring often. Stir in the oat bran and bring to a boil, while continuing to keep an eye on it and stir often to prevent burning. If butterfat leaches out of the cream, remove it and save for later. In a separate saucepan, bring milk to a boil and use it to thin the porridge to the desired consistency. Then season with salt. You can use the reserved butterfat to swirl on top of the porridge to serve (instead of creating a smørøya). Serves 8. Recipe can be easily halved.

Food Freedom Fighters

GOT RAW MILK?

As I write this, it has been almost 40 hours since I consumed anything but raw milk and water. I am still alive. No stomach pains, no headaches, no indications to tell me that this hotly debated food item has damaged me in any way, the fact is, I feel completely nourished and as normal as I would any morning at 10:30 AM. I am not starving for food, but getting hungry, I have normal amounts of energy and I am in a good mood. From all the anti- raw milk campaigns out there, you would think at this point I would be in a hospital bed somewhere, or at the very least, having a case of the runs. I even had dental surgery yesterday, so I guess I did in fact consume Novocaine, but even with all that, I am feeling A-OK.

I took a little break, and am now eating some lunch, my first meal since the fast. I had to think a little. Fasting for ideological reasons is something I have never done before and I wanted to understand for myself why I felt so compelled this time. I am no stranger to activism. I have been to numerous protests in my life, I have gone out of my own comfort zone to assist and to help those who are fighting their own battles and needed help with chores and daily life . Being an activist, especially when you are fighting for your life and livelihood is a full time job because without your life and livelihood, well, you can take it from there in your own head. In the past I have been an activist for large global issues, and issues that impact others strongly, although not much direct impact on me. But this time, with raw milk, it really hit home.

Dear friends of ours are raw milk (among other things) farmers and I drink their milk every day. If that wasn’t enough of a reason to get involved, there is also this crazy idea, a dream of ours to produce and sell dairy products, like cheese, and fresh dairy, like yogurt, kefir and buttermilk, things that have been nourishing our bodies for the past several years, and which we rely on heavily for our continued health. But you know what? I am scared to death to begin a business like this in the US. Land of the Free, my… I have had to ask myself many times these past months, is it worth it? Maybe I should just make it for our own consumption and not sell it to others. I don’t want to do jail time over cheese and milk, as so many others have. Artisan products, like raw milk cheeses and other products have been under attack by the FDA for months here in the US. If you don’t believe me, check out this, this and this.

In a world where small family dairies can be put through that, and yet cigarettes are sold at every gas station, GMOs are not labeled despite the fact that 80% of Americans are asking for labeling practices, where ground meat is sold in stores with ammonia in it and Cargill can poison thousands with salmonella contaminated food, and yet remain in business with a slap on the hand, and a VOLUNTARY recall, all the arguments about raw milk laws and safety are “udderly” ridiculous and completely unconvincing. It is about money friends, not safety. Who benefits from not allowing people to eat healthy nourishing foods but large food corps, and dare I say pharmaceutical companies gaining off the sickness of our nation. I am sorry but the masses are not sick and overweight and getting diabetes from drinking raw milk. It is also about our freedom and health. To read more about these discrepancies between small farms and large food corps and “food safety”, this is a great article.

“The Cargill recall and Rawesome raid provide a glaring example of the problems with our food system. Cargill had known that its factory had salmonella – it just hadn’t reached actionable levels, they thought. One person died and dozens became ill before Cargill initiated a voluntary recall.Compare that to what happened at Rawesome, [where] not one person has ever claimed to have gotten sick…the government came in with armed officials, confiscated tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of food, and put three people in jail.” ~ Judith McGeary, Esq

I am an empath. It is all too easy for me to imagine myself in someone else’s shoes, so often times people may think I get too emotional over certain subjects, especially when they don’t involve me, directly. But I don’t see the world that way, to me we are a holistic whole. Each little issue a microcosm of the whole. My reality is I see no difference between a man I have never met, Michael Schmidt, and our friends down the road who feed us, care about the health of others and do the best they can to supply healthy foods to their community, providing a service, a labor of love. They have family and friends that support them and many customers. They are just like Michael Schmidt. When we stand up against one person’s injustice, we stand up for all of those we love and care about.

So who is Michael Schmidt? Michael is a dairy farmer in Ontario, Canada. He has been providing safe and highly nutritious raw milk to informed buyers who have consented to purchase his product. The Canadian government has made it illegal for him to sell the milk and he just entered his 4th week of a hunger strike (consuming nothing but water). All he wants, a personal one-on-one chat about raw milk policies in Canada with the Premier, Dalton McGuinty. One talk and the strike will end. Michael has been fighting with the Canadian government for years, and it has come down to this. All he wants is to be heard. The people of Canada have rallied behind Mr. Schmidt, calling out to Mr. McGuinty to speak with him. Isn’t this why we elect officials, for them to execute the will of the people? I think it is time for Mr. McGuinty to do his job.

Lest you think this is all about raw milk, let me tell you, raw milk is the tip of the iceberg in the land of food freedom and food freedom fighters. It is about upholding that right which is yours, inherently to consume the foods you want. Raw milk is just the hot topic these days; it is the issue on the battle field. Last year it was NAIS (National Animal Identification System) and the Food Safety Modernization Act and maybe next year it will be fighting Monsanto on the issue of saving seeds. When you see all the “food” in the grocery stores, products lining the aisles full of additives, preservatives and chemicals, and these products are sanctioned by the government and regulatory branches, it just tells you that the government cares very little for the health and safety of the people. When you see them going through such pains and efforts to destroy small farms and businesses, you begin to understand what a threat they see these farms and food producers to their bottom line. This is not about safety, it is about money.

I don’t want to hear one more word from the government about world hunger until they start letting farmers feed people again. Most farmers sell GMO corn and soybeans, that don’t even feed people, mostly because they can earn a better living wage, and there are not so many restrictions. That is unimaginable.

It just makes you think…We just returned from a family trip back to Roberto’s Homeland, Sardinia. Sardinia is in the midst of a beautiful revitalization. The government wants people to continue sheep and goat farming; the government encourages young people to continue its ancient traditions and livelihoods. There are programs, and monies given to people who want to start a farm, take over an old one, and make cheese and other farm products or to start an Agro-Turismo. Look at that in comparison to prospects here in North America. Places where you need teams of lawyers, and armed guards (well maybe not that extreme yet) to make farm fresh products and sell them to your neighbors, friends and community without ending up in jail.

I really don’t want to get into all the legalities, because at the end of the day feeding yourself, growing food, and choosing what you put in your body is our birthright and we have been executing that right for millennia. It is an inalienable right (not a privilege)as a human being that should never come into question. Sometimes our government officials forget this, and so we have to be there to remind them and defend that right, lest they try to take it away. What you choose to eat has nothing to do with government, and clearly it shouldn’t as they have done a great dis-service to us where we have allowed them power. Many of the things they do regulate and approve for human consumption, like food and drugs kill people every day. Raw milk does not kill people every day.Even if that were not true, and all food they approve is safe, sometimes laws need to be changed. Raw milk laws may be out-dated. They started in a time where more and more people moved to cities and brought their animals to the cities too, and sold milk in open air containers in filthy streets. Maybe these laws need to be re-evaluated before people start losing their lives over outdated laws.

And if you think raw milk is not safe, check this out: “Using government figures for foodborne illness for the entire population, Dr. Beals has shown that you are about thirty-five thousand times more likely to get sick from other foods than you are from raw milk,” click here for the rest of the article .

Keep fighting the good fight Micahel! We support you! We have your back!