Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Lard. Is it a Good Fat? or a Bad Fat?

     Today I was reading an article in Acres U.S.A. by Will Winter, D.V.M., a holistic livestock consultant, who I had the pleasure of meeting at an Acres U.S.A. conference.   It was about the  health benefits of organ meat, specifically liver.  I will leave that topic for another time.  He mentioned that there are only four cooking oils that will hold up under fry heat; lard, tallow, coconut oil & palm oil.  I found it interesting that we have been taught wrong about frying being "bad"  & wanted to share the good news.  He went on to say that  the so called "vegetable" oils (that are not really from veggies), canola, soy and corn being the most popular, break down quickly under heat.  Butter (even healthy butter) also breaks down with the exception of using it at a low heat for lightly cooking, such as eggs.  The common oils purchased in your local grocery store are all loaded with inflammatory omega-6.  No wonder so many people have inflammation problems, such as alzheimer's, arthritis, asthma, Crohn's disease, colitis, dermatitis, fibromyalgia, hepatitis, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus, Parkinson's disease....  The list goes on & on!

     Heart attacks and even strokes were virtually unheard of before Crisco & Margarine became popular.  Crisco is a waste product that stands for "Crystallized (hydrogenated) Cottonseed Oil".  All solid oils with the exception of pure virgin coconut and palm are hydrogenated.  Lard can be bought in some stores, but this is generally hydrogenated as well.  To be safe, you need to know the source of the lard.  Make sure its from a local farm, preferrably a farmer who you know raises their hogs on pasture & not in confinement.  Even if you find lard at a  Farmer's Market,  you may be surprised to find that there are local farms who raise their hogs in confinement = poisonous meat (hogs that are raised living in their own waste & breathing the polluted gas.  You don't want to eat that stuff.

     When we picked up pork, from our own hogs, from the processor, we had them save the back fat for us because they do not render lard.  I have plans to render the lard myself.  If you're on Pinterest you can see how to do this yourself in small batches on my Homesteading board (Rendering Lard) & render your own lard if you're lucky enough to be able to purchase back fat from a farmer you know or if you have your own hogs.  If you're near our farm, you are more than welcome to contact me to purchase some of our lard.  It has a long shelf life and will keep in the freezer almost indefinitely. 



We are grateful that we found a meat processor that renders lard.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Whole Hog Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

We've had a few people ask for ground sausage to make gravy with.
Since this was our 1st time ordering we 
weren't sure how much of which cuts to get.  So we 
sold out of the ground sausage and patties quickly.  

I wasn't sure how the gravy would turn out if a person just
took the whole hog sausage (rope style) and used it.
Let me tell you my grandaughters are very picky eaters
and loved it! They even wanted 2nds.

I won't bother you with a recipe.  Just some pictures and 
you can use your own recipe.  I don't measure anything
anyway and really have no idea how much to tell you.
We may have classes if we get enough interest.  Let 
us know what you think of the idea.

Rope Style Whole Hog Sausage

Cutting the casing

Removing the casing

Helping in the kitchen and sneaking a selfie.

Sausage ready to brown

Sausage all browned

Waiting for the gravy to come to a boil.

Yes, these are bad for you and store bought.  It's something
we rarely eat.

Ta Da! Two biscuits smothered with gravy.  Yuuummm!!!
psst...  Is that a pastured egg frying in the skillet?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

If you're having guests and want to make something
different for breakfast that has
a pretty presentation  I think this may
fit the bill.  I don't have a name for it.  If anyone reading this
recognizes it, please let me know & don't hesitate
to give me some tips or tell me what I did wrong. :)

I got the idea from seeing 
 a picture of a breakfast plate in my Facebook newsfeed
that a friend had shared.  It looked interesting but it was
in a foreign language so I couldn't figure out the exact recipe and
it was just a picture of the end product. I attempted to 
replicate it for this mornings breakfast. I had a couple issues
but it turned out pretty good.  

First you separate the egg whites and yolks.  I use my hands.  I needed
two hands so I couldn't get a picture of this step. :)
Be sure to put the whites in a bowl that you can beat
with a mixer.  This stainless bowl worked great.

I added a little cream of tartar & salt.  I did not measure (as
usual).  Beat them til soft peaks form.
It's similar to making meringue without the sugar.

However many eggs you separated, make mounds of the beaten
egg whites.  I used a small serving spoon to scoop out one
spoonful for each mound and added another
to each mound at a time to try to keep them similar size.
Take your spoon and make a small well in the center
of each mound for the yolk to sit in.
Add a yolk to each mound.  I goofed and tried to use a spoon 
and broke 3 yolks.  I then tipped the bowl of yolks
to pour one in my hand at a time.  However, with the 
broke yolks in there, it didn't make
a nice neat presentation.... but  I don't imagine
it tastes any different. 

Then I put the eggs in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes.
I fried some bacon while the eggs were baking 
and made toast as well.

The eggs finished before the bacon was done
frying.  So I opened the oven door to let it
cool down some and lowered the temp to
200 degrees.  Put the eggs back in to
just keep them warm 'til the bacon 
and toast were ready.

That's about it.  Next time I think I'll partially cook
the whites before adding the yolks so
the yolks are on the runny side.

Just remember to use  pastured eggs from a local farm.
Store bought eggs are generally from a factory farm
and do NOT have the same nutritional value as
pastured eggs.  Free range eggs are not as nutritional
as pastured eggs.  However, pastured eggs are considered
free range, but not all free range eggs are
 considered pastured eggs. 

Fresh is Good! Healthy is Best!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Healing Acres Farm: Chinese Cabbage Salad

Healing Acres Farm: Chinese Cabbage Salad & Updates: Right now the Napa Cabbage or also known as  Chinese Cabbage are heading beautifully in the garden. You can use Napa Cabbage ...

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Healing Acres Farm: Cabbage & Sausage Soup

Healing Acres Farm: Cabbage & Sausage Soup: This week we've had some cooler temperatures & I'm cold.  So soup has been on the menu.  We've had 4 different soups this we...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dreaming, Believing, Achieving

I'm sorry I haven't been posting.  It was a long winter & I have been learning how to create this website & get it up & running. has made it easier & I'll be updating and adding information as I have time.

So, we've had several challenges in achieving our goals this past year.  However we are working hard with great faith and moving steadily forward.

It's summertime & we're very busy taking care of animals, gardening, providing vegetables to our CSA members & participating in 3 markets.  We'd love for you to come see us! You can find us in Springfield, IL on Sundays from 11:00 'til 2:00 at the West End Farmer's Market.  It's on the NE corner of Iles & Meadowbrook. Wednesday's we're on Main Street in Carlinville across from Casey's from 1:00 'til 5:00 pm.  On Saturday's you'll find us in Edwardsville, IL at the Goshen Market from 8:00 'til Noon. Also, you can come see us at the farm by appointment.  Email us @ or call us & leave a message @ (217) 522-4325.  We'll get back to you as soon as we can.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful year & we hope to see you at the Market!!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Tomato Kale & Barley Soup

Tomato Kale & Barley Soup


8 cups of your choice of broth (beef, vegetable or chicken)
1 large chopped onion
1 gallon of chopped froze tomatoes (from the garden)
3-4 handfuls of spinach - chopped
8 cups of shredded kale
Cooked Barley (2 dry cups)
1 tablespoon Celtic Sea Salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon panch puran (or spice of your choice)
Add Braggs Liqid Aminos to taste 

I cook the barley in a rice cooker while I prepare the rest of the soup. Combine the other ingredients & bring to a boil. Cook on medium heat til the Kale is tender.  Add the barley & let simmer for as long as you wish.  I make a large batch so I can freeze the leftovers for a quick dinner at another time.