Tag Archives: food

What’s the beef on Grass fed?

Watching documentaries like Farmageddon, Food Matters, and the Truth about Monsanto has really got me thinking about what exactly is going into the food that is going into me and my family.

So you’re going to be seeing a lot of information on this topic in the coming months here on Homemaker Chic. Today let’s talk about grass fed beef. I’ve heard lots of hype about grass fed beef and how much better it is for us than traditional beef. Here’s why…

  • It’s about the feed

As a ruminant, a cow’s digestive system is made to digest grasses.Grains like corn that are high in starch and other high energy cheap feeds can rapidly fatten cattle, but can also damage their digestive system. The time and intensity of this feeding must be limited to avoid killing the cows or causing severe illness…

  • Which leads to antibiotic use for cows

Antibiotics become necessary because an unnatural diet makes cows prone to disease. Low doses of antibiotics combined with hormones are also used as a short cut to promote excessive growth. While some grainfed cattle may not be given antibiotics, most are.

  • Growing COWch Potatoes

Inactivity fattens cows and humans alike. Confining large herds to small spaces creates the perfect environment for diseases to spread. Just add more antibiotics!

  • Growing cows like fast food

A fatter cow in half the time means cheap meat for your plate. Just ignore the quality of it and everyone’s happy.

  • Grassfed beef is part of a healthy diet

When cows roam the pasture and graze, their intake of healthy omega 3 fats in grass increases their body composition of omega 3 fats. Other healthy fats increase like CLA (which has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer), while total fat reduces. Grassfed cow meat has higher concentrations of vitamins like E and beta carotene, as well as minerals.

grassfed-beef

Advertisements

Easy Iced Tea

Being Southern I grew up drinking a lot of sweet iced tea. While I’ve skipped the sweet these days I’m still a huge fan of cold iced tea on a summer’s day. I love iced green tea, it is so yummy, refreshing, and it is chock full of antioxidants and other amazing health benefits. I’ve been making tea since I was a kid and together my mom and I came up with a clever way to make brewing iced tea a little simpler. We’ve been using this nifty little trick for years.

Start by pulling off the paper tags and staples from the strings. 

The gather the strings together and tie them around the handle of a wooden spoon. I find that a slip knot works nicely, but a regular knot is fine too.

Then just rest the spoon across the edge of your tea container and fill with enough water so that the tea bags are fully submerged. Let the tea steep then just pull the tea bags out by lifting the wooden spoon. No more fishing around trying to get the tea bags out. And you don’t have soggy tea tags floating around in the tea! Add a little honey or splenda. I just like a little sweetener in my green tea. This keeps it low calorie. Of course if you’re wanting true southern tea, like the kind my momma makes, you can add about a pound of sugar.

How to Make Cocktail Sauce

Many years ago when I was a waitress I had to learn how to make cocktail sauce. I worked at a restaurant where we made cocktail sauce to order. At the time it was a nuisance having to stop during a busy shift between running food and refilling drinks to hand-make condiments, but I perfected the skill and learned to make it quickly with just the right ratio of ingredients. I have since become the token cocktail sauce maker in my family and now I will share the tricks of the trade with you fine folks. It is ridiculously easy to make and way cheaper than ready made. Here is the recipe:

You will need ketchup, a lemon, worcestershire sauce and horseradish.

;

;

Start by squeezing about half of a fresh lemon into a bowl.

;

;

;

;

;

;

;

Add about half a cup of ketchup, about 5-6 shakes of worcestershire, several tablespoons of horseradish (more or less depending on how spicy you like it.) Stir well and serve. Its so easy right? Now you never have an excuse to buy store-bought cocktail sauce again!

It tastes way better, and you will feel accomplished knowing there are no preservatives.

Super Easy Individual Flatbread Pizzas

On occasion when I’m too tired to cook I relinquish my kitchen to my dear husband Adam. He’s been known to whip up some tasty treats and this is one of them. I have a feeling our would-be children will one day love this dish!

Start with the little flat-breads you can buy at any grocery store. Sometimes you can get them bogo which makes me very happy!

Brush them lightly with butter and sprinkle with a little garlic powder. For a crispier crust, toast them briefly in the oven or toaster oven before topping.

Add a little pizza sauce, mozzerella, and whatever toppings you like. We like pepperoni.

Bake for 5-6 minutes or until desired crispness.

Et Voila! Dinner is ready, and I got to relax on the couch the whole time. 🙂

Bella’s Confetti “Spaghetti”

Confetti

In Hyde Park, Tampa is the perfect little Italian place that I’ve been frequenting for 15 years or more. Tucked away almost to the bay on Howard Ave, past McDintons with its drunken 20 somethings, past Cheap with guys in faux-hawks, blazers and gals in fake boobs with belts for skirts… this little gem is for the more distinguished (however unrefined) patron.

It has been my go-to favourite spot for many eventful evenings. My parents took me there after my first ballet performance. I went there on my 12th, 14th, 16th birthday, 20th birthday… (never noticed the even years until just now- omen?) I’ve been there on dates, late lunches aprés-shopping/pre-matinée. I’ve dabbled around with different appetizers, and tried many of their wines and cocktails, I’ve even dared to try a few desserts other than my beloved creme brulee. But from the main dish I have never been unfaithful.

Not once, not even one single time, have I ever shared my loyalty to …

                           Bella’s Confetti Spaghetti.

It was my mother who first ordered it. I remember tasting it cold the next day in the adorable chinese take-out box it traveled home in. It might as well have been wrapped in a bow. I was hooked. Each time we sat down, when the server presented my menu I confidently rejected… I already knew what I would order.

I LOVE that my parents never batted an eyelash while our family watched the server grating a mountain of cheese on my pasta. For parents who were strict on politeness, and staunchly discouraged immature and inconsiderate behaviour, they never once said, “Okay dear, that’s enough.” My mother still, to this day, watches in amusement as I consume amounts of cheese that can in no way be healthy. My cheese obsession will have to be reserved for another blog entirely. I digress… end cheese caveat.

So when I moved to Europe in 2005 it was only a matter of time before I longed for the taste of peas, fresh tomatoes and spaghetti cooked to al dente perfection swimming in a sublime blush sauce with a hint of bacon. A few times I even attempted an off menu order for a daring chef to attempt recreation, but the “customer is always wrong” policy in Europe did not lend itself to custom requests from patrons. Finally, I decided I would attempt a recreation myself, and thus was born possibly my favourite recipe of all time. After years of practice, and experimentation I’ve come up with something mighty grand. I added mushrooms, varied the type of pasta depending on what I have on hand, and did away with the fresh parsley. It is pretty simple once you nail the béchamel.

Disclaimer: Now when I cook, its like an old granny. Its just a little of this, and a pinch of that. I simply know no other way. I’m sure one day my grandchildren are going to be driven bananas when they ask me for recipes, just as I was by my grandmother. I apologize now for any readers driven bananas as a result of this recipe.

Ingredients:

About a cup of Fresh tomatoes (okay sometimes I cheat and use canned)

About a cup of Peas

2 or 3 strips of Bacon

A decent pour of Milk (whole milk tastes best)

A little stock

A little flour

A blop of red pasta sauce

2ish Tbsp of Butter

1 clove of Garlic (I always buy it in a jar but a clove sounds nicer)

Maybe a third of a red onion

A handful of Mushrooms (more if you’re a carnie, less if you have man hands.)

Pasta of any kind, preferably spaghetti, rotini or rotelle

A mountain of Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

Start by frying up the bacon until its crispy. Set aside and chop into bits once cooled. Throw in the mushrooms, onion, garlic and a little butter. Also some salt and pepper. Saute until its all caramelized then stir in the peas, bacon and tomatoes and set aside. (Did you know that saute meant “to jump” in french?)

Start boiling your pasta. Remember: Pasta water should be like the sea. Salty.

For the sauce:

Melt the butter and add a few spoons of flour. For a thicker sauce add a few tablespoons, for a thinner sauce add just one or two. With a whisk stir continually and cook on low heat until the butter/flour mixture begins to very slightly turn beige. This is called a roux. Knowing exactly how long to do this is a skill that requires a lot of practice. I can’t tell you exactly how long, but you can kind of tell its ready when it doesn’t smell too “floury” anymore. If it gets too brown your sauce will taste burnt. If you don’t cook it long enough your sauce will taste like flour. If its not right you can always start over. It doesn’t take long to do. Maybe 4-5 minutes.

Once your roux is ready start adding the milk a little at a time. It will thicken up very quickly at first but whisk quickly and it will stay smooth. Keep whisking and pouring a little at a time until it looks like you have enough sauce for your pasta. Sometimes I have my husband pour while I whisk. My mother used to have me pour while she whisked. She would tell me when to start and stop by saying, “PoooooooooooooooUR.” The pour kinda went up at the end and got louder, which meant STOP.

Add some salt, pepper, garlic powder if you want it to be extra garlicky. Add about 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, and the blop of pasta sauce to give it a pink color and a tangy flavour. If you have some extra bacon fat, stir in a couple teaspoons for a more smokey flavor.

Continue stirring and cook your sauce on low for 5-10 minutes until all the flavors have married and had a lovely reception. Do not boil, for this leads to divorce.

By now your pasta should be done. Drain, add your mushroom, pea, tomato, bacon mix, then pour the sauce over and stir.

Serve with a copious pile of parmesan cheese and enjoy. 🙂