Category Archives: the meat files

survived another holiday season

It’s all over now, the stress, the cooking, the music, the drinking, Christmas has come and gone at my house. To my most delighted surprise, it went really great this year. My parents came to spend a few days with us, and they were kind enough to provide the Turkey – which we tracked down from a Island Natural Market that supplied a free range, organic Turkey from Gabriola Island. T’was a delicious bird indeed, and quite massive. I’m not sure if they were serious or not, but my parents claim to have been “converted” to future turkey’s being from the same circumstances….we shall see.

So now it’s right back to reality. Finish school, working, cleaning, knitting and playing roller derby. I can hardly believe that time is rushing by like it seems to be doing, and I’ve been thinking about what (if any) my New Year’s Resolutions will be. Do you have any?

-SM

Ethical Meat, I haven’t forgotten you!

I haven’t talked much about the ethical meat eating plan lately. I am still on it, going strong since August. That is, no non-ethically raised meat in my mouth. Went digging in the deep freeze for dinner tonight and pulled out some steaks from Outwest Ranches (South Surrey) so I am hoping to turn these bad boys into something delish.

I am still really happy about the decision and although it takes some getting used to, the peace of mind that I have about knowing where my food comes from is worth it! Plus, I have been pushed to try cooking all vegetarian-style which ain’t so bad after all. I am craving a burger though, which is ok because I also have 1lb of ground beef from Ryder Lake Beef Sales from the fall. Maybe this weekend…..

But for the next two days I will probably eat vegetarian-like so I guess I better do some recipe research!

Back to working on those legwarmers, which are moving right along quite nicely.

-SM

 

Quick local food update

I’ve been frequenting the local Farmer’s Market on Saturdays now. I am still on my ethical-meat-only kick and have located a great local farm that supplies lamb, chickens and pork products….that means BACON. I hadn’t really had bacon since August until this past weekend. I picked up some Whisky Smoked Bacon from Ravenstone Farms and cooked up a Sunday breakfast feast. T’was delicious. Did I mention I also picked up some juicy pork chops that were superb from him too? I did.

I’ve also found a mushroom guy. The same one I got the tasty chanterelles from earlier, hooked me up with some “Pines” which weren’t much to look at but pretty bold little mushrooms. He picked them obviously – which I realized in hindsight that I took a crazy mushroom guy’s word for it that they were in fact edible…but it’s been a few days and I’m alive. They had a strong, earthy and piney flavour to them, and I kept it simple by just sautéing them with garlic and butter. Delish. The mushroom guy seems legit, but not any less freaky, which I think makes him legit.

I’ll have another post coming up in a day or two about other stuff going on. I’ve just been thinking about food a lot lately…

Mmmm food.

Small Town Saturday

Today was by far the most exciting day of the week. After a delicious eggs benny, John and I wandered into town to do some exploring. We parked, unbeknownst to us, right across from the winter farmers market. Perfection. We did a quick circle through the small, charming and busy market and made a mad dash to the cash machine. I was absolutely thrilled to pick up 1lb of fresh picked chanterelle mushrooms for $10! Outstanding price, and a future outstanding meal in my near future! We also scored some pasture-raised pork(chops), pasture-raised chicken legs and some fantastic rustic sourdough. Oh yes, coffee beans!

The morning was off to an outstanding start….We did a wander down the main street and located what we consider to be an important building – the liquor store 😉 We continued our exploration by taking a two-minute drive down to the water front, when I heard John say “What the?!”….I slowed down….”I think I see something out in the water”. Turns out we witnessed a plethora of Stellar Sea Lions AND some porpoises jumping in and out of the water, in a fish catching frenzy! Unreal! Unfortunately we didn’t have a camera with us (or a proper lens to capture the sight/distance) but it was amazing.

Homeward we went. Since the weather has been beautiful (but chilly) here all week, we thought it’d be fun to do some raking out in the front of the property. Piles and piles and piles of leaves. But it can’t be all work and no play…..

So we raked and raked and raked some more, with intermittent ball tossings for Benji. Fun times. So I haven’t mentioned that we live very near to a small aircraft airport, so we get small planes overhead during the day. No biggie. Today we watched either a novice pilot, or a guy having trouble with the wind try to land his plane a minimum of 6 times. We captured a few photos while he went overhead (many times).

 

 

 

All in all, a decent day so far. I have a feeling we will enjoy this new small town stuff just fine 🙂

Happy Saturday

 

The Good News

Chicken portrait

Image via Wikipedia

So…..a couple of days late but not short of excitement, I am happy to report we have found our perfect place to call home! Not only is it superb, it is a mini-farm type place where we can raise our own chickens. This is thrilling for myself and John, and jives with my effort to maintain my ethical meat-eating practices. I am over the moon to be moving out of the lower mainland (big city busy feel) and on to the peace and tranquility of a rural lifestyle. And now a big sigh of relief…..ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…………

Except, now we have to pack! And move! And stay on top of the four courses I am currently enrolled in! It is safe to officially announce that I am overwhelmed with excitement and an incredible amount of work to do! Imagine if I hadn’t quit my job recently and I had that in the mix too, eeek!

So it seems as though my blog – which never really had any one specific direction – can follow my transition from city girl to chicken-raising-farmhouse girl. In addition to my continued success at avoiding meat other than ethically raised.

Oh and by the way, I made a terrific garden fresh tomato bisque today from an insane amount of tomatoes that desperately needed consumption, fresh picked basil and some dried herbs from last summer’s garden adventure. Talk about local! And vegetarian 🙂

Well, as the excitement mounts and the packing commences, I’ll be sure to keep updates on the trials and tribulations of a big-ass move.

Now…back to school for this gal.

Dinner update

We started with some steamed artichokes with homemade lemon and garlic aioli. An experiment of sorts, having never cooked artichokes in my life. They were good, but labour-intensive to eat. Aioli was delish and will keep vampires at bay for at least a week.

 

 

 

The roasted chicken turned out pretty damn good. My mom gave me a nifty chicken roasting pan for Christmas last year that works like a charm. It has a cylindrical tube that you place the chicken on top of so that the bird steams from the inside – kind of like a beer can chicken only safer. Keeps your birdie moist and juicy inside and nice and crisp on the outside…yum.

Used a whack of the peppers from today and used up some potatoes from our last market expedition. All in all, we are satisfied customers currently undergoing the meat and hearty food coma. mmmmmm…..meatsweats!

It was pretty damn good!

Windy Sunday Farmer’s Market & my first official “ethical feast”! (coming up…)

So today John and I woke to some crazy sounding winds outside….(nope not from the behinds of our dogs or ourselves). After taking Walter and Benji for a windy walk, and a hot cup of “Mellow” Ethical Bean coffee, we decided to head up to the White Rock Farmer’s Market.

We were met with some unruly winds that kept most booths from erecting their tents, since they were just blowing down anyhow. We treated ourselves to some cheese sticks, which in reality were delicious hunks of half loaves smothered in melted cheese…delicious. We came ready (John has really embraced my ethical meat eating plan which is SO COOL) so we stocked up on some turkey sausage $11.30 from Ladybug Manor pasture-raised organic birds ( www.ladybugmanor.com ). Next to LBM we met a very local pasture-beef farmin’ lady so we picked up some rib steak and eye of round steaks for $20.00. Later, we drove by her farm (just to be sure) and were both pleasantly surprised at how close the farm was and how happy the cattle looked 🙂

We then loaded up on a plethora of seasonal veggies; artichokes, squash, and peppers. After we left the market, we went cruising towards Langley/Surrey and hit up another farm stand. We really lucked out here, since it was their last day for the season. We picked up 2 dozen free range eggs (from yesterday) at $3/dozen. They were so fresh that there were a few feathers on some of them – talk about the real deal! Also, they were all random sizes and variations of colour. Neat.

We scored on some more corn from Chilliwack, apples, concord grapes, nectarines and a few more different squash.

So now that it feels officially like fall has fallen, today is the day I will cook up the free range chicken I picked up a few weeks ago on my last farm marketing endeavours. This will be the first meat other than seafood I’ll have had in about 5 weeks. Exciting! My theme tonight will be seasonal goods and all from a farm and pasture-raised and local. I’ll provide an update on how successful (or un) once the feast is finished! Happy wind-day!

Encounters of a door to door Meat Salesman…for real!

Meat packages in a Roman supermarket.

Image via Wikipedia

In all of my life I have never encountered a for real door to door salesman in the business of MEAT (nor did I realize they existed). Until yesterday. How can it possibly be, that for the first time in my existence as a happy and formerly oblivious carnivore that the exact time in my life I have decided to be meat-free (with the previously mentioned exceptions) I encounter such an occurance? Odd.

So here’s how it all unfolded….

I’m sitting at work after having prepared lunch for one of the people I was supporting, when suddenly there is a knock at her door. Upon answering it, a friendly middle-aged fellow introduced himself as a representative for ___________ Fine Meats (blank indicates a name I’ve left out for privacy reasons). He tells me that he does deliveries and always carries some extra boxes and likes to knock on doors nearby. He claims that the meat is organic. So, I say I may be interested in taking a look (mainly for my own research interests).

Out we go to his truck. I know, creepy right? It wasn’t really, but it sure sounds like it, plus I was under the watchful eye of the lady I was supporting. Anyways, he begins to unload slightly thicker-than pizza boxes of various meats and begins his sales pitch. Immediately I interrupt and repeat that I am ONLY interested in what is supposedly organic and free range. He kept showing me all of the meat – some marinated in a questionable looking thick orangey brown goo.

As he finally brought out the “organic” and “free range” meat, I asked him if he knew where exactly the cuts came from. His response: “Alberta & BC” I clarified, by asking if he knew the farms or the farmers or had a card for his company so that I could inquire to the owner of _______ Fine Meats.

His response was very defensive at this point. He explained (in a very frustrated tone) that their company deals with “so many huge outfits” that they likely would not be able to provide me with exactly where the meat originated. Hmmmm. It’s kind of scary not really knowing where it all comes from now.

The more I get into this, the more I can’t stop thinking about how disconnected we’ve become from our food and the earth. The salesman was pissed off with me for asking what farms the cows/chickens/turkeys lived. Granted, he was doing his job of selling (or trying to) meat. My point is that he didn’t seem to grasp that I was pointing out that I am genuinely interested in the origins of my food.

All of this seems very ironic to me. I mean there must be a reason that the meat guy showed up on my doorstep (literally) yesterday in the midst of my lifestyle change.

Those ferry turkeys almost a month ago have really shaken me up!

I continue to feel amazing however, and have experimented with some tasty recipes with Quinoa and tons of veggies.  The saga continues 🙂

Veggie Supreme

I’ve continued with my committment to avoid the “industrialized meat” that is so common out there.  I don’t have an actual number of days count to supply ( I can go back through old posts and check) but it’s been roughly 3.5 weeks of eating no meat with the exception of fish/seafood (not farmed!). I have to say….and I never thought I’d say it…..I feel amazing. Physically I feel most excellent. It’s been a drastic change in the way I eat, as well as the way I think about what food I put into my body.

I just returned from a 4 day trip for work. Having to eat out most of the time used to be considered a treat. This time, I was way more cautious and tried the veggie options for each meal. Some were alright but it didn’t necessarily mean they were healthy. What is it with restaurants needing to fry everything or soak it all in butter or oil? Maybe we like the comfort-style foods, which typically means fatty. Don’t get me wrong, I like comfort food for sure (especially home-made baked mac ‘n cheese). But having ordered a veggie sandwich at lunch, that sounded great on the menu turned out to be two pieces of bread soaked in oil with melted cheese and some limp pieces of lettuce. yikes!

I have yet to actually cook up and eat my ethical meat purchases from the farmers market, but I will. Once I warm up to the idea. What I have enjoyed is the peace of mind I have. And the added knowledge about this crazy food industry we are surrounded by. I urge anyone with the slightest bit of interest to start researching where your groceries in your fridge originated. I also wonder what the food industries are like around the world, since mainly the books I have focus on North America. Thoughts?

Shopping and a few other things….

Busy week of continuing to read The Omnivore’s Dilemma and contemplating food. Some things that have come up are helping my guy understand my new choices in terms of what I will eat. Since we are a carnivorous couple who take pride in BBQ-ing, tasty food consumption and the like, he was particularly shocked (and a little perturbed) at my declining of bacon at Saturday morning breakfast. (sorry hunny!). I have clearly explained now that I am not giving up all meat for all time. I am simply attempting to choose my meat wisely and ethically so that I can digest with some peace of mind. Plus, we love seafood (never farmed) so for the times when hearty meat is hard to come by, we have a sufficiently stocked deep freezer of fresh from the fisherman fish at our disposal.

Sunday we headed out to the Steveston Farmer’s Market. My goal: to find some local farmers that produce pasture-raised products (ideally organic). Success! I found the stand for Ryder Lake Beef Sales. A locally raised (Chilliwack, BC), Free Range and Hormone Free beef farm that had a variety of cuts for sale. Supporting this farm is also congruent with the famous 100 mile diet. I picked up 3lbs of ground beef for $10 – not bad!

Next, I stumbled across the Ladybug Manor Organic Turkey farm – also from the Fraser Valley (100 mile diet approved). These guys are also free rangin’, field wanderin’ turkeys that are free of antibiotics, hormones, chemicals and apparently delicious. I picked up a leaflet (after sampling some delish turkey sausage) and may order a Thanksgiving bird from them.

After we left the market, we travelled out to Ladner and Westham Island for a bit of wine tasting and to stop by a random little farm that sells their fresh and organic produce and meat. I picked up 1 dozen organic and free range eggs (from their chickens  on the farm) for $5.25. Also, I picked up a nice roaster chicken (frozen) from an organic and free range farm in Abbottsford BC for $12.50. Pricey, considering I was previously grabbing a roaster chicken bigger for around $5 in Bellingham, WA. BUT, I do feel better knowing that this bird isn’t pumped full of question-mark chemicals that I can’t pronounce.

I am also planning to explore some healthy vegetarian meals (recipes very appreciated) to balance out my eating. It certainly isn’t necessary to eat meat every single day (ethical or not), so I figure it’s time to explore some other dishes.

As a side note, in regards to the recent plague I had….Got a call from the Public Health Authority early last week. Apparently they had my lab results back: A bacterial infection in my intestine. Gross. I had to answer a bunch of questions:

“Have you been travelling recently?” – no

“Have you been to North Vancouver lately?” – no

“Have you eaten any eggs or chicken within 3 days before you got sick?” – quite possibly (before my meat experiment). Is it possible that I got sick from the very stuff I am trying to quit/investigate? Now, I don’t have a for sure answer on how I got sick. But this has solidified my committment to lay off that factory farmed crazy meat for a bit!