Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

It's tough to feed your family well, maintain your sanity, a career and juggle all the responsibilities life throws your way. I get it! 

Whether you're rushing to get yourself and the kiddos out the door on a busy, weekday morning or lounging in your PJ's enjoying a little downtime, I have the perfect recipe for you!

This easy, ONE DISH, make-ahead Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal is perfect for chilly fall and winter mornings. It combines crunchy oatmeal goodness with the creaminess of pumpkin and raw milk and it's sure to warm your tummy!

Hugs & Health ~

Carla

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Make-Ahead Brunch Blintz Just for Mom

 Brunch Blintz with Berries & PFF Pastured Bacon

Brunch Blintz with Berries & PFF Pastured Bacon

Mother's Day is right around the corner and I'm here to help you maintain your status as being her FAVORITE kid...no matter how old you are! You'll always be her baby, right? ;)

Or...

Maybe you're wondering how to spoil the Mother of your own kiddos who is quite literally managing the motherload with all those crazy toddler tantrums in the middle of the grocery store or riding that roller coaster known as pre-teen angst.

This make-ahead, decadent Brunch Blintz serves a crowd and it's one of those dishes that's SO easy ~ yet looks and tastes like you spent HOURS slaving in the kitchen just for her.

 Blintz Base with Filling Dropped in

Blintz Base with Filling Dropped in

Lucky for you, this dish is best made the day before and allowed to come to room temperature just before serving. This allows you to actually spend quality time with her relaxing and drinking mimosas...instead of in the kitchen. 

Take a trip to your local farmers market the day before and find some juicy strawberries to slice up as the topping. P.S....Don't forget to grab her some flowers too! 

Just before serving, ladle the cream off your Phillips Family Farm cream-on-top, raw milk and make some whipped cream to top this all off. 

 Ready to Serve! 

Ready to Serve! 

I've made this recipe a thousand times and it's always a success! Leave a comment below or connect with me if you have any questions! 

 

Phillips Family Farm's Brunch Blintz

Know your Food ~ Know your Farmer ~ Know their Butcher

I was recently talking with a friend of mine who is a vegan.  Weird way to start out a post about meat, huh? We were discussing his reasons for not consuming meat, all of which I admire and respect, and I was able to share with him why I choose to raise animals for food.

The fact is that, as a society, we’re not going to stop eating meat, dairy, and eggs.

However, I firmly believe that we can consume these foods in a more responsible and humane manner.  

Part of being able to do so is looking for and supporting the folks in our communities who are making this a possibility.

I made the decision early on that on-farm harvesting was non-negotiable. Packing animals in a trailer who have never set foot off the farm is stressful, for both them and me. The added stress of sitting in a holding pen for hours on end and even the possibility of someone mistreating them is not in their best interest.  

I spend months raising hogs and years raising beef and out of respect for them and what they provide to my family and many others, I want to personally see to it that they are harvested with the same consideration.

Back in February, Andrew Turner from Turner Custom Harvest Solutions, LLC. came out to the farm to harvest a few of our animals.  He’s been out many times before and I am always in awe of how calm and easy-going he is when interacting with the animals.

I still remember the time two of my hogs escaped the small area I had them in and as I watched head out to graze in a large, open pasture area.  He said…”Just let’em go”. No stress, no chasing them around and yelling.

He also provided a brief lesson on the reproductive system of a female hog after many failed attempts to breed her and made sure that Cameron had the beef heart he wanted to dissect for his homeschool science project.

Time is money in the mobile slaughtering business and when someone takes their time to go the extra mile to make sure my animals aren’t under stress or my kiddo can learn something, that really says a lot.

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As I watched Andrew and his apprentice work, it really hit me that, without folks like them, there would be no farm fresh, pastured meats from Phillips Family Farm to fill our customer’s freezers. I really wanted to get to know more about what the other side of the process looks like.

Side note: I use the word “Harvest” a lot when talking about our pastured meats but, in reality, Andrew is a “Mobile Slaughterman”.  Harvesting sounds so much softer and gentler to folks who aren’t used to being face to face with raising animals for food but I think sometimes you just have to say it like it is.  

A lot of what has allowed factory farming to continue is that there’s an element of not REALLY wanting to know where our food comes from. I think as educated consumers, we need to get past this and even go a little deeper.

I asked Andrew if it would ever be possible to tour the custom cutting facility of The Meating Place, one of the local butcher shops he delivers to, and it just so happened that he was preparing to cut and wrap beef for himself.  The timing was perfect!

Andrew is also a butcher, meaning, in addition to mobile slaughtering, preparing the carcass and transporting it to the actual butcher shop, he also is well skilled in the art of breaking down a side of beef, pork, lamb, etc... and cutting into roasts, steaks, chops and other cuts that you and I would recognize.

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I use the word “art”, because as I learned, it truly is an art form and that requires skill and a great deal of training.  

As Andrew brought out the side of beef he was preparing to work on, he began pointing out the various parts. “This is where the tri-top comes from….”  I felt like it was my first day of Anatomy & Physiology class, where I could pick out the bony landmarks, but I just couldn’t see it the same way a trained professional could.  

As he began to work, the meat started to take shape. It’s a time-consuming process that if done quickly or carelessly, results in more waste or more ground meat than you had probably hoped for.  

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I learned that the challenges Andrew faces are a lot like my own.  It’s long days, in all weather conditions, dangerous situations with animals and tools, and very physically demanding.

There can also be some folks who stand in judgment of what we do. That somehow a person who raises or slaughters animals for food isn’t compassionate or somehow this a reflection of some sort of character flaw. I couldn’t disagree more considering what I know of factory farms. What you DON’T see is a whole lot worse than what you DO see.

I also think there’s a misconception that folks who farm or are in farm-related fields are engaged in a manual labor type occupation because they aren’t as intelligent as those in the corporate world.

I have met many people throughout my years of farming and can tell you that, hands down, you will never find folks who are more resilient, resourceful and intelligent. They can literally make something from nothing and make the best of any challenge they are presented with.  

The rewards are similar as well.  The connection to customers, the outdoors, the animals, always learning and honing your craft. It’s back-breaking work but it’s fulfilling, something I personally never found sitting behind a desk. Andrew enjoys his work and it really shows.

I am beyond grateful to partner with folks like Andrew from Turner Custom Harvest Solutions, LLC and The Meating Place to bring my family and YOUR FAMILY the very best possible pasture-raised meats.  

I’d love to continue the conversation and hear what thoughts or questions this brings up for you in the comments below.

Hugs & Health ~

Carla

 

 

Easy Instant Pot Yogurt

This is ~by far~ my most requested recipe! It also happens to be the one I make most often for my own family as well.

It makes the perfect grab & go breakfast or...add a little honey and graham crackers and you've got yourself a tasty dessert!

With just a couple simple ingredients and a few tools, you can easily make a week's worth of delicious, gut healing yogurt, without all those questionable sugars, oils, dyes and whatever else they decide to include in those "natural and artificial flavorings".

Timing

Timing is the trick to this recipe.  It's best to start this early in the day or just before bed so that the 8 hour incubation time happens at a convenient time for you to stop the process and get that delicious yogurt in the fridge.

Selecting your Starter

When choosing your starter, be sure to select a plain, clean (free of those questionable ingredients listed above) yogurt that you like the taste of as your culture, as well as incubation time, contributes to the taste of your final product.  Longer incubation time = more tart or tangy.

Straining

Straining isn't necessary, however, most prefer a Greek-style or thicker yogurt. The best...and the least messy way I've found to do this is by using a Euro Cuisine Greek-Style Yogurt Strainer.  I prefer this one by William Sonoma. (Watch for those 20% off + free shipping codes thrifty shoppers!)

After the 8 hr incubation, remove your Instant Pot liner, cover, and refrigerate your yogurt for at least an hour prior to straining it.  Note: This 1/2 gallon recipe fits the strainer perfectly!

Storing & Enjoying  

Half-pint (8oz) glass canning jars are great for storing yogurt.  I usually mix up a little berry compote or lemon curd to ladle into the bottom, add the yogurt and drizzle a little honey on top.

Quarter-pint (4oz) canning jars work well for granola or any other crunchy toppings you like.  This size also works well for storing your starter for the next batch.  

Starter for your Next Batch

Be sure to save back some of your plain yogurt as starter for your next batch. Ladle some of your finished, plain yogurt into a  quarter-pint (4oz) canning jar, leaving a little headspace for expansion, and put it in the freezer until you're ready to thaw it for your next batch.  Be sure to thaw it in the refrigerator before using. 

Questions?

First-time yogurt maker? ...or...never made it in an Instant Pot? Comment below with any questions or feedback about the recipe. I'm happy to help!

Hugs & Health ~

Carla


Starting the next batch with a starter from the last batch.

Farm Fresh Yogurt with local berries & honey!

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

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They say to never name an animal you intend to eat.  I've never subscribed to this theory, noting that this only serves to further disconnect myself and others from what's really going on. I raise animals for food.

I'd like you to meet Kevin...Kevin Bacon to be exact.  I know what you're thinking here and yes, I really am going there with this post.

So I was at my local grocery store the other day and ventured into sections of the store I rarely go into anymore; meat, dairy, and eggs. So many buzz words ~ so little meaning behind any of them. Local, natural, pasture-raised, humanely-raised, etc... These words USED to mean something I think, but along the way, and without much regulation, they just don't anymore. 

Then it clicked.

Want to know if any of those buzzwords are actually true? Ask yourself...


"If I had a question about this food item, who would I ask?"

I envisioned myself calling XYZ Food Corp with their sunny, pastoral scened packaging of happy cows and hens.  There's not a phone number on the packaging but, if I could find one, I'd likely end up in their never-ending phone system of..."Press 1 for the Warehouse, Press 2 for Human Resources, Press 3 for Consumer Relations..." 

Okay so back to Kevin. Let's trace our way back. 

6. Have questions about how the meat is cut, wrapped, smoked, cured or anything else about the process? Talk to Casey and his crew at The Meating Place. 

5. Curious about what it means to slaughter an animal as humanely as possible? Talk to Andy at Turner Custom Harvest who drives to farms every day and with great precision and care, dispatches the animal so they don't have to endure a stressful trailer ride or a slaughterhouse holding pen.

4. Want to know how he was fed, housed, allowed to root and graze fresh pasture, and bask in the sun? Talk to me. I can tell you everything, up to and including, his personality.  Yes, farms animals really do have their own unique personalities.

3. Have detailed questions about the food Kevin ate throughout his lifetime, ask Connie at Union Mills Feed, a family owned and operated feed mill based in Mulino, OR, where his food was made. 

2. Want to know how Kevin was farrowed (born) or how his mother is kept?  Ask Cara, the breeder who humanely farrows hogs on her family's farm here in Oregon. 

1. Kevin.  We've made it all the way back to Kevin. 

So here's what LOCAL really means.  Not the label, but the true definition to use to determine whether or not something is local...


How many actual people in your community can you name at the various touchpoints?

Simply put, the more - the better. 

Local is about Community. Transparency. Communication. Accountability and personally vetting along the way. 


I get that it's nearly impossible to shop local for everything.  Bananas, for example. While I'm sure there's a greenhouse grower somewhere in Oregon with a few banana trees, I've never seen a banana farm in Oregon.  I can only improve my local buying power by purchasing them from John at my local fruit and veggie stand, Milk Creek Produce.  This is about as close as I'm ever going to get to the 6 six degrees of bananas.  

I think where we went wrong in our food system has a lot to do with losing connection with all those names and faces along the path to your plate.

Running my farm with purpose, intention and a mindfulness to connect with my local community has been the guiding light in every decision I make. I know that it has been food for my soul and I hope that it shines through in the milk, meat, and eggs we provide to our local community.

Hugs & Health ~

Carla