Butchering A Cow

Brisket - soon to be butchered grass fed beef

“Butchering a Cow” might sound like a step-by-step tutorial, but I really just want to share with you how we butchered our steer Brisket (while encouraging you to also branch out beyond your comfort zone).

We purchased Brisket when he was a few days old from a local dairy (and steer-ified him soon thereafter). As his name implies, we considered him not as a pet but  future meat for our table. Last week, that happened – Brisket was re-located to our freezer.

Now, before I go to far, I want you to know that I took lots of photos and had trouble deciding which ones to show you! Those selected will hopefully help you get an idea of the actual process we went through. The described event is not something we dream about nor relish, but our farm life has become very practical, very real and a million miles away from the Douglas’s and Green Acres. We have taught our children to realize that not all animals are pets and there is a cost for everything. They know that most cows are raised for milk and meat – hamburger tastes delicious, but it is because the cow is no more! It is important to be reminded, in our society of instant gratification, that there is more to our food than the sanitized, FDA approved packages on the shelf at the local grocery store.

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Stir Fry Basics

stir fry basics

Last week I shared my Chinese Chicken with Walnuts recipe and received quite a few emails with questions about the how-to’s of stir-frying. So, I thought I  would give the basic information that I have learned and hopefully encourage you to give it a try!

According to Wikipedia, stir-frying is:

a pair of Chinese cooking techniques for preparing food in a wok: chǎo (炒) and bào (爆). The term stir-fry was introduced into the English language by Buwei Yang Chao, in her book How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, to describe the chǎo technique. The two techniques differ in their speed of execution, the amount of heat used, and the amount of tossing done to cook the food in the wok.

The chao technique is basically using a wok with a small amount of oil poured down the side, adding the dry seasoning like ginger, then meat is added and seared and finally the thinly sliced vegetables are added along with any seasoning sauce. The meat is normally removed before the vegetables are added and added back in once the vegetables are cooked.

In the bao technique, the wok is heated very hot, oil is added with the meat and then the vegetables quickly. The ingredients are tossed quickly only pausing to add new ingredients.

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Healthy Homemade Snacks

healthy homemade snacks

I have found that healthy homemade snacks are a must have!

Having children at home, it seems as if someone is always wanting something to eat!

Oh, they eat very well at meals but, I think because we work outside so much in the hot weather, they are always hungry! I just can not seem to keep them full. Or, maybe it is because there are several teenage boys. But, then again, we have 2 girls still at home – one a teenager and one not.

Anyway, I guess the reason really doesn’t matter. The fact is, I am always in need of healthy snacks! In fact, we will often have a light supper since we have our main meal at midday and I will even use some of the following suggestions as a suppertime meal.

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Frugality Through Cultured Foods

Frugality Through Cultured Foods

How many time have you heard the saying, “waste not, want not”?

Our family saying is, “use it up, wear it out, make do or do without”.

Actually, it is my husband’s saying!

I am the one who loves to shop – for bargains of course!

But, I do hold to the basic idea of being good stewards and not wasting.

Some people are frugal because they have to be. Some are frugal because it is their nature. Others don’t like to waste but want to make the most of what they have.

Whatever your motivation, culturing foods can help you in a frugal simple lifestyle in several ways:

  • Most cultured foods are actually higher in nutrients than the original food.
  • Culturing  prevent food waste by extending the shelf life
  • Culturing your own yogurt and cheese can save you lots of money
  • Culturing garden produce is a great way to put up your harvest without the effort of canning and/or freezing.

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Homemade Salad Dressing

homemade salad dressing video

The following article contains links to my affiliate partners for products that I personally use and recommend.

I read somewhere that each home should have their own house dressing, just like restaurants …

And, to me, that means homemade salad dressing!

Since I have been on the GAPS diet for awhile with such phenomenal results, I have become very conscious of the ingredients in our foods. If it is not homemade, I read the label.

Ugh!- it is hard to believe how many ingredients some processed foods have! Not to mention how difficult some are to pronounce!

One food that is particularly filled with unnecessary ingredients is salad dressing. And, even the “healthier” brands will have canola oil which can go rancid quickly. This causes the manufacturers to use a deodorizing process to cover up the smell – this process also causes trans fats to be produced!

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How to Save Money with Bulk Herbs and Spices

bulk spices from mountain rose herbs
What is a REAL food kitchen without REAL herbs, spices, salts and herbal teas?

I posted a few weeks ago about getting organized in my kitchen – including my spices. You may have noticed the links to my affiliate partner, Mountain Rose Herbs in that post, as well as, in other recipes. I recommend them ONLY because they offer quality products and I have personally had good experiences with them. The products offered by Mountain Rose Herbs are free from irradiation and chemicals, certified organic and certified kosher.

I have found that I am able to save money by buying my herbs, spices, salt and teas in bulk. At first glance, Mountain Rose Herbs does have a high shipping rate. But, even taking into account the shipping prices, per ounce, they are more economical! I am able to purchase better quality products for less money than I can purchase them locally.


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Getting Organized


Do you ever feel that if you could just get organized, you might get something accomplished?

That has been me these past couple of months.

You might wonder what has happened to the recipes here at Cultured Palate.

There have not been any new ones posted in several weeks!

Well, I have one word for you …..


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How to Get Started With REAL Food

turkish market

Last week, after posting Getting Started with REAL Foods, I received several emails with questions about particular steps to take. I also received an encouraging email from a longtime reader, Sara, detailing the steps she took to get started with REAL food after being introduced to Nourishing Traditions. I thought everyone would enjoy hearing her story. Sara now lives in Turkey and the picture above is of the market where she buys her produce – isn’t it beautiful?

Different Countries – Different Foods

… So, there I was, standing in my tiny, cold, corner and crevice-stained kitchen, cooking the only thing I knew how to cook, yet again. It had been a month in our new home and all I knew how to cook was a stir fry recipe I’d gotten from the back of a box of rice. Everything I knew about cooking from growing up in Texas was no help to me in China. I had to learn all over again how to cook everything. Even the rice was different! I was depressed. I just kept cooking the same thing over and over again because the available ingredients were so different! I had no access to butter, no access to cheese… How in the world is a southern girl from Texas supposed to cook anything without butter and cheese??? I was lost. I was seriously depressed for a month!

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How to Get Your Family Interested in Cultured Foods

how to get your family interested in cultured foods

The following article contains links to products from my affiliate partners that I personally use and recommend.

You know you should eat cultured foods.

You know your family should eat cultured foods.

A couple of weeks ago I posted Getting Started with Cultured Foods, but, how do you get your family interested in eating them?

Isn’t it funny how many of us eat fermented foods but don’t even recognize them as cultured or fermented?

D o you know the reason?

It is because many of the foods that we eat today were, years ago, truly cultured. For example, pickles, soda, cheese, sour cream and even bread! But, thanks to industrialization, the healthy, lacto-fermented foods of yester years have been replaced with a more consistent end-product. The lacto-fermentation method of fermenting has been replaced with processing that is cheaper, has a longer shelf life, it is easier to produce and basically results in an unhealthy final product!

Now, unless you are already make cultured foods at home with true starter cultures (or buy brands with the probiotics intact), you are ingesting fake, processed substitutions. That is what makes it so difficult to convince your family that real cultured foods are to be coveted. Making minor taste changes to their beloved staples is a serious matter!

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Getting Started with Real Foods

REAL food Collage

I have linked to products from my affiliate partners that I personally use and recommend in the following article.

Within the past few weeks, I have received emails from several different readers, all having with the same question – “How do I get started with real foods for my family? It is so overwhelming!”

I thought many of you might be asking the same question, so, let’s look at 4 steps to get you started.

REAL Food Defined

First, for those of you who are new, let’s define REAL food. I am sure there are many definitions for REAL food but here is mine: Real food is food as close as possible to its natural state, locally produced when possible, without chemical preservatives and artificial ingredients. REAL food contains ingredients that you can pronounce and understand – foods that your grandmother would have eaten! REAL food is nutrient dense to nourish the body with nutrients it needs, not just fill it with calories.[Continue Reading]