Zaycon Foods

Today I want to share a quick little word with you about an awesome food movement. Have you heard of Zaycon Foods? No? Okay, let me share with you what they are all about!

“Zaycon Foods is a privately owned company based in Spokane, Washington. The company was founded in 2009 with the simple mission to bring farm fresh meats direct to consumers at wholesale prices. 

You see, we knew all the farmers who had the best stuff around. Thanks to our experience in the grocery industry, we knew how to quickly move that great stuff from point to point, preserving its freshness, taste, and nutrition.

 

So we asked ourselves: “Why are there middlemen involved? Why aren’t we just getting this food directly from the farms to the people who are going to eat it?”

 

That idea grew into the company we are today.

 

When we started off just a few short years ago, we offered only a few meats in a few areas. But thanks to the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response we’ve gotten from all of you, Zaycon has grown like wildfire!

 

We now offer a wider range of fresh foods – from milk to berries to salmon filets – to an ever expanding list of regions. If we have not been to your area yet, let us know and you can bet we’ll be there soon. And if we’ve already been through a dozen times, you know we’re coming back again, too!”

 

Here is short video about how they get their products straight to their customers.

We just put in our order for their upcoming 93/7 Ground Beef and Applewood boneless Ham, (which I would do soon by the way, if you are interested in ordering from them) and can’t wait to pick it up! If you want to check out their site just click here.

Have you ever purchased from Zaycon Foods or anyplace like them before? Please tell us about your experience below.

Our Little Oily Life

I feel like a lot of my posts lately are sharing with you all of the new things we are doing in our “Nourishing” life. I hope you are not tired of them yet we just think these new things we are doing are all just so exciting! And today I’m going to share with you one of my favorites!

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About seven months ago, some of our friends introduced the hubby and me to essential oils. I had heard of aromatherapy growing up (though I didn’t really know what was used in it), and more recently I had vaguely come across essential oil references in the health literature I had been reading.
The only thing I knew was that lavender was my favorite scent and Frankincense and Myrrh (I didn’t know they were essential oils) were two of the three gifts given to Jesus Christ by the three wise men. They explained what essential oils were (the life-blood of plants), and that because they are not made synthetically (which makes their basic structure a mirror image of what ours is and, consequently, incompatible with ours) they work with our bodies to produce some pretty amazing results. When they said that we were like, O…K… …so what does that mean?
Basically it means that you can use these oils to help your body heal from certain ailments naturally. I sure liked the sound of that, but the hubby silently asked the question, “Yeah, but does it really.” It turns out that they had just signed up to be Independent Product Consultants with doTERRA, a company that has the highest grade of essential oils available to mankind. They are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade making them the best of the best, and safe enough to be consumed interally and even used on infants and children. Not something that you can say about most OTC medicine’s.

They gave us some samples to take home including: Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint, DigestZen, and Deep Blue Rub. Two nights later, Little Man, broke out in a fever in conjunction with him teething and I wanted to try the Peppermint to help alleviate his symptoms. I asked our friends for some guidance and applied the peppermint as needed to the Little Man. Immediately he started cooling down and we were excited by the results. We started using the essential oils more and more and when the hubby asked for some peppermint to relieve his headache, before even trying the Tylenol, I knew he had come around to the idea that they work. Not long ago, we decided to sign up as Independent Product Consultants as well to get our oils at wholesale price, and the rest, as they say, is history. We already have so many great stories to share and that is what, every so often, I will do. These essential oils are improving our health one day at a time and we have opportunities to witness the little miracles that come from them every day.

If you are interested in learning more about doTERRA essential oils check our our website here. It has information about essential oils and doTERRA as a company, and if you are interested in purchasing any oils or other products you can also do so there. There are some pretty awesome promotions this month that doTERRA is offering.

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During February, you can save 10% on the essential oil Whisper. “Whisper is a perfect balance of several CPTG® essential oils unified to impart beauty, femininity, and allure. Whisper’s subtle fragrance, once applied, mingles with your individual scent to enhance the essence that is all your own.” It’s pretty awesome, it really does create a perfect scent for you!
The product of the month is Oregano. This is an excellent oil because it is antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antiseptic to the respiratory system, antiviral, and an immune system stimulant. It kills everything from Candida to Whooping Cough, Ebola to Staph infections, and from MRSA to the Plague. The product of the month promotion is simple, you only need to place one monthly Loyalty Rewards order totaling 125 PV or more.  Make sure it is scheduled to ship on or before the 15th of each month, and your order will include a free product! We love taking advantage of these great deals to get free oils!

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They also have this great promotion for a limited time. Stainless steel roller balls that you can put into the oil bottles themselves to make your own “rollers”. I would jump on this deal if you want it, because when they are gone they won’t be back for awhile, if at all.

If you would like to purchase your oils at wholesale price, get free oils, and also potentially have a side-business (it can do anything from pay for your oils, to replacing your full time job, if you work at it) then either click here or email me at thesnickerplum@gmail.com for more information.

One last thing, if you are interested in learning more about essential oils and live in the Rexburg, Idaho area we are going to be co-hosting a class this Saturday, February 15 at 5:30 PM, please email me for the address. I am really excited for this class and we will also be doing a giveaway! If you are not in this area but would like to attend either this class through Skype, a class at another time, or a class in your area, email me and we will find a class that works with your schedule/location.

I promise I will not spam the blog with doTERRA posts, but I wanted to have the links and dates available if you were interested.

I am excited about this journey that we are on, and can’t wait to share it with you along the way.

From my Family, to Yours..

Meatball Soup

Today I want to share a great winter recipe with you that is very easy to make and delicious! I love this recipe too because I made it with a ton of homemade ingredients!

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Meatball Soup
Serves 6-8
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 medium Sweet Onion, diced, see note below
2-3 ribs of Celery, depending on the size
2-3 cloves of Garlic, minced
7-8 cups of Homemade Chicken Stock, or a brand you trust
1/2 jar home-canned Stewed Tomatoes, or 1 can of brand you trust
15 Homemade Meatballs, or a brand you trust
Salt TT
Pepper TT
1 Tbsp. Italian Seasonings
1/3 – 1/2 cup Pasta, or I just did about a quarter of a box of linguine broken into fourths (little man loves to slurp the noodles) but any pasta will work.

1. Heat the Olive Oil on the stove in the pot your soup will be in. (I am all about having to do as little dishes as possible.) While the oil is heating dice your onion, slice the celery, and dice the garlic. Cook the onions and celery until they are soft and the onions are translucent. Then add the garlic in just before you add the broth.

2. Once the broth is added in, then place the stewed tomatoes, meatballs, and seasonings into the pot. Bring it to a boil over medium to medium-high heat.

3. Once it is boiling add in the noodles and cook according to the manufacturers directions, usually anywhere from 7-12 minutes.

4. Once the noodles are cooked through your soup is done! It is delicious served with yummy toasted sourdough bread with garlic butter. The leftovers, if you are lucky enough to have any, are even better. The trick I have found with leftovers though is to re-season them liberally.

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Note: I used to use only yellow onions all the time, now I prefer sweet onions for their flavor, and red onions when necessary.

Thanks for stopping by today. What is your favorite quick winter-time soup? Share in the comments below!

From my Family, to Yours..

Our (un)Nourishing Life: Foods Part #2

So last Friday I broke the bomb shell that we can’t consume Dairy products. And let me tell you that was one BIG unwelcome bomb shell. It was really hard to not eat something that we had consumed our whole lives.

But nevertheless we decided to remove dairy products from our diet. NOT an easy decision at all, but one that significantly improved our quality of life. In fact, the severe stomach cramps for the hubby almost completely disappeared. That is for a while, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  We switched to Soy Milk first. But it turns out I’m allergic to soy, and I am highly suspicious that little man is too. (It probably didn’t help that almost all of the soy crops that are produced in the US -94% in 2011- are GMO’s and soy isn’t really safe to consume unless it is in it’s fermented form.) So then we realized that we now had to avoid two food items that are in maybe 60% of “foods” that are available today.

-Detour- Wait a minute you think. Soy?  Like soy sauce and icky tofu soy? In a large percentage of foods that I eat?  Yeah right, this lady is off her rocker.
Well, start checking your food labels. You would be surprised just how often dairy and soy products pop up on food labels, I know I was. Even if it is in the “processed in the same plant as” section it more then likely has dairy or soy in it. In fact, dairy and soy products are just two out of the eight most allergenic foods. They are, in no particular order: Milk, Eggs, Fish, Shellfish (crab, lobster, shrimp), Soy,  Wheat, Peanuts (which are actually not a nut but a legume), and Tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews).
Milk, soy, wheat, and eggs, I would say, are in 70% of the “foods” we eat in the Standard American Diet (SAD).  Why are we so allergic to these foods? Do we eat them too much? Why are they continually so prevalent in our diets when they are so allergenic?
But, I leave that to you. That is not our focus today. -End Detour-

Continuing on with our new “milks” that we were trying. We then tried hemp milk.  Icky, not for us.  Coconut milk, good but too sweet for certain things like gravy. Then finally we have settled on unsweetened almond milk. So far that has been the best for us and it works comparably for the hubby’s milk and cookies treat, which he loves.

-Another slight detour- During these new “milk” trials I started reading about the evils of dairy. Now before you start thinking I am going to agree with that I want you to know, from the beginning that I don’t.  I think that man kind has historically been dependent upon dairy products for a reason.  They can be a healing and nourishing food. However, I do think that any dairy (as with all other foods) that we consume should be a living food. Meaning it has not been altered from its orginal state when it reaches the consumer. All of the original vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are intact and unaltered. Raw milk is a living food with many health benefits, including the enzyme lactase, which helps those who are lactose intolerant break down the milk. Click here to learn about the history of milk and why milk had to be pasteurized. We have not tried it yet but we are seeking out a certified raw milk seller and will update you how we handle it. Again we may have a dairy allergy which is very different from lactose intolerance and would make any milk impossible to drink. -End Detour-

Then because we had to read the food labels on basically everything we ate to identify if dairy or soy were in it, we started noticing just how many ingredients in our foods we did not recognize as food items, seeming to be something instead from a science experiment. Because of this experience we now want to know what we put into our bodies. We are very careful about not buying processed foods with who knows what in them. We are buying foods that are organically and preferably locally grown using sustainable agriculture and farming methods. Topics that I will cover more in subsequent postings. We try to make as much from scratch as possible but fill in where and when we need to. Life does not always go according to plan.

So for now we are feeling better probably about 93% of the time, but we still have symptoms occasionally which leads me to believe we have one or more unknown allergies that we still need to identify. I am hoping it’s not gluten, a conditioner and structural builder in several grains, but I think it might be. We shall see what happens next in this food journey, shan’t we?

From my Family, to Yours…

Thank you for letting me share my stories with you. Please feel free to share yours below, I would love to hear them!

Our (un)Nourishing Life: Foods Part #1

Can I just first say life is a beast? This was going to go up on the 4th, until I had a super scary lump show up on my body in an area that often is related to cancer. So with a day of doctors appointments, medicine runs, worrying, and planning my exit from this world (what can I say? I guess when the C(CRAP)HTF I become a pessimist… a prepared pessimist) lets just say that my mind had room for little else then the essentials.
Then the 5th arrived (my birthday! Eek! 25 years!) with the gift of the lump basically disappearing and tons of birthday goodness to go along with it. *Sigh* Thank you! Though I’m not fully out of the woods yet, the trees are definitely sparse. And though I do not believe that modern medicine is always the best answer; i.e. treating the symptoms instead of the root cause and the over use of antibiotics creating “super” bugs that are very hard to kill, to name a few;  I am very thankful for it and it’s ability to save lives and fix things that even 50 years ago were unfixable.
So that brings us to today. And our first real step into this new way of life and thinking. Diet.
And this is not like a “diet” diet but a life style of healthy eating.  Make sense?  Hopefully.
Even before we were married we have always tried to eat healthy. Health has always been very important to us, though our understanding of what is healthy has changed. Back then we were drinking at least a gallon of milk a week, most of the time more, cooking up scalloped potatoes, lasagna, quesadillas, tacos (you know, with a mix. ‘Cause how else do you make tacos?) and eating pizza all the time, especially when I was pregnant (Little Ceasers was the only thing I could eat with my terrible morning sickness. Weird and gross right?). Sure we would have tons of white bread, salads, snacks, and treats (homemade ice cream and cookies anyone?) to go with that. We would also have fruits with the occasional veggie but our food choices were oh so delicious.
And generally healthy using the food guide pyramid.
Yet, fatteningly unhealthy.
So much so, that together my hubby and I gained 60 lbs in our first year of marriage. And we continued gaining weight into our second year of marriage, though me being pregnant kind of skewed that measurement, by a lot. And we were not healthy, true we were not exercising or even very active, but more then that, we were sick, in many ways. We often experienced:
Cold’s often.
Being tired all of the time.
Seeming to constantly be in a brain fog.
Aches and pains.
Leaky gut (Though we still aren’t 100% we have this now, we have most of the symptoms, click on link to see what leaky gut is).
My dear hubby was getting stomach cramps and pains more and more often. Though many told him he was being too sensitive (not me!) and to take some pepto and get over it. His pains continued and once were so bad that I took him to the emergency room! Only to have the diagnosis be, “Well, we really don’t know what’s wrong with you.  Here take this ‘cocktail’ of medicine and hopefully it will stop whatever is going on.” Though it did alleviate his pain, it only did so for the day. He continued getting debilitating stomache cramps.
Then the first sudden change came during my pregnancy. I very suddenly was becoming very sick every time I drank milk. Other dairy products seemed to be ok so I hoped and prayed that it was just some obscure reaction and that neither the little man nor I were lactose intolerant nor had a dairy allergy. Because if I didn’t make this clear before, I loved milk and yogurt and ice cream and cheese (especially cheese) and would never ever give it up.
Turned out that even after little man was born, dairy was still making us sick. Though it took me several months to figure that out. During that time, I was experiencing all sorts of gastric distress and little man was having projectile spit-up and acid reflux, stuffy noses, burps like it’s nobody’s business, and he even broke out with terrible eczema all over his body so we would have slather him up with Aquaphor several times a day.
I eventually decided to try taking dairy out and we both immediately improved so much, that hubby thought he’d try it as well and also noticed a dramatic change. He was devastated (What about my milk and cookies?).

Wouldn’t you be? Stay tuned for Part #2 and what we decided to do next.

From my Family, to Yours…

Do you have any foods that you are sensitive or allergic to? How did you find out?

Evolving

Change is a part of life. Things are always changing, which can be really hard for some people to cope with, so instead of saying change my descriptor here today will be: evolve. Which in fact actually suits my needs better then the previous word that starts with a “c”. Because what I’m talking about did not start as one thing and then completely shift 180º to become something else entirely. It instead began as something and then added another idea or thing,  and then another, and another.  Continuously adding more but always building upon what was previously there.

Why so vague and random? What the heck am I even talking about?   
Excellent questions!

Well, it all began when I was a little girl,  (now is as good a time as any for a story right?). I loved pioneers. Not only is it a rich part of my religious heritage, but it is a part of my ancestral heritage as well.  All of my ancestors crossed the plains and even greater distances such as the Atlantic Ocean. I was obsessed with them. I also was very interested in emergency preparedness and would devour any disaster preparedness pamphlets I would get my hands on.  (Just to be clear I did not eat them.)

Then several years later my interest in food and cooking developed, blossomed and was put to good use feeding my husband and I. I started this blog to share delicious recipes with family and friends and to keep them in a “safe” place.

Then I got pregnant. I began to read and read. And not my usual fiction books (though I still do read those), but non-fiction. The first book that really opened my eyes to something new that I had never considered before, was “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.” I had never really thought about if I was going to nurse my children or not before, but I learned about the benefits as well as some of the difficulties that come with this once “almost lost art” and decided this was the way for me. Then I decided I wanted a natural birth, which I will someday soon share the story of little man’s birth.
Then we self-diagnosed ourselves as all having a dairy allergy and our diets evolved. And really from that point things began evolving very fast, so fast indeed that I can not remember exactly what and when everything happened.  Suffice it to say our world view is not the same as it was a year and a half ago.  We are still learning, reading, and growing but at this point we are adopting a whole foods life style; we are trying to adopt and support sustainable farming and practices; we are working on reducing, reusing, and recycling; and are trying to use more natural, environmentally, and humanly safe products. Over the next little bit I will delve a little deeper into each topic and share with you why we are evolving our views and understanding and how we are doing so.
As I said before we are building on the foundations that we already have and using them to mold our future. I am still the same person, I just have deeper cares, wants and wishes. I told you being a mom changed me, but hopefully for the better. And hopefully I am evolving into someone who is worthwhile in ALL that they do.

Stay tuned to see just what exactly is different.

From my Family, to Yours…

Have you ever evolved like this before?

Yummy Asian Roll Lettuce Wraps

A couple of months ago some of our friends invited us to go out to dinner with them to P.F. Changs. Having never eaten there before it was a delicious meal! We had some lettuce wraps there and i really enjoyed them. Now this is in no way a knock off but this is a delicious recipe that I found and tweaked to, what we think is perfection. Now we don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy delicious lettuce wraps and I want to share it with you! And I made these with the Romaine lettuce from my bountiful basket, we also had some steamed zucchini on the side, delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have actually made this a couple different times, tweaking it trying different combos and we believe this is the best. (Note: I had intended to share with you that corn recipe, when I made it, but after tasting it we didn’t like it very much, and I don’t share things unless they pass our like test, or until they have been changed and tweaked until they finally do pass the test. That still has a long way to go.) The good thing is that this is quick, easy, and delicious!

Asian Lettuce Wrap  

Serves about 4 maybe a little more

1 lb ground Turkey or Beef

1 c Brown or White Rice

1 c Water

16 or so large Lettuce leaves, Boston Butter or Romaine will both work nicely, but we found that the Romaine were a little more sturdy

1 c shredded Carrots

1 c Scallions, thinly sliced

1 c sliced Red Bell Pepper

1 c shredded Radishes

1/3 c light Soy Sauce

1/3 c Water

1/3 c Honey

3 Tbsp fresh Lemon Juice, if possible, if not anything that you get from a bottle will work

2 tsp minced Garlic

1 Tbsp minced fresh Ginger Root

1. If you have a rice cooker, cook your rice according to your manufacturers instructions, if not place the rice in a medium sauce pot over medium heat and combine the rice with 2 cups water. Bring it to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender.  While the rice is cooking, in a large saucepan cook the ground meat until cooked through.

2. Meanwhile begin putting together the sauce in the bowl you will be serving the meat in. Combine the Soy Sauce, Water, Honey, Lemon Juice, minced Garlic, and minced Ginger Root and stir until combined. (Some people don’t like the idea of uncooked Garlic or Ginger, the main idea is to really infuse the flavors into the sauce, little bits will get into your wrap but they only add to the flavor of the whole item. This will also allow your to practice your mincing skills, make those pieces really small and then you won’t have a big chunk of Garlic or Ginger.) Tip: When you get your Ginger root look for a smaller one, unless you use ginger often you don’t want it to go to waste. You want to make sure that you take off the outer skin, but not need to worry about using a peeler on that tricky little guy, use your knife to just cut off the skin, its okay if you take of a little Ginger, it will save you grief and time. One more thing when you cut into your Ginger, pause and breathe in it’s deliciously warm and spicy scent. Smells are very important in the kitchen and it makes the whole process even more enjoyable!

3.  Begin slicing your Bell Pepper and Scallions and I just wash the carrots and radishes and shred them with a large cheese shredder, it’s easy and makes uniform bits. Put the sliced and shredded veggies out in little bowls or on a serving platter. Check on your rice if it is on the stove. Remove any fat from the meat and then pour the meat into your sauce and let them sit together. Then tear off whole Lettuce leaves and wash them off and  pat them dry.  Lay them out on a platter, grab the rice and serve! Delicious meal and is great with the Quinoa recipe here, either as a side or served over the top. It is a little messy though so keep some napkins handy!

Plums are Purple, and Snickers are Sweet,

From my family to yours…