Simple French Cassoulet

Cassoulet, the classic French white bean and meats stew, typically cooks long and slow.  This is a speedier version of the traditional recipe with chicken, sausage and beans.  There’s NO compromise on flavor, and this is delish!  If you’re vegetarian, substitute a vegetarian sausage and get creative with chicken substitutes (we now even have a vegetarian chicken in a can…) such as tofu, tempeh or favorite foods like olives.  (And add some extra olive oil!)  If you don’t do beans, use butternut squash or yams.  If you’re not using liquid from the beans, add a C of water or vegetable broth.  Make this recipe your own. 

Chimpanzees Prefer Organic

I loved this when I read it in the Natural Foods Merchandiser back in 2003! “Chimpanzees can tell the difference between organic and conventional fruits.” Zookeepers at the Copenhagen Zoo, Denmark, began putting both types of bananas in the animals’ cages last year as part of the program to earn a “green label” as an environmental zoo. Zookeepers said chimps consistently chose organic bananas first. What’s more the chimps ate the organic bananas, skin and all, but peeled the non-organic ones before eating!

October is Non-GMO Month

GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are organisms whose genetic material has been manipulated in a laboratory. The first genetically modified crop was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1994. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that do not occur in nature. Remember when scientists inserted the gene of a flounder into the gene of a tomato? Yes, this really happened….

From Mother Earth Magazine, “Yes, farmers throughout history have been raising their plants to achieve certain desired traits such as improved taste, yield, or disease resistance. But this kind of breeding still relies on the natural reproductive processes of the organisms, whereas genetic engineering involves the addition of foreign genes that would not occur in nature.”

Thanksgiving Birds (yes, pies too!)

We’re proud to offer a choice of turkeys: a) Mary’s certified organic turkeys; and b) Stonewood natural turkeys from Vermont. Stonewood turkeys don’t do drugs and both companies grow beautiful birds. The difference between the two, besides the certified organic label on Mary’s, is that I’ve found the Stonewood birds to have slightly more white meat. I love dark meat, and so Mary’s is my choice. All birds are grown by the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the founders. All birds are fed an all-vegetarian diet, and are given no growth hormones or antibiotics.

Call Turkey Central at 978-371-7573 to order your bird so you get the turkey and the size you want. Mary’s organic turkeys: $4.29 per lb. Stonewood natural turkeys: $3.49 per lb.

Want something from our kitchen? We’ll have a holiday menu from the hard-working crew in the kitchen by mid-October.

 

Bone Health 101, Part I

Let’s get one thing out of the way before we start. Calcium is not the solution to all things bone. Sure, it’s important. Necessary, even. But once you get enough – and “enough” may be less than you think – piling more on top of that accomplishes very little. In fact, too much calcium can sometimes do more harm than good.

For me, the message is to focus less on how much calcium we get, and more on calcium management. In other words, on the nutrients and habits that help calcium get to the right place, and keep it out of the wrong ones. But we’ll talk more about that later. For now, let’s begin.

What are bones, anyways? Bones are not “dead” like fingernails or hair. They’re made of living, dynamic tissue. Yes, they contain the rock-like mineral calcium, but this calcium is integrated into an organic matrix of cells, protein, blood, and nerves.