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Kale, raisins and pinenuts



4 cups kale, removed from stems and roughly chopped
1/2 tsp garlic, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts or almonds
2 tbsp of raisins
Olive oil
salt & pepper


Heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil medium heat in a large saute pan.  After chopping the kale, submerge it in water & swish it around to get it nice and clean.  Remove from water and shake off excess water. Add the pine nuts and garlic to the oil in the pan, and cook for about 2 minutes or until the nuts start to sizzle.  Add the raisins and kale, stir and cover.  Cook until the greens wilt, stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes).  Remove the cover and season with salt and pepper.  Turn the heat up to high and cook for about another 2 minutes, or until the liquid evaporates. 

Recipe inspired by

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If my fences could talk

After eight years of running grass-fed beef on our farm, the fence is in some need of mending. Cattle are just tough on fences. I remember when we first got cattle and I set up our pastures with two strands of hotwire; I was being really cautious considering my dairy farm neighbors used only one hotwire to keep the cows off the road. Our first batch of cows arrived, unloaded from the trailer and up and left. They had never seen a hotwire or experienced it, got a little shock and kept on moving. Now I was the one in shock. We spent the better part of that day rounding up cows and the better part of the next week building five strand barbwire fences to contain the critters. I am never going to leave a good night’s sleep to a few skinny strands of wire with electricity running through them. So we do our best to keep them in and fix all the obvious and potential “escape” routes.

This week we started fixing up the non-cow barbwire fence along the road. We used to run cattle along this part of the pasture, but now it mostly carries the hotwire to where the cattle graze during the summer. This fence was hammered last year, not by cows, but by cars. Yes, cars. Most of the time, when someone hits it, they back out and head on their way, with a few scratches to their car as souvenirs.

One time, I was walking out to my field and saw that someone had done a few donuts. This was a head scratcher. I thought that maybe my boys were having a little fun, but they had never seen the Dukes of Hazard. I must admit that I would like to do donuts sometime, just not when the field is planted! Well, it wasn’t a Klesick. Someone had driven through the fence into the planted field, spun around and driven back through the fence at a different spot. Two holes to fix! 

My favorite all time story happened on one of those rainy October nights. I looked out the back windows of the house and I saw headlights driving through my field. A young man in a Civic had caught the edge of the road (he wasn’t drinking) and it pulled his car into our fence. He went right in between two fence posts and kept driving until his car got stuck. I was impressed that he was able to drive as far as he did. We towed him out and he came back on an agreed upon day to fix the fence with us. I am sure that having the Sheriff take his contact information was plenty of encouragement to return.

Well, as you could imagine, cattle are hard on fences, but teenagers are harder. So we are busy overhauling this fence and, hopefully, I might get a year or two off before I need to mend it.



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Commitment is Love

photo (4)I have been bothered by all the messaging in this world, from sports to Hollywood to the grocery store ads. It is all about pleasure—personal pleasure. It tells us to be discontent with our lives. It tells us we are too short or too tall, our nose is too large or too flat, we'd be smarter if we drove a smart car or cooler if our hybrid was a Prius.

Heaven forbid if you still have a “dumb” phone or are seen without an iPhone. Our world says, you can be loved if you are cool, hip, rad or sic(k). Sadly, there is too much self-love and love of stuff. This is how the media and advertising outlets are defining love—this self-love—and sadly, it can become all-consuming and never satisfying.

Ironically, a love based on stuff and how we look is temporary at best, and satisfying only for the moment. As a breath of fresh air, in January, our family committed a passage in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, to memory. This is the quintessential passage on what Love is and isn't. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. ….13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love. I would contend that our society needs the above mentioned love to bind the wounds of hate, selfishness and disrespect and begin to heal. Every relationship from the most intimate to the most casual would do well if our code of ethics or standard bearer was 1 Corinthians 13. Imagine how your relationships would be if: Your love is patient, your love is kind. Your love does not envy, your love does not boast. Your love is not proud, your love does not dishonor others. Your love is not self-seeking, your love is not easily angered. Your love keeps no record of wrongs. Your love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Your love always protects, your love always trusts, your love always hopes. Your love always perseveres. Your love never fails. This kind of love can't be manufactured or purchased, it has to be a gift of personal giving. It is the kind of love that says, "I am committed" to you and to our relationship. The list above is a big list, but we can all work towards adding one or two of these to our key relationships. Not sure where to begin re-read the verse and replace “your” with your name and it will give you a good starting point (ouch). Want to join me in a selfless (not self- love) revolution?


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Meatless Monday: Lentil, Mushrooms & Quinoa Tacos

lentils quinoa and mushrooms tacosINGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 lb of sliced crimini mushrooms
1 Tbls taco seasoning
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 chopped onion
Avocado, salsa, lettuce.
Tortillas, use corn tortillas for GF version. 
Saute onions until soft, add garlic and mushrooms, saute for 1-2 mins. Add in cooked lentils and quinoa. Add in 1 Tbls of taco seasoning mix. If its looked to dry add 1/4 cup of water. Let it simmer for a few minutes and serve. 
Recipe and image adapted from
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Juices and Smoothies

photo (2)Do you ever wonder …

1. What is the difference between juices and smoothies?

2. Why are they good for me?

3. Why can’t I just eat the food?

The team of recently posted a highly educational article on the subject matter. 

So here we go!

1. What is the difference between a juice and a smoothie?

What is a Juice?

A juice is the liquid of the plant, with all of the plants fibre removed.  Juices in our minds, are healing drinks.  We like to refer to them as “vitamin and mineral infusions.”  Juicing removes all of the fibre and some of the protein from the plants you are juicing.  This means that your body does not have to do any digestive work in order to extract the nutrients from your juice, as they are absorbed directly into your blood stream.  You can juice any plant that has juice to extract.  Fruits, vegetables and herbs are the most common juice ingredients.

What is a Smoothie?

A smoothie is a drink composed of blended foods.  This means that the foods have been broken down into liquid form, while still retaining all of their fibre.  Because the fibres are just slightly broken down but not removed, your body will still have to do some digestive work in order to fully break down and digest your smoothie, but not as much as it would have to if you just ate the produce.  Smoothies are a little more versatile in the ingredients that work well within them.  You can do greens, other veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, superfoods, protein supplements, herbs, spices, really anything that you can dream up you can add to a smoothie!

What are the different health benefits of Juicing vs. Blending?
Why Juice?

Juices are really amazing healing drinks.  Juices are particularly good for people who have damaged digestive systems, who have difficulty digesting vegetables, or are ill in any other way.  This is due to the fact that removing the fibre releases all of the nutrients from those plants, without your body having to do any work.

Juices are great to have when you want to do a cleanse of your body.  This is because your body will not be putting any effort towards digestion, so all that energy can be directed to ridding the body of built up waste and toxins. Juicing allows the body to focus on healing while still providing nutrients to your body that would not be present during a water fast.  Juices are also awesome for supporting the healing of a damaged gut, and a plethora of other health issues depending on the ingredients present.

Why Blend?

Smoothies are awesome for those who need a quick meal on the go and do not have time to sit down and eat something.  They are great for a meal before or after a workout, because smoothies are light enough that they won’t weigh you down but they are substantial enough that you won’t feel hungry again in 15 minutes.  You can also pack them full of ingredients that will help with your recovery after a work out.

Smoothies are also great for those who are coming off of a fast of any kind, as it will help to re-introduce your body to solid foods again in a more gradual way than jumping straight into eating would.  Smoothies will help to cleanse out your colon, because they contains the fibre that will help to “sweep” out your intestinal tract. These fibres will bind to toxins and usher them out of your system. Smoothies are also amazing for those who want to start introducing more raw foods into their diets, but don’t know how.  You can hide a number of less palatable ingredients like dark greens and superfoods under the sweet taste of fruit in a smoothie.

How to make juices & smoothies

How do you juice?

To make juice, you will need a juicer. You can get a Centrifuge juicer, which will have a blade or disk that spins at high speeds, grating your fruits and veggies, and then straining them through a fine sieve in order to extract the juice, or a masticating juicer which uses a slower pressing action to extract your juice.  Juicing greens is really awesome because our bodies do not have the enzymes needed to break down the cell walls found in greens.  This means that by juicing your greens you will gain access to the nutrients locked inside those cells be removing those fibres.  This also applies to other veggies that are often more difficult to digest.

Greens are best juiced through a masticating juicer because the slower extraction process allows for more nutrients to be separated from the fibres in the plant than with a centrifugal juicer.

How Do You Blend?

We recommend that you get a high-speed blender if you are serious about making smoothies a mainstay in your diet.  A slower blender (one with less horsepower) will take longer to blend your smoothie and will not break down the fibres as well as a high-speed blender will.  This will introduce more oxygen into your smoothie, increasing the oxidation rate, which means you get less nutrition from your smoothie.

Blending with a high-speed blender will ensure that you get the least amount of oxidative damage, and the most pleasing and palatable texture.  For the absolute least amount of oxidation, pulse blend your smoothies.

Are there any foods that shouldn’t be juiced or blended?
There are a few plants that do not lend themselves to juicing or blending quite as well as others. Below is a quick list of a few things that are best to avoid when making juice and smoothies.

Foods that are not great for Juice

Too much fruit – It’s best for your body, and your liver in particular, to avoid juicing copious amounts of fruit.  Fruit is best processed in our bodies when it comes with all its natural fibres, otherwise the sugars present are released to quickly into your blood stream, and your liver has to work extra hard to filter them.  It is best to keep your juice fruit free, or limited to small servings of green apple.

Spinach or Chard every day – Spinach and chard are high in oxalates which can cause kidney stone issues in those people who are susceptible.  We recommend that you do spinach and chard only every other day, as opposed to every day, just to be on the safe side.  Aside from these two greens, you should be fine to juice greens every day.

Foods that are not great for Smoothies

Starchy, hard to digest veggies – It’s best to avoid putting really starchy veggies like sweet potato or regular potato, as well as very hard to digest root veggies like beets and carrots in your smoothies.  These ingredients will just be hard for your body to break down, even in blended form.  Stick to the more water rich veggies and leafy greens.

Too many ingredients –  It can be very easy to get carried away, wanting to add an abundance of nutrition into your daily smoothies.  There are lots of super foods, powders, potions, herbs, fruits, veggies and leafy greens out there, but you do not have to put them all in every smoothie that you make!  Keeping your smoothies on the simpler side (2-6 ingredients) will be much better for your digestion.  Otherwise it may do more harm than good.

As you can see, both smoothies and juices have their place and purpose in a raw diet, and in a healing plan.  Neither is better than the other, but rather they just have different applications and different areas where they shine the most.


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The nurturing power of food

“The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community, from the mere animal biology to an act of culture.” –Michael Pollan

I am often asked what it is about food that I love so much. “What is there not to love?” I say. Then I immediately start to think of the food itself. I think of the thrill of tasting pungent black truffles for the first time or when I made my first batch of preserved lemons, anticipating their sour, salty and floral flavor permeating my food as it did while in Morocco. I think of the many times I’ve had a bite and then closed my eyes in order to shut out all other senses so I could simply taste.

When someone has a few minutes for me to get philosophical, I’ll tell them that food doesn’t need to be enjoyable, but the fact that it is tells me that we are loved. It’s because of this that I desire to share food with others. If those I feed can experience a bit of the joy and provision I feel when eating, then I’m satisfied. 

As the new year came and brought with it introspection and goals, I set out to create more shared memories around food. Besides my family, there are not many others who have sat at our table. I want to change that. It is so easy for me to make excuses. “My home is too small. What would I make? I’m too tired. The kids are too crazy.” But the reality is, it’s not about any of that. In fact, it’s not even really about the food.

Last night, some friends and I fed a simple meal of chili, salad, cornbread and cookies to a group of women and their children who came to the shelter for a warm meal and a place to sleep. We talked briefly of the fragrant chili, warm from cayenne and cumin, and the scallion flecked cornbread. And then we listened to them tell us of what brought them to this place, about how much they love their children and, with tears in their eyes, how hard things have been. We listened and we ate. This happened around the table, in the presence of food, as does much of life.
While I’m inspired by new flavors, intricate recipes and ingredients from around the world, it is the life that happens around the food that sustains my desire to keep cooking and feeding.

by Ashley Rodriguez    
food blogger