MY PERSONAL CALL FOR CHANGE
I grew up on a standard American diet of processed food, sugar, and refined carbs. As an adult, I continued along the same path, but thought myself “healthy” because my yogurt and Cheese-its were low-fat or fat-free. My wake up call came in my early thirties when my health and general well-being plummeted. At that point, I began reading about nutrition and decided to make a conscious change in my diet. Faced with so many new choices (organic produce, sprouted grains, no grains, pastured meat and eggs, raw dairy, no dairy, healthy fats, etc.), I found myself at a loss for where to start. Upon further reading, I decided that sourcing quality pastured beef, chicken, and eggs would be the most impactful way to begin.
FACING A NEW PROBLEM
I quickly learned that when sourcing pasture raised and finished beef, the most economical option is to buy in bulk. That realization led me to a new problem. Having grown up on a standard American diet, I was a casserole cook. Ninety percent of our beef intake had been ground beef. I very occasionally made a roast. Once or twice a year, we cooked steaks at home. When I looked at the cuts of beef included in a quarter or half cow, I had no idea what to do with most of them. I needed to learn to cook.
FINDING A SOLUTION
The process of learning to cook was slow going. I didn’t have a teacher other than the internet. The best recipes taught me methods and strategies, not just how to make a single dish. Chicken wasn’t that hard to learn. There aren’t that many cuts to master. Beef was another story, but slowly, by trial and error and with a lot of reading, I learned what to do with short ribs and steak tips. I learned the difference between chuck steak and flank steak. I learned that cuts from the belly require forethought and planning so there is time to cook low and slow.
WHY I WRITE RECIPES
When I write recipes for Spring Forest Farm, I try to think of the cook I used to be. I try to teach methods and strategies while encouraging freedom in the kitchen. I hope that my recipes are more than just mechanical directions. I hope they provide a sense of confidence and joy. Cooking with whole foods breeds creativity and adventure. Utilizing a quarter to a half or whole cow is a manageable task. I hope by reading recipes on this site, you gain a sense of assurance in your own kitchen.
HOW CAN I HELP YOU ALONG YOUR JOURNEY?
Below, you’ll find an index of the recipes I’ve published on Spring Forest Farm thus far. What else would you like to see? Do you need more recipes for a certain cut of beef? Do you want to see a beloved beef recipe made healthier? Please comment or respond to Julie with any needs you may have. I’ll do my best to accommodate in the coming months.
RECIPE INDEX THUS FAR
- Casseroles and One-Pan Meals
- Slow Cooking and Braising
Here on SpringForestFarm.com, Jennifer Taylor Schmidt writes beef recipes for the busy, natural homemaker. It is possible to seek optimal health with limited time and money. Join Jennifer in future posts as she explores the possibilities found in a 1/4 and a 1/2 beeve. You can also find her thoughts and personal health journey on RealFoodRealHealing.com.