Tag Archives: grassfed eggs

Nothing to Sneeze At: Main Dishes for People with Allergies

There’s a little project I’ve been working on during the past six months with a few good and talented friends. And because many of my blog readers suffer from food allergies–or live with people who suffer from them–I thought I’d share the fruits of our labor: I just published my first cookbook and it’s called Nothing to Sneeze At: Main Dishes for People with Allergies.

In the last several years that I’ve lived with Bill, who is allergic to wheat, cow dairy, and corn, I learned how many unnecessary ingredients are in processed food. I also learned how to make substitutions for the foods he can’t eat: bread, milk, butter, tortillas, most cereals, waffles, cookies, crackers, yoghurt, ice cream, cheeses from cows, breadcrumbs, semolina pasta–and even regular ketchup–just to name a few.

Adapting and creating recipes–many of which are posted on this blog–simply became a fun challenge as I cooked in the kitchen. So I thought: Why not share the recipes with people who suffer from food allergies? Then others can see how easy it is to make delicious meals without sacrificing flavor or nutrition.

If you’re interesting in buying your own copy of Nothing to Sneeze At, please visit Lulu.com. I hope it offers hope and inspiration for those who suffer from allergies at the table!

Wheat-Free, Cow-Dairy-Free Potato and Leek Quiche

I never thought of making quiche for Bill and me because it traditionally contains two ingredients he can’t eat: pie crust and cream. (Since his dairy allergy is toward cow products only, I can get away with using a sheep’s cheese such as Manchego.) But I did a little research and realized you can make quiche without a crust. So my only real dilemma was the cream. After perusing some recipes and putting together my own ideas, here’s what I came up with–and no cream on the ingredient list!

Potato and Leek Quiche

2 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced into ½” cubes (about 2 ½ pounds)
2 cups sliced leeks (pale green and white parts only, about 6 leeks)
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon dried thyme or 1 sprig fresh, finely chopped
6 eggs
½ cup rice milk
2 cups grated Manchego cheese (or other firm cheese from a sheep, goat, or cow)
Salt and white ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Boil potatoes in a pot of water until just tender (about 10 minutes); drain.

Meanwhile, sauté leeks in one tablespoon of olive oil until just tender (about 6 minutes). Add thyme and stir to blend.

Grease a 6-inch soufflé dish or other deep casserole dish with the remaining olive oil.

Beat eggs well.

Add rice milk, season with salt and pepper, and stir until blended.

When potatoes and leeks are ready, place in soufflé dish. Add one cup of grated cheese and mix with vegetables.

Pour egg mixture over vegetable-cheese mixture. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of quiche.

Bake about 45 minutes, until golden on top and almost set in the center.

Remove from oven and let set about 10 minutes before cutting. Enjoy with a side of mixed greens.

Serves 6 to 8.

The Listening Inn: Back to Nature Plus Happy Food

When Bill and I were planning our trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula earlier this year, one of the lodging choices that appealed to us was The Listening Inn in Crystal Falls, Michigan.

Probably the first thing that caught our attention on the inn’s website was that it “caters to the silent sports.” For introverts and a nature geeks, silent sport activities–such as hiking, cross-country skiing, and canoeing–are a major attraction, especially when the terrain includes over 500 acres of forest and fields full of wildlife and wildflowers.

Buddy, the black lab, even accompanied us on a hike one morning.

The inn also attracted us because of its earth-friendly practices: The Listening Inn is a Green Lodging Michigan Certified Facility, meaning it’s a leader among hospitality establishments in energy conservation, air quality and reduced water consumption and waste.

And, of course the “scrumptious  home-style country breakfasts” sounded like exactly what we would need to start off each day’s adventures. They were delicious.

But what I didn’t realize is how much happy food would make up our breakfast.

For example, proprietors Leslie and Carol Kufahl raise their own cows and chickens on their property so the eggs we had for breakfast the first day came right from the free-range chickens who lay them in a coop on the property.

And, they have a garden, an orchard, and a greenhouse from which they use fresh vegetables and fruits to make a variety of homemade items.

Guests can even buy their homemade maple syrup.

We really enjoyed this all-around package: a beautiful place to stay in serene surroundings with happy food and attentive hosts!

Buying Local Produce in Winter Climates

Today was the last day of the Holland Farmers’ Market. As I loaded up on what I thought were the last local veggies available to me this season, I was thrilled when Cindy Visser of Visser Farms said, “Come visit us during the winter!” It really made my day.
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Finding Food Beyond Factory Farms

On The Huffington Post blog this past week, Nicolette Hahn Niman posted an eater’s guide to avoiding factory food. An attorney and livestock rancher, Niman spends much of her time speaking and writing about the problems resulting from industrialized livestock production. She even wrote a book about it called Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms. Interestingly, she is married to Bill Niman, founder of Niman Ranch, a natural meat company supplied by a network of over 600 traditional farmers and ranchers.

Here’s the first part of her eater’s guide, in a nutshell:
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If It’s Wednesday, I’m at the Market

Veggies for sale at the Holland Farmers' Market

Veggies for sale at the Holland Farmers' Market

I’ve been going to the Holland Farmers’ Market for over 20 years and it’s still one of my favorite activities from May through December. A couple of years ago, the city added a permanent canopy complex along the east end of 8th Street, where the market is set up so now the vendors don’t have to stand in the hot summer sun, or get drenched by rain (unless, of course, it’s coming in sideways from the northwest!).

Holland Farmers' Market on 8th Street with permanent canopies

Holland Farmers' Market on 8th Street with permanent canopies

Since then, and probably due to some successful marketing campaigns, the market seems to have grown exponentially. (I hope it’s because more people are getting the message to buy locally!) Not only are there veggies (such as lacinato kale), fruits (love the raspberries), flowers, jams and syrups, but there’s also popcorn, sweets, metal sculptures, jewelry, birdhouses, and a coffee bar. And, since the recent approval of street performers, we even have live music on Saturdays.


A vendor sells flowers at the Holland Farmers' Market.

A vendor sells flowers at the Holland Farmers' Market.

Which is why Wednesday is my favorite day to go. Really, that’s my ritual market day because there are generally fewer people especially once the vacationers are back home and the kids are in school. Since the market opens by 8 a.m., I can either stop on my way to work or go at lunchtime, getting a bite to eat at Ray the Tamale King.

Organic produce from Eater's Guild

Organic produce from Eater's Guild



The market offers both organic and nonorganic produce, as well as cheese and eggs from Grassfields. I suppose I have my favorite vendors depending on the crop, but one thing’s for sure–buying local is the theme. It’s the best way–besides picking right from the garden–to get the freshest produce around and eat what’s in season.



And don’t forget your basket. I’ve had this one for at least five years and I love its durability. It’s made by Reisenthel but I bought it online from Garnet Hill.

Basket by Reisenthel

Basket by Reisenthel

Happy Chickens Make Happy Eggs


One of my favorite things to have for breakfast is fried eggs, which Bill makes for us about once a week. And nothing’s better than eggs from chickens that range freely on organic grass.

Ever since The Year of Food began, I’ve been on a quest to find the best happy local food. So this summer, Bill and I began buying eggs from Grassfields at the Holland farmer’s market.

A fifth generation, family-owned farm, Grassfields has been in operation since 1882 and certified organic since 2007. In addition to fresh eggs from grazing chickens, they offer organic cheeses and natural meats in their on-farm retail cheese shop.

Run by the Meerman family, Grassfields is located near Coopersville, Michigan–definitely a hike from Holland–which means we won’t be dropping in to pick up eggs on a frequent basis. Luckily, they sell to many stores in Michigan, including Nature’s Market in Holland and Harvest Health in Hudsonville, both places where we frequently shop, so we’ll have options for getting our eggs after the farmers’ market is done for the season.

Nonetheless, we thought it was time for a visit to the farm because it’s so important to see where your food comes from.

The Meermans own 200 acres, where they raise poultry, cows, sheep, and pigs. All the animals have access to certified organic grass. The meat chickens, ducks, and turkeys are raised in movable pens of varying sizes which are moved to new grass about once a week or when otherwise needed. And the laying hens lay their eggs in semi-permanent buildings, but range freely around the buildings. Eggs are hand gathered, hand washed, and hand packed once a day.

Here are some of the happy sites from our visit to Grassfields:

Happy chickens!

Happy chickens!

Happy pigs!

Happy pigs!

Happy calves!

Happy calves!

Happy cows!

Happy cows!

We’re glad to have a local farm that provides such healthy food!