Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dandelion Greens & Bok Choy

Here are before and after pics of lunch. The before includes freshly picked dandelion greens and bok choy. It is difficult to do any better than the nutrition found in dandelion greens. Most of these came from one of our backyard garden plots. Why throw away what some people pay $9.00 per pound for? When sauteed the very mild bitterness of early season dandelion disappears. These greens pair well with the bok choy. Both were sauteed in butter, and I added half of a small avocado and a sliced hard boiled egg. This is a balanced meal of good carbs, protein, and the fat of the avocado. Everything is covered with Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning.
See these links for the use of dandelion greens:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Homegrown Coriander & Elk Breakfast Sausage

There is not much elk left in our freezer so we are getting creative to make it last as long as possible. Today it was a secret-recipe sausage, some coriander Cristy grows on our front patio, and scrambled eggs. We gathered two out of these three items. I suppose I should build a chicken coop so we can make it three out of three. The entire plate is covered in Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Easy Small

Using the food we grow does not have to be a big production. We can get flavor and enjoyment in easy and small ways. Take, as an example, this little jalapeno pepper. These things are easy to grow, and while they are excellent when used fresh, they can last a very long time when dried. I take a very fine grater and run this pepper across it over eggs or salad or whatever. A little bit of growing goes a long ways toward changing an otherwise sometimes boring egg breakfast.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Emergency Salad

After walking and running in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve for over 1 1/2 hours I get hungry. The Bok Choy is to the point that we have to eat it soon or it will be too late. I also added some of our dried figs from our Mission Fig tree, some of our gleaned pecans, some cheddar, marinated artichoke hearts and some almond slices. Sometimes you have to add things you did not grow. We all do the best we can. But it is good. The combination of fresh greens, crunchy pecans, and chewy figs with a homemade vinaigrette dressing is just about right. From the ground or growing in containers, or even on a window sill, anyone can do this.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gathered Grapes & Foraged Wild Juniper Berries

Wild Juniper Berries
Cristy found an inexpensive pork roast for $2.99 per pound. I found a recipe from the United Kingdom that fit our commitment to growing and foraging for our own food. The recipe included grapes, which we grow in our back yard, and juniper berries, which grow on and around our property in the mountains up north. If you look closely you can see the cracked juniper berries on top of the roast. Our grapes are everywhere in the picture. This was a huge roast, and with the assistance of Kyle and our three daughters, we polished off the whole thing in one setting.
It is a personal goal to find a wild boar somewhere so that I can provide the pork. My friend Neil, from KC, Missouri and I are starting to work on this project. He wants to hunt boar with a knife or an atlatl. I prefer something a bit more decisive and in favor of the hunter - so he does not end up being the hunted. Please let us know if you can help Neil or myself locate a hunt able wild boar or wild feral pig. Your assistance will be much appreciated. You can help us butcher and then eat the harvest.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Home Grown Orange Cream Smoothie Meal

Sometimes we are in a hurry in the morning. Little time to make one of our excellent breakfasts. Or maybe we just do not feel like sitting down to a regular meal. What to do. We go into our yard and pick a couple of oranges from one of our 5 citrus trees, peel them and place them in our Vita-Mix blender with 1/2 can of chilled coconut cream, a few ice cubes, some quality whey protein, and maybe a bit of stevia, turn on the blender for a while, and then pour and drink breakfast.
Anu, our friend and neighbor who is from India shows us Americans how to buy quality food products in small ethnic markets that most of us do not know about. You will pay a lot more in the fancy stores that cater to upscale "whole food" buyers for something like coconut cream/milk - but it will be no better than, and maybe not as good as the stuff with other languages on the label. These are products consumed by lots of people all over the world every day. Combine them with your own gathered foods and you have nutritious, tasteful, inexpensive meals.
The "experts" will tell you that full cream coconut milk has too much saturated fat. There is a lot of discussion about which fat is good or bad. I think of this while I am climbing up the side of a mountain for an hour to an hour and a half in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, or while lifting logs or doing push-ups or some such odd thing - BURNING OFF FAT! For a different perspective on fat and oil from coconuts check out the links below.    and also                                                                         

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gathered Sticks and Stones

New Weight Set
 We know this place is supposed to be about gathering food, but we did a different kind of gathering on Monday. While at our property in the mountains in north central Arizona we decided it was time to gather together our new workout equipment. These logs are solid oak. The boulder works well for curls and overhead presses. I lift, toss around, carry, swing around, and throw each piece of equipment for about 25 minutes. I need to put the food we gather to good use by BURNING SOME OF IT OFF! I hope to find a really big log for a 2 person work out soon. Caveman Kyle has offered to workout for some video in our new gym. Comment if you want to see Kyle get primal.

Gleaned Pecan Flat Cakes

We said we would give you our recipe for the no-wheat pancakes - here it is.

• 1 cup of mashed roasted butternut squash (or pumpkin or bananas, or whatever).
• 4 eggs beaten well (preferably from your own hens).
• 1 1/2 cups of almond meal (Trader Joe's =best price). Or use your own ground pecans.
• 1 1/2 tsp. of baking powder.

Mix well and bake them on a hot cast iron griddle over not too much heat. We prefer coconut oil. Sometimes I add a bit of canola or olive oil to the mix. Be sure to let them cook long enough on the first side so they hold together for the flip. We sweeten the cakes with stevia and a touch of real maple syrup. Top them with gleaned pecans or if in the mid-west, with hickory nuts or black walnuts. We put our pecans right in the mix of pancakes seen above. Anna, our Pancake Queen, perfected this recipe. We eat them a lot because of the balance of good carbs and protein, but mostly because they taste so good.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Green Greatness

We ate raw Bok Choy tonight! Some people say we should not do that, it must be cooked. To these, "I BOK AT YOU!" It was just an intensely fresh and flavorful experience. Greens from the grocer are good - homegrown attain greatness. We mix up 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of seasoned rice vinegar, 4 tbsp. of soy sauce, and sweeten with stevia. We could have used our gleaned pecans but went with sliced almonds instead.  It is greatness.

Cucurbita Pepo or Maxima

This pumpkin we rescued from the Halloween/Fall season will not go away. We will continue to enjoy it until it does. Here is a recipe for a no wheat crust. It actually tastes good and holds together well. The pecans are from our foraged stash. Another excellent breakfast, lunch, dinner, in-between or any time meal.

Pumpkin Pie Crust

• 1 cup almond meal (Trader Joe's = best price). You can use hazelnuts.
• 1/2 cup pecans or just stick with the almond meal. The pecans add very good flavor and color.
• 4 tablespoons melted butter or Earth Balance Buttery Spread. Coconut oil
                                        works very well.
                                     • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350. Place the nuts in a food processor and process until the nuts are a flour like or almond meal like consistency. Pour into a small mixing bowl, add the butter and salt and mix into a thick dough. Using your hands, spread evenly into a pie pan and bake for 10 minutes. When the filling is in and back in the oven it will bake the rest of the way.  - This is a link to a cardiac physician's site that from time to time comments on the problem with eating modern wheat. He has other posts that are worth looking at that relate to wheat. My children think I have taken leave of my senses because of the cut-back on wheat. Reminds me of the Mark Twain quote "When I was 18 I could not believe how damn dumb my Old Man was. It is amazing how smart he got by the time I was 24!".

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Why we do it.

I suppose we could always post pictures of vegetables, nuts, and other things we have grown/foraged/gleaned/hunted/gathered/caught - but today we are philosophical. There ought to be some underlying purposes to the things we do, the plans we make, and generally the way we live. While our most meaningful "purposes" go much deeper than our commitment to a more "primitive" lifestyle, it is one of our philosophical underpinnings.  It is a commitment to a simple and more honest approach to our food and our diet. Scratch cooking using ingredients that we get from very local resources (e.g. our yards, a tree on our street, etc.) combined in a thoughtful and enjoyable manner, leads to good physical, mental and emotional health. If we work hard at this gathering lifestyle we will find that we do not need a gym membership, a multiplicity of doctor visits, or much, if any, psychological counseling therapy. The dirt under our fingernails, the fresh food in our coolers and pantries, and the delicious shared meals on our tables will reveal something from within us that is meaningful, purposeful, creative and real.

I venture to guess that many of you resemble, in some shape or manner, the two fine gentlemen on the left more than you do the individual on the right(see pic above). Keep gathering.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Just a Reminder

Just a reminder for all of you citrus pickers - now is the time to squeeze or juice your lemons for freezing. We use ice cube trays and then store the lemon cubes in freezer bags. We have year round lemon juice for lemonade, lemon curd, lemon pie, green tea flavoring and all of the other things lemon is used for. We recommend stevia as a sweetener for the lemonade. Not too much, or it gets too sweet. Store bought or restaurant lemonade is hard to choke down after the real stuff.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Real Breakfast

We are starting this post with a link because we believe in the nutritional merits of pumpkin. We eat it in soup, in pie, as a custard, with some butter or Earth Balance and some salt - and in other ways. Today for breakfast we had a custard from one of our rescued post-Halloween  pumpkins. Pumpkin alone is good for you, but when you add some eggs for additional protein you are consuming an excellent "primal" meal. The pecans come from our gleaned stash and we top the whole mess with whipped cream. Stevia is the sweetener.

 Viewers will see what appear to be a lot of breakfast dishes on this blog. Breakfast has no time boundaries in our home.  We eat it whenever and often - sort of like Hobbits. We are self-employed and do not always have to rush off in the morning. So we figure we might as well eat something nutritious that looks good. We try and share breakfast with others as often as we can. It gives us pleasure to see others realize that this meal can be "upgraded" and a shared experience.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Our Dried Figs

Cristy found a very nice yogurt maker at a yard sale for $3.00. We get superior yogurt for the cost of whole milk. This breakfast is topped with dried figs from our backyard fig tree. The pecans are from our hand shelled stash, and our roasted butternut squash seeds add a crunchy texture and a toasted flavoring.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Vitamin C Naturally

We get citrus from the trees in our yard and the neighborhood from November (the navel oranges) to June (lemons, grapefruits, Arizona Sweets, tangelos). Lemon juice is frozen in cubes for lemonade and baking. We have no problem getting our vitamin C the way it is supposed to come to us - in the context of the minerals, phyto-chemicals and fiber which makes up the rest of the fruit. We also use the peel/rind in various recipes. These lemons came to us from the tree of one of Cristy's client/friends. Jen made lemonade out of them using filtered water and stevia as a sweetener and then took this picture. This is an almost free refreshing and nutritious drink. Later we will show how we make fresh orange icees and smoothies in our Vit-A-Mix blender. If you are interested we will also make some orange ice cream that is actually good for you.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Swiss Chard from the Back Yard

Here is a before and after sequence of the Swiss Chard that Cristy grows just off our back patio in some clay pots. We need to find a way to keep the mockingbirds off of these greens. But there is plenty of this white stalked chard to form a bed for eggs with yellow cheddar and Maytag® Blue Cheese shredded and crumbled on top. Kyle, a classmate of Anna, was visiting this morning so we shared this caveman breakfast with him. I told him if he keeps eating wheat based food for breakfast he would grow "man boobs". Hopefully he is listening - he would not look good in any bra cup size!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Gleaned Pecans and Dark Belgian Chocolate Over Home Made Ice Cream

When our son Nathaniel was a little guy, after polishing off a big dinner, he would sometimes ask, "Is there any dessert?" Well, unfortunately for him, tonight the answer  is yes. He lives in Virginia and here we are in sunny Arizona enjoying homemade ice cream in January. We now have pecans gathered from an old pecan grove in south Phoenix, and gleaned from a yard in our neighborhood where no one is living in the house. We are rescuing some of these pecans from the landfill. A friend rolled her eyes when she found out we sit in front of a large bowl of pecans and crack and pick for long periods of time. For some folks it is easier to just buy them at the grocery store. But I get to be next to my pretty wife cracking shells, picking fresh pecans - all the while having a pleasant conversation with her.  I prefer the way we are getting our pecans lately.  Pecans, ice cold heavy cream, shaved Belgian dark chocolate and stevia. Click on the pic a couple of times to zoom in on these fresh pecans.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes - Urban Foraging

OK. We have a lot of ground to cover here. This blog has to do with growing, foraging or gleaning our own food. But it is also about being resourceful so as not to be wasteful. And thirdly, We have made a move to a "primal" lifestyle. Curt prefers the designation of Cave Man. So what does this have to do with pancakes? We rescued this pumpkin from the undignified end of the trash bin - the place where most Halloween or harvest time pumpkins and squash end up. We harvest the seeds for roasting and roast the "meat" and freeze it into manageable portions. How many really nutritious pumpkins and squash go to waste every Fall? The Cave Man and Woman part - these pancakes have no wheat or dairy in them. We do not mind dairy, but this caveman has lost 20 lbs. primarily due to eating almost no wheat and walking and exercising. The pumpkin, eggs, almond meal, and baking powder combine for what we believe to be the finest most nutritious pancakes on the planet. High in protein and balanced "good" carbs. We top them with Earth Balance and have been using a combination of Michigan maple syrup and a light dusting of stevia. In the near future we will be posting some of our pancake recipes. The Cave Man especially likes the butternut squash cakes - the color and texture are exquisite. We also want to experiment with matcha green tea and ground black tea to increase the antioxidant properties of these delightful flat cakes. Check out another eblogger at for the "get off of wheat now" approach. He is a cardiologist that really cares about the health of his readers.   UGH, UGH, you go Cave Man-Woman-Child!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Our Dried Apples

Not many of these left. We have an apple tree in our backyard that produces three varieties. We harvest in June and slice them on our apple coring/slicing contraption. We then place them on our old window screens from our long-gone steel casement windows. We cover the screens with cheese cloth. When it is 110° F outside it does not take long before we have perfectly dried apples. The people that deliver our mail always do a double take when they see these curing on our front patio table. Anna took this photo with her Canon Rebel XSi. Check out her blog. Her address is in our info/profile.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pepper and Coriander Relish

As planned, Cristy made this Pepper and Coriander Relish from peppers she grew in our yard. So what does one eat this fresh pepper relish with? Answer - A Fork. She also grew the cilantro. January in Phoenix, a good time to harvest our green vegetables and herbs.

Roasted Elk Tenderloin

About one year ago we experienced some major gathering - I shot my third elk. We are still eating this meat.  My friend Neil traveled from the Show Me State to go on this hunt in the mountains of north central Arizona. He helped me field dress the elk, and then butcher it late into the night when we got it back to our home. We are convinced that it is best to prepare wild game ourselves. We know how the meat is handled and how it is packaged for the freezer. The cuts, roasts and ground meat servings are portioned the way we like to use them. We also believe there is an "honesty" to following through on the process from field to table. This is the tenderloin that was wrapped in bacon, roasted, and served with sauteed mushrooms and covered with gravy.
We were able to share this gathering with friends and neighbors. This wild natural meat has an excellent flavor.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Arizona Sweet orange from our front yard

The orange is an Arizona Sweet from our front yard. We are starting a loose leaf tea business. The tea is a Bancha (green tea). The citrus removes the astringency of green tea and adds a bit of sweetness. Better citrus than milk because milk removes some of the anti-oxidant properties of the tea. The Arizona Sweets are early, but it has been cold here in Arizona. It got down to the high 20's one night.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Seeds

Butternut squash seeds that we olive oiled, roasted, and salted. How many of these have we let go to waste? We have been snacking on these for days.

Homegrown Peppers

Peppers grown in both front and back yards. Scheduled for a relish recipe from our Three & Four Ingredient Cookbook. (Pepper & Coriander Relish).