Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It begins....a year of eating local

Oh where to start? I am feeling wistful and dreamy. Unlike the other night when I declared "the beginning" to my family. Uptight, betrayed and idiotic describes me Monday night. In my naivety I thought I could just lead the kitchen, as I do day after day, meal after meal, without any resistance or buy-in. How would this really effect the rest of the family anyway? They will eat great no matter what. They have me preparing their meals after all! So I wouldn't be dragging home yogurt in little plastic cups and bags of convenient kettle fried potatoes from the store. I might hear a squeak now and then, but I've made homemade yogurt and kefir before. My children don't REALLY care where their cultured milk products come from as long as it's in the fridge when they want it. Right?
Saturday I loaded my car with friends and drove up to the Boulder Farmer's market. Once again I was reminded why I am doing this. Fresh faced, happy, somewhat weary farmers and baskets and boxes of the most beautiful organic produce ever. I am in love with fresh farm produce. And just for the record if I wasn't already happily married I WOULD be running off to spend my days with a farm and the farmer who happened to live there. I left the market a few hours later with my canvas bags filled to the rim. Bags of freckled young romaine and mixed lettuces from Mr. Munson (apparently my squash farmer grows lettuce too), three foot tall young onions, garlic chives, sorrel, mustard greens, spinach, hydroponic tomatoes, broccoli raab, fresh basil, tat soi, and beautiful spring mushrooms. For those of you who do not like mushrooms, you are wrong. Just saying. Given that this was the Saturday farmer's market that fell closest to June 1st I knew I needed to go. All other farmer's markets in my area are not opening for another week or two.
For months now Dave and I have talked about making this year of local real. I've told him numerous times June 1st is when I wanted to start. We sat down to dinner on Monday night (officially May 30th, but it seemed like a good day to me since I had just been to the farmer's market) which was New York strip steaks purchased from a farmer in Buena Vista with farmer's market Tat soi greens, 3 ft tall onions and the entire pound of mushrooms. I left the greens raw but sauteed the onions -green and all- with the mushrooms. The mushrooms I might add where; king trumpets, lion's head, cinnamon tops and some other kind, I forget now. (note to self-take notes) The dinner was fabulous and then the announcement. Dun Dun Dun Duuuunnnnn. Cal made comments such as "this is a total human-kind downgrade, mom!" Of course, resistance from a 13 year old. What did I expect really? For months I have been preparing, reading, being inspired by others that have gone before me. The rest of my family have not been. In my mind even Dave turned on me. "Hun, maybe we should approach this differently?" If looks could kill..... Cameron, my ever supportive and encouraging off-spring, said "I'm in mom!". Everyone's shadow was present and accounted for. The only one with a remote voice of reason was Dave. I began to see that I would need buy-in from everybody, not just Dave. A different approach was attempted. I'm still in the midst of that attempt, by the way.
In my heart I was focused on the dreamy fairy-tale aspect of us all doing this and saving the world. I'm such an eternal optimist. Really. I really am scary in that way. I believe in the best, always. In that state I thought everyone was behind me. But how could they be? I'm the one that spends my hours and years with nose to the books reading about soil health and big business GMO monoculture, locavores and saving the small farm, the CSAs and the death of butterflies. My family has not the vast amount of information that I have accumulated in preparation for an event such as this. They have no idea why anyone would eat locally. Well, maybe they have a little bit of a clue. They are my children after all. They have been to Berry Patch Farms every year of their young lives to help me pick raspberries and strawberries and cherries. Followed up by hours of skin staining cherry pitting and jam making. They have eaten many a jar of the fruits of our labors. They have seen me many times out on my porch on Christmas eve in the freezing cold sorting three cut and wrapped butchered steer into 14 boxes for 14 families to share. They have been to the farms to see the cows that give us our raw milk. They know Tom the turkey. Because of this I was not quite as prepared as I should have been for THE RESISTANCE. I began to doubt myself. I do have a tendency to be a "all or nothing" kind of person. 0 to 100 NOW! That is me. I was thinking "perhaps this is me again practicing 'obsessivism'." In my somewhat maturing self I have tried to reverse this obsessive behavior in myself. In the moment of THE RESISTANCE I thought perhaps my self-monitoring filter had failed, once again. (old habits can be hard to break) But alas, a good local meal in my belly and some time to reflect and an AH HA moment was to be had. I love those. Of course resistance, of course! Why wouldn't I have in my home what nearly every home in the United States would have? I need the resistance. If I am going to create a working, how-to handbook from my experiences the first thing that must be addressed is THE RESISTANCE! And not just my family's, my own.

Our starting menu: (includes some food still in my possession that is not local)
Dinner-New York Strip steaks with tat soi and sauteed spring onions and mixed mushrooms
Breakfast-Spinach with eggs and farm cheese
Snack-rhubarb crisp
Lunch- Sauteed turnip greens and garlic chives, roasted new potatoes and farm cheese
Dinner- Sorrel and mixed lettuces with honey mustard chicken breasts and sauteed spinach
Snack-cheese and oranges
Lunch-Salad of lettuce, fresh basil, sliced tomatoes and olives. Hard-boiled egg or deer jerky
Dinner-Bottom Round roast, salad of broccoli raab, pickled turnips and my garden carrots

What I've learned:
1 buy more mushrooms next week,
2 it is okay to transition slow,
3 resistance can be good.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


My children think I'm crazy, but that is nothing new for someone who has teenagers. Since December I have been reading and researching like crazy. Three things out of all that inspired me to get moving.

The first is permaculture. Some time back my friend, Katie, and I went to the Permaculture institute up in Basalt, CO.


2001 East Cedar Drive • Basalt, CO 81621

Phone / Fax (970) 927-4158 • Email:

Wow. Totally cool. That is when I first heard about this crazy idea of gardening like mother nature. She's such a know it all! I saw the beautiful soil. That was all the proof I needed. So, I have been turning large portions of my yard into gardens and layering in what is called Lasagna Gardening in order to build the soil. This year and in years to come I will plant. My continued inspiration and reading comes in the form of Bill Mollison. I have a few of his hard-to-find books on loan from my friend Wil. I know someday soon I will have to return them, but in the mean time I sleep with them hoping to absorb all they have to offer.

The second is composting. Okay, I've been composting for a decade now, but in the "throw it on the mound and eventually it will breakdown" kind of way. That is a very easy way to compost. I cared enough to not let my scraps end up in the land fill, but did not care enough to do ANYTHING other than throw it on the heap and let it breakdown. Now I am having a more hands on, conscious experience with my compost. Over winter break I carted my heavy-on-the-back-talking preteens up to a llama farm and then to a chicken farm with shovels and buckets. Who knew you could put so much poop and straw in the back of a volvo wagon? I drove around town buying up the last of the straw bales from the Christmas tree sales markets for a cheap-o price. I also sent my boys head first into massive recycling dumpsters to collect all the newspapers that my car would hold. It is no wonder that they think I'm crazy. Their mom collects what others want to get rid of. Well, as of spring break it is all layered in my newest garden now. With the help of our saw-happy wood working neighbor and all that I saved from last fall, we now have layers of newspaper, manure, straw, wood shavings, grass, leaves, compost and anything else I could come across. Thus far what I have learned? It takes A LOT of waste to create good soil. I still need sooo much more stuff. I've never been excited for grass cutting season to start, but I neeeeed those grass clippings now. Oh, and as a side project, I have two worm composting bins going. One at home and the other lives at my After School Care program. Start 'em early, I say!

The third, was a book called Plenty. One hundred mile diet. Eating only what comes from within 100 miles of where you live. WOW. Could you do that? We are going to try. Starting in June. Yikes. My children don't believe me. I don't blame them. I've done only a tiny bit of research as of yet. No chocolate, no coffee, no pineapple or coconut, no ginger, no soy sauce, NO RICE-we are gluten-free! I was actually sad to find out that we can get sugar from sugar beets. My boys were thrilled, but I was hoping we would get a break from everything but honey. There are a few things like ginger and lemons I think I might go crazy without. But I am resourceful, that much I know. I'm just sure that if someone is growing rice or ginger within 100 miles of my house I will sniff it out.

--I'll let you know how it's going.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fitness Game Launch

Some of you know what a difference the Fitness Game has made in Dave and my life. What an outstanding program Mike Valentine has created. Transform your life in the area of health, fitness, and Joy!!!!!

I highly recommend:

Thursday, October 29, 2009


GROUP CLASSES: One class a month beginning in November 2009. Each class is $10.

Located at:


840 26th Street
Denver, CO 80205

Class 1- Thursday, November 12th 7:00-8:30
Bone broth and Soups: Learn how and why to make these rich and nourishing health elixirs.

Class 2- Tuesday, December 8th 6:30-8:00
Saving Time: Learn how to easily prepare 3 or more complete meals in one hour!

Class 3- Thursday, January 14th 7:00-8:30
Eating Your Veggies:
Learn to make a variety of fermented vegetables. Stay seasonal with recipes for root vegetables, cabbages and other winter options.

Class 4- Tuesday, February 2nd 6:30-8:00
What does it mean to eat seasonally?: Learn how to adapt recipes and menus to support the natural cycle.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Simple Squash and Apple Soup

Simple Squash and Apple Soup

4 T Butter
3 c butternut squash or mild pumpkin, cubed
2 Apples, cored and sliced
1 lrg onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
6 c poultry bone broth
1 T salt
1 t pepper
2 t sage or thyme
1/2 t cinnamon

Sautee onions in butter for 5 min then add squash/pumpkin, apples and celery. Cook for 10 minutes with the lid on, stirring once or twice, then add the spices. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes then add the broth. Simmer for 45 - 60 min. Blend in the pot using a hand blender OR wait until the soup is cooled and blend in a food processor or blender. For a thinner soup use less squash, for thicker use more.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fruit CSA--ELA Family Farms

Would you like to support Slow Food Denver while feeding your family healthy food AND supporting local agriculture? Here is your big chance! Ela Family Farms has generously offered to give Slow Food Denver $50 to for every person that signs up for their organic fruit CSA share. During fruit harvest season, members will go each Sunday to the farmer’s market at East High School (Esplanade) or S. Pearl Street and pick-up their fruit at the Ela Family Farm stand between 9am and 1pm. Shares are limited, so tell your friends and sign up early!

Keep in mind, a CSA is Community Supported Agriculture, so CSA members share in the risk of crop failures and shortages with farmers. If we do have a shortage or a crop loss on any of the fruit, we will substitute the retail value of the product with our processed goods (which are amazing!) or another fruit. Your fruit pleasure is our #1 goal!

2009 Fruit Share, $220- approximately 90 lbs. of organic freshly picked organic fruit, plus garden grown heirloom tomatoes, and a couple jugs of fresh apple cider in the fall!

Fruit Predictions-
Aug. 9- Organic peaches and heirloom tomatoes
Aug. 6- Peaches
Aug. 23- Peaches and heirloom tomatoes
Aug. 30- Combo of three fruits plus tomatoes; peaches, apples, pears or plums
Sept. 6- Combo of three fruits; peaches, apples, plums or pears
Sept. 13- Apples, pears or plums and heirloom tomatoes
Sept. 20- Apples, plums or pears, and heirloom tomatoes
Sept. 27- Apples and pears
Oct. 4- Apples and a jar of applesauce
Oct. 11- Apples and ½ gallon cider
Oct. 18- Apples and ½ gallon cider
Oct. 25- 20 pound box of Braeburn or Fuji apples. These two varieties are excellent storage apples. The Braeburns are at their peak through November and the Fujis until New Years! Apples should be kept refrigerated or in an unheated garage with a blanket. Eat local longer!

Please send your email address and check or money order payable to Ela Family Farms. Indicate 'Slow Food Denver-Esplanade' or 'Slow Food Denver - Pearl' on your payment - this will designate your preferred pick up location.
Send checks to: Jeni Nagle, 2811 Fillmore Street, Denver CO 80205. You can email Jeni with any questions Jeni needs your email address - she will use this for all fruit communications and to confirm payment receipt!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Fitness Game FREE!

Anyone want a boost to your ability to live a healthier, happier more inspired Life???!?!?!?!?

Just about 1 year ago Dave and I participated in a fitness game. It is fun and totally transformative. It really helped Dave and I change the way we feel in our bodies, think about life and show up for life. The man that teaches it is totally in his gift. He will inspired you like never before. This game is designed really well. It is designed for success. If I could let you crawl in my head and think my thoughts you would WANT to participate in this game.

Well he is being sponsored by a company and is giving this round of the game away for FREE, for 250 people!!!!! It was well worth the $300 that Dave and I each paid. Now that it is over I know that the value I received was well beyond $300!! I just can't get over how lucky you guys and gals are that you get to do this for free. All you have to do is show up!!!

It is a one day class. Then it is a 12-week game held via the internet. It kicks off this May 1st. So don't sit on this. If you know you can't do it please pass it on to ANYONE you know who is ready to transform their life.

Times are a changing for sure. What an incredible gift this is. Take a giant leap forward and show up for this game!!! The info is below:

Hello ~


(you can “pay it forward” if you want)

Get your ticket à (limited seats)


o 12 – week Fitness Game played on teams

o Applies Performance Psychology to change the way you think

o Helps you set your goals and get a plan that works for you

o Weekly calls support your success while you integrate new behaviors

· When: Kicks off Friday May 1st , 9AM – 6PM

· Where: Mile Hi Church at 9077 West Alameda Avenue in Lakewood, CO

· Who: Anyone who wants a boost to their ability to live a healthier, happier more inspired Life?

· Why:

o You’ll Love Yourself, Life and other people more!

o Playing is WINNING! 92% of the people who play The Fitness Game WIN!

o You lose 13 pounds on average!!

· Cost: FREE or you can pay it forward if you want at your discretion

· Value: PRICELESS, what’s your Health and Happiness worth?

Get your ticket à (limited seats)

Right now is a time when we would likely benefit most from taking good care of ourselves with healthy nutrition and exercise,

but unfortunately a time when many of us are least likely to do it. Spending money is also a concern for so many people,

for some of us it’s down right tight!

In times like this the faith and courage to act with compassion toward our selves and others is one of the most valuable things we can do!

It strengthens the very fabric of our communities.
I am not going to let money and tough times be what stops people from getting the gift of The Fitness Game!

Get your ticket à

The Fitness Game is a revolutionary approach to living a healthier, happier life!

Local independent Team Beachbody Coaches are sponsoring the cost of this event,

so that I can dedicate my gift to help you reach for your dream to live a happier, healthier life!

You’ll get an exclusive invitation to work out with Beachbody Coach, P90X Expert, Certified Personal Trainer – Cody Smith!

And a free consultation with a local Beachbody Coach.

· 10:00AM – 2:00PM Saturday May 2nd

Come on, lighten up - what have you got to lose? Play The Fitness Game with me, and win your life!

…mike valentine

Get your ticket à