Certified Humane: Smart Chicken, Niman Ranch Meats

Smart Chicken is the first chicken available nationally (to my awareness, and please inform) that is Certified Humane®, and 100% of Niman Ranch’s meats – Pork, Beef, Lamb, and Processed Products like bacon – are Certified Humane®!

I’m sorry we need such a program, but we do.

Certified Humane® governs the way the meat is raised, and it is a great program which is all about making sure the animals are treated humanely.
Certified Humane® was born by people like myself who were disgusted by animal torture.  We wrote and called and voting with our $$$ and also talked to the markets about what we wanted.  Telling them when we didn’t buy their meat and
how disappointed we were in what was available has impact.

Yes, you can make a difference.

I want many things in meat — things my grandparents did on their ranch —
such as no additives and hormones, that they run about and do chicken things during
their lives.  I want them killed swiftly with minimum fear. I make sure I buy chicken
raised with no hormones, GMO, or antibiotics, and organic when I can…

About the good old days… my family were ranchers and they ate less meat than the modern American family.  They ate lots of fresh veggies, GOOD grains including breads that were not the pasty starch that passes for bread now (and, I believe, why we
have so many people having trouble with modern breads that do not have Celiac disease.)
We have two meat-centered meals a week, where we roast a chicken.
The leftovers become burritos or some such thing, loaded with beans and rice and veggies, and the half-chicken or so that is leftover makes us so many meals!!!
A $12/bird we start with a good dinner for two…  Next day I add 3-4 carrots diced, an onion diced, some hot peppers (in our case), saute, add 3 cans of organic black beans ($5), a half of bag of corn ($1) and roll them into large burritos (organic tortillas another $3).  We have 10-12 incredibly healthy meals for a couple bucks per serving.
(We freeze the burritos for lunches and another dinner.)

The point is, while we are meat-eaters, we stretch our meat and are more
beans and rice with a little meat and also have meatless days.
This is affordable and healthy.

Smart Chicken also has amazing taste.
It is coming in at New Seasons at $2.99 to $4.19/pound, depending upon if it is Organic or not.  (I buy organic when on sale — freeze — or occasionally.)  Because we eat so many beans, rice, and veggies the rest of the time, the cost of buying healthy meat in alignment with our values and health requirements has actually gone down.  Smart Chicken also does not add water which all other companies do (unless you are buying a local chicken from the farm), which means you are not paying for added water, which also often has chemicals added to it. They don’t give you the wing tips, giblets, or necks — which MOST people don’t want — so you are not paying for that either.  The birds don’t come stuffed with extra fat.   The point of this is that the chicken is actually well-priced!

The birds usually are a bit smaller, which we like, with less fattening up as
factory farms do, which is the way it ought to be, and that is healthier for you.
We use all the leftover drippings in our bean dishes because the birds are not so fatty!
The flesh is firmer, as if the bird has truly run around, but not tough at all.
They roast heavenly!

All the Smart Chicken is non-GMO, no hormones, and not fed antibiotics.
Organic is optional... and we feel okay about eating their non-organic chickens.

Smart Chickens are raised where they are killed, and are used to their handlers.
They are not placed in small cages and trucked many miles which scares the hell out of them.  They are in a space just before they are killed whereby the oxygen
is slowly removed from the room, so they basically fall asleep without stress or fear.
Once asleep, they are slaughtered.  No fear kills.

You can find out who carries Smart Chicken in your area here.

And we dropped any other meats
but Niman Ranch‘s sausages, ham, bacon, etc.
Their meats are non-GMO,
no hormones, and not fed antibiotics
Organic is optional
Their Apple Gouda Sausage is a
treat for us for breakfast!
You can find out who carries
Niman Ranch in your area here.

A rant word about New Seasons Market.  (Non-locals to the PNW can stop reading….)
Years ago management cared about organics and what their customers wanted, and they were accessible.  Not so much anymore, and if you politely talk to them about things that you want in the store you become a problem customer.  I’ve called management, written in their “Talk to Us” pages — though they changed those to discourage anyone from talking to them anymore.  No more in-store comment cards, and you have to spend 15 minutes online answering far more questions than necessary to leave a comment.

At this point Whole Foods offerings are far more in keeping with my values.
Their commitment to non-GMO and organic and humane shows overall.
We still sometimes shop at the Williams or Raleigh Hills stores,
making a trek once a month for the Smart Chicken and Niman Ranch sausages/bacon….

But New Seasons  now carries Smart Chickens.  Oddly, they’ve carried them for awhile (though they still featured Draper’s and spoke about them as if they were a great company) and when I asked about Humane chicken, they never mentioned the one they were carrying.  I learned about Smart Chicken on the Certified Humane® website! They still don’t advertise that they and Niman Ranch are Certified Humane® as of this week.  (You can read the fine print of the brochures, of course… but who does that?)  MOST of the employees behind the meat counter do not know what Certified Humane is, and why it is important — I’ve spoken with about a dozen in the last couple of weeks.  Also, MANY of their butchers also believe that bruising can happen after an animal is killed.

New Seasons might sell more chickens to people who want organic and humane if they informed their employees and customers about Certified Humane®.
Seriously, they have a great product and don’t want to tell anyone — WTH?

Posted in bean, diet, humane, leftovers, non-GMO, organic, pork, poultry, recipe, rice, sustainable | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Subzero Chili with Beans


Ice and snow and we lived on this in the studio….
Recipe, rough, approximate, because I rarely use a recipe…

  • 2 big onions, chopped
  • 1 lb ground round
  • 1 oz chili powder
  • tsp salt
  • tsp black pepper
  • tbsp cumin

Mind, you, I may add more spices, but the beef especially  is so good browned in spices….
So, start with the hamburger in a hot pan and all the spices, and brown
(you may have to use a bit of olive oil); when the beef is brown put it into a BIG pot.
Brown the onions after and drop into the pot.  Add:

  • 4 (though you may need a total of 6) 15-oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 4 tsp chopped garlic

Now here is an option, but not necessary.
Sometimes I add a couple of heaping tbsp of Blackened Hot Pepper Pesto
or add a couple of roasted poblanos or mild warm chilies, chopped.
Simmer for about an hour.  Add:

  • 3 stalks celery, chopped with leaves if possible
  • 4-6  sweet carrots, chopped (I must get healthy in there and they add natural sweet)
  • 4-6 15-oz cans kidney beans (rinse beans before dropping into pot)

Simmer until carrots are cooked, tasting and stirring constantly
and trying to keep your “Mitchell” out of the pot until it is fully cooked.
Add more chili/cumin to taste…
Green onions are excellent on top, and of course,
if your “Mitchell” makes corn bread then you are in heaven.
Sometimes I add frozen corn when reheating…

This recipe freezes well too!

Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.
It matters!


Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!

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I am now agreeing to the  Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International License, which you can learn more about by visiting the site, or, visit my web page for a more user-friendly summary on my terms.
My images/blog posts can be reposted; please link back to katwritesfood.
Images courtesy Dkatiepowellart. (Me too!

Posted in art journal, bean, beef, good to freeze, non-GMO, organic, recipe, stews & soups, work dinners | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Boycott, Gandhi-Style, Vote with your Wallet

The dark act has upset me very much. I can’t believe Obama signed that dang thing on his way out — nice legacy. Here is an idea for boycotting. Two things must happen for this to work. It really helps in small stores in small town. Put the things you won’t buy into one area of your cart. Tell the store owners these are the things you want them to put back because these companies do not support GMO labeling, which you believe is your right and part of being healthy. It does make an impact on them. Shoppers around you also hear it.
Then you have to write/call the companies telling them you are boycotting their products — ALL OF THEM. I won’t buy Cascadian Farms or Applegate Farms because they’ve been bought by larger companies that support GMO’s and want a seat at the organics table so they can infiltrate and screw with the organic parameters. And I tell everyone. Things don’t change without being a bit annoying… broken record.

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Poisonous Pet Food

I am posting two items you must read:  Cornucopia (extremely trusted source) and then their whole report.  IF you love your animals and do not want to cry your heart out prematurely, take them time to read their Report.

We lost two cats and a dog to drugs/plastic in Science Diet and Iams and Blue Buffalo. One died of a drug that kills animals, a pain killer that takes them down. Two died of melamine poisoning.  Both were put there by the Chinese because the drugs and plastic in question mimicked protein, and was cheaper.  I doubt that the brands knew it — but only Blue Buffalo gave a rats ass. $3500 later and all the pain and suffering and upset — so now organic is the way we go.

from cornacopia


You still you have to read labels, as we lost one loved one to carrageenan in Newman’s ORGANIC Pet Food, which contains carrageenan.  But there is a more insidious story.  Our male cat had to be put on wet food (lost a couple teeth) and we chose Newman’s Own Organic food, which WE READ THE LABEL contained no carrageenan. As he got sicker and sicker with stomach problems, IBS, we began looking for a new pet food, and reading labels again, and sure enough, they added it (we had an old wrapper at the time so could compare.). We called N.O. to complain and THEIR STAFF VET made a huge blunder and said it had been in the food for FIVE years, but they had not wanted to print new labels. Newman’s didn’t give a crap.  Needless to say, we will NEVER buy any Newman’s Own anything. Lying sacks of shit. ( Fool me once…)

Also, remember:

Check to see who still is making your favorite organic pet food once a year.
Castor and Pollux Organix was bought by Nestle, a company I cannot trust
because of their history for cutting corners or outright deadly practices,
such as selling tainted formula to mother’s for their babies.
They will cut corners, so we are looking for a new brand.

“NATURAL” means nothing —
no legal terms an advertising ploy, whereas certified has teeth.

BTW, your pets shouldn’t eat potatoes unless they are pigs —
honest to God pigs.
Stay away from gluten-free because it uses potato filler, a nightshade.

Putting a face to the story, below.
Our losses are not abstract,
and could be yours.

Each was a premature and painful death.

Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!

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I am now agreeing to the  Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International License, which you can learn more about by visiting the site, or, visit my web page for a more user-friendly summary on my terms.
My images/blog posts can be reposted; please link back to katwritesfood.
Images courtesy Dkatiepowellart. (Me too!)

Cornucopia image is from their report.
I am assuming they are fine with me spreading the word.

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Hub IPA-Bacon-Sugar Chili Risotto

W16 4 2 TFK HUB IPA  019

Yummiest I’ve made to date!

Fry 6-8 pieces of organic humanely raised no-nitrate bacon until CRISP, reserving some of the fat unless you just can’t bring yourself to do this….  break into little pieces and do not eat it all.  I sometimes do this when I am making breakfast then freeze for later.

Heat 1-2 qts of the broth described below, and nuking it is fine.  I have up to two qts ready but I am on a disgusting electric range and so how much I need varies as cook time varies.  I miss gas.

  • 1-2 qts chicken broth (preferably bone broth, it is so good for you)

Bring to gentle boil then turn down to keep hot.

In large frying pan, put a dollop of olive oil and make the soffrito.  Add the following and gentle cook:

  • 1 t bacon grease left over from frying the bacon (store the rest in the freezer in ice cubes) OPTIONAL but wow…. unless you are cooking for someone who cannot do this try it even occasionally….
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 6-8 slices organic humanely raised bacon (or turkey bacon), fried CRISP, then chopped
  • 4-6 T Hot Blackened Pepper Pesto — you decide how hot you want it but really, if you can stand heat this will not scream at you but be a nice warmth in your body!  You can substitute another hot red blackened chili, of course.
  • 1 T organic garlic, chopped
  • 2 small or 1 large sweet organic onion, chopped
  • 2-3 organic celery stalks (if possible some with leaves), chopped (celery is one veggie you really want to buy organic)
  • 3-4 medium carrots, chopped

Cook on medium high, watching it and stirring it.  When it is a lovely translucent but still slightly firm veggie mix, add:

  • 2 cups organic arborio rice

Slightly brown on higher heat until translucent then add the following:

  • 1 pint organic HUB IPA or similar IPA

Simmer high for just a minute to allow the alcohol to blow off a bit, stirring, and begin to slowly add the hot broth.  As each round cooks down (do not let burn or get too dry) add another  ladle or two of the chicken broth, stirring occasionally — and making sure you do not let burn — until the rice is done.  Remove, then add the following and cover for two minutes.

  • 1/3 lb oz (or more to taste) finely ground Parmesan cheese
  • 3 T butter (again, if you are cooking for someone who needs not to have saturated fat you can add 2 T
  • DO NOT ADD SALT UNTIL SERVED; the cheese and spices may be salty enough.
  • Black pepper, cumin to taste before serving.

Magic Happens!

This will feed many people and serves as lunch for us for a couple of days, topped with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds or Toasted Sunflower Seeds.  We toast our with a bit of Braggs.

Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!

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I am now agreeing to the  Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International License, which you can learn more about by visiting the site, or, visit my web page for a more user-friendly summary on my terms.
My images/blog posts can be reposted; please link back to katwritesfood.
Images courtesy Dkatiepowellart. (Me too!)

Posted in gluten-free, humane, leftovers, non-GMO, organic, pork, recipe, rice, sides, spicy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Lungberg’s will spur me onto a new way of cooking rice….

We’ve had a situation in the studio that made us have to be here 24/7, working.

W16 3 15 Rice Beans Recipe 1I tried Lundberg’s organic versions of what my mom used to call minute-rice, though she didn’t use it — she, too, made her own.  We’ve tried Lundberg’s Red Beans & Rice and Quinoa & Rice.  I’ve made meals out of these dishes by following the directions
exactly except for what I added, 30 minutes to finished dish:

Can O’ Black Beans, drained and rinsed
2 sweet carrots, chopped
Stalk celery, chopped
2-3 t Black Pepper Pesto (you can use any chili in any amount)
1-2 green onions, chopped

We sometimes topped with avocado, corn, leftover chicken, you name it —
and the next day rolled in tortillas for a leftover breakfast or lunch.  Yummo!
Wonderful as a side to salmon and other fish!

Soon you will get my recipe on how to do it from scratch —
This is mostly because I want to lower my sodium and have my own spices!

Always organic or non-GMO, humanely raised.  It matters!

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I am now agreeing to the  Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International License, which you can learn more about by visiting the site, or, visit my web page for a more user-friendly summary on my terms.
My images/blog posts can be reposted; please link back to katwritesfood.
Images courtesy Dkatiepowellart. (Me too!)

Posted in art journal, bean, corn, hot, leftovers, non-GMO, organic, pesto, quick, recipe, rice, sides, spicy, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cincinnati Chili, Starving Artists in the Kitchen Style

Plugging a friend’s cooking blog, this couple are also artists, and the blog is Starving Artists in the Kitchen.  I can’t just give you a bit of the blog, so will lift and type just enough so you have to go visit.  This is their take on Cincinnati Chili, which is traditionally served over spaghetti — but they don’t do wheat.  I intend to try it!  I will leave out the allspice (allergy) and probably add black beans…

IMG_0003“Traditionally,  Cincinnati Chili is served over spaghetti, but since we’re wheat-free we act like barbarians and skip that layer.  There are any number of recipes and approaches, some juicier, some thicker, some using different ingredients, but cinnamon and chocolate are constants.  My friend Ann Emmert Abbott says in Cincinnati you pick which restaurant to go to depending on which variant you’re hungry for!  So here’s my version, put together to taste and from several different recipes…let me know if there’s anything YOU consider absolutely essential.

3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or high quality light)
2 finely chopped onions
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 pounds ground beef (or lamb, bison, or venison–we had grass fed beef)
1 T. Sea salt, more or less, to taste
2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
2 tablespoons chili powder (Joseph makes his own, the recipe is in this post.)
1 ½ teaspoons cumin (more or less to taste.  I probably put 1 ½ tablespoons instead)… ”

For the rest, go to: http://starvingartistscook.blogspot.com/2016/01/cincinnati-chili-starving-artists-in.html?showComment=1453222199124#c7527232997145268795

Posted in bean, beef, gluten-free, humane, non-GMO, organic, recipe, work dinners | Tagged , | Leave a comment