Monday, July 21, 2014

Homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup

There is no need to purchase canned soup for casseroles!  It is easily made at home and with much more nutritious ingredients.  It is wise to avoid canned foods as much as possible.  See here for some reasons why:

And now with the wonderful canners and other means, we can make our own food and store in jars or in the freezer.

I typically make this when I make a favorite casserole dish that also needs a whole chicken.  So I boil the chicken for the casserole and use the broth from that to make this soup (which also goes into the casserole!)  But you can boil chicken ahead of time and keep it for use in this recipe.

Here is how to make homemade cream of chicken soup – without gluten – and store it for future use.
Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup (Makes about 3 cups)


1 ½ cups of homemade chicken broth (this must be homemade to be nutritious!)
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon Celtic sea salt
¼ teaspoon fresh or dried parsley
Dash of paprika
1 ½ cups of raw milk (organic, store-bought can be substituted if you don’t have raw milk)
½ - 2/3 cups of arrowroot OR tapioca flour


In medium saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil adding ½ cup of the milk and all the seasonings.  Boil only a few minutes.

In a bowl, mix the remaining 1 cup of cold milk with the tapioca flour or arrowroot with a wire whisk.  Add this to the boiling mixture and continue stirring briskly until it boils and begins to thicken.

You can add more chicken broth if it becomes too thick.  I keep mine on the thin side for my casserole but you can make it as thick as you like depending on how you want to use it.

You can also store extra “soup” in mason jars in the freezer.  I use the small, wide mouthed jars to store a “can” of soup for the next time I need it.  Glass is much safer for food storage and if you cool the jar down and leave plenty of space at the top, you should not have any issue with cracked jars in the freezer.





Sunday, July 13, 2014

Amendment 1: Right To Farm in Missouri

There are many important amendments on the Missouri ballot this August, I pray you will all be informed and be sure to vote.  Many times amendments are purposely put on the ballot during the primary due to the low turn-out rate of voters.  Please keep up to date and be sure to share your vote!
My family just started farming this year, we have 20 acres in Farmington.  I attend the local farmer's market each week and talk to others like me who each have 10 - 40 acre farms. 

I was once ready to vote yes on this amendment but then I started to research more and I’ve started to change my mind.  The amendment is worded very vaguely as is the case for many amendments.  So typically if something isn’t worded well, and I'm unable to attain understandable facts, then I vote NO just to send it back to the drawing board to be better worded. 
Making an amendment to the constitution is a big deal – we should be able to word it more specifically!

I try hard to take each issue and research both sides – for and against – before making a judgment.  Also, I want to honor my fellow homeschooling Christians as I share what I’ve learned.  I pray I do a good job of that.  I know we all want what is best for our children and our grandchildren.  With that, here is what I’ll share.

I’ve now read the amendment many times and read over 20 articles on both sides of the debate and I’m planning on a NO vote.  I’m still open to hear arguments that hold details and facts.  But I wanted to at least share another perspective and see what others have to say as well.  Since I’m leaning towards a “NO” vote, I’ll be fair and post information I read in an article that is actually supporting a YES vote.  It is at the link below.

In this article, which is in support of a YES vote, it says this:

As one example, Hurst cites a case in Hawaii where a local government outlawed the growing of genetically modified crops.

What this says to me is that they don’t want anyone to be able to complain or put a stop to their Genetically Modified crops.  So if they move in next door to my 20 acres, or upstream from me, and they pollute my land or water with their pesticides, insecticides and herbicides – I have no recourse.  This protects the big farms, but not the small ones like ours.  Shouldn't a local government and it's citizens be able to make this choice or fight against it?  I know I would want to.

It then goes on to say:

 “We believe in the rights of livestock producers to operate their farms in a manner that promotes good animal health and production, and for crop farmers to use the latest technology in a responsible manner without outside influence,”

My question is, if you are “promoting good animal health” then why would you need protection?  These big farmers with their pig operations (as an example) are not promoting good health, they are covering it up with loads of antibiotics. On the other hand, our chickens live a very good life, a healthy life, which means healthy eggs and meat for us and our community.  Therefore, I do not need protection from such a law since I am not polluting the land or the animals.

We have friends in Iowa with 10 children, who run a 600 acre farm.  They tell me that Iowa operates under a similar amendment or law, and as a result their streams and rivers are some of the most polluted in the country.  This is because there is so much manure that the only place these factory farms have to put it is into the streams and rivers.  And they want to avoid being held accountable to that in the event that we consumers object.

This article also uses the term “latest technology”  and that translated means more factory farms and more GMO foods, which science now tells us how dangerous they are.  In fact, 90+% of all our corn in Missouri is GMO.  Other countries have outlawed GMOs so our GMO corn has to be sold in America only.  That seems to say that they need protection because if Americans reject this GMO corn (or soybeans or other crops) then they will have lost a lot of money.  (Read more about GMO foods here:

Lastly, the article says this:

Oetting thinks the battle for public support for agriculture should continue beyond the August election. “Today, most Americans are three to five generations removed from the farm,” she said. “They don’t understand that science and technology have taken agriculture into the 21st century, as with all business and industry. Farmers have fallen short by not communicating how new production methods help us to be good stewards in caring for the land and our animals.”

On the first point I agree - most Americans are far removed from the farm.  However, I suspect the big farm operations want to keep it that way.  Have you ever tried to call up Tyson chicken and ask for a tour of their facility?  I don't think they would be pleased to show you around.  On the contrary, small farmers love visitors and have nothing to hide!
On the second point he makes, he is saying that the average American is not-so-smart and doesn’t understand all their "technology".  The technology they refer to is factory farm technology and GM crop technology.(aka: pesticides, herbicides, etc.)  The same companies who make the GM seeds, also make all the sprays that these seeds are supposedly resistant to.  Therefore, the farmers who buy them spray even more heavily now than years ago.

I have personally been inside a Pork factory farm (by special invitation of a family friend who owned it) and I can tell you there is nothing about it that is caring for land or animals or those of us to eat the meat.  In fact, they wouldn’t allow me to bring a camera into the building and I can see why.  Our family didn’t eat pork for 5 years just because the smell alone was so bad that we couldn’t get it out of our memory for years.  Until we moved to Missouri and found a farmer who raises his pigs outdoors, then we started eating pork again.
Now don't these pigs look happy?  No activist can complain about a well-cared-for pig
and well cared for land!
Photo Credit: Salatin Family

I think it is wise to have in place the laws we currently have and not outlandish lawsuits and animal rights activists getting carried away.  But we already have laws here for that.  We already have a right to farm.  But we also need to be good stewards of our land as God instructs - and having an amendment like this would take things to the constitutional level and make it very difficult to hold any factory farm accountable for any wrong doings. 

So that is why I have changed my vote to “no” on this amendment.

Whether this amendment passes or not, we can all at peace knowing that ultimately God is in control.  The duty is ours to be informed and to vote, but the results are Gods!

Thanks for reading, blessings,



Saturday, July 5, 2014

From the Farmer's Perspective

As I drove out early this morning to go to the local farmer’s market, I was thinking about how much I love this land and this area.  How much I love raising our own food, and how beautiful the landscape is.

Once at the farmer’s market I had great conversation and idea sharing with the many vendors – who are really just my neighbors - each with their own patch of land around Farmington.  One sweet lady offered all the free oregano plants I wanted if I’ll stop by her place – which it turns out is only a few miles from us.  You see, these folks aren’t in this to get rich; they are doing what they love and what they know.  They want to provide real food, grown on family farms, prepared in their own kitchens.  At the market you’ll likely see signs that say “We aren’t certified USDA organic, but we use all organic practices.”  OR “Our food isn’t inspected by the USDA, it is prepared with care in our own kitchen.”

It’s so wonderful to see that I’m purchasing herbs, vegetables, lotions and other goods that were prepared by someone’s hands in their own kitchen.  Rather than made in a huge facility, unknown to me, made by people I don’t know, and then shipped hundreds or thousands of miles in a semi-truck and sold to me by a big-box store.  It is only because of this lack of accountability that we feel we need that “USDA approved organic” sticker on the package of food we buy.  Rather, I just take the word of “Linda” who dried my herbs and put them in a baggie for me, or “Randy” who sold me a jar of honey that he produced with his own bees and poured into a jar just for me.

At one point during my shopping spree at the farmer’s market, an older woman stopped to look at the potatoes being sold in baskets.  She asked about the weight of each basket and the farmer said he hadn’t weighed them.  But rather it was just $2.00 per basket-full.  She said, “Well, that’s a rip off!”

I stood in awe of her boldness to say such a thing and then walk off.  But then I felt sad... sad for her and sad for local farmers.  As I looked at the smiling farmer behind the table full of potatoes and other produce, I could see the many hours he put into bringing this food to the little, modest market.  And the effort he put in to avoiding pesticides, insecticides and other dangerous chemicals.  I could just imagine how many potatoes he might have lost this year to bugs or other intruders that prey on plants when they are grown naturally.  I could see the dirt under his nails and the sun-kissed skin that showed the amount of time he must spend outdoors on his garden.  I know first-hand what it takes to grow a good potato!  But this woman who made the comment really felt she wasn’t getting a good deal.  My guess is that she’s accustomed to purchasing potatoes and other produce from large discount stores.  Grocery store produce is subjected to who-knows-how-many chemicals.  (And as a side-note, potatoes are on the top ten list of the most heavily sprayed produce!) 
I’m sure she’s also used to seeing all her potatoes look the same size and be perfectly uniform in color.  Yes, this is what heavy chemicals can do to produce, make it all look the same.  She probably doesn’t realize that the “cheap” potatoes she bought at the discount grocery are likely more chemical than they are food.  She also doesn’t see the value in supporting these small family farmers who are our last link to real food that isn’t genetically engineered in some facility far away.  These farmers are also our last link to seeds that aren’t patented by the likes of Monsanto and other companies.  (And yes, it’s getting harder and harder to seed-swap with other farmers due to these patents!)

The reality is, these farmers are our last link to REAL food grown by people who care about the food, the land and their community.

I bought three baskets of that farmer’s potatoes and said, “These look great.  I know what it takes to grow a good potato!”  And he smiled a small, modest smile and said, “Yes, ma’am, it’s hard work.”

I’ll take that hard work any day for as long as I’m able.  Buying from a farmer whose farm I can visit myself, and having a relationship with that farmer is a wonderful experience.  It is far more rewarding and comforting than buying my lettuce at the big grocery store.  (Yes, there might be a little caterpillar on my lettuce - but that's a GOOD sign.  If a caterpillar is on it, then that means it isn't sprayed with insecticide!)
It is wonderful to be able to put a face to the farmer who grew my food.  Just try calling one of the brand-names on your grocery-store bought foods and ask to tour their facility.  I don’t think you’ll be welcome.  But most farmers I speak to at the local market invite me regularly to see their farms.  They are proud of what they are doing and nothing is hidden from me, the consumer!
Our neighbors grow blueberries.  These taste nothing
like blueberries at the stores!  All that travel time to the store
takes out nutrition and taste.  These are truly God's candy!
Learning to eat seasonally isn't easy, but it's worth it.
We will freeze many of these and look forward to next
summer when we can pick them and eat them fresh again -
knowing we are loading up on antioxidants that don't
come from grocery-store blueberries.
Dear friends, farmer’s markets serve not only as a way for people to purchase locally grown produce, but also as a chance for them to connect with others in their communities.  Purchasing local goods is an experience that promotes a sense of place, important in making individuals feel tied to their communities.
These markets also have many environmental benefits such as reduced transportation costs and reduced vehicle emissions.  (That strawberry package you bought at Walmart probably travelled to the store from several states away – or perhaps from Mexico – on a semi-truck!)

  Farmer’s markets have the potential to shift the local economy of their community by encouraging consumers to change their diets and eat more seasonally.  This allows more money to circulate within the region and spill over to the other local businesses.  Farmer’s markets are also less likely to relocate than large grocery stores and they provide stability for local economies.

I pray the local farmer doesn’t fad away while folks head to big-box stores to get their weekly groceries.  Support your local farmers and find yourself happier, food-educated, and healthier too!

For more reasons and ideas for farmer’s market shopping, see this link:

Psalms 24:1

Earth, Belonging To GodGuardiansNatureResponsibility, Of Natural WorldThe earth is the LORD'S, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.