Food Clubs

Across our vast nation, food clubs can be found everywhere, and in various shapes, sizes and styles. I believe that food clubs hail from a bygone era when area families came together to get the work done. Ladies of the community would pool their resources to “put up” the harvest by canning, drying or other preserving methods. The men would do their own work, butchering animals and processing for winter storage. Working together, house by house, to lighten the individual load and catch up on the latest gossip.

Besides our buying club, here are a few examples of other food clubs:

  • Cheese Clubs~ where members gather to sample cheese varieties, or perhaps even make cheeses together in a group setting.
  • Recipe Clubs~Kitchen savvy individuals gather together and concoct various forms of food and share the results (and the recipes)! Sounds tasty!
  • Monthly Food Preparation Clubs~make an entire weeks worth of meals (or more) in one setting. Members share food costs and enjoy company while assembling freezer meals.
Variety of cheeses on serving platter

Variety of cheeses on serving platter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Food clubs fill the void left by our commuter lifestyle. We’ve grown away from tight-nit communities into larger metro settings. This is a great way to reclaim some of our agrarian heritage and rediscover the joys of preparing and eating food together!

Southeast Kansas Buying Club
Whole Foods for Less!

Serving Independence, Kansas
and surrounding areas.

 

 

 

 

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Why Join Our Buying Club?

Why Join Our Buying Club?

Cooperatives have benefits!

Southeast Kansas Buying Club is a Cooperative and is supported by members who volunteer their time and skills in order for our club to operate.

By participating in SEKS Buying club you will:

  • Save money through volume purchasing, with deeply reduced costs.
  • Have food and merchandise delivered to you at a central location.
  • Learn new skills related to food, health, home economics and discover local resources.
  • Meet new people and strengthen community ties.

Southeast Kansas Buying Club’s main purpose is to provide members with high quality natural foods, at a reasonable cost while creating a supportive network. The club depends on everyone’s volunteer efforts to place orders, distribute and help the club run smoothly.

Click here if you would like to become a member.

Healthy in the New Year?

Along with the new year come many resolutions to make oneself healthier via loosing weight, becoming more active, giving up a bad habit or other forms of “healthy”. Being a member of a buying club, most of us already have “healthy” in our daily vocabulary. Still some of us wouldn’t mind shedding a few pounds or adding more activity to our daily routines. And rightly we should.

Adding exercise or activity to your day doesn’t necessarily mean you have to rush out and buy a gym membership, although you could if you wanted to.  One way to add activity to your daily routine is to simply take the stairs, instead of the elevator. Or park farther away from the store entrance, adding extra steps to your walk to and from your car. For other simple ideas to increase your activity levels check here. If you do well with visual reminders, here are some Printable worksheets to track activity and help increase your activity level.

Now, what about food? Well many of us are already eating healthier. In our club we have members with a variety of dietary needs including: Raw diet, Traditional Foods (Nourishing Traditions style), Vegan, vegetarian, Gluten-free, Dairy-free and other special diets. So how do we improve on these? Eating nutrition dense foods is important for our well-being, but it’s easy to over eat when we are eating such foods. Slow down, chew your food well. Digestion begins in the mouth, both the action of chewing (which signals the stomach that food is on its way) and mixing your food with saliva (which contains enzymes to begin the digestion process) are vitally important and should be done well. In our modern fast food/microwave society, we find ourselves hurrying through meals, fast eating usually means that we haven’t chewed our food well.

A good rule of thumb is as follows: if you can tell what kind of food you are eating from the texture of the food in your mouth (not the taste), then you haven’t chewed it enough.

Chewing our food should not only make our food easier to swallow, it should slow our eating process down, so that we can enjoy our food, and allow our stomach the time to “feel” full, instead of leaping for that second helping before our stomach even realizes it’s got a job to do.

"Healthier" No-Bake Cookies, One more please??

“Healthier” No-Bake Cookies, One more please??

Portion control is just as important as what we eat. It’s easy for me to think to myself, “oh, this is healthy, I can have another portion”. “Healthy” is my excuse to eat more. Defeating the purpose of “healthy” in the first place! Visual portion control helps can be found here. And a generic points system can be found here, if counting points is more your style.

Let’s not forget that other important element to our well-being, water. Clear, pure water. Boring you say? Our bodies need sufficient water daily for proper function, to flush toxins, keep us hydrated (and avoid that winter dry skin) and keep our blood flowing well. The amount of water necessary for optimum health varies between the “Experts”. Around my house we’ve gone by the recommendation of “divide your body weight in half, and drink that many ounces in water” daily. So for a 180 pound person this would be approximately 90 ounces of water a day, or 6 16 oz glasses (rounded up). Drinking water not only helps us with hydration, it also helps us avoid the “munchies”. Often when we think our bodies are telling us that we are hungry, really what we need is water. Drink a glass of water, and if you’re still hungry, a healthy snack is in order, such as an apple or carrots with humus. Here’s a fun little Hydration Calculator Quiz.

Hopefully some of these tips and suggestions will help you to achieve your health goals for the new year. Here’s to a healthy New Year to you and yours from your Southeast Kansas Buying Club!

 

 

Apples!

Photo Credit: Agricultural Research Service, the research agency of the United States Department of Agriculture, with the ID K7252-65

Our favorite and most plentiful fall fruit~apples. We eat a lot of apples in our house, they are my children’s favorite fruit for snacks. Organic apples are our preferred choice and we order them from both UNFI/Albert’s Organics and Azure Standard.

Here’s a few yummy seasonal recipes for your apple supply, from the main dish to the dessert. Perhaps you’ll find a new fall favorite here!

Baked Chicken & Apples
Apples pair well  with many meats, chicken is my favorite.

Healthy “Caramel” Apple Dip
This recipe comes highly recommend by club member Elizabeth M.*

Baked Apple-Cinnamon French Toast 
I love a good stuffed french toast and this one sounds delicious!

Cabbage Salad with Apples and Walnuts
There’s a lot of options for this salad!

AUTUMN APPLE CRISP
A delightful dessert for a cool evening!

Apple braid
A lovely braided bread stuffed with apples. This would make a wonderful hostess gift for your next party!

Baked Apple Shells with Ice Cream & Caramel
A friend* of mine found these little delights on Pinterest. Simple in preparation and beautiful in presentation, try these little gems out next time you host dinner.

I hope that you will try out a few (or all) of these apple recipes this fall. Be sure to let us know how they turned out!! Happy Fall Ya’ll!

*Thanks to Elizabeth and Debra for the inspiration!

 

 

 

Hydrogen Peroxide

I have known about the health benefits of hydrogen peroxide since I was a mere child with a skinned up knee. When my mother would put the brown bottle stuff on my boo boos it was much more pleasant that the white bottle alternative. Besides the fact that watching those bubbles was quite distracting and help me forget the initial stinging sensation.

Fast forward to my teen years when my Grandparents were using H2O2 internally for its health benefits. Back then the Natural Food Center sold quarts of specially diluted and flavored H2O2 for consumption.

Then once again, in my grown up years, I learned about the uses of H2O2 as a bleach alternative and sterilizing agent, adding to the health benefits I already knew about.

More recently peroxide has been our mainstay for treating our swimming pool and keeping it algae free without harsh chemicals.  I’ve also experimented with H2O2 as a health boosting soak combined with Epsom Salt.  20 minutes of soothing, better than Calgon.

Once in a while I toss a 1/4 – 1/2 cup in the laundry if something is in need of whitening or I feel that it needs to be a little bit more “clean”.

Food grade hydrogen peroxide is 35%.  Common (medicinal) hydrogen peroxide in the brown bottles comes in at 3%.  Hair bleach is around 6%.  See dilution chart here. For cleaning, H2O2 is the best alternative to bleach and other caustic cleaners that off-gas nasty fumes. Caution must be used when dealing with undiluted H2O2 as it is a strong oxidizer. If spilled on your skin, you should immediately flush with copious amounts of water. It will turn your skin white, and feel like hundreds of tiny needles pricking into your skin.  It is quite uncomfortable, so please be careful. “In high concentrations, hydrogen peroxide is an aggressive oxidizer and will corrode many materials, including human skin.”  H2O2 should be stored in a cool, dark location, and kept in a child-proof container (with a child-proof cap, such as it comes in from the supplier).

Hydrogen peroxide 30 percent on skin.

I often use peroxide for cleaning my fresh greens and grapes. I just fill the sink, or container with cold water, add a splash of food grade peroxide (I don’t measure it) and let it soak for at least 15 minutes. When I’m ready to rinse it, there will bubbles collected on the surface from the H2O2 working.

For the unfortunate canine that has a run-in with Pepe Le Pew…

Mixed with baking soda and a small amount of hand soap, hydrogen peroxide is effective at removing skunk odor.

For more interesting and geeky information (like how they make those glow sticks) on peroxide, check here.

H2O2 is a great addition to a healthy, green home!

Fruit and Sprouted Grains

It’s time to start preparing for Bithell Farm’s spring fruit & seafood order! Watch for the order information, it will be published this week!

Many of us like Ezekiel Bread from Food for Life, I found this instructional blog post today about making your own sprouted grain flour. With a little added ingredients you could make a multi-grain sprouted flour with this recipe! Here’s the “why” for sprouting grains:

“… that is where sprouted flour comes in! By sprouting the wheat berries, you are reducing the anti-nutrients in the wheat, allowing it to be digested easily. Then after drying and grinding, the sprouted flour can be substituted 1:1 for regular flour in recipes. No planning ahead required. Plus, making it at home is much more cost effective that buying it in the store.”

It’s worth a try!

Honey Sesame Snack Mix

Submitted by member Brandi Monson.

If you’re like me, you’ve enjoyed “Chex party mix” on more than one occasion. But what about a healthier version? Well, you are in luck today, here it is:

Honey Sesame Snack Mix from Health Valley

2 c Health Valley Rice  “Crunch-Ems” {I’ve made it w/only one variety as well, tastes great.}

4 c Health Vally Corn Crunch-Ems

2 c Pretzel Sticks or mini pretzels {Ener-G brand for a wheat free alternative}

1 c toasted almonds, slivered

1/4 c coconut oil or butter

1/4 c honey

1 T sesame seeds

1 tsp garlic, dried, minced

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/3 tsp ginger powder

2 T sesame oil

2 T Tamari {San-J wheat free variety: yum!}

Preheat oven to 250*. In a large bowl, combine cereals, pretzels and nuts. In a small sauce pan, melt coconut oil or butter. Add honey, sesame seeds, garlic, onion powder, ginger, sesame oil and tamari. Bring to a slow boil.

Drizzle liquid mixture over cereal mixture. Blend thoroughly to coat. Spread mixture onto ungreased sheet pan {I use parchment paper for easy clean-up}. bake at 250* for 45 to 60 mins or until golden brown and crisp. Stir mixture every 10-15 minutes. Remove snack mix from oven and cool. Serve & enjoy. Yield: 18 (1/2 cup) servings. Leftovers can be stored in airtight container, if you have any!

I like to mix it up with different nuts such as whole almonds and/or cashews. Sometimes I add a touch of hot chili oil to give it just a little extra zing, but not so much to make it hot. Peptias are good mixed in as well. Use your imagination and favorite ingredients! The bowl will be empty! 🙂

Vegetarian Recipes

There are times when I’m just hungry for veggies. We occaisionally have meatless meals and I wanted to share a few recipes here. Meatless meals are a great way to stretch a tight budget. 🙂 Both of these recipes are Vegan as well.

Vegetarian Lasagna

26 oz veggie pasta sauce, your choice.

8 oz noodles, we use rice for a wheat free dish

16 oz soft tofu, mashed w/a fork

3 cups chopped fresh cooked veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, carrots, etc.

8 oz Shredded Mozzerella style almond cheese or vegan cheese replacement

Layer the above prepared items in a deep baking dish as follows: sauce, noodles, mashed tofu, sauce, veggies, cheese. Repeat.

Cover w/foil or lid and bake 350-375* for 35-40 mins, uncover and bake an additional 5 mins.

Seved with a tossed salad and garlic toast, a full and filling meal.

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For dessert: Heavenly Carob Cake

3/4 c soy or rice milk

1/3 c + 1 T maple syrup

1/4 c canola or melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/3 c sifted carob powder

1 c +1 T sifted flour, GF flour mix works well

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder, aluminum free

Fresh raspberries for garnish, if desired

Preheat oven to 350*. Line 8 inch round cake pan w/parchment paper and lightly spray pan & paper with oil. Blend first 7 ingredients together well with a hand mixer. Sift together the flour, baking soda & baking powder. Add to carob mixture & briefly mix to incorportate. Pour into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until done. Cool completely. Loosen edges w/a knife and invert on a plate. Peel off paper carefully. Handle w/care as this cake is delicate.

Heavenly Frosting

1/4 package frim tofu [Tip: I use the same tofu for both the lasagna and frosting!]

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 c carob powder

1/4 cup maple syrup

Put all ingredients into blender and mix until well blended. Chill while cake bakes and cools. Frost cake as desired and garnish with the fresh raspberries or berries of your choice.

Very delicious and rich!

Mediterranean White Bean Dip

Submitted by member Brandi Monson 

A yummy dip for veggies or chips and also makes a good spread for tortilla wrap sandwiches.

1 can white beans, drained, or use 1.5 cups home cooked white beans

1 clove garlic, or more to taste

1 tsp dried Rosemary, or more to taste

Olive oil, EV

Salt & Pepper to taste.

In a food processor, place the garlic and pulse to begin chopping action. Add beans, pulse again to mostly blend together. Add the rosemary and salt & pepper, pulse again until well blended. While still pulsing, add a slow and steady stream of EVOO until the dip is the desired texture and flavor. Chill. Will keep well in the fridge for several days.

Serve with veggie crudettes, corn chips, pita chips or crackers.

March is National Frozen Foods Month

Written by Elizabeth Murray

March is the perfect time for an article I’ve been thinking about as it is National Frozen Food Month. I’ve been looking into the different options we have for buying our frozen vegetables. We all know that it’s best to get our produce from local farmers. It’s best for the environment, best for the farmers, and best for our families (not the mention it TASTES so much better!). But when it’s the off season, we need some frozen veggies to last until the great time when we can have local veggies again.

 I’ve been looking into the frozen vegetables that we can purchase through the buying club. In the past, I have gotten mostly Woodstock Farms due to it being the cheapest available and the name was familiar to me from shopping at Wild Oats. Well, I was reading the back of the spinach bag a few months ago and right under the address in CT where Woodstock Farms presumably is, it stated “Product of China”! One of the other veggies says “Product of Thailand”. It doesn’t make sense to me to transport vegetables (especially Organic vegetables) half way across the world. It’s ‘carbon footprint’ is too great. For environmental reasons, I’ve been trying to purchase things from the United States when I can’t get it locally. I also prefer to support small time farmers rather than large corporations. So, I started looking at our other options. We basically have four companies from which to buy our frozen vegetables: Woodstock Farms [WODSTK], Cascadian Farms [CSCADE], Stahlbush Island Farms [STAHL], and Sno Pac Foods [SNOPAC].

Here’s some interesting things I found out. Woodstock Farms is owned by none other than United Natural Foods! Must be why it’s the cheapest! Then there is Cascadian Farms which is now owned by General Mills (Small Planet Foods, which owns Cascadian Farms and Muir Glen was bought by General Mills in 2000). Stahlbush Island Farms is owned by Bill and Karla Chambers who live and work on their farm in Corvallis Oregon. Sno Pac Foods is a family owned and operated organic farm and processing plant located in Caledonia Minnesota. Sno Pac foods is closest to us geographically, but they are also the most expensive. When the Sno Pac goes on sale, I will buy some of their veggies to try. The Stahlbush is cheaper though not as cheap as Cascadian or Woodstock. But in trying the support the smaller family farms, I am willing to pay a little extra. I also like Stahlbush Island Farms’ packaging. They use Natural Kraft Paper made with natural fibers rather than the plastic of the other companies. Stahlbush is not certified organic, but they are a certified sustainable farm using Earth friendly agriculture and they regularly test their soil and products for pesticide residue. So I am switching over to Stahlbush Island farms when I need frozen vegetables! Perhaps you will too.

http://www.cascadianfarm.com/about.aspx

http://www.snopac.com/index.htm

http://www.stahlbush.com/