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When It Comes To Yogurt, Think Outside Breakfast.

24 Sep

Yogurt has traditionally been used in many cuisines for its tangy flavor and many health benefits.  With the exception of fiber, all of the critical nutritional groups are covered by this creamy treat.  It packs a lot of protein, which is excellent for sustaining energy levels and regulating blood sugar levels.  The probiotics, or live bacteria microorganisms, present in yogurt cultures also nourish our stomach lining and support healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients from our foods.

Yogurt can be used in a wide variety of dishes; from sauces to breakfast to marinades for meats and vegetables. For this autumn season, be sure to include your own grass-fed yogurt into your kitchen routine.  Here are a few simple recipes to try but please don’t be limited! Allow your taste buds and creative impulses to rule your creations!  Let us know what creative uses for yogurt you come up with.

Spicy Roasted Whole Cauliflower (vegetarian) 

1 Tbsp heart healthy oil (ie. coconut, avocado, walnut, olive, etc.)

1 head cauliflower

1.5 cups fresh yogurt

1 lime, zested and juiced

1 Tbsp cumin

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp curry powder

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Lightly grease baking sheet with oil and set aside.
  2.  Prepare your cauliflower!  Cut off any extra stems or leaves.
  3.  In a medium bowl, mix remaining ingredients to make a yummy marinade sauce.
  4.  Place, stem-down, on the baking sheet and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes until a golden brown crust forms.
  5. Serve with a big salad or more autumn vegetables.

The roasted cauliflower has a satisfying quality and makes for a great meat substitute.  This particular recipe is tangy and spicy, satisfying on a cool autumn evening.

(adapted from www.purewow.com)

Avocado Yogurt Chicken Salad

2 cups free-range chicken, cooked and shredded

1 ripe avocado

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons fresh chopped cilantro

1/2 cup plain fresh yogurt

Mix all ingredients and serve with croissants, crackers, whole wheat seeded bread or on a fresh green salad.  This is a healthy adaption on traditional mayo-based chicken salad.  It has lots of heart-healthy fats and provides the probiotic benefits of fresh yogurt.  Savor the last few sunny summer days with healthy, cooling chicken salad!

(Adapted from wishesndishes.com)

Fig Yogurt Bundt Cake

2 cups all purpose flour (or gluten-free flour mix of choice)

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

13 Tbsp organic butter, room temp

1 1/3 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup fresh yogurt

2 cups coarsely chopped figs

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a ten-inch Bundt pan.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter.  Mix in eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla then yogurt until just combined.  Gradually, add dry ingredients to wet.
  4. Pour mix into Bundt pan and bake 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool, then garnish with fresh figs if desired.

With the bounty of figs going around this autumn season, we could all use some clever suggestions for figgy dishes.  This cake is light and refreshing, showcasing the fruit and utilizing fresh yogurt for a moist and delicious texture.  You can also serve with frozen yogurt!

(adapted from www.seriouseats.com)

Yogurt is a very diverse ingredient that can be cooked up into most any dish you can dream of.  Come on in to the Savvy Hen to shop Cultures for Health products to make your own yogurt at home.  We offer several different strands: Greek, mild flavor, Bulgarian and Filmjolk.

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Plan Now, Harvest Later

7 Mar

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Our days are getting warmer, and the sun is sticking around noticeably longer.  It’s that time of year that we all start itching to get our hands back in the soil.  It’s also a great time to start thinking about this year’s garden, and putting some thought into the garden now will help to bring healthier plants and higher yields in the growing season.  We have a few things that we keep in mind when deciding what and where to plant. 

Grow Things That You Like To Eat. 

Seems obvious, but I know I’m not alone in breaking this very simple rule.  Personally, I’m not a fan of bell peppers, but I have tried numerous times to grow them, only to harvest them and choke them down with a feeling of obligation.  I suppose I think that growing them at home will make them delicious, and while they are better than store-bought ones, a bell pepper is a bell pepper, and it boils down to being a waste of my garden space.  Grow things that you and your family love.

Try New Varieties.

Like tomatoes?  You’re in luck.  There are thousands of varieties of tomatoes that come in all kinds of colors and sizes, and you’ll find this to be the case with all kinds of veggies.  Keep your eyes out for rare and heirloom varieties of seeds you enjoy (we sell lots of these!), and you’ll end up with a unique and creative garden full of the vegetables you love.

Consider Last Year’s Garden.  

Unless you’ll be building an entirely new garden this year, it’s important to remember what last year’s garden looked like, and rotate this year’s garden accordingly.  Each plant utilizes different nutrients from the soil, so continued planting of the same crop in the same spot will leave your soil tired and depleted.  Additionally, various diseases and pests can overwinter in the soil and affect next year’s crops.  This is less likely to occur if you rotate your crop families. 

Veggies Love Company.

If you haven’t tried companion planting, give it a try this year.  Symbiotic relationships occur when certain crops are planted together.  It’s a great way to use space more efficiently, a natural way to control pests and can increase garden productivity. Think peas and radishes, spinach and strawberries, and tomatoes and basil. 

Flower Power. 

Don’t forget to incorporate flowers into your vegetable beds.  Flowers can attract beneficial insects that will aid in pollination, and feast on the unwanted insects.  They can help to restore nutrients back into the soil, keeping your veggies well fed.  Plus, they look beautiful!  A few of our favorites are marigolds, nasturtium and alyssum. 

Think Outside The Box.

While raised beds, rectangles and symmetry are great, you don’t have to have them in order to have a productive garden.  Mix all kinds of veggies in to your existing flowerbeds or landscaped yard space.  Gardens don’t need to be planted in rows!

Happy Garden Planning! 

Fresh Eggs?

21 Sep

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It’s been an interesting 10 or so days here in Boulder.  We made it through the storm with no damage at the shop, and only some standing water in our crawl space at home.  We feel very lucky, and know that so many others were not as fortunate.  Boulder and the front range are busily cleaning and repairing, and though it will be a long process, Coloradans are a hardy bunch and we know we’ll recover.

Through all of the craziness, our hens kept churning out the eggs and adding to our already abundant collection of previously laid eggs, and it seems that some other folks were also rather amazed at the collection they had gathered.  We’ve  even had a few folk stop into the shop and ask about the shelf-life of their home-laid eggs.  Here’s a few thoughts about that….

If you refrigerate your eggs, store them on the bottom shelf, where the temperature is coolest and they don’t get jostled around as they would if stored in the door.  Stored like this, you can count on about 5 weeks.  If you prevent humidity loss (wrap the carton or egg storage container with plastic wrap), you can increase this time to eight weeks.

If you don’t refrigerate your eggs, they can last a couple of weeks, though we really don’t recommend this approach.  This is a common practice in Europe, but raises eyebrows here in the states.

Some folks send extra eggs to the freezer.  Ice cube trays make nice molds for the “decanted” egg (if left in their shell, the shell will crack), and once frozen, eggs can be placed in freezer bags.  Try to get as much air out of the bag as possible for best storage.  Eggs can last up to a year when frozen.

When in doubt about the edibility of an egg, turn to the good old water test.  Fill a deep bowl or glass of water with enough water to cover the egg by several inches .  Gently place the egg in the water.  A fresh egg will sink to the bottom and lie flat on it’s side.  If it sinks to the bottom but rests on end, it is still good, but should be eaten in the next week.  An egg that floats is no longer good and should be tossed.

We wish all of our front range readers all the best as they recover from the flooding!

The Wonders of DE

15 Aug

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Long time no blog.  We’re sorry!  Things have been wonderfully busy during our first month and a half, but it has taken away from our blogging time.  We’ll do better, we promise!

Now, on to the topic at hand.  It’s bug season, and here in Boulder, we’ve had an incredible amount of moisture in the last few weeks, so it seems people are experiencing more pests in their gardens and on their chickens.  We’ve had quite a few people come by the shop looking for “dia-I’m not sure how to pronounce the rest – earth.”  What they’re looking for is Diatomaceous Earth, also known as DE.  This is one of those amazing products that everyone should know about, especially if you are trying to keep things pest free and all natural at your urban farm, garden or home.

A little about our friend DE.  DE is the fossilized remains of teeny tiny aquatic organisms called Diatoms.  These remains are commonly found in ancient lake beds from way-back-when.  Each particle is incredibly porous (which makes it light weight), and has very jagged, sharp and incredibly hard edges (on a hardness scale, diamonds are a 9, Diatomaceous Earth is a 7).  It’s those edges that make DE such a useful tool for the gardener, chicken keeper, pet owner, housekeeper and just about anyone else who doesn’t like certain insects.  Sharp edges and insects with exoskeletons don’t get along.  The sharp, abrasive edges of the DE scratch at the cuticle of insect’s exoskeleton, absorbing important oils and fats from the insect, eventually drying them out and causing death by dehydration.

If you are noticing unwanted insects in the garden or mites on your chickens (or even cats and dogs), it’s time for a little dust bath of DE.  Fill any old bottle with some DE, poke holes in the top, and gently shake where you want it to go.  With chickens, it’s important to get under the wings, around their leg feathers, and places where the DE can make it closer to their skin, and not just roll off their feathers (do avoid the vent for obvious reasons).  It’s also a good idea to dust a bit in their coop and nest boxes, and any other place you fear could be hiding mites.  Some folks add it to the chicken’s dirt bath area as preventative measure.

If your chickens are mite free, and you’re only seeing issues in the garden, take a similar approach to dusting your veggie plants.  Some recommend dusting when things are a little damp, as this allows a little better control of where the DE goes (it will stick when wet rather than blowing around).   When DE is wet, it loses it’s sharpness, but that will return once dried.  We personally don’t dust our garden unless we are seeing a pest problem, and we then dust with caution.  DE can’t distinguish between the good bugs and the bad ones, so we try to avoid using it unless there’s a need, and let the good bugs get to work.  We also never dust directly on a flower as to protect the pollinators.

Diatomaceous Earth is safe to use.  It’s non-toxic, and as we mentioned, it’s effectiveness lies purely in those sharp edges. Some folks experience a bit of irritation when DE makes contact with skin and eyes, and we certainly don’t recommend lots of deep breathing when working around DE, but food grade DE is non-toxic and completely safe for humans to use.  Some people even add it to their diet to “scrub out” their digestive tract.  We can’t speak to that aspect, but highly recommend it to control any unwanted pests.   It is important to note that you MUST find food grade DE (it’s not hard, we carry it in the shop).  DE without the “food grade” distinction may contain toxic additives and should not be used.

Grand Opening Party, Anyone?

10 Jul

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Our doors have been open for just over a week now, and we’re loving every minute – and lots of folks seem to feel the same way!  Boulder (and beyond) has been so kind to us, so we want to share the love with you this weekend.  Come join us for our Grand Opening Party on Saturday, July 13th!  While we’ll be open during normal business hours, we’ll have some great snacks from our neighbors at Dish, as well as some fantastic live bluegrass from Boulder’s own Henscratch from 12PM – 3PM.  Hope you can make it and please spread the word! 

 

Before And After

1 Jul

In just over 24 hours, The Savvy Hen will open its doors for the first time.  As I’m sure we’ve mentioned, we’re pretty darn excited given the length of time we’ve been working on the shop, both in concept and in actuality.  We wanted to follow up on the last post will a few photos of the shop along it’s journey.  If you’re in town, we hope you’ll stop by this Tuesday, July 2, or any time after to take a peek and shop around.  It’s turned out even better than we hoped.  Looking forward to seeing you all soon!

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What’s That Old Saying About Waiting For Good Things?

8 Jun

As a kid, it was one of my least favorite sayings as it usually pertained to something I wanted but couldn’t/shouldn’t/didn’t have.  The past four months have reminded me of those times, though this time around, a little experience and wisdom helped me to keep the greater picture in mind.  And so I’ll remind you all, as well as myself, that good things come to those who wait.  It’s true, and folks, the wait is over!  The Savvy Hen is lucky to be moving into a historic spot on east Pearl -1908 Pearl to be exact.  The building was a hotel back in the late 1800’s and since then has been home to all sorts of establishments and has undergone numerous facelifts.  Back in January, this old beauty began a major renovation, and the owner, architects and builders have painstakingly restored much of the original structure and character that was hidden behind stucco, plaster, block, rock and drywall.  The new facade is reminiscent of the original, with huge windows, wood panelling and steel beams.  Though we may be slightly biased, we think it’s hard to deny that with this renovation, a little piece of Boulder history has been given back to the community.     So we hope you’ll swing by on July 2 (or any time after), and enjoy this special place with all of us at The Savvy Hen.

Photos to follow…..