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Posts Tagged ‘grass fed beef’

Martin Family Review

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

In this day and age, it is so easy to read reviews of products. When I shop on Amazon, I can spend as much time looking at products as I spend reading customer reviews. Assuming that you are a like-minded consumer, I feel it is important to occasionally share feedback from our customers. The following is a recent one I received via email, but there is now a whole page on our website devoted to customer feedback. We call the page, “Testimonials.” Check it out if you to read more than the following.

Hi Lara,

I wanted to provide feedback on how much we have enjoyed the meat we purchased from you. When we bought the beef,we were just hoping for meat that was from a reliable company without the additional hormones, fat and ‘unknown’ additives of store purchased meat (no matter how ‘organic’). What we received was wonderfully lean, quality, full-flavored meat. Although it originally seemed like a lot of meat so that it might be hard to use it all in a reasonable time, I am surprised at how we have gone through it at a record rate.

Your company made buying the meat and the butchering process easy and straightforward so that we could optimize the cuts that we use the most. The ability to butcher and store the cuts in the thickness and weights that we use the most was also very helpful.

My husband loves to cook and is inspired by good quality ingredients. He loves to cook with this beef! We can taste the difference in freshness and although he has had to adjust his cooking style a bit to account for less fat, this has been a good adjustment.

We can’t wait for our next cow and knowing exactly where our beef came from adds to that enjoyment. Thank you for such a positive experience!

Regards,

The Martin Family


Thank you, Martin family, for your positive feedback and kind words. We look forward to supplying your family with more grass fed beef in the future.

Lean Beef Lowers Blood Pressure

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

People choose to eat grass fed beef for many different reasons. Some are health-related and some are not. On the whole, grass fed beef has been found to be lean and a healthy red meat choice.

Recently in Drovers Cattle Network, there was an article, “Study Shows Lean Beef Can Help Lower Blood Pressure,” by Mary Soukup. In it she discusses the DASH diet, which is for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, of which I had never heard. Researches knew that a diet high in protein helped lower one’s blood pressure, but they experimented to see if the type of protein mattered. Their hypothesis was no; therefore, they were shocked by the findings.

They compared a diet based on plant-derived protein, one with 4 ounces of lean beef a day, and one with 5.4 ounces of lean beef a day. Surprisingly, the larger intake of lean beef resulted in the larger reduction of systolic blood pressure.

So the “stay away from red meat” mantra from many well-meaning health experts might not be the best advice. Grass fed beef is the most popular source of lean beef available. As our customers enjoy the flavor and health benefits of our grass fed beef, now they can know that according to this study they just might be lowering their blood pressure. Just an added bonus, if you ask me.

Up and Running Again

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

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Awwww…the simple things in life! You don’t have to be a rancher to understand that cows in tall, green grass is a good thing. It is natural. It is relaxing. If only I had recorded the sounds of them chomping on the grass. They were all so seriously going after their dinner that they unintentionally serenaded me with a nature song.

I remember listening to recorded nature songs of thunder storms, waves breaking on the shore, and the haunting sound of whales singing. Maybe someone should record happy cows munching on green pastures. Although, I am not sure on its wide-spread popularity. I do know that to grass fed ranchers, it is truly music to the ears.

Things are so different nowadays if I were to record the “music” I would not burn a CD. Instead, I would have to figure out how to sell the single on iTunes.

Writing articles for this blog is a great way to get news out about our ranch and grass fed business, but it requires some technological savvy. Not much savvy, just enough.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been unable to post because of some technological issues with the blog only. Luckily the website was up and running. Admittedly my technological skills are limited; however, we are back online with the help of some key people.

Despite the technologically advanced society we are all a part, it is still the simple, everyday things that bring me great joy. As happy as I am that the blog issues are resolved, it brings me exponentially more pleasure to be outside in the sunshine, standing on the rain-soaked earth, and watching our calves do what they were created to do.

So whether you too are spending today in the great outdoors or you are sitting in a downtown office without windows, I hope that you enjoy the pictures and can spend a moment living vicariously through them. Know that even when the ranch is offline, we are still hard at work raising grass fed beef for our customers.

Practical Paleo

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

A good friend of mine recommended the Practical Paleo cookbook by Diane Sanfilippo to me. She thought the book would be right up my alley, real foods, very little sugar, and no grains. I took her advice and have been enjoying her recipes for the last two weeks.

Her recipes are delicious. There are all different types of recipes, but recipes high in protein are commonplace. My family’s favorite so far has been “Spaghetti Squash Bolognese.” Truth be told, I substituted the spaghetti squash with steamed zucchini noodles. So easy; so good!

In addition to her recipes, she is a nutritionist; therefore, at least half of the book is dedicated to explaining why eating real food and avoiding legumes and grains are better for your body. She also has tear-out guides for you to take to grocery stores, restaurants, and/or on travels.

The part of the book that I wanted to share with you begins on page 42. It is entitled, “Paleo at Home: Shopping for Groceries.” In it she has listed the top budget priorities for eating healthy. The first budget priority are fats and oils.

The second budget priority according to Ms. Sanfilippo are high quality proteins, including meat, seafood, and eggs. She talks extensively about the health benefits of 100% grass fed, pasture-raised meats. She even warns consumers not to be put off or worried about the leanness of high quality meat. As a grass fed producer, customers have to adjust their thinking about grass fed beef. It is different than beef at the grocery store. However, you can be confident that the beef is good for you.

The third budget priority are vegetables and fruit. She gives tips as to when to buy organic and when not to spend the extra money. And, she really encourages you to add new fruit and/or vegetables to your repertoire.

As a mother of five, I know what it is like to struggle to balance your high health ideals with your budget. Healthy foods are much more expensive than a diet of processed food. I could feed my family on ramen noodles, boxed macaroni and cheese, and hot dogs quite inexpensively. But at what cost to my family’s health and well-being?

As a producer of grass fed beef, I know that buying a quarter, half, or whole order is an investment any way you look at it. That is why, we are always trying to offer you the best product even if that means having to wait. I struggle with impatience as I try to fill orders as quickly as possible. Often, I have customers waiting for their beef to be ready to harvest. The great majority understand the process and wait patiently, and I thank you. Just know that we have your best interests at heart.

If you are interested in learning more about Paleo cooking, definitely check out Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. She does something with beef soup bones that I never would have considered on my own. In addition, she shares many, many delicious recipes all of which are gluten, grain, legume, dairy, and refined sugar free.

Soul Food

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

I slept all night with the vague awareness that rain was falling softly against my metal roof. I have always loved this nature-made lullaby and slept well. The rain has continued to fall this entire morning and will most likely continue through the afternoon.

My husband always says, “Beautiful day for a duck.” And it is true, they love rain regardless of the temperature. As I write, they are waddling through puddles and preening while all the other animals in our family farm have sought shelter.

I am so thankful that the temperature is in the low 50s with all this precipitation. If it had fallen on Monday or Tuesday with temperatures barely getting above freezing all day, we would certainly have an ice problem.

The rain helped stage a mellow, but joyous atmosphere in my house. We always celebrate rain at the ranch. I put on classical music while I began making dinner preparations, which always brings a subdued richness to our home.

As I cut up a home raised pork belly and very lean rump roast, I could not help feeling abundantly blessed. Rain, healthy meat, joy. What more could a person ask for? I made boeuf bourguignon using Julia Child’s recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which is a great way to use your grass fed rump and/or pikes peak roast. As the meat slowly stews in a red wine sauce in my oven, the dish is releasing a scent that can only be described as divine. I should seriously charge people just for a chance to breathe in the smell.

Outdoors the damp chill is trying to invade my home’s coziness, so I made myself a cup of hot tea. I chose a Masala Chai, which takes me halfway across the world to tea time on my mission trip to Uganda. Although mine was not near as hot, temperature wise. I prefer to sip mine without burning my tongue.

Holding the cup in my hand, warmth spread from my fingers, up my arms, and straight to my heart. I might be a ranch girl living in the middle of nowhere, but I still enjoy the finer things in life, too. It is moments like this one that feeds my soul. Earlier this week I read in The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, “What feeds the soul matters as much as what feeds the body.”

Health conscious people buy items like organic milk, free range eggs, grass fed beef, and almond flour. They juice. They go Paleo. They do everything that they can to feed their bodies well and serve their family good, nutritious meals. Sometimes they get so carried away with eating healthy, they overlook the deeper needs of a person.

Standing at the threshold of 2014, I challenge you to figure out what feeds your soul. Is it dancing? Is it quilting? Is it picnic lunches? Is it drinking a cup of hot chocolate out of a china cup? Is it wood-working? The possibilities are as varied as people are different. You might hate classical music and french cuisine. That’s okay. Take time this year to find and enjoy your soul food.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

I know that Christmas Day is over; however, the spirit of Christmas lives on in our hearts and minds. Technically the twelve days of Christmas has just commenced; therefore, this card is timely after all. Regardless, Cross Creek Cattle Company wants to send out good tidings to all of our family, friends, and customers.

As we look back at 2013, my first thought is, “It’s over already?!” They say, “Time flies when you are having fun.” So I must be having a blast because time is flying by so fast I find it hard to believe that in just a week I will have to start writing 2014 on my checks.

Before we look forward to the new year, I wanted to reflect on the current one. It was a great time for us on the ranch for so many reasons. I don’t have time to go over everything, but I will hit the highlights.

As a family, we have been blessed with good health. Even when a hospital visit was necessary as with my husband’s injury and my son’s appendectomy, it did not keep them down for long. And they were able to return to normal living relatively soon. We also added a new member to our family with the birth of my sweet niece.

As ranchers, we enjoyed enough rainfall to get us officially out of drought conditions. We enjoyed ranch life as we hunted, fished, hiked, and swam in our surroundings. Every season brings an abundance of exciting activities.

As a business we continue to grow. And, we have so enjoyed getting to see a larger amount of return customers this year. Through the ordering process as we visit and learn about each other, I begin thinking about you more as friends than customers. I believe our grass fed business is truly unique in that way.

Thank you for telling your friends about us. As we get more and more referrals, our customer base is spreading. Of course we have local customers from Montgomery, Dobbin, Plantersville, and even College Station/Bryan. We pull a lot of business from Houston and its surrounding areas, including Spring, Cypress, Pearland, and Sugarland. Our circle has expanded to Galveston, San Antonio, and Georgetown to the west. To the north, the number of customers from the Dallas area like Denton and Plano has also grown. We even had our first customers from Colorado this year.

We would not have a business if it wasn’t for our customers. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to provide grass fed beef for your family’s needs.

So from the bottoms of our hearts, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May it be exceedingly abundantly blessed!

An Exciting Hay Delay

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

On a typical year, we try to not feed hay to our herd until Thanksgiving. Taking into consideration how late Thanksgiving fell this year, we are excited to say that we did not begin feeding hay until December 2nd.

You might wonder why we would be excited about pushing our hay feeding program back, but it signals several things to us. First, we had grass in the pastures for the cows to eat. This shows that we properly managed the pastures throughout the year. Despite all efforts at good pasture management, you still need rain to delay the need for hay, which brings us to the second reason we are excited.

It was only two years ago in the midst of the most severe drought in Texas history that we were feeding hay throughout the summer. This fact is still so fresh in our memories, which makes it a small victory to not feed hay until December. According to the US Drought Monitor, our section of Grimes county is no longer in any stage of drought. This can only be due the heavy rainfall we experienced in October and November. It is just another reason to celebrate.

Not only were we able to delay our hay feeding start, but we had our own hay cut. We had enough grass to be able to do that, which is such a help financially. Hay prices soared to record highs two years ago as ranchers scoured the adjoining states and beyond for available hay. We had to have hay trucked in from northern Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Mississippi. It was crazy. This year thanks to our rainfall in the early spring, we were able to store up the necessary hay for our cattle and horses from our own pastures.

We also have winter grasses planted and up in several pastures specifically for calves in our grass fed beef program. This will allow them to eat fresh grasses throughout the winter in addition to the hay. They are already enjoying the bright green Rye grass. Before I get phone calls, the rye grass we plant is non-GMO. I checked.

So as we transition into the season of winter in Southeast Texas and all that it entails like bitter cold one day, chilly rain, and warm days in between, we are excited about the state of our ranch. We are doing better than can be expected by entering December before putting out hay. It is just another reason to rejoice.

Comfort Food

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

I have been under the weather for several days now. I have no idea what I have or if I am contagious, but I have been resting at home. The one main symptom I have is laryngitis, which is a new experience for me. I find it completely frustrating to not be able to use my voice.

One thing that I find soothing is soup and hot tea. I made a huge portion of Beef Vegetable Soup. It is made from grass fed beef soup bones, which comes in every order of our grass fed beef. The first part of the recipe is to make the rich beef stock. According to Sally Fallon in her book, Nourishing Traditions, “properly prepared meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow, and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate (pg. 116).”

The only variation I do from the published recipe on our website is that I add 2 Tbsp of red wine vinegar to the soup bones. Ms. Fallon writes, “Acidic wine or vinegar added during cooking helps draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, into the broth (pg. 116).”

When I remove the soup bones and beef from the stock, I cut up the beef, but I also push out the marrow from the center of the bones into the stock. Then it is ready to move on to the second portion of the recipe, actually making the vegetable soup.

The soup fills your home with a delicious smell and your body with warmth and nutrition. Of course, you don’t need to be sick to enjoy this delicious soup, but with cold and flu season in full swing consider trying this recipe. Instead of soup bones you can use beef short ribs. The ribs impart the same benefits; you just don’t get the marrow like with the soup bones. Either way it is comfort food.

While you are on our recipe page, check out Kenton’s Chili, Stuffed Mushrooms, and/or Crockpot Roast.

Bella

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Earlier this year, a cow disappeared on the new ranch leaving a young calf an orphan. My husband and son looked through creek bottoms, dense brush, etc. trying to find the missing mama, but to no avail. We had to act in order to save the heifer calf.

They brought the calf home and put her in the backyard. And we commenced to teach her to bottle-feed. It is not an especially easy task. It takes patience. Just as most breastfed babies do not immediately take to a bottle, calves also need time to adjust.

We have found that sheep-sized nipples are the best for starting young calves on a bottle. They are smaller and not as hard to get the milk to come out. As the calf adjusts to the bottle, we switch to calf-sized nipples.

My family named this sweet, little heifer, Bella. We also made it clear to ourselves that she was not a pet. We had made that mistake before with another orphan heifer years ago. It is another story altogether. We treated Bella like a calf. We brought her bottles of milk, put her in a pen with tall, grass, and had plenty of fresh water to drink.

We did not spend a lot of time in the pen with her. We did not pet her and love on her excessively. We did not play with her; however, we did let our baby goats visit her in the afternoons. This gave them time to play and butt heads, etc.

As she grew older, we began transitioning her to feed. We put her on a high protein feed formulated specifically for growing calves. She loved it. We gradually increased her feed while decreasing her bottles until we weaned her completely.

Last week was a big day for us and Bella. My husband had weaned a bunch of calves at the new ranch. When he brought them to the home ranch, he released Bella to join her peers.

They pushed her around for about an hour, but then something happened. They accepted her. It is sheer joy to look out of my window and see her grazing alongside the other calves.

At first she would walk to our fence line and moo for feed. My husband would take her a bucket and stand there to ensure no other calves partook of the grain. Now she does not even do that; she is perfectly content with the herd.

We successfully saved her life and have reintegrated her back in the herd. For those of you wondering, she is obviously not in our grass fed beef program. We chose to feed her grain in order for her to grow well without her mama’s milk.

Bella is now a graduate of our “Operation Save a Calf” program. We could not be more proud to see her thriving in the world in which she was born to be a part.

Beef Short Rib Recipes

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Lately, I am getting quite a few questions about cooking grass fed beef short ribs. It is a standard cut that comes with a quarter order and most customers ordering a half or a whole also request them. Beef ribs in general are not my favorite cut (I’m just being completely transparent); however, I am all for finding delicious recipes.

I found an intriguing recipe specifically for grass fed beef ribs that looks yummy by Nom Nom Paleo. Check out the link above. The recipe is for two racks of ribs so it is perfect for one package. It also uses the oven, which makes this recipe very user friendly. No smoker or grill required.

The recipe calls for a dry rub for the beef. There are many rubs you can purchase on the spice aisle; however, many also have starches added, MSG, etc. You can easily make your own at home. Here is one example:

Beef Dry Rub

2 Tbsp chipotle chili powder
2 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp allspice

The recipe also calls for a paleo-friendly barbecue sauce. One complaint I heard from customers was that the barbecue sauce most recipes call for is filled with high fructose corn syrup or other sugars. The solution is an easy barbecue sauce recipe made from scratch using tomato juice and honey. They are not my recipes, but I can give you two different recommendations.

Lucy Rosset in Lucy’s Specific Carbohydrate Diet Cookbook has a good recipe called “Spicy Barbecue Sauce.” It is a good recipe for a thick sauce I use for dipping or lightly covering cuts like brisket slices. If you are in the hunt for more of a glaze with which to cook a cut in like chicken or ribs, then you need to check out No More Crohns. I personally omit the liquid smoke, but feel free to try it. Both recipes are guilt-free and delicious.

Try out these recipes on our grass fed beef ribs and let me know what you think.



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