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A passion for healthy meals

By Staff | Jul 25, 2014

JANE STROUTH, of rural Sheldon, said she has developed a hightened awareness of wholefoods and meals with preservatives.

SHELDON – Growing up on a farm for most of her life, Jane Strouth said she knows there is nowhere else she would rather be and that city life is not for her.

Farm living, she said, means different things, but the biggest thing is that it’s like its own community.

“One day your neighbors may need you for something and the next day, our cattle may be out and it is their help that gets you through,” she said.

Food passion

Raising their own beef and pork has made cooking for herself and family an important aspect of her life.

Strouth and husband Chuck are part of a family-based Angus cow/calf operation.

If that does not keep them busy enough, the approximately 12,000 custom-fed hogs will.

A real passion for Strouth has been in finding healthier options for their foods, especially avoiding preservatives.

She said her role as an independent consultant for Yoli Better Body Systems has raised her personal awareness on preservatives and additives in contemporary food systems.

Raising their own meat is a great start, she said. They also want to raise chickens for eggs and meat, and to begin gardening to rely less on grocery stores.

With one son, a daughter-in-law and two grandsons, Strouth said cooking is a big deal around the farm.

Family favorites include meatballs, bacon-wrapped Smokies and her husband’s favorite – chicken.

Occasionally, for large family dinners at the farm, it is potluck due to the sheer amount of people, she said.

“I like both baking and cooking equally,” Strouth said. “I just don’t enjoy the clean up afterward.”

By assuring her family’s meals are healthier, Strouth said family members feel better in general and have fewer cravings and side effects.

Going miniature

Her deep love of animals and working on the farm keeps her close to home.

Strouth said she is hands-on with the hog operation, helping with sorting, vaccinations and loading out hogs – raising some to 70 pounds and the others to market weight.

Yet these are not the only animals that keep her attention.

She said a few years ago the idea of miniature cattle and horses captivated her attention.

So, while looking up something online, Strouth said she came across a breeder who was local and purchased her first miniature animal.

At first, she said, her husband thought it was a crazy idea, but he has since changed his mind.

“If you are raising them for the meat,” Strouth said, “they mature faster and do not take the amount of food as a regular-sized animal, while still getting 70 percent meat from the animal.”

The farm now features miniature cattle, horses and donkeys.

Uncle Gene’s barbecue sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/2 cup chopped onion

Combine these ingredients and pour over ribs and cook in slow cooker for several hours.

Sweet potato bites

1 pound sweet potatoes sliced 1/2-inch thick

4 tablespoons olive oil/coconut oil

salt and pepper to taste

3/4 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

6 slices of bacon cooked and crumbled

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons chives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix potatoes, oil, salt and pepper until coated and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake for 25 minutes and top with cheese, bacon, sour cream and chives.

This is low-carb and gluten-free.

Double chocolate chip brownies

2 cups chocolate chips

1/2 cup margarine, cut into pieces

3 eggs

1 1/2 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 vanilla

Coat a 9-by-13-inch pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 1 cup chips and margarine together.

Remove from heat and add eggs and stir well.

Add sugar, flour, baking soda and vanilla.

Add one cup of chocolate chips and stir.

Bake form 18 to 22 minutes, and then allow to cool before cutting.

Scalloped corn

1 can corn

1 can cream-style corn

4 tablespoon corn starch

1 cup evaporated milk

3 eggs

Combine above ingredients.

Top with crushed corn flakes and dot with butter.

(Microwave no more than 30 minutes.)

Chuck’s favorite chicken

Mix together

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoons seasoning salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Spread over boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

(Note: Strouth said she places them on foil-lined baking sheet for easy clean up.)

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