Feeding your family like our own


Feeding the Sicko’s

I sat down last week with intentions of writing a smartly worded Blog that would inspire you to join us in choosing healthy meat options for your family meals, But after a week with a house full of sickos the Blog I started remains unfinished. And as I struggle with exhaustion from kiddo’s up during the night and the demands of still busy days I know deep down inside my body is struggling to fight off some sinister bug as well.  And so today out of exhaustion and frustration I am sitting down to write about how I feed my not-so-healthy family healthy food.

Eating healthy at any point involves planning and preparing however in the long run I really believe the costs are not that much different  than feeding your family “Big Box” style and the taste, well there is nothing like home-made with good ingredients. The real investment is your time, that being said spending time with your family cooking and eating should be deemed a valuable investment.

So getting back to my week of cleaning up…stuff, and wiping down feverish kids… there is really nothing that can be done to avoid the plagues that run rampant in our schools and work environments other than giving your body the resources it needs to battle these viral beasts, and while I do try my best the busy world sometimes forces me to choose options that if I was prepared I might not have chosen.  However when my babies are sick I go “old school” (sadly anything that doesn’t require the convenience of a microwave and come served in a plastic dish is considered “old school” these days) as I said I go “old school” .  My kids are big soup eaters and that never rings more true than when they are sick. The requests start almost immediately for their favourites.

Homemade soup is easy though if not a little time intensive but with a slow cooker anything is possible.  The recipes I have always used were inspired by a cookbook “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon and I love this one because it doesn’t use tomato paste. If you use your slow cooker it is still time intensive but it doesn’t require a lot of your time and having made this for years I am less fussy about the straining end of it but do take the time to skim, it makes all the difference to the taste. When I have the time I do prefer the stovetop method only because I can make more stock in one batch. The secret is making it whenever you have left over bones and then just freezing it so you have it on hand. But you can grab bones very inexpensively from your local butcher or give us a call.

Simple Beef broth

• 4 pounds of beef marrow, knuckle bones, bits of leftover beef

• 3 pounds meaty rib or neck bones

• 4 or more quarts cold water

• 1/4 cup vinegar

• 3 onions, chopped

• 3 carrots coarsely chopped (I omit this if I don’t have any on hand)

• 3 celery sticks, chopped (I omit this if I don’t have any on hand)


1. Place all of your bones that have meaty bits on them on a large cookie sheet (with sides) or roasting pan and brown in the oven at 350 degrees until well-browned (30-60 minutes usually).

2. Meanwhile, throw all of your non-meaty marrow bones into a slow cooker or stockpot; add the water, vinegar and vegetables. Let sit while the other bones are browning.

3. Add the browned bones to the pot, deglaze your roasting pan with hot water and get up all of the brown bits; pour this liquid into the pot. Add additional water if needed to cover the bones.

4. Bring to a boil and remove the scum/foam that rises to the top. No need to remove the floating fat. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 12 hours and as long as 72 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the more rich and flavorful it will be.

5. After you simmer for 12-72 hours, I strain off the broth and pour it into ice cube trays or larger sealable containers to freeze. Once frozen I pop the cubes into freezer bags and they are ready for when I need them in the future.

Once you have broth, be it beef, chicken or vegetable you can make any soup out there. A favourite in my house anytime is http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chinese-spicy-hot-and-sour-soup I have never ever followed the recipe exactly. ”tiger lily buds” really?  For my version visit us at http://www.facebook.com/dingofarms and look in notes. When the sicko’s want this one I eliminate everything but the seasoning ingredients so its still a broth but the spicy pop helps clear stuffy heads.

So here is the teaser…you were expecting some fab pictures of yummy beef broth being prepared and delicious Hot and Spicy soup being lovingly made for my sicko’s but nope. I am still clinging to my health and my go to food to fight off bugs is good old steak, yep you read that right. Beef is a major contributor of healthy protein, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, iron and niacin and when served with a side of healthy greens (mines a spinach salad) beef can help your body fight most of the viral villains out there. Or chose a yummy beef based soup to help get your feet back under you and your body on the road to recovery.

Comfort Food, for your tummy and your wallet

With Old Man Winter making one last attempt to chill us to the bone I’m drawn back into my kitchen with thoughts of comfort food… warm and soothing there is nothing like old fashioned soup or stew to warm you to the bone. Normally I would agree and post one of my favourite homemade soup recipes but not today. Remember we are trying to inspiring you?  So today I’m giving you a favourite of mine, quick and simple with an Asian twist, this delicious number will fill tummy’s and impress.

One of the points of choosing this recipe is that it can be prepared with any one of a number of inexpensive cuts of beef and no one will be the wiser.  I use stewing beef because I always have some in the freezer but you can try flank or blade cuts too. Each will add a slightly different texture and taste to the dish. The secret to using these cuts however is in the prep.

As I mentioned last week we are always eager to help you make the most of your meat. By asking and understanding different cuts of beef and how prep and marinades will compliment the meats you will easily be able to feed your family healthy meat dishes without breaking your grocery budget. And by becoming familiar with these less common cuts you will be more inspired to venture further out of the big box and farther down the farm laneway (we’ll have you trying liver before you know it)

Speaking of the farm laneway, we are excited to announce our farm store will be opening in the end of May, this will allow you to truly see and understand where your meat is coming from. So watch here and on Facebook for updates.

Beef and Broccoli

  • 3/4 pound beef  ( I usually use stewing beef)
  • 1 large bunch broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/3  cup oyster sauce (I know this may not be a standard in your pantry but grab a bottle, it’s handy)
  • 2 teaspoons light olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 thin slice of fresh ginger root
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 large red peppers chopped large
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds toasted (optional)
  • Whole grain brown rice cooked as directed


  1. Whisk together the oyster sauce, olive oil, soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Place the beef pieces into a shallow bowl, pour the oyster sauce mixture over the meat, stir to coat well, and marinate for at least 30 minutes in refrigerator.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet or pan over medium-high heat, and stir in the ginger and garlic. Let them sizzle in the hot oil for about 1 minute to flavour the oil, then remove ginger and discard. Stir in the broccoli and peppers, and toss and stir in the hot oil until bright green and almost tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the broccoli and peppers from the pan, and set aside.
  3. Pour a little more oil into the pan if needed, and stir and toss the beef with the marinade until the sauce forms a glaze on the beef, and the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Return the cooked broccoli to the pan, and stir until the meat and broccoli are heated through, about 3 minutes.
  4. Serve over rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds

Are you ready?


So we said a few weeks ago we were going to inspire you to change, remember?  We know and understand that life can get crazy around holidays so we gave you some time to think about what we said and now its time to change… or at least think more seriously about it.

Food is an undeniable part of our lives and it’s up to us to choose how important it is. For some of you it may simply be something you have to do. Your body goes and then it slows down and gives you all sorts of nasty reminders that it needs some food NOW and so you feed it, in most cases with little thought about where the food is coming from and how the quality of the food is impacting your health. For some of you, well you’re Foodies, you know and understand what I’m going to say about choosing your food wisely, so you can stop reading now or you can continue on and just enjoy the sheer wit and pretty pictures I’ll be including in this Blog.

This week is more of a challenge for change but we hope the recipe will inspire you as well.  It is for those of you out there that want to eat better but are struggling with the how and where to start. We get the convenience of walking into your local bigbox store and grabbing that Styrofoam and plastic wrapped mound of meat. It’s there, it’s neatly packaged and conveniently close to all those pretty packages of spices, marinades and sauces (your going to need to add something to get some flavour) The info on that big white sticker is shouting out some Grade of beef from who knows where, describing some cut of pork or lamb and giving you a weight and price. It’s easy…we get it. But this week we are challenging you to step outside the “bigbox”.  This week we want you to source your meat from somewhere where the meat isn’t pre-packaged and priced. I know it is a scary thought, fear of the unknown. Fear of asking for a portion of meat and then cringing as the meat is placed on the scale….will this blow your entire grocery budget??? Will you need to mortgage the house or perhaps sell off one of the children? (10– 14 year olds have the most value here at the farm) plus where the heck do you go to find healthier meat, local meat?  We know that after scary movies such as “Children of the Corn” and “The Scarecrow” you’re not likely to want to head into any unknown farm with cows in the field, so we are going to make it simpler for you to find healthy, affordable, local meat.

 Naturally we want you to think about getting your meat from us first so we are going to give you some suggestions about where to find our delicious products. First you can call or email us at 905.775.5520 or harrisons@dingofarms.ca .   You can also find our meat at the Healthy Butcher in Toronto www.thehealthybutcher.com and Nancy’s Nifty Nook in Bradford www.facebook.com/#!/nifty1988  and we are occasionally at the Evergreen Brick Works www.ebw.evergreen.ca  This is a great farmers market in Toronto, check out their web site for the dates we are there.  We will also be at the Bradford Farmers Market when they open for the season on May 26th. And soon (I’m using my excited voice) you will be able to come right to the farm and get your meat. But I’m saving those exciting details for another Blog.

Next, if you can’t make it to us then still step outside your comfort zone and visit your local butcher or farmers market.  Visit Foodland Ontario, www.foodland.gov.on.ca  or Simcoe County Farm Fresh www.simcoecountyfarmfresh.ca for a wealth of information and links to local farms, markets and for quick info on local “in season” products.  Don’t be afraid to ask about products. Most farmers and small markets are proud of the products we produce and carry. And will happily educate anyone wanting to learn more.

Lastly…. Tell us your budget and your needs. We understand how hard you work and we want to help you get the best for your buck without breaking the bank. By suggesting different cuts and providing delicious recipes your family will love we think we can inspire you to eat healthier, to eat locally and to just plain enjoy food again.

Below is a simple budget and family friendly recipe. Simple ingredients and flexibility with prep time makes this a great choice for the busy family but don’t be afraid to use these juicy tidbits as finger foods when feeding the masses at family picnics and friendly gathering.

You can use ground beef, pork or lamb (lamb is what has traditionally been used in this 100 year old recipe from my friends family in the Middle East). You can easily multiply it to feed more people and prepared a day or so in advanced of cooking, or you can reheat with out compromising the flavours and juiciness by steaming the kebobs for a few minutes. We hope you enjoy it and look forward to any feedback or questions you may have.

Tata’s Kebobs


1      lb ground lamb (my favourite), beef or pork

2      3-4 cloves garlic, chopped very fine

3      1 tsp salt

4      1 small onion chopped fine

5      4 tablespoon chopped parsley

6      ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon

7      1 teaspoon ground cumin

8      1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

9      1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

10   ¼ cup pine nuts (optional)

The Easy Part

Mix everything together well, then form into about 24 well packed balls and then flatten slightly to make oblong. Some people would put them on skewers now, but not me. I like to leave them in the fridge overnight so the flavours mingle but you can let them set for as little as 30 minutes.

Now I just put them right onto the BBQ, cooking for 6-8 minutes for medium depending on thickness. Turn them once. Or cook at 350 in the over for 20-25 minutes.

Serve with pita or rice and chopped cucumber and tomato.  We serve ours with homemade hummus, email or contact us on Facebook if you want that tasty recipe.

Spring Grilling Lamb Chop Recipe

We’d love to share with you one of our family’s favourite Lamb Chop dishes, we hope you enjoy! Let us know what you think.

Peppered Lamb Chops          ……..(inspired by Canadian Living’s, Country Cooking Cookbook)

4             Lamb Chops (about 3/4 lb/375 kg total)

2 tbsp     Soy Sauce

1 tbsp     Olive Olive

1 tbsp     Red Wine Vinegar 

2 tsp       Coarsely Crushed Black


1 tsp       Dijon Mustard

1/4 tsp   Dried Thyme

1             Clove Garlic, minced


  1.  Trim all but 1/4-inch (5 mm) thickness of fat from chops; nick fat at 1/2-inch (1 cm) intervals.
  2. In shallow glass dish, combine soy sauce, oil, vinegar, peppercorns, mustard, thyme and garlic; add chops, turning to coat all over. Cover and marinate at room tempurature for up to 30 minutes or in refrigerator for up to 12 hours. (If refrigerated, bring back to room temperature before proceeding with recipe.)
  3. Transfer chops to broiler rack, reserving any marinade; broil about 4 inched (10cm) from heat until crisp and brown, about 3 minutes. Turn, brushing with remaining marinade; broil about 3 minutes longer or until pink and juicy inside but crisp on outside. Season with salt to taste. Makes 2 servings

Note: This recipe can easily be doubled for four. If you intend to BBQ, skip step 3 and grill away!!

How to Take Apart a Chicken, Marben Style!

Deboning a chicken, we’re going to help you buy whole animal & save costs. Here, our friend, Chef Carl Heinrich at Marben Restaurant will demonstrate how to butcher a chicken. This can also allow you to take advantage of those creative juices, using every last piece for new recipes, including the carcass for stock or for a dog that enjoys a raw diet.

If you’re interested in expanding your butchery skills or preparing charcuterie  keep en eye on their website, http://www.marbenrestaurant.com for some more great butchery demos! How to Take Apart a Chicken


Winds of Change

Everyone has a time of year when they are open to change, excited about it even. Some people pick the New Year to make their changes, others choose September when the kids head back to school and routines return to normal.  For me however, it is the spring.  I am always inspired to start fresh as I watch Mother Nature gently encourage the world around us to grow and flourish. As the very first crocus pushes through the snow or the first Robin hunts in my still frozen garden I am reminded that determination and simple hope can change the outcome of a day. Really the world around us chooses spring as well; no other season inspires such dramatic change.  Here at the farm spring means a lot of different things, different changes. From when the first warm breezes sweep across the fields carrying the smells and sounds of spring, fresh turned fields and the soft noises of new life in the barn. Spring assaults your senses and hopefully inspires you.

So this spring we are going to inspire you to change the way you feed your family. We are going to teach you that there are better, healthier ways to eat that don’t break the bank.  We are going to give you ideas and recipes that will get your family, young and old cooking and eating together.  We want to show you that selecting and preparing your food can be as enjoyable and enriching as eating it.  So join us weekly for a glimpse of life at Dingo Farms as we explain our products, share our thoughts and views and show you through traditional and outside the box recipes that food can be extraordinary.

Are you ready to be inspired to change?

Caesar Guinto, Exec Chef of Cravings Fine Food Market came to the farm today

We were lucky enough to have a special visit from Caesar Guinto, Executive Chef of Cravings Fine Food Market today, who wanted to get to know where their meat comes from! http://www.cravingsfinefood.ca

We’ll have Double-Smoked Bacon for a limited time

We’ll have Double-Smoked Bacon for a limited time at the Toronto Evergreen Brickworks Farmer’s Market http://ow.ly/5N01q this Sat 8-1pm, so get some while quatities last! Come by for some great tasters too. Ask us for any help with cooking & purchasing tips so you can become more sustainable by using the whole animal! http://ow.ly/5N01q

Dingo Farms & Cravings Fine Foods at Savour Simcoe

Interested in an event featuring great local food/beer/wine tastings, entertainment & demonstrations in the beautiful Simcoe outdoors?

Get your tickets to Savour Simcoe held on Aug 28’th, 2011 at http://ow.ly/5N2aY. We’ll be there, paired with our friends at Cravings Fine Foods http://www.cravingsfinefood.ca for tastings of their savoury dish for that day using our fresh meat.

We hope to see you there!

Bring your Cooler…Dingo Farms is at the Toronto Evergreen Brickworks Farmer’s Market!!

Dingo Farms is now at the Evergreen Brickworks Farmer’s Market every Saturday 8am-1pm!! To commemorate this milestone, we’ll be holding a draw for a 5lb box of Homemade Hamburgers (valued at $25) this Saturday July 23/11. Don’t miss the many tastings we will be preparing of our various meat products.

You will also get one of our new environmentally friendly, reusable Dingo Farms bags with your purchase this Saturday. We hope they’ll be very useful in your coming market meat purchases. So make sure you stop by & say hi! http://ow.ly/5JuHy.

We will have fresh (while they last), cured & frozen cuts of meat, so don’t forget to bring your cooler for any meat you might like to take home in this hot hot heat!

For a map to the Brickworks @ Bayview exit off the DVP visit:  http://ow.ly/5JuFL

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