How to Cook a Grass-fed Steak

First, my apologies to the vegetarians among us.

Many of you know that we purchased a bulk order of grass-fed beef in November. Last weekend I thawed two of the New York strip steaks and set out to cook them. The result was excellent and I thought I’d share with you all what I did.

I should mention that because grass-fed beef is leaner than corn-fed beef, it needs to be cooked more slowly so it won’t dry out. Cooking the steaks was a really simple process. As someone who’s always just grilled her steaks, I did some investigating online to try to find the best method for cooking these steaks. I combined a few different sets of instructions I found for grass-fed beef and this is what I came up with:

1. I patted the steaks dry and sprinkled them with pepper and kosher salt, which I then rubbed into the steaks.

2. I set my cast iron skillet on the stove over medium/medium high heat until it just began to smoke, then I added a heaping spoonful of excellent butter. (My butter is made by the same company that makes our organic milk. There are two ingredients: cream and salt, and it tastes divine.)

3. Once the butter started to bubble, I added the steaks and seared them on all sides. Overall, this took about 5 minutes.

4. I put the steaks (still in the skillet) in the oven at 250 degrees for about 20 minutes. You’ll need to keep checking to get them to the level of done-ness you prefer. It’s best to let them rest for about 10 minutes after taking them out of the oven.

I told you it was simple, but incredibly delicious. Let me know if you try it.

For more information on cooking with grass-fed beef, be sure to take a look at Shannon Hayes’ book, The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook: Healthy Cooking & Good Living with Pasture Raised Foods.

Grass-Fed Beef

Our bulk order of grass-fed beef came in this week. We now have approximately 70 pounds of ground beef, various roasts, and steaks.

I’m excited about this bulk order and am hoping it works out as well as I think it will. There are several reasons we decided to buy the beef in bulk.

1. To save money. It turned out to be less expensive per pound to pay a flat rate for all of the cuts.

2. To help with meal planning. With a freezer full of beef, it should be a lot easier to plan our meals each week.

3. To reduce trips to the grocery store. Obviously, a bulk order of beef won’t cut out my trips to the store altogether, but I’m hoping that by having all of this meat “in stock,” I’ll plan better and cut down on my visits to the store. We’ll see how this works out.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of eating grass-fed beef, you can check out my earlier post on the topic. Also, I came across an interesting article today on Kat Eden’s Body Incredible about grass-fed beef being higher in Omega 3’s than grain-fed.

Our beef order came from Polyface Farms of Food, Inc.
and The Omnivore’s Dilemma fame. Unfortunately for those outside of our area, Polyface does not ship their products. There is a lot a great information on their website, though, about grass-fed beef and pastured pork and poultry products.

I’ll provide updates on how our first bulk-beef purchase is working out. Have you ever bought beef in bulk? How did it work for you?

Under the Weather. Time for Soup!

Something’s gotten me. I don’t think it’s swine flu, but I’m feeling pretty miserable. I’m tired and achy and congested . . . you get the idea. It’s a little cold out and it’s been drizzling all day. I’m cuddled up with a soft blanket and am about you warm myself up with some of my favorite soup mix.

It occurred to me that some of you may be interested in the soup mix, so you’ll find the recipe below. I mix it up in big batches and store it in glass jars (Ball jars, leftover pasta sauce jars, etc.). That way it’s always at the ready when I want something warm. I like knowing what’s in it (unlike many canned soups from the grocery store that have ingredients I can’t pronounce), it’s economical, can even be vegan depending on what you add to it. Without further ado:

Soup Mix Recipe

1 16 oz bag pearled barley
1 16 oz bag split peas
1 16 oz bag lentils
2 cups brown rice or pasta (like macaroni or rotini)
1 cup dried onion flakes
1/2 cup celery flakes
1/2 cup parsley flakes
1 1/2 tsps. thyme
1 1/2 tsps. white pepper

Mix all ingredients together and store in airtight jars. Makes 10 cups.

To cook: Add 4 cups broth (vegetable or chicken) for every 1 cup of soup mix. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 45-60 minutes.

The beauty of this soup is that you can eat it as is, or add in anything else you want. I’ve used chopped tomatoes, carrots, basil, spinach and mushrooms in various combinations. You can also add cooked meat if you have some on hand — I’ve eaten this once with chicken and once with sausage.

I hope you’ve been able to escape some of the nastiness of this flu season, but if it’s cold and rainy where you are, this soup may be just the thing.

What frugal food do you like to eat when it’s cold out?

Photo Credit: JD’na

Bring Your Own Waste-Free Lunch

I’ve found myself in the middle of a fairly large project, so for the next few days I’ll be running some posts that appeared in the early days of this blog — I think only about 5 of you were reading back then. :)

This post first appeared here on February 2, 2009.

Schools around the nation are implementing Waste-Free Lunch days. The idea is for parents to pack a lunch for their kids that is 100% waste-free. Whether or not you have kids, you can save some serious cash by bringing your own lunch to work everyday and you can make it healthier for you and healthier for the planet by packing waste-free. What goes into a waste-free lunch?

  • Reusable lunch bag. Make sure it’s not made of PVC. More on why PVC is bad in another post.
  • Reusable water bottle. These can be found in many places, but watch out for BPA. You’ll want to get a bottle that is either made of stainless steel or one that is clearly marked “BPA free.”
  • Sturdy containers to hold sandwiches and snacks.
  • Cloth napkin.
  • Reusable silverware.

Once you get in the habit of packing your own stuff, it’s really no more trouble than packing disposables. You’ll also save money in the long run by cutting back on the amount of disposables you’re using (and buying). There are lots of places to buy these items for both you and your kids. A few places to start looking are The Soft Landing, Nubius Organics, I’m Organic and

Now that you’ve got the goods, what goes in a healthy lunch? The easiest and most cost effective option is leftovers. The next best bet is fruit (no packaging), a whole grain (either bread or crackers), protein (beans, turkey, lean beef or chicken). There are plenty of sources for healthy lunch combinations. Those listed below are just a start.

Good luck with your Waste-Free Lunch!

Eating Better: Milk and Eggs


This post is the third in a series about our attempts to eat better.


There are a lot of reasons why we’ve chosen to drink organic milk. Since our girls were born, we’ve had only hormone and antibiotic-free milk in our house. I’ve changed brands over the years, depending on where I could get the best price. Recently, I’ve found milk from a farm within 2 hours of my house. It comes in glass bottles that I return to the store when empty. For me, this is the best option because not only are we getting relatively local organic milk, but we’re avoiding all the waste that goes along with plastic milk jugs or paper cartons. I also feel better about consuming products stored in glass rather than plastic — primarily because of concerns about BPA and other chemicals. If you’re interested, you can read more about glass vs. plastic in this post by Copywriter’s Kitchen:  6 Reasons Why Glass Food Containers Are Better Than Plastic.


In the early days of this site, I wrote a post about eggs. I’m still committed to truly free-range eggs from local farms. I think they really do taste better, and there’s more and more evidence that the eggs are better for us. I also like the fact that the chickens themselves live much more humane and decent lives.

I’m fortunate that Polyface Farm (of The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and Food, Inc. fame) is about 2 hours away from where I live (I seem to be 2 hours from everything :)). They bring their fresh eggs to a farmer’s market in my area every Saturday, so lately, I’ve been buying from them. The eggs are great and fresh. In fact, the eggs I bought this past Saturday had just been collected 2 days before. I’d encourage you to try farm-fresh eggs if you can find them in your area. Check out your local farmer’s markets or visit the Local Harvest and Eat Wild sites for more options.

Ultimately, eating better is all about deciding what’s important for you and your family and seeking out the resources to locate food you feel good about. With a bit of research, it really is possible to eat well without a great deal of expense. How is your family eating better?

Photo Credit: reb

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