What was once a rare disease, type two diabetes is now the highest amongst Native American and Alaskan Native adults and children than any other racial and ethnic group in the United States. Those children, particularly living on or near reservation and tribal lands, are more likely to experience type 2 diabetes, food insecurity, and obesity in comparison to all other children in the United States. Food access is an issue at multiple levels: access to seasonally available wild foods, financial access to fresh, whole foods, and access to the cultural knowledge to prepare and preserve traditional foods. The biggest contributors to this loss in food access were forced removals from native lands onto barren reservations, forced assimilation in Native American Boarding Schools, and the government-provided commodity food that was then distributed to those on reservations. Those foods commonly included white flour, lard, sugar, dairy products, and canned meats- a major contrast from the unprocessed, whole, traditional foods they were use to.
It is because of this epidemic, people within the Indigenous communities are working towards an indigenous foods movement as a means of cultural renewal, environmental sustainability, and a way to reclaim Food Sovereignty.
“Indigenous food sovereignty is the act of going back to our roots as Indigenous peoples and using the knowledge and wisdom of our people that they used when they oversaw their own survival. This includes the ability to define one’s own food sources and processes, such as the decision to hunt, trap, fish, gather, harvest, grow and eat based on Indigenous culture and ways of life.”
Below, is a TedxTalk from Sean Sherman, who further discusses where the traditional knowledge got lost, and how himself and many other indigenous folks are taking matters into their own hands, reclaiming their Indigenous Food Sovereignty.
Here, we will be listing just a few of the many Indigenous people/ Indigenous-led Organizations reclaiming Food Sovereignty within the United States.
An online cooking show dedicated to re-indigenizing diets using digital media. Using foods native to their Americas, Indigikitchen gives viewers the important tools they need to find and prepare food in their own communities. Beyond that, it strengthens the ties to their cultures and reminds them of the inherent worth of their identities while fueling their physical bodies.
Brian Yazzie “Yazzie the Chef”
A Diné/Navajo chef and food justice activist from Dennehotso, Arizona and based out of Saint Paul, MN. He is the founder of Intertribal Foodways catering company, a YouTube creator under Yazzie The Chef TV, a delegate of Slow Food Turtle Island Association, and a member at I-Collective. Yazzie’s career is devoted to the betterment of tribal communities, wellness, and health.
Sean Sherman, The Sioux Chef
Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, born in Pine Ridge, SD, has been cooking across the US and World for the last 30 years. His main culinary focus has been on the revitalization and awareness of indigenous foods systems in a modern culinary context. Sean has studied on his own extensively to determine the foundations of these food systems which include the knowledge of Native American farming techniques, wild food usage and harvesting, land stewardship, salt and sugar making, hunting and fishing, food preservation, Native American migrational histories, elemental cooking techniques, and Native culture and history in general to gain a full understanding of bringing back a sense of Native American cuisine to today’s world.
The Sioux Chef team works to make indigenous foods more accessible to as many communities as possible. To open opportunities for more people to learn about Native cuisine and develop food enterprises in their tribal communities.
Three Sisters Gardens
Farmer Alfred Melbourne is the owner and operator of Three Sisters Gardens and a long time resident of West Sacramento. Based on traditional native teachings, Three Sisters Gardens is an Indidgenous-led organization with a mission to teach at risk youth how to grow/harvest/distribute organic vegetables, connect Native youth back to the land, build connections with community elders, and reclaim food sovereignty. They donate food to the Yolo Food Bank, and also hold a “Free Farm” stand where they offer their veggies free to to the community.
Linda Black Elk
Linda Black Elk is an ethnobotanist who serves as the Food Sovereignty Coordinator at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota. She specializes in teaching about Indigenous plants and their uses as food and medicine. She teaches classes like “Food Preservation and Storage” and “From Farm and Forage to Fork.” She also uses her wealth of knowledge and charismatic ways of connecting through her YouTube channel, covering topics like making homemade cedar blueberry cough syrup, drying squash varieties, and how to make plant-based medicines at home for various health support.
Black Elk’s drive to make wild plants and plant medicine accessible, applicable, and relevant is so strong it resonates throughout all she does. She is also a founding board member of the Mni Wichoni Health Circle, an organization devoted to decolonized medicines.
Reclaiming control over local food systems is an important step toward ensuring the long-lasting health and economic well-being of Native people and communities. Native food system control has proven to increase food production, improve health and nutrition, and eliminate food insecurity in rural and reservation-based communities, while also promoting entrepreneurship and economic development.
This is Indigenous resilience, moving through the era of disconnection to their foods and traditions and reclaiming their intergenerational knowledge.
The Davis Food Co-op occupies land that belongs to three federally recognized Patwin tribes: Cachil DeHe Band of Wintun Indians of the Colusa Indian Community, Kletsel Dehe Wintun Nation, and Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.
Since 1880, Earth’s temperature has risen by 0.14° Fahrenheit per decade, increasing to more than twice that (0.32° F) per decade since 1981. Each of us sees and feels the effects of climate change nearly every day with BIPOC, low income, and migrant communities feeling the effects more deeply. Co-ops offer a path forward. The cooperative business model, a solution that is tried and tested, addresses climate change while also confronting inequality, advancing democracy, building resilient economies, and confronting poverty.
Since it’s Co-op Month, we’d like to explore ways in which co-ops are climate leaders and how our co-op addresses environmental sustainability.
We’re not just bragging; co-ops are special. At the most basic level, cooperative businesses serve the needs of their Owners, whatever those needs might be, rather than delivering profit to investors. All cooperatives follow the 7 Cooperative Principles which serve as the model’s code of ethics. Let’s look at how these Principles affect the fight against climate change.
|1. Voluntary and open membership||
|4. Autonomy and independence||
|5. Education, training and information||
|7. Concern for community||
Co-ops know how to plan for the long term
Cooperative businesses have no requirement for delivering short-term profits other than remaining commercially viable, which allows them to better plan for the long term. Co-ops are more likely to consider intergenerational solutions to climate change.
Co-ops are the most resilient form of enterprise
Co-ops survive, often finding creative solutions, when other businesses would simply close. As a result they are more stable businesses in communities. Stability and resilience will be key in communities increasingly affected by extreme weather. Similarly, co-ops establish their own supply chains which further insulate their communities from market shocks.
What does this look like at the Davis Food Co-op?
“The production, transportation, sale and consumption of food are significant contributors to global climate change and the degradation of our collective land, air, and water resources. For this reason, it is incumbent upon DFC to become a local leader in sustainability and environmental stewardship.” – Davis Food Co-op Strategic Plan
As laid out by the Co-op’s Board of Directors in the Strategic Plan, Strategic Priority #5 is “Be a Model for Environmental Sustainability.” Together our Board and General Manager work to implement changes in store to meet these priorities. Here are just a few ways the Strategic Plan made the co-op more sustainable.
|Greenhouse Gas Emissions||
In addition to baking sustainability into our co-op’s Strategic Plan, Ends, and Principles, our staff, owners and shoppers are, let’s say, deeply passionate about the survival of the planet.
The DFC will continue to implement changes which make the store and our community more sustainable.
Tips for Parents of Students
Establish school day routines early in the year (meal times, homework time, bedtime, etc.). It may help to maintain these routines, like what time lunch is, on the weekends too. Practice any new routines with your student before the year starts. No need to be nervous biking to a new school if you’ve already traveled the route.
Give children a safe space to share their feelings. Mirroring, or reflecting back a child’s experiences, is an important parenting skill. If your child seems troubled, pick a quiet moment and say, “I’m noticing a different vibe lately. I feel like there’s more going on than you’re sharing.” Engaging children in creative activities, like playing and drawing, can help them express any difficult feelings in a low-key, supportive environment.
Children often take their emotional cues from the adults in their lives, so it’s important to remain calm, listen to children’s concerns, speak kindly and reassure them. Let your child lead the conversation.
Acknowledge that anxiety is completely normal. Point out that everyone feels down now and again. Learning to tolerate uncertainty is a developmental skill. Remind your kids that when they have a problem you are there to help them work toward a solution.
Tips for Parents
Model healthy stress management whenever possible. When you feel overwhelmed, share that information with your kids. Say, “I’m not handling my stress well right now.” Remind them that emotions change, and it’s okay not to be okay all the time.
Tag in a trusted partner. This could be your child’s sibling, therapist, guidance counselor, teacher, clergy, family friend, or another parent. It’s okay to say, “I’m noticing that my child is really struggling, but I’m having a hard time connecting with them because of how overwhelmed I am. Can I ask you to play a game with them or take them for a walk?”
Set boundaries around energy zappers. Determine what drains your emotional, physical, and mental energy on a daily basis and change or limit the behavior. For example, limit doom-scrolling your favorite breaking news feed to 15 minutes a day or put your phone in a drawer when you’re with your kids, or maybe swap your afternoon coffee with a big glass of water. These small changes can make a big impact.
Tips for College Students
Create a bedtime routine that you really enjoy. Whether or not you have trouble falling asleep at night, creating a bedtime routine will help relax you and get you ready for sleep. This can be something small, like changing into pajamas, brushing your teeth, and washing your face (and going to bed at basically the same time everyday). It can be more involved with incense, moon milk, reading a chapter, taking a batch, etc. Give the practice a few weeks and you should have an easier time falling asleep.
To a similar end, don’t do homework or work in bed. Working in bed can make getting to sleep harder. Keep your work space separate from your sleep space to keep insomnia at bay. The author of this blog doesn’t allow jeans or work clothes in bed to keep the space extra sleep-sacred.
Cut back if you need to. Sometimes students overwhelm themselves with everything they have going on. If you’re feeling like you’ve got too much on your plate, cut back work hours, drop a class or cut out some extracurricular activities to make your schedule more manageable.
Keep in touch with family and friends. You can help ease feelings of homesickness and loneliness by keeping in touch with friends and family members.
Expect things to change. Things will change both at home and in your school life, so expect things to change over time. You will grow with the changes and so will the people around you.
Tips for Educators
As life returns to “normal” for many of us, don’t pressure yourself to provide the same learning experiences as the pre-lockdown period. You are one single professional and doing your best to adapt to change.
Create clear boundaries between home and school. Set a reasonable time for leaving school each day and stick to it. Create a ritual to help you transition from teacher mindset to home mindset. This ritual may include changing your clothes when you get home, listening to your favorite podcast on the way home, taking an afternoon walk, or playing a quick board game with friends or family.
Make self care a part of the classroom to benefit yourself and your students. Mindfulness Mondays or Thoughtful Thursdays are a great way to introduce students (and you!) to self care practices like belly breathing, rainbow relaxation, or laughing yoga.
Express gratitude. Practicing gratitude is a great way to give yourself a more positive outlook. Try to name three things you’re thankful for each day. I like to start my day thinking about that list before I’ve even opened my eyes and gotten out of bed. Thank your coworkers when they do something to help you out or make your day a bit easier and let your students and their parents know you appreciate their hard work and flexibility. This kind of gratitude practice will boost your mood, make others feel appreciated, and help you all feel more connected to your community.
Normalize caring for each other. There is a lot of power in shared experiences. People need social connection, and mutual feelings of vulnerability and stress often create some of the strongest social bonds. Start a weekly support meeting or video chat with friends, grade-level teachers across your district, or all teachers at your school. Planning for this makes it a priority and gives you all a safe space to vent, listen, and problem-solve together.
In May my partner, Jonny, and I drove to Ashland, Oregon for a friend’s wedding. It was a hot May, with eight days above 90 degrees and we were grateful to escape to cooler Pacific Northwest temperatures. Dry creek beds broke up fields in shades from green to yellow as we drove north through the valley. Orchards stretching endlessly away from the highway baked as California experienced its driest spring on record.
Bridges carrying us over Lake Shasta revealed a pale “bathtub ring” around the lake, in some places hundreds of feet thick as water levels drop. Lake Shasta, California’s largest reservoir, is currently holding 36% of its total capacity, which is 56% of the historical average for this time in August, according to the California Department of Water Resources.
Closer to home, things look similar. All 200,849 (100%) of Yolo County’s residents are affected by drought. 94.73% of the county is experiencing “Extreme Drought” (the remaining 5.27% are experiencing “Severe Drought”). During extreme drought conditions, the state’s second extreme drought in ten years, livestock need expensive supplemental feed; cattle and horses are sold; little pasture remains; fruit trees bud early; producers begin irrigating in the winter; fire season lasts year-round; water is inadequate for agriculture, wildlife, and urban needs; reservoirs are extremely low; and hydropower is restricted according to the National Integrated Drought Information System.
For Yolo County, who’s 2019-2020 agriculture outputs represent 711.8 million dollars, extreme drought conditions are especially hard on our farmers and farm workers. 2021’s drought conditions saw California’s agriculture industry shrink by an estimated 8,745 jobs and shoulder $1.2 billion in direct costs as fields were fallowed and growers were forced to pump more groundwater, the LA Times reports.
Additional environmental impacts of drought include losses or destruction of fish and wildlife habitat, lack of food and drinking water for wild animals, increase in disease in wild animals, migration of wildlife, increased stress on endangered species or even extinction, loss of wetlands, wind and water erosion of soils, and poor soil quality.
And although we measure rainfall and pass water restrictions by county and state, drought knows no borders. In fact, it may be more useful to put our current drought conditions and experiences in the greater context of our watershed. A watershed is an area of land that channels rainfall and snowmelt into creeks, streams, and rivers, and eventually to outflow points such as reservoirs, bays, and the ocean. The watershed is also the air we breath, animals we raise and animals we don’t, our food crops, and our communities.
BriarPatch Co-op in Grass Valley defines “local” as products coming from the Sacramento River Watershed because of the deep, central role it plays in shaping our local environments and everyday life. They made an excellent video explaining the interconnectedness of communities within the watershed.
Davis, along with most of Northern California, is a part of the Sacramento River Watershed. Within the Sacramento River Watershed is the Cache Creek Watershed, draining Clear Lake in Lake County into the Sacramento River before it flows into the Delta and beyond to the Pacific Ocean. Davis is located inside the Cache Creek Watershed that is a part of the larger Sacramento River Watershed system. Lands within the Sacramento River Watershed are diverse, with snow-covered peaks, low-lying agricultural lands, large areas of forested mountains, many small urban areas, and the Sacramento metropolitan area, the largest urban area in the watershed. Human activity, mainly 19th century gold mining and transforming grassland to agriculture, has significantly modified flows within the watershed.
In truth, my drive north this last spring was a tour through the Sacramento River Watershed, starting in the valley’s wetlands and low agricultural lands and climbing to its snowy peaks in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, although I didn’t think of it that way then. Dry creeks in Yolo County, low lake levels in Shasta County, and fresh burn scars in Siskiyou County all show the watershed as a whole is hurting.
Of course, we cannot talk about extreme drought and watershed sustainability without acknowledging the role climate change plays in amplifying the frequency and severity of drought. Climate change, like drought, is uncaring of borders and requires collaboration and cooperation to begin reversing. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities as well as poor and migrant communities feel the effects of climate change more deeply (read the EPA’s report published last year examining climate change’s effects on four socially vulnerable groups: people with low income, minorities, people aged 65 and older, and people without a high school diploma).
Watershed management and sustainability should be a collaborative effort between individuals, community organizations, and local, state, and federal agencies. Action individuals can take include water conservation at home. We can also call on state officials to listen to Indigenous voices – voices carrying expertise gained by stewarding this land for thousands of years. I urge you to read this article about the history of Indigenous water rights in California and this one about the Hoopa Valley High School Water Protectors Club in Northern California.
You can also support local organizations that take care of our watershed like the Cache Creek Conservancy and Yolo Basin Foundation, who were Round Up organizations in May and June of this year. Many of our local wineries, including Great Bear in Davis and Alexander Valley Vineyards, prioritize maintaining riparian habitat on their properties to the greater health of the watershed.
If you’re like me, confronting the scary realities of climate change causes you a lot of anxiety, stress, frustration, and dread. In fact, more than two thirds of Americans experience some climate anxiety. Since climate anxiety is characterized by feelings of loss of control, the best treatment is to take action. On an individual level, it’s therapeutic to share your worries and fears with trusted loved ones, your therapist, or by joining a support group. You can also make changes to your lifestyle consistent with your values. This may be deciding to take fewer flights, joining a protest, or increasing public awareness about climate change through advocacy.
August is a productive time for our Northern California gardens. Keep harvesting ripe fruits and vegetables. Failure to harvest can hinder production.
For flower gardens: put on some Grateful Dead and deadhead your garden, which should be done on an on-going basis if you have plants blooming. As plants fade out of bloom, pinch or cut off the flower stem below the spent flower and just above the first set of full, healthy leaves. Repeat with all the dead flowers on the plant.
Water regularly during our scorching summers. Water in the early morning or after the sun sets to avoid water waste. Water the soil near the plant’s roots and avoid splashing the leaves, which can spread disease or intensify sunlight to burn the plant.
The heat and humidity of summer leaves your garden more susceptible to plant diseases. Check for diseased foliage and remove it. Do not add diseased plant matter to your compost pile as the disease can spread to the rest of your garden. Disinfect tools like pruners in between each plant to avoid spreading disease as well.
Treat affected plants with Arber Bio Fungicide, OMRI-listed for organic gardening and available at the Co-op for $11.99 plus tax. Arber controls and suppresses gray and white molds, downy mildews, black spots on roses, leaf spots, root rot, botrytis, and more.
Keep a keen eye out for insect pests including thrips, tomato fruitworms, tomato hornworms, spider mites, chinch bugs, scale, snails, and slugs. Remove them from foliage if you find them.
Make your garden more attractive to beneficial insects and/or treat with Arber Bio Insecticide. Protect your garden from aphids, fungus gnats, mites, mealybugs, leafhoppers, tent caterpillars, grubs, leaf beetles, thrips, whiteflies, stink bugs, fruit flies, and more.
Pinch back poinsettias and mums before the end of the month to allow time for buds to form for a winter bloom.
With the end of Plastic Free July, we wanted to give a quick recap of how it impacted the Davis Food Co-op
As you can see in the charts below, at the Co-op:
- We reduced the number of plastic products carried at the Co-op by 1.3% in the month of July, compared to the month of June.
- Plastic product sales decreased by 6.3% for the month of July, compared to the month of June.
- For our Fiscal Year of 2022, we have reduced the number of plastic products carried by 12% compared to FY 2021.
- For our Fiscal Year of 2022, plastic product sales have decreased by 3.3% compared to FY 2021.
While Plastic Free July is over, for many, the journey of reducing plastic waste is just beginning. Research shows that 87% of participants made one or more changes that have become new habits and a way of life.
The Davis Food Co-op encourages you to try something new and stick to it beyond Plastic Free July. With some minor lifestyle changes, we can make a bigger collective difference than we think.
Resources to continue plastic-reducing habits:
If you have any suggestions or feedback on how we can reduce our plastic consumption at the Co-op, please fill out a Suggestion Form.
What to Drink with August’s Cheese of the Month: Nicasio Valley Locarno
Written by Sterling Carlton, Beer, Wine & Spirits Specialist
Nestled in the beautiful Nicasio Valley of Marin County lies a sprawling pasture. Green and lush, the valley is full of life and the sweet smell of dairy cattle floats through the air. The pasture is Nicasio Valley Cheese Company’s 1,150 certified organic acres where they raise dairy cattle and chickens. The Lafranchi family have been stewards of this pasture, farming sustainably and raising dairy cattle, since 1919, when Fredolino and Zelma Lafranchi left their home in Maggia, Switzerland. They are one of the very few small scale family dairies to survive the last several decades of upheaval in the dairy industry.
The drive to the creamery is an easy one and quite beautiful along Lucas Valley road. The last bit of the drive takes you through a lush grove of towering trees. It’s a fairly unassuming facility. So unassuming that I drove past it on my first go as the sign on the road declaring “organic cheese tasting” took me a bit by surprise.
The dairy has been producing 100% certified organic milk since 2012 and the cheese, being made from an incredible base product, is of exceptional quality as well as delicious. The seed of cheese making was planted by Fredolino and Zelma’s son, Will Lafranchi, who traveled back to Switzerland to learn about cheese from his ancestors’ homeland. His dream was realized after his death when Nicasio Valley Cheese Company opened their doors in 2010. The family has a distinct appreciation for the cheese of their homeland and they present products of the highest quality.
The Lafranchi family achieves this quality through thoughtful management of their pasture from which their roughly 400 dairy cows derive a large amount of their calories for at least 120 days out of the year, a requirement for certified organic pasture-raised cows. The ranch is also home to over 3,000 chickens that produce equally high quality free range eggs. The Lafranchi’s maintain healthy pastures by rotating their herds through different sites and utilizing a significant onsite composting program. This compost program, in conjunction with the thoughtfully managed grazing regime of the ruminant animals, helps create incredibly healthy soil in the pastures and high biodiversity, leading to healthy cows and delicious cheese. Rick Lafranchi, the second eldest of the six Lafranchi siblings, explains it this way:
“…this region is regarded as having some of the richest pasturelands in the world. Conventional milk production isn’t as viable an option in Marin as organic is because it’s all pasture based. That went hand in hand with us developing an organic cheese company.”
Of their more than half dozen offerings, one of our favorites was brought to market in 2016: Nicasio Valley Cheese Company Locarno Brie, a creamy brie aged for at least 5 weeks. A tangy, firm center is sandwiched between a cream layer just beneath the rind that turns to an oozing heap of delight as it warms or matures. Pair a smear of this beautiful cheese on a Walnut, Honey, and EVOO cracker from The Fine Cheese Co. out of England. The combination of the creamy, lactic sweetness of the dairy intermingling with every crunchy bite transforms the cracker into an almost graham cracker like flavor that compliments the cheese perfectly.
I also have two wines I dutifully tasted along with the Locarno. I opened the 2019 Avni Chardonnay and the 2018 Avni Pinot Noir from Lingua Franca in the Willamette Valley.
Founded in 2012, Larry Stone set out to ensure the vineyard was taken care of using the most sustainable agricultural practices they could manage. The use of low impact, biodynamic, and no till farming was only improved through collaboration with one of the heroes of the regenerative ag movement within the wine industry, Mimi Casteel. Permanent cover crops are kept in the vineyards which encourages all kinds of wildlife such as owls, hawks, foxes and coyotes to naturally mitigate pests. Originally planning to only sell fruit, Stone was encouraged to make his own wines by one Dominique Lafon of Burgundian fame (when Lafon thinks you need to make your own wine because you have an exceptional site, simply put, you listen).
The Chardonnay always starts off a little bit closed on the nose. As it opens up, you’ll find layers of lemon citrus, grapefruit, pear, baking spices, with a slight mineral edge and oak in the background. It’s a lean Chardonnay with racy acid and orchard fruit characteristics that play nicely with the creamy richness of the Locarno cheese.
The Pinot is similarly lean and taught. It is a laser focused wine with aromas of red cherry and blackberry fruit, wet rocks, and forest floor all backed up slightly by an edge of oak and fine grained tannins. Here the fruity aspect plays nicely with the cheese and the acid again functioned to help cleanse the palette and bring me back for another bite.
Nicasio Valley Cheese Company has a host of other delicious cheeses as well as pasture raised eggs and a nice little house you can stay at on the property that is just a short drive away from Point Reyes Station. Be sure to stop by the cheese shop for some eggs and ask their very knowledgeable and cheerful cheesemonger, Melisa, for some of her favorite cheeses.
Find Avni Wines and Nicasio Valley Locarno at your Co-op.
Nicasio Valley Cheese Co. Organic Locarno Brie is 10% off during the month of August.
2019 Lingua Franca Avni Chardonnay $29.99/750 mL
2018 Lingua Franca Avni Pinot Noir $29.99/750 mL
Questions? Feel free to ask our Specialty Department experts! Cheesemonger LaShundra and Beer, Wine & Spirits Specialist Sterling can be found in their departments most days.
Food Scrap Crafts
Difficult to say, fun to do. Most of these crafts utilize ingredients and materials you probably already have in your kitchen!
Homemade Citrus Garland
Commonly associated with the holiday season, citrus garlands add natural beauty and color to your space any time of the year. You can watch our how-to video here or try this version where you don’t even need to turn on the oven.
Incorporate lemons, limes, grapefruit and more to play with color and size.
Vegetable-based water colors
To make these truly non-toxic, safe to pour down the drain water colors, all you need are veggies/veggies scraps, water, and a stove top. Follow the instructions in this post to create water colors of your own. This is an especially fun one to do with kids.
Homemade Dog Treats
Make your good boi treats from kitchen scraps!
- 1/2 cup unseasoned mashed, cooked sweet potatoes
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 cups finely chopped, cooked turkey or chicken meat (no skin or bones)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a medium bowl, combine sweet potatoes, water, and egg and stir until incorporated. Add chicken and flour and stir again until well combined. Batter will be very thick and sticky.
Use a spreader to spread the dough evenly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet to form a rectangle at about 1/2″ thickness. Use a knife or pizza cutter to score the dough into rectangles of whatever size you’d like. Consider your dogs size at this point. You can also use cookie cutters to make shapes. If you do this, we recommend spreading the dough on a lightly floured work surface first, then cutting out and transferring to the baking sheet for baking.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the dog treats are lightly golden brown. Cool completely and then break along the score lines or use a knife or pizza cutter to cut along the score lines.
Store in the refrigerator for a few weeks. For long term (a few months), store in an airtight container in the freezer and thaw before serving.
Potato Stamp Art
Oops, did your potatoes turn green? Don’t eat them, make stamps instead. Adults will need to help younger kids using the knife.
Cut the potato in half with a kitchen knife. Don’t let the potato dry out too much as this will distort the design.
Use a pencil or marker or cookie cutter to draw/imprint the desired shape onto the surface of the potato.
Cut around this shape with a kitchen knife, leaving the design so it is raised on the surface of the potato. Use this method if using cookie cutters.
Using a serrated knife will give a textured surface. Use a fork or skewer to make tiny holes in the potato for added design interest.
Pour paint onto a plate and dab the potato in the paint, ensuring that the surface is evenly coated.
If there is too much paint on the potato stamp it will slip when stamped onto paper. Stamp the potato onto scratch paper a couple of times to remove excess paint.
Press the potato stamp onto the paper, card, or project. You should be able to use the stamp several times before needing to dip it in paint again. The potato can be washed after use and used again with another color.
Let the paint dry completely before decorating or finishing the design.
Pickling is a food preservation technique that extends the life & deliciousness of most veggies. Summer is the ideal time to pull quick pickles from the fridge. Make cool, briney, and crunchy quick pickles with kids and maybe they’ll eat a pickled carrot spear at dinner tonight!
- 1 pound fresh vegetables, such as cucumbers, carrots, green beans, onions, cherry tomatoes, radishes, or okra
- 2 sprigs fresh herbs, such as thyme, dill, or rosemary (optional)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons whole spices, such as black peppercorns, coriander, or mustard seeds (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dried herbs or ground spices (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed or sliced or a few slices of fresh ginger (optional)
- 1 cup vinegar, such as white, apple cider, or rice
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)
Wash 2 wide-mouth pint jars, lids, and rings in warm, soapy water and rinse well. Set aside to dry, or dry completely by hand.
Wash and dry the vegetables. Peel the carrots. Trim the end of beans. Cut vegetables into desired shapes and sizes, etc.
Divide the herbs, spices, or garlic you are using between the jars. Pack the vegetables into the jars, making sure there is a 1/2 inch of space from the rim of the jar to the tops of the vegetables. Pack them in as tightly as you can without smashing.
Place the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar (if using) in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour the brine over the vegetables, filling each jar to within 1/2 inch of the top.
Gently tap the jars against the counter a few times to remove all the air bubbles. Top off with more brine if necessary. Place the lids on the jars and screw on the rings until tight.
Let the jars cool to room temperature. Store the pickles in the refrigerator. The pickles will improve with flavor as they age — try to wait at least 12 hours before cracking them open, but 48 hours is best.