Archives for January 2013

  • Eat Seasonally: Carrots | 01.31.2013

    CarrotsCarrots are convenient, nutritious vegetables that are very versatile, thanks to their natural sweetness. Enjoyed around the world in dishes both sweet and savory, they add a hearty dose of vitamin A, fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C to your diet. Grate fresh carrots to add a splash of vibrant color to leafy salads and slaws, or make a comforting side of sliced, steamed carrot coins topped with a pat of rich honey butter. Store trimmed, cut carrot sticks upright in a glass half-full of water in the refrigerator for a quick, on-the-go snack with your favorite dip or dressing.

    Carrot and Sweet Potato Tzimmes
    Serves:  6
    Prep time:  15 min. active, 75 minutes total

    3 tablespoons butter
    2 cups yellow onion, chopped
    3 cups medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into ½- to 1-inch rounds (about 1 pound)
    3 cups sweet potatoes, peeled  and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 pound)
    3 cups apple, peeled and cut into
    1-inch pieces
    1 cup prunes, coarsely chopped
    1 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
    3 tablespoons water
    3 tablespoons honey
    1 medium orange, zest and juice
    2 medium lemons, zest and juice
    ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    Salt and pepper, to taste

    In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add all the remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. The vegetables should be very tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Serving suggestions:  While this combination of stewed fruits and vegetables is a delicious side dish with baked chicken, it is also a fillings vegetarian entrée served with rice, barley or kasha.

    *Tzimmes is a traditional Jewish dish made from carrots and dried fruits cooked slowly and sweetened with honey.  It is often served during Rosh Hashanah, with the round carrots symbolizing gold coins and prosperity.

    Reprinted by permission from  Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes, and a whole lot more at

  • Video: Get Fresh, Eat Local |

    Two years ago, the GEM Local Producer Committee launched a project with Dr. Sarah Keller’s MSU-Billings Media for Social Change class to help implement one of the goals in our strategic plan, which says, “GEM has a calling to build, market and sustain the region’s ability to produce and consume local, organic and sustainable food and goods.” 

    The class implemented a number of projects to promote local products in our community, including the Local Producer Map, Local Producer biographies for website spotlights, recipe collection, and the creation of this video.  Enjoy!

  • Member Spotlight: Patrick Hill | 01.22.2013

    Linda and Patrick became members of our Co-op in 2006 when we opened our new store.  They both have a long history of interest in natural foods, medicinals and organic gardening.  They pick local berries – buffalo, june and chokecherries – hunt deer, ducks, pheasant and smoke their own fish.  They are in the market regularly and enjoy eating in our deli.

    Patrick is an artist, historian and motivational speaker to young native youth in Crow Agency and surrounds.  Linda is the business office manager at the Crow Agency nursing home.  Both have an interest in mentoring to the young people on the Crow reservation.

    Passionate is the best word to describe this couple – passionate about politics, nature, relationships and connections.  Our conversations ranged from the coal trains headed toAsia, to the local elections, to the multiple dimensions of all living things.

    Recently, Patrick developed a horrible infection due to a fall in a stream while fishing and within a few days, his leg had to be amputated.  It is not anything that either spend any time talking about; they quickly change the subject with a comment about how lucky he is to be alive.  This attitude of dwelling only with the truly important things in life is awe inspiring.  He is adjusting to his new prosthetic leg with the same positivity.

    Linda talks about the similarity in their upbringing and how that has forged a bond that keeps their marriage strong.  They both become animated when talking about their families and community. 

    They are a truly inspiring couple and we are proud to have them as loyal members.

    Patrick Hill’s transparent watercolors will be exhibited in the Apple Gallery from August 1 – September 27, with an opening Artwalk reception on Friday, August 2 from 5:00-9:00pm.

    Written by longtime, dedicated member Vicki VanBuskirk.

  • Food and Skin: Winter Skin Survival | 01.09.2013

    Replenish, Build, Conserve, Hydrate

    It’s the new year – time to burrow in and begin to replenish the skin, body, mind, and spirit. Winter means shoveling snow, bitter winds, bundling up with layers, and dry, scratchy skin. Winter also is a time for the crackling sound of the fireplace, cuddling up in a warm electric throw, or cooking a favorite soup or stew that will warm the insides and relieve the bone-cold chill.

    In the season of winter, the element is Water and the color is black. Water energy is flowing, deeply internal, and the base of life. Water energy encourages hibernation and self-reflection. One can consider this a time of storing energy and replenishing so that when spring comes there will be bursting of new energy and growth!  Winter skin has a tendency to be dry and itchy. We may notice wrinkles, a pale complexion, dark circles under the eyes, hyper pigmentation, red blotchiness, fluid retention, and clogged congested pores.

    Which is the best way to thrive in winter and save our skin?  First, for survival is the need to honor the winter quietness and stillness that is deep within all, to have a place of fulfillment and peace. Next, eat foods that nourish the Water Element. Some suggestions are watermelon, blackberries, blueberries, eggs, cloves, ginger, cinnamon bark, everything in the onion family, chicken, salmon, caviar and seaweeds. Salty and spicy flavors encourage health, but use sea salt rather than regular table salt. Making soups or stews will be warming and will help us tolerate the frosty days. Soups continue to be easy on the digestive tract, helping the body maintain its quietness. 

    Now for the skin. An excellent supplement for skin health is taking a fish oil supplement and eating non-white fish, like salmon. Fish oil lubricates, helps relieve the winter aches and pains, reduces inflammation, and can help to relieve that dry itchiness. Topically, it is very important that ingredients such as hyaluronic acid are in your moisturizer or lotion. Another soothing skin option right from our kitchen cupboard is olive oil. Nothing could be easier!  Use your olive oil to blend with regular moisturizers, apply right after showering, or add some sugar to exfoliate. Do something fun, like indulging your skin in a berries mask and eating dark chocolate.  Your skin will love you.  And you will love your skin.

    This winter avoid the itchies, the flakies, and the reddies by eating healthy warming soups and foods, applying topical soothing oils, and finding time to retreat for self-reflection, meditation and energy conservation. These simple steps will do more for your skin than you can imagine.  In January of the new year, take the challenge to change your approach of skin health care to nourish your whole person. Winter is the time to Replenish, Conserve, Build, and Hydrate.

    Learn more about winter skin solutions at Susan’s workshop, Food and Skin: Winter Skin Survival on Saturday, January 12, 1-2pm.  Susan Reddig, B.S. is a licensed esthetician at Clinical Skin Solutions of Billings, focusing on beautiful skin from the inside out.


  • Making Your Own Stock | 01.02.2013

    Soup stock is the foundation for many of the tastiest soups, and it’s a flavor enhancer for many a dish too.  But canned and packaged stocks are generally high in sodium and may include artificial ingredients, like monosodium glutamate (MSG). You can find healthier and organic varieties at your co-op, but if you use stock frequently in your cooking, it can get expensive. Despite what you may think, making your own stock requires minimal effort, costs little money, and will keep you, well, stocked for months.

    There are a million and one uses for a good homemade stock, including:

    • Making your own soups and stews
    • Adding depth to homemade pasta sauces
    • Using in place of water or butter to infuse rice, couscous, or other grains with flavor
    • Braising greens and other vegetables
    • Deglazing pans to make gravy
    • Substituting for wine in any recipe

    The most versatile stocks are chicken and vegetable stock, but the possibilities don’t stop there.  Beef stock, fish stock, chili stock, ginger stock—the list is limited only by your imagination. For the sake of simplicity, file away this basic how-to for chicken or vegetable stock and improvise from there.

    What you’ll need:

    • 1 pound chicken bones (if making chicken stock); reserve the bones every time you roast a local, pastured chicken and freeze in a plastic bag until you’re ready to make stock
    • 1 pound assorted vegetables: carrots, celery, onions, garlic, or other root vegetables, washed and chopped into large pieces
    • 1-2 dried bay leaves
    • A few handfuls of fresh herbs: thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, or whatever else you have on hand, washed and added to the pot, stems and all
    • 2-3 tablespoons whole spices: black peppercorns, coriander, caraway, fennel, etc.

    In a large soup or stockpot, add all the ingredients and cover with 12-16 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 3-4 hours. The liquid should reduce slowly; if it seems to be drying out quickly, add more water and turn down the heat.

    After 3-4 hours, strain the stock, discarding all solids (it’s okay if a few whole spices escape the strainer). You should be left with 8-10 cups of stock. Season to taste with salt or just wait to salt until you use it in a recipe. Divide stock into one-cup portions in small plastic bags or containers and freeze (this way, you can thaw just as much as you need).

    Just one Sunday afternoon spent making a batch of stock can save you $20-25 on the store-bought variety over the course of a few months.  And you’ll have a healthier, more flavorful ingredient to use in your kitchen—no bones about it.

    Reposted by permission from Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes and a whole lot more at