I'd like to preface this post by saying that I am not an expert on high-quality, pastured meats or where to find them in central Illinois. And I have not, by any means, researched all the options and pricing, so I encourage you to do so.

Surprisingly, I am frequently asked where we purchase our meat and eggs. My goal with this post is to share the names of the farms where we have recently purchased locally-raised, organic, and pastured meats and eggs.

So, here it is...

Our most recent purchase of 1/4 beef came from R & K Beef. They are located in Pike County, IL, and their products are grass-fed and free of hormones and antibiotics. So far, we've sampled the sirloin, ribeye, t-bone, and burger. Each cut has been extremely tender, and the difference in taste over grocery store beef is phenomenal. It's how beef is supposed to taste! You can find out more at the R & K Beef website or find R & K Beef on Facebook.

R & K Beef also sells pork products, but we haven't tried them yet. Currently, we get our pork products from Oak Tree Organics in Ashland, IL. They frequently finish their pigs on apples, which gives the meat a wonderful flavor. They have a year-round online market with convenient weekly delivery locations in Jacksonville and Springfield. For more information and to sign up for the online market, you can find Oak Tree Organics on Facebook.

Recently, Oak Tree Organics began raising broilers as a trial run. We haven't yet received our order, but we should be getting it in the next week or so. Prior to placing our order with Oak Tree Organics, we purchased chickens from Bear Creek Farm & Ranch. They're located in Palmer, IL, their prices are very competitive, and their chickens can be purchased fresh, frozen, cut up, whole, or by individual cut, depending on availability. You can find Bear Creek Farm & Ranch on Facebook.

We buy wonderfully orange-yolked, delicious eggs from either Oak Tree Organics or Bear Creek Farm & Ranch. See the links above for more information.

Do you have any farms to add to list? How about sources of other meat products?

Mangia bene!


My Daily Struggle - ADHD

Warning: This is not a fluffy, happy-go-lucky food post. Instead, I felt compelled to share something completely different with you...a snapshot of my daily struggle with ADHD. Today is a bad day...

Sometimes my stubbornness and unwillingness to take medication for my ADHD come back to bite me, and today, I got bitten badly.

I woke up to an overwhelming, almost suffocating anxiety about things most people manage easily - without a second thought. Day by day, I feel like I'm doing fine, then one day something draws my attention to a crack in my world, something important I've forgotten to do. As soon as I acknowledge the crack, the whole thing explodes, my world comes crashing down around me, and I struggle to keep myself from slipping into a depression. 

In the midst of all of this, I'm trying to pick up my exploded-world-shrapnel, make sense of each piece, figure out where things went awry, and make a plan to forge onward. I try really hard not to stay in that place of anxiety and depression. I know where that road leads, and it is not fun. I can't go there...I have a family to care for and a household to maintain. So I put my world back together with whatever "glue" I can find, and I hope with every fiber of my being that this time it will hold together.

I took what I call a "mental health day" today...I marked myself out at work, took The Munchkin to my mom's like I normally would on a Monday, and I came home and made a list. I make lists...lots of them. But the post-explosion list is always different. For me, it feels like a matter of life and death. You see, my ADHD life is a series of piles, and most days I'm just shuffling the piles around from here to there, dutifully rearranging them in a way that makes sense to me but probably seems crazy to everyone else. Today, all my piles fell over on me (like they do every so often), and I felt like I was drowning in them. So the post-explosion list is a detailed, step-by-step instruction manual for digging my way out of the piles. And it's exhausting!

I got started on my list this morning, and nearly everything is done. I'm going to ask The Man for help with the rest when he gets home from work. But it's just small stuff, and the highest priority items are finished. I could definitely add more to the list - there's always more to be done - but I know I've reached my limit, and it's time to rest so I have the energy, motivation, and brain power to make dinner and enjoy some time with The Man and The Munchkin this evening.

I'm sure you're thinking this would all just be easier with meds, and I won't lie, it is...sort of. But the meds come with their own demons for me...the "medicated me" isn't really me at all. It feels like a hologram of me, going through the motions of life the way the world thinks I should. There is no enjoyment, no creativity, no passion, no laugh-til-I-cry moments. To me, that's not a life. To quote Eddie Izzard, it's very "Einz zwei, einz zwei".

So I stay on this rollercoaster...because when it's going well, it's an absolute blast! And when it goes through the scary loop-de-loops and dramatic drops, I am lucky to have people around me to keep me focused on the thrilling times and get me back on track.