It’s been almost a year since I made much mention of our journey into trying to become parents or our “issues” of “infertility” which probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Reading about someone not getting pregnant is not a particularly joyful or exciting topic. But since it is the current reality for me and my Carrot and about 15% of all couples trying to conceive, why not go there? Why not continue this story anyway? Especially since I find this winding journey of ours so beautifully elegant, devastating and fascinating all at the same time.
The short version of our saga is that we’re not pregnant yet– after three years of lazily trying to be and a fourth year taking a much more focused and dedicated effort. The slightly longer version of that story includes a whole lot of experimenting, hoping, crying, doubting and learning that having to put that much energy into getting pregnant is really not much fun at all. Such a roller coaster. Some of you know. Some of you may have been here before. Some of you might be here right now.
For me, so much of the pain and confusion began to slow when I discovered a book: a book that truly transformed my worldview and helped me, a farmer, food educator and long-time health nut, understand the true power of food to heal, nurture and change a person’s life.
I stumbled upon WomanCode while seeking answers: answers to a love story that wasn’t yielding a child. I found something else entirely. I found a guide to healthier living: a book that married being a woman with eating and healing. It taught me how to eat, act and function during different weeks of my cycle for optimal hormonal function and happiness. It taught me how to begin to listen to the inner wisdom of my body.
In essence, I found the book I had been searching for my whole life. And suddenly, the conversation shifted ever so slightly. Making a baby wasn’t the number one goal anymore because honestly, what fun is a goal that is completely out of your control anyway?!
Suddenly, feeling good became the most important thing because I finally realized I could. My gut, my mind, my heart, my organs: they can all feel good. Food has that power. And natural hormonal balance, which is about so much more than just getting pregnant, is possible for me.
So that’s where we are at on this journey of natural conception. It’s slow and it’s beautiful. It’s winding and full of pivots. It’s hard and it’s deeply educational.
And it’s led me to become an even better cook than I thought possible cooking with foods that both nourish and spark joy instead of just foods that taste good. I’m dabbling with sprouted mung beans and grains I had never heard of before. I’m buying so many fermented products and limiting sugar, carbohydrates and coffee. I’m drinking way more water and increasing my intake of vegetables and locally sourced, healthy proteins.
Which all ultimately leads me to Brit McCoy of Homestead Wisconsin: an incredible woman and powerhouse farmer in my local community who now nourishes me during the third week of my cycle when well-sourced, grass-fed lamb and beef are to be staples of my diet.
I first met Brit through Instagram, as one does, despite the fact that her farm was only 20 miles from mine and that we lived in the same tiny town for a hot minute at the tail-end of 2016. I was drawn to Brit first because of her artistry. Her floral arrangements, her beautiful handmade leather goods, her eye to simplicity and deep love of home. It was only later I learned the story behind the pictures and grew to respect her so much more deeply.
Brit had only been on farm since 2017 and was already a powerhouse FarmHer, deftly navigating every opportunity put in front of her. Through podcasts, webinars, books and farm networks, she’d went from being a designer by day to a designer by day and farmer by night (and weekend and any other spare moment available). She worked with USDA to secure a grant to seed and fence 18 acres of the property she and her husband Matt purchased in late 2017.
Watching her on Instagram, I’d assumed she and Matt had been farming for years. The couple raises Hereford and Scottish Highland Cattle alongside North Country Cheviot Sheep for meat on their 55-acre farm. The animals live a beautiful life on green pastures, treated humanely and fed an all-grass diet.
Brit and Matt salvage the hides from their cattle and sheep harvests, working with local partners who share their values to turn the hides into beautiful leather goods. They harvest wool from their sheep turning it into the coziest of mattress pads. It’s a robust and beautiful system, one of respect and flavor, and honestly its one I can’t believe they built in just four years’ time.
So when I learned I should be eating more grass-fed lamb, I knew exactly who to call. The quality of Homestead Wisconsin‘s meat is parallel to none and I love being able to add one more local option to our repertoire. Plus they offer convenient doorstep delivery straight to our house in Evansville making ethically sourcing meat that much easier, and what’s not to love about that.
Check them out and enjoy your own Lamb Steaks (or Chops) with Peanuts and Gochujang (recipe below!).
Thanks so much to Brit at Homestead Wisconsin for sponsoring this blog post and always looking for ways to build a better local food community.
LAMB STEAKS (or CHOPS) WITH PEANUTS & GOCHUJANG
Adapted from a New York Times recipe
If you are a fan of snacking while you cook, I recommend you double or triple the salted peanuts and munch with a cold beer while you prepare this quick meal.
Takes 30 minutes
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon lime juice, divided
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt plus more for seasoning
4 lamb steaks of chops
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Gochujang (or other fermented red pepper paste)– can be found in the ethnic aisle of most grocery stores
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3-4 scallions, very thinly sliced
- Heat sesame oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Let warm for a minute, then add peanuts. Saute gently for 10 minutes until the peanuts are hot and browned a little in spots. Use a slotted spoon to remove peanuts from pan (so that most of the oil remains) and toss them in a small bowl with 1 teaspoon lime juice, chili powder, and salt.
- Preheat grill to medium high.
- Pour oil from pan over lamb steaks of chops and rub so they’re coated a little bit. Season with salt and pepper. Place on preheated grill. They will get nice and blackened from the sesame oil. Leave in the flames for 2-3 minutes then flip and place on a cooler part of the grill for an additional 4-5 minutes (or until the internal temperature registers 145 degrees).
- Remove to a plate and let rest for five minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine Gochujang, maple syrup and remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth.
- Serve lamb steaks with rice, millet or another favorite mild grain, and perhaps even some simple roasted cauliflower. Pour Gochujang mixture over warm lamb steaks. Top with seasoned peanuts and sliced scallions.