We're all busy people with busy lives and this often impacts on our evening meals. The freezer might have some meat in it, but that will take too long to thaw and cook, right? So eating out, ordering takeaway or heating a prepackaged meal can become the quick fix. If this sounds all too familiar, meal planning can prevent it. Meal planning plays an important role in ensuring you and your family enjoy a healthy balanced diet. It also alleviates the daily stress of deciding what's for dinner, puts a stop to the constant trips to the shops and saves you money. We've developed a few tips to help you and your family (the kids will love to get involved) plan your meals and enjoy fresh, natural and healthy produce. 1) Sit down and work out what you would like your weekly plan to include in general terms. For example, each week would you like to have one stirfry meal, a pasta meal, a slow cooker/soup meal, a salad, steak or mince beef meal etc. This template will vary depending on how much meat you like to eat, your budget, household and likes/dislikes. 2) Think about maximising some cheaper cuts of meat, as well as treating yourself to some premium cuts. The slow cooker is a great way to turn things like lamb shoulder, gravy beef, osso bucco, chuck and ribs into family favourites. 3) Decide on a handful of dinners that your family will enjoy regularly. These can form the foundation of your meal plan and rotate onto your dinner table every week or two. You might decide on 10 dinners, for example, that you use once every two weeks. This would leave two dinners a week to add variety to your meal plan and try new recipes and flavours. 4) Once you've decided on the look and feel of your meal plan, considered how you might use different cuts to stretch your protein dollars and developed your core dinner recipes, it's time to buy what you need. With our online ordering and free home delivery service, we would encourage you to order on Wednesday nights for Friday/Saturday delivery. This allows you to pick up your fresh fruit and vegetables on Saturday morning and kick off your first dinner for the week that night. Nutrition Australia has some useful meal plan templates and recipes that might help you further here.
We're always pretty excited with the quality of our Koallah Farm beef, but we're extra excited this week with one of our newly bred lines reaching the processing weight. Traditionally, we've grown mostly Shorthorn Hereford Cross cattle at the farm, but in the past year we've begun crossing our Hereford Cross cows with Charolais bulls. Pictured are the first lot these 10 month-old Charolais Hereford Cross cattle ready for processing today. Our Simply Free Range moto is 'meat the way nature intended' and we mean every word of it. These beef cattle were bred naturally in their paddock, with their mothers covered by a bull. The mothers carried them in our paddocks at a ratio of one cow and one calf to three acres. In addition to pasture, the cattle receive hay and silage harvested from our properties. When calving time approaches, our cows are checked at 5.30am, midday, at 5pm and again at 10pm. If we need to render assistance with a calving we do, but in the vast majority of cases the calves are born naturally in their paddocks. The first 24 hours are very important for a calf, which needs a good feed of its mother's colostrum. Colostrum contains important antibodies which protect the calf from disease. While some farmers intervene in this process, we leave it to nature and the success rate is excellent. After about three weeks the calves will begin to eat grass from the paddocks and hay and silage when they want to. They remain with their mother and drink from her right through to processing. The cattle pictured here, for processing today, fed from their mothers until yesterday. Sometimes seasonal conditions can make it very difficult to grow beef cattle to the standard our customers deserve. If necessary, we can now supplement their feed with a specially designed pellet that meets pasture-fed certification guidelines. These animals didn't require it and reached our target 420kg weight on their mother's milk, pasture and fodder alone. These cattle were separated from their mothers late yesterday and travelled less than 2km to our on-farm boutique abattoir at Koallah Farm. They spent last night together in a large soft floor pen. Cattle that spend nights on concrete can become stressed and get quite sore hooves and legs which can impact meat tenderness. They were handled respectfully and processed by our own staff in our accredited facility at 6am this morning. The carcasses will be aged for about 10 days before being butchered for online orders and our shops in Mt Waverley and Rosanna. Incidentally, their mothers are already about seven months pregnant with their next calf. They now dry off naturally and have two months to put all their energy into the health of their new calf before it is born and the process starts again. So that's what we mean when we talk about pasture fed, free range beef. To us it means no antibiotics, no added hormones and plenty of wide open space where nature can take its course.