Welcoming New Life

There is no moon and the dark is so deep walking into the field feels like being swallowed.  I walk uphill and listen to my feet sweep the wet grass while bullfrogs throb a syncopation from the pond.  

 

This field is vast and while I know where I want to go, the dark is disorienting. Having lost the power of sight to the night I listen for the muted, murmured sounds of the sheep to draw me in; a flock never really stops talking to itself. 

 

Thirty heartbeats later, I'm at the edge of their paddock. I breath out and speak to the ewes in a low voice before scissor-hopping over their electric fence, happy to have cleared it completely.  It doesn't always happen that way and the result is, well, shocking. 

 

Now I need light and I switch on my headlamp. The night is suddenly alive with hundreds of eyes, a sea of startled fireflies. Among them I'm looking for one ewe. She started her labor earlier and should be lambing now if all is well. 

 

After a moment I spy a single pair of eyes, alone and adrift near the fence line. She turns her head away and the green-fire reflections blink out. I creep carefully close and I can see she is attending to something on the ground. She makes a low, chuckle-gurgle in the back of her throat, a sound ewes make only when they are talking to new lambs.  

 

I wait and again count my heartbeats to pass the time, twenty, thirty...fifty.  Then I hear the sound that cracks my shepherd heart every time, a bleating, pleading, ascending note that seems to be the birth song of all mammals. All is well and I retreat, happy to leave the ewe to the privacy of darkness and her time-old task.

Pulled Beef Shank BBQ

We're not pulling your leg, we're on a mission to find new uses for the often overlooked beef shank.  They are a great way to feed a lot of folks good food without a ton of expense or effort.  They're also really tasty.  I made this recipe on a day when our schedule was jam packed and it was an easy way to have an enjoyable dinner with minimal kitchen effort.

Beef shanks are wonderful when you take the time to do them right.  This recipe is a simple way to use this flavorful, nutritious, and budget-friendly cut of beef.  As a bonus it will leave you with at least a quart of flavorful beef stock to put in the freezer or use with other meals later in the week.

Ingredients: Approx 2 1/2 to 3 pounds Quarry Brook Farms Beef Shanks, thawed
                  Water
                  1 TBS apple cider vinegar
                  Approx 1 to 2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce (or use the provided recipe if you have time)
                  Rolls of your choice (can also be served on a bed of greens if you are eschewing bread/grains)

Servings: About 8

Directions:
1) Place shanks in crock pot and add water until shanks are just covered. Add 1 TBS of apple cider vinegar to water to help draw minerals and nutrients out of the bones while everything simmers. 
2) Turn crock pot on low and allow to cook for at least 6 hours or until meat will come away from bone readily.  This can take a varying amount of time depending on your crock pot.
3) Once meat will separate from bone readily, carefully remove shanks from crock pot and place in a bowl to cool. 
4) Carefully ladle the remaining broth into storage containers, label and place in refrigerator or freezer to use for other meals.  You just made quick broth in addition to being on your way to delicious BBQ.  Bonus broth!
5) Once shanks are cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones and use knife or fingers to pull meat apart into small pieces.  Place small pieces back into crock pot.  There will be some fatty, sorta "slimey" bits (can I use the word slimey in a recipe?!?!).  I chop them up and put them in with the meat.  They are a good source of collagen and omega-3 rich grass fed fats. Their texture isn't such a concern once everything is blended together with the BBQ sauce.  *Do be careful to make sure no little bone or tendon pieces end up in the final product though.  Some shanks could have those but they are easy to feel and/or spot as you work as long as you're paying attention. 
6) Add your favorite BBQ sauce to the meat in the crock pot until you are happy with the consistency.  You can also use a little bit of the broth if you would like the beef to be even more juicy. 
7) Turn crock pot back onto low.  Cover and allow to cook together for at least another 30 minutes until all the flavors are mingled and the BBQ is well warmed again. 
8) Serve with rolls and a big summer salad. 

BBQ Sauce Recipe:
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar or red wine
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 tsp salt
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Combine everything in a sauce pan and whisk together over high heat.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes or until desired thickness is achieved.  Makes 1 to 2 cups depending on how long you allow it to thicken.

Feel free to experiment with your sauce.  Add honey, more hot sauce, liquid smoke (Wrights brand is additive free), maple syrup, etc, until you find the combo that you love best.

Healthy Hydration: A farmer (and non-water-lover) experiments

[Whispers:] I don't like water.  Not to drink, anyway.

As a health-conscious person I'm not supposed to admit that, but it's true.  I don't drink enough water.  I'm a big fan of coffee.  And as Ani Difranco sings, "the coffee's just water dressed in brown."

As a result, I've probably been going through life on the dehydrated side of things.  I'm not sure why I started thinking about this last week while I was moving the sheep to a fresh paddock.  I guess I was feeling sloggy and sleepy and since it was a hot, sunny day and I wanted a nap, maybe a cup of coffee then a nap (because that makes total sense...).  I didn't feel thirsty, just really, really blah. 

Then as I was filling the sheep water trough and the ewes lined up for a drink, it occurred to me: "When did you last drink something that wasn't coffee?"  I didn't know the answer and my inner child immediately started whining at the prospect of drinking more water.  "NOOOOOO! I don't wanna! It's YUCK! It makes my stomach slosh!"

Now that I'm a parent, I can better recognize that inner part of me that still needs some parenting of its own.  When the farmer has an invisible, inner tantrum in the middle of the field, it's probably a sign something needs to change. How was I going to get my inner kiddo to slurp down more of that dreaded liquid? 

I was thinking about all this in the middle of a sheep pasture and was therefore surrounded by grass and future hay.  Hmmm, hay.  Hay season is known for its hot, physically demanding work.  When I was a kid, my dad would make a special drink just for days we were putting up hay.  He called it “switzle” and to make it he followed a recipe from my great-grandmother, written on a tattered and yellowing index card.  It was gingery and slightly sweet with just a hint of vinegar.  I loved it.   

BINGO!  I finished watering the sheep and went home to look up recipes and experiment.  Turns out my dad’s switzle had experienced a bit of renaissance in the last few years.  I wasn’t aware switzle (aka switchel, haymakers punch) was cool, but then I’m usually late to the table when it comes to trends. Anyway, there are tons of recipes on the internet and I got a little boggled trying to find one that closely resembled the drink I remembered from childhood. 

In the end I made up my own recipe.  I got out the ingredients I remembered and just started mixing until I stumbled on a combo I liked.  Then I made two big jars of the stuff, one for drinking immediately and one for later which I stuck in the fridge. 

Almost immediately after drinking over a quart of switzle with lunch, I stopped feeling blah. I didn’t want a nap anymore.  I skipped my afternoon coffee.  I had the energy to do my chores and more for the rest of the day.  Also, thanks to the ginger, my stomach didn’t slosh like it wants to when I (reluctantly) pound straight water. And since it was tasty, I drank it happily and later went back for more.  It felt like magic.  My great-grandmother and father were on to something.

This all happened last week and I’ve been careful to keep myself hydrated since.  I’ve been switching off between switzle and water with sprigs of fresh mint.  The results have been pretty amazing.  Turns out a hydrated body is an energetic body.  And keeping hydrated is WAY better for my future kidney health. Seems simple but it took me way too long to realize my energy slumps were more due to a lack of fluids than lack of sleep or food. 

I’m sharing this in case you share my struggle when it comes to drinking enough water.  As a farmer, I love to learn more about healthy foods but how often do I think about healthy hydration?  This last week has been about experimenting with what works.  For me, getting enough fluids means I have to trick myself into drinking water that tastes a little like something.  While I’m at it, I might as well share those tricks. 

Below is the switzle recipe and you can also place sprigs of fresh mint directly into your water bottle.  That little bit of freshness just seems to help the medicine go down.  :) Both are simple, quick, inexpensive, and healthy ways to drink more fluids this summer.

“Switzle AKA Drink more water, silly!!”

2 quarts cold water

1/8 cup organic apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon organic lemon juice (optional)

1 teaspoon dried ginger (or 1 tablespoon fresh, grated ginger-fresh tastes awesome if you can get it)

Sweetening to taste: Approximately 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey (if using honey, first drizzle into a small bit of warm water to mix and then add to the rest of the water in the jar after thoroughly mixed.  Otherwise the cold water makes the honey clump) or use organic stevia extract (maybe 5 to 10 drops depending on taste?- I use 5 drops).

pinch of sea salt

Mix all the ingredients by putting a lid on the jar and shaking well.  Keep in fridge and shake again before serving.

Feel free to experiment with proportions.  The above is a guide but you may like sweeter or more vinegary switzle.   You can also completely skip the sweetener if you prefer. Have fun experimenting!

 

Do you have a tried-and-true way to keep hydrated?  I’d love for you to share your tips.  Happy June and cheers!

 

 

Sunny with a chance of meatballs

I think we might have stumbled onto the perfect summer food.  

I think it might be meatballs...
I'm laughing at myself as I type this but we truly are on a meatball kick in our household.  It all started with the kiddo requesting them for dinner a few nights in a row.  He had just eaten them at Grammie's house and was smitten.

I'd never made meatballs.  I didn't know how to make meatballs except that I knew 'squishing' meat with my hands was part of it.  Not my favorite....

Alas, the kiddo was persistent (and cute) so I caved.  And I'm glad I did. Turns out the squishing isn't that bad and meatballs are awesome for a bunch of reasons. Here are a few:

  • Ingredients can vary depending on what is available.  You can TOTALLY wing it with meatballs and still have something yummy. That's how I made this recipe and it was love at first taste.
  • They are a budget friendly way to get the nutrition from grass fed meats into your family’s diet. 
  • It's easy to incorporate fresh, seasonal veggies or herbs.  If your kiddos balk at veggies but love their meat, you can hide "green things" in the meatballs and feel good knowing they are eating some veggies. 
  • They cook quickly but also freeze or hold in the fridge well.  So you can make up a big batch when you have time and then use them later when time is short.  We've been doing this a lot.
  • You can do about a bazillion things with them: Sandwiches, subs, slice them onto salads, put them on a stick and dip them in sauce, serve them with pasta and marinara, eat them cold with lunch, eat them with your fingers, take them camping.  I'd love to hear your ideas here!

Ok.  So here is the recipe we make up a few weeks ago and we can't get enough of it.  I've made it with our ground beef and ground lamb and find it works equally well with both. I decided to do a spin on Greek Meatballs and use fresh oregano and mint because they were both coming up in our garden.  You can substitute dried but the fresh are worth finding.  You can get them from us or most any other local farmer.

Serves 4.  Prep time: 7 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes

Meatball ingredients:

1 pound Quarry Brook grass fed ground beef or lamb, thawed (you can use a bowl of warm water to thaw a package in a hurry if needed, just submerge meat in water and change it a few times until meat is soft)

1 small onion or shallot, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced very fine (or use garlic press)

2-3 sprigs fresh mint, chopped fine (about 2 tablespoons once chopped) or 2 teaspoons dried

1-2 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped fine (about 1 tablespoon once chopped) or 1 teaspoon dried

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 egg

¾ cup bread crumbs (substitute same amount cooked quinoa if prefer gluten free)

Dipping sauce ingredients:

1 cup organic mayonnaise or plain yogurt

2 sprigs fresh mint (or more if you really like it)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

 

Instructions:

Place all meatball ingredients into large bowl.  'Squish' together until mixed well.

Roll mixture into balls using your hands.  I use a Tablespoon size measuring spoon as a scoop if I’m having a hard time getting them to be a consistent size.

Place meatballs in lightly greased skillet (I use butter) over medium high heat.  Allow to brown for about 3 minutes.

Use fork or tongs to rotate meatballs so they cook evenly.  Rotate 3 or 4 times over the course of about 15 minutes until they are cooked through and no longer pink inside.

 Prepare dipping sauce by mixing all the sauce ingredients with a fork or whisk in a small bowl. 

Serve meatballs with a side of dipping sauce.  They are great paired with a big salad because you can use the dipping sauce for dipping the salad greens too. You’ll need to double the dipping sauce recipe if you decide to do this. 

Meatballs and a huge salad have been our dinner a lot lately.  We have some pretty big appetites in our house and it has been nice to find such a simple, healthy, and budget-friendly way to get all the farmers fed. 

Enjoy and if you try this recipe let us know how it went over in your house.  :)

 

 

 

 

Bon Voyage, Winter! A recipe to summon summer.

I have worn nearly every type of seasonal clothing this week. You?  Oh, NY state...
Last Friday it snowed, Monday was t-shirt weather, Wednesday required raincoats, and today I'm wearing a blanket over my shoulders as I sit to type because it's so cold in our house.  Maybe tomorrow will call for bikinis and we can finally get the grill out?    Actually, this weekend looks more like snowsuits than swimsuits. A chance of frozen mix on Sunday...! (Insert heavy sigh)

When I was a kid, my family had a weird tradition to help with morale when cold weather wanted to linger. We would crank up the wood stove, put on flip-flops. make summery BBQ food and have a "cook out" inside.  With music. It really helped chase away the last of the winter blues and reminded us of all the good times to come.  We called them "Go away winter!" parties.  Flowery shirts and swim trunks were encouraged.

I've decided to throw one of these parties for Adam, Silas and myself on Sunday.  I may have to wear heavy socks with my flip flops but so be it.  On the inside I will be dreaming of soon-to-come frisbee and firelight with friends.

I just went looking through my cookbooks for the recipe I want to use.  Nothing says summer like food on a stick, right?  This is a recipe to make your own stick food!  It's like bringing the fair to your house except you don't have to wonder what's in those things.  And you can cook it inside. 

Here's the recipe in case you want to throw your own party this weekend.  It's easy to make, VERY kid friendly, and oh-so-summery, even if you're wearing wool socks while you eat it. :)

No matter what the weather does, I hope you have a really nice weekend and get to do something that makes you happy.  We'll be at the final indoor Oneida County Public Market of the season on Saturday from 9am to 1pm.  Feel free to get in touch if we can bring you anything!  

And on Sunday, this farm family will be sporting sandals and enjoying some fun, spring-summoning food on a stick!  How about you?

All the best to you and yours.  See you soon!  :)

Kelly

Quarry Brook Farms Go Away Winter Sticks*
Serves 4 to 5

1/2 cup cooked rice, oats, or quinoa (we like rice best)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 cup fresh minced parsley or 2 tablespoons dried
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped or 1 tablespoon dried mint
1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 tablespoon dried
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ground cornmeal plus extra for coating
1 pound ground lamb or ground beef

In a bowl, thoroughly stir together the rice/quinoa/oats, egg, tomato sauce, lemon pepper, herbs, salt, pepper, and cornmeal.  Add the lamb/ground beef and mix well.

Shape into approximately 10 oblong balls.  Press the balls onto skewers and roll them in the extra cornmeal.  Broil (or grill) 3 to 4 minutes on each side until cooked through.  If you don't have skewers, cook them and then poke a fork into them to serve as a skewer.

That's it.  We like them with ketchup.  They are one of the few things we eat with ketchup.  Feel free to experiment, they're super tasty no matter what!
 
(*Adapted from The Grass Fed Gourmet Cookbook by Shannon Hayes)

How to Freeze Farm Fresh Eggs for Future Use

Here an egg, there an egg, EVERYWHERE an egg, egg… Old McDonald has lots of eggs! E-I-E-I-O!
How to stockpile this spring staple

It’s spring.  Eggs are everywhere at farmers markets.  It almost lets us forget that they will be much harder to find come fall.  If you love your local eggs and don’t want to be without them come September, you might consider stocking up now and freezing them.  It will be like nutritious, delicious money in the bank in a few months when all the local farms’ hens are on vacation and eggs almost disappear from markets.

Eggs are a seasonal product but our access to year-round eggs in grocery stores has let us all forget this.  Hens on a small, local farm will lay like crazy in the spring and then their production tapers off in late summer.  This is caused by the change in day-length.  As the days start to shorten, the hens’ brains tell them to put the egg business aside and get ready for winter.  To do this, the girls will lose some of their old feathers and grow new ones in a process called molting.  This takes a lot of energy and the hens’ lay very little or not at all during this time.  Egg production will remain relatively low until next spring when the ‘eggstravaganza’ starts all over again. 

True, a farm can encourage the hens to lay more through the winter by using timed lighting.  In fact, factory-farmed hens never see anything BUT artificial light and so they always think it’s spring. In part, that is how grocery stores have eggs year round.  We do use lights to some degree, but we also believe the girl’s will be healthier and happier if we allow them to molt properly and prepare their bodies for winter.  We feel this better respects the hens’ true natures and needs.  It also saves electricity!   Therefore, eggs remain a seasonal product on our farm.

I know we’re all still waiting for spring to show up but now is a good time to start thinking about fall when it comes to eggs.  Stock up while they’re plentiful and freeze them.  It’s a simple way to avoid the ‘scramble’ to eat local later in the season.  :)

To freeze whole eggs:

Remove shells (seems obvious but I found myself asking that question the first time…lol) and place desired amount of eggs into a clean bowl. Beat just until blended, pour into freezer containers, seal tightly, label with the number of eggs and the date, and freeze.
This is the method we use most and the scrambled eggs we make from these frozen eggs are just as good as the ones made from fresh eggs.  We find 6 eggs/container to be a great size for later use.

To freeze fresh egg whites:

Break and separate the eggs, one at a time, making sure that no yolk gets in the whites. Pour the whites into freezer containers, seal tightly, label with the number of egg whites and the date, and freeze. For faster thawing and easier measuring, first freeze each white in a standard ice cube tray. Then transfer to a freezer container.  This is more work now but makes life much easier later!

To freeze fresh egg yolks:

Egg yolks tend to thicken or gel when frozen, so you need to give yolks special treatment. If you freeze them as they are, egg yolks will eventually become so gelatinous that they will be almost impossible to use in a recipe.  I know this from experience-I could have played ping pong with my first batch of frozen yolks. 

To prevent table tennis worthy yolks, beat in either:

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt per ¼ cup egg yolks-about 4 yolks.  This is for eggs that will be used to cook breakfasts or main dishes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar or honey per ¼ cup egg yolks-about 4 yolks.  This is for yolks that will be used for baking or desserts.

 Label the container with the number of yolks, the date, and whether you’ve added salt or sweetener.  Freeze.

To freeze hard-boiled egg yolks:

You can freeze hard-boiled egg yolks to use later for toppings or garnishes. Carefully place the yolks in a single layer in a saucepan and add enough water to come at least 1 inch above the yolks. Cover and quickly bring just to boiling. Remove the pan from the heat and let the yolks stand, covered, in the hot water about 12 minutes. Remove the yolks with a slotted spoon, drain them well and package them for freezing. It’s best not to freeze hard-boiled whole eggs and hard-boiled whites because they become tough and watery when frozen.  You can instead freeze the whites as mentioned above. 

To use frozen eggs:

When you’re ready to use frozen eggs, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator. Use egg yolks or whole eggs as soon as they’re thawed. Thawed egg whites will beat to better volume if you allow them to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. It's safest to use thawed frozen eggs only in dishes that are thoroughly cooked.  For best quality, try to use frozen eggs within one year of freezing. 

Cultivating resistance in a world that wants everything cheaper, bigger, and more efficient: Our thoughts on the current farm crisis.

Did you know that you're revolutionary?  That might sound drastic but it's true. By purchasing at least some of your food directly from a farmer you are rebelling against a food system that wants everyone to consolidate and conform.  As farmers, we are so grateful for you and your rebellious tendencies. Here's why:

Everywhere one looks there is another farm closing up or going under.  Dairy farms are in a tailspin and therefore in the news. Just this morning we learned a farmer friend is shuttering his farm. The 'Auction Notice' page in a local farm publication has become pages. Things are getting desperate for many and customers are asking us what they can do to help local farms.

Our worst fear is that it may be too late for many farms. Here we are, nearing the bottom on a 40-year slide into consolidation and incorporation that, left unchecked, will continue to squeeze small farms into oblivion. Part of the current problem for dairy farmers is that they have little control over the pricing, processing, or distribution of their product.  No control means no power and no choice.  For the sake of ease and efficiency, our country is asking the farmers who produce our food to be slaves to a corporate food system. 

The culmination of the "get big or get out" era of agriculture could very well be an entire food supply in the hands of corporations. They will make the choices about what we eat because there will be no alternative.  The days of diversified, independent farms that actually grow food will be gone and school kids will think we're crazy when we try to teach them a song about an old farmer who had cows, pigs, and chickens. E-I-E-I-O. It sounds dramatic but it's happening right now. Farms are going out of business at lightning speed.

As long as people need food, farms have a chance but the farmers have to have some influence and control on their markets.  Over two decades ago, forward-looking farmers saw this current problem coming and started returning to a way of farming that eliminated intermediary distributors, processors, and marketers.  Instead they sought to connect directly with their customers. Farmers markets sprang up, CSA became a familiar term, and organic/naturally-grown certifications arrived to help consumers differentiate at-a-glance between conscientious farms and their massive industrial counter-parts.  Independent farms who connected directly with their customers were making a go of it, so much so that corporations sat up and took notice. 

Today, big corporations have jumped on and largely bought-up what those small farmers were selling; just think about how food choices have changed in supermarkets over the past twenty years.  Everywhere you look, a large company is cashing-in and probably using pretty pictures and words like local, natural, farm-fresh, organic, artisanal, sustainable, small-batch on the labels to do it. 

There are many examples of industry making it big on the backs of small farms. If corporate-owned supermarkets can get customers to purchase grass fed beef, artisanal bread, or organic kale in their stores, those customers no longer go directly to the farmers. The big stores lure customers in with the promise of small-scale local products but consistently drop those farmers' products after a short time. For the sake of ease, efficiency, and a few dollars saved, our country is letting those who produce our food be replaced by a corporate food system.

Farmers can grow more than enough food to feed the world but they need consumers to buy it from them, not at a superstore after a long line of processors, distributors, and wholesalers have taken a bite. We need to remember food comes from farms and to shop at a farmers markets, farms, co-ops, and buying clubs whenever possible. This will keep non-corporate farms in business long enough to work on the distribution issues that are the real root of hunger.  This is how we restore rural economies and communities and why the local food movement can’t just be a waning trend that corporations adulterated and then rode to a sad end. When farms lose control of what they produce, we lose farms.
 

This is why you’re a revolutionary. Every time you purchase directly from a farmer, you are helping them stay in control of their market and their farm.  You are telling corporations you don’t need their gimmicks to feed your family.  You are part of the movement that puts farmers who truly care about land, animals, and soils-our collective future-back in charge of food. 

Cooking with Cupboard Contents on the ides of March!

 

The following is a recipe we made up last week.  We wanted to taste-test our newest batch of sausage and this is what we found in our cupboard to go with it.  We decided to share the recipe because it was really easy and it turned out to be really yummy. Like we said, sausage is considered a FAST FOOD around this farm. :)

Serves 6
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter (can also use tallow, lard, coconut oil)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 cups bone broth- pork is best for this dish but can use chicken, or veggie, or just water in a pinch
6 to 8 ounces organic mushrooms (any variety works), sliced
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans/chick peas, drained
½ to 1 can organic tomato paste, use more if you want more pronounced tomato flavor
10 ounces fresh spinach
1 pound Quarry Brook Farms bulk Pork Mild Italian sausage, thawed
Salt (optional and to taste)
Red pepper flakes (optional and to taste)
 
6 servings of something complimentary over which to serve the sausage and spinach mixture.   We used angel hair pasta because that is what we had in our cupboard but rice, polenta, mashed potatoes, any other pasta, or fresh bread would all work nicely too.  Can also serve alone if you prefer to skip grains/carbs but will make for less servings.  Prepare which ever you choose according to your tastes while the other ingredients simmer.  Then set aside and keep warm until time to serve.
 
Over medium-high heat, place butter (or fat/oil of your choice) into large skillet or Dutch Oven.   Add onions and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stir. 
Add tomato paste to onions and garlic and spread around pan.  Cook for about 1 minute until paste starts to darken slightly and smell good!
Add Italian sausage and immediately start to pull sausage apart using two forks.  Continue to pull sausage apart into crumbles as it browns.  Stop when sausage crumbles are a size you like and allow sausage to continue browning for about 5 minutes.  Stir frequently. 
Add sliced mushrooms and garbanzo beans.  Stir well and allow to cook together for another 3 to 5 minutes. 
Add bone broth and stir.  Wait for contents of skillet to start bubbling then lower heat to medium, cover and allow to simmer until mushrooms are tender and everything smells really good!
Add spinach and stir.  Replace lid and allow to cook just long enough for the spinach to wilt and turn bright green.
Sample and add salt/pepper to taste if desired.  Some may want a dash of salt with this dish and red pepper flakes are a great addition if you would prefer a little kick.
 
Serve over grain/carb of your choice and enjoy!  Or skip the grains/carbs and enjoy!