Confessions

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A Moment of Materialism

Last modified on 2010-06-23 19:06:21 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

It makes me feel like a complete consumerist but I love buying my children little things, and do so often enough that we have a spot in our Dave Ramsey inspired montly budget for it. The picture is a gathering of things I’ve purchased them in the past couple weeks; a little mechanical toy car that goes on it’s own when you push it, plastic bracelets from the thrift store, a $1 pin wheel from Walmart, a pot holder loom from our local yarn store.  They didn’t need any of it in the least, we have lots of stuff at home.  I don’t do it all the time, and if it doesn’t fit in our budget that month for whatever reason I have no problem stopping.  But it makes me smile to see my little one interested in the bracelets at the thrift store, and so I pull a couple off the peg and present them to her right then.  My expressive love language must be gifts, and for my receptive love language, I like to receive words of affirmation. More on the 5 Love Languages here.
Not at all food related, but it’s a regular part of our little family that tickles me so I thought I’d share.

Other things to buy this week- mostly food related and more necessary than another plastic car

  • Not something to buy- but I just started with Paperback Swap and I’m addicted!  My mother-in-law had told me about it months ago, but I hadn’t signed up because I really don’t like standing in line at the post office. But  I found out that based on the book, they know how much it weighs and you can just print postage right from their program and mail from home.  That is easy! I’m sure I’m not the only one who has accumulated books that I don’t need or want any more.  Just trade them out for books you do want, like these that I recommend about food :)    Sign up here

  • And I’m running low on coconut oil again and this week it’s down below $40/gallon (my target price, though a couple times a year it goes below $30/gallon) for expeller pressed (buy here).  They’re also having a 2-for-$19.99 16 ounce raw extra virgin organic coconut oil (here), which is what I use in smoothies and for oil pulling. And use referral code 5682145 for a free book on the benefits of coconut oil if you’re a first time customer!

*these are all affiliate/referral links, but I think they’re good deals anyway and wanted to share

Standard American Diet to Real Food- What I did

Last modified on 2011-09-19 04:11:48 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I have always been health conscious, but following the ‘healthy’ diet seemed like a constant life of deprivation, which just wasn’t very fun. I swam for exercise (at one point twice a day 5 days a week), and yet was always exhausted. Now that I’ve found real food that works with my body rather than just the calorie in/calorie out idea, I feel so much healthier!

I started slow. This is the order that I changed things. Nothing in here is very difficult, I promise. I walk for exercise, it’s easy to do with my kiddos. I don’t make it a chore, but something we look forward to. If we don’t get out all week, no guilt trips! But because it makes us feel so good, we want to get out the next week.

Here are the steps I took to get where I am at the moment, and as I try to convey on my blog, I’m always learning and changing. I’d encourage you to do the same, start slow. I’ll put boxes by them so you can print this out and stick it on your kitchen cork board and check things off if you’d like. Seeing it out on paper might inspire your family to take interest as well! I know my husband doesn’t want to read nutritional books, but if he glances at something I’m reading on a blog he likes to learn more about it in snippets. Kids will surprise you with how much they’re interested in health as well.

“Supposing is good, but finding out is better.”
- Mark Twain in Eruption; Mark Twain’s Autobiography

Vegan/Vegetarian: All those reasons why you’ve heard that the vegetarian lifestyle is healthier? Here are 49 Reasons to be a Vegetarian: A Rebuttal, at Nourished Kitchen. I think a lot of us who are interested in health fall into the vegetarian trap. It sounds really healthy on the surface, but I know that I never thrived on it. I would encourage you to be informed about vegetarianism, since it will help clarify why we eat what we eat.

Swimming: I swam for exercise, which really is a nice full body workout. I’m not sure that swimming in chemicals is healthy, though, so I don’t think I’ll encourage this with my children. Public pools are heavily chlorinated, so I take my kids swimming in lakes and slow-moving streams Milk Allergy: One benefit of going vegan for a couple years was that when I reintroduced milk (cheese pizza at Round Table, I can still remember it) I broke out in hives immediately. That was a good sign that I was allergic to milk products. I had always had really bad seasonal allergies and chronic sinus infections before going vegan, and now that I know to avoid dairy, I don’t. Until my teens, we had no idea that I had a diary allergy, since I had become somewhat used to it, so it just manifested in chronic conditions rather than acute (hives) ones. Have chronic infections, eczema, or other problems? An elimination diet might be worth trying. Water Filter: I grew up on well water, so when we got married and moved to the city, we immediately got a filter to filter out chlorine. Like the milk allergy above, if you’ve been on city water for a while, you might not notice the chlorine in your drinking water, but I would highly recommend filtering it out anyway. We just use PUR FM-9500 Water Filtration System. I’d love a reverse osmosis one, but for now this is better than nothing. Childbirth: I have a collection of childbirth and baby links up here. Once again, there’s a lot more to it than you’ll learn in mainstream childbirth education classes. Reading birth stories, statistics, and talking to a variety of birth professionals (doulas, midwives, and doctors) can help you to have a well-rounded perspective when it comes time to make decisions for your and your baby. We chose to homebirth, so I felt like it was my responsibility to learn all I could. Now I see that wherever you choose to birth, it really is a parent’s responsibility to learn the pros and cons of everything, since not everything done by a birth attendant is automatically evidence based. Switch to regular soda from diet: I was surprised at how hard this is, since caffeine is often blamed for soda addiction. I just wanted to get the artificial sweeteners out of my diet before conceiving, and it was hard, I’m guessing aspartame is addictive to some people. Much easier for me to drop soda all together (later down the list). When I stopped drinking diet soda, I was usually drinking 4 Diet Pepsi a day. Vaccinations: Again, please be informed of the statistics associated with vaccines, both the benefits and risks. There are also ingredients in vaccines that many of us are not comfortable giving our children. Butter: Kitchen Stewardship has a great overview of all the reasons why you need to stop buying margarine and start buying real butter at the store. No more tubs of Country Crock (yes, that was a regular in my fridge 4+ years ago). No need to jump ahead to buying local grass-fed organic butter. Just start with replacing those cubes and tubs with real cow-milk butter. Now we use more coconut oil, but when we were mostly eating butter as our fat we went through 16 lbs a month. Buy Nourishing Traditions and just look through it. I bought it when I was pregnant with my daughter and I think it was a good 6 months before I made any significant changes to our diet. The excerpts in the side bars of the pages and the overview at the beginning of each chapter are nice places to start. Skip the recipes for fermented fish sauce and brains, we won’t start there ~smile~. (more recommended reading here, but digest Nourishing Traditions for a while before building a whole library) Get rid of Crisco: I had been holding onto Crisco for cookies (Betty Crocker’s recipe) but I finally let that go and switched to butter. So do that now. If you’re using it to fry, switch to coconut oil. Bought a wheat grinder, started making whole wheat bread: I read some articles on the importance of freshly ground whole wheat flour, and was interested. I bought my grain mill used (I love buying things used). Now I’ll occasionally use Wheat Montana’s whole wheat flour, but I usually just buy a 5-pound bucket of their wheat berries. They’re easier to store and don’t go bad like already ground flour does. I’m okay with buying whole wheat flour already ground, though, since it’s local and pretty fresh. I keep it in my freezer at home. I didn’t know about soaked wheat bread (see below) yet. I like my electric mill, but I’d also like to get the hand crank mill from Nova Natural to use with the kids. Bought a natural crib mattress for my daughter. I did the same for my son when he moved to a crib for his naps (ahem, or when I thought he would. He is napping in our bed as I type this) Stop buying corn dogs: Or other convenience food of choice ~smile~. Corn dogs were my personal favorite. Now I usually do quesodillas as fast I-forgot-to-figure-out-dinner food.


Switch to natural peanutbutter
: I know it’s different, but the natural stuff is good. Think of the hydrogenated peanut butter as more of a junk food, not something nourishing. I liked to spread the natural stuff on toast first, so it would melt a little bit.

Cut out food dye: I was intrigued by the book Why Your Child Is Hyperactiveat this point in my ‘real foods’ journey. Reading it convinced me to not let any products containing food dye ever enter my child’s mouth. We messed up a few times (marshmallows have blue dye in them, not being able to get dye-free medicine), but overall we’ve stuck to this. And it works well to keep junk out of the house, or at least out of little ones’ mouths.


Detour: Baby food
. As my little one was getting close to the ‘eating stage’ I did a cram session on this.


Soaked wheat bread:
It isn’t hard, I promise.


Good quality prenatal
: I really wish I had figured out the value in a good quality foods-derived vitamin with my first pregnancy, but I didn’t figure it out til my second.


Lactoferments:
I was wary of these at first, but now I love them. I can feel that digestion is easier then I add some to each meal. We generally just add sauerkraut to everything, even hubby has it on his sandwich instead of lettuce.


Soaked nuts
: Seriously easy, and it takes the bitter ‘bite’ out of them. You can use them to make honey nut brittle too- easy! and a real food!

Stop with sodas: We still drank rootbeer and coke after stopping with the diet verstions. Corn syrup, artificial flavoring, no thanks. Now we don’t even like them any more.

Switch to real salt
: It’s easy, I just didn’t get my act together and buy a grinder until way down here on the list.


Humidifier with essential oils
: I was surprised how this cheap and easy fix can prevent sickness and help prevent it as well.


Lots of shuffling with the budget
: Every once in a while I have to really examine how I can juggle the money around to afford things like organic foods. Cutting out the junk helps a lot.


Watched the Future of Food:
Hulu has it for free, I highly recommend watching it. I wasn’t very informed about GMOs until I watched this, and it’s a movie that both hubby and I enjoyed.

Diligent about avoiding GMOs: It seemed overwhelming at first, but now that I’d gotten most of the junk out of our diet and was eating mostly whole foods, I just made sure that all corn, soy, and canola were organic if they were in our food. As far as I know ‘organic’ still isn’t genetically modified. Some slips in every once in a while for us adults (corn syrup!), but I’m usually able to be strict enough with the kids.


Homemade Lunch Meat
: See, none of this stuff is too complicated. Put a chicken in the crock pot. Take the chicken out of the crock pot. Take meat off. There ya go ~smile~


Chicken stock
makes really good soup: I used chicken stock in things like rice for a long time before I even bothered to make soup with chicken stock. It’s really good! It’s filling and satisfying, whereas soup made with water just doesn’t really cut it for our family.


Homemade refried beans
: Cans are lined with questionable material, and canned refried beans are either made with questionable ingredients (msg, ‘natural flavors’) or are super expensive. Making them in the crockpot makes them taste better and they’re super cheap.

Brown Rice: Around this time I finally finished up the bulk package of white (jasmine) rice that I had, and I switched to brown. Our Costco had a bulk bag of organic brown for pennies a pound. I cook my brown rice a long time, a couple hours, and soak it the night before. It softens this way and isn’t tough/dry.


organic beef:
Finally I got my finances in line here to be able do this on a regular basis. If I try and cook regular beef, I can taste the chemicals in it now. Gross.


Tooth soap
: I know, weird. But it works so well, you won’t want to switch back.

Cut out corn syrup: There’s nothing good in corn syrup. In addition to containing GMOs (in non organic) it’s much more processed than sugar. Jam, fake syrup, and ketchup are some sources of corn syrup that were the last to leave my house. It still makes its way in every once in a while, but I’m generally not the one bringing it in ~grin~


Natural deodorant
: This surprised me, it works better than any deodorant I’ve ever tried, natural or not.

Natural shampoo, conditioner
: Super easy. Most of the time I just use baking soda in my hair (I just rub about 1 tablespoon in dry hair before showering now) and I always do a vinegar rinse to condition. About once every few weeks I use Burt’s Bees Shampoo, but still with the vinegar rinse. I’ve used an egg yolk as shampoo before too, but it’s more of a hassle to do that. It works well though. If you’re nervous about it, just try on a Saturday when you can wear a hat or you’re not going out :)

Natural household cleaners: Baking soda to scrub, vinegar for everything else. Essential oil added to make it all smell nice. I got a steam mop that I love, I’ll add a couple drops of lemon essential oil to the pad before I mop my floors. I know this is a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a mop, but with the steam I feel like I can sanitize the floor my kids play on without chemicals. I’ll go around and squirt any spots with vinegar before mopping and it comes right up. I’m still working on this (Cascade in my dishwasher, Oxyclean on the clothes, somewhat natural laundry detergent that could be better) Natural cosmetics: I’m not a big makeup wearer, so all this consists of is a natural mineral mascara, and Burt’s Beeslip gloss. I tossed my conventional versions.


GAPS
: Gut and Psychology Syndrome is a book about clearing up many chronic conditions (from eczema to allergies to autism to depression) through healing the gut. I find it fascinating, and it’s worth looking into if you struggle with any chronic condition. I’m trying it mostly just as a gentle cleanse and for allergies. Sometimes people ask me about diets and cleanses, and this is what I would recommend. I think it would be beneficial, even if for a month. And I’d personally feel comfortable doing it even while pregnant or breastfeeding.


Buying Local
: As I become more interested in real whole foods, I’m slowly finding local farmers to shop from. Most of them rely on word-of-mouth, so they’re not super easy to find. We enjoy local honey and squash now, for a fraction of the supermarket price. I just was able to buy organic grass fed beef for a discount by going in on a share of a cow too.


Juicing
: I consider juicing more of a supplement than a necessity. But in certain circumstances it’s a good idea to look into.

Next up:

Learning more about herbal medicine: Stephanie of Keeper of the Home has a lot of posts about herbal medicine. I’m starting to use herbs for some things, but I still have a long way to go in this area. Get a shower filter: When we were in the country on well water I didn’t think about it, but now that our water is chlorinated I really need to get it together and buy a shower filter. I’ll just get one for the shower and then fill up the kids’ bath with the shower. Or skin does let things through, so we’re getting chlorine in our bloodstream every time we’re in chlorinated water. I didn’t even realize how cheap they were til I looked them up for this list here. Finish replacing chemical products with natural ones (Cascade, Kirkland ‘natural’ laundry detergent, Oxyclean) I know there’s lots more I want to learn I’ll add to the list as time goes on

(part of Works for Me Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, and Fight Back Friday)

Refined Sweetener Free Challenge

Last modified on 2010-06-23 18:37:25 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

After going off GAPS I, perhaps, lost self control and started eating entirely too many refined sweeteners (sugar, corn syrup a couple times).  Some of them made me feel sick (the free Dr Pepper I got for shopping at our being-remodeled Albertson’s) and that was enough motivation to stop those.  For everything else, Rachel from Rachel’s Cooking and I decided we’d do a Refined Sweetener Free Challenge next month.  Now I can get back in the habit of not necessarily being completely grain/starch/sugar free, but just be sugar free while also eating whole grains and other Nourishing Traditions food.

Do you want to join in? This can be a challenge that meets you at the level you’re at.  A couple years ago cutting out all refined sweeteners would have been way over my head (most prepared food, convenience food, meals out are going to have corn syrup or sugar in them) so I think it’s fair game to modify the challenge in a way that works for you and your family.  Maybe that means that all month you don’t use refined sweeteners for one meal a day. Maybe you go completely sugar free during the week, but let it slide on the weekends. Maybe you want to try it for a full 7-day week but not the whole month. Maybe you’re way ahead of me and have already mastered cutting out refined sweeteners, but want to lower the amount of natural sweeteners you use as well.

I’m not here to judge you, just to encourage you to see what you can do! And I know Easter is this month, you can always have that be a ‘cheat’ day if you’d like, or just skip the desserts as I plan on doing. I promise, you can save the chocolate bunnies for May and they’ll still be fine ;)

So, if you want to blog about it, you can go ahead and link up.  If you don’t blog, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Please link back here as well so your readers can learn more about the challenge! I’ll be getting an image up soon for you to use if you like too.


My Particular ‘rules’ (for myself) for this challenge:

Similar to my ‘no pork’ rule, I have no desire to venture into legalism.  If I would be offending someone by not eating food at their house because it has sweetener in it, I put people above ideals (the greatest commandment is love… first of all I am to be loving).  But! This is not a loophole. I’m not going to go over to friends’ houses who I know is perfectly used to my abnormalness and pretend that I’d be hurting her feelings by refusing Oreos.  ~grin~  And I’m quite sure without even asking that my husband will not be doing this challenge, though as I drag him through this real foods journey he is eating less and less junk food, so he’ll cut down on it just because it won’t be in the house as much.

Friday Fails!

Last modified on 2010-03-12 15:04:00 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I’ve had a collection of fails this week- just wanted to share, to keep things nice and honest:

  • I dropped 18 eggs on the counter.  Good eggs. Pastured eggs. Dropped the whole container, it was open and landed eggs-side down; they spilled over both sides of the counter so hubby had to take both the oven and the refrigerator out so I could steam/soak/scrape out the eggie mess.  The whole reason for this is because I keep both my empty containers and full containers of eggs up on top of my fridge, and I have to move the whole stack to get to my crock pot. I could see this coming months ago. And I’m still keeping them up there.
  • I left a pan full of ‘easy’ ketchup going on the stove over overnight. Thankfully it didn’t catch on fire, or burn my favorite pan.  Charcoally mess that took much soaking and scraping to get rid of (soaking in vinegar for a while, then adding baking soda loosened it up)
  • I’ve been eating entirely too much sugar since being off of GAPS.  My parents visited and  brought See’s candy with them last week, I ate maybe 10 or 12 the first night and took Pepto Bismol because I felt so sick I couldn’t sleep. Without fail refined sugar makes me gain weight, I’ve gained 10 lbs in the two weeks I’ve been off GAPS.  Rachel and I are remedying this by doing a sugar free challenge next month, which I’ll post more on soon.  But still, self control? 
  • I thought I found a great OshKosh flannel shirt for Hannah at Goodwill, but didn’t look carefully enough and it had a big old hole in the front. I’ll patch it and use it as a play shirt, but still. Didn’t notice this until she was wearing it.  Really, before buying used clothing it’s a good idea to go over the item with a fine tooth comb! :)
  • I haven’t been menu planning, which you can see (I post them when I actually do them), which means that we’ve been having quesadillas or scrambled eggs for dinner way too often.
  • I shrunk a wool soaker that I knit.
  • All of the above should most likely bother me more than it does.  I kind of said “hmmm” and moved on with every one of these (other than the soaker, I’m a little bummed about that). 
All these fails just remind me of how thankful I am for God’s grace in my life, that He gave me these precious children to enjoy when I can’t even keep eggs from splattering on the counter and running down onto the floor.  He gave me a hard working husband who doesn’t even complain when we have quesadillas for the third time that week.  I have so much more than I deserve!

Homemade Onion Bagels, in pictures

Last modified on 2010-07-10 13:45:24 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Hubby slyly suggested I blog about making blueberry bagels.  I believe he was more concerned about his belly than my readers, but we’ll go with it.  I told him we didn’t have blueberries, to which the response was, well, we do have onions. Onion bagels it is.

Homemade bagels are amazing warm and fresh from the oven. I just made a basic white bread yeast dough, then added two onions that I had shredded (with the grater blade) in the food processor. I’ve done them with soaked wheat as well, they just take a little longer to rise.

Mixed in the KitchenAid. I love my mixer, I’ve heard that Bosch makes a nice one too, but this one works well for me.  I don’t think I’d make nearly as much fresh bread as I do without it. Dump ingredients in and go is good for a lazy foodie like me ~smile~

Dough is slightly sticky, I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not, I’m not particular about it. I added a bunch of farm fresh golden egg yolks leftover from making macaroons the day before.

To form the bagels I roll a ball, slightly flatten, then stick my thumb through to make the whole.  I think they’re lumpy because of the onions, or maybe the butter in the dough left lumps.

Allow to rise on a greased pan or dish while the water starts to boil.  It takes my stove forever to boil a big pot of water like this.

Put risen bagles into boiling water, I have them stay there until they float to the surface then remove with a slotted spoon, placing on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 400 until cooked through, about 25 minutes.  These are darker because of the egg yolk. A little lumpy, but yummy.



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Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins

Last modified on 2010-09-20 22:09:59 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins

Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins

I’m always happy to see fresh cranberries in the stores again! One of my favorite uses for cranberries is Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins. This recipe is from my mama, who also loved to take advantage of this tangy seasonal fruit.  Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins are perfect to bring to potlucks, serve overnight guests here for the holidays, and they’re a nice Christmas or Thanksgiving breakfast.

Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins

1-1/2 cups sprouted wheat flour ~To buy see my Resources Page (3/4 cup each unbleached and whole wheat can be substituted, but sprouted wheat flour is recommended)
1 cup oats
1/2 cup rapadura with 1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses mixed in; this is a healthy alternative to brown sugar.
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup melted butter, ghee (see resources page), or coconut oil
1 cup milk
1 egg

Combine wet ingredients, add in dry (making sure to mix the baking powder with flour to avoid the icky baking powder pockets) and add in cranberries last.  Make sure to grease your muffin tins with butter, ghee, or coconut oil. If using paper liners, drop about 1/4 teaspoon of fat in the bottom of the liner for easy removal.
Bake at 425 degrees 15 to 20 minutes

I double it because these go fast, even though just hubby and I eat them. I also use the little paper cups… because I absolutely hate washing muffin tins.

Frozen Bulk Cookie Dough

Last modified on 2009-12-07 16:36:00 GMT. 1 comment. Top.


My mother-in-law gave me an enormous cookie scoop for Christmas one year, so 12 cookies is plenty for a week for one person (the kids and I aren’t eating cookies right now). I make a large batch of cookies once a month or so, scoop and freeze on a cookie sheet, pop off, and then bake 12 at a time (how many my cookie sheet holds).

The recipe, roughly:

3 sticks butter (I still want to try this with coconut oil, at least part, and will next time)

1-1/2 cups sugar

Cream butter and sugar and add in

4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp sea salt

Mix well

Add in

3-4 cups flour (depending on if you like flat or cakey cookies

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

2 cups chocolate chips

I bake at 375, 15 minutes

Frugal Gifts This Holiday Season: Bookmarks and Marshmallow Fudge Brownies

Last modified on 2010-06-23 19:06:21 GMT. 0 comments. Top.


Nourishing Gourmet asked for this week’s Pennywise Platter Thursday post to be about frugal gifts, nourishing if possible. For “Nourishing” I wanted to direct you over to the post I made on my craft blog about bookmarks that I made for gifts this year. They’re simple and fun to do, and the wool felt that they’re made out of makes them feel more special. (trust me, the wool felt is worth it to use over craft store acrylic felt). For readers on your Christmas list, especially those who are intrigued by this whole real foods thing, a hand made bookmark and Nourishing Traditions or another book (see my Recommended Reading post) would be a perfect nourishing inspiring gift.

I love Kimi’s idea of a Nature’s Candy Box as a gift for fellow real food lovers.

But I also understand that not everyone really would appreciate whole foods, so I just try to give them what they would enjoy. Chocolate. Sugar. Marshmallows. Here’s my Chocolate Marshmallow Fudge Brownie recipe, photocopied from one of my mom’s recipe books. It’s my favorite baked good to give to friends, bosses, teachers, etc.

Brownies:

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup butter
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose (white) flour

Oven at 350 degrees, grease a 9×13 pan
Melt chocolate and butter
In a large bowl, mix melted chocolate, butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt. Mix. Add in flour and mix gently.
Bake for 25-30 minutes

While the brownies are cooling, make the frosting:

4 more ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 pound powder sugar (3-3/4 cups)
4 cups mini marshmallows

Again melt butter/chocolate. Mix everything together except the marshmallows, stir them in gently after everything else is mixed.

Spread the mostly cooled brownies with the warm frosting. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Cut into small squares, this is really rich!

Keep refrigerated. Freezes really well too.

This is part of the holiday dessert carnival at Life as Mom

Make Jello Blocks Made From Fruit Juice

Last modified on 2009-11-11 15:27:00 GMT. 1 comment. Top.


Made only from fruit juice and gelatin, these are a dye free, corn syrup free, GMO free, much better alternative to jello from a box. Not amazingly healthy, but these are a fun treat.

Easy directions:
Boil 3 cups of fruit juice (I don’t know if pulpy juice like orange would work- I used purple grape Welch’s 100% Juice)
In a bowl, sprinkle 4 packets of unflavored gelatin over 1 cup of cold (or room temp) fruit juice.
When the gelatin has gotten jelloish, stir the boiled juice in with a fork.

A little honey (2 tablespoons or so) can be added if your kids are used to sweeter jello.

I put this in an 8×8 pyrex, leave out on the counter until it’s cooled a bit, then stick it in the fridge over night.

More information: Commercial gelatin is said to have MSG in it from the processing and isn’t preferable. Your health food store should have beef gelatin that’s less processed and contains much less (if any) MSG. The MSG isn’t added, it’s created during the processing, so it’s not going to show up on the label.

This is a part of Works for me Wednesday

I’m on twitter now, and Facebook. Come follow, tweet, and be a fan :o)

Alternatives to other unhealthy foods marketed to children:

Sweet Potato Fries

GFCF Chicken Nuggets (can be made with regular flour as well, either way they’re a much better alternative to fast food)

Chocolate covered crispy pecans

Last modified on 2010-06-23 18:37:25 GMT. 0 comments. Top.


Lots of sugar on my blog this week. Last week I decided to take half of my crispy pecans and cover them in chocolate. Melted chocolate in the double broiler, mixed them in, then spread on parchment paper to cool. Broke them up and kept them in the freezer and have been enjoying.

This is neither Nourishing Traditions or Maker’s Diet friendly, since I used regular chocolate chips that contain sugar.

Making cookies in bars

Last modified on 2009-07-27 18:23:00 GMT. 0 comments. Top.


Maybe everyone else already knew this, but I just figured out that I can make a whole cookie dough recipe, dump it in a 9×13″ pyrex, press down a little, and cook. I don’t need a special ‘bar cookie’ recipe. I’ve been doing this for my forever-hungry husband lately. Saves tons of time and since they don’t have to stay in cookie-shape, I can up the eggs (protein) and flour (cheapness) to stretch the batch.

Yes, I am that lazy that scooping individual cookies out on the pan and switching the pans in the oven is ‘a lot of work.’

My typical recipe:

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar, brown or white
5 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3-4 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 a bag, or a few handfuls of chocolate chips (for those of us who buy chocolate chips in bulk…)

Then I bake it until it seems slightly underdone, 350 degrees maybe 35 minutes?

Sprouted Buckwheat

Last modified on 2009-07-15 17:40:00 GMT. 1 comment. Top.


I sprouted the buckwheat (talked about buckwheat back here) and it sprouted really well. I wasn’t sure since it was hulled, so I thought that might have made it so it couldn’t sprout. Pictured is after 24 hours in the sprouting jar. Can you see the tiny ‘tails’?

(see my sprouting jar back here, with wheat)

Real Food is Satisfying

Last modified on 2010-06-23 18:40:52 GMT. 1 comment. Top.


After my little binge on refined/processed food last weekend, I was reminded of how I used to eat. I used to eat pastas, breads, bagels, chocolate until I was overfull, stuffed, starting to be way too uncomfortable without an elastic waistband.

I didn’t realize it, but I just don’t have the urge to eat that much any more. I thought it was because I was busy with two kids now, but no, after seeing how I act when exposed to processed foods, I realize it’s because the food I now eat is satisfying. I do eat pretty often, I just ate some crispy pecans, but when I finished my handful I wasn’t compelled to march right back down to the kitchen and get more and keep eating until I felt sick.

When I was eating more low-fat, low-nutrient (though all the labels claimed to be Enriched! Part of a Healthy Diet!), my thoughts were consumed with food a lot of the day. I thought that maybe it was because I was on the swim team and exercising a lot, but the thoughts didn’t stop when I quit swimming so I could start working. If I had the money for them, I could easily drink 4-6 diet Pepsi sodas a day. If I bought a package of candy, saying that I would make it last all week, it would be polished off that night.

Now I often have high fat food around, and I usually have chocolate chips in my freezer (we do eat cookies! But after we fill up on whole grains, proteins, and healthy real fats) but the thoughts of food aren’t always at the front of my mind. When I was in high school and weighed 15 or so pounds more than I do now, I thought that I just had lack of self discipline. Tomorrow I would only eat 1200 calories, I’d say. And it never really worked.

I do know that some people are able to be successful at maintaining a healthy weight on a low-fat diet, but I think they are very few and far between. And honestly, most of them are pretty crabby most of the time! They feel deprived, and deprived they are.

I feel so thankful that I found real food and am able to nourish my family with this, and maintain a healthy weight. I hope that my candidness can help people who are struggling with weight and health issues. While I’m sure there can be some self control issues (like, say, putting the processed food in your grocery cart, or resisting the marketing of fake food that is so often in the media) having a diet full of healthy, nourishing, real foods takes away the overwhelming desire to eat eat eat, since your body is getting the nutrients that it needs in ways that are appropriate.

Please, don’t fall for the myth that your body doesn’t need fat. Don’t fall for the myth that the only difference between whole wheat bread, properly prepared, and white bread is the fiber content. Don’t fall for the myth that vitamins are vitamins, no matter the origin.

If you’re just starting, I’d recommend this post

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesdays

Confessions (why I gained 5 pounds last weekend)

Last modified on 2010-06-23 18:51:11 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I don’t know what it is about Costco, but somehow packaging everything in larger-than-life quantities makes it so much more appealing. I had been eyeballing the nearly-5-pound (they print the weight right on it) key lime pie for the past 4 Costco trips. Corn syrup. White flour. Sweetened condensed adulterated milk. I had to have it.

And a swing by the discount bakery rack in Walmart yielded 4 white flour loaves of sourdough bread. “For Hubby” I said. In reality I still haven’t completely lost my addiction to toasted white flour sourdough with butter, and I ate the equivalant of a loaf’s worth over a 3-day time span.

And no doubt, after day 2 of eating like this I felt lousy and had gained 5 lbs. The pie was finished on Monday, and now it’s Wednesday and after being back on The Maker’s Diet foods I’m back down 2.5 lbs to 147.5. When I stay eating how I should, with the occasional cookie but not an entire pie or loaf of white bread, I easily stay between 140 and 145, which is what weight works for me at 5′ 8.5″

I’m sure the weight will come back off by the end of the week, without limiting portion sizes or doing any more exercise than normal. I’m thrilled that I’ve found a ‘diet’ that works for me, just eating real whole foods.

(This post is a part of Works for Me Wednesday)

Dairy Free almost Nourishing Traditions Iced Coffee

Last modified on 2010-06-23 18:37:24 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I made an iced mocha this past weekend that passed the ‘husband test’- if he can’t tell that it’s ‘weird’ then it’s worth sharing on the internet ~grin~

In the blender I put 1/4 cup of honey, the last 3 cups of now-room-temp coffee from earlier that morning, and 1/2 a can of coconut milk and a few ice cubes. Blended, poured over ice and served. Easy easy, dairy free, and I’m pretty sure that it’s Nourishing Traditions friendly. I know either she or Jordon Rubin ‘allow’ coffee as long as you don’t add sugar or processed creamer to it.

I kind of chuckle every time I use coconut milk, since one can has 70 grams of fat in it and at the rate I eat it, I should weigh at least 300 lbs. I eat a lot of that stuff since going dairy free to clear up my baby’s eczema (he’s breastfed). Seriously, since going on The Maker’s Diet, I was able to completely lose my pregnancy weight without any trouble and I don’t watch calories or fat at all. I’m not into fad diets, but this one just makes sense. And I’m not one with a ‘quick metabolism’ or anything like that- I weighed 20 lbs more in high school when I was on the swim team, swimming 1-1/2 hours a day, than I do now.

Home Made Croissants

Last modified on 2009-06-01 18:43:00 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I have been wanting to try to make croissants from scratch, just to see if I could actually do it, since forever. You might wonder why a mother with two small children would even try this, but it’s actually not that hard. I just followed the instructions from Joy of Cooking. I actually find that cooking is one of the easiest things to get done with two little ones. My toddler loves to pour things in, or just to dance around the kitchen and watch. My baby is old enough to be on my back in the Ergo Baby Carrier and he’s happy up there when I’m standing and doing something. Not so much if I’m knitting or on the computer and sitting still.

They’re not super healthy, but they’re not really that bad. Butter, unbleached white flour (from Wheat Montana), yeast, sea salt, 1 tbs sugar, and milk.

The hardest part is working the flour into the butter, and that took about 10 minutes.
Then it was mix the dough,
let it sit,
roll and fold,
refrigerate,
nurse the baby,
play finger puppets,
roll and fold,
refrigerate,
play with kids,
take a video or 27 for Gramma,
get the toddler lunch,
baby down for a nap,
dishes,
cut, roll,
let rise,
put toddler down for a nap,
nurse the baby,
check Facebook,

bake

Comments

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