Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Turning Up The Heat

If your nose, fingers, and toes are cold, it is a sign that your body does not have enough energy to do all it needs to do AND keep your extremities warm.  Your core body temperature really should be 98.6°.  

The warmer your body is, the better everything functions.

So, how do you warm your body up?  Starch, sugar, salt, saturated fat.  Think of a piece of toast with butter and sugar.  Real dairy butter and real sugar.  Try it next time you are cold.  It may take a few pieces to warm you up, but it will work.

Here is a great article I found this morning that goes into detail about broken metabolism and how to fix it.  With one caveat, I don't agree with her position on avoiding grains.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Family Favorites From Allergy Days

In times past ,we have had to avoid certain foods due to allergies.  By the grace of God, that is no longer necessary.  But I know how daunting it can be to overhaul your family's diet.  So, here is the recipe booklet I put together in 2009 with some of our favorite recipes.  They are gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free, or at least have the options to be so.

Monday, October 13, 2014

God's Gracious Harvest

Food grows in our backyard
I have alluded to my lack of gardening knowledge before.  This summer, we actually dared to plant SEEDS in our garden.  And then the chickens came in and ate or scattered most of them.  We did harvest a few carrots.    Late in the summer, there were even a couple of cucumbers discovered.  Two zucchini plants still thrived - of course.  And it has been so fun to be making dinner and ask a child to go grab a zucchini or two from the garden.

Before we moved into this house (7 years ago), the previous owners planted some lovely food producers in our backyard.  Peach trees, apple tree, blackberry bushes, and grape vines.  I love that my children can be playing in the backyard, and grab themselves a snack of delicious concord grapes.  I know they've been eating blackberries when their faces and clothes are a purply-blue color.  

We have added a few more fruit trees and some raspberry canes.  I am looking forward to seeing those produce soon.  And now that the chickens have a new, functional (securely closing) coop, we may even be able to plant a garden from seeds next year.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Homemade Hummus and Pita

From the beginning of my married life, I had a bread machine.  We wore that thing out.  Reordered the bread pan twice.  But a few years ago we found out that model was no longer made and we couldn't get a new pan.  I decided to upgrade to a mixer, as a bread machine didn't quite make enough bread for our growing family anyway.

I haven't mastered bread making in the mixer, yet.  I've had a few successes and lots of failures.  Recently I decided to try the no knead method, as described in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  And I have found success!  

The easiest is pita bread, as the soak time is only 2 hours, with no rest time after shaping, and baking is less than 10 minutes.  And it is delicious!

My 11-year-old daughter helped me make a spectacular dinner with homemade pita and homemade hummus.  We also had mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives with a balsamic vinaigrette.  Add some delicious cheese, and we had some happy, satisfied diners.


3 cups ( 2 15 oz cans) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 cloves garlic
1 Tbs sesame tahini
1 Tbs cumin
1 Tbs lemon juice
Salt to taste
Water to desired consistency

In a food processor, pulse the beans and garlic until chopped.  Add tahini, cumin, lemon juice, and salt.  Blend.  Add water while blending until you get the consistency you want.

Can be served with pita, chips, crackers, raw veg like carrot sticks, or spread on bread.

There are many ways to spice up hummus!  Cilantro, parsley, spinach, roasted bell pepper, olive, tomato, avocado,  Dreena Burton's Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan has a whole section of just hummus recipes.  Ooh, I just found this recipe of hers for Chipotle Lime Two-Bean Hummus.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Zucchini Muffins

 The first year I planted a garden, I planted six zucchini plants.  Yes, six!  Luckily I followed emphatic advice to thin my crop, and reduced it to two.  But that was still far too much for my husband and I to consume.  Thus began my search for recipes to use zucchini.  Here is one of our current favorites.

Zucchini Muffins

·         12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
·         4 cups wheat flour
·         1-1/2 cups Sucanat
·         1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
·         1 teaspoon sea salt
·         1-1/2 cups chocolate chips
·         4 large eggs
·         3 heaping cups of grated zucchini (I did mine in the food processor – took about fifteen seconds!)
·         1/2 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
·         2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line two standard muffin pans with papers.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt and baking soda.  Whisk well.  Add in chocolate and stir well to coat.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, zucchini and vanilla extract.  Mix in melted butter.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring until just combined, then divide batter into 24 muffin papers.  Bake for 18-20 minutes until the top is rounded and  a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean of batter.

*My apologies to the originator of this recipe, as I lost that information.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Having a Plan

For many years, I have had a basic plan that helps make meal planning a bit easier.  The key is to base your meals on starches, carbohydrates, the things that give you energy to go about your business.  I will write more on this later, but for now, I wanted to share the plan we are working off of right now.

Most of these are easy enough that my older kids (14 and 11.5) can make them without much help.  And they are all flexible, allowing us to add whatever and as many vegetables as we want.

For example, Monday night is pasta.  So pasta is the base of the meal.  Last week we used spaghetti, an organic pasta sauce, onions, carrots, and our own garden-fresh zucchini.  Tuesday's dinner was my favorite slow cooker curry, served with rice and naan bread.  On Wednesday, it was minestrone with sourdough bread.

Slow Cooker Veg Curry

Slow Cooker Veg Curry

1 Tbs coconut oil
2 large carrots, sliced on a diagonal
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs curry powder (I love Spice Hunter’s!)
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
8 oz green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 ½ cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed if using canned
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
½ cup coconut milk
1 ½ tsp salt

Heat the oil in the slow cooker on high.  Add carrots and onion.  Cover and cook for 30 minutes while prepping rest of ingredients.  Add the garlic, curry, coriander, and cayenne, stir to coat.

Add potatoes, green beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, and stock.  Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Just before serving, stir in the peas, coconut milk and salt.  Taste to adjust the seasonings.

Serve over rice or with naan bread.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Foreign Food Experiment

I love trying new things.  I am hoping to get my children to love it, too.  

Years ago I read a book called Hungry Planet.  It was amazing, to see what food for a week for the whole family looked like in different parts of the world.  
What the World Eats, Time Magazine
The Ayme Family of Tingo, Equador

A few years ago, I read the book French Kids Eat Everything, which talked about the preschool lunch in France.  Four courses of real food.  I was inspired!  We had our own four course meal the next day.

I really enjoyed the experience and have been talking up the idea of trying more cuisines with my family.  Another goal is to teach my children to cook.  In France, even the three-year-olds learn to bake cakes. 

After years of searching and experimenting, I have come back to what I knew before, that a whole-foods, plant-based diet, is the optimal diet for humans.  This blog will focus on how to raise a family on wholesome, nourishing foods, and yet equip them for living in the real world.