8.31.2008

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Labor Day! Wow, it's hard to believe that September is already here. It feels so crisp and cool outside and reminds me of the telltale start of school. Speaking of which, my daughter Kirsten is starting a morning program 3 days a week at our church's preschool which means that I will need to start packing lunches and some special snacks for her diet. I'm hoping all goes well with that..........I've gone back and forth about sending her because ultimately I plan on homeschooling her because our church's school only goes up to 3rd grade. We'll see how it goes! Luckily, this week is not a normal week and she only has school on Friday. That gives me some time to prepare for the new routine!

Monday:Defrost stew meat
B: Breakfast sausage and l/o vegetable soup
L: L/o braised lamb and green beans
D: Slow-cooker beef stew

Tuesday: Defrost ground beef, soak white beans
B: Smoked salmon and eggs
L: l/o beef stew and salad
D: stuffed bell peppers from NT (make double the stuffing)

Wednesday: Render tallow
B: Roe cakes w/ miso soup
L: l/o bell peppers
D: Vegetarian white bean chili, steamed green beans

Thursday:
B: Coconut smoothies
L: l/o white bean chili
D: Moussaka (broiled eggplant layered with l/o stuffed peppers)

Friday:
B: Bacon and zucchnini eggs
L: l/o medley, sunflower crackers and butter for snack
D: veggie-shrimp stir-fry

Saturday: To do: make stock, make snacks for the week
B: coconut smoothies
L: bacon and cabbage saute
D: hot dogs, sauerkraut, salad

Sunday:

L: leftovers
D: zucchini-ground beef bake

Be sure to visit The Organizing Junkie for more great menu plans!

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8.26.2008

Nourishing Portable Foods: SCD Kid-friendly snacks/lunches

We interrupt the regularly scheduled weight loss Wednesday for Kimi's (the Nourishing Gourmet) challenge: nourishing portable foods. Here are some tips and a newly-discovered recipe!

Kid-friendly Standard Carbohydrate Diet snack and lunch ideas can be hard to come by, but here are some of our mainstays. Most of these are actually hearty enough to be lunches.

*Homemade yogurt with fresh or frozen blueberries, a dash of stevia and pure vanilla extract ( I put this in small mason jars!)

*Crispy nuts, raw cheese, and lacto-fermeted pickles. This is a complete meal in itself!

*Iced herbal tea (fruity kinds sweetened with a little stevia or honey). Rooibos tea is actually good for children's digestive systems, and my kids love this!

*Kombucha blended with frozen strawberries. Yum!

*Green popcorn (Oops, this is actually not SCD-friendly, but we still like it occasionally!)

*Yogurt/kefir cream cheese dip (strained yogurt or kefir; your choice of additions; savory or sweet. I like garlic and herbs or cinnamon and applesauce added) with raw veggies to dip.

*Smoked salmon (no additives) with yogurt cream cheese on homemade sunflower seed crackers (recipe below!)

Sunflower Seed Graham Crackers

1 cup hulled sunflower seeds
1 cup goat milk yogurt (or other)
1/3 cup raw honey
1/3 cup melted ghee or coconut oil
1/2 T vanilla extract
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Night before:

1) Soak seeds in 2 cups of water.

2)12 hours later, drain seeds. Place in food processor with other ingredients.

3) Process until light and fluffy.

4) Spread onto parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden.

5) Remove from oven and using a pizza cutter, cut into squares.

6) Place squares into a food dehyrator (or back in oven on warm temp) and allow them to get dry and cripsy (about 6-8 hours).

Serve with ghee and a touch of raw honey or nut butter for a nourishing, kid-approved snack!

Also, try adding parmesan cheese and herbs for a savory cracker!

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8.24.2008

Menu Plan Monday


After writing yesterday's post, I popped over to Cheeseslave's blog and read this. Amazing! Her post couldn't have come at a more appropriate time for me. I've always known about GAPS, but wasn't sure it was something we needed to do. I thought perhaps that Gluten Free was enough given my daughter's issues.


Not to try to complicate my life reductio ad absurdum, I really feel that God is leading us to GAPS and has laid a path for us. Now it won't be as big of a jump as it might have been 6 months ago. I basically have to do GAPS for Kirsten's sake anyway, and babies under 2 should eat GAPS (or at least grain-free) anyway. And I'm pretty sure my husband's issues could be greatly improved on GAPS.


Anyway, I'll post more on this, but here's what I'm cooking up this week to try to conform a little more with GAPS or the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet).



Monday: Defrost and cube lamb shoulder, defrost ground beef
B: Eggs w/ cortido/salsa
L: Egg-lemon soup. l/o roast beef and salad
D: Chicken and coconut flour dumplings ( from l/o roast chicken)

Tuesday: Make breakfast sausage

B: Kefir smoothies, homemade beef bfast sausage
L: l/o chicken and dumplings
D: braised lamb and green beens

Wednesday: Make muffins , defrost roe

B: Zucchini muffins and sauteed peaches w/ goat yogurt
L: Salmon cakes w/sauteed veggies
D: Roe soup with cucumber-tomato-onion salad

Thursday: Mourn the loss of my twenties?

B: Pesto eggs (or breakfast in bed?) l/o roe soup
L: Lunch w/ a f riend
D:Dinner @ church

Friday:

B: Hazelnut scones
L: Purple Vegetable soup and leftovers
D: Out with friends


Saturday:

B: peach kefir smoothies
L: Reception at my sister's house
D: Hotdogs, sauerkraut, sauteed veggies

Sunday:

L: Leftovers
For more menu plans, visit the Organizing Junkie!

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8.23.2008

Back in business!

Aaaah. After two weeks, I'm finally back online! There were a couple of snaffoos in the process of getting back online, but here we are.

Here's a quick summary of what's been on my mind:

My Daughter's Health: We have been dealing with unexplained "tummy aches" after eating. The naturopath says it's a yeast overgrowth (she has many other symptoms of this) and we're working on repairing a leaky gut. She had lots of factors working against her since birth. Antibiotics were given in high doses right after birth (it's a long story, but believe me, I was the mom who was NEVER going to consent to giving my child abiox!!!) which damaged her gut (but probably saved her from sepsis!)

Additionally, she had a kidney reflux condidtion which required her to take profilactic antibiotics every day for a year!!! This set the stage for yeast to dominate in her gut because all or most of the beneficial probiotics where killed and never able to recover from the daily use of abiox. Enter my ignorance about food at the time, and I was feeding my daughter grains and fruits (healthy, of course!) thinking I was doing her well. Don't forget the canned formula devoid of enzymes. Thankfully, I only had to supplement the formula due to a low milk supply. I think the fact that I've nursed her for 3 and a half years has been a saving grace.

Thankfully, we had the gluten exit stage left recently, and now per the doctor's directives, we are to also send cow milk products, all sugars (including fruit) and starches, on their merry way.

Well,herein lies my challenge. It's hard enough to feed a preschooler gluten free. But grain free? So those great rice noodles are now a no-no? Fruit? Sigh!!!

Luckily, she has been SUCH a trooper as we've fazed out some of the food she loves. She was addicted to cheddar cheese,and thankfully she hasn't asked for it. She's happily transitioned to raw goat milk (to be like her brother) and we mix it with L-Glutamine, chromium, and probiotics. I think the goat milk does hurt her tummy a little, though, so we'll see if that's a problem!

And we haven't gone cold turkey. We've reduced rice to about twice a week. When the cashier at TJ's gave her a sucker for finding the monkey, I let her have 6 licks. She happily obliged and I didn't hear about it again. I let her have bananas and peaches occaisionally....it's hard.


What do you feed an already picky toddler when you can't give her starches, sugar, cow protein, or grains?

That's the million-dollar question, folks. I need ideas and inspiration, especially for brown bag meals. Any input would be much appreciated.

This week's shaping up to be a busy one, so I'm going to rely on my meal plans to keep my head above water. Look for this week's menu on Monday.

Also, I have a new Weight Loss Wednesday report to share, as well as an exciting Thrifty Thursday concept to share, if time allows!

It's good to be back! I've got a lot of catching up to do!


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8.10.2008

Technical Difficulties

Well, my "free ride" has come to an end. In the spirit of being "thrifty", we have been using "free wireless" workgroups that we could access from home. Lately, we haven't been able to log on, so I haven't been able to update posts, respond to comments, or read all of your amazing blogs! I'm calling our local internet provider (sigh) this week in order to "take the plunge" and buy internet. So, as soon as I'm hooked up to the comcast juggernaught, I'll be back in business.

If you would like to subscribe to this blog (and thus receive an e-mail when I'm back up and running) feel free to click the link at the right. I think it works....

Hopefully I'll be back up and running in a few days. I guess I'll be "fasting" from the internet through the end of Dormition *wink*!

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8.05.2008

Weight Loss Wednesday: Eat Fat Lose Fat

This might be a bit ambitious, but I'm planning on doing a weekly review of diet books/fads/etc. that have to do with weight loss. I am always reading the latest weight loss books out of curiousity and have found that there's a lot of information floating around in my head to share! I'm going to post the reviews in a simple format of summary, pros, cons, and a recipe that is inspired by the book.



Book: Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon



Summary: This is a whole-foods based approach to weight loss which outlines a high-fat (mostly from coconut oil) diet with limits on grains and nuts. It includes lots of helpful information and reviews of other diet plans, and includes shopping lists and menu plans. It includes three phases, "Quick and Easy Weight Loss", "Health Recovery" and "Everyday Gourmet". Calorie counts are also included on the weight loss plan. There are many recipes as well.



Pros:

  • Includes sound scientific and medical information to debunk the "all fat is bad" myth.

  • Recipes range from very simple to more "exotic", but the range of ingredients remains typical to meats, eggs, dairy, and in-season vegetables.

  • A "7-day" checklist is provided to help you prepare to start the diet, guiding you through the "baby steps" necessary to begin!

  • Minimal "supplements" are required for the weight loss plan, except for a good quality cod liver oil. There are some recommended superfoods for health recovery.

  • Health recovery has a whole catalogue of ailments and gives specifics in how to use the diet to heal various chronic illnesses and conditions.

  • No "faddy" products need to be purchased in order to do the diet (like pills, bars, shakes, or pre-packaged foods)
  • There is a really helpful list of ways to use coconut oil for external purposes in the back of the book.
  • The book includes a wonderful "resources" section for recommended brands of foodstuffs to purchase that are diet-friendly.
  • The book offers alternatives for dairy-allergic people.

Cons:

  • This diet takes a lot of commitment to changing your lifestyle. You need to be willing to do a "pantry purge". This is not necessarily a con, but for some it could be!

  • Diet would be very expensive if you aren't able to make your food from scratch.
  • This plan takes a lot of work. (Again, not a bad thing, just a warning. I think it's very doable if you have time to prepare fresh meals)
  • Unlike some diet approaches, this diet discourages snacking between meals. This might put you off at first, but actually I've found this method to be effective for me.
  • The authors don't encourage drinking much water to aid in weight loss. Instead, they limit liquid consumption to 3 glasses of raw milk per day as well as 2-3 glasses of a lacto-fermented beverage. Both of these are very good, but I do feel that drinking water (with a little sea salt added) is a great way to aid in detoxing.

Overall recommendation: Yes!!! This is a book I refer to again and again for information, recipes, and resources! One of my favorite recipes is for the "coconut candies". These are little melt-in-your-mouth ice cube snacks that are low-carb and a great way to get coconut oil down. It is recommended that 1 cube be eaten about 20 minutes before a meal to help the body's metabolism and prevent overeating. Here is my version, and I've tweaked this a lot. I think it's my best and simplest ever!

Coconut Candies

1.5 cups coconut oil
3/4 cup of almond butter
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
6 drops of stevia concentrate, or to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or melt gently in a saucepan. Pour into an ice cub tray and freeze for about 20 min. This makes 18 candies (about a week's supply on the diet).

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My daily routine

Posting my menu plans every week has really helped me to be accountable to "using what I have" and has really helped save time and money and stress. In that vein, I've been thinking about how to best manage my time in other areas as well; cleaning house, educating/playing with children (w/o TV), exercise, rest, outside time, and errands. Not to mention time for myself and my marriage!


Some of you have remarked that I must spend all day in the kitchen. I do spend a lot of time cooking meals and cleaning up after meals, but I really don't spend all day! I thought I might reflect on the daily routine of a mother who has two young children, trying to cook traditionally on a one-income budget:


6:30 am Wake up. I like days when I wake up on my own, rather than being woken up ;) On an ideal day, I would do my T-Tapp 15-minute routine.

Morning:
  • Greet children, change diapers, nurse for comfort.

  • Drink tall glass of lemon water.

  • Shower

  • Prepare breakfast for family, including hubby.

  • Take cod liver oil, eat breakfast.

  • Clear dishes to kitchen.

  • Children "help" empty dishwasher or play as I wash dishes.

  • Check "to do list" for any prep items

  • Dress baby, 3 y.o dresses herself
  • Morning prayers

Morning chore: (Kids "help" now, but as they get older they will get responsible for them) 15-20 min. max!!!

  • Monday: laundry (wash/dry/fold)

  • Tuesday: bathroom #1 spiff (spray/wipe down all surfaces, clean toilets)

  • Wednesday: laundry (wash/dry/fold)
  • Thursday: bathroom #2 spiff (spray down all surfaces, clean toilets)

  • Friday: organize a "hot spot" (a cluttered area of neglect)

Mid-morning outing: (Around 10 am) This is the time in the day I designate for an errand or time "out" of the house

  • Walk to park or store

  • Shopping (I rarely shop during the week, but occasionally we get groceries )

  • Farm visit (pick up milk, pick berries, fruit, or veggies)

  • Play dates or meetings

  • Library trips

Home for lunch (around noon):

  • Prepare lunch (usually takes about 15 min. to prep), kids help or play alongside

  • Eat lunch (w/ hubby on most days when he can walk home!)

  • Nurse baby down for nap (he naps 2.5 -3 hours!)

Afternoon (12:30-2:30): "Girl time" with daughter/Chores

  • Play dolls, play "school", do art, read books (one-on-one time; her choice)

  • I try to weave in a few minutes here or there of prep in kitchen, whether soaking or chopping veggies, etc. or clean. I usually "subtly" organize her room while we play to keep things clean.

  • Into the 2nd hour, we usually work together in the kitchen to make kombucha , sauerkraut, or something else food-related. I use this as a time to educate her about nutrition, counting, colors, shapes, etc.

Late afternoon (whenever baby wakes up): "Outside play time"

  • Lately this has been walks (sans stroller, so both kids can get out their energy)

  • Time outside with neighbors (we have a condo with a playground and a large play yard and some other young kids to play with!)

  • Pool or hose time

  • Walk to a "shady park"

  • I basically try to stay close to home because traffic gets bad around this time, kids get hungry and need to eat dinner early, so we often try to be back by about 4 so I can prep dinner

Early evening (i.e. the witching hour!)

  • Scramble to prep dinner while keeping kids sane

  • Once in a great while I resort to the "Old School Sesame Street DVD" for 3 year old if needed

  • Eat Dinner

  • Baby gets a bath, a story, nurses, prayers, and goes to bed

  • 3 year old gets stories and daddy time, prayers,and then goes to bed (both kids usually down by 7:30)

Evening (i.e. Ahhhh time)

  • Hubby and I tag team kitchen clean-up and catch up on our days

  • Check my "to do" list for soaking, prepping for next day

  • Water garden, empty compost

  • Check e-mail, possibly blog

  • Work out (if I didn't get to that morning)

  • Chores (floor mopping, counter and sink scrubbing)

  • One night a week: "Special cooking project" (i.e. yogurt making, pickling, snack bars or treats)

  • Spend time with hubby

Sleep (usually way too late, like 11:00)


Wake up occasionally to child needing something. Called to remembrance of self-sacrifice and unconditional love :)


Sleep.....and great a new day!


I am happy and comfortable with the way my routine has evolved (and I know it will continue to do so), but there's always room for improvement. For instance, I want to make more time/space to just meditate, read my Bible, journal, etc. I wish I could spend more time with my friends. But I've come to believe that this is where I'm at right now in life, and I'm just really trying to appreciate this time. There's not a lot of rest for the weary, but every day there are plenty of moments that make it all worthwhile and I know I will cherish these days of young mommyhood forever!

What's your daily routine??? If you have a blog, please leave a comment and a link to your post. I am always awed and inspired by all of you, and want to know how you weave in all that you do! If you don't have a blog, feel free to leave a nice long comment :)

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8.04.2008

Teff Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten Free/Vegan)

These delicious, nutritious cookies were directly inspired by Bob's Red Mill. Bob's is local to Portland, and they are a great resource for nutritious, affordable gluten-free grains (and regular grains, too!)

I was recently reading in Woman's Day (or someplace like that!) about Teff. I had heard of teff long ago, probably because we have Ethiopian friends at our church who often bring Injera bread, a staple flatbread of Ethiopians, and it's made out of teff. It's very simple to make!

Teff flour is much higher in iron and other minerals than regular wheat flour. These cookies were tasty, but a bit crumbly (but not too bad). I think adding applesauce to the recipe might help, or even a couple of eggs. Either way, my entire family LOVED these, so they're a winner in my book! Chock full of nutrient-dense ingredients, you can feel good about your loved ones enjoying these treats that are free of additives, gluten, trans-fats, and empty carbs!

Bob's Teff Peanut Butter Cookies

In your mixer bowl, combine:

1.5 cups Teff flour
1/2 tsp sea salt

Add:

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 coconut oil (or any oil)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1-2 eggs (optional)

Cream together. Form into walnut-sized balls, place on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Then press down with fork. Bake for about 10 min. at 350 degrees. Let cool completely before removing. Enjoy!

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8.03.2008

Menu Plan Monday: Vegetarian week



The first week of August is upon us, and we Orthodox Christians are preparing for the feast of the Dormition by fasting for the first 14 days of August. In my family, the adults are fasting from meat, which means that dinners will be vegetarian, while breakfasts and lunches will still include meats for the kids from time to time. Fasting is a way in which we cleanse our souls and bodies of toxins, both spiritual and physical!


I am looking forward to this next 14 days, mostly because we gather at church every evening for the beautiful service of the Paraclesis. This is a particularly special service for me as it's provided comfort through many difficult times. In that vein, I'm planning simple meals that will allow us to focus on going to the services rather than cooking complicated meals. I am also keeping in mind that it's supposed to be VERY hot this week! As usual, I have many different types of fresh vegetables to use in my fridge (cabbage, green beans, potatoes, zucchini, squash, lettuce, berries, bell pepper, basil, parsley, cilantro, avocados, lemons, limes) and many different grains and legumes recently purchased at Bob's Red Mill (quinoa, amaranth, teff, garbanzos, white beans). So let's see what we can do!

Monday:
To do: Begin sprouting chickpeas and almonds

B: scrambled eggs w/ cortido
L: leftover lentil soup, salad, watermelon, sausages for the children
D: zucchini pancakes topped w/lacto-fermented ginger carrots and creme fraiche

Tuesday:
To do: Make prosfora bread for church, prepare potluck dish, soak quinoa

B: green smoothies
L: rice crackers with salmon-cream cheese-dill spread, steamed carrot sticks
D: Church potluck: Green salad w/ avocados, cukes, carrots, sunflower seeds, and vinaigrette

Wednesday:
To do: Make yogurt! Go to farmer's market, make lacto-fermented salsa

B: peaches sauteed in butter and cinnamon w/ yogurt
L: veggie quesadillas

Thursday:
To do: Soak beans and rice

B: Fried eggs w/ cortido
L: raw honey and almond butter burritos (on rice tortillas), carrot sticks, pickles
D: cauliflower pasta salad (this is your basic pasta salad, only steamed cauliflower is subbed for the pasta! It's delicious tossed with italian herbs, garlic, and a high quality olive oil!)

Friday:

B: Lenten pancakes from my sister's blog!
L: "Mac and Peas" (Kirsten's favorite, rice noodles with butter, vegetable broth powder, nutritional yeast, and peas), with Hot Dogs for the kids
D: Mexican style beans and rice topped with onions, avocado, cilantro, cheese, and lacto-fermented salsa

Saturday:

B: Yogurt, fruit, eggs
L: leftovers
D: Healthy Nachos (I will post this recipe, I promise!)

Sunday:
L: leftovers, sauteed veggies
D: zucchini fritata (super easy recipe and it tastes great! From Nourishing Traditions)

We'll see how this goes! For more inspiring recipe ideas, please visit the Organizing Junkie!

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