9.29.2008

Menu Plan Monday: Leftover Makeovers



It's Monday still on the Pacific Coast, so I think this will still qualify as a valid "Menu Plan Monday". Ironically, I'm late in posting because I spent the time I should have been using to menu plan to plan a class I taught last Saturday night on menu planning!

If you are interested in receiving the handouts and "weekly meal planning tools" I shared at the class, simply e-mail me and put "MenuPlanning Docs" in the subject line and I'll send them your way!

This week I'm thankful to have to buy very little at the store for my meals. I was able to plan the meal almost entirely out of what's in my fridge (many leftovers!) and freezer! Purple meals are those in which leftovers are utilized!

Monday:

B: egg & veggie scramble with avocado (puree leftover veggie saute and mix with scrambled eggs. When eggs are done, toss in mashed avocado for enzymes)

L: asian chicken soup (leftover asian plum chicken cooked with leftover chicken stock, added a little hoisin sauce for taste)

D: Taco-seasoned beef w/ spinach and carrots (my favorite crock-pot recipe! Kids inhale this--spinach and all. Will post soon)

Tuesday:

B: Turkey Breakfast Sausages (from Nourishing Traditions)

L: Leftover taco beef and shredded cheese on romaine

D: Shepherd's pie (hash of leftover rib meat, onions, and beef broth, sauteed carrots, broccoli, peas, green beans, topped with pureed cauliflower and herbamere)

Wednesday:

B: butternut squash pudding

L: l/0 spaghetti squash w/ marinara, fresh veggies or pickles

D: eggplant-squash veggie fondue (CP) with plantain chips, fresh veggies

Thursday:

B: strawberry kefir smoothies

L: hot dogs, cheese chunks, and peas

D: Taste of Italy White Beans and Sausage (CP)

Friday:

B: Coconut Flour Zucchini-Spice Muffins w/Almond Butter

L: spaghetti squash pad thai (leftover spaghetti squash topped with leftover peanut sauce in freezer)

D: African Vegetable Stew (CP)

Saturday:

B: out @ Farmer's Market

L: leftovers

D: out with friends (hubby watching Duck game, I'll be visiting missionary friends)

Sunday:

L: leftovers

D: leftovers

For hundreds (literally) of other menus made by real people, visit the Organizing Junkie!

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9.25.2008

Who was Weston Price?

In the last couple of years, it has become increasingly clear to me that the government has been heavily influincing what we eat. The food pyramids, the RDA's on the back of every package of food we buy. The subtle marketing that goes on to make us think said packaged food product is "heart healthy" or "made with whole grains", etc.

Sally Fallon calls these people the Diet Dictocrats and their message is "Politically Correct Nutrition". The funny thing about Politically Correct Nutrition is that the "healthy foods" are almost always packaged and they almost always include soybean or corn derivitives.

And do you think the US government gets any direct benefit from squeezing soy or corn into nearly everything we eat? You betcha! Soybeans and corn are the largest US agriculteral subsidies and it behooves the government to get these products out on the market. The soy and corn industry are huge in this country, and the food industry depends making these cheap, hard-to-digest "vegetables" (if you can call them that) edible. Soy and corn are cheap to grow, and easy to sell as they're puffed, packaged, and polished for every American who likes their food cheap and fast.

To put it frankly, the FDA is married to the Food Industry in this country in an almost conspiratorial way. Why else are many of it's top-ranking officials former executives of top food and pharmaceutical corporations?

So where does the Weston A Price Foundation come in? Well, to put it simply, they are an independant, grass-roots organization that works to fight the Food Giants and advocate for "Truth in Labeling", small-scale organic farming, and a return to traditional and sustainable ways of cooking and eating.

They are comprised of very talented, independent scientists, physicians, educators, researchers, nutritionists, farmers, ranchers, and regular old people like you and me. They get no money from the Dairy or Beef/Cattle industry. They promote healthy, whole foods such as Raw Milk and are lobbying in Washington DC and at the state level to get the unconstitutional bans on raw milk lifted in many states.

Please take a moment, if you are not familiar with the foundation, to view this very interesting video:



Please consider joining me in becoming a member of this great organization. The information the WAPF provided for me has literally saved my children's lives. Without the research and information I've found through them, not to mention the support in other members, I would have two very sick children right now.

This foundation has provided an alternative to the predominant message that our health is out of our hands.

I am amazed as I daily witness the miraculous healings of those who have returned to the diet that, for ages before us, sustained human life. I give God the glory for this Foundation. This organization needs support from "viewers like you". Let's send a message to the Diet Dictocrats in Washington by adding to the numbers of the Weston A. Price Foundation!

You can find more information about the foundation at the Weston A Price website.

Oh and one more reason to join: You will receive an outstanding quarterly journal full of relevant, intriguing articles and practical tips for feeding your family!

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9.21.2008

Menu Plan Monday: A Week of Slow-Cooker recipes!



The challenge this week is going to be getting my slowcooker scrubbed and clean enough to use for the next day! I'm going to wish I had two!
As the lovely Indian Summer we've been enjoying here in Oregon fades to dark, cool, and cozy, I've been inspired to try something I've never done before: An entire week's worth of Crock-Pot recipes!
Several years ago, my dear mother bought me a simple slow-cooker recipe book that's been indespensible! I hope dear Mabel Hoffman won't mind my sharing a few recipes that I'm going to try this week.




Since summer' s bounty is still being enjoyed from the farmer's market and CSA, including 13 lbs of plums I picked last week, I found inspiration in the chapter entitled "From the Garden to the Slow Cooker". I will post my favorite recipes (after we try them) here to share them.

Why Slow-Cooking? Simple. Easy to prepare. Do you have to ask?!?!?! I have found the perfect time in my day to prep my slow-cooker (after coming home from taking Kirsten to preschool, which thankfully is only a 2-minute walk from our house!). I can literally fix it and forget about it until the "natives" are clammouring for food!

This week I'm only posting dinner, since breakfast is always the same rotation of eggs with some sort of veggie and meat (bacon or sausage). Lunches are always leftovers, and I've learned to give Kirsten only fresh veggies and 1 "meaty" thing (whether leftovers, soup, or a hot dog) for the three days she takes her lunch to school.

This Week's Dinners:
Monday: Plum-glazed Asian Chicken (CP), sauteed spinach w/ garlic,ginger, and scallions
To do: Make Ginger-Nectarine Chutney
Tuesday: Ragout of Red Cabbage with Port (CP), Chicken Apple Sausages
To do: Make Marinara Sauce out of all my overripe tomatoes and basil!
Wednesday: Eggplant and butternut squash "fondue" (CP) with a variety of dippers (sugar snap peas, cucumber rounds, carrots, celery, and sunflower seed crackers)
To do: Defrost Ribs.
Thursday: Ribs w/ Ginger-Nectarine Chutney (CP), Sauteed Veggies

Friday: Spaghetti Squash w/ Marinara Sauce

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Leftovers

For more ideas and inspiration, visit the Organizing Junkie!

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5 Ways my kids love to eat Butternut Squash

Butternut squash has become a staple in our home, thanks to being on the GAPS/Standard Carbohydrate Diet. Low in carbohydrates and high in nutrition, this vegetable can meld into sweet or savory dishes. One butternut squash usually provides about 4-5 cups of puree, which can stretch for several meals.

Making squash puree couldn't be easier. Some sources say "peal, dice, and steam". That's way too much work for me. I stick my whole butternut squash (uncut) on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes (or when it has dark brown "welts" on it). I let it cool, slice it in half lengthwise (see picture). The skin just falls off and the seedy pulp can be discarded. Carefully spoon out the squash and place in your food processor. Process until smooth.

* Squash Pudding: Blend 1-2 cups of squash puree with 2 Tbs coconut oil, 1/2 tsp (or so) of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice, and 2 (or more) egg yolks from pastured hens. Add some honey or agave nectar to taste; 1 TBS does the job for us! This can be eaten as is, or if you are worried about the egg yolks , bake in a pie pan for 30 minutes at 350. My kids lick the bowl and ask for seconds every time! A great breakfast or dessert!

*Macaroni and "Squash" Cheese: We are off all noodles now, but back when we could eat them, I'd use Brown Rice Elbow Noodles and top with with this sensational squash cheese sauce. 1 cup squash pureed with 1/2 cup of milk or cream and 1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar. Add salt and pepper to taste, and garlic powder if you like. This is a delicious way to enjoy "hidden" vegetables in a wonderful comfort food. (Credit: Jessica Seinfeld's "Deceptively Delicious" for inspiration).

*Peanut Butter Squash Brownies: These are totally amazing. I give props to KerryAnn of Cooking Traditional Foods for coming up with this incredible GAPS-friendly and delicious dessert! Super easy to make, it contains only 5 ingredients, egg, peanut butter, honey, butternut squash, and baking soda! No grains of any kind! Go here to check it out!


*Instead of Mashed Potatoes: I blend a bit of cumin and butter with the squash and it whips up great! I also use this as a topper for Shepherds Pie (aka the great leftover makeover meal....scroll down the link page to get to it!)

*Butternut Squash Fries: Ok, I haven't tried this one yet, but I'm totally excited to. Check it out at Martha Stewart's website.

Photo credit: www.harvestsensations.com

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Coconut Flour Honey Muffins

Thank heaven for coconut flour! All I can say is that this is a miracle flour for our family! It's low carb and high in fiber and has that wonderful "bread-like" texture that we crave sometimes, without the gluten and carbs!

Many of you have asked me to share our Honey Muffin recipe. Instead of posting the recipe, I will direct you to it. Go here for a GREAT website on cooking with coconut flour. I'll give credit where credit is due!

Also, if I haven't mentioned it before, Bruce Fife's _Cooking with Coconut Flour_ is a must have for low-carb, gluten-free, Gaps-friendly cooking! You can follow this link to order a copy for yourself:

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9.14.2008

Back from the Netherworld: Another Week's Menus

I feel like such an inconsistant blogger. My internet connection is still very unreliable....but perhaps it's okay that I didn't have this "distraction" tempting me last week. I needed every free moment last week (after the kids were asleep) to prep snacks, lunches, etc. for Kirsten's school lunch. I've kind of gotten into a routine. I basically make coconut flour muffins every other night for quick lunches and snacks. This week, I've included menu plans for Kirsten's lunches as well.

Monday:

B: egg/veggie scramble with avocado
L: Salad with chevre, walnuts, pickled beets and pears
(for the kids: cheese, pickles, and leftovers!)
D: pot roast (crock pot) w/ sauteed eggplant

To do: Make muffins, dehydrate leftover eggplant slices for "chips"

Tuesday:
B: bacon and eggs with avocado
L: l/o roast, green peas, sauteed chard, muffins
D: cabbage burger bake (crock pot)

To do: Defrost and brine lamb shoulder

Wednesday:
B: Muffins and vegetable juice
L: Mussels & Veggies (Kirsten: leftover cabbage burger bake, crackers & butter)
D: Tunafish curry

To do: Make butternut squash pudding. Make chicken stock.

Thursday:
B: Breakfast sausage and squash pudding.
L: Veggie saute and l/o curry (Kirsten: hot dog, veggies, muffins)
D: braised lamb & green beans

To do: Soak white beans.

Friday:
B: scrambled eggs/veggies
L: leftovers
D: Mexican soup

To do: Make cookies for church Saturday.

Weekends have become "whatever's left" so I'm not going to plan for them anymore! For more menu planning inspiration, visit the Organizing Junkie!

Read more!

9.05.2008

Gaps Update

Well, the past 2 weeks have been a total paradigm shift for me and my cooking, but since I posted a few weeks ago that I felt "God was leading us to Gaps" I have felt totally confirmed in that! It's so hard to believe that I was so blind to what I needed to be doing for my family for so long. I'm not going to be hard on myself, but gerr. I think it was the lazy factor that kept me from delving into this sooner. It's not an easy diet.

A quote from _Breaking the Viscious Cycle_by Elaine Gottschall:

"The strictness of this diet cannot be overemphasized nor should the difficulty
of adhering to it be minimized. Faithful observance requires intelligence and
vigilance on the part of those taking care of the individual or on the part of
the person who cooks for himself or herself. It is surprising how many times a
child will manage, despite the best supervision, to get hold of forbidden food.
It is equally surprising how may parents will decide, despite all warnings, that
"just a taste" of ice cream, cookie, or candy will do no harm. Such
infringements will seriously delay recovery and it is unwise to underake this
regimen unless you are willing to follow it with fanatical adherence." Consider an infringement the 'miracle grow' of pathogenic gut bacteria.





This couldn't be more true for us! I know people around me must think I'm crazy for what I'm putting my daughter through. I can't even let her eat and apple right now! But I've totally noticed that when we keep to the diet, things are good, and if we slip up (like last week I gave her a banana) and all hell broke loose; literally!

My family have been such troopers. And they haven't exactly been deprived. We've been feasting on delicious soups and roasts and tons of fresh veggies sauteed in butter and coconut oil.

It was so sweet to see how excited my two kids were that they could eat unlimited "zucchini chips". I made these using my dehydrator and I marinated the zukes with a fresh herb vinaigrette I'd made from thyme, rosemary, and chives growing in my garden. I got this awesome Herb N Serve



for my birthday which I used to make the marinade! Anyway, after baking the chips in the oven until crispy, I transferred them into my dehydrator

overnight and they totally satisfied my children's need for something "crispy and crunchy". It was great to have something "snacky" again, since I've pulled back on nuts for the time being.

Kirsten's digestive system just needs time to heal. There are days when she's really low on energy and just wants to drink lots of water. I think this is because her body needs to flush out the yeast that are dying. Other days she just wants to eat and eat and eat...actually, this is most days. I need to be prepared basically at any time of day (including 5 am!) to feed her something nourishing. Her blood sugar is still so erratic and I just know that I need to feed her when she's hungry.

My husband and I often remark that she still has the metabolism of a newborn and needs to "eat on demand". Some of the other things that have been a hit during the "phase one" of Gaps diet are:

* Hard boiled eggs (very portable too)
* My sunflower seed crakers
* Coconut Macaroons
* Zucchini chips from this book
* Soup, any and every kind

One thing is for certain, though. One little "indulgence" of extra sugar (even "good" sugar) has serious consequences. I can feel them myself, and it becomes very obvious for Kirsten as well. Hopefully all who know us will understand that I'm not trying to be a food nazi or control freak; I'm just wanting to do what's best for my daughter's health.

Read more!

9.02.2008

Weight-Loss Wednesday (and other stuff)

Labor day weekend really threw me off and I just realized that Wednesday is already upon us! We had a great labor day making 72 quarts of homemade salsa with our good friends! We bought as much of the ingredients locally as we could find, which was fun. We literally picked some of the produce on the farm and so it was fun to watch it go from the bush to the stock pot to the canning jar! I also learned a thing or two about canning that I didn't know before! I'm still kicking myself for not bringing my camera and taking pictures!

In other news, I've been meaning to share more of my favorite weight-loss (or weight maintainance, rather) inspriations and I've got to tell you about my absolute favorite work-out.

First of all, a little background on me: While I grew up participating in athletics (cross-country, basketball, and tennis in high school) I don't consider myself extremely athletic now. I try to walk several times a week, but that's about it. I am extremely limited in what I can do with two young children. Pushing the double jogger is my best bet, although I usually don't have unlimited time to walk nor do I always have cooperative weather. Even though my husband's employer is a major athletic footwear and apparell company, (and thus offers state-of-the art gym facilities to employees at a decent price) I still have trouble joining a gym and committing to such a schedule. Time and childcare become my hindrances with every exercise option I investigate.

Videos are OK....but I have a hard time learning from a video. I don't like to have the TV on anyway when the kids are awake nor do I want to monopolize it from my husband when they are asleep.

SOOO, what is my solution? Well, I found a book that I absolutely love about a program called T-Tapp. The website is very informative and that's where I first learned about the program. Actually, another blogger several years back mentioned the program and linked over to it. There are TONS of testimonials from real people like this one you must read!

The Gist of it:

T-Tapp is a program started by Teresa Tapp, a rehabilitative theraptist. The book is very informative about the physiology of exercise and talks about how to maximize fat burning, detox, and eat for optimum health and fitness. It's a very wholistic, rehabilitative exercise program ideal for those who suffer from fatigue or are recovering from an injury. It's also great for anyone who wants to lose fat and inches and who wants a really toned body!

The Pros:

When you do this program, you will see and feel results FAST. You will drop pant sizes and you will just feel your body getting more toned. You will also feel really good because your muscles are working efficiently and are supporting your organs optimally for elimination and detox. The program also works your lymphatic system which flushes out toxins and other things that can make you sick. It's such an informative program; I feel like I learned so much about how the body gains and loses weight and it makes so much sense! You also don't need any equipment or even much time or space to do her workout. In her Fit and Fabulous in Fifteen Minutes program, you really can do an intense workout in about 15 minutes (once you understand how to do all of the exercises).

Her book is also very thorough in explaining how to do the exercises (like I said above, I learn physical movements best by reading about them! YMMV, of course!) You can also order DVDs that teach the movements and a plethora of other resources from the T-Tapp website. She also gives very sound nutritional advise that doesn't contradict anything from the Traditional Foods movement, other than the fact that she encourages people to "cheat" every third day and just eat whatever they want.

The Cons

This workout takes some intense study for a period of time while you learn the exercises. The movements must be done with precision or they are not as effective and can even be harmful. Great care must be undertaken in performing the exercises. Sometimes the long explanations were frustrating to me, but in the end I appreciated knowing how to do all the exercises absolutely correctly!

Overall, I highly recommend this book. I began this program a little over a year ago to lose baby weight for my sister's wedding and I'm still doing in today. I am more flexible than ever and I feel really good about myself after 30 years and 2 c-sections! Of course, there's always room to improve...

Check it out:

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