Introducing Organic and Thrifty DOT COM!

[Insert trumpet fanfare here] Introducing Organic and Thrifty DOT COM! Yes, we've packed up everything and moved over to the new site!

I hope all of you dear readers will find your way over to the new site and re-set your "bookmarks" to: www.OrganicThrifty.com.

In a few weeks, I'll go ahead and point this site directly to the new URL, but for now I'll just hope every one just follows the links over!

For your reading pleasure, you can check out my No-Grain Cereal Recipe, perfect for camping or on-the-go summer breakfasts!

Can't wait to see you over there!

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Weekly Menu Plan: Low Carb, Grain-Free

This week my goal for menu planning was to use what I have on hand and make things as simple as possible. We have a lot going on this week in the way of evening activities, and I don't have time for complex prep. The weather promises to warm up this week as well, so I want to avoid using the oven as much as possible. We are still observing the Apostle's Fast, so we'll be frequenting the wild salmon (which I purchased frozen for $2.99 at Grocery Outlet!) cooked simply with fresh herbs and garlic.

leftover paleo porridge (berries, ground nuts, coconut milk, basically)
L: smoked salmon & herb fritatta
D: roasted veggie pizza with sunflower seed crust , salad, watermelon

*defrost salmon

B: eggs and cortido, watermelon slices
L: me: roasted rhubarb salad kids: apples & almond butter
D: wild salmon w/ basil and garlic, mashed kolrabi, and beet greens

*Defrost Scallops

B: green smoothies and coconut flour biscuits
L: miso soup and smoked sardines w/ avocado and salsa, deviled eggs
D: scallop saute and roasted veggies

B: eggs & bacon (for the kids)
L: crispy nuts, cheese, celery sticks
D: Asian tuna salad w/ shredded carrots, broccoli, snap peas, crispy nuts, etc.

B: grain-free coconut pancakes topped with strawberry sauce
L: hard-boiled eggs, smoked salmon, roasted carrots
D: BBQ salmon and veggies, salad

B: smoothies
L: leftovers, hot dogs (for the kids)
D: low-carb sprouted lentil-sunflower burgers, grilled onions, oven carrot "fries", salad

For more inspiring menus, please head over to see what's cooking at The Organizing Junkie!

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Grain-Free Hazelnut Shortcake or Cobbler

Summer is finally here, and the bounty of fresh berries has only just begun. Every week there's a new delicious fruit to savor, and what better way to enjoy the harvest than with a grain-free, honey-sweetened dessert?

Like many of my recipes, this started with a google search. When nothing showed up, I set out to create my own. Our family's dietary restrictions call for using honey and no grains. It's challenging to find good dessert recipes that include honey! It just so happens that this month, at The Nourished Kitchen, their recipe contest is highlighting the use of honey! So I'm taking the opportunity to offer this recipe!

I basically took two main recipes concepts and tweaked and merged them; one on from a website called PaleoFood.com and Sally Fallon's recipe for Hazelnut Shortcake in Nourishing Traditions.

I was set on using hazelnut flour simply because I found a great deal on it from Azure Standard. If you haven't checked out Azure, it's great! They often have "bargain bin" specials, closeouts, etc. and sometimes you can get really great deals. I'm sure that almond meal would have worked just fine as well, but the hazelnut gives a rich flavor, and a very nice crumb. I cooked this in a pie plate and it worked really well. The texture of the dough is workable enough to roll out and cut into biscuits for individual shortcakes.

Here's the recipe, with notes to follow:

Hazelnut Shortcake

Preheat the oven to 325. Lightly grease a pie plate or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor, whip together:

3/4 c. butter at room temp
1/3 c. honey
1/2 tsp. liquid stevia

Add in:

3 cups hazelnut (or almond) flour
1 cup arrowroot flour
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

The dough should have the texture of sugar cookie dough (if it seems to "wet", add a bit more arrowroot powder). If you wish to roll out the biscuits and cut them into circles (or any fun shape, for that matter!) I'd advise chilling it briefly to make it a little more workable. Otherwise, pour it into pie plate and smooth to even so it can be served in wedges.

Alternatively, this would be a great topping for a fruit cobbler. Simply use as you would in a cobbler; spreading over the fruit of choice!

Bake for about 45 minutes or until browned on top.

Notes: This is a calorie-dense dessert, and even though it's full of nutrient-dense ingredients, if weight loss is your goal I'd suggest capitalizing on the fruit aspect of the dessert and enjoy just a sliver of the shortcake. Savor it; it goes a long way and is very filling without giving you that icky feeling!

Variations: By adding 1 tsp each of ginger and nutmeg and augmenting the honey with about half as much molasses, you get a warming grain-free gingerbread.

If you like this recipe, please go over and vote for me TODAY at The Nourished Kitchen, and check out the other honey-inspired recipes! I'm so excited to add more to my repertoire!

This recipe is also a part of Fight Back Fridays hosted by Food Renegade. I'm fighting back for nourishing summertime desserts, free of nasty refined ingredients!!!

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Postpartum Weight Loss with Real Food

A reader recently wrote me to ask for tips on Postpartum weight loss. As I was replying to her, I realized the response had promise as a blog post, knowing that there are probably others out there with the same question!

After the birth of my first child more than four years ago, I really struggled to lose the weight. I gained an enormous amount of weight (nearly 70 pounds, and my daughter was only 5 pounds, 6 oz!). Since these days the midwives don't worry about how much weight you gain (and rightly so, in most cases!), no one waved a red flag.

As it turned out, I had a defective placenta and an umbilical chord abnormality known as "single umbilical artery". Due to the nature of my pregnancy (a hands-off, home birth midwifery that ended with a crash, 2-weeks-overdue C-section in the hospital) I had no idea of this abnormality beforehand. The theory is that there was a lack of nutrients going to my baby throughout the pregnancy resulting in my weight gain and Kirsten's lack thereof. So while my body kept telling me to eat for my baby's sake, my baby got only a portion of what was meant for her. This has lead to lots of *interesting* "complications" with my daughter's health. I know I haven't blogged a whole lot about my daughter's health issues (other than the food sensitivities) and it's simply because it's a novel. I can't even intro a postpartum weight loss topic without having to devote several paragraphs to set the stage.....there's a lot there. I promise to write more about my daughter's healing journey soon.

So my normally 126 lb frame had an extra 40 pounds for months and months after the birth of my daughter, and since I had never been that size, I literally didn't know what to do. I was an emotional wreck given the traumatic, near-death nature of my daughter's birth. I was struggling to supply her breastmilk and working very hard to build my supply. I couldn't fit into any of my "normal clothes" and had to buy a whole new set of everything for my new frame. My marriage was suffering because of all the transition and trauma.

On top of all of this, my body was malnourished from a poor pregnancy and pre-pregnancy diet. Oftentimes, when trauma to the body occurs (as in an unexpected, emergency C-section) the body undergoes so much stress that many other chronic issues begin to unfold. Food intolerance, hair loss, fatigue, depression, etc. were all affects I experienced.

I also had a horrible case of candida and the carb cravings were out of this world. I would beg my husband to run to the store to pick up an apple pie and eat half of it in one sitting. I remember craving and eating store-bought cake several times a week, and looking forward to any event that might have cake (and unfortunately, there were lots).

After several months, a very blunt acquaintance of mine asked if I was struggling to lose weight. Uh, yeah. Sort of. Had I ever heard of coconut oil for weight loss? No, coconut oil? How could eating fat make you lose weight?

Well, the journey was on, and I began to research everything I could about coconut, which lead me to nourishing traditions, seasonal/local eating, whole food nutrition, juicing, and raw milk. The rest is history, but suffice to say I got back into a size 4 and back to my 126 pounds....just in time for pregancy #2!!! Isn't that how it works?

But thankfully, after encorporating the following principes, the weight fell off much quicker the second time around!

DISCLAIMER: This weight loss regimen started well after my daughter was eating solid foods (after 12+ months). While I was still lactating, her primary nourishment came from whole foods. Thus this weight loss regimen did not affect the nutrition of my breastmilk. If you are nursing and trying to lose weight, please make sure that you are not short-changing the nutrition of your breastmilk. Most of these tips are totally compatable with nursing, but if you have any concerns see a certified lactation specialist!

*Take Coconut oil (1-2 TBS 20 min. before each meal. Antiviral, antifungal, and very healing. Also helps boost a sluggish metabolism, which is the key to loosing weight).

*Watch the Carbs. Eat no more than 1 serving of grains per day, and make sure they are whole grains, preferably gluten-free. If you are sedentary, you might consider foregoing the grains as they are high in carbs. Instead, get your carbs from fresh fruit and veggies. Eat about 1/2 a plate worth of veggies at each meal and 1/4 plate of grassfed or pasture-raised meat . The other 1/4 could be a grain or a starch (like potato). Go easy on starches for weight loss. I personally eat no grains and find that I have much more energy and the clothes fit much looser!

*NOTE: If you are nursing, you can increase your grain consumption if you find that eating grains helps your milk supply. Quinoa and oatmeal, when properly prepared (i.e. soaked in 1 TBS of lemon juice or whey for 12 hours before cooking), are known to stimulate milk supply. Just keep portion control in mind, as it's easy to fill up on grains, and with their high carbohydate count, anything that is not burned off within about 24 hours gets stored as fat.

*Exercise regularly. I loved to "run/walk" and felt that I really slimmed down when I started this. Walk for 5 mins., sprint for 1 min, repeat (vary the times as needed). Short, intense bursts of energy burn calories without wiping you out. I did this while pushing a stroller, so no need for a gym or day-care! I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the T-Tapp program, which I discovered after the birth of my #2. It's intense, and a little tricky to learn at first, but SOOO worth it. I slimmed down really quick doing these simple exercises post-partum, in time to fit into a bridesmaid's dress 3 months later!

*Chill: Try to de-stress whenever possible. Pregancy is really tough on the adrenals and many other parts of the body, and stress does NOT help, in fact your body goes into fat-storing mode when your cortisol levels are elevated. I found that adrenal support really helped me (I suggest finding a practitioner who does muscle-testing, which pinpoints exactly which supplement will help support your adrenals; the same things don't work for everyone).

*Portion Control: Eat a nourishing diet but control your portions! Don't short change your milk supply, of course, but don't eat empty foods (like the cakes and pies I was eating!!!) because they just stick to your hips. Lactation is not the time to restrict calories, but focus on maximizing the nutrition for each calorie you consume!

*Drink kombucha. It's mineral-rich, full of B-vitamins, and is very satiating as a snack. If I'm getting hungry in the afternoon, I always go for kombucha to see if that satisfies me first. If not, then I know my body needs a snack.

*Stock Up: Keep your house stocked with nutrient-dense snacks such as crispy nuts, coconut bark, my homemade "Lara" bars, green popcorn, raw cheese, and plenty of fresh veggies (I love to eat celery and almond butter or celery with a delicious herb-cheese dip). Hard-boiled eggs, nitrate-free lunchmeats, and smoothies are all great for meals on the go, as well. Forget the box of wheat thins!

*Menu Plan: I suggest figuring out a weekly menu plan and doing some big "once a week" cooking, perhaps on Saturday and/or Sunday if time is a premium (as it always is with a new baby!). Enlist well-meaning friends who want to bring meals to instead help you out one Saturday and help you prepare a week's worth of snacks and simple meals. We've found that writing and sticking to a meal plan has helped us resist the urge to go out to eat (which is always less healthy and more calorie-dense!)

*Take notes: I also suggest keeping a food journal. Write down EVERYTHING that crosses your lips and how much. Jot down any notes each day about how you feel. Studies show that folks who keep food journals tend to control their portions better and lose weight!

The picture to the right was taken when my daughter was 19 months old; the time when I finally lost my weight and got my health back under control. Even though I became pregnant within weeks of the picture being taken, I gained a lot less and lost most of the weight within 3 months, and nearly all of it by 6 months. Of course the "C-section belly flab" is probably something to deal with forever, I am continuing to shape and tone my "problem areas" with regular T-Tapp exercises!

What are your postpartum weight loss tips/success stories?

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday and Works for me Wednesday!

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Baby Steps Part Two: Make Peace with Your Kitchen

In my first "baby steps" post, I talked about the importance of finding and establishing a support system for transitioning to a traditional foods diet. This was a very important step for me. After establishing support, the next step is to make peace with the fact that you will need to be in your kitchen more than ever before. Don't worry, this baby step doesn't plunge you into the kitchen and make you change everything overnight. Today we just begin to make peace with the concept that you will be doing more cooking than ever before.

Two important maxims to ponder when making the transition to real foods:

1) "If I want to eat it, then I better figure out how to make it!"

2) "The only processed food we're going to eat is that which is processed by me in my kitchen!"

I also offer the following from Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body, Primal Mind, who says the following in her "Top 10 Nutritional Mistakes":

[from #8 Believing that Junk food in Moderation is OK]
" ......the only genuinely safe amount of trans-fats in anyone’s diet is
ZERO. A single serving of trans-fat in French fries or chips may take up to two
years for one’s body to fully eliminate, and its biological effects on your
system in the meantime are chaotic and anyone’s guess as to how deleterious they
are likely to be. Is “occasional” Russian roulette an “OK” thing? MSG is an
excitotoxin and always does some degree of neurological damage. Is neurological
damage “in moderation” OK? Furthermore, sugar consumption in any quantity is
damaging and dysregulating to the system. Some of the effects are reversible and
some not. Ultimately, it is the cumulative effect associated with glycation and
insulin production that determine our health and life span. We live in a world
where we can ill-afford any compromise to our health or well-being. Every meal
matters. Is “a little hormonal chaos” or “just a tad” of systemic damage

Let's face it: good, real food can be expensive. It's so much cheaper to buy the Hellman's Mayo, for example, then the fancy French stuff that costs $6.00. Most people, before transitioning to traditional foods, wouldn't even consider making their own mayo, yet it's so quick and easy and infinitely more nutritious! (By the way, Cheeseslave tells you how and why you should make your own mayo here.)

Mayo is just one example of a simple food you can make at home for much cheaper than the price of an equal-quality item at the Health Food Store. Yogurt is another delicious traditional food and can be made simply and cheaply at home, and the result will be a much more nutritious yogurt for the money!

The amount of transition will ultimately depend upon your dependence upon processed foods. Remember, most processed foods either didn't exist or were made from scratch by our great-grandmothers and grandmothers.

We've allowed big business to rob us women of the joys of baking homemade breads, and other healthy baked goods! The store-bought alternatives are some of the most unhealthy foods that exist (white-flour, hydrogenated oil-laded crackers, pastries and breads: these are the nutrient-robbing foods!)

Nutrient-robbing foods are foods that actually take nutrients out of your body in order to help digest the foods. Improperly prepared grains are a great example. Since they contain high amounts of phytic acid, which inhibits mineral absorption, your body is actually loosing nutrients in order to balance the acid load processed grain foods leave on your system. For more info on the damaging affect of processed grains, check out this awesome post by Cheeseslave: "Do Bread and Cereal Cause Cavities?"

The kitchen is a place of healing and a place of power. When we as cooks reclaim that authority from the profit-seeking businesses that seek to rob us of our health and our children's health, we begin to feel the grace of empowerment to nourish our families.

The motivation to do all the "work" of traditional food preparation must always be rooted in love. For our families, for our Creator, for the generations to come. The love becomes most important ingredient in all of our cooking, and the true medicine of healing!

This love must begin in us as we recognize and accept our roles to be nourishers and healers for our families. So before we pantry purge, meal plan, or start shopping for all the new "stuff" we need for traditional foods, we need to stop.

We need to understand why we are making the transition and let the health of our families be the motivation to go against the (unprocessed) grain, and to think outside the (mac and cheese) box.

Homework for Baby Step #2:

1) Declutter your kitchen. Find those items which you don't use anymore and put them away in a box. If you find yourself needing the item, then it can make its way back into your kitchen. One big item you may not need anymore is your microwave. I got rid of mine for health reasons and to make more space for cooking nourishing foods! Here's how I get by without it.

2) Consider purchasing some child-sized cooking utensils, aprons, and stools so that you can involve your children in cooking. The time you invest in teaching these habits to your children will pay off in the long run!

3) Make a list of the processed foods you have at home. Don't be judgemental about it; just notice what you have. We'll use this list in a future baby step!

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Menu Plan Monday: Low Carb, Grain-Free

This evening I had the pleasure of harvesting a bowlful of fat, sweet sugar snap peas along with a delicious bowl of hand-gathered lettuce, nasturtium leaves, arugula, parsley, and beet leaves. It's so nice to finally enjoy the early fruits of months of labor in the garden!

Last night we enjoyed four delicious heads of home-grown, organic broccoli mixed into a frittata (wish I could claim that the eggs were from our own chickens, but maybe next year!

At any rate, this week the plan is to continue to enjoy the bounty of late spring/early summer. I plan on doing some strawberry picking with the kids and am looking forward to our first CSA basket coming on Thursday!

In honor of the Apostles Fast, we are observing a mitigated fast (we include eggs and dairy due to grain sensitivities) and am looking forward to taking a break from meats for a few weeks and focus on more raw foods.

eggs, salsa, cortido
L: pea salad, nitrate-free ham (for the kids), cheddar cheese
D: stir-fried snap peas, peppers, broccoli and kelp noodles

*make crock pot chicken stock, defrost salmon

B: green smoothies and almond flour blueberry muffins
L: leftovers made into a soup
D: wild salmon and braised green beans
*Defrost Scallops

B: coconut flour biscuits and jam
L: miso soup and smoked sardines w/ avocado and salsa
D: broccoli-red pepper saute with scallops

B: herbed scrambled eggs with chevre
L: caesar salad w/ salmon
D: veggie pizza w/ sunflower seed crust

B: grain-free coconut pancakes topped with strawberry sauce
L: hard-boiled eggs, smoked salmon, carrots
D: tuna salad, veggies

B: smoothies
L: leftovers, hot dogs (for the kids)
D: low-carb sprouted lentil-sunflower burgers, grilled onions, oven fries, salad

For more amazing, inspirational menu plans, check out The Organizing Junkie!

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Organic and Thrifty Link Love

The alternate title to this post would be "what s/he said". There are several times when I just get "blogger block" because I think there's nothing left to write about; there's just too much better info out there to link to! So here are some awesome links that I really enjoyed reading today.

The first includes "99 ways to Save Money on Food" from Mark's Daily Apple (an awesome blog, check it out). His blog is written from a Traditional/Primal food perspective. While not all 99 tips may be helpful in your situation, you're certain to find something useful!

The second is from Team Bettendorf, a blog devoted to the daily farm life of a family of 14! And, get this, mom Katie feeds them all (gluten free, to boot!) for $150 bucks a week! Here she breaks down how, with her weekly meal plan. So inspirational!

That's really all for now, enjoy!

Oh, and by the way, there is a lot to write about. Stay tuned, in the coming days I'll be expounding on some fun topics including:

*Baby steps, (part 2 of this series).
*Saving money on medical bills
*Almond cereal (using soaked almonds)
*Nourishing picnic foods
*Menu Plan Monday (as usual)
*Postpartum weight loss tips

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