Monday, January 26, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday

Monday
Breakfast: Bacon, Fried Eggs and Toast
Lunch: Brisket and Roasted Veggies
Dinner: Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Tuesday
Breakfast:
Omelets and Yogurt
Lunch:
Fish Cakes
Dinner: Brisket Stew

Wednesday
Breakfast: Sprouted Flour Pancakes w/Maple Syrup
Dinner: PB&J

Thursday
Breakfast: Scrambled Egg & Bacon, Toast
Lunch: Bean Soup Leftovers
Dinner:
Popcorn and Hot Chocolate

Friday
Breakfast: Fried Potatoes and Bacon
Dinner: French Fries and chicken salad

Saturday
Breakfast:Fried Egg and Bacon, toast and yogurt
Lunch: Deviled Eggs and carrots and celery in PB
Dinner: Leftover Pizza

Sunday
Breakfast: French Toast and Yogurt
Lunch: Roast Chicken with Green Beans
Dinner: Leftovers

Sunday, January 25, 2009

French Toast Casserole Recipe

This has become a weekly favorite of ours. And it's so easy to prepare, delicious and nutritious. The perfect combination!

I will confess that it does not leave us feeling as full as bacon and eggs, but it's still very nourishing.

Ingredients:
Approx 6 slices of bread
3 eggs
1.5 cups of milk
1 Tbls Cinnamon
2 Tbls rapadura
4 Tbls butter

Prepare the night before and cover and refrigerate:

Cut up bread into bite size pieces and spread across a casserole pan.

Mix eggs, milk, cinnamon and rapadura in a mixing bowl, pour over bread. Be sure it's all covered in the mixture so it can soak it up overnight.

The next morning, let sit on counter while you preheat the oven. Put dabs of butter all over the casserole. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. I like to stir it once or twice while it's cooking. It does not look as nice, but it's less 'eggy' that way.

Serve with Pure Maple Syrup and yogurt.

Delicious!!

Attitude is Everything

The Bible talks a lot about the heart. And God has shown me a lot of my heart in the last few years. It's been kind of fun, in that, every area he wants me to change, he shows me how my heart has to change first.

So I'm not just trying to make crazy changes and stick with them. I am trying to truly change my attitude in that particular area.

The first area he demanded total change was in my spiritual life. And that does make sense, as the only way to make any truly permanent heart change is to be in the Word daily. So he worked on that for awhile. He showed me that he did not want me to just read it daily. He wanted me to crave it. It was my only real means to a relationship with him, and he wanted me to crave that relationship more then anything else. That is the only way to make daily Bible study a real priority, is to want it more then anything else. At first I was overwhelmed and felt positive that I could never want it that badly. But, over time, he really has changed my heart-with my mind following, to want a relationship with him more then anything. How many times have I made the right decisions about something, or chosen to have a good attitude about something, simply because I knew it would hinder our communication, and nothing is worth giving that up.

Next, he turned toward nutrition. After wading through today's 'health guru's' and fads and ideas, and finally being confident in what truly does nourish a body. I had to commit myself to the actual applying of that knowledge to our day to day eating. A battle, a huge battle, as most of us don't care much for the nourishing food. We'd much rather eat highly processed, chemical laden foods. So I turned my attention to trying to 'fix' some of our recipes. But, the problem is, our tongues are used to the processed tastes and textures, and the food that I really want us to eat just can not be forced to taste like Kraft Mac & Cheese and Ballpark Franks, or Wendy's chicken nuggets and fries. I tried, but to no avail. After some fumbling and frustration, God showed me that I/we needed a total overhaul of our nourishment. We needed to first realize how crappy the processed foods made us feel (last night we ate a bag of Doritos while watching The Shaggy Dog and we all felt pretty crummy afterward-woo hoo!). And then I needed to look for ways that introduce the nourishing foods in the most nourishing way, but ways we can also get used to. Suddenly, I'm in it for the long run. The battle won't be a year, but 10 years, and in a sense, the rest of our lives, as we'll always have the 'junk' out there to distract us.

I also, for the longest time, was trying to find 'short cuts' and ways to provide nourishing, inexpensive foods, without actually being home to make them. Duh! It can't happen. I was at church or working 3-4 mornings a week. And since Drew works 2nd shift, I wasn't about to cook a decent dinner for the picky kids who won't eat anything I offer anyway. So, for some odd reason, I found it frustrating and overwhelming trying to fix nourishing, balanced meals with such a full 'social' calendar. Well, God laid on my heart in November that I needed to stay home in the morning to homeschool Myia and to provide nourishment for the family. Since then, I have stayed home almost every morning, and we are finally starting to eat REAL food! It's amazing! Liking it is still another story of course, but at least I'm trying now! :) I figured out that I spend about an hour and a half on breakfast every morning (from when I get the bacon out of the freezer to when the last dish is put away-not concentrated by any means), 1 1/2-2 hours on lunch. From the time I cut the first onion to when the last dish is put away. And dinner is generally leftovers or PB&J/popcorn type of meal. So little time is spent on that. And, a major bonus, we've started doing daily devos with the kids and Drew and I do our own afterwards. We get an hour, most mornings, snuggled in bed reading and talking about the Bible. What could possibly be better then that?

I truly hope and pray that my kids will leave here as adults with the full knowledge and understanding of how spiritual and nourishing factors affect their bodies and minds. And I hope they will crave a relationship with God over everything else life has to offer. And the knowledge that the only way to serve God fully is to have the best physical health we can. I'm not saying that God can't use those who are in poor health, but the reality is that you can't go to the jungles of South America and teach others about him if you can't walk up a hill or sleep on a mat! It's not just spoiled preferences either. Paul instructed us more then once to care for our bodies. And I don't think it's so that we can live a comfortable, long selfish life. It's so that we can serve the Lord with our bodies as well.

After nutrition (I don't like that word-too scientific and cold), God turned my eyes and heart toward child rearing. My pastor suggested 2 books (How to Really Love Your Child, by Ross Campbell & Christian Child-Rearing and Personality Development, by Paul Meier)
that I read and that really got me started in my search to change my heart toward my children. I still am not where I need to be, heart wise, but I've come a LONG way. But, I'd get so frustrated with the kids over nothing. Or just have grumpy days when I did not feel like being kind or patient with them-and for no reason. And I hated it. Those were the days I yelled at every little thing, as I was feeling guilty for not dealing with the heart issues, that I knew were there. Parenting can be tough, it's daily, hourly and minutely. And life must go on, but the needs of the little ones must be met at the same time. And it's the same issues over and over again sometimes. Throw on top of that, the fact that you can not guaranteed the outcome, and it's downright burdensome.

But, God showed me that my whole attitude was wrong. I am not responsible for my children's final decisions in life. I am, however, charged with the duty of teaching them daily about God's character and love and discipline. I am required to train them up daily, to teach them good habits and to show them their wicked hearts. Since I am doing the same in myself, it's really not that difficult. I just need a 'heart overhaul' in the area. It's coming! I have truly come to see my children in a completely different light then before. They are my 'ministry' at the moment. They are the way God has chosen to allow me to serve him. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

This week, God has been overhauling my heart in regards to finances. It's about time! Geesh! I've gotten the most horrible attitude about spending. I 'need' it, so I charge it. It's hard not to in this society, and I succumbed to it.

I read two books over the last 2 weeks-'Financial Peace' and 'The Total Money Makeover', both by Dave Ramsey. He is a 'Christian' money guru. I have no way of judging his heart. And frankly, what he says makes sense for the majority of Americans. It's a worldly-wise way of taking care of yourself in today's economy, esp for college and retirement. But I have a hard time believing that a person who is living off the interest of his 5 million dollar 'nest egg' is glorifying God. But, at the same time, I can see many ways how it could be used to glorify God, depending on the person's heart and where God is leading them. So I'm not really dissing the guy. He taught me a LOT. Well, he enforced a lot of what I was learning anyway. And give me hope and a plan to get out of debt.

I had decided at the end of last year, that the only way to get out of debt, and stay there, is to cut up the credit card. That would be super, super hard. But, I am more convinced then ever, that it is necessary to do so. Not only that, but I feel more strongly then ever, that debt is not acceptable in any format. It's not Biblical (Paul speaks against owing others, and Proverbs has a lot to say on the subject as well), and it's downright dangerous. Houses are the obvious exception, although I'm hoping if we continue to live the normal 'American' life, that rather then buy a house with a loan, we will save up and buy with cash. I truly believe it's possible. Although not without hard work and sacrifice, and patience.

God has done an overhaul of my financial mind as well. I didn't think that 2 months ago. We tried to buy a house with no money down(this was in April of 2006-not last year). We could NOT afford it. And man am I glad God took it away from us! I was mad at the time, but so grateful now. I want to do things the right away. Because, in the end, it's always best! I'm ready to do whatever is necessary to live within our means and to pay off our debt. And after that, to save up for an 'emergency fund' and a house. I'm not opposed to having a retirement fund or college funds either. As long as they don't run our lives and we still are giving to others. Of course, we could gather a smaller 'nest egg' and live in a 3rd world country off what little interest it provides and serve the Lord while living very simply.... :)

It's very exciting to see God work in my heart and life. It used to be 'heart surgery', but it's become more of a makeover in the last 5 years. Which is so exciting for me to see! It's not nearly as painful, and it has more obvious results. The best of all worlds!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday

Monday
Breakfast: Bacon, Fried Eggs and Toast
Lunch: Hamburger and Rice Dish
Dinner: Tuna Salad

Tuesday
Breakfast:
Omelets and Yogurt
Lunch:
Fish & Chips
Dinner:Hamburger and Rice Leftover

Wednesday-mom mom's funeral-Scherners here all day
Breakfast: Sprouted Flour Pancakes w/Maple Syrup
Lunch: Pasta
Dinner: Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Thursday-march for life-Scherners here all day
Breakfast: Scrambled Egg & Bacon, Toast
Lunch: PB&J
Dinner:
Popcorn and Hot Chocolate, French Fries

Friday
Breakfast: Fried Potatoes and Bacon
Dinner: Brisket and Roasted Veggies

Saturday
Breakfast:Fried Egg and Bacon, toast and yogurt
Lunch: Brisket Sandwiches
Dinner: Leftover Pizza

Sunday
Breakfast: French Toast and Yogurt
Lunch: Roast Chicken with Green Beans
Dinner: Leftovers

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Our Monthly Raw Milk Trip

We picked up 15 gallons of delicious, creamy raw milk this afternoon, and 16 dozen farm fresh eggs. I love actually seeing and touching (or chasing in the case of the chickens) the animals that produce the food we eat. It's an all around great experience!

I finally remembered to check the odometer today and it's 120 miles round trip, and takes just over an hour each way. It's really not bad for such great quality food, esp considering the price! $4 for a gallon (and she fills it to the top) of milk and $3.50 for a dozen incredibly rich eggs. And it feels really good to have a month's worth of nourishing food stored neatly away.

We got home and the kids ate bread and butter (I know, I know) and 3 glasses of milk. I was surprised at how much they drank. But when I went to finish the last of Samuel's, I remembered why. The stuff that we take out of the freezer, while still very nourishing, just does not taste like fresh milk. But fresh milk, literally less then 4 hours old, is incredible! And they are jersey cows and the milk is so creamy! It's about 3 cups of cream in a gallon.

I thought I'd share how I 'process' it all. Hopefully I'll look back in a year from now and mock myself for being so laborious about it. But for now, it works and I'm just happy for the end result.

I bring 8 gallon glass jars and 14 (yes, 14) half gallon ball glass jars. They fit in 3 larger plastic milk crates quite nicely. I use the plastic lids, so that part isn't such a nuisance. Farmer Julie is so sweet and never complains about filling up so many jars. And she insists that I wait until the foam is down so she can fill it to the very top. Which really means I end up with an extra gallon or so of milk then I paid for. She's really great like that! It's $60 for 15 gallons of milk, which I hand to Julie in cash.

Some day I'll get pictures. Posterity sake and all. :)

At the chicken farm, they keep the eggs in an old freezer on their front porch. So I put 16 of them in the reusable grocery store bags that I take along. And I put the money in a little tin. I always worry someone might take it. But hopefully they see me and take it out after we leave. I've never actually spoken with or seen them. It's $56 for the eggs.

It all fits snugly in the trunk, which is nice.

Oh, and the kids love the trip and generally are great. Samuel usually falls asleep on the way if he did not nap earlier. They run around at both places and are generally ok with getting back in the car for the trip home.

Getting the milk upstairs is annoying. But it tests my muscles, which can't be bad. I take the milk and eggs up in 4 or 5 trips usually.

When I get it upstairs, I put the eggs away first (I try to clean out my fridge before we leave as it takes up the entire top 2 shelves and we have a smallish fridge). Then I tackle the milk, which takes an hour or 2. I take the tops off and skim the cream. I put some of the cream in ice cube trays and freeze them. Once frozen, I put them in a plastic freezer bag for soups, smoothies, ice cream and hot chocolate. And usually if I ask the kids to get out the bag, they eat an ice cube or two. :) Mary Poppins would be proud.

The rest of the cream I put into quart glass Ball jars-usually it's 4 or 5. I used to make butter, but we love the cream so much and it makes so little butter, I've stopped doing that. I just buy the butter (not as good as raw, but I can't have my cream and eat it to).

I take a gallon of the milk and make yogurt right away. That way it sits in the oven all night and I have a little bit more space for all the milk and eggs! :) We eat a gallon in less then a week generally.

I have 2 glass containers with pour spouts that I fill up and put in the fridge. I take 5 gallons or so, and fill up the glass jars 3/4 full, put the cap on lightly, and put in the extra freezer we have. The rest I put in the fridge and we drink over the next 2 weeks. The stuff does not start to sour for 2 weeks, so it's perfect. We go through the fresh stuff a lot faster then the frozen. But, going to the farm every 2 weeks is just not going to happen. Esp when I know the nourishing value is still high. The kids do enjoy eating it, as it never fully thaws. So they get chunks of ice in the milk. It's a trade off. :) But when we get the fresh milk, we drink a ton and are really grateful for it.

From the time we get into the car, until I go to bed, it's about 6 hours. Really, not bad for having such nourishing food. And the kids have a great time to boot! School trip!

Well, not real exciting, but I thought I'd post it anyway. Again, posterity and all.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday

Monday
Breakfast: Bacon, Fried Eggs and Toast
Lunch: Garden Chowder and buttered toast
Dinner: Leftover Chicken and rice soup

Tuesday
Breakfast: Apple Omelets, Yogurt
Lunch:
Applegate Farms Hot Dogs and Millet Mac & Cheese (with millet instead of pasta)
Dinner: Garden Chowder Leftovers

Wednesday
Breakfast: Sprouted Flour Pancakes w/Maple Syrup
Lunch: Fish Cakes and tartar sauce
Dinner:Fried hot dogs and millet mac & cheese

Thursday
Breakfast: Scrambled Egg & Bacon, Toast
Lunch: Complete Quinoa with Spinach (from Foods that help fight Fibromyalgia)
Dinner:
Popcorn and smoothie

Friday
Breakfast: Fried Potatoes and Bacon
Dinner:Quinoa leftovers

Saturday
Breakfast:Fried Egg and Bacon, toast and yogurt
Lunch:
Dinner:Leftover Pizza

Sunday
Breakfast: French Toast and Yogurt
Lunch: Roast Chicken with Green Beans
Dinner: Leftovers

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday

Monday
Breakfast: Bacon, Fried Eggs and Toast
Lunch: Chicken Noodle Soup and salad
Dinner: Carrots & Celery w/peanut butter

Tuesday
Breakfast: Apple Omelets, Yogurt
Lunch:
Mini Man Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries
Dinner: Chicken Noodle Soup Leftovers

Wednesday
Breakfast: Sprouted Flour Pancakes w/Maple Syrup
Dinner: Crumbled mini man burgers served over steamed sweet potato

Thursday
Breakfast: Scrambled Egg & Bacon, Toast
Lunch: Brisket, potatoes and carrots in crock pot
Dinner:
Black Bean Soup

Friday
Breakfast: Fried Potatoes and Brisket
Lunch: Margherita Pizza (inspiration: Pizza for the Queen by Nancy Castaldo-great book!)
Dinner:

Saturday
Breakfast:French Toast
Dinner:

Sunday
Breakfast: Fried egg, bacon and Toast
Lunch: Roast Chicken with Green Beans
Dinner: