Monday, April 27, 2009

Meal Plan Monday


Menu Plan Monday

Samuel turns 4 on Tuesday. Crazy how fast time flies! We are doing pizza and cake with Nonni and Grampy at church. He is so excited!

And we did not eat most of last week's meals, so I'm basically doing the same meals again, as I have the food for them still.

Breakfast: Mostly eggs, bacon, kefir or yogurt and raw milk. One day we do sourdough pancakes and one day we do french toast casserole. I did not make these last week, so I'll post them again in case I get a chance-Sweet Potato Struesel Muffins, and soaked oatmeal blueberry muffins.

Lunch, served with kombucha for all:
Monday: Hot Dogs (Applegate Farms) and French Fries
Tuesday:
Puzo's Pizza and Coconut Chocolate Cake
Wednesday: Chicken Liver Crostini with apple
Thursday:
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Friday: Pepperoni Pizza (sourdough pizza dough, applegate farms pepperoni, onions, peppers and mushrooms)
Saturday: Garden Salad with poppyseed dressing and leftover meat
Sunday: Roast Chicken and frozen veggies

Supper: Generally leftovers, popcorn and smoothie, PB& honey sandwiches or veggies and PB.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Starting our Square Foot Garden

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I wasn't sure it was actually going to happen. We tend to get some great ideas, but don't always follow through on them. But, Drew and his dad picked up the wood for our boxes yesterday, and Drew actually finished the first one today. He was so proud. 'It looks like a coffin, but it's the best box ever!'. He even called his mom to tell her about it. :) He's too cute!

Check out the Square Foot Garden Website. It's a great concept and I was so excited to find it. I really wanted to try container gardening, but kept running up against issues. This addresses every one of my issues, so I'm excited to try it out!

I'll update as we decide what we're going to grow. We were planning on just transplants, to help us be successful our first year. But, Drew found a bunch of heirloom seeds on ebay and now he's dying to try them out. So, we'll decide as we go probably. I prefer heirloom from seeds, for a lot of reasons. But I also want us to be at least semi-successful our first year. :)

I am also going to put holes in a garbage can and plant potatoes, and we are going to buy hanging bags, or make a post of some sort and grow strawberries.

Here is to our first try at growing our own veggies and fruit...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Meal Plan Monday


Menu Plan Monday


I am going to try doing this a little different. I like change for change sake sometimes. :)

Drew's birthday is Monday. I'm so very glad he was born! We will celebrate with his family for supper Monday night. His sister and her husband are leaving for a 2 week trip to Africa on Tuesday, so we're excited to get to see them and pray with them before they leave.

Breakfast: Mostly eggs, bacon, kefir or yogurt and raw milk. One day we do sourdough pancakes and one day we do french toast casserole. Here are a few recipes I'd like to try this week, if I get to them-Sweet Potato Struesel Muffins, and soaked oatmeal blueberry muffins.

Lunch, served with kombucha for all:
Monday: Hot Dogs (Applegate Farms) and French Fries
Tuesday:Quinoa, Feta and Swiss Chard with Coconut Chocolate Cake (I don't want to try the cake with Drew's family, so we'll celebrate his birthday 2 days in a row *grins*)
Wednesday: Chicken Liver Crostini with apple (I'm going out on a limb here, but I want to get creative with liver)
Thursday:

Friday: Pepperoni Pizza (I finally bought Applegate Farm's pepperoni)
Saturday: Garden Salad with poppyseed dressing and leftover meat
Sunday: Roast Chicken and frozen veggies

Supper: Generally leftovers, popcorn and smoothie, PB& honey sandwiches or veggies and PB. I need to work on our suppers. Drew is at work, so it's just the kids and I and I'm not willing to fight many food battles at that point. So I hope to get more creative with this meal soon. Ideally, I'd like to find different toppings/dips for toast, crackers, or cup up veggies. Not JUST PB and Honey all the time. :) I want to try this cheese cracker recipe. And maybe try out a strained yogurt dip, with some garlic and onion powder.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Caramel Corn Recipe

**We enjoyed some caramel corn as a treat at the Bronx Zoo a few days after I posted this. Here is a picture of Myia enjoy it along with a vanilla kefir milk shake. **













I know one ought only eat sweets a few times a week. But that just 'ain't gonna happen' around here! So, I figure, rather then try to go without and end up binging, I'm going to try to provide more nourishing forms of sweets and hope that helps in curbing the sweet addiction some. I am, by far, the worst in the family. Even the kids are not as addicted as myself. Or maybe, they just don't have access to sweets and forget about them more easily. If they see them, they want them. But, out of sight, out of mind for the most part. That, unfortunately, is not true of me.

Growing up, caramel corn was by far, my favorite treat. And, it still is. I was excited to find this recipe for a reasonably nourishing recipe for it. I added some vanilla to make it more like I remember it. It takes about 30 minutes, start to finish, and it's truly delicious!

My friend is going to try making it sugar free, with molasses instead. If she comes up with something good, I'll add it here.

Caramel Corn Recipe


Ingredients:

1/3 cup of unpopped corn
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Pop corn and put in a pan with sides (I use my glass pyrex).

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add maple syrup, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Take off burner and add vanilla.

Pour over popcorn and mix well.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Served with a glass of kombucha or raw milk and it's heavenly!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Kefir 'Vanilla Milk Shake' recipe

I really want my kids (and myself) to drink kefir a few times a week, but the stuff tastes terrible! I do hope eventually to get used to it, and come to where we actually LIKE the stuff. To that end, I found the perfect 'milk shake recipe' that I can use to slowly train our tongues to like kefir. I tried it for myself and really liked it, so I told the kids it tasted just like an ice cream milk shake, but they could not taste it, as I was not willing to share such a yummy food. Luckily, they fell for my 'trap' and actually liked the stuff! Score one for the mom!

Vanilla (kefir) Milk Shake Recipe:


1 Cup of raw Milk
1 Cup of kefir
2 Tbls Pure Maple Syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Cream Cubes (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a blender. The cream cubes are optional, they just make it a bit thicker and more 'milk shake' ish. But we've done it without also. All you really taste is the vanilla and maple syrup. What's not to like? :)

I serve it with a straw and the kids love it.

Here is a picture of Sam drinking some at the Bronx Zoo.

Over time, I hope to switch over to all kefir, and then, eventually, wean ourselves down to less maple syrup and vanilla. Maybe next year we'll be there....

Monday, April 13, 2009

Meal Plan Monday


Menu Plan Monday


Monday
Breakfast: Bacon, Fried Eggs and Kefir Vanilla Milk Shakes
Lunch: Nacho Spuds

Dinner: Tuna Sandwiches

Tuesday
Breakfast:
Bacon, Fried Eggs and Yogurt
Lunch:
Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches and Kombucha
Dinner: Nacho Spud Leftovers

Wednesday

Breakfast: Bacon, Fried Eggs and Yogurt
Lunch: Chicken and Rice with peanut sauce
Dinner:
Ham and Cheese Sandwich leftovers



Thursday

Breakfast: Sourdough Pancakes and Maple Syrup and Kefir Vanilla Milk Shakes
Lunch: Pepperoni, Pepper, Onion and Mushroom Pizza
Dinner:
Popcorn and Smoothie

Friday
Breakfast: Cheese Scrambled Eggs, Bacon and Yogurt
Lunch: Fish Cakes and Fries

Dinner: Leftover Pizza


Saturday

Breakfast:French Toast and Yogurt
Lunch: Cobb Salad

Dinner: Popcorn and Strawberry/spinach smoothies

Sunday
Breakfast: Fried Egg and Bacon and Kefir Vanilla Milk Shakes
Lunch: Roast Chicken with Green Beans

Dinner: PB& honey sandwiches

Monday, April 6, 2009

Meal Plan Monday


Menu Plan Monday


Monday
Breakfast: Bacon, Fried Eggs and Yogurt
Lunch: Marinated Steak and Fried mushrooms and onion
Dinner: Tuna Sandwiches

Tuesday
Breakfast:
Bacon, Fried Eggs and Yogurt
Lunch:
Clam Chowder (we call it gum soup and the kids love it!)
Dinner: PB&Honey sourdough sandwiches

Wednesday
Breakfast: Bacon, Fried Eggs and Yogurt
Lunch: Fried Liver and Onions
Dinner:
Popcorn and Veggies


Thursday
Breakfast: Sourdough Pancakes and Maple Syrup and yogurt
Lunch: Chicago Style Stuffed Pizza (with my sourdough pizza crust-we LOVED it last time!)
Dinner:
PB&Honey

Friday
Breakfast: Cheese Scrambled Eggs, Bacon and Yogurt
Lunch: Fish Cakes and Fries
Dinner: Leftover Pizza

Saturday
Breakfast:French Toast and Yogurt
Lunch: Veggie Salad
Dinner: Popcorn and Strawberry/spinach smoothies

Sunday
Breakfast: Fried Egg and Bacon
Lunch: Roast Chicken with Green Beans
Dinner: PB& honey sandwiches

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Kombucha

I learned about kombucha (Kom-Booo-cha.) from my Nourishing Traditions cookbook, and have since heard about it from many different blogs, websites and other books I've read. I was convinced of it's health value, but still nervous to try it.

Whole Foods Market sells bottled GT kombucha. It's almost $4 for a 16 oz glass. I tasted the mango one and really did not like it. But after much research, I decided it was something I had to add to our daily fare. I finally located a 'SCOBY' from my local Amish Farmer, paid $6 for it and followed this simple tutorial at Food Renegade's Blog. Now, I drink about 16 oz. each day, and I'm hoping to get Drew up to the same, and some for the kids daily as well. That would add up to about $300 a month for the kombucha from WFM. With my homemade brew, it costs under $10. I win all around!

It's even catching on in the 'main stream'.

Some of the health values of Kombucha (and some random websites about it):

1. It cleanses the body of toxins (detoxing): according to this article from Weston A Price Foundation's website (amazing website BTW): 'Kombucha is rich in B vitamins and a substance called glucuronic acid which binds up environmental and metabolic toxins so that they can be excreted through the kidneys. Glucuronic acid is a natural acid that is produced by the liver. Kombucha simply supplies the body with more and boosts the natural detoxification process. '

2. It's great for filling that craving for a soda, s
ince it has the same fizz. I do not care for it plain, but when I add about 1/2 cup of my favorite juice (mine is red grape juice), it's divine!

3. It aides in digestion. Which is why I am trying to get us to drink it with our lunch every day. We all have some definite digestive issues, and I hope this will help us on our road to fixing them. The SCOBY basically eats the black tea/sugar mixture for 5-7 days, breaking it down into easily digested, highly 'alive' enzymes. So it's sim
ilar to eating fermented veggies with each meal (which we still don't do, but will someday...).

4. It seems to aid in metabolism as well. That one, I can attest to personally. I started drinking it a few weeks ago and I could honestly tell my metabolism has sped up. I lost a few pounds, and hopefully will continue to. I had read it, but didn't really believe it. But it really does seem to be doing that-for me anyway. 
Here is a great 'question and answer' on making kombucha.  




5. It's so easy to make! Here is how I do it:

What you need to make your own:
Black Tea bags/leaves
Water
SCOBY (anyone making it will have 'offspring' you can have)
Glass Jars (2 preferably-although bowls and crocks work to)
1 cup of organic white sugar
strainer
cheesecloth or light-weight towel
1/2 cup of organic juice-preferably freshly juiced, but bottled works too

Directions:

I take a gallon of water, boil it and add 8 tea bags (black, organic is best), or the equivilant in tea leaves. Steep for approximately 30 minutes.

Add 1 cup of organic white sugar, stir well, and then let come to room temperature.


Put tea into a glass container (I use a gallon glass jar I bought for $2), put SCOBY on top and pour leftover liquid over mushroom.
Cover with cheese cloth.

Leave it for 5 days in a warm place (I put mine on my counter, a few feet from my stove).


After day 5, I put a cup of organic juice in another glass gallon container.

I take out the SCOBY and put it in a larg bowl with about 1 cup of kombucha (very important to keep some from every batch for consistency and safety).

Then I pour the rest of the kombucha in with the juice. I use organic red grape juice from WFM, no additives at all, but I've also juiced apples (kids and Drew preferred it) and white grape juice. Be sure and mix well.


At this point, I strain them into 16 oz bottles leftover from Drew's Lipton's bottled ice tea drinking days. It all fits in 8 bottles. Or, I pour them into quart canning jars and put the plastic lids on them.


Leave them out for another 2 days, to get fizzy and eat some of the sugars from the added juice.


I do prefer them cold, so I refrigerate them after the 2 days are up.

Then I pull out a bottle for lunch every day, or throughout the day if I'm thirsty.
And, if you live in the area, I'm happy to provide a 'baby' from my own SCOBY, as they produce offspring every couple of batches.

That's it. It's really so simple once you get into a 'routine' with it. It takes time, but very little maintenance. I find that is true of the most nourishing foods in life (sourdoughs, bone broth, fermented veggies and fruit, kefir).