Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Week #2: a different sort of meal plan

I pulled a muscle in my next/shoulder this week, tilling the garden soil. Yesterday I could barely move - today's hardly better. I see I have an opportunity to demonstrate a more casual meal plan style: one that is simpler to prepare, but, unfortunately, does not always work so smoothly by the end of the week.

Here's what I've done:

  • Kept an ongoing list throughout the week of the items I was running out of

  • Jotted down seven dinner ideas (no order):
    • Chicken noodle soup
    • Shellfish dinner ala Paul ;)
    • French Onion Soup
    • Leftover soups w/sandwiches
    • Breakfast Dinner
    • Pho
    • Chicken and Potatoes

  • Ran to the store between preschool and lunch and picked up basics etc:
    • items I was running out of
    • items needed for those seven dinners
    • a few seasonal veggies
    • extra butter for winter (butter from pastured cows is only high in Vit.s A and D while the grass is green, so buy now and freeze!) 
    • local garlic to get us through the winter
    • extra coconut oil and cod liver oil for the coming flu season

I spent a grand total of $180, much of which will go into the winter months (the obvious things, as well as several jars of soup which I freeze each time I make a pot.)

Thanks for tuning in! With my arm the way it is, I may have a bit of a slow week - bear with me!

The next post will be a recipe, I promise! 


Saturday, November 5, 2011


I only missed three after-meal wash-ups but somehow the line-up of scum-stuck, smeared and half-scraped dishes managed to turn two counter-top corners, fill the sink, and even cover the greasy stovetop. 


Tonight I suffered through two hours of dish-washing-while-parenting. 

Why do we suffer?

I don't know. But, after another two hours {this time not suffering} with my nose stuck in my Bible, I've emerged with a little wisdom on the subject. I want to give it to you as it came to me, so that you may find the truth for yourself and go to your own Bible to seek further proof, insight and questions. 

Ecclesiastes 5:18
Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.

Ecclesiastes 4:4
Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man's envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after the wind.

Psalm 32:7
You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

Psalm 119:143
Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight.

2 Corinthians 4:17
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.

Galatians 5:1
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:13
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Hebrews 12:15
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.

1 Peter 2:16
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

Romans 6:22
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 

What are you a slave to? 


Thursday, November 3, 2011


First of all, if you're not following my doings on facebook, head on over there and click "like." I'm still climbing up the steep learning precipitous mountain curve, and haven't yet found the balance between blog and distinctly-more-casual page, but for the time being the facebook page is really where the action is. Info on blog, daily activities on page. At least for now.  

Speaking of which, I have a few questions.

  1. where are you at in your food journey, and can I help with anything?
  2. what about this blog has grabbed your attention?
  3. are you more interested in stories and testimonies or recipes?
  4. ...or is it general homemaking skills and inspiration that you seek?

For the last year and a half I've been writing fiction. I love doing so, but never in my writing life, until now, have I felt like such an endless fount of words! I have one million things I want to say and accomplish on this blog but I feel I am losing your attention because I'm trying to get it all out at once.

Your input really helps. But even without it, I will eventually get said what needs to get said and do what needs to be done. Just promise me, whether it's now or later, if you are looking for something specific from me, please don't let the request go unknown. 

My only dream for this site is to serve-up mounded-and-dripping-over platefuls of Encouragement with Inspiration Sauce. 

And what's in it for me?
  1. community
  2. increasing accessibility {due to growing demand} of local whole foods
  3. the joy that comes from sharing good things

.                                                                                                                                                                 .
Now... some photos from our week...

 My kids and their smoothies:

  • One can whole coconut milk (or *yoghurt!)
  • One handful frozen fruit
  • Two farm-fresh egg yolks
  • Generous dash maple syrup
  • Optional banana
*if using yoghurt, add 1 Tbs melted coconut oil  :)


An easy old fashioned Meal:

  • Boiled young potatoes with butter
  • Natural savory sausages
  • Steamed cabbage with butter/salt/pepper
  • A good ale and a merry heart!!

 This amazing meatball dish:
{from Nourishing Traditions}
  • 1 lb veal or lamb
  • rosemary/onions/garlic
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • beef stock, red wine, canned tomatoes and spinach for the sauce

A jug of ginger ale:
{Recipe from Eat Fat, Lose Fat}
  • 4 Tbs coarsely chopped ginger root
  • Juice of 8 limes
  • 2 packages kefir powder
  • 1 gallon filtered water
Combine ingredients in sterile jar and set on counter, covered, for 48 hours. Lasts for months in the fridge and the taste improves with age!

Lunch at Taco Del Mar:

  • Whole pinto beans and rice
  • Pico de gallo for me
  • Veggie guacamole
     =Healthy enough for fast food!

A visit to the local pumpkin patch: the kids learned a lot about goats and lassoing!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Grocery List and Day #1


As a preface to this rather expensive-looking grocery list/pile I feel it necessary to go over once again why I'm making the choices I'm making. I think I've gotten ahead of myself there.

I explained how I had been feeling unwell and unhungry. I explained that changes in my diet have changed how I feel so dramatically that I'm willing to go out and preach my newfound food beliefs. I have linked to other informative sites and I have talked to many of you personally. HOWEVER, what I have not done is answer plainly a few very important questions.

Q: What is "real" food?
A: Food that nourishes - gives you all the bang for your buck. Real food is food whose nutrients are readily accessible for absorption, food that is not diluted, processed or altered, and, very importantly, food that is prepared in a way that scientifically maximizes it's known benefit(s). 

Q: Why is grass-fed meat more "real" than caged or grain fed meat?
A: I know it's expensive, but it really is worth it. It's even worth eating less meat - if you know the meat you do eat comes from animals who were 1) humanely treated, and 2) not fed or injected with harmful chemicals that decrease the quality of the meat and thus the benefit to your body. I encourage you to research this. I was a hardened "cheap meat" fan until I did some serious reading. {When I find the article that officially persuaded me to buck up and buy grass-fed, I will link it here.}

Q: Why buy raw dairy instead of pasteurized/homogenized?
A: This is HUGE. I cannot begin to answer this massive question. It's a case of absorption again. It's a case of living food as opposed to killed food. It's a case of vital enzymes. If you're not yet convinced to buy raw dairy, please read everything you can. The information is particularly accessible right now because we the people are shouting out to the legislatures across North America to legalize this god-given food in not some, but all the states and provinces. {Plus it tastes better} ;)

Q: Finally, why {oh why??} spend more $$ on less food?
A: Because it's REAL food. Hypothetically, a handful of properly prepared nuts and one slice of raw cheese will give you the same nutrients {and in a far more absorbable form, no less} than three bowls of breakfast cereal with pasteurized milk. Another example: a piece of naturally soured bread with pastured butter is a filling and highly nutritious snack, whereas three pieces of cheeper white bread with a butter substitute might be casually added to the side of a big dinner, but - sadly - add nothing in either satisfaction or nutrition. I want every bite to count. It's about fueling the cells AND pleasing the pallet, not just the latter. 

Now I have a question for you: Would you rather your dollars be spent on inexpensive foods that you eat a lot of and get little benefit from, or would you rather they be spent on carefully selected REAL foods - 100% of which are proven, life-supporting, energy-giving super foods? 

I guess it's public now what I've chosen!  ;)

Grocery List for Meal Plan #1

Cultured pasture butter                             Cabbage                                 Uncured bacon
Cultured cream cheese                            Cantaloupe                             Uncured sandwich meat
Raw cheddar                                              Pears                                       Beef bones for stock
2 dozen eggs                                              Shallots                                  Ground veal
Parmesan block                                         Huge bag of carrots              Chicken sausages
Mixed fresh nuts                                         Cilantro                                   Smoked salmon piece
2 loaves of sourdough                              Spinach                                   2lbs stew beef
Olive oil                                                       Onions                                   Canned tuna {no soy}
Organic raw honey                                    Raisins                                    Coconut milk
Slivered almonds                                      Apricot/coconut sticks               
Recycled aluminum foil                           Yukon gold potatoes                BULK:
Recycled sponges                                                                                    Popcorn
Borax                                                                                                      Yellow split peas
Scrumpy's hard cider                                                                                Black/white beans


In addition to the foods I bought today I have the basket pictured below which is full of seasonal goodies that I picked up over the last few weeks whenever I found a good sale. I'll be using a lot of these this week. Also, please refer to this post if you'd like to know more about the staples that make cooking simple and nutritious - whether you have potatoes or lamb on hand! 

Meal Plan #1

I've tried to be both exhaustive and realistic with this. Maybe that wasn't the best idea.

Exhaustive in that it lists every meal I need to make this week, and realistic in that I didn't include the little details like the fact that I'll be serving hard apple cider with our sausage dinner. Not a good idea because the end result is confusing. 

I'm forced to admit my own room for improvement.

But for today, and for the sake of just getting on with things, I'll leave you with this:

it's for 8 days because I make the plan on Mondays but shop on Tuesdays

This is an unusually pricey meal plan {meat-heavy}

I did this because it's a little easier to demonstrate some basic concepts

Next week I will demonstrate more money-saving techniques {like making sandwich meat}

I  don't think I'll continue to list breakfasts and lunches

Does anyone else make their husband's lunches all week?

I want to talk about lunches - but apart from meal planning. any takers?

I don't want to be old-fashioned 'cause it's quaint, but I do kind of want to eat how they did in renaissance Europe. Oh, gee do I mean that? I'm not sure. But I want to try eating porridge every morning, dry bread with fermented ale for a farmers snack and hearty venison and potato stew for supper. Maybe I'll try it out...
Oh, and have I made it clear that I'm eating seasonally

{I promise to improve my handwriting} 

Those dinners again are:

  • Spaghetti squash with marinara sauce
  • Sausages and sauerkraut
  • Veal meatballs with yoghurt, dosas and beats
  • French onion soup with cheese and bread
  • Beef stew {actually planning boeuf bourguignon}
  • Leftovers or dinner at Mimi's
  • Potatoes Anna and eggs {for me and the kids}
  • Black bean soup

Questions? I love them! I'm off to preschool and the grocery store, but when I return... let's get to work!

Meal Plan Intro

A meal plan is a good idea. It can save time, money, loads of energy. 

But there are other good ideas too. My favorites of which include: being hearty, having flexibility and maintaining an every-growing vast knowledge of homey little recipes.

Currently I am involving many of my favorite things in a program I'm calling HOME-MAKING IMMERSION. ;)

The six principles of my home-making/meal-planning program are:
  • take time to make food appealing
  • learn to enjoy {and properly prepare!} leftovers
  • remain flexible
  • practice slowing down
  • breath
  • and keep the following ingredients on hand:
    • frozen chicken stock
    • assortment of favorite dried legumes and grains
    • coconut oil
    • butter
    • olive oil
    • good cider vinegar
    • assortment of seasonal vegetables
    • {for further pantry-stocking ideas see here}

In theory, I don't need a meal plan. Having highly nutrient dense basic foods on hand and a good understanding of how to properly prepare them is {like I said, in theory} all we need.
Here's why I plan it out anyway: I'M TERRIBLY FORGETFUL! 

Meal planning reminds me when my husband is working a strange shift and I'll need to prepare a large meal at any other time than dinner, it reminds me to soak my grains the night before I cook them, it reminds me to give myself a day off now and then and most importantly it is a most excellent proof of my daily shortcomings. 

Yes, I will fail this week and you will witness it. Every week when I STILL forget to soak something or when I just haven't the energy to make that stew, the plan is ruined and I have to get over it.

Okay, let's go!
{stay tuned for mealplan #1}

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Stack of Bowls

Very shortly after I purged processed foods from my kitchen and started repairing my delicate appetite from scratch, meal by meal, I realized I needed more bowls.

Some nights I would soak oatmeal in warm water and whey, soak white beans in water and soak buckwheat flour in buttermilk. On top of that, the next morning before those bowls were washed, I'd whisk up a fritatta, pound a sauerkraut-bound cabbage to release the juices, mound food waste in a bowl headed for the compost heap, and... find myself out of bowls, still having a carob cake to make and possibly bread. 

I needed more bowls. 

I remember telling my mom and she said that she too had come to this realization. We both bought some bowls that week. I cleared out a whole {invaluable!} shelf just for bowlsMy mom wound up giving me some of the extra bowls she'd bought. I felt rich in bowls. 

But guess what? I still run out now and then.

If you're planning to have big from-scratch cooking days a couple times a week, I suggest you invest in a shelf-full of various-sized bowls. 

Now, it seems this could be a clutter problem, but the cool thing is: cooking these traditional recipes that we'll be talking about has led me to actually put away many of the tools and gadgets I used to use.

Today the only equipment I use on a weekly basis are: 

  • Bowls 
  • Knives, wooden spoons, measuring spoons and cups
  • Cast iron cookware
  • A mortal/pestle
  • An invaluable immersion blender {thanks mom!}
  • funnels and jars
  • and a big soup pot

No toaster {though I suppose I could use one} no countertop blender, no microwave, I hardly ever even use my mixer, no need for chopping gadgets or garlic presses and I really don't need non-stick pans.

This diet change has equalled a life change for me. I'm truly getting back to basics and it's getting into my core. 

I love the feeling of a heavy slab of wood, smooth from use, the large knife in my hand as it crushes another clove of garlic, the sound and smell of that pungent, crunchy gift of the earth as I dice the crush and slide it into warm oil.

I love the quiet of a homemade house where time is given to such things as crushing peppercorns by hand in a bowl made of rock and where soups simmer fragrantly for eight hours. No roaring or beeping or crackling of plastics. 

But it is not the lack of loud or frustrating gadgets or new inventions, nor the sacrifice of time that makes a home peaceful. It is the heart.

And for this homemaker, in particular, it is gratitude.

When I am grateful for my redemption in Christ, then I find peace. And, as a homemaker, I find myself in a place of power: my gratitude and joyful acceptance of my situation brings peace to my home and family. 

Is there a better gift I could offer them?


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Kitchen I Call Home

Good morning friends! 

Thanks to those of you who answered my facebook poll! I appreciate that all of you answered the same, apart from that rascal Genevieve, and have hence decided to continue as planned: full steam ahead. In that case, considering that next Tuesday marks our courageous entry into meal planning the nourishing way, I think we need to spend a little time setting up shop. First we'll discuss the pantry, then the equipment and finally the people who make the kitchen tick. 

So, today it is my plan to briefly introduce my kitchen and divulge a couple of its most delicate secrets. 

Kitchen, these are my friends. 
Friends, this is the Modest Kitchen at The Nuttings:
{yes, we named our homestead after the folks who bought this house first, those who made a home of it and left us with their knocker. Thanks, Nuttings, whoever you are!}

My pantry has:

Almost exclusively single-item foods:
  • raw vinegars
  • virgin coconut, olive and sesame oils
  • organic dehydrated sugar cane juice
  • Jars of bulk grains that vary frequently
    • anasazi beans
    • black, white and pinto beans
    • quinoa
    • millet
    • short grain brown rice
    • good quality wild rice
    • lentils
    • yellow and green split peas
  • Sea salt with trace minerals
  • Raw, local honey
  • Fish Sauce
  • Canned coconut milk {without additives}
  • Organic dark chocolate bars
  • Carob powder
  • Fresh onions, garlic, ginger
  • Dehydrated nuts and fruits
  • Hopefully a tin of homemade cookies

My fridge has:

Almost exclusively local, whole and/or  home-prepared foods:

  • Raw Jersey milk and cream
  • Cultured pasture butter
  • Cultured cream cheese
  • Creme Fresche 
  • Raw cheese
  • Farm fresh local eggs
  • Jars of homemade whey
  • Jars of kombucha tea
  • Jars of homemade stocks
  • Jars of homemade soups
  • Tuppers of pre-soaked and cooked grains
  • Delicate gluten-free flours/rolled oats
  • Organic veggies depending on the season. Now:
    • carrots
    • celery
    • parsley {though my plant just bolted, so no more when its gone}
    • arugula {same story as the parsley. :( }
    • cabbage
    • chard, kale or mustard
    • yams, purple potatoes, yukon golds
    • yellow and green zucchini
    • Delacotta squash
    • Spaghetti squash
    • The occasional treat {non local!} avocado
  • Fruit
    • heirloom tomatoes
    • apples
    • pears
    • grapes {with seeds}
  • Meat
    • Organic uncured bacon
    • Turkey sausages {with as few ingredients as possible}
    • Grass-fed beef 
    • Free-range chicken
    • Home-prepared leftover roast beef for sandwiches
  • Fermented foods
    • home-fermented pickles, carrots, relishes
    • fermented soy sauce
    • sauerkraut
  • Condiments
    • good dijon mustard
    • my sister's homemade jams {wishing for more for Christmas!} ;)
    • cashew and/or almond butter {peanut's fine, but little A's allergic}
    • tahini paste
    • organic catsup for the kids
    • grade B maple syrup

My freezer has:
  • Local fruits from summer
  • Meats I picked up on sale
  • Jars of my soups and stocks in case of sudden illness
  • Bananas from when they were at least grown in the country
  • Any flours I want to last forever
  • Any grains I suspect of having weevils {mass produced popcorn kernels. I need to find a better source}

What I Purged or Ceased to Buy:

  • Large quantities of canned foods
  • Processed vegetable oils
  • Purchased crackers, cookies, chips and cereals {due to almost inescapable quantities of rancid bad-in-the-first-place oils like corn, soy and partially hydrogenated oils. 
  • Candy, obviously
  • White flours and sugars
  • Syrups
  • Poor quality tuna {I need more education here. I currently don't eat tuna, but I will. Just need to learn how to select  the good stuff.}
  • Snack bars
  • {most pasta}
  • Everything with any ingredient {including natural flavors} that I didn't understand or knew to be artificial. 
  • Boxed dinners
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Instant potatoes 
  • Soda-Pop

Now keep in mind: it's taken me six months to set this shop up!

If you're new to this, 
remember to take one little step at a time

This video is clear and simple.  Not overwhelming. Gives you a place to start as well as some great scientific insights into why we do this in the first place. 

The Heart of the Matter

We'll get more into this in a couple days when I discuss my own change of heart toward the kitchen, but I'd like to mention now that this is not a fad diet. This is not an experiment {though an experimental attitude will do you well} For me, this is a lifestyle. I am allowing my life to re-center on Christ Jesus and his indomitable will for my life. It is a lifestyle of contentment where peace in the home becomes the thing that encourages a worn-out husband, fuels children's brains and readies them for creative thinking, gives space for individual growth, gives a respite for all who enter, and constantly speaks silently of God's grace - which none of us deserves, but each of us receives. 

My desire for my home is not earthly perfection. It is not to prove I'm "with-it" or the image of a perfect home-maker, hippy or Bellinghamster. It is only to do the most with what I'm given. I choose to steward my resources and time in a way that benefits my family on every level to the best of my ability.

I will not always be a homemaker. I do not believe I will. At very least I can honestly say I will not always be a  mother to children. But today I am and today I will wake up early and do my job to the glory of God.