I'm a Christian wife & homeschooling mama, saved by faith through grace. I changed my family's diet from SAD (Standard American Diet) to healthy, delicious & nutritious traditional foods. I've recently discovered there's a name for the way that I eat. It's called Primal or Paleo (I like the diet and think of the men and women who worked hard from sunup to sundown, constantly on the go, eating meat, berries they picked, cheese they made. I do not believe in evolution). No grains, legumes, refined sugars, and no/limited dairy.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Calcium & Nourishing Foods on a Budget

Something that is a factor for us, in our whole foods journey, is our budget. We've made healthy, nutrient dense foods a priority, so I'm picky about what I buy for us to eat. It's better to buy something that will be filling and nutritious, than "food" that is completely processed, won't fill you up and can be detrimental to your health (boxed mac n cheese comes to mind). Eating foods that have vitamins and minerals is the best way to get them, but supplements have their place in our society, where we don't eat a complete diet that gives us all that we need.

We can't drink cow's milk in our house, due to intolerances. If we were able to drink it, it would be raw, as after pasteurization the total of soluble calcium is very much diminished as well as other vitamins. We use coconut milk and almond milk instead, usually. Milk is usually associated with calcium, although there are other ways to get calcium in your daily diet. One that I recently learned about is sardines. They're really high in calcium, and have other great vitamins/minerals as well. I bought a can yesterday, so I will post when I've tried them! Some more are bone broths - using the bones of chicken, beef or fish, adding apple cider vinegar (preferably raw) to make the bones release the calcium (bone broths also help heal intestinal inflammation, so when my stomach is upset, especially from a food, I try to drink some hot broth), dark green, leafy vegetables, & eggs, to name just a few.

Kimi, at The Nourishing Gourmet, has the Pennywise Platter every Thursday and also has great posts on eating nutritiously on a budget. Here's a post on frugal nutrient dense foods. A few foods she highlights are eggs, soaked oatmeal, dried beans & soups.

What if I can't afford organic everything?

I sure can't! And I don't try. Not everything we eat should be organic. When I'm talking to people about food, sometimes they are apologetic about not buying organic everything. First off, I'm not judging, secondly, I don't either!

There is a great list of the Dirty Dozen, it shows the fruits & veggies that have the highest pestidical residue and  should be bought organic, if you're going to eat them, and they are:

12 Most Contaminated

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes
12 Least Contaminated
  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn (Frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Everyday meals

Delicious and nutritious doesn't have to be hard!
I sent the following to a friend, discussing meals and recipes:

Our meals are very simple - meat, fruit (usually) & veggie. I get bags of organic frozen green beans, corn, broccoli and a stir fry mix (not organic, but delicious). I use my crockpot a lot - it's easy and makes the food taste good. Roast in the crock pot with carrots, salt & pepper. A chicken with carrots, salt & pepper and sometimes organic Italian herb mix (from Costco). Steaks fried on the stove with veggies. Fish fried in coconut oil in a pan. Hamburgers (from a mostly grassfed, local cow) with chili powder, salt & pepper are a big staple here. Steaks and hamburgers are great take along food. Also, when I cook a chicken in the crockpot, I add extra water and it makes broth (thus my gelled broth), the carrots give it a really great flavor, and are very juicy. Then I take the meat off the bones and put it in a container, to be used with mayo, mustard and relish for chicken salad, plain for the kids on the run, or fried with carrots or other veggies in coconut oil.
I used to do recipes from the $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook and Make it Fast, Cook it Slow (slowcooker book) the website & book are gluten free, modifying them to be safe for my family. A lot of recipes can be modified to fit our dietary requirements, or if there's some flavor you're going for, a way to make a recipe for it. If you need help converting recipes, just lmk!
My good friend, Holly, has been doing the meat & veggie thing for a long time, I couldn't quite believe that's how she made dinner every day, but she'd go to her freezer and pick some meat out, lol. It works, and is pretty easy. The biggest challenge can be changing it up, so we're not having hamburgers all week.
Tonight we're having chicken stirfry, with the chicken I cooked the other day and Costco's stir fry mix.
We also use small plates, so it feels like we're getting more food, but we're actually getting portion sizes.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cream of Mushroom Soup (free of the top 8 allergens, and then some)

Someone asked for mushroom soup brands without msg in them, and I said I have a good cream of soup recipe. She asked for it, and I thought, hey, I'll try my hand at making a Cream of Mushroom soup. It worked out! This was my first try at making my own recipe for something like this, as I hate to waste food. My first inclination was to use Arrowroot Powder for the thickener, but I've read that it doesn't work when heated to higher temps, so that probably wasn't the best idea. I thought about using Coconut Flour, but that can be a little grainy sometimes, and I didn't want that consistency for my soup. Then I realized, I'd just bought Tapioca Starch! That's a thickener as well, and it should be stable at higher temps. It worked, and was amazingly delicous.

(There is a picture, but my card uploader thingymajig decided not to work. Pics when it's functional)

Mary's Free of Everything Cream of Mushroom Soup 

1 8 oz package mushrooms, cleaned & finely chopped
4 Tbsp butter/coconut oil/ghee/safe butter (I used Earth Balance shortening sticks)
4 cups chicken broth
1 can Coconut Milk (not light!) or whole milk
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
4-5 Tbsp Tapioca Starch or Flour

Sautee mushrooms in the butter.
Add 3 c broth and coconut milk to the mushrooms.
In separate bowl, whip 1 cup broth with the flour/starch.
Slowly add starch mixture to pan, stirring.
Add salt & pepper to taste.
Heat until almost bubbling, then remove from heat.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Peanut Butter Banana Kefir Shake

This was super good. I was very excited when I tasted it!
I'd frozen some overripe bananas (peeled & smooshed together in a ziploc) right after Thanksgiving, and they were perfect for the shake.

 Makes 4 servings.

Blend together:
1 1/2-2 c frozen banana pieces
1/3 c unsweetened peanut butter
2 Tbsp raw local honey
1 tsp cinnamon
3-4 cups Coconut Milk Kefir, vanilla flavored

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cumin Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Two of my favorite things to eat are Sauteed Mushrooms & Cumin Roasted Sweet Potatoes from Whole Foods, hot off the deli bar. I've been meaning to look for a recipe for a long time, but my friend, J, inspired me to find one today. So I made it.

Recipe can be found here.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Bean Cake

Kelly, of The Spunky Coconut, has some pretty awesome recipes! She even has a new cookbook that I hope to get in the next couple months. I made her Pumpkin Spice Bean Cake for my dear friend, Jennifer's, bridal shower Saturday, and of course, had to make some more, so the kids and I could have some :)
I used my mini food processor on the walnuts the second time, and much preferred the texture of the frosting that way, not too small - perfectly chunked walnut frosting.

Roast Beast & Carrots

I put a (mostly) grass-fed cow roast in the crockpot with carrots, salt & pepper, and water. For some reason, it turned out dry. So I sliced it up and put it in the fridge.
The next day, I fried them and the carrots in coconut oil. DELICOUS!!!!! It was tender (I think it soaked up the oil) and with the crispy outside, just perfect. Coconut oil fixes everything!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Perfect for a "Chili" Day

One of our favorite meals is Chili. It's super easy and super yummy.

1 128 oz diced tomatoes
1 lb ground beef, browned
1 lb beans - I do black and kidney (soaked 24 hours with a splash of apple cider vinegar, rinsed)
water to cover everything

Put all in a pot and cook on med-low until beans are cooked through. This can also be done in the crockpot.
Serve and add seasonings.
We like to put Chili Powder, salt and I just tried Cumin in it and it was very good!
I also top it with coconut oil or my "butter" to add fat to it. Since it's pretty lean, I find I get hungry soon after eating if I don't add a fat to help keep me satiated. (Excuse the appearance of the picture, I had already dug in :) )

Tapioca Pudding

MMM!! Did you know that Tapioca Pearls, also called boba, come from the cassava root? It's the easiest form of tapioca to find, but also comes in sticks, powder, flakes, etc. It's used for thickening liquid foods. It has a LOT of carbs.

We made some delicious tapioca this morning! E2 & BabyE liked it, but E1 didn't want to try it, so I didn't make him - more for me and the girls! I soaked the pearls overnight, per the instructions, then followed the back of the bag using Almond Milk instead of cow's milk.