Weekly Menu/Planning

Sometimes it’s helpful to see how others are planning their menus and dinners. I know it inspires me to try something new, or maybe tweak my daily food plans to see what others are cooking. Hope this is useful:

Sunday (evening prep work)

  • start sourdough bread and put in fridge

Monday

Day to do’s

Dinner: Ratatouille (with veggies and our own eggs – will post recipe soon!), Fresh Baked Bread, Salad and Kombucha

Prep: Soak beans, Start sourdough bread and put in fridge, freshen sourdough

Tuesday:

Day to do’s

  • Bake bread
  • Start tortillas
  • Simmer beans all day in crock

Dinner: Bean Tortillas, Salad, Kombucha

Prep: none

Wednesday:

Day to do’s

  • Bake gluten free cookies
  • Put chicken and sweet potatoes in dutch oven

Dinner: Baked Chicken, Homemade Gravy, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Salad, Kombucha

Prep: none

Thursday:

Day to do’s

  • Bake gluten free muffins
  • Freshen sourdough
  • Check kombucha/bottle if ready/Make fresh batch (I do 4 gallons to tide us over for a week)

Dinner: Bean and Quinoa Bowls (will post recipe – they’re like tacos without the shells, and using quinoa instead of rice)

Prep: start pizza sourdough and put in fridge

Friday:

Day to do’s

  • Freshen spelt sourdough for pancakes
  • Bake pizza crusts, and use the rest of dough for bread

Dinner: Veggie Pizza, Chicken Sweet Sauce Pizza, Salad, and Kombucha

Prep: Start pasta sourdough and put in fridge, thaw squash for pasta

Saturday:

Day to do’s

  • Roll out pasta and let it dry

Dinner: Tomato Cream Fettuccine (recipe to come), Salad, Garlicky Green Beans, Kombucha

Prep: None

Sunday:

Day to do’s

  • put lamb bones in crockpot with veggies for dinner

Early Dinner: Lamb Stew, Salad, Kombucha

 

For breakfasts we usually do the same things, just rotating what it is based on how we feel that day. Fare usually includes smoothies, probiotic chocolate milks, leftover pancakes, eggs, toast, soaked oatmeal, breakfast cake, and fresh fruit.

For lunch it’s leftovers, veggie sandwiches, sprouted corn cheese quesadillas, fruit and nut butters, soups, and anything else that strikes our fancy.

Snacking we do cocoa squares, or gluten free cookies, fruit, yogurt/kefir smoothies, sourdough rolls/toast, or anything the kids are up to creating themselves. Have a great week!

 

Avocado Ranch Dressing

Love cream dressings. Love avocados. What else could possibly be better than avocado ranch dressing?!  The more probiotic, raw and full of natural enzymes in your food, the better for the digestion. Also, the healthy fats in this dressing are incredibly nutrient dense. Avocado Ranch… the next superfood…

 

Avocado Ranch Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soured (gives it probiotic status) cream (raw preferably – gives it live enzymes status)
  • 1 avocado (more live enzymes)
  • 1 tsp real salt
  • herbs to taste
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 2-6 Tb of raw kefir or yogurt or buttermilk (more probiotics)

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients in blender (avocado without skin or seed, and garlic without skin).
  2. Blend up until nice and creamy; no chunks left. Add kefir as needed to obtain desired consistency.
  3. Taste – add salt and herbs to taste.
  4. Store in a pint size jar.

This could also be a spicy ranch by adding some chipotle seasonings. Use your imagination and enjoy!

Ginger Spice “Cookies” GF

It’s that time of year when you just want to get a big, soft blanket; cuddle up with the kids and enjoy hot tea and spice cookies. Here’s my latest spin on our basic cookie recipe:

Ginger Spice Cookies – gluten free

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almonds
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 cup sucanat
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 cups coconut, shredded
  • 2 in knob of fresh ginger, grated finely
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp real salt
  • 1 tsp stevia powder (green herb kind)

Method:

  1. Blend nuts and seeds in Blendtec or similar blender until fine.
  2. Mix butter, nuts and seeds in mixer until combined.
  3. Add sugar, soda, salt, stevia, and spices – mix well.
  4. Add each egg separately.
  5. Pour in each cup of flour until well incorporated.
  6. Add coconut flakes and mix until combined.
  7. Scoop out on cookie sheet/baking stone and bake 10-12 minutes in a preheated oven at 375.
  8. Enjoy during story time with some fresh milk or hot tea.

Blueberry Cream Crepe Pancakes (sourdough)

Having made up a bit too much sourdough starter (read why sourdough here), I decided to try out using them for pancakes again. Only this time I thought they needed a bit more protein and something other than maple syrup on top. The recipe I concocted balances somewhere between crepes and pancakes. My starter is made with organic whole wheat pastry, though I am converting it over to either rye or spelt this week, or perhaps both and we’ll see what the difference is in the loaf rise, taste, etc. It’s always an experiment around here.

 

Sourdough Crepe Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups freshened sourdough starter
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp real salt
  • 1/8 cup sucanat
  • 1 Tb vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda, aluminum free

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, save the baking soda. Whip up well with a fork.
  2. Sprinkle soda in. Mix up carefully. The batter will rise to about double, so make sure you started out with a good sized bowl.
  3. Pour desired amount of batter onto a well-greased (I used coconut oil) cast iron skillet.
  4. Wen the pancakes have little bubbles or look firm around the edges, flip.
  5. Enjoy with the blueberry cream recipe below.

Blueberry Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw, slightly soured (for probiotic properties) cream
  • 2-3 cups organic blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup fresh milk, preferably raw
  • 1/4 cup raw honey or 1/3 cup sucanat

Method:

  1. Blend all ingredients on high in Blendtec or similar blender.
  2. Pour onto buttered pancakes and enjoy!

 

If Mama is Healthy, Everyone is Healthy

Over the years, I have been amazed at how my health affects the health of my children – not just the ones I carry in the womb, but the ones I nurture on a day to day basis. Without proper nutrient absorption, a host of problems occur:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lowered Immune System (picking up all kinds of viruses and harmful bacteria)
  • Susceptible to Parasites (causing its own host of problems from mal-nutrition to cancer)
  • Feeling Overwhelmed/Shortened Temper/Edgy
  • Migraines/Headaches
  • Nausea, Diarrhea, Constipation, Heartburn
  • Overwhelming Tiredness/Lack of Motivation (even to get out of bed in the morning)
  • Forgetfulness, Brain Fog
  • And more…

These are all signs your internal body is trying to communicate that something is very wrong. None of the above are “normal”. They are not in God’s original design for how our bodies were created to function.

When I am feeling anxious, overwhelmed or short-tempered, I cannot properly interact, train, or guide my children in their studies or in familial relationships. Freaking out about unimportant, trite happenings, I am rendered ineffectual because of my current health status. Our health greatly and overwhelming influences our feelings, emotions, mental state and even our connection to God. As mothers our health will ultimately determine whether the child you carry in your womb will be strong and vibrant. They inherit all kinds of problems during pregnancy that can be avoided if we nourish and heal our bodies, starting with the digestive system.

How does this all work? All health begins in the gut. In the digestive system nutrients are absorbed and delegated to other body systems and organs. This system also processes and expels toxins, harmful microbes, and parasites to keep the body clean and running smoothly without outside disturbances. If the gut is compromised, health begins to deteriorate. Toxins, parasites, and harmful pathogens enter into other body systems where they cause damage and malfunction. Without the right nutrients being absorbed into the system, each organ, each cell suffers, grows weaker and more susceptible to foreign invaders.

How do we weaken our digestive systems? Before I was forced into “being healthy” (I say forced, because the way I was going was leading to so many problems, that I had to find a solution that worked; not just for me, but for my children as well), I ate processed foods, dined out, consumed fast food, cooked with aluminum and poor quality  cookware, vaccinated some of my children and was vaccinated myself, used pharma drugs and birth control pills, ate industrial meats, soy, and dairy. The list goes on. All of these harmful practices have had their part in weakening my digestive system. I say all this to give hope. If I can clean up my body, nourish each cell, and birth 8 children naturally without compromising their health or mine (but rather improving); then it can be done!

 

How do I turn my health around? The simple answer is: 1) detox and 2) nourish. Getting the toxins out, and getting the nutrients in is the way to heal the body. God designed our bodies to heal themselves. What happens when you cut your finger? It heals, does it not? We are fearfully and wonderfully made. The same kind of healing goes on internally as well. If we give our body the right tools, and remove the hindrances, the body will heal itself.

What does a detox look like? Cleaning up the body should be a layered approach. The villains to be eradicated are: heavy metals, parasites, candida, and toxins (this includes anything artificial as well as hormones and other body made products that have gone toxic because they were not properly absorbed or utilized).

There are several ways to go about this: going on a juice fast, taking supplements, and ultimately changing your lifestyle and diet. If you are able to go on a juice fast, this is a great way to reboot and jump start your detox and healing agents. Juice fasting resets your hypothalamus and other masters in the body to kick into gear and begin the healing process. It sends a message into your body that it no longer has to be on the defensive, survival mode; but now it can clean, heal and rebuild.

Supplements I like for detoxing are: Dr. Schultze or Dr. Christopher’s detoxes (for heavy metals and toxins); Nature’s Sunshine Mega-Chel (for heavy metals), Bulk Herb Store’s Detox + (for toxins and heavy metals), Mountain Meadow’s ParaRid (for parasites), Diometreus Earth (for parasites), Colloidal Silver or Molecular Silver (for stored viruses from vaccines and also in parasites; and molecular silver for candida).

Things to keep in mind while detoxing: 1) Drink lots of water. You will be flushing out enormous amounts of highly toxic stuff that has been cultivating in your body systems for years. In order to flush it out effectively and not have it get “stuck” along the way to create more problems in other organs, drinking tons of water is imperative. 2) Must have several bowel movements a day. Once again, you’re flushing out lots of toxic stuff, and need to be sure that it’s actually moving out of the body. The colon might be a little sluggish and need help for a while until it is rebuilt. During this time, you can do salt water enemas, drink a quart of salt water in the morning, drink Smooth Move tea, take Swedish Bitters, and if nothing else works – take cascara sagrada. That will move anything.

Nourishing the Body: The second part of cleaning up the body is to be sure the foods you’re now taking in are nourishing and not harming any more. Read up on eating a real foods diet. There are lots of real food blogs out there. Check the resource page here for some places to start. Getting some high quality superfoods like moringa, super berries (like goji) or fermented cod liver oil go a long way in supplying the body with the nutrients it needs to repair and rebuild.

After almost 8 years on this journey to better health, I am continually reminded how little we truly understand here on this side. So many stories I could share of how God has led our family to heal various problems/issues (even inherited ones) – almost daily! But I will say, that everything, and I mean everything that I learn only strengthens my resolve and conviction of the kinds of foods, attitudes, philosophies, personal care, household items, and wellness tools I use in our home. We are stewards of everything we have been given – to me this also includes not only our whole selves (body, mind, and soul), but also the earth and His creations.

Take Charge of Your Health. I am no health professional, and this isn’t medical advice; this is my experience and I hope it inspires you to do your own research, pray and decide on the best course of action to improve the quality of living for yourself and ultimately the ones you love the most.

*Note that detoxing is not recommended while pregnant or nursing. I will be doing a special post on what to do during that time that has proven safe for me during each of my pregnancies. 

 

Whole Grain Sourdough Bread

After experimenting with many recipes, reading up on various methods, and trying out different kinds of flours, I have finally tweaked a recipe that works for our family. I wanted one made with freshly milled barley and spelt. Barley is lower in gluten, glycemic index, and boasts a host of nutrients. Spelt is an ancient variety of wheat that has more protein, B vitamins, and minerals among other nourishing elements. Why sourdough? Read the unparalleled benefits of sourdough here and here.

For the starter itself, I have been using organic whole wheat pastry flour. I have yet to convert the starter over to spelt completely, but would like to eventually. Using hand sifted spelt has also proved to help in creating a lighter loaf that rises better.

Using the ideas from Vintage Remedies’ Guide to Bread as a basis, here is my version of a whole grain spelt loaf. The following is enough for 4 loaves.

Whole Grain Sourdough Bread

For the starter:

Starting with about 1 cup of starter, I pull it out of the fridge in the morning, the day before I want to bake the bread. I feed it several times until it is up to at least 4 cups, active and frothy by evening. 

For the first feeding, I add 1 cup flour and 3/4 cup water. The second feeding, about 5 hours later or so, I use 2 cups flour and 1  1/2 cups water. After dinner time, it should be ready to use. I reserve 1 cup of the starter for future use and store it in the fridge unless I plan to bake more sourdough sooner than later.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups active starter
  • 5 cups filtered water
  • 2 Tb Real Salt
  • 2 Tb either honey or sucanat (optional)
  • 13-16 cups freshly milled and sifted spelt flour

Method:

  1. Add the starter, water, salt, sucanat, and butter to the mixer. (I use a Bosch, but a KitchenAid with the dough hook would work too.)
  2. Turn mixer on the lowest setting and slowly add each cup of flour.
  3. Mix the dough on a higher setting for 5 minutes (setting 3 for 5 minutes on a Bosch and the middle setting for the KitchenAid for about 7 minutes).
  4. The dough will be wetter than yeast bread, but not overly so. It should want to stick to itself more than it wants to stick to you. It should be elastic and stretch easily.
  5. Transfer flour to a non-metal container with room for expansion. Close the lid (or put wrap on top) and place in the fridge for about 12 hours (or overnight).
  6. The next morning, grease 4 loaf pans well, and flour with brown rice flour (this will prevent sticking without absorbing into the dough much – I use palm shortening as the “grease”).
  7. Divide up the dough into 4 equal parts, using brown rice flour for dusting as needed.
  8. Roll each part into a loaf and plop into each greased pan.
  9. Let rise on the counter for 7-12 hours (shorter if summer). It should get just above the edge of the bread pan. (Remember that spelt does not rise as high as wheat will.) If you let it rise too long, it will deflate. No worries, it is still good to eat, just not as pretty.
  10. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for about 45-55 minutes. The internal temperature should be between 190 and 210 F. (I took the temp the first few times to get the hang of it, once you know what it will look like, it won’t be necessary.) – Optional Bake with dutch oven —- bake at 420 for 15 minutes with the lid on, take lid off and bake at 350 for another 35 minutes.
  11. Take out of oven, and immediately transfer loaves to a towel, on their side preferably so as not to make the bottom soft.
  12. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes (if you can wait that long) to help the bread to settle and adhere better.

I usually freeze the bread after it has cooled to keep it fresh (except for 1 loaf for the next day, which I put in the fridge). Enjoy with your favorite spreads, cheeses, meats, etc.

Have fun experimenting! It takes a while to get the hang of it, but it’s worth the effort and trials. Lower glycemic, low gluten, nourishing bread has been the staple of homes for centuries. May you learn to recover this lost art and enjoy its amazing benefits.

Book Recommedation – TJED

I have heard much about the book “A Thomas Jefferson Education” by Oliver DeMille. Yet, it was’t until recently I finally got a copy to read. Being a HUGE fan of the ideas of Charlotte Mason in education, this book mirrors a lot of her philosophies.

The central theme of the book is of what it takes to raise a generation of leaders, such as the Founding Fathers. It takes a historical look at our nation’s education and what has worked in society to produce leaders and good moral people. The book’s audience is not limited to a particular student – it can be applied to both the public school and the homeschool.

The simplicity of teaching the classics always strikes a chord with me. It’s’ not about having the right curriculum or perfect environment or social structure. The greatest minds in history were shaped using these core principles, which can be applied with any student.

Having a greater desire to read more of them myself, I hope to initiate more lively discussions revolving around the timeless character found within classic works of literature. Have you read this book? How has it changed or strengthened your resolve on the education?