Potato Vegetable Skillet

Do you ever have evenings when you have no time or clue what to make? I do, especially when I do not have my menu plan set out for the week. Since it’s summer, we have plenty of vegetables, either from our local community farmers, or our own garden. Though the kids would balk if I made them eat sauteed veggies every night of the week, this recipe was an easy way to slide them in without too much grumbling from the non-veggie fans. How can anyone NOT be a veggie fan?! I still cannot possibly imagine. Thank God for all the amazing variety of vegetation for us. Such a wonderful rainbow of savory goodness He’s provided.

This recipe was enough to feed about 10 people. I used the biggest pan I have. Love one pot/pan meals. So simple, so good.

Image

photo credit

Potato Vegetable Skillet

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 red skinned potatoes, sliced, with peel on, organic (non-organic potatoes are on the worst veggies to eat inorganic because of the insane amounts of chemicals poured on them – blech)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1-2 carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 colorful bell peppers, organic and chopped
  • 2 big handfuls of fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • coconut oil – as much as needed to keep things cooking and not burning
  • Parmesan cheese, for topping, optional (well, not really – cheese makes everything good)
  • Real or Pink Salt
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed

Method:

  1. Wash and chop all the veggies.
  2. Add all veggies to the pan with a big dose of coconut oil.
  3. Allow to cook thoroughly with a lid on. Stir occasionally.
  4. Add basil, salt and garlic a few minutes before ready to serve.
  5. Top with Parmesan cheese.
  6. Serve with a garden salad and some sourdough bread if you like.

Enjoy these beautiful summer days!

Our Weekly Menu

For those getting into a whole foods, traditional diet; the preparations for meals can seem overwhelming. I have found that planning out a week at a time really does help me stay sane and spend less time in the kitchen. I make double or triple batches of things I can freeze and pull out for quick dinners, e.g. beans, brown rice, chicken stock. Having a day where I know I will be baking is helpful as well, since it requires a larger chunk of time and I want to be sure I have that afternoon “free” (whatever that means when you have 7 kids).  I use google docs to keep my menu updated, and I link up any recipes I find online to that meal.

Mind you, this is a plan and does not mean it is set in stone. I change meals around all the time, swap things in or out, or change our plans altogether. All the same, I like to plan for the everyday, not leave it up for the exceptions to govern.

About the Menu: The “Prep” section is for the night prior for any soaking or sprouting that must be done for the next day. I do soak, sprout, dry and mill my own grain for bread; so I like to schedule it in so I make sure it’s ready for a day of baking. The “To Do” section is for out of the ordinary routine type things I want to accomplish that particular day. Giving each day of the week a title like “Laundry Day” is something I picked up from Large Family Logistics; she had some great ideas and helps.

Breakfasts are just a rotation of smoothies, probiotic chocolate milk, sprouted grain toast, eggs, soaked oatmeal, and sometimes the occasional oatmeal breakfast cake. The older children mostly get their own breakfasts and lunches as they do their schooling. I prepare for the smaller ones. Lunches are usually veggie sandwiches, leftovers, salads, or whatever the older children want to prepare. Those two meals are very low key with lots of small snacking here and there, since that is the hub of our school time. It’s almost like we have several courses instead of two meals. 😉

Here is what we have for this week:

Prep:
Monday (Laundry Day)
TO DO: Bake cookies, soak spelt berries

Dinner: Tuna and Potato Bake

Prep:
Drain and rinse spelt berries to sprout

Tuesday (Co-op/Library)
To Do: Have kids pack lunch and books for park and library, rinse berries

Dinner: Salmon, Quinoa Pilaf, Broccoli

Prep: soak adzuki beans (Read up on why I soak legumes, nuts, and grains), soak tortillas

Wednesday
TO DO: Simmer beans in chicken stock in crockpot, cook tortillas, dry spelt sprouts in oven on lowest temperature

Dinner: Bean and Venison Tortillas, Fresh Quac, Raw Cheese, Raw Soured Cream, Salad

Prep: soak white wheat berries, freeze extra beans (leaving 3 cups out for chili), soak oats

Thursday 

TO DO: continue drying spelt, drain and rinse berries, put chicken in oven in the morning, cook oatmeal for breakfast, bake gluten and “sugar” free brownies

Dinner: Baked Chicken, Garlic/Heb Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans, Salad

Prep: rinse berries, continue drying spelt, put chicken bones in dutch oven, add water and apple cider vinegar – bake in oven at 250 overnight for chicken stock

Friday
TO DO: transfer wet wheat berries to fridge, put spelt berries in sealed container, start chili, have children tidy up house for play date, take stock out of oven and let cool

Dinner: Chili, Raw Soured Cream, Raw Smoked Cheddar Cheese, Salad

Prep: debone chicken and store chicken stock

Saturday
TO DO: Mill berries, Bake Sprouted Grain Bread and pizza crusts, work on garden plans for spring, do any extra cleaning

Breakfast: Sprouted Grain Pancakes, Eggs, Turkey Bacon

Dinner: Homemade Chicken Pizza, Salad

Prep:

Sunday
TO DO: Menu plan for next week

Breakfast: Oatmeal Breakfast Cake (using leftover oatmeal), Smoothies

Lunch/Dinner: Brown Rice Pasta with Marinara, Peas and Carrots, salad

Prep: soak spelt berries

Hope you find this helpful. Happy planning!

Soaking Your Grains – Resources

As part of a traditional, nourishing diet, cultures have been soaking their grains for many years. Whether it is corn soaked in lime water, or lentils in vinegar; soaking grains helps to break down the anti-nutrients (such as phytic acid) that inhibit the digestibility and absorption of important vitamins and minerals.

As a general rule, I soak my legumes, nuts, and flours for about 12-24 hours in raw apple cider vinegar and water (1 Tablespoon of acid medium to 1 cup of grain). If I will be using beans for any recipe for the following dinner, I soak them the night before. This is where your weekly or monthly meal plan comes in handy. Included in my planner, I have a section of “prep” so that I know before hand if I have to throw something in a bowl before I go to bed. It’s one extra step that makes such a difference in digestion; and it only takes a couple of minutes to accomplish.

Listed below are some websites that include soaking as a part of the recipe. This makes it easier when you’re first starting out and getting a feel for what a soaked flour should include from a recipe. Once you’re comfortable using these types of recipes, feel free to start converting your old favorites into  healthier renditions.

Soaking Grains: A Traditional Practice

Nourishing Practices: Soaking Grains

The Value of Soaking Your Whole Grains

This last post from Passionate Homemaking has a directions for soaking your grains near the end of the post. She also lists some further reading on the subject. Check out the Resources Page for blogs that mostly contain recipes for soaked bread recipes and soaked bean recipes.

Sprouted Grain Pancakes

Saturdays. Ah, a day to relax and not worry about any schedule. No need to rush off anywhere (most times), no emergencies. Just taking a day to be together as a family and spend moments with each other. Days like today beckon for delicious breakfasts, like pancakes. I am still tweaking our sprouted wheat/spelt recipe. It would help if I actually wrote my measurements down. I am not one for exactness when it comes to a recipe. Nonetheless, here is what I have so far, though I am sure it will need some more experimenting.

Sprouted Wheat Pancakes

(yields enough for our family 🙂

Put ingredients layered into Blentec (or Vitamix)

3 cups sprouted wheat berries

2/3 cup sprouted wheat flour

4 TB coconut oil

1 can coconut milk

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda, aluminum free

1 TB baking powder, aluminum free

1 cup blanched almond slices

2-4 TB coconut flour

Spices ( I use ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice)

Set to “Grind Grain” and completely pulverize the sprouts and nuts. Blend until batter looks smooth.

It may take these a little while longer to cook through. I usually use my stainless steel electrical skillet with the lid. Then keep them warm in the oven as I go.

Top off a stack with some real butter (preferably from grass-fed cows) and 100% maple syrup Grade B (“B” is better – has less processing and maintains more nutrients then A). I also like some fresh molasses, sorghum syrup, or berries mixed with raw honey.

Best enjoyed with family in a relaxed atmosphere with hot tea 🙂

Pizza and Scriptures, Anyone?

Today is Friday. We have a couple of new traditions around here.

First, the children love pizza.  Before our healthier days, we would order pizza on Friday nights or I would make one with a ready made crust or something of that sort. Having progressed now, we do sprouted wheat crust with homemade sauce, unpasteurized cheese (from grass-fed cows), and whatever toppings I have on hand.

I used to do a soaked spelt crust, but when I was having issues with my pancreas after the last baby, I had been on a no sugar (or anything that could be converted into such) diet. The only way I could digest the grains without them effecting my blood sugar levels was to have them sprouted first.  So, I did some research and experimenting with sprouted grains and how to incorporate them into our normal recipes. I have finally tweaked a bread recipe that I use as a base for all bread-like dishes – tortillas, rolls, buns, pizza crust, etc. The only difference to this recipe is that I use 1/4 cup of vital wheat gluten/vitamin C (which incidently I have on “subscribe and save” off of Amazon) per loaf.

(On a side note: The pre-diabetic condition I experienced lasted almost 2 years. The effects of eating processed foods and being careless with my health from my past had caught up with me. Changing my diet to no sugars kept my blood sugar in check and did help me lose most of the baby weight I had gained (over 50 pounds). But nourishing, supplementing, and strengthening my pancreas, gallbladder, and liver were the keys to getting my body to function the way it was designed. Feeling better on a mostly sugar free diet, I continue to stay away from unsprouted grains and refined sugars. I seem to do well with raw honey, coconut sugar, and stevia though, so that’s what we use mostly.)

Secondly, Friday is also our “Scripture Memory Night”. We have memorized Scripture on and off over the years, but I thought this way it would be more accountable. Starting from youngest to oldest, they stand in the front of the living room and recite their memorized verses for the week. The 3 year old is still reciting the same one he’s done all year, but the rest of them seem to be doing fairly well. I do reward them with organic gummy bears for their efforts. It’s a bit crazy at times. Especially since candy is so rare, the youngest ones have a hard time comprehending just why they can’t eat the whole bag full while attempting to sit quietly. My prayer is that they have wonderful memories of these evenings together. I know I do. It just warms my heart listening to them express words that will hopefully change their lives.

Daily Grind for a Family of Nine

Sometimes it just doesn’t seem like there are nine people in this home. And at other times, it’s seems like there’s a lot more. Our children range in ages from 12 to 1, with a variety of taste preferences and stages. One of the accomplishments of the day is to find a meal that makes everybody happy. Here is a typical daily menu for our family:

Early Morning: Banana/Peach smoothies with an herbal boost (homemade similar to this)

Late Morning: Poached eggs, toasts with homemade peach jam  (seeing a peachy theme here)

Early Afternoon: Grilled cheese with fresh tomatoes, onions and basil on homemade sprouted bread

Late Afternoon: Freshly baked healthy cookies with fresh milk (whole lot of freshness going on)

Mid-evening: Tried out this recipe for vegetable pot pie

Later evening: Homemade raw cacao ice cream

Over the next few posts, I will break down the steps and planning involved (or lack thereof) for our daily routine. Here’s the first part of our daily deal:

First thing in the morning, everyone seems to be on their own waking schedule. The older children are “suppose” to be up early and the younger ones can sleep as they need to. No one is a big breakfast eater, and I like to get everyone started and focused on their studies for the day. So making everyone a quick fruity, herbal smoothie is an easy fix that holds us over until the weightier subjects are out of the way. I created my own herbal booster using beet juice powder, turmeric, cinnamon, barley grass powder, wheat grass powder, spirulina, and hawthorne berry powder. I am starting them out in small doses and slowly increasing the amount until they notice that something “funny” is going on.

Another reason to start out light in the morning is that the body is still detoxing until about 10am. So, it’s better to stay clear of anything requiring major digesting (like grains or starches). Fresh juices are great. Even better is mixing it with a good protein and healthy fat. I use raw homemade yogurt as a base for the smoothies and often add either raw cream or coconut oil. We use raw honey for a sweetener as well as the frozen fruit.

I think the best part of this kind of breakfast is that I can take it with me as I teach and supervise, get some morning chores done, nurse the baby…

Early Morning Herbal Smoothie

(This recipe serves 6 children and 1 adult in my family)

2-3 cups yogurt or kefir, preferably raw and homemade

2 frozen bananas

2 cups frozen fruit (we’ve been on a peach kick lately)

about 3-4 cups milk, preferably raw

raw honey to taste, plus a few drops of liquid Stevia

2 tsp – 2 TB of herbal booster mix

2 TB – 4 TB raw cream or coconut oil

Blend well. Serve immediately. Enjoy thoroughly.