Friday, July 22, 2011


I forgot all about the weekly changes I was trying to do.  Didn't do so well, what with the back issues and all.  The first half of the month I managed to add a few more veggies into our diet than usual.  This week I am shooting for at least one veggie per day.  I hope I can do it!  For dinner tonight?  Baked Potato Soup- it is delicious!
I've been out of it lately.  I hurt my back last week and was on the couch resting for days!  Oh, that was so boring!  I hope I never have to go through that again.  I am back now.  I am not 100% yet, but feeling well enough to cook.  Not so much into the cleaning- too much bending and reaching hurts my back.  I think I might have this problem for the rest of my life (read: I don't ever want to have to clean again)- except my house is a disaster.  Oh well.  My kids are learning to help out around here more.

So I tried to come up with a meal plan for the next few weeks.  This time, I am not assigning them to specific days.  Some of them I will possibly make more than one time.

Hearty Greek Pasta (recipe coming soon!)
Baked Potato Soup
Twice Baked Potatoes
Macaroni and Cheese with Tuna
Baked Ziti
Pasta with Tomato and Basil (recipe coming soon!)
Pizza Pockets
Salmon Pesto Pasta
Spinach Quiche
Leek and Swiss Chard Tart

Some veggie side dish ideas:

Broccoli Slaw
Cole Slaw
Zucchini Latkes
Zucchini and Ricotta Galette
Creamed Spinach
Cabbage and Lime Salad

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I had a sick little boy again yesterday.  My dinner plans changed.  I had ground beef defrosted for cheesy beef and rice, but didn't have time to cook the rice by the time I was able to pass the boy off to Jeff.  He suggested tacos, so I whipped up some taco seasoning and browned the beef.  Someone dropped off a bag of tortilla chips and 2 packages of giant tortillas, so some of us had tacos and others had chips with taco fixing on top.  It was a great last minute meal, too bad I didn't have lettuce for it!

Tonight we had baked potato soup.  I have to tell you, when it was almost done I tasted it and I wasn't quite sure about it.  But then, then, I let it sit for a bit.  I then proceeded to blend it up with my immersion blender.  I didn't leave it very chunky at all.  I knew my kids wouldn't go for that very well.  We topped it with cheese, sour cream, and bacon bits.  Let me tell you, it was delicious.  I told Jeff that the only problem with this recipe was that there wasn't enough of it!  The kids all loved it.  I don't have that happen very often.  Usually there is at least one who doesn't like dinner.  This is a keeper!  You have to try it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sunday evening I made macaroni and cheese.  The kids absolutely love this dish and it is so easy with very few ingredients!  When I was out in Virginia a few months back I made it for my grandfather and aunt.  They all loved it too (although I used pastuerized cheese and milk there and I use raw here).  We often add tuna to it.  Of course, it was late by the time I made dinner and I didn't prepare a vegetable.  I'm not doing well with sticking to my veggies, however I am including them more than usual.  It is a slow progression.  My garage refrigerator froze half a head of cabbage, my leeks, and half my carrots.  I forgot that if you stick them toward the back of the darn thing they freeze!  I should put a note on the door so I never forget again.  I might be buying leeks tomorrow.
Some friends from church had a BBQ/pool party Monday evening.  We took our grass fed beef burgers and uncured beef hot dogs and some coleslaw I made.  They were providing the buns for the meat, but I made a couple whole spelt hamburger bun to take for myself.  I didn't even eat a brownie there!  I am quite proud of that accomplishment.  We had a great time, the kids barely got out of the pool long enough to eat dinner!
The little guy was sick today, some stomach bug or something.  So I ended up holding him most of the afternoon and wasn't able to make dinner.  Once Jeff was home from work it was too late to make anything in my meal plan.  I scrounged for something and ended up with some canned chicken, salsa, cheese, and tortillas.  I heated the chicken and salsa on the stove and then put it on a tortilla, added some cheese, and then rolled it up.  I baked it in the oven for about 30 minutes.  It is a type of chimichanga, I suppose.  I also made a big cheese quesadilla for some of the kids.  We all dipped them in sour cream cause that's how we roll up in here!  This would be a much healthier meal if the chicken were a higher quality, the salsa was home made, and the tortillas were whole grain made by myself.  Alas, I was going with what I had on hand that could be made up quickly.  One day I will have it all together!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

plans change

I have messed up my whole meal plan schedule, but that's how I roll!  Jeff worked late Wednesday and Thursday night (well past the kids' bedtime) so I kind of let it all go.  I did make the twice baked potatoes (with hot dogs) on Wednesday evening but didn't do the creamed spinach with it.  Thursday night I scrapped my plans- because I lose all motivation when I know he will be working past midnight- and just bought some chicken from the store for the kids.  I know, not a healthy food by any means- I'm not perfect, you know!  Last night I made pizza pockets.  These are really so easy.  The dough is so simple- it is the same one I used for poptarts.  I don't soak it because I have read that soaking grains with a dairy product doesn't actually break down the phytic acid, so what would be the point?  They were delicious and the kids even ate the  leftovers for breakfast this morning.  Tonight we are having baked ziti for dinner.   It is really easy to make, though, and my children love it!  We are also having broccoli slaw.  I just tasted it and it is delicious.

Baked Ziti

8 -16 oz ziti depending on how saucy you would like it to be- I used 16. (penne or another similarly shaped noodle would work as well)
26 oz spaghetti sauce
15 oz ricotta
2 cups of cheese (mozzarella or white cheddar)

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Boil pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, mix sauce and cheeses in a bowl.
Drain pasta and return to pot.  Add sauce mixture.  Spoon (I pour) into a 9x13 pan and cover with parchment and then foil.  Bake 45 minutes or until edges are bubbly.  Once done, you can also sprinkle additional cheese on top and bake uncovered for an additional 5 minutes.  I usually skip this.

I don't know how many servings this makes, but we are a family of six and we have plenty left over.  You can make it more healthy by making your own sauce rather than store bought and using a whole grain pasta.  I use raw white cheddar cheese and I am hoping to make my own ricotta from our raw milk so I can try it in this recipe.  Store bought ricotta has fillers in it that I am not so sure I want to be eating.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

meal planning

I have still been struggling with what to eat.  My sister just announced on her blog that she and her husband are eating a raw diet.  I had no idea.  So I spoke with her about it.  It is nice to have someone to lean on when it comes to diet changes.  We may not be eating the same things, but we both will have diets high in fruits and vegetables (and that is what I struggle with the most).  I have been searching for recipes that I can serve for dinner that have lots of vegetable and little to no meat.  I am not too concerned about dairy, since we mostly use it in cooking and baking.  I don't drink milk- I haven't since I was a young child.  Something to do with someone drinking out of the milk carton, my mom (or it could have been my dad) saying that was gross and not good for us.  In my usual rationale, I said to myself, "well, if it is so gross and not good for us I won't drink it ever again."  I have drank a few sips of milk in the last few years- mostly to taste the raw milk.  I just prefer water- I drink it like crazy.  Anyway, I have found some recipes.  I set up a meal plan for the next 10 days (I do menus by pay periods instead of weeks, and I am starting this one a little late).  So to help me actually make the menus, as well as stick to them, I am going to be posting my menu plans (along with links to recipes).  I am just starting with dinners, because that is what I'm having the hardest time figuring out.  I make bread and we eat sandwiches, toast, or just plain bread for lunch.  For breakfast I make muffins, we have eggs and toast, or I make pancakes or waffles.  I use freshly ground whole spelt flour in place of any other flour and rapadura (sucanat) in place of sugar in all the food I make.  This will be a huge improvement in our vegetable intake.

Wednesday     twice baked potatoes/
               hot dog potatoes with
               creamed spinach
Thursday      baked ziti with cabbage and lime salad
Friday        pizza pockets
Saturday      cheesy beef and rice
Sunday        mac and cheese with kale chips
Monday        tacos in a sleeping bag
               (making my own dough)
Tuesday       baked potato soup with
               broccoli slaw
Wednesday     leek and swiss chard tart with
               not your mama's cole slaw
               or dead simple slaw
Thursday      potato and zucchini pancakes
Friday        spinach quiche with 
               potato tortilla

Just so you know, twice baked potatoes and hot dog potatoes are the same thing.  I just have extra potato and not enough skins, so I cut a hot dog in half lengthwise leaving a tiny bit attached down the length and then spread it open and top it with potato.  We top all of them with cheese (except the ones for Ashley) and then put it in the oven to melt the cheese and warm the hot dogs.  We have hot dogs, at most, twice a month because they are fairly processed.

Friday, July 1, 2011

it's hard

I seem to keep being pulled back to eating things I would really prefer not to eat.  I think preparing all of our food is time consuming and I need to have a life.  I am sure that once I get used to it all I can make a plan that will streamline my time in the kitchen (I hope).  So today I have decided that I need to make only one change per week.  That gives me a whole week to incorporate it into my schedule.  Maybe then I won't feel so overwhelmed?  I am great for a day or two, cooking and baking up a storm.  Then I a feel like I just need a break and don't want to look at the kitchen for a day or two.  It never ends well.

In the Word of Wisdom we learn that we should eat "every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof."  We should eat meat sparingly.  "Grain is good for the food of man", it "is ordained for the use of man", "to be the staff of life."
Based on this, here are the changes I would like to make.Eliminate all refined foods.
Eat more vegetables.
Eat more fruit.
Eat less meat.
Eat sourdough bread.
Eat all grains either soaked or sourdough based.
Use only natural sweetener- honey, maple syrup, and rapadura/sucanat.
Give up candy!!!!

I have started making my own breads and crackers from whole grains, but sometimes I get lazy or I will eat refined grains if it is being served.  Pasta is one of the things I am not so sure about.  I am not into whole wheat, and would much prefer to use whole spelt.  I need to delve into making my own pasta.

I have switched over to rapadura and honey, but have yet to make anything with maple syrup.  I would like to start using honey in more recipes instead of rapadura as well.

I have begun taking the kids to the store and let them pick fruits to buy.  They enjoy it and I know they will eat what we get.  I am trying to stick with organic fruit when it comes to apples, peaches, and grapes.  I don't buy berries or cherries often, but would like to buy organic as well with these.

I bought some kale and chard this week.  I am going to try kale chips.  They are supposedly delicious, but I just don't know.  I love kale, but it just seems a bit strange.  I will let you know how they are.  I guess I should be buying organic greens instead, but I guess anything is better than nothing.  I should carry a "Buy Only Organic" card so I can remember what foods contain the most chemicals if not organic.  I have switched to only buying organic potatoes.  As far as organic goes, I am starting with the "dirty dozen."  I have to make sure I can fit all of this into my grocery budget, after all!

I don't eat a whole lot of meat- at least, not compared to most of the people I know.  I don't eat it every day.  When I do eat it, it most often is in small amounts.  Occasionally I will eat a lot at one sitting.  I am sure that I could eat it even less than I do now.  I am aiming for one serving of meat no more than 1-2 times per week- and by serving I mean 3-4 ounces.  I try not to eat chicken.  I don't eat pork (we all get sick every time we have eaten it).  The meat we buy is grass fed or free range, hormone free, roaming the land!

This week's change:  I will not eat any refined grains.  If I don't make it, I will just have to skip it!  Okay, so there might be some grain products that are already made that I could eat.  I've had really great whole grain bread with no fillers, but at $6.00 a loaf I am much better off making it myself.  It doesn't take that much effort!