Saturday, January 23, 2010

Natural Living? An Idol?

I stumbled on this blog post and it gave me a very good smack up side the head. It is very timely in my life so I thought I should share it.

Can natural living become an idol? You bet your bottom dollar it can.

The LORD has been pushing me and stretching me in this area as the pay is decreasing and the number of mouths to feed and nourish is increasing. I try to keep these verses in remembrance.

Luke 12: 23The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
24Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fouls?

The LORD will provide. It may not be to my self made standards but HE will provide.

I need to have more balance in my life and more faith.

Do I reach for the Bible as quick as I reach for my new health book? Do I worry about sneaking more green veggies into my kids diet more than I worry about shaping their characters? Do I remember that the LORD is the great healer and not my latest detox diet? Do I judge others who don't adhere to my "guidelines" instead of loving one another as Christ has first loved me?

I still firmly believe real food is better for you. Sole (sustainable, organic, local, ethical) food is better for everyone involved. And real oats are cheaper than Fruit Loops any day. I still believe the food God made is far superior to man made food. So again BALANCE!

Everyone will have to answer for their time on this earth. The mother who dishes up hot dog casserole with true thanksgiving in her heart is better than the mother who cringes at the lack of omega 3's in her kids lunches.

Searching for balance.....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hot Dog Men

Step 1) get yourself some hot dogs, try not to gag! Step 2) Make some legs
Step 3) Cut one arm

Step 4) Cut another arm
Step 5) notch out the neck and make a smiley face

Step 6) Boil per package directions, I do 6 to 8 minutes
Step 7) Serve to your kidlets who think you are the most awesome mom in the whole world because you made hot dog men.

Here is an attempt an hug and kisses hot dogs. The "hugs" didn't get sliced all the way through, oops. (Ignore the dirty stove will ya?)
Kind of funny hot dog story.
This summer at my uncles house my aunt and uncle were appalled that the kids had never eaten a hot dog. I said something like "there are millions of kids in this world who have never eaten a hot dog." Well that didn't sit well with them.
"YOUR KIDS LIVE IN AMERICA!" they both barked.
So I guess I was being unpatriotic by not pickling my children's livers serving them hot dogs.
(Don't worry, no livers were pickled in the making of this blog post. The hot dogs are nitrate free:))

Friday, January 15, 2010

Food! Food! Food! Food!

So you have four kids, you're knocked up with number five, and you're a food snob. What are you to do?

COOK and BAKE until the cows come home.

Here's the list of food we now have in the freezer for "after baby".

sloppy joes
sloppy joes
burger soup
shepherds pie

Chicken enchilada
chicken enchilada
chicken pot pie
fried chicken
shredded chicken

cooked ground
cooked ground
cooked ground
cooked ground
cooked ground

sweet potatoes
sweet potatoes
sweet potatoes
sweet potatoes
precooked ham
precooked ham
precooked ham

Baked goods
gallon bag FULL of granola
cinnamon rolls
cinnamon rolls
cinnamon rolls
cinnamon rolls
cinnamon rolls
morning glory muffins
morning glory muffins
morning glory muffins

I have this list taped to the fridge so I can just scratch off what I already used and know what is remaining.

Ground turkey will be used for taco salads, taco soup, goulash, and spaghetti. We use rice noodle which do NOT freeze and reheat well otherwise I would have made up the goulash and spaghetti but just having the meat prepped will ever so helpful.

On pork days if it falls during the week days we have salmon. So I just cooked the time consuming sweet potatoes so we don't end up eating plain salmon and bread.

I still hope to make a double batch of french bread pizza, bacon and potato soup, and maybe some cookies and more granola.

We also have lots of stock in the freezer but I hope to make at least one more batch of that too.

Thanks to Tina for all her help on baking day!!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Chicken Stock 101

Gather ingredients, I use whatever I have on hand, carrot, celery, onion and 1/4 of a cup of vinegar, I used apple cider vinegar. The vinegar pulls the gelatin out of the bones. Don't peel anything, not even the onion, rough chop and throw it in. Add water. Here are leftover chicken bones for today's batch. I usually have the crock pot on the counter and as everyone finishes their dinner they drop their bones into it .
I have a 6 quart crock pot so it make a fair amount of stock. You can do it on the stove but it is suggested to simmer for 24 hours so with a bunch of kids running around I use the crock pot.
They next day you have this: Not very tasty looking but don't worry about that. I stick the whole pot on the deck to cool before I strain it. In the summer you have to find a way to wedge it between the huge watermelon and leftovers in the fridge.
Strain it. Measure it out into your preferred serving size. Freeze or use within 5 days or so. Voila you have stock.
Stock is so versatile and so healthy and so REAL. Go here to learn all about broth or stock.
So what do I do with chicken or beef stock you may ask.
Replace the water in brown rice.
Make a roux and use it as a cream sauce when a recipe calls for a can of MSG, I mean cream of something soup.
Replace milk in mashed potatoes.
Make soup.
Replace water in instant mashed potatoes, shhh don't tell anybody I feed those to my kids.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Rice bags!

It's cold!!! So a batch of rice bags is easing our chill factor. We lowered the heat this year 5 degrees from last year and let me tell ya we sure can tell the difference, on the bill and the frigid factor. I'm pregnant at least but the poor hubby is about frozen stiff.

So on to the rice bag itself. Sew a bag, insert rice, sew up the end. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes and enjoy a little bag of warmth. Best when used at bedtime on your frozen solid feet. Can be used like a heating pad on sore muscles and such also. They also make great toys for the monkeys to throw around the house all winter. Sew up three sides of your bag. Flip right side out. Fill with rice. Fold under edges pin shut and sew last side closed.
Enjoy!!!!! (microwave times will vary!)

You're going to want to use white rice for this otherwise the oil and bran from the brown rice will smell awful after multiple heatings.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dairy Free "Cheeseburger" Soup

Here is our new favorite soup- Cheeseburger Soup - minus the cheese that is. Brown a pound of ground beef with an onion and set aside.
In a pot add some veggies, we used potatoes, carrots, celery, along with some chicken stock. Add enough water to cover if needed and simmer until cooked through. (I don't peel anything just give the veggies a good scrubbing and chop.) Season and salt liberally with your favorite burger and steak combinations.
After it has cooled some puree it in your blender (be careful!!!) or better yet use an immersion blender and blend until creamy smooth.
Return to pan, if you used your blender, add meat and onion mixture and bring back to a simmer. Clean and chop some lettuce and throw in the last few minutes before you eat. Garnish with fresh tomatoes and enjoy!
I know it sound strange but it is so good, the lettuce and tomato give it that cheeseburger appeal and the carrot gives it the cheese color so cheeseburger soup it is.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hello!!!! Is anybody out there?

Probably NO because I am a terrible blogger!!! Well not much happening here besides the ever growing belly. I'm tired, tired and well tired. Did I happen to mention that I'm tired. No really I can't complain, I haven't been sick at all this whole pregnancy so I'll take tired.

Anyways on to something a little more interesting. THE BUDGET!!!

I'm a number cruncher, always have been. So dust off your cross multiplication skills and enjoys my math!

Hypothetical grocery budget: $100 every 7 days

$100 x 52 trips to store a year = $5200

$110 every 10 days (I had to up the dollar a smidgen because you just gotta when you go longer)

$110 x 36.5 trips to store a year = $4015

That is a savings of $1185 or % 22.8

Okay so I'm convicted to shop less!!!! I hope to alternate between Sunday afternoon and Wednesday grocery shopping. Added bonus I'll only have to take 5 kids grocery shopping once every 20 days, Sunday they will be home with daddy. That will make all parties involved much happier.

Towards the end of the 10 days we'll feast on home canned and dried fruit and frozen veggies. I might even get so organized that I will mark menu calendar with shopping days and plan meals accordingly. Ex. tacos with all the fresh veggies goes on day 3 and spaghetti out of a jar goes on day 9. I already write out a monthly menu so this really shouldn't be that hard.

As for the dollar amount I haven't decided what to do yet. So that is to be continued....