Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New phone = more post...hopefully

So for my birthday this year my husband bought me a smartphone (it's a windows phone, little buggy but fun) and I just found this app to post to my already established blogs :). So this post wont be too long but I'm happy to have more options!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Nothing Beats Bread!

So I've been reading about traditional cooking and I was surprised about this new technique used to make bread.

Of course I believe that whole grains were better for you, even if some traditionalist don't think so, but wheat was really doing a number to my sweet baby's system. I thought sourdough was the only way to go, and from this post you can hear me complaining about the time and care it took to make one loaf of bread.

Then there was "soaking".

After finding another traditional living website, KitchenStewardship.com, I stumbled on to this FREE gem of an ebook there. All I had to do was sign up for a once-a-month newsletter (no problem!).

In her post here she explained how and why to soak whole grains. Here are a couple of little excerpts I've taken from that post.

The Why:
The Basic Science Behind Soaking Grains
  • Grains are seeds. (All this information therefore, pertains to legumes, nuts and seeds as well.)
  • Seeds are meant to pass through the system relatively undigested so they can be planted elsewhere (think in nature).
  • To make it possible for seeds to pass through undigested, there are some anti-nutrients built in to make them difficult to digest.
  • Seeds also need to be preserved until the time is right for sprouting, so they have certain compounds that stop the active enzyme activity of germination.
  • These compounds also serve to hinder active enzyme activity in your digestive system.
  • Beginning the sprouting process makes seeds more digestible and help your system obtain all the nutrients in the food.
  • “Soaking” grains is one way to mimic the sprouting process

Added Bonus: This process begins to pre-digest the grains, including breaking down complex starches and tannins that can irritate your stomach, as well as beginning to break down proteins like gluten. For some, this reduces gluten sensitivity (like it did for Nugget!)..

The How:
Soaking your whole grains…
  1. in water (warmer than room temp, ~100-110 degrees or so)
  2. with an acidic medium added
  3. at room temperature or above
  4. for 12-24 hours

Ok that doesn't sound too hard does it?
Heck no, compared to sourdough!

So instead of trying out her bread machine recipe out from the ebook first I decided to reformulate one of my favorite bread machine recipe, Light Whole Wheat Bread (it has a small amount of all-purpose flour that I plan to use unbleached and unbromated flour), from this book:

You can find the recipe on page 69 if you have the book, but here it is and my adjustments:

Light Whole Wheat Bread (Mix Recipe Option)
(I use the Medium size option because it make the best
 size for our family and I believe it will work in most machines)

Mix with a pastry cutter or a whisk real well:
3c whole wheat flour
1 1/3c white flour (unbleached and unbromated)
2t sugar (I used a natural cane sugar)
2T fat (well it was butter but I only had shortening :P)
I then put this in a Foodsaver bag along with a little packet that had two compartments with:
1 1/2t yeast
2t salt
See the little packet of yeast? :)

To use:
Set aside 1/4c of the flour mix and the yeast/salt packet. Stir the rest of the mix in the bread machine pan with -
1 3/4c liquid
It calls for water but because we need to help the soaking process along I have used up to the full amount with buttermilk. If you want a less tangy tasting bread you can use water and only replace at least 2T with buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, yogurt, or even kefir!)

Next put the 1/4c of the mix you set aside on top of the dough. Make a well in the flour and put the salt and yeast in it (we don't want these two ingredients to be in contact with the dough just yet because they will hinder the soaking process)

Fresh bread tomorrow, YAY!

Set it in your bread machine for a least 12 hours or what I like to do is leave it overnight and then in the morning I turn the machine on - use the basic/normal setting and medium crust (I only have the option of light or dark and dark did just fine)

Here is a picture of a loaf that is almost gone -

It slices so nicely once its cooled!

It rises better then a 100% whole wheat bread and I think it has a better mouth feel too. Also I feel that the small amount of white flour (unbleached and unbromated) and its taste and texture is worth it not being 100% whole wheat.

Remember this bread will go bad long before store bought, but I haven't had the trouble of not eating before then! :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Small Shopping Trip

This trip was just to pick up some few things to tide me over until my next big shop. (I usually shop for 2 weeks worth of food for 2 1/2 people.)

This was from Kroger, a local store, and I saved $.40 ($.20 for each dairy product) using my loyalty card! :)

Total: $15.07 - $13.95 before tax

$4.09  -  1/2 gal Buttermilk - I've been making a soaked bread recipe every other day using this.

$2.99  -  1 gal Whole milk

$2.00  -  2 Hass Avocados - I mash this up with a little lemon juice and EVOO for a spread for Nugget's toast
$4.87  -  1lb. Ground beef - just regular, not enough planning, and I needed something for dinner

Got (Whole) Milk?

Ok, I didn't have time to run to Earth Fare like I wanted to, to pick up some low-pasteurized whole milk, so I went on a quick trip to Kroger.

All of the "healthy" and organic brands of milk were ultra-pasteurized, I might as well keep giving Nugget formula then that denatured stuff.

Anyway I picked up a store-brand gallon of what I thought was plain whole milk.


Ingredients: whole milk, skim milk, vitamin D

Why not just add water?!?!?

$ 2.99 ($.01 cheaper then skim, go figure.)

Reading labels:
Priceless. But in my defence I was in a rush to get home because DH had to go to work and Nugget was home napping.

Anyone else buy something they thought was good at the store and realized at home it wasn't?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Menu 6/21-6/30

Here is my honest menu.

I am posting again this week because this post was made as a menu plan that I was going to make regardless if it was online or not and I thought that everyone reading this blog would like to see how I working at eating more traditionally.

When I bought all these groceries the lady who was checking me out commented on how healthy all my choices were. :) But I could to better!

I've tried hard to make these meals follow as closely to my ideals of removing processed junk, adding healthy fat, preparing grains properly and making them easy.

A lot of these meals I prepared ahead of time and froze - I'll let you know how they turn out! :)

Ok here they are (and sorry I don't have pictures for everything. I'll add them later when I make these recipes again!)

21] Cheesy-Beefy Pasta - made before and Honey likes it :)

  • Whole Wheat pasta (soaked 8 hrs with 1T apple cider vinegar - drained, rinsed, and then boiled, for less time of course.) 
  • Pasta sauce - bottled from the store. Remember real life here! :) I added 1/2lb of ground beef/pork sausage. Almost bought grass-fed beef but it wasn't in the budget. 
  • Mozzarella cheese - low moisture, skim. Next time I buy cheese it'll be full fat and hopefully fresh!
  • Frozen Veggies - heated with a little olive oil. 

22] Breakfast for Dinner! :)

  • Eggs - just regular eggs that I have on hand
  • Bacon - low-sodium. I can't have bacon any other way now.
  • Pancakes - leftover from the oatmeal pancakes!
  • Hash-browns - homemade! (grated, blanched, and then froze 2lb of potatoes!)

23] Leftovers! - meals from 6/20 (Shepard's pie), 6/21 or 6/22

24] Squash Soup

  • Butternut Squash - cut in to cubes 
  • Garlic, Ginger, S+P - cooked with the squash in the pressure cooker
  • Chicken Broth - water and Better then Bouillon - eh, better then just water for flavor. 
  • Chicken - leftover and frozen from Honey Mustard Chicken (w/out sauce)

25] Roast Pac - everything was frozen together in a Foodsaver freezer bag!

  • Beef roast - :) just regular beef and real life!
  • Carrots - part of the 2lbs of carrots I peeled, chopped, blanched, packed with the beef then frozen
  • Potatoes - same as the carrots only I processed 10lbs! = 4c mashed potatoes (Shepard's Pie), 2lb hash browns, and the rest 1in cubes
  • Beef bouillon - salty and has MSG but I have nothing else!

26] Pizza bread

  • Bread slice - light buttermilk bread - soaked with some white flour (I still plan on buying white flour and using it partially in my bread baking for the time being) 
  • Pasta sauce - same as in the pasta meal
  • Chicken - leftover and frozen from Honey Mustard Chicken (w/out sauce)
  • Cheese - same as in the pasta meal

27] Leftovers! - meals from 6/24, 6/25 or 6/26

28] Sweet'n'Sour Pork - this is the most compromising meal, but my Honey loves it!

  • Pork - regular. Coated with cornstarch, dipped in egg and then pan fried in all meat shortening
  • Sauce - 3/4 cup sugar (white, I didn't want to use the pure raw cane sugar I have in this but I could have), 4 tbs ketchup (one day I'll make fermented!), 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar (I could have used ACV but I don't know how much that would have changed the flavor), 1 tbs soy sauce (I want to buy a more fermented brand, like this one), and 1 tsp garlic salt - The Healthy Home Economist had this Teriyaki sauce recipe that looked good. I might try it instead next time  
  • Fried rice - rice, eggs, mixed veggies, sweet'n'sour sauce, and all meat shortening

29] Stew Pac - everything was frozen together in a Foodsaver freezer bag (SHOPPING DAY!)

  • Beef roast pieces - cut from beef roast
  • Mushrooms - leftover from Beef Stroganoff
  • Carrots - from roast process
  • Potatoes - ditto
  • Celery - washed, chopped, blanched, frozen with everything
  • Stew Mix packet - a packet that has spices and cornstarch ( and MSG : P)

30]Leftovers or Pizza bread (Anything left!)

Other meals we had this month (excluding leftovers and going out for Fathers Day on Saturday):

Beef Stroganoff 

  • Beef roast pieces - cut from beef roast
  • Mushrooms - sliced baby portabella
  • Sauce - onion, beef bouillon (: P), flour, beef fat, sour cream, AND 1/2 can cream of mushroom soup. I was so sad I had to add this but the beef bouillon I have is crap and I accidentally add way to much sour cream and the sauce was runny. Oh well. 
  • Noodles - whole wheat. Didn't think to soak.

Spicy Shepard's Pie

  • Ground beef - regular 
  • Mixed veggies
  • Sauce - leftover 1/2 can of soup because I'm not going to waste it and a roux made with the fat from the cooked ground beef, flour and 2 cups milk. I added 7 drops of After Death hot sauce for a nice spicy kick!
  • Crust - mashed potatoes (from mass process earlier), 1 egg and extra milk

Honey Mustard Chicken (*****) Five Star!

  • Chicken thighs - marinated in (heaven): 1/3c whole grain mustard, 2 T. honey, 2 t. italian seasoning (no salt or MSG :),1 t. paprika, 1 T. lemon juice, and 2 T. AC vinegar and enough buttermilk to cover. Marinate overnight. Take chicken out of marinade, put in a 9x13 baking dish, drizzle with olive oil. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 30 min then uncover and cook 30 min longer. Chicken is done at 175 degrees or when juices run clear!
  • Sauce - more whole grain mustard, honey and some of the tasty stock that the came off the chick after it cooked, boiled down to a thick heavenly sauce!
  • Spinach - wilted to help with iron absorption 
  • Potatoes - cubed (from mass process earlier) roasted with some chicken fat until browned

Chicken Noodle Soup - OMG this is tasty! Another (*****) 

  • Chicken - frozen from leftover Honey Mustard Chicken (w/out sauce)
  • Stock - sad story: I dropped the container that was holding my chicken stock from the Honey Mustard Chicken! Lost every drop! So I saved up the bones from each thigh and cracked them open, added them and leftover chicken skins to a pot with a little Better then Bouillon, water and Mrs. Dash Garlic Herb. Brought to a boil then covered and simmered for 45 min. Fished out the bones and skins. Then added the chicken and boiled the noodles in the stock. Added the carrots last because they were par-cooked 
  • Carrots - from mass process
  • Noodles - whole wheat - didn't think to soak

Here was the rough shopping list:

buttermilk (bread and pancakes)
sour cream

(you can stretch  these pretty far and have leftovers!)
beef roast (3lbs divided - 2 lbs cut into cubes 1lb left whole. I did this myself, but you could ask your butcher)
chicken thighs (I don't remember the weight :(  )
pork chops
1 lb ground beef 
low-sodium bacon

frozen mixed veggies
butternut squash

whole wheat pasta - egg noodle and spiral

Things I had on hand:
Mrs. Dash
garlic and garlic salt 
soy sauce
hot sauce
whole wheat flour
pasta sauce
vinegars (white and apple cider or ACV)
canned cream of soup : P

A rough guess is that I spent about $140-150, but that is including non-food items so I'm not 100% sure!
Next shopping trip/menu post I write I'll include:
  1. Actual costs
  2. Breakfast and Lunch menu
  3. and a better recipe format ( I think I just post each recipe separately and link them on the menu post) 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Note to My Politicians (from Girl In An Apron)

I just had to post this!

A Note to My Politicians

(from Girl In An Apron)

Hear me now:
Your pursuit for safety is as false as your concern for our health.
While you shake hands and lie in bed with chemical producers
and drug distributors
you cry out in the name of food safety,
to pasteurize, bleach, boil, package and inject
everything which passes our lips.
You can't serve it raw
because it is too dirty and dead.
You have never worked in real soil.
You have never washed earth off your food before preparing it.
You have never shaken sleepy bees from dewy blooms early in the day.
You are afraid of people who eat from their garden,
because their minds
are still their own.
Kill the small farmer.
Then sell us drugs
and flu shots.
Give us antidepressants.
Tell us to wear sunscreen and never go out into the sun.
Eat from a bag
or box
that's sealed and clean.

No I won't vote for this.
I have cast a different ballot,
and it is waiting at the end of my fork,
seared rare,
and dripping with unpasteurized cream sauce.
My hens will continue to lay warm eggs right into my fry pan
without your permission first.
I will give what little is left of the diminishing American dollar to my neighbor
in exchange for pastured pork
and raw milk.
I will spend time collecting seeds.
I will use butter liberally.
I will go out in the morning to harvest.
I will not drink your corn syrup.
I do not want your sterilized meat.
I don't want your drive-thrus and chains.
In the name of all that is patriotic,
I will drink milk straight from the happy cow.
Keep your red #40,
your food safety modernization act,
your myths.
Smoke your cigars and drink your scotch.
Sign your papers.
Your "safe" food
is a life lived behind bars.
If this is safety
keep it.
What you need
is some real food
my dear,
fear ridden
What you need
you will find
in raw milk cheddar
melted over homemade sourdough.
What you need
waits at the bottom
of a tall glass
brimming with handcrafted beer.
You will find peace
in slow roasted root vegetables,
dipping your crisp
pastured bacon
into your poached fresh egg.
Slurp a raw oyster
fresh from the sea.
Pass the butter.
Smell the herbs.
Drizzle the honey.
Break the bread.
I welcome you
to my renegade table,
my hungry politician.
But be prepared
to become
by the light.

What Nugget Eats

The other day talking to my mom, she asked if I would post menus of what I've been making. So I thought what the easiest way to do this? And I thought I'll just keep a list of what we've been eating and then just separate junk (yes we're not perfect yet) and give you ideas for meals. :)

Here is what Nugget typically eats:
B: yogurt, fruit, 1/2 serving soaked or sourdough bread product (soaked pancakes, sourdough pancakes, soaked bread - you get the idea) (some days eggs - though she wont eat them without ketchup, crazy kid)

L: milk (its formula as I write this but I am getting low- pasteurized whole milk today), leftovers, or a peanut butter or a cheese sandwich (but sometimes she doesn't want to even eat lunch), 100% veggie jar baby food

D: milk, and what ever we eat - ex. we had pizza yesterday (buttermilk bread slices, pasta sauce, pepperoni, and cheese) and I just cut it up - another time we had Honey Mustard Chicken with potatoes and spinach and after a chop she ate it up. 

I know I could do so much better! I would really like to give her a variety of grains, more veggies, more pro- and pre- biotic foods and purer fats, dairy and meats.

But, I can see it is so much better then just a few weeks ago:

B: baby oat cereal (it had soy ingredients), a jar of applesauce

L: same as B but with a jar of a veggie 

D: same above, maybe some of the meat we were eating.

Yes it does take more time to cook like this (but I think I'll get faster as I learn) but it is worth the benefit to my family and myself! I've noticed as I've been preparing my bread products in a way to lower the phytic acid (through soaking, souring and one day I'll try sprouting!) and adding more fat in my diet I've stop losing my hair! My energy levels are so much higher, and I can do so much more (I do think however I need to spend less time on my computer. Even researching this new way to live online and writing this blog is taking time and energy I could be applying to my life!)

I hope this helps you see that just a few changes (and even those were added gradually) can make a profound impact.

(As of today I've decided that I will only post on this blog once a week to give me more time to live!)