All in a Day’s Work

I’ve spent sometime yesterday talking with some ladies I work with, and they were asking me how exactly do I feed my family clean, healthy food. I have been getting questions like this a lot lately. How do I have time to prepare everything? How are you avoiding certain foods? The best way I know how to answer these questions is just to explain my process.

We have a pretty busy life. I have 3 children under 7, I work 2 part time jobs, plus we do a lot at our church. Because of this I really have to prioritize my time in order to fit in all the prep work my food requires. Monday is usually my day off so I try to get as much of this done on Mondays as I can, but that doesn’t always happen. If my Monday is filled with other priorities then usually I will try to spread my cooking onto the afternoon/evenings during the week. But today (Saturday) was a rare treat and we actually didn’t have anything going on. I took advantage of this and had a very productive day in the kitchen. Now I have a head start for our meals for the week.

I’m just going to make a list of all food items I made today. I have added the link for each recipe so you can try them yourself. Please do not take me wrong here, I am not bragging about all I did today, I just want to give everyone an idea how long it takes to get everything prepped and what exactly it is that I make.

1. First thing this morning I made my family breakfast.
I made these yummy pancakes. The bananas in them made them so sweet we didn’t even need maple syrup.

 

2. Next I made a batch of salsa. I use this all week with tortilla chips or raw veggies. No link here. This is my recipe I frequently throw together

Salsa:
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 jalapeño seeds and veins out (keep them in if you like some heat)
1/4 of a large onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper.

Pulse it altogether in a food processor until onion, tomato, and jalapeño are almost smooth.

photo 2

3. I also threw a batch of applesauce in the crockpot. Someone gave me 2 huge bags of apples that were about to go bad. So I peeled and diced the apples and put them in the freezer. Then this morning I threw the frozen apples into the crockpot with a little water. This cooked on low for about 5 hrs (Remember the apples were frozen). I used a potato masher after about 4 hrs to help the applesauce along.photo 3

4. In my other crockpot I started a batch of Greek yogurt. The recipe for this can be found on my blog post The Pantry Purge.

5. Somewhere during the crockpot recipes I heated up lunch. The kids got bean burritos made from the crockpot refried beans I made earlier this week.

6. After I had my salad I made a big pot of vegetable soup. I will have this for lunch all week long.

7. Oh yeah, sometime this morning I threw 5 sweet potatoes in the oven. I will have a sweet potato for breakfast every morning.

8. Ugh! I also made granola bars before lunch also. (so this list won’t be in order! I keep forgetting what all I did today) The recipe for these can also be found on The Pantry Purge post.

9. At some point today, I have no idea what time, I made pizza sauce for my kiddos pizza “lunchables” they will take in their lunch this week and the pizza I have planned for supper later this week. I got the pizza “lunchable” idea from “100 days of real food.”

10. Then I made dinner for my family. Healthy chicken nuggets, green beans, and celery, my chicken nuggets are made by cutting up 2 chicken breasts into nugget size pieces, throwing them into a almond milk egg wash, then “breading” them in almond meal. I make my own almond meal by grounding blanched almonds in my coffee grinder, but you can also buy almond meal. My kids love these chicken nuggets.

11. After supper I made gluten free, sugar free Pop-Tarts. My kids have been begging for pop-tarts and there is no way I am buying those and feeding the sugar filled “pastry” to my kids, especially for breakfast. So I looked up several healthy pop tart recipes and combined some using ingredients I had in my kitchen. So this is what I came up with.

Healthy Pop-Tarts.

Pastry:
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup tapioca starch                                                                                                                                                                                      1/4 tsp salt                                                                                                                                                                                                               1 Tbsp ground flax seed

Boiling water
2 Tbsp honey
1 egg
1/4 cup almond milk

Combine dry ingredients (excluding flax seed). Add a small about of boiling water to the flax seed in a separate bowl, this will make a paste like consistency. ( I had to do this because I didn’t have any xanthan gum, if you do you can just add 1 Tbsp to the dry ingredients and omit the flax seed). Whisk together egg and almond milk. Now add the remaining ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine with a fork. Form the dough into a ball. I then wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for it to harden a bit.

Later I pulled it out of the fridge and rolled it into 2 rectangles and cut those into 8 rectangles. So I had 16 rectangles to make 8 pop-tarts.

Fruit filling:
1 cup frozen strawberries.

I cooked them on the stove for awhile until they were soft and syrupy then blended them in the blender.

Take 1 rectangle put a small amount of strawberry syrup in the middle, about 1 tbsp. Then top with another rectangle, bind edges with a fork. Bake at 350 for about 15 min.photo 1

12. Finally I made homemade gummy fruit snacks. You can find that recipe here.

 

So I did get quite a bit accomplished today. And I actually got to sleep in a little this morning. This list took me about 11 hours, along with a couple loads of laundry and a few interruptions from my kids. As you can see eating healthy does take a little more effort and time, but I completely feel that it is worth it. And it gives me such satisfaction to know that my family is eating healthy food that I prepared for them.

The Chicken Coop

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Not long into our organic endeavor did we figure out that eating healthy didn’t have to break the bank. Most foods we were buying organic were not that much more expensive than the regular product. (Besides I felt it was worth any price increase there might be.)

That applies to all except meat. Organic meat is crazy expensive! So expensive in fact that we actually haven’t taken the plunge and bought any organic meat. We stick with the “all natural” chicken. (And yes there is a difference, organic and all natural is not the same) So what was my Iowan Farm boy husbands solution to this problem? Let’s just raise our own.

And that’s exactly what we are doing. My husband bought 10 broilers and 9 laying hens and we are raising them in the middle of our driveway. Yep, that’s cause we live in the middle of town and don’t really have the “acreage” to raise chickens and I’m not sure it’s even legal to do in our city. But that doesn’t stop us.

So how’s it going? Well we have some small laying hens that won’t produce any eggs for a few more months and some rapidly growing broilers. And all I can say so far is that they stink. They stink really bad. I can’t even walk outside my house with out smelling the horrible smell of our chicken coop. I feel sorry for our neighbors.

Ideally the plan for these chicken is once the broilers are fully grown we will take them to be butchered (no, we are not going to butcher them ourselves) and we will have a freezer full of chickens we raised ourselves. Then once our hens are mature we should be getting 9 eggs a day! Can’t wait. As long as I can endure the smell.

I will try to keep you all posted in our chicken raising endeavors.

More than Bread… Living on nourishment from Jesus.

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Matthew 4:1-4

I have been on this healthy journey now for a few months and I’ve been doing great. I’ve stuck to my diet, lost weight, and have seen my health improve. But during this process of improving my physical health the Lord has convicted me of one thing. I have been so careful about what I consume into my body. Only eating what is good for my body and leaving out the junk that can be harmful.

And though I know the Lord is pleased with my endeavor to improve this temple He has given me, I knew He longed for me to fed myself spiritual. I had been so careful about only giving my body the very best nourishment, but had lacked in given my soul the nourishment it longed for. Yes, the Lord does want me to take care of my body but He wants an intimate relationship with so much more. I can not do this journey on my own. I need the Lord’s strength on the days I’m weak or prone to given to fleshly desires. I need the wisdom from His word to make the right choices for mine and my families health.

Like I said I have been so careful to only consume wholesome foods, leaving out the things that are “junk.” And yep you guessed it. It was as if the Lord had said to me “you are so careful about what does into your stomach, what about what goes into your heart?” What kind of “junk” had I been consuming through TV, listening to gossip, or even Satan’s lies? I had been so careful to guard my health but had neglected my heart.

I feel my relationship with the Lord has improve tremendously and I am grateful for the Holy Spirits conviction. I ask for prayer from you that I do not get sidetracked again and preoccupied with things that are temporary.

Lord thank you for your Spirit that dwells in this temple even when I fail to give it the spiritual sustenance it needs.