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Hard Stuff & Freedom

This year was HARD.

We raised meat chickens (butchered them ourselves). Settled into a home. Fundraised and WENT to Haiti for a week. Struggled with high drama in several relationships.  Oh, and at work, I consistently put in 50-60 hours. Per week. For months.


So yeah…. hard.

Call it disease, call it stress… it almost doesn’t matter… my body has been on a slow decline for the last year. We’re in the process of figuring out a plan on how to deal with these medical issues, but for now… I’ve had to slow down. Which again… is hard. (Did you read the list of hard stuff? No room for slowin’ down there.)

I went gluten-free to deal with one issue, and in some ways – along with medical intervention – that one specific issue has improved.  But it didn’t eliminate any migraines or any other ailments.  In fact… it all just continued slowly to get worse.

I’m going to be honest, it’s incredibly frustrating.  As someone who doesn’t even let soy come into her home, as someone who has sanitized GMOs from her family’s diet… I feel a wee bit cheated.  I feel like I did the right thing by our diets, and I’ve had new issues creep up instead.

I didn’t want to come here and write about all the success I’ve had in the kitchen.  Well, because I HAVEN’T. Aside from my enthusiasm and proselytizing about healthy food being reduced, I positively didn’t have the energy. My kids have eaten so many sandwiches it’s ridiculous.  I gave up making bread.  I just COULDN’T anymore.  My body didn’t have it in me.  It’s a struggle to muster up the energy to do anything but the bare minimum… and I’m talking also about cleaning toilets and washing clothes. And this isn’t even touching on writing.

I felt as if I couldn’t come here and talk about these things because a) it wasn’t food related and part of the whole “eat-better” message I’ve been so intent on and b) it wasn’t encouraging.  One of my biggest gripes about social internet presence is those that use it just to complain and garner pity. This wasn’t going to be what the blog was about.  So, instead… I just chose not to write.

I miss it, though.  I miss putting all my thoughts together into one space. Woven into all my past posts was my heart.  Things I was enjoying.  Things I was doing.  The problem of course is that I just wasn’t cooking as much in the last several months (almost a year) and I didn’t know how to relate my writing to the mission of encouraging those around me to eat well.

So, this blog is going to change.  I’m not going to delete it and undo anything.  But I feel it needs to be relabeled, and to include a mission and title that’s more about me, my heart, and not so specific on food.  (Don’t worry, as much as the energy level has decreased, I still LOVE to eat!! So food’s still up there.)  I also have other things beating in my heart… I often end up writing tiny blurbs on my personal facebook page, but I think it makes more sense to combine this all in a blog.  And Foodies Gone Real doesn’t necessarily fit.

I want to do what God’s called me to do well.  I have never doubted He’s called me to write encouragement.  Things will change because I want freedom – freedom to write as God calls, and not just bound up on what type of diet encouragement.

And don’t we all want freedom?



Meal Plan: 4/17-4/23

Breakfast: bacon, almonds, sliced apples. Kids are also eating leftover donuts (leftover from a donut-eating contest on Saturday!)
Lunch: roasted Italian pepper with red sauce and chicken drumstick in red sauce; rest of family is also having spinach + ricotta ravioli
Dinner: … fully confess I did not have a plan.  Ended up skipping due to late lunch and over abundance of desserts around.
Snacks, Other: N/A
Packed for Girl #1 lunch tomorrow: Forgot to pack it.  Made it Monday morning instead… homemade lunchable: ham, cheese. Sliced strawberries, juice. Leftover donut for a treat. Snack packed was carrots and apples with peanut butter.

Breakfast: Fried Eggs with Tomatoes, homemade oatmeal (kids had granola + yogurt)
Lunch: radishes with cottage cheese and chives (don’t knock it ’til you try it!), granola + yogurt.  Apple slices.  Ham slices with mustard if still hungry.
Dinner: burgers topped with guacamole or blue cheese.  I will skip the bread, but the rest of the family will have this on toasted bread. Carrots and cucumber slices. Orange slices
Snacks, Other: will make peach, yogurt and honey popcicles to enjoy tomorrow. (you dump all three ingredients into a blender, pour in the molds. And that’s it.)  I’m also marinading a slab of beef for homemade jerky.
Packed for Girl #1 lunch tomorrow: peanut butter jelly sandwich, apple slices, cucumber slices. Snack will likely be cheese slices and fruit cup.

Breakfast: leftover homemade oatmeal, cottage bacon, blueberries. (frozen kind, probably dumped into the oatmeal)
Lunch: apple slices, cucumbers w/ feta.  Vanilla Shakeology + berries.  leftover burgers.
Dinner: homemade chicken parmesan (pan-fried chicken breast, gluten-free spaghetti topped homemade red sauce and mozzarella. Probably some roasted red peppers, too.)  Green Beans, too.
Snacks, Other: put jerky on dehydrator.
Packed for Girl #1 lunch tomorrow: leftover spaghetti, cucumber slices, pears, yogurt. Veggie chips for snack.  I’m also packing Thursday’s lunch, too – lunchable (ham + cheese) sweet potato+apple+blueberry squeezy pack, veggie chips. Snack – larabar + juicebox

Breakfast: waffles.  probably scrambled eggs, frozen blueberries + yogurt, too.
Lunch: – packed snacks (kale chips, jerky, fruit)
Dinner: Catered dinner in NJ, Work meeting
Snacks, Other: n/a
Packed for Girl #1 lunch tomorrow: – Already packed on Tuesday night

Breakfast: Eating it at the hotel, leftovers for others
Lunch: On the road… eating more of the packed snacks from yesterday.
Dinner: sweet potato, onion, kale, sausage scramble.  I don’t expect my kids to eat sausage (someday… I’m still reforming that picky eater!), so I will likely have scrambled eggs, mac cheese, and smoothies for them.
Snacks, Other: n/a
Packed for Girl #1 lunch tomorrow: peanut butter jelly, cucumber slices, fruit cup, yogurt. snack = veggie chips.

Breakfast: bacon, einkorn pancakes, apple slices.
Lunch: ham, cheese, mustard rollups. Vanilla Shakeology w/ mangos.  baby carrots (lots and lots of them)
Dinner: homemade pineapple, beet, carrot juice; salads with hard boiled egg and pan-fried chicken.
Snacks, Other: soak flour for bread.  Please, please, please don’t feel intimidated by this.  I make my own bread.  If you can/want to eat a healthy whole wheat/sprouted bread from a store, please do so.

Breakfast: granola + yogurt, frozen blueberries.
Lunch: homemade bread, carrots, scrambled eggs.
Dinner: broccoli, homemade chicken nuggets (google “The Domestic Man Chic Fil A copycat”). Mashed potatoes
Snacks, Other: I set out Sunday morning breakfast ahead of time as we have to get out the door very early, and girls actually eat it in the fellowship hall while husband is getting ready at church.

Sarah’s Musings – 6/7/15

My world is starting to get exciting again in the realm of food.  For those of you not following along on Facebook (you should, really!), we made a big move to a home that’s (nearly) finished and towards a lifestyle that will require more work, but greater reward and blessing (homesteading).  You can read about that adventure here.  Thankfully, we didn’t bite off a bunch of homesteading projects this summer (thank you, dear Husband, for your wisdom there! Because you know if I made all the decisions by myself we’d have a cow, two pigs, 20 chickens and COMPLETE CHAOS. And absolutely no money. Haha.)

So when I say it’s getting exciting again what I REALLY mean is that I’m back in the kitchen, full force, not taking shortcuts.  I lost four pounds over the last few weeks from this “getting back on track” and am glad to be rid of convenience foods.  (Ok, so in my defense, I never went hardcore back to the dark side.  But there were alot of carbs, alot of snacking, and just not alot of planning or self-control.)

So … on to the real point of this entry… what did I do this week?


Why sleep is important to your health, not just exercise and diet.  Read it here.

How your egg allergy may be something else … a.k.a. a soy allergy.  Read it here.  (I can’t preach this one enough! Those of you that have heard my sermon [in person] on the care of animals and the feed that conventional animals are fed know this is a huge thing for me! Don’t write off ANY fruits, veggies, meats, dairy, etc. as an allergy until you have tried eating its cleanest version. It could be an allergy to the pesticide used, or type of additive.  Go raw/organic/unpasteurized/etc. before writing it off!)

Because every Momma has had days like this.  Maybe not to the point of the cat mess (just read it!) but we’ve had days, I tell ya!  Read it here.

Follow my adventures on instagram… a little bit of food, scenery, farming.  Check it out here.  (@foodies_gone_real)


You’ve got to try this honey spiced glazed chicken (recipe here).  Recipe very easy to halve or double to your needs.  And so good that I WISH I doubled so I could eat more of it.

THIS.  This cherry limeade.  You really must try it.  Wholesome and CRAZY GOOD.

Happy Sunday … and let me know if you find anything else good!

Stretchin’ It.

I ran across a *gem* of an article titled, “Lesson From New Home Noob Clothesline” (find it here).  When reading it, I thought it might be silly guide to the whole encounter with your clothesline, but it was a well-written article that demonstrates sometimes it takes some thinking to do something right.  I have been line-drying for the last three summers and absolutely love it … if for nothing else, I’m not running my dryer near as often when it’s 90 degrees outside!  I took for granted that there were many things I had figured out along the way, and my words echo this blogger’s advice.

What on earth does this have to do with food?  More than you would guess!  It’s tied to one word.

The word is stewardship.

Merriam-Webster defines this as: “the activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something”.  God has placed so much under our care – our spouses, our kids, our churches, the needy, the earth and all that lives within it.  We can even break it down further – he has given us the task of being responsible with our resources and our bodies.

Our resources (a.k.a. money) is so heavily tied to our bodies.  Where there is over-indulgence in one, there is often over-indulgence in another.  Where there is a negative view on one, there is often a negative view on the other.  God gave us these things – and we should rejoice that we have money to buy food! Much of the world gets by on much less.  God gave us bodies that function (reasonably) well! Ask someone bed-ridden or tied to a wheelchair what they think on the ability to be physically able.

Moreover, there is a common misconception that eating healthy food is too expensive.  I am here to tell you that is wrong.

We have often tried to stick to a budget, but not firmly holding ourselves accountable to it.  It’s not that our lives are full of poor financial decisions, because thankfully, I am married to a man that just does not like to spend money.  It came to a head this year, though, as we knew ahead of time several expenses, also knew what we wanted to save for, but knew we were absolutely committed to eating healthily.  How does one balance this?

There’s that word again:  stewardship.

So yes, I hang my clothes out.  God gave us sunshine! It not only is free and reduces our energy costs, but it’s a natural bleaching agent for difficult stains.  This is a part of being a good steward.  Using what you already have available to you.

And… We set a budget for our food purchases.  Which was kind of a scary thing.  Pastured chicken (this is the *best* and *healthiest* chicken you can get. Period.) costs between $17-$20 for one whole chicken.  To start purchasing raw milk, which is on our radar for this year, is in the ballpark of $5/gallon.  We did some research, and our budget is below the national average costs for a household our size.   And can I tell you, we are in month five of this … AND IT WORKS.

We have not only learned that we should practice good stewardship with our money, that we should be good stewards of our body, but to be good stewards of the food we are purchasing.

We have learned to STRETCH our dollar.

Which leads me to debunking the idea that healthy, wholesome, real (non-processed) food is too expensive!  Here are some ideas on how we do it:

  1. Do not waste.  I repeat, DO NOT WASTE.  If it’s something you enjoy leftovers of, make the whole recipe or double it.  If you’re not sure, make just enough for what you need to feed your family that time.  Sometimes, this might mean halving (or quartering) a recipe the first time.
  2. We make homemade yogurt.  You can use this method from The Prairie Homestead, except I just do mine for 8 hours in the dehydrator at 115*.  It does the same thing.  If you are regular yogurt eaters, this method SIGNIFICANTLY cuts costs.
  3. Make your own breakfast sausage, recipe from Prairie Homestead.  I can find pastured pork for $8/lb.  My grass-feed beef (bought in bulk) is somewhere in the ballpark $4/lb. So that is two pounds of breakfast sausage for $12 THAT IS GOOD FOR YOU.  I challenge you to find a cheaper option that is this healthy!
  4. Buy the whole chicken.  Way cheaper than to purchase by the cut.  I take my chicken home, cut it up, and put each cut in its own baggie.  There are somethings that a chicken breast is the only thing that will work in a recipe, and this will help you find what you really need and easy to thaw.
  5. What do with that leftover chicken carcass?  STOCK.  And the cool thing about this, is stock made like this is GOOD for you.  Now that I make my own stock with this method from The Elliott Homestead it feels silly to even consider spending money on it.
  6. In that same vein, save uncooked beef bones for beef stock.  Better yet, buy some from a farmer of grass-fed beef.  It’s often very cheap.  You can do the exact same process as the chicken broth detailed above.  Remember, you can often use the bones twice!
  7. If you’re a gardener, and planning on eating your own produce, throw your scraps (and egg shells, and leaves, and lots more!) into a compost pile.  BOOM! Homemade compost.  You’ve turned your trash into something you’d ordinarily have to pay for from a home and garden store.
  8. Price it out.  Watch what your costs are per pound/ounce/etc.  I have done this with maple syrup and found it cheapest to buy it directly from the maker.
  9. Sometimes, it’s cheaper to buy in bulk.  Often, it’s cheaper to buy from someone local.  See previous point.
  10. Go to the farmer’s markets.  Economic benefits for the farmer aside, you can often find produce cheaper here.  You can also read this great post from the Nourished Kitchen on stretching your money at a farmer’s market.
  11. Look into a buying club.  This is a system that takes out alot of the middlemen and more of the income goes directly to the farmer, but it also means the prices are often lower. In New York State, there is an awesome buying club called Wholeshare.  You can learn more about it here.  I L-O-V-E it.  Feel free to contact me on how it works.  I don’t mind walking you through it!

Don’t feel like you have to try all of this all at once to manage your food money better.  We did this over time, and it can feel overwhelming if you try to do all of this in a week.

Bigger than that, I hope you feel encouraged.  This is not an impossible journey!  Taking care of your body is worthwhile, and respectful of the Maker who gave it to you!

You can listen to some great encouragement here – money, stewardship, your body, your eating habits – all of these may require some change.  Some friction from the old into the new.  But take heart! There is hope!

I participated in Simple Saturdays Blog Hop.


Preparing for Busyness

As the holidays approach, so does all the demands of time.  The easiest thing to let go is healthy eating, but it could quickly turn into bad habits.  Tonight is one of those nights that I was just not sure how to get everything in.  I thought about this yesterday which saved my night.  Last night I made a huge batch of paleo spaghetti.  That ask only solved one problem, though. I still had to find time to actually have the children consume the food.  They have an audition at 5:30pm which could last for the rest of the night.  Sound familiar?  My solution – which might not be the best one for every day – was to feed them when they got home from their homeschool co-op.  So at 3:30pm we sat down to eat our dinner.  Crazy, I know!  But what child isn’t somewhat hungry at that hour anyway?  It isn’t a lifetime solution, but it works for tonight.  They probably will be hungry when we get home, and I have a fruit bowl waiting for them to snack on before bed time.  I feel like healthy eating at a bad time is better than unhealthy eating at a good time.  The good news is that there is leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch, and tomorrow’s schedule is looking just as interesting as today’s!

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