Tag Archives: Fruits and Vegetables

Summer Lovin’

Why I love summer:

Praise THE LORD school’s almost out.  I know there are lots of people that are anxious (or flat-out don’t like) summer vacation because they have to occupy their kids… or so they think… I’m a proponent of teaching them to self-occupy, but that’s another blog post for another day!  I miss my girl SO MUCH when she’s gone.  Her sister does, too.

That, and it means NO MORE PACKING LUNCHES.  I really hate doing it.  But I hate what they serve in the cafeteria more (and how much it costs!) so packing it is.  That, and I feel that I can convince her to eat well and a more diversified plate if she’s home.  She’s my texture-aversion kid, and for those of you who don’t know, part of getting them to conquer this anxiety is consistency, lots of affirmation, lots of experimenting… in other words, impossible to do for that middle meal for a whole 9 months. I have to give her whatever she’ll eat that whole time. I have to save up the work of coping with the fear for the evening meal, which can make for some stressful times. In other words… I would like to have another meal or time of day to deal with this! Looking forward to it!

The other thing I’m greatly looking forward to – my schedule permitting (I hate that I have to say that!) – is strawberry picking.  I’m looking for jelly/jam/preserve recipes for which I don’t have to use white sugar, and my hope is between strawberry and blueberry season I can manage to put up enough for a year! (And believe it or not, I think it can be done between the two seasons!)

His Mercies - Foodies Gone Real

If you follow on instagram, you might have seen our chickens were moved to the tractor up in the orchard.  (For the record, this agriculture/homesteading venture is joint with family… so if you ever think this stuff seems so huge for one family to bite off, you’re RIGHT! We all have certain responsibilities, and most of us work another job… which is why we’re doing it together).  I think my unofficial job title is the animal husband-er.  I’m raising the chickens, and have plans for layers… and have my hopes on a pig, goat, sheep, dairy cow…. and the list goes on.

I’m ready “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver and I A-D-O-R-E it.  All locavores, or real foodies, or homesteaders should be required to read it.  Her chapter on her daughter’s chickens was spot on.  I agree with her, when she says she’s so glad that baby poultry don’t stay looking like this:

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They would be impossible to cull! Instead, they turn into moody teenagers, then into brutes that attack each other.  I am so humbled and thankful I get this experience of knowing where my food comes from.  These chickens are getting an incredible life (compared to the chickens raised commercially) and maybe it’ll all just be in my head, but I just KNOW the experience of eating them will be hands-down better.

Also on instagram, I excitedly presented some of my early carrot seedlings.  Gardening I can do, (no black thumb) but I’m still cautious and learning ALOT.  My mother-in-law’s thumb is so effortlessly green I think she just has to wave it around dirt and things magically sprout!  Needless to say, my little carrot seedlings I am so proud of!  Carrots take a long time to germinate, and you have to direct sow (no transplanting), which in my humble opinion, gives lots of room for things to go wrong.  At least when you start seeds indoors, you can pick which ones get transplanted, and get them established before you let the bunnies and deer anywhere near them.

I’m desperately trying to raise green beans again – which I LOVED growing last year, but the bunnies are killing me, here.  My mother-in-law has the right idea on her property: they installed a fabulous hoop house.  Duly noted, duly noted. I’m not sure my beans are going to make it unless I figure out a way to fence it all in.

Green Beans Introduced to Bacon - Foodies Gone Real

(Two years ago green beans!)

On top of raising our own food, we do buy into a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture). (We don’t yet produce enough to be entirely self-reliant.) Basically, a farmer sells shares of his/her produce.  I bought a share, so every week I get 1 share’s worth of vegetables, and a little bit of fruit.  This is worth EVERY penny.  Aside from the locavore aspect – supporting a farmer in the community – this was the BEST way I learned to try new foods, and it felt risk-free since I already paid for the share.  It almost feels free. (It’s not, but it feels that way because you go to pick up your food every week and don’t leave any money behind!) My first “found” veggie – that I just had NO idea what it was, or what it tasted like – was garlic scapes.  I wrote up an explanation and recipe on it two years ago here.  I CAN HARDLY WAIT FOR MY SCAPES!

Bag of scapes!

I hope what you hear here is EXCITEMENT.  Anticipation.  Never in my whole life did I enjoy summer until we started our homesteading venture.  This land explodes new life, new life which God allowed me to participate in growing.  The farmer plants the seeds, but God makes them grow.

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A Sloppy Joe.

I’m not going to go into alot of background on this dish.  I think it’s self-explanatory:

a) We need cheap meals

b) We need healthy meals

c) We need food of which I can cook a bunch, and then husband, who has an insanely high caloric need, can reheat at will

Meat the Sloppy Joe meat.

We eat it lots of ways, in a house with a mouse, in a box with a fox…. no just kidding.  We eat it on bread, without bread, on potatoes, on french fries.  It’s wonderful.

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So! Let’s make it, shall we?

TOOLS:

  • I like a heavy-bottomed dutch oven. You could do a large capacity/deep skillet.
  • Spoon
  • Knife
  • Cutting board

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 fresh tomato
  • 1tbl garlic
  • 1tbl paprika
  • 1tbl chili powder
  • 3tbl sucanat, maple syrup, honey or whatever sweetener of choice
  • 1 7oz jar of tomato paste + 1 jar of water (*or, you can do 2c of unflavored tomato sauce/puree)
  • Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Start browning that beef.  And there’s a reason we’re doing it first!

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(ooops! When I was photographing I accidentally did the veggies first. You should do the meat first so you have the leftover fat to saute!)

While beef is browning, chop up your veggies.  I recommend cutting them up as fine as possible.  If you have a food processor, this would be an excellent job for it.

Once ground beef is cooked mostly through (a little pink is okay because you’re going to cook it again) – with a slootted spoon, scoop out your beef.  LEAVE THE GREASE.  Please don’t touch that nutritious grass-fed goodness that gives flavor and healthy fats.

Throw in the chopped onion and green pepper. Cook until onions start to become translucent and peppers are soft and start losing their color.

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Now add the ground beef, tomatoes, spiced and stir it up.

Next add your tomato paste/sauce (whichever you’re going with. I usually just use whichever I already have).

Now.  You let this simmer on a very low boil for 30 minutes.  You can do it for less if you’re in a hurry, and it will still taste good.  But it tastes GREAT if you let it stew for awhile.  The tomatoes will pretty much dissolve.  Just a few remnant tomato skins, but otherwise totally stewed together.

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Now that it’s all done cooking… slop that joe on something good.  Or just put it in a bowl and eat it.  Yes, we’re not beyond that in this house.  It’s really so good… it doesn’t need anything else but a spoon.

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Featured here over a sweet potato. :)

Enjoy!

What Do You Stand For?

(*Note: You need to read this article all the way to the end to get my point!)

I often get questions like this:

“So what’s the diet?”

“You don’t eat _______, right?”

Let me just say, I answer the question politely.  What I’d really like to unleash is the statement, “this is not a diet, but a lifestyle!”

So what does this really mean? How is this not a traditional “diet”?

  1. Do I count calories? You bet I do.  I’m a confessed glutton. Without accountability I eat – even healthy food – without actually being hungry. (And y’all, there’s no getting around the science that if you put in more calories than you use up during normal activity, you will not lose weight!)
  2. Do I cut stuff out of my daily food intake that I might have consumed before “the change”? Absolutely.
  3. Final question: Will either of these change once I’ve attained my goal size or weight? NOPE.

Here’s where I’m going with this … these are permanent changes.  I might learn more as I go (I certainly hope I do!), might tweak my habits some, but these changes aren’t going anywhere.  Once you learn what sugar does to your gut, what soy can do to estrogen, how tired you feel when you eat GMOs, and how irritated your bowel really is by unsoaked/sprouted wheat, it’s really hard to go back.  Therefore, I consider this a lifestyle change because I’ve changed the way I see food.  I liken it to these verses in James:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

HOWEVER, it’s so much more than learning about all the things that are bad for you, and we have to be careful to remember all the things that are good for us.  Very early in my journey to change the way I saw food, I read advice something to this effect: “Try to eat one of every color of vegetable/fruit a day.”

Take a look at this awesome chart from weEATny.com (and read more on the perks here at EatingWell.com):

Eat your colors!

Eat your colors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you know how hard it actually is to eat at least one (try two?!) servings of each color a day?

What I found – and this principle is true for more than just food! – if you focus of what you need to eat, you don’t really think on what you can’t.  Over time, I have held to this mission statement: I will honor God with my body, and that includes what I take in.  Read 2 Corinthians 6:19-20 below:

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Folks, we can spend our whole adult lives being worried about what we can’t eat, and what we can’t do.  It’s no surprise that there are alot of rules and guidelines telling us what we shouldn’t participate in within the binding of the Bible.  We can bemoan that we no longer can eat that candy bar; we can have a pity-party that you had to say “no” to going to a certain place or participating in a certain function because it would cause you to sin.

The alternative is that we can embrace the things we can do! We can eat one of every color and begin to heal our body! We can seek after the hurting and lost, pray for those who need intercession! Y’all, we’ve been given more than enough to eat AND tasks to complete that we no longer need to worry about what we can’t!  Do you sense the freedom in this… and dare I say, lifestyle change?

Lisa Harper says in her Malachi: A Love That Never Lets Go study workbook, “Our Redeemer isn’t some cosmic killjoy who gets His jollies out of making people feel guilty about their […] mistakes. […] God didn’t establish standards […] to be punitive; He established them for our good.”  Not only is identifying gluttony as a sin good for the overall health of my body, but seeking after healthy food is what I believe He also intended. (See my earlier references to the verses in Corinthians.)

And if this wasn’t enough to convince you, please read what this blogger had to say about the “New Church Lady” here.

People know very well what I’m against, but do they know what I’m for?  I confess, this is a lesson I am relearning daily; I hope to be more convicted about spreading negativity, instead of the hope that their physical body can be often healed by food, and their hearts healed by Jesus, Friend of Sinners.

Getting Nutrition In

I have school-aged children that I homeschool. I have made some poor choices in developing their taste buds so we are being creative around here which requires lots of work.  Sometimes though I stumble upon an easy way.  This recipe will be with us for a long time.  The only problem is that my oven can not keep up with their handfuls of want…or maybe need.

http://www.hungrycouplenyc.com/2013/09/baked-spinach-chips.html?m=1

Sarah’s Favorite Tips and Recipes

So in this journey I’ve gotten loads of questions ranging in the “What do you buy?” to “What do you make?” spectrum.  I’ve decided to address the recipes – I have only a handful of recipes that I made up myself, so much credit is due to OTHER authors/bloggers for helping me eat real!

This isn’t all we eat! For one, I am still transitioning a family which includes an Italian husband (read: pasta) and incredibly picker eater (read: texture aversions). And the other thing to consider is that we have some staples which includes items such as fresh fruit, toast, yogurt, and scrambled eggs.

My goal is to try at least one or two new recipes a week.  And I almost always make one meal that I know will freeze well… most of the time, I cut recipes in half with exception to my freeze-well ones. (Example: like the mentioned french onion soup below. Freeze the soup, thaw when you want, top it appropriately and put it in the broiler!)

It is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT YOU NOTE: I am not “paleo”.  I follow a traditional foods/Weston A. Price Foundation model of foods, which includes soaked beans and soaked grains.  If a recipe calls for soaking, it is imperative that you do it: 1) If you skip this step, you can expect different results/less than perfect texture (etc)… and I’m imagining significantly drier.  2) You are doing your body harm by eating unsoaked grains & beans… you’ll be exposing yourself to the phytic acid in the grains, which disrupts your gut and prevents you from absorbing nutrition.

I try to use coconut oil for most frying, grass-fed butter when required, and I read, read, read ingredient labels before buying anything that’s been processed in anyway before I eat it, and that includes even the organic/healthy/natural brands.  The two biggest things I avoid are soy and corn as ingredients (in ANY format). I use organic maple syrup and raw local honey for almost all sweetening; I do keep a stash of rapadura around but rarely use it. I do NOT keep white sugar in the house.  You can almost always use a mix of ground flax and almond flour for breading in a recipe (like making your own chicken-fried steak! Which, yes, I’ve done!), and you can use arrowroot powder as a corn starch replacement.  If a recipe does not call for salt, add a pinch anyway.  And always, always, always taste-test as you go.  I can’t count you the times I’ve tasted something half-way and SO glad I did.  I do not mean any disrespect to the fellow bloggers out there, but I’m of the opinion many were not in the kitchen before they started real-food-cooking and have significantly underestimated the value of salt. (And if something tastes like it’s just “missing” when you taste half-way? Add salt, then try again 5-10 minutes later.  You’d be surprised what salt can do!) Last note on salt … buying refined salt is the same degenerative issues as buying refined sugar.  Don’t do it! Buy it as little as processed as possible!

And this is the last piece of (unwarranted, it may be) advise:  the goal is not a diet.  The goal is to feed your body the nutrition it needs to thrive.  When you feed your body what it needs, it will heal itself (God made your body that way!), and for me… my body let go of the weight.

So! Without further ado, my favorite recipes:

BREAKFAST RECIPES:

Soaked oatmeal … this is the basic idea here. What you’re really looking for is to soak the oats, then cook the next morning and season as you prefer (and by season, I mean a pinch of salt + whatever things you like in it, such as applesauce, maple syrup, etc.)

Homemade breakfast sausage I use a mix of gmo-free-fed ground pork and beef, but it’s really the ground pork that makes it taste better. (I throw in the ground beef just because I have so much of it after buying my beef in bulk.)

Greek Omelet

Pumpkin Apple Pie Muffins (paleo-friendly) … and these are to die for.  If you don’t believe me, ask my co-blogger, Eleilia.

Whole-wheat soaked buttermilk biscuits.  You should know that I go ahead and use 100% organic whole wheat with these, and do the overnight soak entirely with buttermilk, not the apple cider vinegar + water. I did have to increase the total amount of liquid to closer to 1 cup, and that’s because buttermilk is thicker.  If you’ve ever made biscuits from scratch, you’ll know the texture required and how to tweak it.  If you’ve never done it the way most people make biscuits, I would recommend either scheduling a time so I can show you how to do it or follow Shaye’s instructions exactly.

Coconut Flour Pancakes (paleo-friendly)

Pear Tart (very close to paleo!)

DINNER/LUNCH

French Onion Soup.  I did not like french onion soup until I had this.  It’s incredible.  I practically lick my bowl. And steal my husband’s.

Poor Man’s Delight.

Brussel Sprouts + Bacon.  Don’t knock it ’til you’ve done it.  You couldn’t pay me to eat a brussel sprout before changing the way I eat, and now I seriously crave this dish. (And I could eat the whole tray myself!)

Refried Beans.  There are two things you need to know about beans.  One, you need to soak them following a method similar to this.  You rinse them off, and THEN you follow this recipe. (I DO NOT USE THE BULLIONS! Just put in a little extra salt. Or you can throw in some homemade chicken broth!) Want to know something cool about all that awesome bean broth that’s created once the refried beans are done?  I use that awesome broth as the base for this fabulous Mexican Tortilla Soup.  (I am all about not wasting any part of edible food! This is how people have been eating for thousands of years.)

Roasted carrots

Spaghetti Squash + red sauce or flour-free alfredo sauce.  I don’t have recipes (yet) for either of these sauces, but it’s something I created from scratch.  I would strongly recommend you move away from canned red pasta sauce.  Aside from the fact that it’s cheaper to make it yourself, it’s incredibly expensive to buy organic, and they still often have sugar in them.

General Tso’s Meatballs

Skillet Meat-n-potatoes.  I sub in kale for greens and feta for goat’s cheese.

DESSERTS:

Paleo Sweet Potato Brownies

Raw almond butter cups (paleo friendly)

OTHER RECIPES:

Spinach crepes.  These are fabulous for when you just need a sandwich/wrap.  I have fried an egg and used leftover ham with these and they are divine.  These are paleo-friendly.

Soaked whole wheat bread.  Aside from the soaked beans/refried beans explanation, this linked recipe requires careful attention.  I’ve baked bread from scratch before this, so understanding her terminology and how to do it was not hard.  Baking bread is definitely a skill, and the only way to get better at it is to have lots, and lots, and lots of yucky loaves.

Homemade chicken broth.  First off, it’s crazy cheaper to buy a whole bird than just buy the breasts, or legs, or whatever. AND if you buy the whole chicken you can make your own broth! Sound crazy homesteader-ish/hippie/hard? Go read the recipe.  I do it in the crockpot and this is the best chicken broth EVER.

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