Sunday, August 29, 2010

Progress of my challenge so far...

I didn't realize how much I love going to the store.  Come the middle of the week I was almost having withdrawals.  I did well for the majority of the time but we did have a late day running errands (and a husband who just wanted to order pizza).

For this weeks meals:
(lunches are different around here- we usually all do something different but I will give an approx. of what was eaten.)

Breakfast- Oatmeal Porridge with frozen blueberries and Green Smoothies
Lunch- salsa and chips- sandwiches
Dinner- Crockpot Chicken with Vegetables and Garlic-Greens Mashed Potatoes

Breakfast- Toast (jelly, peanut butter, or cinnamon & sucanant) and Green Smoothies
Lunch- sandwiches
Dinner- Broccoli Rice Bake with Curry Coconut Sauce- black beans and plain rice for the more sensitive tastebuds

Breakfast- Whole Wheat Blender Waffles
Lunch- Leftovers
Dinner- Leftovers and Fried eggs
(my 5 year old had the waffles for breakfast lunch and dinner- that good! the others enjoyed a little of everything potatoes, rice, beans, and Broccoli Rice Bake)

Breakfast- Cereal and Green Smoothies
Lunch- Egg Salad
Dinner- Salad with warm homemade bread

Breakfast- Baked Oatmeal
Lunch- Sandwiches
Dinner- Homemade Pizza

Breakfast- Leftover Baked Oatmeal
Lunch- Leftover Breadsticks
Dinner- Leftover Pizza (that's what makes take out worth it- eating it for 3 meals)

Breakfast- Toast and Cereal
Lunch- Homemade Pizza (this is what we were supposed to have Fri. night and I needed to make it since I had let it thaw out.)
Dinner- Sloppy Joe's in a Bowl

Other things I made:
PB&Chocolate Rice Crispies
and homemade bread w/ honey butter to give to a friend (and because we ran out of bread).
If only I inherited my mothers bread slicing skills.
I did buy bananas and avocados for $4- the lady at the health food store said, "How are you by the way?"  I was shocked that she had noticed I hadn't been in for a little bit. I usually run in there 2-3 times a week- they are my quick run in store when I need one avocado or a couple of bananas or whatever.

My husband says that I do not have to count the things he bought since he didn't make this goal. :)  So we also got grapes, strawberries, peanut butter, cheese and eggs.  We could have done without the strawberries but I wanted to grab them while they still looked good.  I felt like I had failed a little bit with this shopping trip but I had to remind myself that this wasn't a challenge I had prepared for and this is to give me an idea of the things we need the most. 

Oh and I stopped by a local stand yesterday to get tomatoes and a big cantaloupe $6

I am enjoying this challenge but still have that nagging part of me that is worried about what new and delicious tasting meal I am going to make in the weeks to come.  I blame my husband- I just want to please him- okay I blame my southern upbringing.  Either way I need to learn to use what I have and not plan such elaborate things constantly.  I am excited for the changes to come.

I hope to make it till next Saturday before I buy anything else.  It may be difficult since we have no lettuce or fresh spinach but I would like to try my hardest to eat the other vegs we have and buy from the farmers market on Saturday.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Broccoli Rice Bake with Coconut Curry Sauce

This is another good recipe from my 12 steps by: Green Smoothie Girl

Broccoli Rice Bake with Coconut Curry Sauce

2 C of short grain brown rice
3 stems of broccoli cut into bit sized pieces
8 oz. of mushrooms washed well and cut into thirds
2 T coconut oi1
1 (14 oz) can of coconut milk
1 T cornstarch
1 T curry powder
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 C chopped cilantro
1/4 cup fresh parsley (or 1 T dried)
2 tomatoes, chopped

I chose to soak my rice for 24 hours.  I rinsed the rice in a colander until the water ran clear.  Then I put the rice in a glass bowl adding just enough water to cover.  I mixed in 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice as my acidic component.  Covered and let sit in a warm place in my kitchen for 24 hours.  When I was ready to cook the rice I simply followed the instructions on my rice bag using half chicken stock half water for the liquid.

Using a wok or saucepan add the coconut oil (I found that I didn't need nearly as much that was called for) and broccoli.  Cook for 5 minutes on medium high heat.  While that is cooking add the coconut milk, cornstarch, curry and salt in a blender and mix well.  Once the broccoli is cooked add the mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes.  Then add the curry sauce and cook over a simmering heat until it thickens.  Once it is thick you can gently stir in the rice.  Add the tomatoes, cilantro, and parsley at this time or add those things to individual plates according to preference.

Recipe Notes:
I made the rice ahead of time.  Saving time and preventing a hot house at meal time.  I simply had all the other ingredients cut or chopped and ready so that I could throw everything together quickly.  I did chop the mushrooms making them a little less visual.

My six year old, one year old, and I liked it a lot.  My husband ate it but isn't a fan of curry.  I am glad I tried it and will tuck it away in my archives.  My husband says it needs something crunchy and of course maybe some steak strips would make it better.

One tip for the curry- I didn't want to buy a lot since I wasn't sure what the outcome was going to be.  I luckily have a health food store that sales seasonings and spice in bulk so I could get as little or as much as I like.  It is perfect for trying out a seasoning or refilling your spice bottles.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bloody Noses

It's that time- not sure what does it- the dry, colds, allergies, picking noses, etc. but we have had some major bloody noses around here.

My 5 year old has always had something going on with her nose- She couldn't blow her nose up until about a year ago and (like her daddy) sometimes when she does it brings on the bleeding.  She also stuck a gold fish cracker up her nose when she was little.  It took us filling a nose bulb up with water to shoot in the other nostril to (drown her) flush it out.

A few weeks ago she came out of her bed with her nose "gushing blood" (those are the terms she uses).  It took forever to get it to stop and once it did the other nostril started bleeding just as bad.  I was frustrated and at a loss of what to do for her.  Her daddy usually takes care of these situations- because she inherited it from him- but this time I decided to do some research and figure out what we could do for her nose before resorting to cauterizing.

Here are some things that I learned and have been using to much success for us,

  • Apply pressure to the bridge of the nose as follows:
  1. Sit your child upright
  2. Tilt her head forward (not backward)
  3. Place your thumb and forefinger on either side of the bridge of the nose and apply pressure firmly enough to slow bleeding.  This will decrease the blood flow and slow bleeding.  Hold for about 10 minutes giving time for a clot to form.
  • Placing an ice pack across the bridge of the nose will constrict the blood vessels and help stop the bleeding.
One of my new favorites,
  • Try wetting a bit of cotton or plain sterile gauze with distilled vinegar and placing it in your child's nose.  Leave it in place for about 10 minutes.  The acid of the vinegar will gently cauterize the inside of the nose and stop the bleeding.
My daughter does complain of this hurting a little bit at first but once I get her distracted and can leave it in there for the full 10 minutes we have great results.

Vitamin C with bioflavanoids 1-2 doses,  four times daily, for two days after a nosebleed.  Then one-half a dose , twice a day, for at least one month.

Also a simple nasal saline that will keep the nose moist and lessen the chance of the small capillaries swelling and rupturing.  Dissolve 1/4 tsp. of salt 1/2 tsp. of baking soda in 4 ounces of water.  Spray in with a nose bulb or drop a few drops in.  Do not suction out- you are wanting this to soothe and moisten the nose to prevent bleeding.

My book also mentions that aspirin should be avoided for those who are prevalent to getting nosebleeds.

Please note that I am not a doctor- these are things I have personally tried on my child and have had good results with.  If your child has a severe nosebleed consider contacting your doctor.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Whole Wheat Blender Waffles

We have pancakes a lot around here and the latest request has been, "Waffles please." Remember this post?  Well, I took it and changed things around a little bit to make some great waffles and I think they were wonderful.  Even being made of whole wheat they were light and fluffy and soaked up the butter and maple syrup perfectly.  My 5 year old ate them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  The 6 year old stated, "I didn't mean homemade waffles."  Whose house are you in girly?

Whole Wheat Blender Waffles

2 cups whole wheat kernels
1 T lemon juice (apple cider vinegar or white distilled vinegar)
2 1/2 cups rice milk (water or dilluted coconut milk)
2 eggs
2 T of coconut oil
2 T of agave
1/2 tsp. of salt
2 T of baking powder

I tested out soaking my wheat kernels and it worked well for me. 

Take the 2 cups of wheat kernels and rinse well in a colander. Then put them in a glass bowl covering with warm water.  (Some of the sticks and debris floated to the top making it easy to get them out.)  I then added 1 T of acidic component. Cover and set in a warm place in your kitchen 8-24 hours.

The next morning I drained the kernels then added them to my blender along with the rice milk.  Blend on high for about 3-5 minutes depending on the power of your blender.  Add eggs, coconut oil, agave and salt.  Blend for about 30 seconds until well combined.  Pulse in the baking powder till mixed.  This should leave your batter foaming and light.  Cook in your waffle maker and enjoy!

Recipe Notes:
The lemon juice worked great but I think I will get a better foam if I use 
apple cider vinegar or white distilled vinegar making for an even lighter 
waffle.  I also think cinnamon would be a great addition too.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Garlic-Greens Mashed Potatoes

This is a recipe I got from the 12 steps by: Green Smoothie Girl.  We had crockpot chicken, with carrots, onion, and zucchini and a side of this yummy transformed mashed potatoes.  If I was a lover of a big Thanksgiving meal this would make it to the top of the list.

Garlic-Greens Mashed Potatoes

8 potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled, cut into chunks
8 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
8 c of spinach or collard greens
1/4 cup of butter (or extra virgin olive oil)
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan.  Cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat (don't forget to add salt to the water).  Cover and reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook 15-20 minutes or until tender.  Another great way to cook potatoes is in an electric steamer if you have one.

While the potatoes are cooking cut the spinach or collard greens into ribbons.  Saute the greens with a touch of butter (reserving the rest), and garlic until the greens are wilted.

When the potatoes are done remove from heat and drain.  Return to the saucepan and add salt, pepper, and remaining butter.  Mix using a hand held mixer or a potato masher.  When you have reached your desired consistency (you may need to add water for smooth potatoes) stir in the spinach mixture and any juices left in the pan. 

*My notes:
I used majority red potatoes and a couple of baking potatoes.  I left the potatoes chunky but think more of the kids would have eaten them if they were a tad smoother. 

How we were able to eat this yummy homemade comfort food on such a hot day.  The chicken cooked in the crockpot all day and I started making the potatoes at about 3:30.  When I was done with the potatoes I left them in the pan, covered and turned the crockpot off.  We ran some errands and when we got back it was dinner time, the food was still warm, and our kitchen was cooled off enough we were actually able to enjoy our meal.  This also helped break the temptation of just grabbing something to eat while we were out since we knew dinner was waiting for us at home.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A challenge for myself...

My husband and I were talking the other day about some things that we may struggle with that we would like to overcome.  As silly as it may seem one of the things I mentioned for myself is my want to plan and shop for new meals when there is enough food in the house to make something else.  I truly love to make food- that doesn't mean I always do-I get excited about new recipes that I think will go over well with my family.  The unfortunate side is I have a very long list of new things to try and our list of our well liked regular meals is just as long.  Therefore, my cabinets end up getting filled with ingredients here and there and not always used. 

So, for the time being I have set out to make a gradual goal for myself.  I am attempting to use what we have and not go grocery shopping for as long as I can.  My sister-in-law has challenged herself, a few times, going a month with only buying milk and some produce.  I do know that I need to get bananas soon and I am sure we will need lettuce also.  When I do buy things I will only buy the minimum to keep costs down and to really experiment with the foods in our pantry and cabinets.  Fortunately, last week I did a little shopping for some new recipes so we will still have some variety.  It will be towards the end of the challenge that things may get difficult. 

What I hope to accomplish-
Prove to myself that I don't always have to go to the store.
Recognize what things we use the most and don't want to do without.
Teach myself that when I do shop to be frugal, ration, and use what I buy.
Not to have the desire to eat out as often.

I plan on challenging myself throughout the year changing up and increasing my challenge.  I hope by this time next year I will be in a position that I can have shopped, stored, preserved the majority of our food to get through the winter.  This is a lofty goal I am setting for myself but it is a year and I think I can learn and accomplish a lot in that amount of time.

I am holding myself accountable and will document at the end of the week what we ate and what I had to buy.  I will not include things like diapers and such at this time- this is just a food goal right now.

Crossing my fingers for much success and discipline.

Tomorrow I will share a yummy side dish recipe that when my husband took a bite he said, "Mmm, wow, whoa that is really good."  Indeed it was surprisingly yummy.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yet another giveaway,

from an amazing blog (Nourished Kitchen) that gives so many great insights on nourished living.  I would love to win the fermented kit and learn how to make pickles, water kefir, yogurt, oh the list goes on and on of what I would want to do from this sight.  This counts as an entry for me so here is to crossing my fingers to win.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I am back and refreshed

Back twice actually- we decided to celebrate my hubbies birthday in Vegas this weekend and get relaxed from our previous vacation.  Maybe a completely backwards way of thinking but it really worked for me.  Yes I still have cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and cooking to do but a night away in a place I didn't have to clean was rewarding enough.  Before we left I sat down and made a dinner meal list for four weeks and even worked on separate grocery lists for each week.  My plan- simplify, budget, and be healthy.  I will keep you informed if there is much success.

I have been waiting a long time to share a great recipe with you all.  I did a review awhile back for one of my favorite nourishing blogs.  I then waited for her to post the recipe before I did and then... well, I have been absent since.  So now I am excited to share- Coconut Flour Pancakes.

If you went and bought the coconut flour to make the bread or lemon poppyseed muffins I have found something else you can use it for and this definitely is on top of the list.  We have this weekly and it actually saved me on our getaway this weekend.  I was able to throw some in a ziploc bag and have for my little guy to eat as meals or a snack.  It is so filling that a little bit can go a long way for the little bellies.

Coconut Flour Pancakes

3 eggs
1 cup of raw milk, coconut milk, or preferred milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 T. of honey
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine liquid and dry in separate bowls. Mix together.  Poor on a hot griddle or pan making small pancakes.  These tend to burn if cooked too long- I use about a 200-250 heat on my griddle that seems to be perfect.

A tip: Once I pour them on the griddle- usually using a little less then 1/4 cup- I spread them out a bit with the back of the measuring cup or even better my clean finger.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A giveaway I hope I win...

Wouldn't it be nice if I won the giveaway here at Nourished Kitchen.  I think this knowledge would benefit me extremely since I am not much of a meat lover.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I'm back....

I had the privilege of going to Tennessee to spend time with my four siblings their families and my parents these past few weeks.  My oldest brother left for Hong Kong with his wife and six children the day before we left and we had a lot of family activities and events that we enjoyed together (at max there were 32 of us together, 20 being children 12 and under).

Food was definitely not absent this trip, I was in the kitchen helping and preparing, and I didn't give my mind a break from new things to create and make.  I simply decided to take a break from blogging and enjoy my entire family while we were together.

Now I am home, trying to get my house back in order (if that's possible), and have lots of wheels turning in my head.  It may still take some time before I actually begin sharing on a consistent basis but for now you get what you get. :)

I do have one thing to share for those of you with little babies.  It is the season for some amazing fruits and vegetable for our little ones that in a couple of months will either be unavailable or hurt the wallet.  If you have a baby that will be eating solids in less then 3 months then get to buying these foods pureeing and freezing them. 

I wish I would have done this with my little guy that was born in May.  By the time he was able to eat nectarines and so forth they weren't available at my health food store which made me question why they were at other health food stores.  Either way start preparing.  You may have some time too so just be thinking of it and try to snatch up the last batch of the summer goods.  Most of the foods stay good frozen for up to 3 months- I would imagine they would be good longer but I am sure they start loosing nutrients possibly after that. 

For you locals- some of the health food stores around here are having great sales.  Like- Avocados are .79 catching the deals and being prepared will help in the long run.  Let me know if you have any questions.