"When a woman stays at home and cooks with good judgment and understanding, peace and happiness result. She thus controls the family's health and destiny, also her husband's mood, disposition and feeling, and assures the futures of her children." - Jaques DeLangre

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pickles From My Garden!

I just spent the last little while making 3 quarts of lacto-fermented pickles with my three year old. I love the way these turn out! Here's what I used for 1 quart:

4-5 cucumbers from my garden
2 dill clippings from my garden
1 TBLS mustard seeds
1 TBLS Real Salt
4-5 TBLS whey
1-2 cups water
2-3 bulbs of garlic, optional

How To:
I got out a clean, glass Mason jar. I peeled my garlic and sliced each bulb in half. I put those at the bottom of the jar. I rinsed 1 of the dill clippings and put that in next. Then I washed the cucumbers and sliced them about 1/4 inch thick. (Do not peel them.) I filled the jar half full of the slices and then added another dill clipping, and then filled the jar the rest of the way with slices. I then added the mustard seed. In a little measuring cup I mixed 1 cup of water with the whey and salt. I poured this over the sliced cucumbers. (If that doesn't fill the jar to almost the top I add more water.) Twist a lid firmly on the jar and it's done! With a Sharpie I labeled the jar, "Garlic." I also wrote the time of day and then, "2 days." I stuck the jar in the pantry and in two days we'll open the jar and enjoy the pickles!

A note on lacto-fermentation:
This is how our ancestors made pickles! They didn't use vinegar or cook them. The whey is the magic ingredient. It is a dairy product that you can make at home from yogurt. Sitting for two days cures the pickles. After two days you put them in the refridgerator. They last for months! Sally Fallon's book, Nourishing Traditions, is FULL of great lacto-fermented recipes. If you want details on how to obtain whey let me know!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Real Milk?

Let's talk about raw milk. The idea that milk is actually good for you was the hardest thing for me to accept. Living in the Land of Vegetarianism for so long had me convinced that milk was evil and the root of many health problems. I was partially right. The milk you buy at your local grocery store IS a major source of health problems. It is DEAD! Fresh milk from a local dairy, where the cows are pasture fed and well cared for, is ALIVE and the health benefits you can obtain from it are many. I could write pages and pages about WHY raw milk is best! I'll sum it all up in a few sentences and strongly encourage you to do your own research to understand it further.

Here's the deal - the milk you buy at the grocery store shouldn't really even be called milk. The cow that milk came from was raised in confinement and fed food that is in no way natural to the species. She is injected with growth hormones and antibiotics and forced to produce way more milk than is good for her. The milk she gives is tainted with those hormones. The milk is then processed in ways that kill the good stuff - the enzymes. The enzymes in raw milk actually help you digest the milk. When the enzymes are dead you have trouble digesting and TA DA!, health problems!

How to get it:
Finding raw milk can be a challenge. It's not impossible though. I would recommend going to http://www.realmilk.com/. They have lots of good suggestions. You can also look in your yellow pages under "dairy" and start calling around. If there is a dairy close to you, or even not so close, go visit them and see if they have any. Even better, try to find a neighbor with a few cows.

How I use raw milk:
1. Drink it!
2. Make cultured products from it like buttermilk (used to soak grains), and yogurt.
3. Make smoothies. So good with frozen bananas and strawberries!

Milk was valued by our ancestors as an essential part of their diet. When the cows are well taken care of the milk they produce is fresh and healthy!

Monday, July 27, 2009

What Is REAL Food?

This is a very interesting question! The best answers to this question I have found come from the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. I read her book about 7 years ago, but wasn't quite ready to accept the principles she laid out. I spent the next 7 years cooking lots of healthy vegetarian meals for my family and felt like all was well. Last March I picked the book up again and felt like my eyes were opened to a whole new world! Throughout the book Ms. Fallon presents evidence that true health comes from eating REAL foods. Let's take a quick look at a list of real foods:

1. Raw milk and milk products

2. Fruits and vegetables - fermented, cooked and raw

3. Whole grains - soaked or sprouted

4. Meat - pasture fed

5. Eggs - from pasture fed hens

6. Raw nuts

7. Honey, sucanat, or other unrefined sweeteners

Pretty short list, right? Feeling like I'm a little crazy? Maybe I am, but stay with me for a minute. While this list is very short, the possibilities of what you can do with these items is ENDLESS! Let's do a few comparisons to help me make my point. Go grab a box of cereal. Read the ingredients. Pretty long list? Where was sugar listed? Number two ingredient? Now grab your canister of oatmeal. I know you have one in the back of your pantry! Not instant oats, real oats! Look at the ingredients. OATS!! Real food. Grab your box of fish crackers. Read the ingredients. How many ingredients? Can you pronounce the names of all the ingredients? Now grab an apple and a handful of raw almonds. Two ingredients. Real food. I'm sure you get my point.

Real health, real happiness comes from feeding ourselves and our families real food. Over the next few weeks I will go into detail on my list of real foods. I'll talk about how to prepare them, where to find them, and WHY we should eat them. I would love to hear your feedback! Please comment on any questions you have that you would like to see answered in upcoming posts. In the meantime, go through your cupboards and pantry and read the labels on your food. Toss out that stuff you know is garbage! You can do it!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"My Time Is My Own"

I think the hardest part of being a mom is coping with the HUGE amount of time it takes to do everything "momish." Taking care of a family, no matter how large, is hard and requires a lot of work! It is so easy to start to resent all of the things you have to do. As that resentment builds a mom often finds herself resenting the people she is caring for. Have you ever found yourself saying (yelling), "Why am I the only one who notices that this trash needs to go out?" Do you feel like you never have enough time to do the things YOU want to do? I know I have felt this way at several points in my life.

A turning point in my attitude came after I pondered the advice of a wonderful mentor. She explained to me that my time is not my own. My time is really God's time! I needed to give up my frustrations that I don't have time to do all the things I want, and learn to embrace my opportunity to bless my family now with my acts of service. She encouraged me to read a great book, The Screwtape Letters. The story is told in the form of letters from Screwtape, one of the Devil's top demons, to his nephew who is trying to tempt a human on earth. A passage in the book really helped me refocus. Screwtape counsels his nephew to "...zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption 'My time is my own'. Let him have the feeling that he starts the day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours...man can neither make, nor retain, one moment of time; it all comes to him by pure gift."

So, "my time" is God's time. Right now the best way I can use this time is to take the best care of my family that I can. If that means I'm in the kitchen a good chunk of the day it's okay! I can be happy in the kitchen knowing that I am using my gift of time to make sure that my kids grow healthy and strong and that my hubby is satisfied too. This is the first step to being happy in the kitchen! Embrace the time spent preparing nourishing foods! The benefits - a healthy family, fewer doctor bills, time spent working with your kids, etc. - are SO worth it!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Let's Get Started!

Every mom, no matter how busy, wants to feed her family healthy meals! I think a huge portion of a mom's stress comes from wondering, "What should I make for dinner?" Not to mention lunch, breakfast, snacks, etc. We all intend on feeding our family delicious meals, prepared with love. Then life happens and we find ourselves fixing mac-n-cheese far too often.

The purpose of this blog is to help moms find happiness in the kitchen! That happy feeling comes in three areas: 1. Happiness knowing we are feeding our families REAL, NOURISHING foods. 2. Happiness that comes from having a plan each day for what we will eat. A plan equals no stress! 3. Happiness knowing we have used our grocery money wisely. No more wasted dollars because at 5 o'clock we still don't know what to fix so we order out.

Check in with me daily for tips and ideas in these three areas! I will save you time, money and stress! Here you will also find book recommendations, garden ideas, food storage plans, snack ideas and more! Let's get started!