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Health, Home, and Happiness: May 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

My $12 chicken


I got an organic chicken from Costco last week, actually two. I was wondering if it was way over priced, or if the value of food that I got was worth it. It proved to be worthwhile for me. I put it in my standard sized crock pot with some fresh ground pepper and sea salt and cooked it on low from about 6 a.m. until nap time, then I let it cool until after dinner. I pulled all the meat off, and it mostly filled an 8x8 pyrex with shredded chicken. I left all the skin pieces and bones in the crock pot, filled it with filtered water and put it on Low overnight. In the morning I strained that all through my colandar (a strainer might have worked better, but this was what I had and was fine) and filled mason jars with the stock. See how nice and gelatenous the stock is? That's after cooling in the fridge and is a good thing. (nutrition information for stock here and here). Quite a bit of chicken fat rose to the top, which we are using as fat in our savory dishes, like stir fry, by scooping it off the top. (But isn't saturated fat bad? Read here to learn about that myth)

I'll buy these chickens again at this price. I got a whole week's worth of chicken salad for hubby out of this one, plus a few sandwiches for Hannah and I, plus this Wednesday-is-Mexican-food-but-I-didn't-have-any-tortillas casserole last night. (jasmine rice, shredded chicken, salsa, olives, cheese layered in a loaf pan, covered with foil, and baked at 350 for about 30 minutes)

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

About this blog

I have another blog (here) that's associated with my Etsy store. I started it up since it was 'the thing to do' when I was learning to use Etsy nearly 2 years ago. And it turns out that I like blogging, so I continued. And judging from people's responce to what I talk about in real life, apparently I'm a lot to take all at once ~fundamentalist Christian, homeschooling, cloth diapering, cloth pad using, non circumcising, baby wearing, somewhat kosher keeping, crafting, and then my parenting style... So I decided to split it up. Roughly, on here I'll talk about more food and health, and I do sponsored posts as well to help us with our Dave Ramsey plan. Over on 'Green Bean' I'm going to try and stick more with parenting and crafts. Some overlap is likely, and I'll link back and forth between the two as needed to explain myself.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Smoothie and soaked, dried almonds for breakfast this past weekend.





Egg and chicken salad on soaked whole wheat for lunch, hubby surprised me by eating the egg. Didn't know he liked egg salad.




Pizza on Friday nights. This is our 'deep dish' pizza in a pyrex

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Costco

Do you have a Costco where you live? I love our Costco, and it's not even that big. The one we went to in California had power tools and stuff, no power tools here except a special display occasionally. But they seem to be getting more and more organic foods, which I love. I'll share my purchases from last Wednesday with you, kind of walking you through how I make decisions at the grocery store. You might think I overanalyze things, but this is just the way I am.

Dog food 24.79- He gets table scraps too. We have done the BARF diet in the past, and it worked well for us, but I haven't been able to find chicken cheap (when we did it, we found it for 29 to 39 cents a pound regularly) for a while.

Diapers 42.79 I hate buying disposible diapers, but I have come to the realization that sometimes some thing have to go, and my toddler is in 'sposies' about 3/4 of the time. (my 6 month old is cloth diapered 100%) I've tried Huggies Organics, and ideally I'd use Tushies, but at this point in time these are Huggies 'regulars'. And I learned that Costco doesn't take manufacturer coupons, didn't know that before.

Butter Crissonts 5.79 - our 'junk food' alternative to what used to be something from the candy isle (4 pounds of Jelly Bellies anyone?). Made with flour and butter mostly, I'm guessing bleached flour. Has a little bit (package says less than 2%) of soybean oil, which I do not like since most soy is genetically modified. No hydroginated oils, that's a plus. And there is sugar, but not corn syrup (corn is also genetically modified)

Peanuts 7.62 for two big cans. Walmart has them a little cheaper, but they use soybean oil (see above) so I'd rather pay a tad more for these. They only contain peanuts, peanut oil, and salt. I haven't found an inexpensive sourse for organic peanuts yet, that's in the back of my mind to find. Hubby eats peanuts a lot for snacks, since he does construction he burns a TON of calories and I struggle to keep up with him.

Organic apples 6.99 for 12. I don't like that they come in the plastic packaging, but I guess that's what you get at Costco. These organic apples are very good, nice and big. At 58 cents each I don't pretend that they're inexpensive, but we enjoy them. We 'cut' our expensive purchases with cheaper ones, so we eat a lot of bananas. Bananas are supposedly not heavily sprayed (and that makes sense to me, considering how they are grown), so it's okay to buy them 'conventionally' grown. I passed up the strawberries since I know that conventional (conventional is non organic) are heavily sprayed.

Mustard 2pk 6.39. Just regular yellow mustard. I think it's French's. I read in the Tightwad Gazette that it's inexpensive to make your own mustard, but I haven't gotten my act together to do that yet. I did make mayo the other day, though! :)

Organic fryers 23.17. For two whole chickens. This was a splurge and an experiment, I'm going to see exactly how many meals I can get out of these. We tend to use chicken in things rather than as a main dish. I have one chicken in my crock pot right now, which I'll pull all the meat off and turn half into chicken salad for hubby's lunches and the other half I'll put in the freezer to use in Mexican food, on pizza, or in a chicken and rice bake.

Blueberries 9.45. I'd imagine that blueberries are fairly heavily sprayed, but I bought these anyway. Once we actually own a home and plan on staying there, we will be planting and raising blueberries organically! For now, we eat a lot of blueberry muffins, and these were cheaper than the mixed berries, so we'll use them in smoothies.

Honey 10.99 (one quart? I think, it's a pretty big container). This lasts a long time, and it's more of a 'whole food' than sugar. I can get local raw honey from the local health food store for the same price, but I didn't feel like making another stop. Raw local would be much preferable. I use honey in everything that needs to be sweetened except for cookies and cakes.

Organic Peanut Butter 7.69 for 2 good sized jars. For the amount of protein in these jars, I consider this a steal.

Kirkland Butter 6.29 (I think it's 4 lbs). If I have leftover money in groceries, I'll buy the organic butter. It's the same price for half as much, but I feel pretty strongly about eating organic milk.

Organic Ground Tortilla Chips 4.49. I talked about these in the 'Food' post below.

Organic ground beef 12.99 for 3 lbs. Like the chicken, we usually use ground beef in addition to another 'protein' in our meal (like beans). I make hamburgers about twice a month, and for the three of us we use 1-1/2 lbs of beef. At 4.33 a pound, a meal of hamburgers costs 6.49 just for the meat. I add home made baked fries and occasionally home made buns, and broccoli, bringing the entire meal up to $10 at the most. I know this is a pricier home-cooked meal, but it's still about 1/3 of the cost of going out to eat and I consider the organic beef to be worth it.

Red potatoes 4.49 for a big bag.



More posts on 'food value':
What I've learned: Food
Frugal and Healthy Eating

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Ultramill parts

I'm totally kicking myself today, since I have put off ordering a filter and separator cup for my grain mill for over a year, and have dealt with getting flour all over each time I grind wheat (about once every 2 weeks). I thought that they would be more $ than I wanted to spend, but no, they're $1.99 and $2.99 each. Perhaps I should work on researching things before making assumptions... ;)

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sprouting Wheat


Sprouting wheat berries (the whole grain wheat) gets rid of the phytates that are found in wheat, making it much easier to digest. I add them whole to breads for some chewiness, or blend them in the food processor and add to bread dough that way for a nutrition boost.

Sprouting wheat only takes a few days, and as you can see, the volume increases significantly. I bought a sprouting top for my mason jar when I was ordering vitamins. I feel silly spending over $1 for essentially a circular piece of screen, but I'm hoping that it's made from something like stainless steel rather than aluminum or other questionable metal.

I buy my wheat in bulk, this is maybe 5 cents worth of wheat. So far all I've done with sprouted wheat is try to make crackers (didn't work well at all), and add it to breads, which it has done well in. Some other uses that I have seen around are dehydrating it and then milling it for bread flour. I have grown wheat grass, by planting the wheat in soil, but I didn't see any huge benefits to that and it took up a lot of counter space.

Because it's a cheap way to add variety to our diet, I generally start a new batch of sprouts the same day I use them so I have fresh ones every few days.

It's on my 'to do' list to start other seeds sprouting, like broccoli, to use on sandwiches. Nourishing Traditions warns against sprouting the popular alfalfa, so I'll go ahead and trust her advice. The Sprout People have a bunch of information up on their website as well.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Frugal and healthy eating

I was reading through MoneySavingMom while nursing the baby to sleep this morning, and I came across this great blog.

Heavenly Homemakers has also found that generally the food you 'coupon' for (get it free or next to free by using coupons) is not that great for you. My oldest has a few neurological problems, so I've been trying to keep her diet as free from potential neurotoxins as possible, by eliminating the use of genetically modified food and artificial ingredients. In doing that, I realized that when I start eating and shopping on purpose, we actually start cutting down on the amount of $ we spend.

For instance, we have Wheat Montana here and I go to the store and pick up a 45# pail of wheat berries that I grind as I need flour. That lasts me 6 months, making an average of 6 loves a month. So $34.50/6/6= $0.95 per loaf of organic soaked wheat bread, maybe round up to $1.25 once you add in oil, yeast, and salt. As a bonus, because that bread is so filling and nutritious, hubby only has to take one sandwich rather than two, saving us on meat and cheese that are also in the sandwich. I bought the wheat grinder for $75 used online a few years ago, and though it's loud, I only have to grind wheat once a month and I just store it in my fridge.

I've also found that since I've upped my intake of coconut oil and milk, my weight has been stable and I don't crave junk food any more. I was guilty before of picking up a soda (HFCS!) and candy bar almost every time I'd buy gas.

Not buying dry breakfast cereal not only frees up a lot of pantry space, but the cost of soaked oats is much lower. We stick with whatever fruit is under $2/pound, there is always something.

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What I've learned... health

Health:

Humidify: Keeping the air humid keeps the respiratory passages healthy and better able to resist invasion by germies.

Homemade humidifer addative is an inexpensive natural remidy that really works.

Googling: Googleing symptoms before showing up at the doctor's office can do wonders. With my baby, I was able to eliminate dairy from my diet and clear up his eczema (he's breastfed) without a trip to the doctor or a perscription. If I do still feel a doctor's visit is warranted, I'm at least armed with understanding so that I am better able to make an efficient use of both of our time. And since we see a naturopath, who isn't covered by insurance, this time savings yeilds big time money savings.

Alternative medicine: Our choice of doctors is a lot like the food value thing up in 'food'. I have found that using a naturopathic doctor actually gets to the root of problems and is more effecient than a regular doctor, who tends to just cover up actual problems with pharmaceuticals. There is a place for regular doctors, but I've had better results with going to our naturopath to find out what is really wrong.

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What I've Learned... Food

Food:

Beans and Rice: There's nothing wrong with this. We eat beans from scratch weekly, and *that* is an inexpensive way to add whole foods and organics to your diet.

Menu planning: My menu is this: Sunday Hamburgers, Monday Chicken and Rice, Tuesday Pizza, Wednesday Tacos/Mexican, Thursday Breakfast, Friday Pizzas again (can be french bread pizza or pizza bagels), Saturday is whatever. I find that if I have a general plan, I don't have to think about what I'm cooking. And that seems to cut my food perpetration time in half. If I'm feeling creative, I still tend to stick to the plan, but I might do enchiladas or tamales rather than the standard tacos or burritos on Wednesday.

Food value vs cost: I try to concentrate on the nutritional value of food rather than just the cost. I seem to be constantly breastfeeding and/or pregnant, and so I eat a lot. Hubby eats a lot since his job is so active. My toddler is a good eater. I've found that organic dried beans have an excellent value to them, as does soaked whole wheat bread made from fresh ground whole wheat. Butter costs much more, but the value and how it will affect our future health is worth it to me. Coconut milk and oil has proven to be very healthy to me.

A clean kitchen: A clean kitchen saves us a ton on our grocery bill. When I have room on my counters to get everything out and prepare supper, I am a much less frazzled mom and much less likely to call and order pizza.

Packing Lunches: Traditional lunch meat has a poor value compared to cooked chicken thighs or organic peanut butter, so I try and choose the latter for hubby's sandwiches.

Divide and conquer: A big bag of organic corn chips from Costco is only $4, and if I bag them up in ziplocks as soon as I get the bag open, it's just as easy to grab one of those as a pricey pre-packaged chip bags. Bonus: It's much less likely for someone to sit down and polish off the bag in an afternoon, and so Daddy will not be having a skimpy lunch later in the week because all the chips are gone. This is much like budgeting- since the chip bags are 'named' as being for Dad's lunch, it's easier to leave them alone.

This post is a part of Menu Plan Monday

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What I've learned... Babies on a budget

Babies:

Save buckets: Love the Tummy Tubs? Little one hate the bath? Try a regular bucket

Cloth diapering really helps us. I decided I do not love cloth diapering my toddler (stinky stinky) but with breastfed babies it's really easy and not stinky at all. I switched my toddler to huggies at around 18 months old.

I enjoy crafty things anyway, so learning to knit was worthwhile, especially since my kids do better in breathable wool diaper covers.

Baby wash and lotions and stuff: Here's somewhere where I splurge, though it's not as big of a splurge as you might think. I'm loyal to not putting anything synthetic on my baby's skin that's going to be absorbed, so I exclusively use Burt's Bees and California Baby on them. A little goes a long way, as is true for a lot of things that are good quality. A sampler size Burt's Bees pack got me through Hannah's first 6 months.

Breastfeeding of course is very inexpensive. Even though lots of people qualify for taxpayer-paid formula through WIC, the savings of having a healthy thriving baby is still there with breastfeeding.

Baby Carriers: These are addicting. I have an Ergo (pricy, I know), a mei tai, and a pouch sling. If you're at all decent with a sewing machine, sewing a pouch sling is very easy, and that way you can make it a little deeper. For mine, I like corduroy- it had a little give to it and is nice and sturdy. I sewed my mei tai too (also called an asian baby carrier), that really wasn't hard. The Ergo I don't find all that attractive, but I do like how comfortable it is to wear. It's the most comfortable baby carrier I have, and to me it's worth the money.

Car seats:
This isn't something I'm willing to compromise on.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Huggies Organics

I tried the Huggies 'Organic' diapers today, since I had a $3 coupon for them and a $1.50 for the regular ones, and they cost the same. I like the quality of them, the velcro seems to hold well and they didn't have quite as much of the icky disposible diaper feel to them. I am quite sure they still have the gross gel beads (which is honestly what I'm worried about in diapers), but since we can't afford Tushies right now (those are the only ones I've found that don't have the gel) that's what we got.

If they're the same price, I'll go ahead and go with Huggies Organics, but if they're more pricey, the regular huggies are just fine.

Oh, the baby is still in cloth, and that's what I prefer for little ones. I don't prefer it for older ones and their stinky pee. Potty training should be right around the corner though..

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Things I've learned about having two

Just like everything else in parenting, there were some surprises that came up once I had my second child. My second was born when my first was 26 months. These are some honest facts about my life with two.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Things I've learned about cloth diapering

When I was in Jr High and High School I worked in a 'hippie' (Waldorf) pre-school in California, where the norm was to breastfeed your child into toddlerhood, not circumcise, and cloth diaper. While I strive to not fit myself into any stereotype (hippiedome) honestly a lot of what they did made since.

So, being acclimated to cloth diapering, I assumed I would be doing that for my own children. This is what I've learned so far and what has worked for us.

1. You can't beat CPFs for durability, cost effectiveness, and grow-with-baby potential. I like Green Mountain Diapers because they are a friendly and their CPFs are the highest quality I've found.

2. Snappis are great for little babies, but once they start squirming around much I find pins easier since you only have to hold one side of the diaper at a time.

3. If baby's getting a little red and you're using a waterproof PUL cover, either in a AIO or a wrap cover like Bummis, try using wool. I know it takes a little extra work, but it breathes and is naturally antibacterial so it might help a sensitive baby. I have to use wool covers with my little boy most of the time because of this, he gets a rash if he spends more than a few hours in PUL.

4. I know you're not supposed to, but I've always used regular diaper rash ointments with my kids, mostly A&D and Burt's Bee's. Never had any trouble. I do try to use CPFs rather than AIOs when I put ointment on them, since the CPFs will wash cleaner because they're not covered in waterproof material on one side.

5. A few AIO (all in one) diapers are perfect for Dads and sitters. I like Green Mountain Diaper's Disposo-easy because they have cotton insides. LOTS of babies are allergic to the so-called stay dry lining since it's synthetic.

6. For pins, I prefer Green Mountain Diaper's angled pins. I keep them in a bar of soap as my 'pin coushion' up on a shelf out of my toddler's reach.

7. For fastened diapers, I much prefer snaps to velcro (aplix or touch tape are other brand names) because they really hold well, don't grab lint, and look a lot cleaner.

8. I don't rinse my yellow-breastfed-poopoo, it washes right out in the washer.

9. Putting damp diapers out in the direct sun really does get rid of the yellow stains.

10. I don't prefer to cloth diaper into toddlerhood ;) I switched to huggies once my little one was almost 2, and we only use cloth occasionally.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mayo

I made mayo the other day with olive oil and coconut oil. I heated the coconut oil to its melting point and that worked well. It's about 1/4 coconut since that's all I had, and 3/4 olive. It's a little more runny than when I made it with canola oil, but I feel much better about it since it's free of genetically modified foods (canola is genetically modified. If you have Netflix, I learned a lot from this documentary)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

20 ways to have a happy pregnancy and baby

I suppose this is particularly in regards to having small children, babies, and being pregnant. I've had some people give me great advice. I'm thrilled to be the recipient of advice, and I trust the Lord will let me know what to listen to and what not to.

Pregnancy and Birth:

1. Take it easy, so you're not exhausted when you go into labor (I was with my first and it made it harder)

2. Your hormones are wacko after birth. I couldn't sleep for the first few days after my second was born and I kept getting hot flashes. That evens out too and you're not doomed to weirdness for the rest of your life

3. Seriously it was so worth it to get a good prenatal vitamin.

4. Some people gain a lot of weight when they're pregnant and it's perfectly fine. I gained 60+ pounds with each of my pregnancy. With my first it was gone in 3 months, and with my second it was gone by his 6-month birthday.

5. Take lots of belly pictures. The time is so special, especially with your first.

6. I found my belly to be really depressing after I gave birth. It's mostly skin that's hanging down, not fat. Mine was back to normal after 9 months, without any situps. I was surprised at how much I hated my post partum body, I normally have a pretty good attitude about how I look. But going from a glowing pregnant lady with a firm belly to a hormonal post partum lady with a saggy belly kind of threw me for a loop.

7. Hire a doula if you are having a hospital birth, preferably someone who has had her own children naturally.

8. Question anything that doesn't seem right. God gave you discernment, especially when it comes to your precious baby.

9. Don't worry about making everyone happy in regards to who is at the birth. You will do best if you do what you need to. And a happy mommy-baby-bond is worth offending numerous relatives.

Breastfeeding:

10: I had a hard time getting my first baby started nursing, but once we got it it was good. Don't expect it to be easy at first, but I promise, you aren't going to regret not having to haul around bottles and formula. A breastfed baby is an easy traveling companion.

11: That lanolin in the purple tube is good for nursing, but I'm sure you learned that already.

12: No pacifiers or bottles (they can dropper feed if for some reason it's needed) or else they get a confused suck.

13: It takes a while for your milk to come in with your first especially, I think it was 5 days for my first and that's totally normal.

14: Baby is designed to sleep most of the first 5 days so the colostrum is plenty.

Sleeping:

15: It's also very normal for your baby to not sleep unless it's being held. I was going to try and keep mine in their bassinette and out of our bed, but honestly they're designed to be right next to mama.

16: Plus, then when they need to eat you can just roll over and not get up. I'm all about *not* getting up in the middle of the night. Eventually they do sleep through the night and in their own bed, just it's unlikely until they're over a year old. My 2 year old sleeps from 7-6 every night in her crib, and she was in our bed til she was a year and a half :)

17: A gentle transition to a crib worked best for us when it was done slow and steady.

Attitude is everything:

18: Smiling at my baby every time I looked at them helped me to not get frustrated at middle of the night diaper changes or being attached for 24-hour nursing sessions. It kind of helps your mood, and since babies mimic what they see, you end up with a really smiley baby.

19: You'll do great :) It's amazing how your instinct kind of kicks in.

20: Don't worry if you're exhausted at first and don't particularly feel head over heels in love. I didn't have the whole love-at-first-sight with my first (but did with my second) but by a few weeks I was quite infatuated with her.



Other posts of interest:
100 ways to eat healthy
The Maker's Diet- it helped me lose weight that was hanging on with my 2nd baby and is a good all around eating plan for everyone.

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The Maker's Diet, phase 3

So, I'm skipping phase 1 and 2 since I seem to need more carbohydrates. I'm pretty sure this is due to nursing.

So 'phase 3' is essentially how you're supposed to stay once you complete the phase one and phase 2 of the diet, and is a whole foods diet. To work with my family's preferences, I'm going to make a couple exceptions.

Hubby loves pizza. And for right now, pizza just isn't pizza without fluffy white crust. So I'll use Wheat Montana's unbleached white for pizza on Friday nights. I do need to find a non-pork, non-preservative laced alternative to pepperoni.

We'll still have Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls on special occasions, like birth days, holidays, or when we have guests over for breakfast. I'll try and balance all the carbs with some beef sausage and eggs, though.

But we really do need to get the junk out of our diet- the preservatives, the genetically modified food, the unclean foods. And attempting, even if not completing, The Maker's Diet (for more info, see my sidebar to the right) really helped do that for me.



Oh, and I was 143.5 last night, which is below my goal of 145. I feel good! We've also had company this past week, and I tend to eat less when people are around, which isn't necessarily a good thing, but is fine.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Maker's Diet Day 7

149 this morning again.

That artisan wheat bread from yesterday was really good.

So far I've only had coffee and coconut milk, and I feel my blood sugar dipping. I'm feeling sick of eggs right now (sort of how I was with the Brewer's Diet in pregnancy). I'm going down stairs to make a smoothie with berries, eggs, and coconut milk. The eggs aren't as noticeable that way.

We'll have chicken salad for lunch, and everyone else is having home made pizza for dinner. I'm not sure what I'll have.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Whole Wheat Artisan Bread


I tweaked the famous New York Times No Knead Bread recipe a little bit and made a really yummy whole wheat loaf. The crust is the crusty thick kind that comes from a brick oven stove, but I made it on my own in my enamel/cast iron pot with foil for the lid (since the lid is gone. Don't want to talk about it.)

I was stumbling (feel free to stumble me! I love it! Link is up top- thumb this up!) and came across these easy directions, which I modified a little bit. I wish I could say it was because I was feeling adventurous and health conscious, but no, it was because I was out of unbleached white flour and only had whole wheat on hand. And that bread looked really good.

I'm glad I was too lazy to run down to the grocery store, though, since this turned out awesome!

The modifications that I did:

*I used no white flour. Since I didn't have any. The whole wheat that I used was Wheat Montana, Prairie Gold.

*I used 1/2 a cup more water, increasing the total to 2 cups

*I let it rise for an entireday and a half. 24+12 hours... 36.



Links of interest:
My other whole wheat bread recipe
About soaked whole wheat

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Works for me... Making an Ice Block

Now that it's spring, I have to put ice in my hubby's big water container. Rather than filling and emptying multiple trays of ice, only to have a lot scatter across the floor as I do this groggily in the morning, I started filling a cheap $0.94 plastic pitcher 2/3 with water. Then I put it in the freezer, where it fits nicely and doesn't take up nearly as much room as stacks of ice trays, and it's frozen solid by morning. In the morning I take it out and run the bottom under hot water. The huge ice block pops out easily, and we're good to go. At first I tried this in a gallon container, but it works best in the thicker pitcher from Walmart because of it's smooth sides and tapered bottom.

And as a bonus, because it's so thick, the water stays cold even on days when it's over 100.

Oh, and my hubby does construction, thus he has a big need for cold water!

For more tips, visit We Are THAT Family

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The Maker's Diet Day 6

149 with my clothes on this morning.

Father-in-law and his wife are coming, and I was too lazy to go to the grocery store after hubby got home from work yesterday (go figure). Going to have to look through the menu and see what I can patch together for food.

I've already had my coffee with coconut milk in it, toddler had rice milk 'juice'.

She and I will have leftover stir fry for lunch.

No more chicken, I always underestimate how much chicken we eat. It shrinks when you cook it. I have a bunch of venison. I wonder if I can do refried beans start to finish in 8 hours? (refried bean from scratch recipe) I do have tortillas, so we could have meager tacos. Maybe they just aren't going to be here in time for dinner.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Maker's Diet Day 5

148 today, after breakfast because that's when I remembered to weight :) I feel good, up at 6 and ready to go, even without coffee. But I'm still drinking coffee with coconut milk in it as a creamer every day (since I'm mostly dairy free).

Breakfast was scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast
Lunch was more of the split pea soup and an apple
Dinner is going to be stir fry with veggies, organic ground beef, and rice for hubby and toddler.

I don't think I snacked hardly at all today, I wonder if it's just because the beautiful weather and my need to clean distracted me, or if my body is settling into eating a little less often, but better quality foods?

Hmmm

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tackle it



Tackle It Tuesday Meme

My father-in-law and his wife coming on Wednesday. I've never met them. He's the one that my husband inherited his 'tidy' gene from. I'm more of a crafty messy person. I've got a lot to do. Here's my list. I'll do pics of the fridge, since it's the most... um... embarrassing. I have a teething 6 month old and a toddler...

Clean out fridge
pick up toys
vacuum
clean high chair
empty dish washer
dishes
clean oven
trash out
toilets
mirrors
sinks
kitchen floor
laundry
bathroom floor
spot carpet


So. Basically everything. I'll be back with pics ;)



So I guess my before and after pictures don't look a whole lot different. A full fridge is a good thing :) But I did have a sink full of dirty dishes so I know I did actually clean out a lot! And the shelves aren't embarassing any more. (a pic of my peek-a-boo-boy 'helping')

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Monday, May 4, 2009

About The Maker's Diet

With my scatteredness (I'll blame that on the kids) I never really got around to explaining what The Maker's Diet is about. Now that both kids are asleep, I think I should be able to give a review.

The Maker's Diet is by Jordan S Rubin and it explains his story of severe digestive problems, not being able to find an effective treatment with modern mainstream medicine or alternative medicine, but finally being healed by following a diet that the Lord Himself gave us. He advocates the use of whole foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, meats, and milk. He shuns modern food like white flour, artificial sweeteners, as well as what as described as 'unclean' in the Bible; pork, some birds (still need to look that up), and sea life that doesn't have fins or scales (no shell fish). He talks about the missing microorganisms that populate our gut to help us digest our food, and how they have been depleted by modern food production techniquies and lack of playing in the dirt as children. It isn't about counting calories or fat grams or points. It's a method for over, under, and just the right weight people. It's not about weight loss, it's about eating in a way that is best for the body.

If you are a Christian reading this, you may find yourself bristling at me. All things are clean for me, isn't that what Paul said? Yes. I believe that. I believe that eating pork is not a sin. I do believe that our Creator, who designed us, also wrote an instruction manual for us, and that by following his food suggestions, we will be blessed with better health.

I remember the spring after I was married, I wanted to surprise my new husband and mow the lawn for him. Being familliar with lawn mowers, I started up the mower and started cutting. By the time I got half way through the front lawn, I was out of gas. So I went into the garage, got the gas can, and filled the mower. I was pretty pleased with myself and went on to continue mowing the grass. The mower was running a little oddly, but I thought that was because it had just sat over the winter. When I went to shut it off and put it back in the shed, it wouldn't shut off. I shook it. I kicked it. It still was running. I called my husband, no answer. Called my most mechanically minded friend. No answer. Called my brother-in-law, he answered and told me how to 'choke' the engine to shut it off. When my husband came home and I told him of my adventure and about the stupid mower that didn't run, he informed me that there was diesel in the gas can. I didn't suspect that, since we didn't have a diesel vehicle. But that's why the mower kept running and wouldn't do what it was supposed to. He asked me why I couldn't smell the difference, but I wasn't familliar with the different smells of gasoline and diesel. When a few years later we went on to get a diesel truck, he was pretty wary to let me fill it up at the gas station for quite a while...

Our bodies are like the mower. We can function okay on processed junk food, and we can plug through our tasks. And at first, like how I was unable to tell the different smells of gasoline and diesel, we may not really see a difference between good food and bad food. But once your body is used to the good stuff, you will quickly be able to tell what will make you function at your highest capacity. But if all you ever have known is 'diesel', it's hard to believe. And that is why I encourage you to look into The Maker's Diet. If you're not sure and don't want to spend yet another $10 on a diet book to sit on your shelf, borrow it from the library and give it a look over, or buy it super cheap on Amazon's used books section (I did both of those).

Follow along with me by subscribing, and I'll try to show you my every day meals that incorporate these principals. 

Everything I post is Maker's-diet friendly, other than what's labeled 'confessions'.  Nourishing Traditions is a great resource as well, though if you're new to real whole foods I recommend The Maker's Diet to start out with since Nourishing Traditions is a lot to take in all at once.  The Maker's Diet is unashamedly Christian, so if that puts you off, Eat Fat Lose Fat is a good book to start with.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding and want to try The Maker's Diet, I would encourage you to go all the way to his 'phase 3' and skip the lower-carb first and second phases.  For more intense weight loss, starting as he describes from the beginning should work well!  I personally gained 65 lbs with each of my pregnancies, and lost the weight easily by sticking with a real whole foods diet.  I incorporated plenty of healthy fats, carbs, and protein and felt completely satisfied.

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The Maker's Diet Day 4

149 today, no doubt because I ate some gold fish yesterday (the crackers... not the fish, which would be in line with the Maker's diet I think- fins and scales...) and it messed up my water retention.

Whole wheat toast with butter from soaked wheat bread for breakfast, had a good amount of coconut milk in my coffee and I'm feeling good. After eating some more carbs, I felt a zillion times better yesterday, and I really think that it's necessary for me to eat more carbs than he recommends. I was quickly on my way to passing out, which just isn't an option for this mom of 2 little ones.

I have split pea soup in the pot for lunch, which I'll eat with some whole wheat bread again.


Dinner is the cod that we were blessed with, with jasmine rice and broccoli. Supposedly jasmine rice is healthier than plain white rice, and hubby doesn't like brown rice. Yet. He also didn't like whole wheat bread at first, but now prefers it.

Split pea soup recipe:
1/2 a bag of dried split peas. They're with the dried beans, usually on the bottom shelf with the other Mexican food
1/2 a bag of frozen carrots. Could also use fresh, I just had frozen on hand.
Small handful of garlic cloves- I think I have 7 in there. They mellow out with cooking. We get ours from costco in the big tub for like $5.99 and then keep in the freezer. They only last about a week in the fridge, but last forever in the freezer. And you can still use a garlic press to press them when frozen, which is what I wasn't sure about.
Fresh ground pepper
Sea Salt to taste
Half can of coconut milk- good fats that give the soup some substinance.
4 chicken thighs. We get thighs because they taste better and are cheaper. We get ours at Costco. Bone in would be preferable, but these are boneless/skinless.

Rinse peas. Place in pan. Cover with a few inches of filtered water. Add other ingredients. Turn stove to med-high until simmering, then turn down to medium low. Cook for 30 minutes or a few hours, I'm sure this could be done on the crock pot too. I was surprised how easy this was, and it's really tasty. I thought that split pea soup would be harder to make.


I ordered more vitamins yesterday, and I ordered a lid for sprouting along with them. I'll just sprout wheat, since I have a bunch of wheat berries on hand. I'm placing an order with Wheat Montana this week for Bronze Chief wheat, right now I have Prarie Gold and I've heard that Bronze Chief is better for bread. So I'll try it.

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Menu Plan Monday





I'm doing The Maker's Diet right now- you can see more info on the side bar- and adding in food for hubby and the toddler to what I'm making for myself :)

May 4 Monday
B: Smoothie, whole wheat toast
L: Chicken Cabbage Salad (dressing on p 238)
D: Salmon white rice

May 5 Tuesday
B: Omlet
L: Oriental Red Meat Salad (235)
D: Eggs, turkey sausage cinnamon rolls if I'm feeling ambitious

May 6 Wednesday
B: Smoothie with raw eggs
L: Lentil soup
D: Chicken, steamed veggies

May 7 Thursday
B: Fast
L: Fast
D: Tuna salad, smoothie soaked wheat bread

May 8 Friday
B: Scrambled eggs, apple
L: Sprouts and meat salad
D: Burgers, fruit bun, baked fries

May 9 Saturday
B: Smoothie
L: Chicken Cabbage Salad
D: Smoked salmon,
crackers, cheese

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Vitamins

I used to be pretty anti-vitamin, but once I found a prenatal that was actually good quality, I was hooked. I just ordered chewables for the toddler and men's for hubby, all Source of Life brand, since that's the prenatal that I had good luck with. I just ordered 30 days' worth for hubby since I'm not sure if he'll actually take them, though he says he will.

When I took a nutrition course in college, my teacher had stuff that she had to teach, but you could tell she didn't believe it. She didn't believe in the food pyramid, but had to teach it. She also had to teach that vitamins are vitamins, it doesn't make a difference if they're natural or not. But in my experience, that simply isn't true. I took a Walmart prenatal when I was pregnant with my first, and I took a nap every.single.day. With my second I took a good quality prenatal, made from real food, and I only needed a nap once a week. I continued taking them with breastfeeding, and I haven't taken a nap except for maybe three times in the past 6 months. I really think that a good quality vitamin, unless you have super excellent eating habits, is essential. I'm curious to see what my hubby thinks when he tries his.

The vitamin I take is Source of Life Prenatal, and all the vitimins in it are naturally derived, not made in a laboratory.  If you look at the label, you recognize the ingredients.  I also take cod liver oil, again, a natural source of vitamins A & D.  I have used the kids fruit punch flavored cod liver oil before, but now I take the salty fermented cod liver oil from Green Pasture because it's GAPS friendly. My kids don't mind the salty CLO, which I find amusing.  I have to chase mine with cold water.

Just based on how I feel when taking different supplements, I do think that vitamins derived from nature are highly superior and easier for your body to use than ones made in a lab.  When I started taking the good prentatals (link below) during my second pregnancy, the first trimester 'sleepies' and morning sickness immediately went away.  This surprised me, and makes me wonder if morning sickness and the tiredness associated with early pregnancy could be due to a nutrient deficiency? I've only had this experience one time, so I can't say anything for sure.  I'll have to see what happens with future pregnancies.

Links below of what we've used and are happy with




Edited Aug 09: Hubby really didn't like his. Said they left a weird aftertaste and nasty burps. I didn't blame him for not wanting to finish the bottle, so he's currently not taking anything. Anyone know of any men's vitamins that don't leave an icky taste?

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Day 3


148 today, but I woke up today feeling awful and got up, ate some apple sauce and went back to sleep and slept til almost 11. I never do that, I'm always up at 6:30 at the latest, since that's when my toddler gets up. Some people might say that I was detoxing, but I'm pretty sure I was going into ketosis; my body wasn't able to turn fat into the carbohydrates that my brain needed fast enough. This is a major problem with low carb diets, and people can even go into comas from it.

When I was in Nutrition at our JC (I have an associate's degree in health science and was going to be a nurse but changed my mind.) there was a body builder in my class who started the Atkins diet, not to lose weight, but in an effort to build muscle. He went into ketosis and was hospitalized for a week because his kidneys started to shut down. Some low-carb diet promotors say that you just have to deal with the symptoms of ketosis for a week or so, and then it goes away, but that is a risk I'm not willing to take.

I chose to go ahead and eat something high in carbohydrates (applesauce) because I do not think that ketosis is healthy for anyone's body. I thought that with The Maker's Diet, even phase one that is lower in carbohydrates, would have enough in there to prevent ketosis, but apparently it didn't, for me at least. This might be complicated by the fact that I'm breastfeeding, so the necessary sugars that were in my blood stream were grabbed out to make milk (milk is a filtrate of blood) to give to my child. I'm thankful for this! I was able to tell it was affecting me negatively, and I chose to stop.

I'll go ahead and continue on with the diet, but I'm adding back in fruit, especially high carb fruits like bananas and apples. Lots of low-carb diet advacators say that it's just something to get used to, but I'm not comfortable with being in that state. I'm not even particularly trying to lose weight, I'm just trying to eat healthier and get in the habit of eating how the Creator intended.

Some signs of ketosis:
Extreme thirst
Lethargy
Nausea
Lightheadedness

Dangers of Ketosis:
Stress on the kidneys
Damage to the liver and kidneys



(and the picture is a little needle felted angel that I made last night. Needle felting is pretty fun. Completely irrelavent to this post, but fun nonetheless )

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Apartment Gardening


We are blessed with a nice south-facing porch. I think my 'garden' this year will actually do better than it did last year when we had a shaded north-side-of-the-house yard. Lettuce and Swiss chard, morning glories and peppers, tomatoes and basil.

Lots less work, and easy to bring inside for Montana weather weirdness and- more likely- neighbor weirdness.

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The Maker's Diet Day 2

Almonds are working well for snacks. For lunch I had a berry smoothie that I added 3 raw eggs to and about 1/2 a cup of frozen carrots, and a couple tablespoons of the cream from coconut milk. Next time I'll cook and thaw the carrots, not a huge fan of chunks of frozen carroty goodness in my smoothie.

Hubby had leftover pizza for lunch, The Girl ate goldfish and almonds and skipped lunch. She can have some tuna when she gets up from her nap. Egg salad for dinner, with bread for hubby and the Girl.

I picked up the $13 blender at Walmart, I kept the box because I think you can return things to Walmart if they break within a month or two. And that looks like it's about how long it will last. I just want it to make it through the summer and I'll go from there.

Drinking lots of water, and I felt a little hypoglycemic earlier today (after coffee, which lowers blood sugar) but that went away when The Girl and I took a short walk. I'm not having trouble staying on my diet, I think it might be because I can eat as much of the food on my 'okay' list as I want, so there isn't really deprivation at all. Self control, but not deprivation. We'll see how Thursday's partial fast goes.

Once I'm into phase 3, I think I'll put our whole family on the food plan and continue it out. I'll except from the rules and use white flour to make cookies once a week, and white flour to make pizza on Fridays. I'm going to see if I can use a natural sugar substitute for the cookies (not Splenda!) and a natural beef nitrate alternative to the pepperoni on the pizza. Right now I have a huge bag of Costco pepperoni that I'll use up.

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Day 1 continued, and Day 2 morning

For Day 1 I just ate my lentil soup again for dinner, and had some soaked almonds in the afternoon and after dinner.

Hubby had pizza for dinner and I was feeling rather motivated and there are 2 pans of Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls in the freezer and one in the oven. I made them when I was making the pizza, just using the cinnamon roll dough as pizza dough. Lazy lazy. None for me, anyway.

The girl had some french toast, some lentil soup with me, and a little bit of pizza. And berries. Lots of berries.

Day 2,
So far I've had about half a cup of berries and I'm going to go make a couple eggs. Coffee is brewing. 151 again this morning.

(my goal is to get to 145, which is a good weight for me. I'm 5'8")

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Day 1 Breakfast and Lunch

This morning I actually forgot that we were doing this today. Good thing I didn't have that last donut that I was thinking about! :)

Weighed about an hour after I got up: 151

Ate:
2 cups of coffee, black

2.5 eggs, scrambled, with too much salt. Ick. The girl ate the other half the egg ;)

Thawed some berries to eat for a snack

Drank water and took my prenatal, Source of Life is what I use (I'm breastfeeding, not pregnant)

Lentil soup for lunch was good. I gave the girl some roasted salted peanuts to go with hers. It had peas, lentils, carrots, garlic, and some organic ground beef that was left over from tacos the other night, so it had oregano in it.

I can tell I'm not going to be great at following the menu I made. No big deal, at least I know I have stuff in the house for the diet. It's a good start.

It's actually kind of freeing to not have all the food options. I ate my soup and am full and not eating any more. Check that off the list... do you know the feeling?

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