Thursday, February 27, 2014

messy boats

I am not sure what to call this-a mess??
We took 4 eggs, 1 avocado, 1/2 can of diced tomatoes and some salt and pepper...and made "boats" with romaine hearts. They tasted AMAZING!!

We ran out of this mixture-and took the other 1/2 can of tomatoes + 1 can of albacore tuna + an some egg and mixed together and THAT was good on the lettuce as well!

This was thrown together to fill up some starving kiddos-and they loved it!

Paleo kids, eating and fueling the body

So, we have been eating Paleo as a family (minus ONE) for about 3 weeks. I am not 100% sure if Zarina has seen any changes, but I know Zariah has. She was the main reason for diving all the way in! Zariah had some horrible gas and digestive issues. Obviously, she is human-she farts...but they are SO MUCH LESS now! It is nice, we can go for a car ride and not get gassed!

The main problem we are having is that we have blown through over $500 worth of food very quickly! If left to her own devices, Zariah would eat 5-6 bananas, 3-4 oranges, 3-4 apples and MORE every single day! I cannot afford that.

I posted my issue on Paleo Hacks, I got mixed answers. I do not agree with all of them, but some make good suggestions. We already eat sweet potatoes every other day or so, I need to keep that up! I also think offering them a squash in the afternoon might be what is needed. The kids are growing, and there are simply not enough carbs in cabbage, onions and the other veggies we consume to keep them satisfied.

Monday, I am calling the Co-Op to see if I can get bulk produce cheaper. I might ask about apples... it never crossed my mind (apples there are like $7-8/bag!) that they might get them cheaper by the bushel! (Thank you for the idea on PaleoHacks!)

I should head over to Vitacost or Amazon and order coconut milk and almond butter now...


I just punched some numbers into an online calculator.

My BMI is 20.4- totally healthy!
My Lean Body Mass is 106# which means I have about 24#s of fat and muscle.
It estimates that my total body fat is 24% - also super healthy!

These are not totally accurate without a full body comp-but it shows I am doing something right!

As for the kids-

Zariah's BMI is 15.4, she is in the 43rd percentile for weight and totally healthy!
Zarina's BMI is 14.4 and she is in the 24th percentile-also totally healthy!

My kids were ALWAYS in the 20-45th (ish) percentiles for weight-and always in the 90th for height. We are not meant to be fat, we are all super healthy!!

I am uploading a video right now on this topic. The lighting and angle are horrible-sorry. You can basically see up my nose...and my skin looks bad-I swear it is the lighting as I am doing quite well on this new way of eating!


TMI- I got my period today...my first PALEO period. I didn't realize it was coming as I was not a raving bitch last week! I haven't had cramps or MAJOR cravings either. Something about this change in diet-since we all know im not active yet...has helped my menstral cycle!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New TOYS...dreaming of a simpler future!

You are about to get a REAL look into my home. It is not pretty-it is REAL. We are able to feed our kids organic, healthy foods, as well as have only one income by doing a lot of "remodeling" ourselves. It also means I am not living in a 200K$$ luxury home. We are REAL people with real problems...I am excited about my new "toys" please respect that we put a lot of thought into these purchases before making them. (though the cost of said items very well could have provided us with a "finished" dining room.

Well, the things that make you excited as an adult are far from what kids consider fun! (though the kids do love the new appliances too!)

I am happy to have my new Vitamix, Excalibur, and Refrigerator!

I have used the Vitamix at least twice a day since it showed up Monday!!




My dehydrator is running right now-full of nuts, half an orange, and our first attempt at fruit leather. It is FULL.

The new Fridge is a bit nicer than my house...it showed up yesterday! My oven is black...and my dishwasher is white...got a bit of everything going on now! (the oven is planned to be replaced with a wood burning cook stove in the next 3 years! the dishwasher will be removed when we remodel the kitchen!)
 It is a bit of a disaster at the moment! We are remodeling (look behind the blue kitchen set-that is the entry to my new pantry) Look on TOP of the kitchen set-that is all the kids "learning" games and books that Torrin isn't allowed to touch. Man, I need this "pantry" done so I have adequate storage! Don't you love seeing several types of wall covering in one area??!
This is the old fridge-I had to move it out of the way to make room for the new one.
(that potty was given to me by my mom...torrin likes to put his toys in it now...)
whole lot of ugly going on...one day-I tell myself ONE DAY this ugly kitchen will be pretty. Right now, we make sacrifices in the "beauty" of our home, to enjoy the beauty of our children! I would rather live in a home I can afford-that is way less than perfect-and have the money to feed my kids healthy, organic WHOLE foods!

^^Real beauty!!^^
 
Now, if only the cold weather would break so we could start our new journey into Maple Syrup! Nathan went all out and ordered metal buckets and more supplies! I feel the need to remind him daily that he has a full time job...and that syrup is going to be a job in itself! I cannot wait to learn alongside my husband and kids!! Syrup is our "dream" for our future. Not only is syrup our go-to sweetener, but it is very expensive. We are hoping to save money by making our own...and one day having enough to supplement our income so we can live the simpler life we strive for!
 

Boiling "pot" this thing is huge!

 
We really do look forward to Nathan spending less time at a desk job, and more time home, with us...teaching our kids how to do things like harvest sap into syrup!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Organic Shopping

So... we all KNOW I do not ever ever ever want to support Wal-Mart. I hate the store, I hate what they stand for. With that said, I live in a small town with limited shopping. I started my grocery shopping journey at a local "dent bent" store. I had a couple cans of organic green beans I almost bought. I was on a mission for FISH though. I have had a killer craving for FISH. They had some wild caught Cod...but it was China fish...I hate supporting China more than I hate supporting Wal-Mart (often the same thing...) I know as a country, we have to import-we do not have a choice most of the time. I cannot KNOWINGLY buy fish from China, ever watched Whale Wars or similar??

Can.Not.Do.It.

I decided not to make a purchase at said store. If you want to live on boxed CRAP-this store has it all, not to mention over pasteurized cheeses and expired dog food! If you want any REAL food, not a good place to stop!

I drove to Wal-Mart next, I figured I would check for Organics and leave...I actually lucked out a bit! I did notice that all of the organics come from Mexico-I suppose getting produce in the USA is kind of hard right now, considering it is WINTER.

I purchased a 10oz clamshell of spinach, romaine hearts, cucumbers, green onions, zucchini and apples. For a total of $23.27 NOT BAD!! They also had a salad blend and green peppers (We still have frozen green peppers so I do not need those!) potatoes and onions. They were all out of cauliflower (this upset me a bit...) The apples were not as good of a price as at Aldi's, but considering I am not about to drive 40 minutes for a bag of apples-they were not bad!

10oz spinach: $4.98
Romaine hearts 12 oz: $3.38
cucumbers 2 ct-says 10 oz but I weighed it at home and it is 15oz! : $3.58
Green onion 5.5 oz : $1.38
zucchini 2 ct says 6 oz but it is 14 oz! : $3.98
3# bag of apples: 5.97

I then went to a local store and saw that they had Romaine Hearts-I think the bag was bigger and it was 50cents more-I might buy them there next time! They had cauliflower but it was $7...so I passed!This store has a few more items to choose from, I bought normal avocados-they are a little small but they were $1 each (more than Aldi foods...) I also got some wild caught Canada Cod for $6.79/lb which is cheaper than the Alaskan Cod from Costco-I really do doubt it will be as good though- the Costco cod was the BEST we have ever had!

$34.47
 
Organic Oranges are expensive! I have to remind myself that candy bars cost that much-so why not spend it on an orange!?!?
 
6 oranges (4#) $8.79 or $1.47/each (cheaper than some candy bars-way cheaper than an individual bag of chips!)
bananas .99/lb $4.72 for 2 bunches
4 pack of tomatoes $4.99
 
So, again I say, organic healthy eating is NOT cheap...but eating in general is not cheap! I would rather spend $50-$60 on what I bought than candy, chips and mac n cheese!
 
Video below is my New Vitamix-first time ever turning it on!!

Tonight for dinner we are having Salads (with tuna, tomato and avocado) and smoothies made in my new VITAMIX!! Tomorrow-we will have the cod with brussel sprouts!


Banana "cereal"

Today, I made my kids day by making "cereal" only it wasn't cereal at all! I do think, the next time I fix this, if we have our grain free granola, I will add about 1/8 cup to it just to keep us all satisfied longer (and it just tastes so good!) Unfortunately, after breakfast, we are out of fresh bananas!

Now, keep in mind, a serving of Banana is 1/2 of the banana. So...technically we all ate 2 servings-oh well!


Here's what ya need (per person):

1 banana
1 serving of almond butter (I was low, so we all got 1 tbsp.)
2+ tbsp. coconut milk (from a can-stir it well to mix-or shake can well before opening)
1/2 tsp+ honey (do this to taste..not too much is needed!)
1/2 tsp Ceylon Cinnamon
      (you can get a small container HERE, I purchased this HERE) if you don't have celon and want to try this right away-use regular cinnamon-you might need a bit more as the flavor isn't as strong.
 
Cut up your banana, swirl almond butter and honey over top. Sprinkle cinnamon and add coconut milk. ENJOY!! My girls added more coconut milk, I am not a huge fan of coconut milk and 2 tbsp. was about perfect! I do think the granola would be an amazing addition!

Un-Mounds...CANDY

I have learned that coconut and chocolate just GO TOGETHER! You can whip up a quick HEALTHY snack in minutes with some organic dark chocolate, coconut oil and coconut flakes. If you have other supplies, you can make more complex flavors, but they are not needed at all. (Bananas and other fruits go great with coconut and chocolate, as do dates!)

I used:
-about 1/4 cup of melted Vitacost Organic Coconut oil. (Do not pay that much for coconut oil-I got it for under $4/16oz container!)
- about 1.5-2 cups of "Let's Do Organic" Unsweetened Finely Shredded Coconut Flakes
-Honey (to taste 1-2 tbsp.)
-1 tsp vanilla
-6 squares (or more for more dipping) 85% dark chocolate + 2tbsp (or more) coconut oil

-Melt 1/4 cup of coconut oil, mix into shredded flakes, add honey and vanilla-taste and make sure it can press together
-Press into a square (or rectangle depending on how much you are making) lined dish. Make about 1/4" thick.
-I took a cookie sheet-lined it with parchment paper, and make a 8x8(ish) square as my baking dish was being used.
-Freeze for 15-20 minutes (until hard)
-Meanwhile-melt chocolate and coconut oil-you are making a "magic shell"-if you have a preferred recipe, use it. Basically coconut oil and chocolate does the trick!
-take out of dish, set on counter and cut to desired size (1/2" by 2-3" is about perfect)
-Allow chocolate to cool just a bit (you don't want to burn yourself!)
-Dip one at a time and place back on lined sheet (on cookie sheet) and place in freezer again.

I only did one coating-next time I will mix up more chocolate and dip for a 2nd coat. These are amazing, I just would have liked a thicker coat of chocolate!

I did not feel even the least bit guilty eating 3 of these!!



Please remember, if you are new to Vitacost-use my link and we both get $10 off of $30!! https://www.vitacostrewards.com/kCDHkHZ sign up for their referral program-doesn't cost you a penny to do so. I love Vitacost!!
Want to help more? After signing up for Vitacost Referral- come back and click on THIS LINK (for this shopping trip-and future trips) and help my kids earn cash for College through UPromise! Again, doesn't cost you a cent! Just by clicking on this link-retailers put money into college funds!

Friday...Saturday...Sunday...LET MONDAY COME!!

Friday, the UPS truck stopped at the end of my driveway... The driver walked up (slippery driveway) with 1 box...not a big box... He left.

This is not what I was waiting for...inside was printer toner...and the flex mats for my new dehydrator...ummm Where is my dehydrator??

About 1/2 hour later, I hear the UPS truck again. He manages up the driveway this time, and hops out with a BIG box! I was so excited!! The driver didn't realize I had more than 1 package...he is forgiven of course! He was just happy he didn't have to walk up again! (my dogs are very friendly, and they almost trip him with every step he takes, imagine walking up a slippery driveway!)
The first thing Zariah says is "What is that?" I tell her it is the dehydrator...she immediately replies with "Well, when will the vitamix be here then!?" (She is not as thrilled about the dehydrator...)

 
Now that it is all set up...what do I put in it???
 
Saturday- we went "car shopping"...and ended up buying a new Refrigerator! That was not planned ... We found one at Sears that had a list price of $2700 and they had it marked WAAAAY down because it was overstock from a store that had closed. It should be here Thursday!
To think, I walked into Sears to buy a $10 item just to keep my Sears store card open...
we are trying to keep our credit open and active to make the final purchase of our home easier. It is known that if you do not use a store card for more than 2 years-it becomes inactive and closes...Not a good idea to let that happen when trying to get a home loan. Remember: we bought our house on Land Contract...it is "ours" to fix up and live in...but we have to pay out a balloon payment at the end of 3 years (about 15 months from now!)
 
Luckily for us, Sears offers 12 months interest free financing as well!
We did not end up with a car. I still am not sure I want to get rid of my excursion. I love my truck...I just can't afford to drive the damn thing! Maintenance on a diesel is crazy! I love the room and the safety of my truck...I am torn. I am super worried that if I trade it off on something without third row...that will be when I end up pregnant!
 
Sunday- My husband and Neighbor wired our "pantry". They kept pretty busy for the good part of the day. I am not sure if Nathan is more confused...or if he learned something! He will begin putting up drywall this week I believe! Nathan framed up new doorway to the pantry to keep Torrin from hurting himself and playing with insulation. It is sort of coming together now!
 
I made some yummy treats-coconut and chocolate...sort of resemble Mounds Candy bars.
 
I was off to bed at 8:30 as I had an upset belly, sharp pains...I sure hope bugs are not making their way round my home again!
 
Today is Monday-we are waiting on my new Vitamix!! I keep wondering what I should fix in it first! I am thinking it would be fun to make all of our meals in it today...but that depends on when it shows up! I do think I am going to get some nuts soaking so that I can dehydrate them tomorrow. I am also thinking I would like to get some fruit to make fruit leathers. We are starting to get low on our groceries. I have had to buy bananas several times now. Paying 1.29/# hurts when I had gotten so many for 0.67/# at Costco! I am hoping to get to Costco again in the next 2 weeks. I just cannot spend as much on food as I had last time. I need to check over my list of prices and see what we need. I will not be buying frozen asparagus again (YUCK! Asparagus is to be fresh-and made on a grill..NOT frozen and made in an oven...YUCK YUCK YUCK!) I will not need Quinoa again, but will need way more berries and fish!
 


Paleo Menu Week 2

I am not going to post as many pictures or daily meals-only new stuff and dinner plans. I know some people do not consider salt, vinegar and quinoa paleo. I am doing what works well for my family! Quinoa is a seed-and should be eaten in moderation-like all nuts and seeds. I am feeding growing children who can out eat a grown man-I have no choice but to feed them nuts and seeds or I would go poor feeding them only organic fruits and veggies! We are big fans of cabbage and brussel sprouts-this menu is not in any way to tell you what to eat, but to share ideas for those that may be interested in trying out a paleo menu!

Monday Dinner- Cooked Cabbage with sausage and carrots
(Sorry no pix)
*** chop up a full head of cabbage, put about 1/4 cup of E.V.O.O in bottom of a pot (the bigger kind, not big soup size, but not a skillet)
**add cabbage to pan
**Shred 6 organic carrots (remove end, but do not peel-lots of nutrients in that carrot!)
****add to pot
**cover and cook down while cooking sausage

take a pound of ground country sausage and cook until done and crumbled
**add to cooked cabbage/carrots

ENJOY!!

Tuesday Dinner-
bacon wrapped sweet potato fries  with maple sprouts and egg/avocado salad (left out bacon, added more tomatoe and some onion!)
We loved this so much last week-we had to have it again!

Wednesday Breakfast- Paleo date and banana bread/bars
Wednesday Dinner-   Cabbage tomato sausage soup
                              Cut up a head of cabbage, put in 5.5 qt pan, cover with tomato juice (I used 3 qts) and vegetable broth if you have it (I used 16 oz) any combo should be fine. Add chopped or sliced carrots (I did a mix of shredded and cut-about 6-8 carrots). 1 onion, 4-6 garlic cloves minced/pressed and at the end of the cook time-1 # of browned country sausage. I brought soup to a boil then reduced to low for 3 hours-cabbage and carrots were soft and cooked through. Add sausage about 1/2 before serving.


Thursday Breakfast-leftover paleo banana/date bread and granola

Thursday dinner- taco squash

I saw a recipe similar to this, and honestly thought it sounded disgusting! We are getting low on groceries, so I decided to give it a shot! I have a few acorn squash in cold storage from this past fall and I hate to see them all go bad! Normally, squash served in this house ALWAYS has maple syrup on it! This was a change for sure!
 I had to make quite a bit to feed 5 people, but I will tell you what I did and you can adjust accordingly. I would estimate 1 whole squash per person (even my 6&7 year old ate a whole one!)
 
-I fixed 6 acorn squash-baked in oven with olive oil and salt/pepper for 30 minutes.(cut in half and remove seeds obviously!)
-Prepare 1 cup of quinoa (with 2 cups of broth) and set aside.
-Brown some ground meat with onion-make what you need. I used about 2#s of venison. Add taco seasoning (1/4 cup for us) and about 1 cup of cut up tomatoes (canned or fresh)
 
I continued to bake for about 30 minutes -or until tender. Serve with your favorite toppings. I used a can of fire roasted tomatoes and garlic salt.
 
Friday Dinner- Veggies and meat
Kinda looks like barf...I hate veggies and this was GOOD
 
**to make:
- sautée 1# of broccoli with 6 big carrots and an onion with 2 tbsp. of ghee-move to a bigger pot and cooked until soft in about 2 cups of vegetable broth
-I browned 1.5# of ground venison (cubed would have been nice!) with an onion
combine all together and mix-serve!! Salt and pepper to taste!!
 
Nathan was working late this night-and there were NO leftovers for him! The kids inhaled this!!
 
Saturday Night Dinner-I was in town all day, got home and stuck 2 #s of venison in the sink and had NO clue what I was making. I ended up making naked burgers with cooked cabbage, applesauce and guac. Same recipe as always-make a little different seasoning. The joy of cooking is that you can change it up as needed. I mashed up 4 small avocados with a can of diced tomatoes for our topping.
 
Sunday Night Dinner - Baked Chicken, SWEEET potatoes and mixed veggies
We are down to the last few of our chickens we butchered last fall. I decided to fix one (skinned) with ghee rubbed on it, 4 garlic cloves pressed, turmeric and pepper. I cut up 3 small sweet potatoes and added 5 pitted dates (cut up), sprinkled with cinnamon and baked in the oven covered. Also a pound of broccoli with about 8 carrots cup up-cooked in Vegetable broth. It was a very good dinner!

After dinner snack: I made a new creation!! It called for lots of coconut and some chocolate! I will get the recipe up shortly!
 


Thursday, February 20, 2014

I AM SOOOOO EXCITED!!

So, as most people know...it is tax season. (YAY...??) (that reminds me, I need to send the other half of my property tax bill!)
My husband has not quite lowered his contributions to where we are not overpaying, he is too scared of having to pay in.We are in the tax bracket where we get some cash back to pay things or make improvements. I took care of our "bills" and had REALLY hoped to make some improvements or sock some money aside...but there are a couple of things that I am convinced are of total necessity...ready??

Please note: I was not one of those lucky few to receive anything FREE in exchange for this posting...I spent my hubby's hard earned cash to make these purchases. If at any point I am offered a product to talk to you about, I will let ya know! I hope to review all items I purchase or receive for you so that you can make a well informed decision before spending your hard earned cash as well! With that said, I did borrow the pictures below from Amazon.com and Costco.com

I ordered a Vitamix!!
Now, it is NOT the Pro 750...I really want that one, but seriously, have you checked out the price? The main reason I wanted it was that it is short and fat...maybe easier to clean? I instead got the Vitamix 5200 from Costco. I spent less than $500 and I get the dry (nut/grains) container too! I would have easily spent over $700 to get the other Vitamix with nut blade/container!

The nice thing about ordering from Costco, I have a membership, so I will be going there every 4-6 weeks. If ANYTHING goes wrong with it-all the reviews say Vitamix is great to deal with, not to mention Costco has a GREAT return policy!

This thing has a 7 year warranty!
 
Ever notice how all of the cheapo blenders have 90 days to 1 year warranty?? There is a reason!! I am getting rid of my ninja!! I HATE THAT THING, it is a health hazard! I swear, you cannot get the damn thing clean! (I will put a pic on here when I get a chance-it is NASTY!

From the Costco website:
Features:
64-oz. Wet Blade Container, 32-oz. Dry Blade Container, Getting Started Guide, Cooking Class on DVD, Whole Food Recipe Cookbook, Whole Grains Cookbook.
 
I PROMISE to show you how it works! I will do a video (or 2 or 3...guess it depends on how I like it) and keep you posted on if it is worth making the purchase! I cannot wait for it to arrive...
 
I have another announcement...
 
My cheapo nesco Dehydrator is for sale! I paid $34 for it at Menards-I will sell it for $10 if you can pick it up!
 
I don't need it any longer because...
 
I BOUGHT AN EXCALIBUR!!!
I have no idea HOW to go about picking a GOOD dehydrator, but I hope this is the one! Amazon had/has them marked down over 30% off!
 
I got the 3926TW 9 (9 trays...this baby is BIG!)
 
 
It seems to be one of the bigger ones-running at 600 watts, and it has a 26 hour timer! I couldn't believe the price!!  $235 shipped to my door, I really don't think you can beat that price!
 
The price alone is a steal-but did you know...
It has a 10 year warranty!!
It is made in the USA!!!
 
Just like the Vitamix, I plan to let you know how it works!
 
This was a hard purchase for me! We are trying to make better choices every day. We want to eat healthy, but we also want to be more in tune with nature and eco friendly. This baby uses quite a bit of juice...and I toyed with the idea of a solar dehydrator-but I know this thing is user friendly (I can use it without the hubs) and I know we will put up way more food this way. Getting around to building a solar dehydrator might not happen with how many other boxes there are on my TO DO LIST.
 
We have plans of putting in a smokehouse, and that would be great for making jerky and drying meats-but not so great for fruit leathers, dried fruits and nuts!
 
So, there is my splurge! I had hoped to get the kids something BIG-like a tube slide or a microscope...but I have to remind myself that proper nutrition is important! I am doing this more for my children than myself! I am not sure I would even care about organic healthy foods if not for my little monsters!

Double Batch-Grain Free Granola...with mods

So, the grain free granola I made was a huge hit! My husband took it to work and it was gone so quickly, my kids have begged and begged for more! We are in the process of getting ready for tree tapping (for syrup) so I am trying not to buy much maple syrup at the store. I did decide to go buy some local raw honey so we could throw together a batch of granola though! I made a few changes to the recipe, and am making a double batch. Everyone likes granola in this house-we don't even miss the grain filled granola! This version is very good-I prefer the sweetness that comes from syrup to that of honey and think I could have used a bit less honey. Amazing how much my taste buds have changed with my cleaner diet-things do not need to be as sweet anymore!

 
I used these amounts: (raw/organic)

2 cup pecans
2 cup walnuts
2 cup almonds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup pumpkins seeds

 4Tbsp melted coconut oil
 1 1/2 cup Raw Local Honey (if I make with honey again-I will use 1/4 less-it was way sweeter than needed)
 3 Tbsp cinnamon
 1 tsp salt

 1 cup unsweetened coconut
 1 cup raisins or craisins

Soak over night with salt water, change out water after 4-6 hours. Rinse well and pat dry.

Put all nuts and half of the seeds in your processor/blender and PULSE until crumbly.

 Take crumbly ingredients and put in a big bowl or pan and add melted coconut oil, honey, cinnamon and salt. (I didn't add shredded coconut until after it had dried-it is a bit messy- I'd add it NOW if making again)


Dehydrate/dry as you choose. Mine is over dry heat on my fisher wood stove.


After dry (a good day) add coconut and dried fruit. I used craisins!

About 24 hours later-it is ready for Breakfast!!

Hopefully this big bowl lasts longer than my smaller batch!

How to boil PERFECT hard boiled eggs!

So, as sad as it is to admit...I have never mastered hard boiled eggs-UNTIL NOW! I was on Pinterest and saw so many "how to" posts, I tried several...and failed! Some eggs would crack, some eggs were no where near ready to eat! Others, you couldn't peel without losing the whole egg white. I want my hardboiled eggs to peel nicely, with little waste. Just because we have an abundance of eggs doesn't mean I want them going to waste!

I learned that if you take a thumb tack, and poke it carefully through the FAT end of the egg, it helps keep it from cracking! It is kind of neat to see actually, as some of the egg white will come out a bit in the water.
Poke the bigger of the ends-not the narrow end.

Wait until the water is at a full boil, then carefully spoon each egg in-single layer them to avoid cracking as well.

Spoon in one at a time...

Then set a timer
It only needs to be timed for 5 minutes, then you get to walk away.
After your 5 minute timer goes off, put a lid on the pot. Leave it on the burner and TURN OFF the burner. Walk away...
See the "flower" on top? It is some escaped egg white-none of my eggs cracked!

I usually get to my eggs about an hour later-they are too hot to mess with before that. You don't want to let them sit out for more than 3 hours because if the water gets too cool and they sit-bacteria can grow and you will have to pitch them. My water usually stays pretty darn hot for some time-so letting them sit for a good hour is about perfect. If I am in a hurry, after about 20 minutes I can drain the water-or pick out one egg to "test" to make sure it is boiled through.

 Generally, people say older eggs peel better-it may or may not be true. We rarely have OLD eggs as we find all sorts of ways to use them up. I often boil eggs the day we get them from the barn.
Notice the yolk is not green-green tastes bad and means the egg was overcooked. This egg only sat in the water for about 20 minutes because I wanted to take a picture right away! Most of my eggs cut open a little "cleaner" than this one did-I think the extra time in the hot water helps.

I am sure this isn't fool proof-not that any of you are fools...but this method works better for me than how I was taught growing up. (to put eggs in cold water-bring to a boil and remove 10 minutes or more later-when the egg came out "dry" on a spoon...??)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Making Paleo Banana/Date Bars

This is the long version of my morning+ the recipe...if you want just the recipe-click HERE or scroll down!
So, I know today is going to be a busy day. Any time we leave the house for the day, the next day is more work than I would like! Today is no exception! I have a long to-do list...Yesterday, we were busy, we went all over town getting things done. The kids enjoyed the day out of the house, especially going to the library and picking out some new books.

The bad thing about yesterday was that it made it necessary to put Torrin in a diaper. This child hasn't worn a diaper during the day in about a week. This little boy is a nudest, he hates diapers and clothes (please let summer come fast...) He has been doing quite well, only missing the potty 2-3 times a day...Yesterday changed that!

We got home from our outing and Torrin only used the potty twice yesterday, instead he used the couch and the floor! This morning-he has peed on the floor...and on me...

I woke up cold, we only fired up the Fisher and not the wood furnace. It is a heat wave outside at 29 degrees at 8am! With that said, my home is a lot colder than we are accustomed. I decided smoothies would not be fun to drink, instead I decided to play with a paleo bar recipe. I also promised the kids I would make gummies (we ran out yesterday) as well as granola and power balls. (I am trying new recipes today!)The bars should have only taken me 30 minutes to get IN the oven and about another 30 to bake-I figured since Torrin had just peed on the floor and nursed, I was in the green zone. (this child loves to prove me wrong)

I have no ripe bananas-they are all frozen-so I started with those-popped 1 large frozen banana into the processor and got it "smoothish"
horrible picture-but it is smooth (it tastes good to eat it like this)
 
I measured out 3/4 cup of almond butter (and put into the mixer) with the smooth banana. I was getting some soaked almonds (1/2 cup soaked overnight-about 16 hours) to grind up in the processor next-when Torrin DEMANDED a boob!
 
Walked my butt to the chair and waited for him to sign "milk, please" which he did NOT want to do-but he finally did. While he was nursing, he peed on me...UP we got in a hurry-set his butt on the potty while I stripped down and grabbed a towel... He hopped off his potty, gave my bum a smack while I cleaned up HIS pee-and LAUGHED at me! This kid, I tell ya!
 
Change of clothes for me, washed hands...and back to the baking!
 
I chopped up the nuts and tossed them in the mixer with the other stuff
 
I was cracking eggs (only dropped one egg shell in the mix( and I dug it out)
When Zariah (who is rollerblading around my kitchen...I told her she could do this yesterday-today it is REALLY getting under my skin, but I smile and let her proceed, it is not harming anyone...not her fault my mood is sour!) squeals "MOMMA, Torrin pooped on the floor, EWW!"
 
I mumble under my breath, then tell the child calmly (I am so proud of myself) "Poop goes in the potty" while I fetch some TP and the Vinegar wash. (for the floor, not the child). Clean up some unchewed raisins and other distinguishable foods...quite disturbing when I am baking, wash up AGAIN after cleaning said child-and BACK TO BAKING.
 
Then, I manage to add in the rest of the ingredients! At this point, I am hoping these bars taste good-because they were a LOT of work!
 
They smell yummy...THEY ARE yummy! my kids wanted to eat the whole pan-I cut it half ways and told them we would save the rest for tomorrow and they could have a hardboiled egg if still hungry (which of course they are-they are bottomless pits!)
 
Here is the recipe...this makes a big glass baking pans worth (9x12?) you can half the recipe and use the square 8x8 I suppose, I wanted enough to tomorrows breakfast too!
 
-1 ripe banana (or frozen banana like I did)
-3/4 cup creamy almond butter
-1/2 cup soaked almonds
** if you don't have almonds or want to leave them out just use 1 cup of almond butter instead of 3/4 cup and skip the almonds
-4 eggs
-2 tsp vanilla
-8 SOFT pitted medjool dates
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp nugmeg
 
Directions:
-Preheat oven to 325 degrees
-Grease pan with coconut oil
-If using a frozen banana-process it smooth, put in mixer bowl
***if using regular ripe banana, mash with fork and place in mixer bowl
-Add in almond butter and mix about 30 seconds to 1 min.
-Process pitted soft dates until clumped
-add(the rest of the ingredients) almonds, dates,eggs, salt, soda, and spices to mixer bowl
-mix on medium until everything is blended. I had to stop the blender, scrape sides and bottom of bowl (to loosen up the clump of almond butter and dates at the bottom)
-Bake about 35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean

 My nakey baby loves them! (we all do!) he kept signing MORE MORE and yelling at me for more!
 

 
 


Recipe: Paleo Date/Banana breakfast bars

this makes a big glass baking pans worth (9x12?) you can half the recipe and use the square 8x8 I suppose, I wanted enough to tomorrows breakfast too!
HERE is the more eventful version.

 
-1 ripe banana (or frozen ripe banana like I did)
-3/4 cup creamy almond butter
-1/2 cup soaked almonds
** if you don't have almonds or want to leave them out just use 1 cup of almond butter instead of 3/4 cup and skip the almonds
-4 eggs
-2 tsp vanilla
-8 SOFT pitted medjool dates
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp nugmeg
 
Directions:
-Preheat oven to 325 degrees
-Grease pan with coconut oil
-If using a frozen banana-process it smooth, put in mixer bowl
***if using regular ripe banana, mash with fork and place in mixer bowl
-Add in almond butter and mix about 30 seconds to 1 min.
-Process pitted soft dates until clumped
-add (the rest of the ingredients) chopped almonds,dates,eggs, salt, soda, and spices to mixer bowl
-mix on medium until everything is blended. I had to stop the blender, scrape sides and bottom of bowl (to loosen up the clump of almond butter and dates at the bottom)
-Bake about 35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean
 
Let cool about 10-15 minutes or longer, we were hungry so we ate them a bit warm!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Thrifting day

I have been home bound for some time. I am potty training Torrin-it is FUN... He actually is doing quite well, but we have yet to use a real potty, so peeing out and about is kind of hard. He pees on demand (butt on potty-equals pee time) but still waters my floors and furniture from time to time. Going to town has him going backwards...I am a bit sad! We will remain positive and let the nudest run...time to wash more towels!!

So, we got our tax refund. I paid off some bills-going to keep them paid off! We used our credit at the Co-Op (from selling squash last fall) to buy some more cabbage and sweet potatoes, went to the feed store and got chicken food, shavings and dog food, went to the furniture store and got some local honey (seems quite funny huh?!?)

I also was a big spender at Good Will. I am not a fan of Good Will, I think they are not as great to shop at as personally owned thrift stores, but in our little town, there is not much to choose from. I hit up a local Church run Thrift Store and nothing "called" to me, so we went to G.W. I found 3 tops for myself, 1 top for Zarina (for next winter-she picked it out), a pair of Roller-Blades for Zariah, and two books!
BCBG Max Azria
cost me $4!!

BCBG Again
another $4

 
 
Express
$4

Size 8-will be a little big on her for some time
 
$2-
I told you I was a big spender!
 

Did I mention I am the best-coolest-most awesomest mama ever?!?!?  (her words...yes we homeschool, don't judge!) Not many kids get to rollerblade inside I suppose! She isn't running circles around my kitchen yet, she is trying not to pull the fridge over!!!

As for books, we found The Usborne Little Book of Children's Poem's -we have the The Greek Myths books-and the kids really like it (thank you T.C.) I, on the other hand, cannot pronounce half the words! Zarina picked out another book-I can't tell her no to A BOOK!

OH! I almost forgot, Zariah also picked out a wool blend sweater to attempt making mittens-if it is a success, it will be on the homeschool page!

Monday, February 17, 2014

chocolate covered bananas

If you have read anything I post-you know we have an obsession with bananas!

(Last Saturday-just over a week ago today- I purchased 33#s of bananas-I have a 1# container from my spinach full of frozen bananas and we ate the rest!)

When I was pregnant with Torrin, I ate a LOT of ice cream...like LOTS, giving it up when we went dairy free was HARD! I quickly learned that bananas can replace ice cream! (I know I have written about frozen bananas with peanut butter-I no longer eat peanut butter...but you get the point)

Yesterday-I decided to take out 3 of the frozen bananas and cut them into bite sized pieces. I melted some of my favorite dark chocolate.

They sell this at vitacost and Wal-Mart ( Wal-Mart is a bit cheaper, but you have to drive there!)

I just melted the chocolate (about 6 squares) with a big teaspoonful of coconut oil and put it on the bananas. I started out dipping 1 at a time, and all of my bananas were unthawing...SOOO I decided to dump the mixture OVER the bananas! Stick it in the freezer and it was ready to eat as a yummy after dinner snack!

Zariah did manage to grab a few right away-the chocolate hardens up like a magic shell topping (haven't had that since I was a kid!) and it had a yummy tropical taste!!

Not very pretty, but who cares! They don't last long enough to look at them!
I will say-the smaller the better-half bites would have been good!
Sensitive teeth...burrrrr

Almond Butter

Paleo=no peanut butter... this was a very sad reality for me! We are a family that was consuming a minimum of 3-4 jars of peanut butter a week! (more when I baked with it)

We used peanut butter for everything! Now, we are using almond butter. As you probably know, almonds cost a LOT more than peanuts! I always choose Organic...always...but I cannot afford to buy organic almond butter! ($20+ for 16oz) Whereas organic peanut butter was $4-8/jar. This was a big deal for me, having to say no to organic. The only other thing I buy non-organic is Brussel Sprouts, we eat far too many for us to buy organic! ($7 organic vs $2 non-organic-and they are one of the foods that is pretty "clean")

So, I had to buy normal Almond butter-which is still super expensive. Needless to say, we are not using near as much as we did when we ate peanut butter!

Disclaimer: I did not getting paid to give my opinion on these products, I also did not get them for free. I purchased these items on my own and I simply hate to see people waste their money on something I already bought if it isn't that great!

So far, I have tried 2 different almond butters. I am sure I will try many more, but here are the 2 I have tried.

East Wind- I wanted to love this stuff, but I don't! They are non-GMO, a small company...and I just really wanted to like them. For over $8/jar...I could've just licked some cardboard. It is horrible...just horrible. It isn't smooth (though it says smooth) and the flavor is just bad. I like almonds, this does not taste like almonds.
I have to note: I made a smoothie this morning with carrot juice, greens, banana and East Wind almond butter-and it was amazing! It did not have the weird taste at all! It will not go to waste, as I am sure baking with it or blending it into smoothies makes it taste much better!

Vitacost- Vitacost Whole Food All Natural Raw Smooth & Unsalted Almond Butter. They are non-gmo verified. I am still not sure if I LOVE almond butter yet, I think I could learn to love it-it just might take time. This brand is WAY better. It tastes more like almonds, and is a lot smoother.

So, of the two-I choose Vitacost!

Remember-if you are new to shopping Vitacost-click on my link-sign up for referral and earn $10 off of your first order of $30!! After that, refer your friends and earn $10 for each friend that places an order! I often share my coupons that I find as well!!

Paleo Menu

So, on Monday I posted a bit of what we had eaten. I would like to keep going with that, but all in one place. I would say that we are a pretty "clean" eating family (the kids and me...) but Paleo eating is an adjustment. I can see how some people think it is not doable, but it is just reminding me how far I have come in my dietary changes. 

I do not always post this: we eat bananas/apples with or without nut butter as well as a few squares of 85% dark chocolate on a regular basis. We also found our favorite after dinner treat to be a date rolled in coconut! We enjoy drinking herbal tea with a little honey in it at night; sometimes with a handful of nuts, craisins and some chocolate! We also enjoy drinking lemon water during the day as well!!


Monday
Breakfast- Smoothie (carrot juice, mixed berries, ice, flax seed), apple, almond butter, banana, hard boiled egg...NOW this looks like a lot of food. It kind of is a lot of food, but we were all still hungry!

Lunch-the kids had a salad with egg on it, I just had a leftover burger with avocado and some coleslaw. (Recipes posted under shopping trip)

Snacks-we eat bananas, apples, craisins, almond butter, carrots and stuff as we NEED them. For some reason, I had been starving all day and had eaten more than I thought I would.  I am still nursing a toddler, and I basically eat more about an hour after he nurses.

Dinner- chicken on salad this included tomatoes, carrots, avocado, chicken,egg, lettuce blend, and a homemade vinaigrette with garlic.

Treat: Baked apple with date
Coconut oil (about 2tbsp)in pan, pitted dates(3-chopped up) cook down a bit,toss in 2cut up apples, stir for about 5 minutes...sprinkle with pumpkin spice, stir and enjoy!

Tuesday

Breakfast- smoothie( carrot juice, flax seed, mixed berries,frozen avocado, banana)hard-boiled egg, apple with almond butter


Tuesday lunch: leftover salad stuff and coleslaw

Dinner: cabbage rolls
Now, I know our dinner was controversially paleo. It included quinoa, which is in fact a seed not a grain, so in moderation...I think it is fine! 

Recipe: (use organic ingredients!)
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
6 carrots, chopped up small in a processor
1 medium onion (chopped small in processor) 
15-18 cabbage leaves
2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes (next time I'm using tomatoes with chillies!) 
1 lb (ish) of sausage
1 cup of chopped up broccoli 

Need 2 baking dishes and a big bowl

1-Soak quinoa in water for a few hours, drain and rinse.
2-Put 2 cups of vegetable broth and quinoa in a medium pan and bring to boil. Allow to boil a few minutes and then reduce and simmer. (Follow your quinoa directions...I didn't read the Bag...I just did  what felt right) turn off and set aside when done. 
3-meanwhile, cook sausage in a different pan, cook like you would cook hamburger, until done and grease 2 baking pans, start a pot of water with salt boiling to get cabbage leaves to fall off
4- combine carrots, onion, cooked quinoa,broccoli, 1 can of tomatoes and sausage in a big bowl set aside while you get cabbage leaves (all ingredients except for 1 can of tomatoes and the cabbage leaves...pretty easy!) 
5-  peel off outer layer of cabbage. Remove as much of core as you can. Put cabbage in water, it takes a few minutes and you should be able to peel the layers of cabbage off without them breaking. Once you have 15-18 cabbage leaves, take the head out and out the leaves back in for 2 minutes if they are not softened up enough to make rolls. Cut out the hard part of the cabbage leaves (only a couple inches, don't cut up too high) 
6- stuff cabbage leaves with the mixture, stick with a toothpick to fasten shut, cover with other can of tomatoes. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes. I didn't cover mine, I might next time...I just hate wasting foil! 
 
It looks kind of funny, but everyone loved it! Only thing missing was some spice...definitely using the chillies next time!

After dinner Snack: coconut dates (I confess, after the kids went to bed, I had a small handful of craisins and about an ounce of 85% organic dark chocolate with rooibos tea!! This happens MOST nights, it has become my ritual!)

Wednesday

Breakfast- Paleo Pancakes
To make these, I started out with 8 eggs and 4 bananas...this was NOT enough, we were all still very hungry (no Nathan, he was at work...just the 3 kids and myself!) SO, I fixed another batch with 6 more eggs and 3 more bananas! For a total of 14 eggs and 7 bananas! Three of us ate ours with real maple syrup and Zariah had hers with homemade apple butter.

Now, like most yummy food-these look disgusting, but they are SOOO good! All I needed was egg and banana with toppings, and some evoo to grease the skillet!

 Lunch/snacks
We had leftovers (cold) I don't have a microwave, and didn't want to heat up the oven for the little bit we wanted. We also had almond butter with apples and bananas. 

Dinner:
Our meal looked funny! We are a meat and side kind of family, and looking at our meal, it looked like we were missing the meat! I was worried we wouldn't have enough for everyone. I also worried that my husband would be confused...I was right! He came home and said "What do I do with this?" Referring to my egg/avocado mixture.
Verdict: BEST MEAL EVER! Everyone ate until they were full, and it was all so tasty!

We had
-Egg with Avocado
-Sweet Brussel Sprouts with Bacon
-Bacon Wrapped Sweet potato fries
-Normal Sweet potato fries

There was only 1# of bacon involved for the whole thing!
 
I cannot take credit for these recipes, I can however link you up!
 
I started with 1 package of pastured bacon, set 5 strips aside-and then made my wrapped fries with the extra bacon. (my package was around 1 pound)
 
Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Fries I pretty much did what they said-I think my oven was at 425 degrees because that is what it was at for the sprouts! 

Maple Brussel Sprouts with Bacon I did what she said almost to a T-I did however, bake sprouts-cooking bacon in a sauce pot-and then transferred sprouts to bacon pot without draining the bacon fat. You only use 4 strips of bacon, there is not a lot of extra fat, but there is a LOT of flavor!! I only needed 1 swirl around the pot with the maple syrup!! This is a new fave!!

Here was my inspiration for the egg/avocado concoction - Though I do not agree with all of the info on fresh eggs on this page, nor did I follow the directions.

What I did- peeled 6 (properly) boiled and cooled hard boiled eggs,  took 2 avocados (remove outside and seed) and mashed them REALLY WELL, quartered the last of my cherry tomatoes (probably only 1/2 cup worth) added 1 slice of cooked cut up bacon and mixed it all together-salt and pepper to taste and DONE.  It could have used more bacon-but I only wanted to use 1 package of bacon for this meal. It was so good, everyone loved it!

Thursday:
Breakfast- smoothies and granola (GRAIN FREE!!)
Lunch/snacks: Leftovers and fruit
 
 
Dinner:
Meatloaf w/ carrots in it (this was a fail...you can taste the carrots!) I try to hide veggies in my food (from me) my kids love veggies. Me? Not so much.

Sweet-Potato w/ dates-YUM!
Left-over coleslaw (we cannot seem to eat this up-it is good though!)
Heart Shaped Jello (was a before dinner snack...)
 
Friday-Valenties Day
Breakfast: bacon, paleo pancakes

For the Hubby-I made bacon wrapped eggs in a heart tin
Lunch/snacks
Leftovers and heart shaped jello

Friday Dinner-Nathan worked late, so I made spaghetti squash (zariah loves this...Nathan does NOT), I used the organic sauce I got from Costco-no sugar in it! I took leftover meatloaf and cooked it with the sauce. The kids also had some carrots-Zariah wanted them so she cut them up-and made them "pretty"
(she made a heart, love, Zariah)

Saturday Breakfast: Smoothies, hardboiled egg and granola

Lunch/snacks- albacore tuna (nothing added), jello, coleslaw and fruit

Saturday Dinner- cod with asparagus and sweet potato
(Zariah had spaghetti squash again...)


Sunday- Breakfast- lunchmeat and egg 'muffins' with the last of our bananas used up for Paleo Pancakes.

lunch/snacks- nuts, leftovers

Sunday Dinner- cubed venison w/ ghee and bacon fat with mushrooms and onions on top. baked cabbage (e.v.o.o. salt and pepper), leftover asparagus

After dinner snack- chocolate covered frozen bananas

Monday-Breakfast
Smoothies-kids had the normal smoothie (carrot juice, flax, banana, mixed berries, greens) I had a new smoothie and it was SOOO good!
Carrot juice, 2 bananas, a tbsp. of almond butter, greens and flax