Monthly Archives: January 2010

Real Food Challenge

I haven’t been blogging for very long and I guess when I started I didn’t have just one focus. I enjoy so many different things: cooking, sewing/crafting, gardening, reading etc., that it seems to have made my blog a jumble of things. I don’t know that I will change it that much and I know it doesn’t look as professional as all of the other blogs I read, so hopefully anyone stumbling across it will take it for what it is. I do know that the focus of my life has made a serious shift to what and how we eat. I was so excited to see Michael Pollan on Oprah yesterday. She has such a large following and the information shared was a good start and it should help the public make better choices.

I don’t think I will go as far as one of my ‘blog friends’ and doing a take off of the Julie/Julia thing and cook my way through Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon, but I commend her efforts. Check out her challenge here: http://thenourishingcook.com. I was excited to find her site, especially since she lives near me and shares the same ideas. They even own their own remodeling business, just like we do! (such a small world)

With all the reading I have been doing – various blogs and books, and my attempts in my own kitchen trying to swith over to more Real Foods, I feel like I am doing it alone. I have the best of intentions and am trying to work it into my daily meal routine. I am going to join the 28 Day Real Food Challenge, (http://nourishedkitchen.com/28-day-real-food-challenge) being sponsored by The Nourished Kitchen. I think this will be an adventure worth taking and maybe will take the “challenges” out of working real food into our daily life. Anyone want to join me in the challenge?

So for the next month I am going to just focus on the challenge above and let you all know how it goes. Let’s see if I can do this on a budget. I think I can……

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Eggs, Eggs…boy I’ve got eggs!

 

It started with the babies….

  

They get lots of fresh air and outdoor pecking… 

They even get special ‘treats’. The kids love to feed them.

 

Now, we are blessed with lots of healthy eggs.Aren’t they beautiful! 

However, one can only eat or use so many eggs. I think I have 6 dozen as of this morning and am regularly getting 8 or 9 every day. I think I am going to try freezing some just to see how they do. Anyone need any eggs?

Today in my kitchen: 

 

Kombucha 

It is cooling and scoby is awaiting the new brew!

 

Pita Bread waiting to rise

 

Chick Peas soaking for hummus and falafel… 

and in the background is my sourdough starter growing! 

This post appears to be a photo gallery, but this is my life today….Simply Basic!

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Knitted Cotton Dishcloths

Nothing compares to a homemade cotton dishcloth. I am using a pattern I received from a friend probably 30 years ago and I have no idea where it originated from. I have tried a few different patterns over the years, but I always go back to this one. That is, until I came across directions for a 2 ply cotton one. (mine uses 4 ply) I didn’t have any 2 ply yarn, so I had the brilliant idea to separate my 4 ply. I had a partial skein and figured it would be enough to make one dishcloth. Well, 4 hours later and with the help of my son and husband, I got it separated. I don’t recommend this – it was a tangled, twisted challenge to say the least, but in an attempt to use what I had available, I made it work.  Once the yarn was separated, the actual knitting went very quickly and I like the weight of this dishcloth. It works equally well for wiping countertops or washing glasses.

Pattern #1     

                                                                   

 

 

 

Knitted Dishcloth (4 ply)

 

Need: 

1 ball or skein cotton yarn, 2.5 oz skein makes 2 cloths

#7 or #8 knitting needles

Directions:

Cast on 4 stitches

Row 1 – Knit

Row 2 – Knit 2, yarnover (YO), knit 2

Row 3 – Knit 2, YO, knit to end

Repeat row 3 until 47 stitches on needle

Decrease:

Knit 1, Knit 2 together, YO, knit 2 together, knit to end

continue until 4 stitches remain. Knit 2 together, knit 2 together, bind off.

Pattern #2

 

                                                  

  

 

Knitted Dishcloth (2 ply version)

Need:

#6 knitting needles

2 strand 100 % cotton yarn

Directions:

Cast on 37 stitches

Rows 1-4: Knit across

Row 5: Knit 3, purl across to last 3 stitches, Knit 3

Repeat rows 4 & 5 until size desired (I did 57 rows after the first 4 rows)

Last 4 rows (58-61): Knit across. Bind off.

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Real Food on a Budget, can it be done?

In my continued effort of trying to decipher “Real Food” and how to incorporate these foods into our daily life, this week I read the book by Nina Planck, Real Food: What to Eat and Why. What an interesting book. It really helped to drive home the meaning of ‘real food’ and now I am processing how to do this on a very limited budget. It does cost a bit more to eat organically  and naturallly, but I have to realize that I can’t do it all. No matter how much I want or need to eat grass-fed beef, fresh wild fish, locally raised poultry and pork, I have to pick and choose what I am able to do without doing everything. I will continue to buy organic, fresh produce and we have our own fresh eggs. I will cook with coconut oil, EVOO, and butter. I will incorporate grains and legumes – these are budget friendly. On a daily or weekly basis I am not able to purchase the grass-fed beef or wild fish. I just can’t spend $14 for salmon for one meal or $10-$20 for a local grown fresh chicken. (hmmn, my backyard chickens better mind their manners….)

My goal for this week is to incorporate more ‘real food’. I am working to limit white flour and sugar, but with my plan to make pita bread this week, I will be using unbleached, white flour. I am not sure how to get around this one yet. I have started a new batch of sourdough starter and am using white, whole wheat flour for this. I can’t wait to make bread this week. The starter should be ready by Weds. Stayed tuned for my sourdough bread attempt.

I actually tried a new recipe for Collard Greens and Lentil Soup that used home canned chicken broth that was absolutely yummy along with some cornbread. I also made chili with the beans I canned last October. This was the request of my husband.  Luckily my pantry and spice cabinet are very well stocked. I can’t take credit for the Lentil soup recipe, this is courtesy of  http://mindfulplate.com (thanks Lisa). The cornbread recipe used mostly healthy ingredients and only had a small amount of flour and sugar, so this did fit into my goal.

CORNBREAD

1   1/2 cups organic cornmeal

1/2 cup unbleached bread flour

2 tsp organic baking powder

1 tsp organic sugar

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 c coconut oil or bacon fat (I used bacon fat)

1   1/2 cups buttermilk (didn’t have, so I used regular milk with 1 1/2 tbls. lemon juice)

2 eggs

Heat oven to  450. Mix all ingredients, beat vigorously 30 seconds. Pur into buttered 8×8 pan. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.

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Mentally Planning….

Now that the holidays are behind us and the hopes of this new year are looming in front of us, I am focusing on lots of things and nothing at the same time. Too much to think about and maybe too grand of ideas. There are so many things to think about and try to implement in our daily life.  My mind is so full of plans – whether it is ‘Real Food’, going green (or greener), self-sustainability, reading, researching…..my list is endless. I have such good intentions and on a daily basis am pretty good with the foods we eat and reducing waste – whether it’s trash or electricity.

What I have been doing lately is  reading – (I love my Kindle!) Latest books: Food Rules by Michael Pollan, Living like Ed: A Guide to the Eco-Friendy Life by Ed Begley, Jr., and just for fun – Under the Dome by Stephen King (I have to give myself a break from reality once in a while).  I love to read, but I personally don’t enjoy going to the library. I like having the books, since most of my reading is of topics that I refer back to over and over, so if I use library books that have to be returned this just doesn’t work for me. So in my effort to reduce and conserve, my Kindle is the way to go.  It saves money since the highest price new releases are just $9.99 and most are $5 or $6 and I’m not killing a tree. The upfront cost was a bit steep, but technology won me over. I do miss actually “turning” pages and it has taken some getting used to, but I love it!

With so many plans (in my head) I need to step back and maybe focus on one thing at a time. We’ll see how things progress and I can maybe track my changes and growth in all the areas I feel are important.  I need to write my plans instead of thinking my plans. Maybe this will help me implement them….we’ll see.

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