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Archive for the ‘A little of this…a little of that…’ Category

Last week the Blogosphere was hopping with fun giveaways, informative posts, and exciting recipes! I would like to provide you (and me) with a simple way to capture all of these fun blog posts in one place. I find great blog posts, you get to see them all together in one place. Perhaps you will even get introduced to a new blog that you have never heard of!

  1. I have to first and foremost share a giveaway from The Healthy Home Economist. I love this site as she simplifies traditional food preparation. She is a WAPF Chapter head and does fun videos to teach the basics…well for some basics you need a starter culture. These can be for Sourdough, Kombucha, Kefir (dairy or water), Cheese, and the list goes on! If you wanted to buy all of these boy would that cost a lot of money! She has partnered up with Cultures for Health to give away some awesome cultures! Click over to the post to find out how you can enter!
  2. Emily over at Recipes To Nourish posted about a fabulous looking chocolate sauce (I can almost taste it through the computer). I am so going to have to try this at home!
  3. Megan over at Maid in Alaska posted a helpful article about 10 Tips to getting your kids to eat healthier. She has some great tips. I like the dip one. We do this with our oldest. If she really doesn’t seem to like something, we give her a little LF Ketchup. It is healthy, nourishing and she loves it. But we do this in moderation. We do not want her to get into the practice of always “needing” a dip.  But it works great for those darn green beans!
  4. Emily over at Butter Believer posted a very interesting article on Lemon Water. I have to say I am very intrigued. Basically, your body is detoxing in the morning – so eating breakfast first thing can mess with the detox and drinking Lemon water can help the detox process. There is much more detail to be found there, so please click on over and read the article. I am going to try it this week (oh, but my coffee :)). {Emily, if you are reading this, I went to your site specifically to give you a shout out – Thanks for linking to my blog twice! I just happened to stumble upon this post and really want to try it out!}
  5. Mindy over at Too Many Jars in my Kitchen posted about natural cleaning ingredients. Those who know me know that I only use natural/organic cleaning (house cleaning and personal grooming) supplies. You can get caught up in “needing” tons of “Natural Cleaning Supplies” and in reality, you are simply missing the simple ingredients that are right in your pantry. I use white vinegar in my laundry ALL the time (cloth diapers people – vinegar is an odor absorber) but loved the recipe on this post about homemade soft scrub. An all natural WHITENER? THANK YOU MINDY! Enjoy reading the article as there are more tips than just what I mentioned.
These are just a few of my links for the week. I will have more to share next Monday on my next Journey through the Blogosphere!
In Him,
Nikki
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small change can really make a big change! In this series I will present changes I have made or am currently implementing. These changes make a huge difference in your life and your family’s life. Please leave a comment with your thoughts about this change. What are some big or little changes you are making that you want to share? For other “simple changes” visit the simple changes page here.

The best flour is fresh. What isn’t best when fresh? Fresh baked bread, fresh-baked cookies, fresh out of the dryer sheets, fresh picked fruit and veggies, fresh air! Freshly ground flour has the many nutrients that flour has to offer. You unlock it before your very eyes and get to “harvest” that freshness for use in your freshly baked goods! Just like fresh picked fruits and veggies, the longer they are off the vine (or the longer the flour has been “unlocked”) the more nutrients disappear. How long has the flour been sitting on the store shelves?

No, you do not have to force every bit of food you eat to give you the most nutrients. There are other ways to unlock nutrients. You can use the soaking method or the sourdough method to work with the flour you have to give you really great healthy nutritional bread…but I for one want the food I consume to have as many nutrients as possible. I also want it to be AFFORDABLE. Is grinding your own flour affordable? YES it is. Is there an upfront cost? YES there is. {I won’t delve into the specific costs of every aspect of grinding because there are too many variables and prices are different due to the region you live in.}

Here is my grinding example: I was buying bread, Rudi’s Organic to be specific. For one, there are too many ingredients. I like supporting Colorado businesses (where I am from, not where I currently reside), however, I found this is not the best bread for my family – though the bread is so fabulous and I do love it. I was paying $3.00 a loaf. That is not expensive for bread and it was organic so it really was not a bad deal. However, in keeping with REAL food, there were too many ingredients and I needed another option. Enter – buying whole wheat berries! This is such a cheap alternative. It also allows me to use spelt, buckwheat, rye, soft white wheat, soft red wheat, hard white wheat, hard red, and so on. Buy wheat berries in bulk, grind yourself and voila! You can have a loaf of bread for closer to $0.50 per loaf. Yes, that is right, about a $2.50 per loaf savings (assuming you are able to find good bread as cheap as I can – I live on a military base where everything is cheap!). Not only that but you have opened yourself to the world of sprouting. 

Many recipes call for soaking your flour. This is the process of using a liquid plus an acid (or some believe just warm water will suffice, this is completely up to the individual baker) and soaking the grains (the ground grains) for 7 hours to overnight. However, some recipes do not have the amount of liquid in the ingredients to make soaking possibleso you can sprout! Sprouting your flour breaks down the bad enzymes much like soaking does, but without the addition of liquid. To sprout you soak the berries overnight, and then you rinse them well over the course of a few days until they get a “tail” and you then dry them out and then…you guessed it…you pass them through a grain mill and have freshly ground sprouted flour. Now you can cook with healthy nutritious flour without needing to soak or use sourdough. {For more information on sprouting and soaking I highly recommend checking out the GNOWFGLINS ecourses -very informative and helpful – I am currently enrolled and love them}.

Several options for baking. Unlocking nutrients and utilizing them at their best. Saving money. Wow, this sounds like something I couldn’t pass up! And, I didn’t. We found a Champion Juicer (used on eBay) and the grain mill attachment (new on eBay) for a total of $150.00 (including shipping). For an electric grain mill this price is pretty awesome. Here is the math behind my justification:

Variables:
Store bought 2 loaves of bread per week @ 3.00 per loaf = $6.00 (A)
Champion Juicer plus grain mill attachment = $150.00 (B)
Wheat Berries @ 25 lbs for $20.00 = 100 cups of flour @ $.20 per cup (C)
Average loaf of bread is 2.5 -3 cups per loaf x (C) = $.60 per loaf (D)
Homemade bread 2 loaves per week = (D) x 2 loaves/week = $1.20 (E)
How I use those variables:
(A) – (E) = $4.80 {per week savings by making my own bread}

(B)/$4.80 = 31.25 {number of weeks to “break even” on grain mill}

In under 8 months I will recover the cost of buying a grain mill. This is assuming I only make 2 loaves per week, and I must say, homemade bread does not last that long! I get the option of sprouting my flour. I get more nutritious flour and the grain mills last for years and years (mine is from the 60’s!) so it is a good investment and you get to control when your flour was “unlocked”!

The grain mill (flour grinder, grain grinder, whatever you may call it) is heavy, clunky and you probably don’t want it out on your counter. So here is how I manage to get the best out of my grinder with out grinding flour EVERY TIME I need it…Grind your flour once a month and freeze it. Freezing locks in the nutrients for about a month. It may take you time to figure out how much you need, so for a little while there will be a learning curve. I use approximately 2 gallon sized ziplock bags of flour per month plus some if I do more pancakes/muffins, etc. So at a minimum I do a gallon ziplock bag of ground spelt and a gallon ziplock bag of ground soft white flour. I grind the flour directly into the bag so it minimizes the amount of dust and it keeps me from cleaning a bowl. Mark the type of flour and the date. Get this – “frozen” flour does not need to be brought to room temperature. It doesn’t get stuck together. You can literally use a measuring cup and measure your flour for the recipe right out of the ziplock bag. That is even easier than trying to not make a mess when dealing with a store-bought flour bag or canister that is too small for the measuring cup. Another plus for grinding your own!

So there you have it…my grinding flour routine and why I decided to spring for the upfront costs. Use the formula I have created above (I am an accountant so please in the comments below let me know if this is at all confusing) to plug-in your own variables and you can customize your savings!

Do you have a grain mill? How often do you use it? What one do you use and do you like it? Share!

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You can sprout grains, nuts, seeds – what does this mean? That beans will taste better than ever! Before I tell you how I sprout my beans, I want to share with you some of the reasons for sprouting. If you have Nourishing Traditions than by all means, please read the chapter “Sprouted Grains, Nuts and Seeds” on page 112. Either way, here are a few items that stand out to me:

  • Vitamins B, C and Carotene are produced during this process. It helps us fend of sickness and strengthen our immune system!
  • Most grains “used” to be sprouted (sometimes even started sprouting before they were harvested) but now the farming has become so standardized as to make sure this does not happen…so we have to do it on our own! (And it is one of the easiest things you can do in your kitchen).
  • Sprouting neutralizes phytic acid which makes it possible for our body to absorb calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc. This is crucial as our body needs these in their natural form and they are not absorbed by our body when the levels of phytic acid are higher. This actually KEEPS us from absorbing nutrients. If we don’t absorb them and it doesn’t all go to “waste” what does that mean? You have got it…it builds up in our digestive tract and can cause serious illness, and disease. We can easily change that problem and get even more benefits from grains, nuts and seeds.
  • This process makes beans less “gassy”!  Yes, you feel a gas build up and bloated after eating beans? This is a result of complex sugars. They are broken down during sprouting. Now your body doesn’t have to try to break them down – it can simply utilize them!
  • Digestive enzymes that assist us with overall digestion are produced during this process (much life lacto-fermentation) so it helps your body digest and absorb all of the other food on your plate!
This is just a summarized list of the benefits. But I hope it is enough to get you started. Again, this is so easy and they keep well in the fridge and can be used in so many different ways!
How do you sprout grains, nuts and seeds? Here is a lesson in Lentils (my personal favorite):  
  1. Rinse, sort, and place in a bowl.  Cover with water and soak overnight.
  2. In the morning, pour into colander.  Rinse well! Place colander inside a bowl (to catch the drippings) and cover with a towel.
  3. I shuffle the bowl a few times during the day to get the lentils mixed up.
  4. In the evening, put colander in the sink and rinse well. Return to counter and cover.
  5. Repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 until you get your desired tail length (about 1/4 inch).
    I typically do two full sprouting days.  So, soak overnight on day one, sit out day two and day three.  Morning of day 4 rinse and ….
  6. Put sprouts into well sealed mason jars and store in fridge.
Steam and serve as a side dish! Put on a sandwich, wrap, or salad! The possibilities are endless!
What grains or nuts do you like to sprout? Stay tuned for my favorite recipe using these lentils!

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Ok people…my style of eating is shared by the minority. That is no secret. Even people who eat organic food don’t always understand the soaking of the grains, the fermenting of the veggies, the raw dairy. Most of all, my husband does not always understand. We are in our fourth month of my implementation. I have been doing a few new things each week so that it isn’t too overwhelming. For me or my family. Fortunately my kids are little (one is breastfeeding and one is a toddler that will eat anything I put in front of her – lucky I guess).

So this is what prompted this writing. As with many husbands I suppose, my husband is on board with the Traditional Food diet until it costs more money. I can approach most of it as an affordable alternative (as he is not overly interested in the nitty-gritty of the why’s) but when I need to outlay some cash for the savings in the future (say, a grain mill or even a dehydrator) that he gets frustrated that it is too many changes. Can I blame him? Not at all…

…If you aren’t reading the books and blogs that I am reading-you don’t hear the facts and statistics that make me want to change every aspect of my household by midnight tonight. I have a certain part of me that can hardly wait to change stuff and another part of me that says “I went all this time without knowing, I can make this change in the near future and it will be ok.” Those of you who know me understand this is not an easy thing for me. This is how I am handling it…

I pray. Lord, I want to make every change I can. I want to have the happiest, healthiest home on the block! I want to teach my children how to eat the right food prepared the right way. I want to prepare the best food for my husband so he lives a long beautiful healthy life with me. I can’t get past the fact that so many of these changes need to be made right now. Please help me to balance my life. Help me to discern what is ideal and what is not a necessity. This food I want to eat reflects what you ate, what Moses and the Jews ate when wandering the desert. Job ate it, Jeremiah ate it, everyone after them all the way to You Lord. Knowing I have been eating incorrectly makes me feel as though I am failing as a homemaker. I want the best for my family but do not want to compromise relationships or a family budget to get that. Please, help me to take it one day at a time. Lead me to make the right decisions and I know that above all, my husband and I will be in agreement and supportive with my changes as I wait on You!

So the prayer can be “easier said than done”. This is a constant prayer of mine. One that I need to pray everyday. It can be hard to wait on the Lord when I feel as though I know what is best NOW.

So I maintain “some” patience. I pray. I continue to implement my changes as I see appropriate and “timely”. If my husband is not in agreement, I do NOT go forward with my change, but rather I pray even more that he may see my point of view and understand. Perhaps, in the process the Lord may even show me that it is not a change I need to make “at this time” or “ever.”

I made a post asking for advice on one of my favorite blogs, The Healthy Home Economist. She teaches in the art of traditional cooking. I asked her if she would consider making a post about changing diets on your family as she did this about 10 years ago. I will share with you her answer, or a link to the discussion if and when she writes me back (she has about 10,000 readers so we will see!).

As for my blog-my readers, what do you think? Do you agree with my approach? My fellow traditional foodies…how have you handled this specific issue in the past? Or are you perhaps going through it now?

Please Share!!

In Him, Nikki

This post is shared at Real Food Wednesday, and Homemaking Link-Up , Healthy 2day Wednesdays, and Simple Lives Thursdays, and Pennywise Platter Thursday and Monday Mania

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To my readers, followers, fellow bloggers, and anyone else!

Well, summer is here. Grilling wonderful steaks, chicken and fish. Making fabulous salads with greens, grains and anything else! Let’s turn our oven off and come up with some great dishes! Please share with me what you and your family love to eat this time of year. Please…no processed food. Just the real stuff thrown together with love! Give a snippet or give the whole recipe. I would love to even try the recipe out on my family and put it on the blog! I just love cooking and sharing…so let’s combine them both! Remember, this is going to be my family’s cookbook so I do encourage you to make a mark in it!

I will plan on “cooking” each of the dishes/meals/desserts. One each week sounds do-able (and if there is only one of you than it is a guarantee!). I’m excited! If your recipe is from your own blog feel free to link and just link back here. All of this can be done through the comment section. Also, please sign up to follow my blog! You will get emails with new recipes as I post them!

Woo hoo!

This post is shared on the Homemaking Link Up and Real Food Wednesday

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As many of you know, my house has been undergoing many changes over the past year or more. I battled weight with my first pregnancy and I was determined to not let that happen again with my second. Thanks to my Mom’s nutritional knowledge I gained just the right amount of weight with the second pregnancy (and that is all gone and then some 5 months later!). I realized that losing weight is much more than simply eating low calorie, low fat, or sugar free diets (in fact that can be a bad thing!).

As a stay at home mommy (SAHM) I have the responsibility of keeping my children and my husband as healthy as possible. My husband is not overly interested in the specifics, he just wants food to taste good. (Though I must admit, he is making some marked improvements and enjoying a healthier lifestyle). With my children however, I have the responsiblity of training them to stay healthy. Each item I feed them shows them what is or is not ok to eat. Yes, we still have treats and “guilty” pleasures, but our overall lifestyle and kitchen is a “traditional” healthy kitchen.

Over the next few days I will share what exactly a traditional diet consists of. I will also share recipes that I am trying that work well for my family. Fortunately I was a pretty healthy eater to begin with (we eat almost exclusively homemade food, from scratch, no preservatives, etc.) so my cooking in the kitchen has not had to change too much, but some changes were necessary as were some healthy additions and substitutions. I have been doing A LOT of research and have discovered many things in and out of the kitchen that needed change in order to get us even healthier.

I like to share as much as possible. I may be “wearing out my resources” here amongst family and friends. I have a lot to say and I will use this blog as my outlet for my knowledge. Please read if you are interested and curious. If not, simply ignore these posts and focus on the recipes section!

This marks the start of recording my journey to a happy healthy family!

In Him,

Nikki

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