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Posts Tagged ‘A little of this…a little of that…’

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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A 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?

I love my coffee. And yes, I may see a “Simple Change” in the future where I am giving up coffee, but that is in the future…if ever at all!  I used to use Splenda in my coffee. Well, let’s go back…I used sugar but that was “bad” so I switched to Splenda. Turns out that was a real bummer!  Splenda truly is bad! Why is it a low calorie option? Because only about 15% of it is actually absorbed by the body! That is actually a “good” thing because Splenda is nothing more than sucralose which is derived from sugar (good thing) and then combined with chlorine atoms (bad thing). Splenda is more closely related to pesticides than sugar! Splenda themselves did a study and the rodents they tested had enlarged kidneys, livers and other horrible side effects after using Splenda. This was discovered by a short term study. No long term study was conducted before the FDA approved them as a sweetener. Are we the long term study?

Here is my point (if you still need one after that)…you want the sugar you eat to be as natural as possible (unrefined, raw). If the sugar is natural your body absorbs it and utilizes it to function. If it is not natural your body cannot break it down or absorb it. The sugars turn into trigylicerides and then fat and then hardened arteries. What doesn’t make you more fat just stresses out your organs as they attempt to process the “sugar”.

Anything “refined” should be avoided or at least limited. Also, it is recommended that you do not opt for “Sugar Free” as that means another form of sugar (aspartame, etc) has been used. Take a moment as I remember my love for “Skinny” lattes. Moral of the story: Keep it “real” and opt for the sugar! Some good sweetener substitutions are:

  • Stevia – great for coffee, tea, salad dressings, etc. This is much more concentrated than sugar so a teeny tiny bit goes a long way!
  • Honey, maple syrup – use it on cereal (hot cereals, not boxed breakfast cereal), yogurt (sweeten that homemade yogurt or organic whole plain yogurt). Also great in dressings as well.
  • Rapadura – dehydrated cane juice. Truly raw, natural sugar. This is an even substitution for sugar and I use it in almost all of my baking (I will be sharing some recipes soon).

There are other sweeteners. Good and bad. There are plenty of scientific and informational sites for us all to explore as well. This is just me sharing with you that such a small change (what I put in my coffee) can truly extend my organ function, overall health and potentially keep me from putting on some unneeded extra pounds!

What do you put in your coffee? Do you think this would be an easy change for you? Or something you feel you should do? Perhaps you are fortunate and don’t put any sugar in your coffee or tea…in which case I say – good for you! Here is a “simple change” you don’t need to make!

In Him,  Nikki

This post is linked to Monday Mania 7/11/2011, and Simple Lives Thursday and Real Food Wednesday, Homemaking Link up and Simple Lives Thursday and Pennywise Platter Thursday

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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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