Category Archives: Food

DASH of Common Sense

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Most of the people who drop by my blog spot would not know the struggles I dealt with while pregnant in 2009 and in 2011. I had developed preeclampsia. Those were two complicated pregnancy’s that God pulled me through and made me stronger. For those who do not know what that condition is, please refer to The Preeclampsia Foundation website for more details.

Since 2009 my body has not been the same and not just the typical adjustments after having a baby but after my body being put through the wringer twice. After having my mind, heart, liver and kidneys stressed to the max, I have been seeking my healthy norm that I was prior to pregnancy. I had lost a lot of weight that I had put on from lovely bed-rest and edema from the condition. I did it by nursing, healthy diet and exercise and strong determination. But, I hit a plateau and began noticing edema coming back. What on earth?!?

Well. One thing I know is stress kicked into high gear in the Summer of 2012 when I picked up a part-time job working from home doing underwriting for an insurance company. Trying to balance home duties, kids needs and my own personal time needs ie sleep. I was going down hill with blood pressures all over the place. I had seen doctor after doctor telling me old information about after effects of preeclampsia and finally this year, went back to an old faithful I had seen in 2009 that specialized with my pregnancy complications dealing with my heart in particular and he agreed something wasn’t right and pills would not be the trick. Mostly because I had inconsistent blood pressures and going on a drug would only complicate matters. Some facts about preeclamptic survivors, is their risk for heart disease, kidney disease and liver conditions magnifies. Many doctors who are not up to date with the latest news regarding this condition and what long term health of the patient can lead to can mean a harder recovery and or no recovery and possibly pre-mature death from the silent killer. Heart disease. As a patient, you take health, your health into your own hands. Find a doctor who is well versed and don’t give up. Doctors are humans who either choose to investigate you and get to the bottom of your issues or brushes you aside and sums you up in their head. You choose to hire or fire your doctor. That is the beauty of having options.

This wonderful doctor informed me that he has been working with several organizations to get them on board with his research surrounding the effects of preeclampsia and the risks the mother has afterwards. ie American Heart Association

The main reason for my post is to share the diet plan he has suggested to me. The DASH diet. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. I have purchased the book and an additional recipe book to plan out my meal plans and I am so glad I did. The recipes are simple, sound good and seem very simple. I hope to share my journey as I try to lower my blood pressure, improve my good cholesterol, lower my body weight and lesson my chances for cancer. Naturally. I love running and walking trails. This in combination with my diet, I hope to see some improvements. A lot of this is simple, common sense meals. Eating mostly veggies, fruits, lean proteins and fibers. I disagree with alternative, fake sugars. I will not and cannot eat those. But I use good, real sugars in my diet. I was already eating similarly to this diet just by common sense, but I am a person who often needs guiding along to follow through for the cause. This in turn will help my husband and teach my daughters the value of healthy eating. I want to grow old with my husband and watch my daughters grow. More than words can express. I look forward to our local market opening in the next few weeks to get our fresh fruits and veggies.

I had an EKG last week, I have a stress test tomorrow on a treadmill -call me hammy for hamster 😉  An MRI Friday. They are testing me for MS (multiple sclerosis) and praying that I have good news rather than the alternative. Either way, I am in good hands. I have a purpose here and will learn as I go. God is so good to me and and for all I have been through in my life when I entered this world, I have seen the hand of God work in me and others. ❤

Me and my girls checking out the gorillas

Me and my girls checking out the gorillas

Thank you for checking out my post and may you live a healthy, happy life. Blessings on a great day to you! =)

Do you know the Muffin Gal?

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Muffins are awesome. They are full of wonderful things, well… not every muffin is made the same way. But here is a way to get some protein and a laundry list of goodness in your body.

My oldest daughter just turned three in November and she has always been a muffin girl. But not always the best eater. I was so happy to finally buy my mill a few years back. I have seen a difference in our skin and digestive tract by improving our diet with milling. You’d be surprised to know all the benefits of fresh milled wheat as suppose to milled wheat or that other white stuff I am trying to avoid eating with every grain in my body. Pun intended. 😉

As far as skin goes, I have had less breakouts and periods of no psoriasis and skin irritations. It goes the same for my daughter for skin irritations and less psoriasis breakouts. The reason? Vitamin E is prominent in these hard red wheat grains. And, high in fiber keeping your tract clear by regular movements. You intestines are your immunity and when they get backed up or if they are in distress with irritable bowl, celiac disease or constipation so on. You feel like crud and you may even look like… never-mind.  All these factors with a laundry list of other benefits I hope to share gradually for you all in time. I will attach a link for your convenience on how I started with the help of The Bread Beckers.

The photos above may amaze you, that you can eat beans in foods. My hubby does not like the texture of beans and is a pretty picky eater and he devours these. It is worth your time to try. If you do not have a mill, I noticed that Whole Foods has a grinder now with different types of wheat types to choose from. Here is the recipe below, with the detailed items I used. I owe a big thanks to The Bread Beckers for this recipe as well as other recipes I will share in time. 🙂

What on earth is Ezekiel Bread? Or Ezekiel mix?

Well, the biblical reference is taken from The Old Testament, the book of  Ezekiel 4:9. It is considered a fasting bread. Ezekiel was commanded by God to eat a certain about of this bread everyday. He would be the bare of Israels sins. Here is the link to Ezekiel if you’d like to read from this story, directly from the source.

“Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side. ”  

Let’s just say, Ezekiel survived off of this bread for a long time.

Combine these un-ground grains to make the mix. This can be used to make the bread. But I will be providing the muffin recipe.

2 1/2 cups hard red wheat
1 1/2 cups spelt (rye can work too)
1/2 cup hulled barley
1/4 cup millet
1/4 cup lentils (green lentil)
2 tbs. great northern bean
2 tbs. red kidney beans
2 tbs. pinto beans

Sweet Potato Muffin or Pumpkin Muffin      (recipe from Bread Beckers notes via Melanie C.)
Preheat oven to 350

Measurements before grinding:
Note: I like to make a big batch of Ezekiel mix and then prep little pre-sorted containers of this mixture for easy muffin preparation. Also, I spray the muffin liners with Bakers Joy for easy removal of muffin from liner.

¾ cup Ezekiel (mixture from above)
¼ Spelt
¼ Oat Groats

Grind then Add:

½ Cup Sucanat
1 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Baking soda
¼ tsp Baking powder
¼ tsp real salt

Whisk dry ingredients together

Combine dry with wet:

Sweet Potato Muffins:                                                                                  Pumpkin Muffins:

2 (6oz) jars sweet potato baby food                                                       1 cup canned Pumpkin
¼ cup coconut oil or olive oil                                                                  ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup honey                                                                                                    ¼ cup coconut oil or olive oil
2 eggs                                                                                                                   ¼ cup honey
½ cup mini chocolate chips                                                                       2 eggs
½ cup mini chocolate chips
Bake 18 minutes

 

I hope you enjoy these muffins as much as our household does. The history behind this is interesting as well. Thank you for visiting my post. I hope you have a blessed day. Here is one of my favorite quotes that I hope may brighten your day. It may be cloudy, but it can be bright =)

 

“Do not anticipate trouble,

or worry about what may never happen.

Keep in the sunlight.”
                         ~Benjamin Franklin

 

 

One stick of butter helps the cookie, go down.

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Boy did I make one ugly cookie today. It was so ugly, it made me cry. But that is okay. Looks are deceiving. It tasted good, surprising. So. Why did this cookie turn out so ugly? I’ll tell you and you can make fun of me. It’s okay. I laugh at myself ALL the time. I trip over everything and walk into walls. It’s amazing I have survived these thirty plus years.

I decided before leaving for church this morning with the kiddos that I would prep this easy to remember (so I thought) oatmeal raisin cookie. All thanks to that white haired, black topped man, Mr Quaker. Recipe is on the lid & all. I whip it up in my handy dandy stainless steel bowl [Pampered Chef one- Awesome! Lid & all. So handy! Hense, Handy Dandy]. Yep, I am awesome. Can’t you hear my self mockery 😉

Breakfast was getting away from me (cold, that is) so my kind husband stirs the mixture for me and he is looking reluctant to imply as I am scarfing down my oatmeal… but he picks up the courage… “This mixture is really dry…do we need to add something?” I am like, “Nah… it should have enough. It has two eggs and butter”. He continues to look at it oddly. So, of course I come over and assess the damage. I start drizzling light flavored olive oil hoping it softens the mixture up enough to hold itself together. Literally. In the fridge it goes with fingers crossed.

It is now evening and the hubs has prepared an awesome meal for me and the girls. Ready to have dessert. Pull out the mixture and it looks like it’s ready to top a fruit for crisp. That isn’t a bad thing, but it wasn’t the desired effect. I was bewildered. What did I do wrong? Obviously a liquid based item was my fault. I grab the recipe by the prompting of the hubs and I am like, “See, it called for 6 tbls!” I plea in my defense. Hubs looks at me with a funny look. It is missing a stick of butter. He is cracking up at me. I am baffled and start laughing at myself and decided to just go with it and see what happens. They came out like little crumbled cookies, dry looking as the Sahara. Surprisingly they were moist in the center. Maybe my olive oil attempts assisted in the fight. So. rather than chugging these along as cookies. They are baked into a jelly roll pan as granola bars. Yep. Here ya go kiddos. Mommy will teach you how to improvise. Indeed. I am one improvising mama.

So. here is the recipe. To mock myself and rub it in more and more.

Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Link here)

[with my notes]

Ingredients

  • 1/2  cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened [Unless  you are like me and only put 6 tbls rather than the half of lb of butter and a smidge amount of light olive oil]
  • 3/4  cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup granulated sugar [I used honey granules in place of white sugar]
  • 2  eggs
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3  cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
  • 1  cup raisins [California Golden were used]

Preparation

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time Time: 08 min

Variations

Bar Cookies: Press dough onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered. 24 BARS. VARIATIONS: Stir in 1 cup chopped nuts. Substitute 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or candy-coated chocolate pieces for raisins; omit cinnamon. Substitute 1 cup diced dried mixed fruit. HIGH ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT: Increase flour to 1-3/4 cups and bake as directed.

Yield

4 DOZEN

[Disclosure: I have made these several times for several years and enjoy them, a lot… even when I forget the butter. 😉 No picture since we ate the evidence for fear of more tears of sympathy.]

Thank you for reading my post. I hope you enjoyed it. 🙂 All my quirky faults I am sure we can all relate.

Eggs for dinner.

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I will go ahead and start off by saying we love breakfast for dinner. I also really need to go grocery shopping. Hence we are having eggs for dinner. We literally have nothing left in the house to eat. I have failed at my job of keeping our fridge and cabinets stocked well. What happened? How did this happen? Well, there have been too many things filling our fridge for events. In other words, for other people. So, that means I have to pull my act together with Christmas afoot and get our supply back up. Good thing we have eggs. Two eggs at that. My dear husband made omelets for our daughters and currently, I am not sure what we are eating. Guess the Hubster will be making a run to the grocery store.

The nice thing about your cabinets running low and fridge looking bare, you can get a good mental grasp to how it may feel to someone who is less fortunate. Many families in America are in this boat. Their cabinets are bare and they do not have the funds to restock like I know we will in a bit. But I know that for me, being a stay at home of two and my husband working so hard to keep us provided for it is hard for us too sometimes. Things in general are going up in price and my kids are eating up a storm. I remember growing up not having a lot either. We all have been their in some form or fashion. I am just grateful for so many things and need to slow down and look around at the blessings I often take for granted. We have running water. We can turn a handle and decide how hot we want our water to be. I have a switch for lights so I can craft to my hearts desire.

For my daughters, the best thing I can do for them is show them what it is to want and not have it all. They are truly blessed beyond words and they don’t know that yet. My husband and I many years ago said we will be sure to serve a shelter during the year holiday or non-holiday so we too can bless someone who does not have the luxury of a roof over their head or hot meal or water at hand. My oldest is three and I have been talking to her about help other children who are without family and do not have toys or food like we do. She is a giving spirit anyway and she has been known to try and give her sweater and jacket to children who admire them. It melts my heart to see her sweet disposition take wing. Children really can be eye openers to adults who have lost their spark of child-like behavior. There are some things at work in my very own heart that I know that the Lord has put there to do and really feel that is the path I want to leap in. I would love to start my own non-profit organization. Name already in mind and outreach figured out. It is just figuring out the next steps. It will be a challenge with two small children. But I am one determined lady. We shall see what happens.

After typing this my husband wrote a list and has left to bring home some nourishment for these tired, hungry bodies. Thank goodness.

I pray for those who have nothing or very little. That they will find shelter, food and warmth.

My two loves at our favorite pumpkin patch in November 2012

My two loves at our favorite pumpkin patch in November 2012

Blessings on the rest of your week.

Milling Wheat- A Flavorful Shock!

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Here is a sneak peek into my kitchen and what has been going on. I’ll post more and update soon! I am needing some beauty sleep. Until then, I bid you farewell. 🙂

Bring out the groundhog!

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For most of the region there has been snow, ice and horrible chills to the bone kind of wind. We on the other hand, in the south-east are at the last week of January and we have a high of 64 and have had temperatures above 50 degrees for several weeks. Did I mention it is monsoon season as well? Don’t get me wrong, we need the rain. We have had very low water counts during the summer putting us at the mercy of nearby puddles that tempt you to splash in them… oil slicked and all. So.  I say. let’s bring out the groundhog before groundhogs day and see what he thinks. No people. Not global warming. 1800’s had their warm winters too.

On another note. My girls are finally feeling a hint better even though they still seem to run a tad warmer than I like here and there.

What’s to come for 2012 posts.

  • Fresh Ground Wheat and bread making moments
  • More of my girls
  • Dealing with debt
  • Cooking and baking without white sugar…brave soul I am!
  • Organization the OCD way
  • Craftiness in so many ways
  • Love of family
  • Photography via Instagram
  • Health in real wheat
  • Managing being a mommy of two

At that- due to being a short post. I will post pictures, why? Because they make me happy and they hopefully will make you happy too!

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Homemade Soup & Bread- the best for warming the soul

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Photo by Me

Crusty French Bread

This is a delightful, bread that will be worth every oz of muscle used to prep it. Really not that hard to make. I use King Arthur Flour. I am in the process of purchasing a wheat mill to venture to the healthier side of breads since I am a carbohydrate queen.

via Allrecipes.com By: Deanna Naivar 

Ingredients

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon cold water
 Directions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat until blended. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down; return to bowl. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a loaf 16 in. long x 2-1/2 in. wide with tapered ends. Sprinkle a greased baking sheet with cornmeal; place loaf on baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.
  4. Beat egg white and cold water; brush over dough. With a sharp knife, make diagonal slashes 2 in. apart across top of loaf. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.

Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup

This is a satisfying, hearty soup that will make you feel you did a good thing eating it. Soup, does a body good. 😉 Instead of Italian Sausage, I used Jennie-O Ground Turkey Sausage. The outcome was lovely. I went to Olive Garden, and I prefer this version.

Via The Pioneer Woman By Ree Drummond

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches Kale, Picked Over, Cleaned, And Torn Into Bite Sized Pieces
  • 12 whole Red Potatos, Sliced Thin
  • 1 whole Onion, Chopped
  • 1-1/2 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (more To Taste)
  • 2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 4 cups Half-and-half
  • Splash Of Heavy Cream
  • Fresh Or Dried Oregano
  • Black Pepper To Taste

Preparation Instructions

Prepare the kale and set it aside.

In a medium pot. boil sliced potatoes until tender. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, crumble and brown the Italian sausage. Drain as much as the fat as you can. Stir in the red pepper flakes, oregano, chicken broth, milk, and half-and-half. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Give it a taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add the potatoes, a splash of heavy cream for richness, then stir in the kale. Simmer an additional 10-15 minutes, then serve.

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The soup recipe makes enough to feed twice for a family of four if not more. I froze the leftovers to have quick, hearty, healthy pull out lunches. My husband does not like “unique” soups, so it is just me. Don’t knock it until you try it. 😉