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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Back on the Wagon

Sick stinks.

You will be happy to hear we are all better, but Rebecca ended up having a double ear infection. Whoops. That's why she was so whiny.

Anyway, I am sick of sick and so I had to re-evaluate how I have been taking care of my family.

It has been a bit messy.

Since Roman has been born, we have been enjoying Me N Ed's $10.00 pizza every Sunday after church. We have been baking more packaged brownies for Bible Studies and Not Bible Studies (pretty much any other random night). We have been eating processed cereal for snacks. Even if it has a Trader Joe's label on it, it is still processed with sugar. It pains me to admit this to you. But I am climbing back on the wagon.

And so, I have been restudying my Nourishing Traditions cookbook with the intent of reclaiming my family's health.

So myself and the clan ventured out to Lassen's today. Next time I will try to go by myself. (Clean-up on aisle 12, please...)

We will start small and cost-effective. Here are my goals:

1. Make my own ketchup. This is a major food group for Rebecca and I would like to give her real food instead of corn syrup and canned tomatoes.

2. Brew my own kombucha. This is much more cost-effective than buying Hansen's Natural Soda (okay...Diet Sprite) and is a veritable health tonic.

3. Make my own sourdough starter for sourdough bread. I would like to do my bread baking for the time being. Predigested sourdough is better for my family.

4. Make our dairy raw.. I bought raw butter and raw milk. We will be using more butter on all of our food to assimilate vitamins and minerals better. I just can't give my kids pasteurized, homogenized milk anymore. It feels cruel. But we will see what the husband and the budget says, long term.

5. Add more coconut products to our diet. We will be using coconut oil as our primary cooking fat once again. We got away from it but I am ready to go back! I have unsweetened raw coconut flakes to add to oatmeal and other baked goods.

6. Take our cod liver oil. Eeew. But necessary for bulking up our immune systems.

7. Ban (reasonably) sugar and processed food. My husband questions my love for him when there are no tortillas or cereals in the house. The kids won't know what they're missing, but my hardworkin' husband sure will. I pledge to indulge him here without question.

I feel better already.

P.S. I'm looking for organic local eggs. Anyone know of a place to get them?


Farm Girl said...

Jennifer, by summer I will have eggs, I think, I get about 8 a day or on a good day 16, I have some lazy chickens. I have some new chickens that will start laying eggs by summer. So then I will have eggs to share, I think and I am a little like the girl who counted her chicks before they hatched, I am hoping for 30 eggs a day.
All your plans sound good.

Brandy Afterthoughts said...

Hello, girl.

Seriously? You're giving up the Me N' Eds??

Just kidding.

I do love pizza, though. ;)

A couple things: just so you know, we do most of your list and still were sick all winter. Sometimes life is just that way, I think. However, we never were super sick, so I think (hope?) that what we were doing helped.

Oh. And A. has seven cavities!

But enough about my personal turmoil.

I will check on the eggs. There used to be a sign near us, so I will look and see if it is still up. I don't know if they were organic (technically ours in our yard aren't because we supplement with non-organic feed), but they were homegrown, according to the sign. I wish I had extras but my ducks went on strike yesterday and I am still mad at them about it.

We are getting counseling soon.


The other thing I was going to say is if you figure out sourdough, will you please teach me? I have tried and tried! I had a wonderful starter at my old place, but tossed it when we went GFCF. Now we eat gluten now and then, but this new house just doesn't grow a good culture--everything tastes like beer!

Plus my loaves always weigh 13.7 pounds. I think it is my technique, or rather my lack of technique. So if you master it, I'd love a bit of instruction. I will pay you in backyard eggs! :)

Ps. In a bind Trader Joe's organic ketchup is made with cane sugar rather than corn syrup. Homemade is best, though, especially if you ferment it with whey. Of course, if your husband is like mine you will get dirty looks when you try that! HA!

NetRaptor said...

Hey, if you want more ideas of stuff to make yourself, check out this blog entry: http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen-blog/2010/03/the-theme-is-homemade-ingredients/

They have how to make your own Ricotta cheese! I've been itching to give it a try.

Do you make your own bread? I have a Bosch mixer, and I couldn't make bread without it. If I made it by hand, I'd have muscles like some dude from WWE. :-)

Jennifer said...

Kessie, I'm researching bread makers. I have tried to do it by hand and they turn out...well, like the ones Brandy says she made ;) I am going to try to get a refurbished one online somewhere. I do love the Pioneer Woman! Last week I made Pastor Ryan's shrimp risotto and it was super yummy.

Dear dear Brandy, thank you for the advice on health. You are an amazing resource. I'm sure you will hear about my sourdough attempts. I am a little worried now. Do you think a breadmaker would help? P.S. We may have to go back to Trader Joe's ketchup if Rebecca won't eat my quart of homemade stuff. She balked a bit when I had her add the fish sauce.

Kim, I would be much obliged if you would sell me some eggs this summer! that would mean I would get farm fresh eggs...and I would get to see YOU! Win win.

Brenda said...

Jennifer, my husband has a starter for sourdough that has been in his family for probably over 100 years. If we can hook up, we can share some with you. We enjoy sourdough waffles from scratch often! I have made bread with it a few times! Delish! Also, there is a sign for eggs near my house - i have been meaning to call and get some,they probably aren't organic but i will bet they are free range - i will call and find out the details. Let me know if you want to meet up and I will have him expand it to share with you. As for bread machines - i think they make the crust too thick, but for convenience sake they are nice.

Brenda said...

Well, ours is a an established culture and we keep it in a crock with a lid inside the refrigerator until we are ready to use it. Jason feeds it with sugar every once in a while if we haven't used it for awhile. If you don't have a crock with a lid you can use plastic wrap and a rubberband. The important thing is to keep it from drying out. I have no idea how to store one that is just being created. 2 things very important about sourdough starter - no metal can come into contact with it - use wooden spoons and glass bowls or crocks - also keep salt away from it or it will kill it. When Jason expands his starter he gets around 8 cups - called a sponge and that is what you use to make bread or waffles. So, say we are making waffles - he expands the starter into a sponge, then takes 1 cup of the sponge and puts that back into his little crock and that goes into the refrigerator until he is ready to make something else again. It takes a bit of planning since, converting the starter into sponge is an overnight process. But it is fun. you can freeze the starter but you have to dehydrate it first then reconstitute it, which I tried to do for my mom who live in iowa and it wasn't very powerful. King Arthur's Catalouge has a sourdough crock with a lid that is very cute, but sometimes you can find old crocks without lids at second hand stores and use that. How did you make your starter? I have seen kits but never done it. But I bet that 8 cups is a sponge and you will use most of it to make bread. As for hand making tips - i like to warm up my largest glass or stonewear bowl with hot water to speed up the rising process. Cover it with a damp towel and place it someplace warm (in the winter next to the fireplace or ontop of the warm stove - in the summer outside works good because our homes are too cold). I will let you know about eggs!

NetRaptor said...

Jennifer: My mom has a Magic Mill mixer, and I have a Bosch mixer. The Magic Mill is slightly cheaper, I believe, and I think it's easier to use and clean than the Bosch is. I would recommend getting the Magic Mill if at all possible.

Meg said...


I know we don't know each other hardly at all, but I keep up with you from your blog and what I hear from Kessie. When Kim said you might visit with us on Wednesdays this summer I got so excited.

I *think* I saw Trader Joe's has organic eggs, but I don't go in there very often so I could be wrong. However, I can testify to how delicious Kim's eggs are.

There is a blog I used to read called Under $1000 Per Month (http://under1000permonth.blogspot.com/) that was a very interesting resource for junk-free eating. She doesn't update anymore, but the archives are worth going through if you have a chance.

My mom/grandmother gave me their unused Kitchen aid for my birthday one year and I use that with the dough hook to make my dough. Works wonderfully. I have made bread all from hand before though, and it's not too bad once you get the hang of it. Just a little more time consuming. Good way to work out frustration though. ;)I haven't done sourdough in awhile though and each time I have, it doesn't turn out all that great. There really is a magic to it.

I suggested making my own ketchup once and Ben looked at me, grimaced, and said "But I like ketchup." Ok! Guess I won't be making any. He puts up with a lot of my crazy, I can't take all his junk food away. Sometimes I wonder how he is so patient with me.

I know butter is more expensive, but I am so very glad I started using it again. It tastes so much better than anything else and I know it's so much better for us. I will have to give coconut oil a try as well.

If I find any organic eggs, I'll let you know!


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