Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!?!?

Our New Year’s Eve was spent at Cabela’s.  Believe it or not, it was pretty picked over and the food was not that great for the price we paid.  It was a bummer of a trip!  The things Eric wanted were gone.  😦  BUT I was delighted to find a pair of winter boots!  I haven’t bought any in such a long time, so with the money “Santa” left for me, I purchased a pair!  Another thing I bought the day after Christmas was a new purse!  I have never paid so much money for a purse in my entire life, but I love my new purse – it has the glorious smell of leather.

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We rang in the new year with a very sick husband/father.  He pretty much stayed in bed ALL week, except for Thursday, when he HAD to go to work.  He also went to the doctor’s while he was out that day.  They tested him for pneumonia and the flu.  Tested positive for Influenza A.   Eric ran some pretty high fevers, had aches, froze and sweat all week long.  It’s been a really rough week for him.  I’ve never seen someone have such nasty fevers for such a long time!

While the week has been spent battling sickness, I’ve been busy nursing Eric, and now Nathan, and taking care of chickens, laundry, etc.  Nothing overly thrilling.  I made chicken noodle soup twice this week.  Today I also made a huge stock pot of chicken stock because I was using my frozen stock all up.  We’re using it like crazy these days! It’s a necessity.  I’m getting good at making gluten-free noodles.  The family is crazy about it too.  Everyone eats at least 2 bowls, so my normal pot doesn’t last as long as it used to.  Kinda sad, but I’m glad they love to scarf it down and give rave reviews about it the whole time.

We’ve been reading through the Bible, starting on January 1st.  It’s going ok so far.  We’ll just keep pressing on!  I’m sure it’ll be hard, sometimes it’s hard already.  It’s all about priorities though.  That’s for sure! **Update since I started this post** We missed yesterday (January 6th),  and I decided to change reading plans.  I found one that isn’t so overwhelming for us and we’ll be starting that this evening (Jan 7th).

There’s been a tragedy in the family. . . well, it’s nothing that dramatic really.  Grace somehow lost her precious blankie between the boy’s bedroom and her bedroom.  We’ve searched both rooms and can’t find it anywhere!  She slept in the boy’s room on the floor the one night, took her blankets and pillow back to her room and has lost her little blue blankie!  There have been many tears over this thing.  It’s a mystery, really.  I just can’t figure out how it is missing!  There’s no where for it to have gone!

Speaking of battling sickness, both boys have fevers and so do I.  Nathan’s was super high yesterday, but seems to not be so bad today.  Ryan and I have low-grade fevers happening right now, along with aches.  I also have this awful, choking cough and my throat hurts from it.  The joys of flu season!  Thankfully it’s not the stomach flu!

So that is how our new year has gone, so far! 🙂  Eric returned to work today and I think he’s doing much better, thankfully!

Still Wheat Free (mostly)

Yes, after the holidays and eating a little bit of bad stuff here and there, I have decided that I am going to remain wheat-free.  My belly can’t handle it anymore, it honestly can’t.  I thought “If I just eat a little here and a little there I’ll be ok.”  Yeah, not even close!   Eric – who doesn’t believe this kind of thing – has admitted (again) that it really does bother him too.

Food and meals are a frustrating thing for me.   I am trying to do better for us, but change comes hard.  We are a serial snacking crowd and it’s hard to get everyone on board.  It wouldn’t be so hard if the hubby fully cooperated, but he finds it difficult to do that completely, as he doesn’t “believe” a lot of things.  Me and my “hippy” ways humor him. LOL  I’ll just keep trying and definitely keep it up for myself.  My belly feels sick for days after I eat anything with wheat and even most grains.  It’s not a good feeling and tired of feeling so blah because of it!

Today I’m going to make some more almond flour.  That stuff is pricey,  but you can get a lot of almonds at Sam’s Club and just make your own almond flour/meal.  I found a bread recipe I want to try and a biscuit recipe I also want to try.  I had tried THIS biscuit recipe last week and while they were fluffy and nice looking, you could taste the coconut flour in them.  Eric has coconut radar and just couldn’t even eat them. It was the slightest hint of coconut, but enough to turn make him not want to eat them.  So I’m going to try that other biscuit recipe today.  While I miss bready things (a little), I don’t miss what it does to me!

Really I’m just trying to find some good recipes that are husband approved so MAYBE I can get him off ALL bad things.  Most likely not, but I can hope, right? 🙂

I must get busy making some almond flour and working on dinner.  Today seems like such a great day for some sirloin tip gravy over biscuits!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Happenings

I’ve been terrible about writing lately.  I wrote a couple posts this past month, but mostly just for myself so I didn’t publish them.  Just journaling  some things that have happened and I’ll cover them a little in this post.

October was a rather busy month for us.  School has been humming right along and I feel as though I’m ready for a break, but part of me wants to push through until we’re done with the Pilgrim Unit in our Paths of Exploration.  The kids are really enjoying the Jamestown Unit.  A lot!

Read aloud time always ends in “Awww, we’re done reading for today?”  So I know they are enjoying the story and are learning history.  This past Friday we watched a video on Netflix about Jamestown.  It fit perfectly with what we’ve been learning and it was neat to actually SEE that they are finding so much from that time in history where it all happened.

There’s so much we need to work on and I am in need of a printer/copier really soon.  I actually have needed it for a couple weeks, but haven’t got around to getting it yet.  So many choices and I’m not sure which one to get.  Eric’s been looking at them too, but we just don’t know for sure.  Yet.

In the past month we’ve done some field trips and have been enjoying most school days.  I’ve not been doing our Spell to Write and Read like I’ve wanted/needed to.  The kids still need this, especially Ryan and Grace.  Nathan just loves it, so he will be happy to do spelling.  It’s his favorite subject.  He’s a lot like me.  He comes up with ways to remember how to spell difficult words.  It’s fun to see his mind at work.

In the past month I’ve had Nathan tested for diabetes.  His blood sugar test was at 100, so the doctor wanted to have him tested.  Thankfully he failed the 3 hour glucose test. 🙂  My stomach was in knots for days over it.  God bless those that live with Type 1 Diabetes all their lives.  It would have been  a total lifestyle change for all of us.  I’m thankful it’s one we didn’t have to make.

Yesterday (Nov. 3)  I ran another 5K.  The YMCA’s Turkey Trot.  It was a fun run, but it was cold.  Thankfully the snow had stopped.  Yes, it was snowing as I was driving into town yesterday.  I ran with my friend Faith and met her friend, Jen.  We started out together, but they definitely passed me!  I shaved 24 seconds off my first 5K time.  So I ran this one in 30:35 (my first was 30:59).  I’m incredibly sore today!  The last 2 weeks have been terrible as far as weather goes.  Very rainy and cold.  I did run a couple mornings in the rain.  This past week I only ran once.  I’m trying to talk my husband into joining the Y.  The kids would love to go swimming in the winter and it would be a nice way to get out of the house and do something during the long winter months.  Sometimes I feel so trapped up here on the hill with no where to go and nothing to do.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how short life truly is.  I’m nearing 40 years old . . . My husband is so not ready to be 40 (he’ll be there next year, I have a few more to go).  It’s so amazing how life just goes by so swiftly.  There were times growing up that life was so slow.  Just crawling by, so it seemed.  Now here I am, hardly able to do all the things I want to each day.  I am sure I could remedy that by prioritizing my days . . . Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.   I definitely need to apply my heart to wisdom.

My sister-in-law lost her mother this past week.  My heart just aches for her and her family.  They have the blessing of knowing that they’ll see their mother again in Heaven.  She was a woman that loved the Lord and told everyone around her about Him.  I had met her once or twice, but didn’t know her very well.  The family’s testimony and their mom’s testimony is one of joy in the Lord and knowing that they will have a reunion some day in Heaven!  What a day that will be!

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It has been nearly a week since I started this post!  We have finished week 12 today and we’ll be taking a break from our Paths of Exploration while we wait for our new printer to come.  There’s always tons of printing and our current printer is a junkie freebie that is out of ink and is useless.  So we will wait!  Until our new one comes in (and I’m praying it’s by next  week some time) the kids will continue working on their math and we’ll do some lessons in Spell to Write and Read (which has suffered a lot this year, but is still really needed).

We got out our Thankful Board  from last year, and have been enjoying writing down something we are thankful for each day.  Today Grace was saying how she’s excited about doing the Jesse Tree like we did last year.  I’m thinking the kids can go out and find branches for the tree today. 🙂  It’s to be a beautiful day here – a beautiful weekend in fact!  It has been cold for a while, so I am looking forward to 60’s and sunshine.

My first official photo shoot is on Sunday!  Senior Portraits! 🙂  I will post some samples – eventually!  I’m both excited and nervous, but the young lady is excited to have her photos taken and I hope I can meet her expectations!   I had my 2nd photo class yesterday and totally enjoyed it!  Tracy is a great teacher, very patient and kind!  I’m thankful I bumped into her through the internet/blogging world!

Well, this is becoming a novel.  I have some photos of what has been going on lately and I will post them at another time.  This is being written from my netbook and the photos are not on here.

 

 

Food Blogs

Food . . . we all need it, right?  Well, I’ve been educating myself on ways to eat healthier.   We don’t have the best diet, but that is something I’ve been slowly (or not so slowly if you ask Ryan) changing.   I knew our food choices weren’t the best and sometimes they still aren’t the best, but we are taking baby steps.

Eric and I went wheat free a little over a month ago.  Eric was really discouraged because he had gained weight and even counting calories wasn’t helping him lose anything.  I do believe I mentioned that story HERE.  He has lost 17 pounds as of this morning.   It’s amazing how much better I feel not eating wheat.  Not bloated or uncomfortable or blah feeling.

I joined a group on facebook called Food, Inc. Discussion Group – which I also mentioned in another post HERE.  I’ve enjoyed the women in this group that are all working on feeding their families healthier foods and making other things like cleaning supplies, laundry soap, etc.  So many wonderful ideas and great encouragement from all these wonderful women!

All of this to say that I wanted to share some of the sites that I have been browsing for healthy recipes, tips, hints, and any other information I can glean!

The Nourishing Home is a great place to start!  So many wonderful ideas and helps to get started on the right road.

Kitchen Stewardship  ALL kinds of great information.

GNOWFGLINS  “God’s Natural, Organic, Whole Foods, Grown Locally, In Season”

Gluten-Free Blog  just found this one, so I haven’t tried any recipes from here yet, but it looks interesting!

Queen of Quinoa  Lots of clever recipe ideas that involve quinoa! 🙂

Dashing Dish  also just found this site and I can’t wait to see what I can find on it, it came recommended to me by my friend!

Gutsy by a wonderful, very educated, young lady that I met through the internet!  She lives on this GAPS diet way of life.  Her site explains her health issues that brought her to this way of life.

Against All Grain is another new favorite site of mine.  So many great recipes for a grain free way of life!

Wheat Belly Blog that opened my eyes to what could really be hindering our weight and health issues.

and finally . . .

Wellness Mama  She has posts about natural living, healthy foods, and great recipes.

So these are most of my new favorite sites.  Now I have to change the way I make a menu, shop for food, and be more prepared to make REAL foods for my family.  It’s a lot to change, but it is for our health.  We are doing this with baby steps. . . even for the kids (very small steps for them).

 

An Awesome Recipe

           Grain-free, sugar-free, dairy-free and OH. SO. TASTY!

These are even Eric approved and he is a tough food critic!

      

They turned out nice and fluffy.  They taste wonderful.

Delicious!

This recipe is from the The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen.  Do cruise the site if you have a chance.

They don’t know me at all, but I am enjoying their site a lot!

Grain-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes <– you can click on that to see the site where I got the recipe.

Here is the recipe:

Dry 
Ingredients:
½ cup coconut flour
½ cup arrowroot 
powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground 
ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tsp baking 
soda
½ tsp sea salt

Wet 
Ingredients:
1 ¼ cups pumpkin puree
1 cup soft medjool dates, 
pitted
½ cup melted coconut oil
4 large organic 
eggs
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

I mixed the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  
The wet ingredients were a little more tricky, but workable.
I don't have a Vitamix blender, but I did use my blender.
The only thing I did was soak my dates in water for a good 10 minutes to soften them up.
Then put all the wet ingredients in my blender and blended until smooth.

After blending I mixed the wet ingredients with the dry until mixed.

Baked them at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes in a greased muffin tin.
Enjoyed eating a couple after they were cooled off a little.

Then I decided to try making the dairy-free "cream-cheese" frosting the next day.
This turned out so good, too!
You have to scroll down the cinnamon roll recipe to find the frosting recipe.
It really did top off the muffins perfectly!
The only thing I changed in the frosting recipe was exchanging the maple syurp for honey.
Didn't have the maple syrup.  
It turned out just fine.

Survived and a Few Other Things!

Yesterday was the blog radio show and you can find it archived HERE.  Let me say that I was terribly nervous and you can probably tell.  Yes, me, the talker was nervous talking.  Weird, huh?  It was a great experience though.

Hopefully NEXT week (September 7th, same time as yesterday’s show) I won’t be as nervous and can make some sense when I do talk! 🙂   The other young ladies did excellent!  I’m not sure if Caitlin has a blog, but Caroline does.

I found Caroline’s blog through Pinterest, before I met her by phone (I LOVE pinterest, let me tell you!).  Her site is called GUTSY.  She follows the GAPS diet.  Her site tells all about her journey to change her life and her health.

I started this on Saturday, Sept 1st.   It has been a wild week, especially since I’m only just getting back to this post!

Tomorrow (Friday, September 7th) at 12:30pm will be another Blog Radio Show continuing with the topic of “What Are We Feeding Our Children?”  <—–click on those words and you’ll go the site.  Judy is a wonderful host and a very sweet lady!  I’m more excited about this week’s show and less nervous, even though I feel less prepared for this week’s show. 🙂

I am by no means an expert in this area (quite new to this actually), but I am a mom and a wife that wants to feed her family better foods and live a healthier life.  This journey is an interesting one.  You try to learn all you can and not be overwhelmed.  It is about taking small steps to healthier eating and living.  You can’t change everything overnight, but you can make little changes.

One of the first things I did was start to make my own laundry soap.  I did this to save money more than anything.  I also take small steps to try learning to be more self-sufficient.  It’s neat to be able to make things you can use here in the home.  There are many recipes for all kinds of things!  I’ve started making deodorant (for myself), toothpaste, lip balm, foaming hand soap, oil cleansing method (for cleaning my own face), and a whole list of other projects that I want to try!

Food is something I have been trying to improve on recently.  I make a lot of homemade meals and snacks, but I know I can do better.  My children are more resistant to changes, but I think fazing out some of the other foods and replacing them with tasty, homemade foods will be better for them.  Eric and I have not been eating wheat for over a month now.  We started as a way to lose weight, but I really like how I feel not eating it.  Eric likes losing weight without having to exercise. 🙂   I’ve been reading the Wheat Belly Blog and it sure does paint a different picture about wheat and its role in our lives (or rather how much better off we are without it).  It has been fun experimenting with other types of “flour” and just eating more vegetables and fruit.  I also have to say that I haven’t read the Wheat Belly book by Dr. William Davis, but I should some day soon!

These are just some of the small changes we’ve been making in our lives in recent weeks and months.

Quinoa This and Quinoa That

 

Yesterday I was in a cooking mood and decided to try a couple quinoa recipes.

I have a bunch of the stuff in my fridge/freezer.

The first recipe I tried is Parmesan Quinoa Bites.

She has a great photo of all the ingredients on her site.

I have my new lens on my camera, so that is why there are so many close-up photos in this post.

This is all the quinoa and other ingredients mixed and in the muffin pan.

I enjoy eating parmesan cheese.  A lot!

After the food cooks, this is the delicious morsel that comes out of the oven.

3 out of 5 really like these.  1 (Eric) was ok with it and 1 (Ryan) didn’t like it at all.

Here is the recipe from Make It and Love It:

Parmesan Quinoa Bites:

  • 2 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa (instead of preparing quinoa with water like the package suggests, use chicken broth. so much tastier!)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 stalks of green onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus extra to sprinkle on top
  • 3 Tbsp rice flour (or regular flour if you’re not GF)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (more if you use water to make your quinoa. otherwise, the chicken broth adds enough salt.)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 (fahrenheit).

Combine all of your ingredients in a large bowl (except for the extra parmesan for the top of each bite) and mix well.  Spray your muffin tins entirely with cooking spray (don’t skimp on the spray or your bites will stick).  Scoop out enough mixture to fill your standard muffin tins 3/4 full.  Press down firmly with your fingers or the back of a spoon.  Sprinkle more parmesan cheese on top of each muffin tin portion.  Bake in over for 20-30 minutes.  Ready when slightly browned on top and a fairly browned crust on bottom and sides has formed.

My next cooking with quinoa recipe is from Queen of Quinoa.  Obviously, she has LOTS of quinoa recipes.

This recipe I tried once before.  The Quinoa Thins were ok, but I wasn’t crazy about the texture.

After I made that batch, I decided to really turn my quinoa into powder.

This was very hard since I only have a blender, not a food processor, but it did work.

See the texture difference from THESE ones?

So much better looking this time and a much better texture!

My kids love them!

Gluten Free Quinoa Thins (I made hummus, but not the one in this post) :

I made some modifications to the recipe.

  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour ** (see below)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 7 – 8 tablespoons cold water (more if needed) *** (see below)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor fitted with the metal s-blade, combine all the dry ingredients and  pulse until smooth. Transfer the flour mixture to a medium bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, raw honey and one tablespoon of water. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a plastic spatula. Add the remaining water one tablespoon at a time until you have a thick, pliable dough.

Shape the dough into a rectangle and place it between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll the dough between the two pieces of paper until it’s about 1/8″ thick. Remove the top layer of paper and transfer the other piece (carefully!) to a baking sheet.

With a pizza cutter, slice the dough into squares.

Bake the crackers in the warmed oven for about 15 minutes, or until they start to brown. **** (see bel0w)

** in place of the millet flour, I used some Almond Flour that I made.

***Reduced the water a couple tablespoons.

**** The cooking time was longer and I turned the crackers over after 10 or so minutes of baking and removed the ones that were getting brown and kept doing this until they were cooked to my satisfaction.