Weigh In Wednesday

weigh in wednesdayHi all! So I’m taking a couple weeks off from Weigh In Wednesday’s for re-evaluation, and because I’m going to Boston next week.

I recognize that ever since I got back from my trip to Maui in April I’ve been in a rut. I’ve over extended myself (something I’m too good at) and let a few fundamentals slip, like sleep and exercise. These, as you know, are the cornerstones of any healthy lifestyle and I’m working on getting them back in check.

Think happy thoughts for me as I reconfigure, yet again, my routines and get my mind back into a place of positivity and balance. I’ll see you in two weeks. Be well!

Megan

Mother’s Day 2013

mom and porter heartAren’t my mom and son adorable? I share with them such intimate relationships that I can’t even put them into words. My heart sings to know that they are kindred spirits themselves.

Who is it that can read the same kids book, or many books, an infinate number of times and never get bored? Who will gaze out the window with my son for hours, identifying every animal, plant or machine that passes by? Who will play make believe, with or without toys, to Porter’s hearts content? Not me, that’s for sure. The person who makes my son’s eyes twinkle brighter and his body practically burst with enthusiasm is my mom, his Tu Tu.

For a couple years now my mom has said, now you know how I feel about you. And I always nod my head in agreement. It’s only recently, however, that I’m begininning to understand what she’s said. The contagious happiness from my child, the worry about, oh, every decision, the wonder at how such a small person can be so capable of learning and loving in such an effortless way. This is how I feel about being a mother to my son, and I am now beginning to imagine this is how my mom feels about me, as a child and maybe even a grown up.

My mom is a great mom. She volunteered at my brothers and my schools, made our lunches daily, was always home when we parked our bikes in the garage, drove us to hundreds of after school activities, counseled us wisely, hugged us generously and never fails to let us know we are loved. She gabs with me for hours and inspires creativity, regularly. As a grandmother she astounds me with her patience and caring for her grandchild.

It is only since becoming a mother myself that I have truly made an effort to listen when my mother speaks. Try to acknowledge when she is right, to marvel at her awesome talents and to finally understand choices she made when I was a child. By being so close to my mother today and in growing up, I rest assured that what I experience as a mom is authentic and real.

Thank you Mom, for being real with me, for loving me unconditionally and for so clearly cherishing my own child. We are so very lucky to be in your family and to get to call you Mom and Tu Tu. I love you!

 

This post featured on the following blog carnivals: Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Sunday School, Family Table Tuesday, Fat Tuesday

Words For Friends – Mother

where there is love

Now That I’m A Mother

Until I became a mother,
I did not understand,
The profound sense of love
In a mother’s heart and hands.

As I whisper, “Mommy loves you”,
I rock my precious child to sleep.
Small perfection in my arms,
Sweet breaths, slow and deep.

I now see me as a baby,
You’re rocking me to sleep.
You whisper, “Mommy loves you”,
My heart is yours to keep.

At last I recognize your love,
As a mother now I see.
As I hold and love my child,
You feel that love for me.

I will always be your baby,
Despite the years that pass.
You have given me my life,
And a mother’s heart to last.

The greatest gift I can offer,
More than words could ever say,
Is to give my child the love,
You gave me every day.

~Teri Harrison

grandma quote

This post featured on the following blog carnivals: Small Footprint Friday, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Sunday School, Family Table Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Tasty Traditions, Thank Your Body Thursday

Real Food Grocery Haul – Week 1

grocery haul1

Back in the times of milk and honey, a few short months ago, I did all my grocery shopping at one place – our local co-op. It felt good to support a local business and I knew where everything was. It was also very convenient to do my shopping at one store. Turns out we were paying for that convenience – a lot!

We’re going to be sending P to a great preschool in the near future, and that also costs – a lot! We want to pay down our college bills which are – a lot! We would like to save up for a better house in a nicer location, which will inevitably cost – a lot!

Looking at our budget for the last 12 months, our food costs (groceries, coffee and eating out) ranked in 1st place for most money spent. We were spending ~$1200 per month for groceries. Thats a @#$% lot!

Yes, I’m commited to eating real food and as organically as possible and I belive in paying the farmer before paying to doctor, if you know what I mean. But seriously?! Too much for us to continue that way with the goals we have in mind.

So here’s what I’m doing to lower that bill

…but still eat real food and continue to feel good about the food I feed my family.

  • Let go of convenience and shop at 3 different locations for optimum choice and savings: Farmer’s Market, Winco and Whole Foods (they simply have a better selection than the co-op). I’ll reserve the co-op for hard to find spices in bulk.
  • Limit our organic produce to the dirty dozen and take care to wash the other produce thouroughly before comsumption.
  • Grow food in the garden – this has yet to be determined as a viable value. We’ll check back in the fall.
  • Start buying produce in bulk when it’s in season and canning what we use a lot of (read tomatoes).
  • Post weekly grocery haul and totals on this blog.

It’s about to get real folks!

I’m going to let you in on how much I spend for exactly what I get each week at the grocery store/market. This will hopefully give you a good idea about what a real food diet costs and help me figure out where I can save more $$$.

Here are my food priorities

  • Continue to get high quality pastured meat, fats, eggs and dairy (it’s worth the cost)
  • Shop the dirty dozen for organic and get commercial produce for everything else
  • Utilize the bulk section of each store
  • Limit coffee consumption to one serving per day, my usual is two.
  • Continue to work towards eating out less and eating in more.

This weeks haul looks like this

Farmer’s Market = $68
Winco = $49.26
Whole Foods = $88.01
Milk = $9

TOTAL FOR THE WEEK = $213.12

P1020772
Just for reference, this is what our refrigerator looks like at the end of the week right before I go shopping. My pantry looks fuller, but is really just disorganized.
P1020767
Farmer’s Market Haul = $68 I would love to say I buy all my produce locally, but the fact is it’s just too expensive. I do buy most of my meats, eggs and bread (home baking bread just took too much time) and a few summer veggies that are grown locally in a hot house and are therefore less expensive.
P1020768
Winco Haul = $49.26 Not included are the toothpaste, floss and Q-tips.
P1020769
Whole Foods Haul = $88.01 I think I’m going to start fermenting my own kefir.
P1020770
Everything = $212.13 except the milk not pictured, purchased after the fact. This will last us though the week and a couple items: nuts, dressing, some meat, cereal will carry over.

This post featured on the following blog carnivals: Party Wave Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Tasty Traditions, Thank Your Body Thursday, Small Footprint Friday, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Sunday School, Family Table Tuesday, Fat Tuesday

Weekly Link Love

link loveDIY

Do you clean your toothbrush regularly?

In all my wheat recipes I mention the use of sprouted or soaked flour. With a few tools (which I don’t yet own myself) we could all be sprouting our own flour.

“…it would be nice to not feel like Ma Ingalls every time she prepared a meal.  I’m one step closer to a bonnet and a covered wagon every day, I think. I’ve got your pioneer woman right here, yo!” Real Food and the Busy Cook

Eggs are awesome! I’ve been trying to find a way to hard boil my eggs that doesn’t end in a chalky and less than appetizing yolk. Turns out hard boiled is too boiled for my taste, but this recipe for medium (she calls ’em soft) boiled eggs has worked perfect for me all week long.

Know Your Ingredients

Real Food talking points for your kids. I promise, these ongoing conversations are a whole lot easier when done from the beginning and will be a lot easier than some other conversations we’re all bound to have.

What are emulsifiers and why are they in my food?

I’ve found the perfect xeric plant! It grows in the sunniest or shadiest location, requires no water, propagates itself effortlessly, provides entertainment for kids and wishes AND you can eat it. What is this gem of plant (which I have plenty growing in my backyard right now, and organically no less)… DANDELIONS! Seriously though, I’m not even kidding about the eating it part, or the wishing.

Be Well

Do you suffer from migranes? I do. Specifically stress induced ones. Find your natural migrane relief here.

Do you schedule “business time” with your partner? Or maybe you just wanna laugh a little.

Here’s a lovely little list of must read books for before, during and after pregnancy.

Be The Change

So you just watched An Inconvenient Truth or Food Inc. or any other socially aware and slightly depressing documentary. The problems presented can seem so big that overwhelm and guilt sets in. How can one person (you) possibly make a difference?

Mother’s Day Is Next Sunday

Why yes, I’ll take all 5 of these great ideas for Mother’s Day, thankyouverymuch!

Get Dirty

Gardening with your kids is one of the coolest and most well spent time, I think. Here are 5 tips for involving the wee ones in the garden.

It’s seed season and you’re gonna want to know the difference between the hybrids, GMOs and heirloom seeds before you put them in your garden.

Because It Feels Good

Drag your mouse over the dot.

Babies, memes, go.

The Family Meal, Worth It?

family mealHave you read my post about how to ease your way into eating Real Foods? You should. If you’ve read it already than you know my #3 way of getting into real food is to make your own food at home, thereby having total control over the ingredients in your meals. Now that you’ve made all this amazing food, hopefully you’ve saved a few minutes to sit with your family and enjoy it.

Norman-Rockwell-ThanksgivingWhen I try and remember growing up what my family did for breakfast, I can only remember my own breakfasts, and occasionally my brother chowing down on a bowl of Rice Crispies. My mom made us breakfast, but I can’t say that I ever remember her eating, and I’m pretty sure my dad didn’t eat breakfast for many years. Lunch was usually at school, except for my senior year when my mom and I had amazing lunches of pizza or bagels at the beach. Dinner, however, was usually spent at the dinner table with the whole family.

simpson thanksgiving-meal-greeting-card

 

My dad usually cooked the meal, my brother and I set the table and cleared, and my parents cleaned the kitchen at the end of the day. I’m certain the memories that my brother and I have about these dinners differ, a lot. Dinner was a time for me to talk, and talk, and talk, and talk. My brother was quieter, but I know he got a couple words in. I loved sitting with my family at dinner, even then. As it turns out, not only was it a good stage for me with a captive audience, but there were other benefits.

Eating around the family table takes place in only 50% of homes.

dinner set table 1Considering the powerful and positive outcomes for families, especially adolescents,  we’d be smart to carve out more time for eating together. Children in families who eat together experience:

  • Better grades
  • Healthier eating habits, including more appreciation of vegetables
  • Lower levels of obesity
  • An expanded food palate
  • Less depression and fewer eating disorders
  • Increased feelings that their parents are proud of them
  • Increased ability to resist the use of cigarettes, alcohol and drugs
  • Lower stress levels

If you have the time, try and get your kids involved in the planning and preparation of a meal. It may make things more difficult, but kids who are involved in their own meals are more likely to eat the food. It’s also important that we teach our kids to listen to their bodies when eating.

 

Start 'em young!
Start ’em young!

Studies show that making your kid eat everything on their plate actually contributes to overeating and obesity. Take this time to teach them about portions. We can always go back for seconds and if we waste less food than there will be leftovers for tomorrow, therefore saving time and $$$.

A few things to consider when planning your family dinner:

dinner porter cooksIn order to achieve positive results you have to put down phones, tablets and other devices, and turn the TV off. Interaction with each other is the important part of eating together.

Now, not every family has someone who gets to stay home and prepare all the meals. This can make it that much harder to get a healthy meal on the table for everyone to share. The importance of meal planning is imperative.

  • Search the web for ideas on how to make a bunch of food at once and freeze it for week nights
  • Eat leftovers
  • Take turns in the kitchen
  • Maybe you have to let an after-school activity go
  • When you do eat out, get it to go and eat at home
  • Start with a couple nights a week and work up to 4-7

Will it take extra work?

Added bonus, if your child eats a the family table regularly, then eating out becomes a breeze.
Added bonus, if your child eats at the family table regularly, then eating out becomes a breeze.

Yes. Sometimes it’ll be a total pain in the butt and seem like more work than it’s worth. Some days you will order a pizza. These are the moments when you have to really consider the priorities you’ve set for your family. Your persistence WILL pay off. I promise (if you leave the serious discussions, devices, and expectations aside) you’ll create a stronger and healthier family.

Sources 1,2,3,4,5

dinner friends
Dinner with friends – everyone gets to feel the love at this family table!

 

This post featured on: Party Wave Wednesday, Sunday School, Fat Tuesday, Cultured Palate, Real Food Wednesday, Small Footprint Friday, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Family Table Tuesday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Fight Back Friday

Real Food Creamy Ranch Cauliflower Mash

cauliflower mashThis is a post that I did last summer, but have spruced up because I’ve recently learned how to make my own Ranch Dressing Herb Mix and that got me really excited about this recipe again.

Luke and I don’t eat a whole lot of processed carbohydrates these days, so I’ve had to get creative with my veggies. This is a cauliflower recipe that I’ve modified from my friend Chelsea‘s recipe. If you want to get crazy, then throw in a cooked potato to make it more like mashed potatoes.

I had never really like cauliflower. Then again, the only time it’s really ever served is on a veggie platter from the supermarket, raw. After perfecting this recipe, I’ve actually acquired a taste for raw cauliflower too. Who would have guessed?

INGREDIENTS

You’ll need a big pot, colander and masher. You can try using an immersion blender, but we’ve done many tests and prefer the crunchiness of the mash over the creaminess of the blender.
1 head cauliflower
1/4 cup cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1-2 tablespoons dry ranch dressing herb mix – make your own or buy an MSG free package
salt to taste
These measurements are estimates, use more or less of anything according to the size of cauliflower and your personal taste.

MAKE IT

1. Start a pot of water to boil.
2. Cut cauliflower into florets, removing the core. Keep them the same size so they’ll all cook in the same amount of time.
3. When water comes to a boil, add the cauliflower and boil for 5-10 minutes. When cooked, you should be able to easily pierce and remove a sharp knife from one of the florets. Drain cauliflower.

4. Add cauliflower and all the ingredients back into the warm pot, and cover for a few minutes to let everything melt.

5. Mash it, stir it, mash it some more. Taste it to see if you want to add more of anything. Mash and stir again.

cauliflower mash1

 

This recipe featured on: Family Table Tuesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Sunday School, Fat Tuesday, Cultured Palate, Real Food Wednesday, Sunday School, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Thank Your Body Thursday, Fight Back Friday

Weekly Link Love

link love

DIY

In an effort to eat more fermented foods, I started a ginger bug this week. This led me to what is now sitting on my counter – Strawberry Soda!

I don’t have any issues with deer eating my garden plants, but I know of plenty of people who do. Maybe this post on how to deer proof a garden will help.

Know Your Ingredients

High protein, low glycemic load food – it’s the longest living fad diet at millions of years old.

This article came out about Guar Gum and, although I’ve noticed it on ingredient lists beore, I passed on reading the article at the time. Then I went grocery shopping yesterday, and in finding a coconut milk with the least ingredients the only one I could settle on had 1 extra – guar gum. So I of course had to read the piece and pass it onto you.

Oh sweet bitter coffee. It’s the one special beverage that holds a place in my day, which I truly look forward too. And why is that? Well, the half and half has a lot to do with it, but I’m pretty sure the caffeine does too.

Get Dirty

My dad is a green thumb, and one of the few people I know who can yield a bumper crop of sun loving tomatoes just a few feet from the ocean, in the foggy coastal summer weather of California. Last week he planted his tomatoes, and my mom was shocked because he was planting them on the full moon. Here’s why she took note of the lunar calendar for this event. Who knew?!

Parenting

I’m doing this decluttering with Porter, but I’m not waiting for his ability to count to 20. I’m going for 10!

Because It Feels Good

My parents swear up and down that they weren’t hippies. I’m sure that in 60’s-70’s they had a clearer vision of who hippies actually were. Unfortunately for them, I think that cultural vision has blurred over the decades. Lucky for us, we can all have a good laugh at the bits and pieces of the “alternative culture” (is that a better description?) that did indeed influence some of my childhood. Were your parents hippies?

Earlier this week I wrote an article about using play as exercise. This guy has the balance of a teenage circus performer – he’s 70 – and guess what he uses to keep his mind sharp, his body strong, and his mood positive? You’re right, he plays!