The Gang

The Gang
October 2008 Sweet Potatoe Harvest

About Me

I am a busy mommy of 6, seeking to be a loving, godly helpmeet to my husband and a biblical discipler to my children. God has blessed us with a child with Autism. May the lessons that the Lord is teaching me and our family be a blessing to you and yours!

My Favorite Books

  • Bible
  • Created to be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl
  • Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman
  • Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver
  • Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll
  • Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
  • Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
  • The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
Monday, March 31, 2008
Tonight we are having guests for dinner so I'm using up some food that really doesn't fit into our new healthy menu plan, however it will be a fun treat to have a little of and share with others.

Crock Pot Round Steak
Organic Semolina Egg noddles
Steamed Peas
WW Biscuits or WW Rolls (whichever I have time for)
Apple Pie w/ cool whip (the freezer kind.... not my favorite but I have one I need to use up)

Crock pot round steak
1 pastured beef round steak
1 bottle Annies Organic French Dressing
1 recipe of onion soup mix (below)

Place steak in bottom of crock pot. You can cut it into thirds to make it fit if you have a smaller crock pot. Sprinkle meat with the onion soup mix. Pour French dressing over the meat. Swish the bottle and pour the water/dressing over the meat. Put on low all day, or on high for a few hours. We serve this meat with sauce over egg noodles or brown rice.

Onion Soup Mix
You may be wondering WHY I make my own onion soup mix. First, most have gluten or wheat in them and my Thomas cannot have gluten. Second, onion soup mix usually has MSG and/or other flavor enhancing preservatives. Third... it is really easy to do and I'm never running to the store for a packet of onion soup mix! :-)

1/4 cup minced dehydrated onion
2 TBSP powdered bouillon (been chicken or veggie, make sure your source for bouillon is MSG & preservative free too)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt.

Sometime this week I'll make tacos and give you my homemade Taco seasoning recipe too! First I have to make my sour cream from our pasture fed raw cow's cream & the buttermilk that was left after we shook the rest of the cream into butter.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Many of my friends have asked how I can "afford" to eat healthy organic food and feed 6 growing children. Here are some simple suggestions that anyone can follow to start heading down a path of healthier eating.

Realize that cheaper does not equate to healthier. Have you ever really read the ingredients on a box of 12 cent macaroni and cheese, hamburger helper, or a can of ravioli? Nothing but WHITE Flour, processed foods, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, chemicals and food colorings! HOW can this be healthy for your family???

Choose to get educated! Read some books on health and nutrition that are NOT written by the FDA. Nourish Traditions by Sally Fallon is a great place to start only because the woman is very thorough on covering everything from fats, to vitamins, minerals, fruits, veggies, dairy, etc. She lists a TON Of sources and other reading materials that you can cross reference and do further research on. The very first book that got me thinking about nutrition and how it effects your health was by an organization that promotes the Hallelujah Diet, I am not in agreement with their philosophy that we should never eat meat. However, they do have a lot of good info on why what we eat is making us sick or unhealthy. You can also check out sites like to find out about Virgin Coconut oil. You can also google pastured beef vs. commercially raised beef, pastured chickens vs. commercially raised chickens. The Weston Price site has a ton of info on milk. That ought to be enough to get you started! :-)

Make baby steps as you shop. Try to stay to the outer circle of the grocery store. Fill your cart with mostly produce and USE IT!! Fix a salad of some sort for dinner every night! When you go down the cereal isle (if you HAVE to buy cereal) Look UP and/or at the organic stuff. Don't buy any cereals that have sugar or high fructose corn syrup and food colorings in the list of ingredients. Try Old Fashioned oatmeal or organic cereals. As you start down the baking isle buy a bag of the organic cane sugar rather than white supper processed sugar. Grab a bag of whole wheat pastry flour or whole wheat flour and mix it into the white stuff you have at home to start getting used to brown baked goods. Buy BUTTER not margarine. You can find a lot of research that shows that since margarine was praised as the choice over butter, heart disease & cholesterol have only gone UP. Buy the REAL stuff, your heart will thank you!!

Spring is right around the corner, at least maybe it is where you live, we are supposed to get 4-7 inches of snow tomorrow. Anyway.... go online and find out where the local farmers markets are in your area. Go shop there and find some farm fresh eggs & produce. You'll be supporting local farms which are a dying art rather than the commercialized farming which primarily produces GMO corn & Soy... yummmy..... NOT!! To find farmers markets in your area you can visit, click on "finding local foods" and you'll be sent to a site where you can enter the area you live and find farmers markets.

I'll try to list more tips on transforming your kitchen into a nutritional, flavorful, feasting area as I travel down this path myself. We are still using up foods that I have purchased or been given before making the choice to change our eating habits. You'll see evidence of that in Monday's menu.

So until then....... did you eat your salad today?
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Sunday dinner is always a big deal! When I was growing up we either had roast, potatoes, and carrots or went out. I'm trying to reduce some of the starchy veggies since a few of us have to loose weight. Yesterday we had potatoes TWICE, so today no potatoes in the roast!!

Tonight (Sat evening) I just put a pastured fed beef roast in my crock pot with sea salt & ground pepper and a sliced organic red onion. This will cook on low until we get home from church tomorrow.

Sunday afternoon menu:
Sliced Roast over Fresh Salad
Shortly Sauted Asparagus in Virgin Coconut Oil (we like ours crisp tender with salt & pepper)
Whole Grain Bread (the second loaf from yesterday's batch)
Raw Organic Butter

Saturday evening:
Layered salad
Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits

Use as many fresh organic veggies as possible.
Our salad will be in this order:
Raw Baby Spinach
Romaine Lettuce
Spring Greens
Finely diced red onion
sliced carrots
frozen peas thawed
2 hard boiled eggs diced
1/2 pound crisp bacon
1 cup mayo with 1 tsp sugar (when I run out of my miracle whip & mayo I will start making my own.... I'll let you know how it goes!!)

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits: I will double this recipe so I can use the extras for biscuits & gravy in the morning.
2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 TBSP Baking Powder (aluminum free)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 c organic palm shortening or virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup buttermilk

In a bowl combine flour, bk pwd & salt & mix.
Cut into flour the shortening until it is in the consistency of course pea balls.
Gently fold in buttermilk until dough ball forms.
Put onto a lightly floured cutting board and mix only until their is no more dry ingredients. When making whole wheat biscuits the trick to them being fluffy is NOT to knead and over mix them.
Once the dough is mixed press with fingers until 1" thick. Flour a glass about 1" up and use it to cut your biscuits.
Place on a stone about 1-2" apart.
Bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Have a Happy Healthy Lords day!!
I'm off to plant 84 tomato plants and 48 pepper plants!! Here is to fresh organic food for almost free!! Hip Hip Horray!
Our Saturdays are very full with activity. Usually we are working around the house or yard, playing games together, reading, and being a family. This spring it will get even busier as we start the garden, and learn how to care for our livestock.

Many Saturdays we only have 2 meals. A large brunch between 10 & 11 a.m. Our brunches usually include eggs in some form, potatoes in some form, and a bread in some form. Why no fruit?? Because fruit is our "snack" in the afternoon. Today I withheld the bread because we were having potatoes. Since a few in our family are working on loosing weight the potatoes were enough of a starch for brunch.

Egg & Spinach Bake
Hasbrowns & red onions
Fresh Farm Milk

Creamy Potato Soup
Fresh Greens Salad
Homemade whole grain & flax bread

Egg & Spinach Bake
10 pastured organic eggs
1 cup Fresh Raw Milk with cream in it still (you could also use 1 c raw cream)
Cheese (swiss or a sharp cheddar are really nice)
Virgin Coconut Oil
10" skillet that is stove top and oven safe (cast iron or good quality stainless steel)If you do not have a skillet that is also oven safe you will have to do your sauteing in a pan then dump everything into a casserole or pie dish to bake in the oven.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Preheat skillet on Medium heat for a few minutes.
2. Chop onion of your choice (green, red, sweet vidallia, etc) and peppers if you like them. Today I used two green onions and about 1/4 of an organic green pepper (red would be pretty too).
3. Put a heaping tablespoon of Virgin Coconut oil in the skillet, melt and swish, then add onions & pepper sauteing until just soft (I don't like to over cook them). Add a heaping handful of sliced organic baby spinach and cook for only about 1 minute.
4. While onions & peppers are sauteing. In a bowl mix up your eggs, milk & grated cheese (about 1 cup of grated cheese). Add just a little sea salt (not much or it makes your eggs rubbery) and freshly ground pepper to taste.
5. After your spinach has sauted for just a minute spread it and the onion/pepper mix evenly over the bottom of the pan. Gently pour the egg mixture over the veggies.
6. Place pan in the oven for 10 minutes, if not fully set or golden crank the temp to 45 and cook for another 5 minutes or until golden.
Serve with homemade onion & potato hashbrowns and 1 cup of raw milk per person.

Potato Soup
3 stalks Celery
1 large Onion
bacon (1/2 pound)
1/4 - 1/2 cup dried chicken broth MSG & preservative FREE (see note below if you wish to use homemade stock)
2 1/2 -4 pounds of potatoes (red are wonderful because just scrub and use)
1 qt water
1 qt fresh milk
1 tsp pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley or 2 tbsp dried
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup raw organic butter or Virgin Coconut Oil (start with 1/2 & 1/2 then increase to full Virgin Coconut Oil as your family gets used to the coconut oil taste)
1 c raw organic heavy cream

1. Wash red potatoes and dice into bite size pieces. Cover with water in a pot and boil for about 10 minutes or until just soft cooked.
While potatoes are cooking:
1. Chop celery, onion, and dice raw bacon.
2. Place raw diced bacon in large stock pot and start to cook. After a few minutes add the celery and onion. Saute until bacon is crisp. Drain fat (especially if you are not using organic pastured bacon. If you are using organic pastured bacon then you can leave the fat because it is good for you!!)
3. Add to stock pot: water, milk, chicken broth powder, pepper, salt, parsley, and potatoes. Heat through but do NOT boil!!
4. In a skillet melt your butter/coconut oil. Add flour and cook for 1 minute.
5. Whisk rue into pot of soup and cook until thickened. DO NOT BOIL!
6. Just before serving add 1 cup heavy cream.
7. Serve with fresh thinly sliced green onions and a small sprinkle of sharp cheddar cheese if you want to be fancy!
CHEFS NOTE: If you are blessed to have a source for pastured organic chickens and you make your own broth from the bones, you can use 4 cups of that broth instead of the 4 cups of water w/ powdered chicken broth.
PLEASE NOTE: This is a very heavy and filling soup! I only allow my kids to have one serving of about 1 - 1 1/2 cups. We then serve it with salad and crackers or fresh bread.

Whole Wheat, Oat Bread

4 - 5 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (when I get to start using my grain mill I'll put in some recipes for "real" wheat, rye, and other types of bread items)
1 pkg active dry yeast (or 2 1/2 tsp from bulk yeast)
1 3/4 c water
1/3 cup sucanant or honey
3 tablespoons raw butter or virgin coconut oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup thick organic oats
2 tbsp organic flax meal

1. In a large mixing bowl (kitchen aid if you have it) stir together 2 cups flour and the years. In a sauce pan heat the water, sugar, oil/butter, and salt just until the butter/oil melts. Add water to dry mixture. Beat for 30 seconds then scrape bowl. Mix for another 3 minutes on high.
2. Add oats, flax meal and 1 cup flour. Mix well.
3. Slowly ad the remainder of the flour until you have a nice soft dough ball. Kneed for about 6 minutes in the kitchen aid or kneed by hand for 8 minutes adding flour as needed.
4. Remove dough from bowl and coat with virgin coconut oil. Put dough back in and cover with a clean towel. Place in a warm place until dough is doubled in size.
5. Punch down and divide the dough into two even lumps. Put on a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes.
6. Shape each dough ball into a loaf and place in a coconut oil greased stoneware loaf pan. Lightly brush top of dough with coconut oil or olive oil.
7. Put pans somewhere warm until they are doubled in size. (takes about 1 - 1 1/2 hours)
8. Bake at 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or until lightly golden and hollow sounding.

Happy Healthy Cooking!!
Friday, March 28, 2008
Sam is reading me the last chapter of his reading book for this week so I'm going to quickly share our dinner menu for tonight and a bonus recipe we made last weekend that was YUMMY!!

It is a tradition that our family have pizza every Friday night. Usually when people think of pizza they think of greesy gooey fat & calories. I'm still working on getting our pizza's fresher and non nitrate loaded (tonight we are still using up some pepperoni I had in the freezer).

Tonights Menu:
Pizza (I'll describe them below)
Fresh Veggies and dip
Organic Kefired Milk, Strawberry, Flax, Virgin Coconut Oil Smoothie.

Our Pizza Recipe: Makes 2 14-15" round pizza crusts
WW Pizza Crust (currently I'm using Organic WW pastry flour but once I run out it will be fresh ground Organic Hard Red Wheat Berry's)
3 1/4 - 5 cups flour
3 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups Warm Water (I find that the hottest water I can get from my tap works perfect!)
3 Tbsp Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Virgin Coconut Oil or a combination of the two.
Your choice of toppings.

For Crust:
1. Combine 2 cups flour, yeast, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add hot water and oil. Beat with electric mixer on low for 30 seconds, then on high for another 3 minutes (this gets the gluten going). If you have a kitchen aid mixer use the dough hook and you won't have to do any hand kneeding as you ad the rest of the flour cup by cup until you get a nice soft dough ball that leaves the sides of the bowl. Add a tich of flour as needed and "knead" in your mixer for 6 minutes. If you are doing it by hand. Add flour until you get a nice dough ball then move to a floured surface and add the rest as needed while hand kneading for 8 minutes.
2. Divide your dough in half, cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then press or roll the dough onto your pans (stoneware is best of course). I like to sprinkle a light layer of organic cornmeal over my stone before rolling out the pizza dough.
3. After topping bake in an oven at 425 degrees F. until cheese is melted and a light golden brown usually about 20-30 minutes. I do rotate my stones so they each have time on the bottom rack so the crust gets nicely browned on the bottom. Note if you use a metal pan you will need to reduce your heat to 375 for about 20-25 minutes.

We make one pizza that has a white sauce because Samuel cannot have tomatoes. The acidic foods really aggravate his psoriasis. My white sauce is a garlic ranch mixture that I make from sour cream (preferably organic), ranch seasonings or ranch dressing, fresh garlic and freshly grated Parmesan (if I have it on hand). We love topping our white sauce pizza with fresh green, red, and or yellow peppers, red onion, fresh spinach, canadian bacon, pepperoni(which I'm not buying any more after we are done with this package), or chicken (which I don't buy any more because I don't have a pastured organic source that I can afford currently.... but when we butcher our own we'll be able to have chicken again!). We then top it off with mozzarella cheese.

The other pizza is the "kid" pizza and usually has the traditional pizza sauce, pepperoni or sausage (from our local farmer) and mozzarella cheese.

Our Friday Night Pizza rule is one piece of pizza until you eat your serving of fresh veggies or salad. Then they can have another. We used to also serve soda until I was convinced that it wasn't only the sugar that was bad but the other chemicals and additives are even more dangerous. So, water and kefir are the beverages served!

Now for the bonus recipe (while Sam is writing his book summary).

This came from one of my favorite blogs She used to have a lot of great info for large families and still has her old blog which is LOADED with great info on home management and lots of recipes. She has 9 children between the ages of 16 and about 8 months. The baby was a premie so her live has slowed way down to meet his needs these past months. Anyway this weekend we made her homemade tomato soup.... YUMMY!!! I was SHOCKED as to how yummy this soup was. The kids practically licked the pot!!

Easy Homemade Tomato Soup
Chop an onion in the food processor, add celery and a carrot also if you want.
Heat half a stick of butter, or use olive oil, in a Dutch oven or large stock pot; add the chopped veggies and saute.
Mince a garlic clove or 2 into the pot.
Slowly add 1/4 c flour and blend.
Add 1 quart of any tomato product, canned or frozen, juice, whole tomatoes, sauce, fresh tomatoes -if you use puree or paste then use much less or add a lot of water. Diced tomatoes are the prettiest.
1 quart of chicken broth
pinch of baking soda
salt and pepper
1 t basil
Bring to a good rolling boil.
Add 3 c milk or cream and heat to almost boiling-do not boil. May use water instead of milk. We separate it at this point and make a small amount with goat milk for our girls that are allergic to cow milk.
Can make at 11:30 or so and serve or make early in the morning and put in crockpot to keep warm until noon.
Serve with cheese slices.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Have you ever set out on a quest to eat healthier, fresher, and yet keep variety and the ability to enjoy cooking all at the same time?? This is my current quandary. Through the reading of Nourishing Traditions and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle I am determined to stop feeding my family junk and start teaching them how to eat in a way that will allow them to have healthier lives.

Many of you know that I have struggled with my weight for years. I go up and down in weight and the ability to hold onto changes in my diet. I LOVE food!!! The Lord has been working in my heart and teaching me that I have been worshiping food as a god in my life and allowing it to consume me. As I've been researching out healthy eating I'm reminded again that food is supposed to sustain us physically and mentally in order that we might fulfill the spiritual path the Lord has for us.

We have been changing many things about our meals and meal times. We are working toward more fresh with an ultimate goal of eating more locally fresh foods from our own garden and those in our county.

So what was for dinner tonight?

Pasture Fed Beef Cube Steak (from a farm 5 miles away)Breaded with Organic Whole Wheat Flour, salt & Pepper and fried in Virgin Coconut Oil.
Mixed Greens, Spinach, carrots, peppers, and green onions. All organic but not local.
Organic Kefired Milk made into a smoothie with Strawberries, Organic Flax, & Organic Sucanant.

I'm looking forward to spring actually hitting the great north so we can plant our greens, cole veggies, onions & potatoes. This weekend Phil is bringing home raw cow milk YEAH!! We were so excited to find a source only a few miles from the house we hope to rent. It will be good to have REAL milk again! Not stuff that has been killed then fortified with synthetic vitamins that our bodies don't even absorb!!

Oh, and for those of you who are wondering if our quest for healthier food is helping me to loose weight. The answer is yes! Maybe in a couple months I'll post some before and after pictures. For now the loss hasn't been significant enough to really notice. I just feel a lot less puffy! So..... maybe I'll start posting menu's a few times a week showing how we are making our food changes in a healthy yummy way!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
It has been a while since I have posted. We've had a lot of sickness in the house while trying to get into a good school routine with Sam. School with Samuel has been going very well. We have gotten over the honeymoon which led to a few days of stress and have now settled into a routine that is going really well. I figure if I'm getting too stressed... it isn't working. So we've tweeked a few things and now have a system that allows Sam to get the basics done successfully and in a reasonable amount of time while having fun!! I'm thankful for the many
godly families out there with 10+ kids who have gone before me and have left websites, books, and suggestions along the way to help those of us who are squandering at their first attempts to homeschool.

I've been busy in my free time researching food, food storage, gardening, and livestock. Phil will FINALLY see the farm house we are hoping to rent next week we HOPE! He spoke with the landlord and they are still planning on renting it out and it may be available as early as May 1st! YEAH!! That will give Phil time to do some painting and get the garden going nicely! :-)

Currently we are waiting for our organic seeds to arrive so that Sam and I can get some of them started indoors as part of our science and math "fun" work!

The books I'm reading right now include: Parenting from the Heart by Marilyn Boyer, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, and Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

If you want to really find out about the food you are eating and why you may want to start having your own garden or at the very least buy local organically raised produce you'll want to read Animal Vegetable Miracle. If you want to explore the possibility that the five basic food groups might not be all there is to a healthy diet and know more about fats, milk, vitamins, minerals, carbs, proteins, etc, then you'll want to read Nourishing Traditions. WOW!! My eye's have been opened and my quest for a kitchen filled with good nutrition is becoming a passion as well as a fun learning experience. I've been reminded of many of the things I studied about health and nutrition 8 yrs ago and encouraged to do what I can to make healthy food choices for my family. And... I'm not talking about following the 5 basic food groups!!! I'll post more about what I'm learning and the changes we are making in other posts.

For now, I'm off to read for a few minutes before settling down to bed.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
I found another free resource for schooling printables. Sam's teacher actually told me about it so I can continue his Math curriculum. I don't have a text book but everything I need is in the printable area so I don't really need the textbook. If you are a home schooler check it out!

For Sam we continue to work on Multiplication as well as in his Houghton-Mifflin Math he is doing division. I've found several sites online where I can print practice pages for Multiplication and we are using eduplace or the division sheets since that is what he was doing at school.

This week I am reading: Parenting from the Heart by Marilyn Boyer a mother of 14. Yes that is right 14 -- fourteen!! She homeschooled them all. The ages currently range from 27 to I think 5 but it might be 7 and she is still homeschooling those that are home.

Off I go now to get dinner ready. My sweet Hubby comes home tonight and I want to have a nice hot supper ready for him when he walks through the door! Then I'll be off to my last Parent Teacher Conference here at Pembine.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
I am officially a Home Schooling Mom! On Monday we met with the school and pulled Samuel home. There are a number of reasons why we decided to make this move. First and foremost was that of a desire to spend more time with Sam with the intent of bathing him in scripture so that God can soften his heart. We started the week (Tuesday) with studying Col. 3:12-17. I have decided to use scripture for his spelling curriculum. So this week he is memorizing and learning how to spell all the words in verse 12. I really like this way of learning not only the Word but also the words. Through I was able to make up a cross word puzzle using the words in the verse. I'm enjoying using edhelper for my review pages as well as to design worksheets that focus on what I am wanting to help Sam with.

Our first two days of home schooling have gone very well. I know we are still in the "honeymoon" phase, but I'm very thankful for how it has started. It is amazing to me how much I am enjoying the challenge. I'm also looking forward to next year when I will be having all the kids all day long! They are looking forward to it as much as I am so that is even more exciting!! God has definitely turned all our hearts toward home schooling.

Sam is really enjoying being home. However, he does miss recess! :-) Right now we are trying to get the psorisis on his hands under control so I'm only letting him outside to play for about 1 hour once the other kids get home. We are doing 15 minutes of speed walking/light jogging in the house each morning too. I've also adopted my own version of "focus bucks". A little ticket system that my mother-in-law did with Sam when he home schooled with her in Canada a couple years ago. Sam is able to earn tickets for having a good attitude, trying his best, extra reading, doing his work neatly, and pretty much anything that I think exhibits good character or work. He can exchange his tickets for computer time or cash. He can also lose his tickets for bad behavior toward me or his siblings. The little system is working really well and is encouraging me to look for things to praise him for. He needs to be encouraged right now just as much as he needs to be admonished in the Lord.

So, as you think of us pray for me and Sam while we home school. We are usually busy with school from 8 a.m. - 1 or 2 p.m. So if you call me during that time you'll have to leave a message because we are busy with school. :-)

For those of you who are wondering if the house I mentioned worked out...We still don't know if the farm house will be ours yet. The appointment to see the house keeps on moving so once again God is teaching us to WAIT! :-) I will post once I know if we will be able to rent the house for sure or not.