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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Brainstorming 2015’s Resolution

Creating a New Year’s Resolution is one of my favorite things to do, even though I’ve never really carried out my resolutions until this year when I fought back against GMOs, toxic foods, and industrial-type farmed foods coming into my house. This year was so successfully that I’m finding myself getting really carried away with my thoughts for 2015. There’s SO MUCH I want to do to better our lives and keep on our track to self-sufficiency. I thought it might be fun to brain-dump potential goals here so I can sort them out and settle on just one or two big things. It’s so much better for me to focus than to overwhelm myself with trying to accomplish too much!

Here are some of my thoughts…

  1. Financial Health is a big one. There are so, so many things that could go into it. We could figure out ways to reduce our bills, like reducing our garbage pick-ups to once a month. But that involves making less waste, which could be a year-long goal all by itself. And of course there’s simply creating a budget and getting used to it, which could also take a year and would be a great resolution (we recently purchased the You Need a Budget software and I’d like to write about it as soon as we get it really set up). I’m lacking clear focus with this resolution, so I feel like it could easily overwhelm me. Still, it’s very important that we address some of the sub-goals I’ve thought up.
  2. Oral health is something on my mind a lot too. Having just finished the book Cure Tooth Decay, oral health is at the forefront of my mind right now. And if I was really sneaky, I could still fit this under financial health (healthier teeth = less visits to the dentist = lower healthcare costs) but even oral health in itself could have a lot of sub-resolutions. I’ll write about this more in my book review, but the book recommends both diet and hygiene changes that would be great focuses for 2015. And they’re just outside the norm that I feel it would be a more challenging resolution than growing more food. But on another level it doesn’t feel like… enough.
  3. Growing more food. According to my self-sustaining goal phases, this is to be my focus for 2015. There’s a whole bunch of sub-resolutions that could come into play here as well, but I think it’d be easier to break them up into smaller monthly goals (planning in January, starting seeds in Feb, adding to our garden infras     tructure in March, planting outside in April, etc). Accomplishing something each month would be a great motivator, too. I could totally fit this in with financial health (growing our food saves money!) but then I run into the problem of overwhelming myself again. I only stray from making this my official resolution because I know it’s something I’m going to do anyway and I’d almost like for my resolution to be less… predictable? Less of something that I know I’ll already do. Something that will challenge me.
  4. Then I get distracted by the idea of smaller monthly goals and want to do a whole bunch of smaller things: find out how to recycle more things, practice meditation, start reading before bed inside of watching tv, way less screen time in general, institue a family-wide bedtime routine (where we all brush our teeth and everything at about the same time in the evening, even if we don’t go to bed afterward, because there are things we should be doing at night that we rush through because we’re tired and just want to go to bed. Case in point, to continue my tangent: Mr. Handsome got me an oral irrigator for Christmas which I’m so excited about because it’s one of the things I want to try from Cure Tooth Decay, but I haven’t used it yet and yes that was a week ago! But every night I go to get it started and I’m too sleepy to want to really figure it out so I go to bed. Bad!). I know that if I had smaller goals I’d stay interested, feel accomplished, and get to work on a variety of things. It’d be hard picking goals for later in the year though, because I’d want to get to them now!

So as I look over this list I don’t know which one to pick. I think that due to the success of this year’s resolution I have put too much stock in coming up with a good one for 2015.  I just want to learn as much in 2015 about something as I did with food this year! I’ll keep thinking about it tonight – I’ll have plenty of time since we’re staying up late!

Happy New Year!

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Year in Review

It’s almost 2015! Lately my mind has been on coming up with a great resolution for next year. BUT, as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself. We still have a day or two left of this year and as excited as I am about the possibilities for all the improvements that 2015 can bring, I think I need to pause for a moment and reflect on the accomplishments of 2014.

At the beginning of 2014, I set my resolution to remove all the GMOs from my house. The idea wasn’t to search and distroy within my pantry but rather do a slow replacement of offending items as they ran out. A nice, easy transition.

Things started to snowball around the middle of the year, though, and before I knew it I was learning not just about modified foods but about pesticides, chemical additives, industrialized food, etc. That transitioned into learning about grains and why they aren’t fulfilling my family’s nutritional needs. From there we did food allergy testing on our son to see if we could nail down some persistent digestive issues… and we discovered the need to keep out wheat as well as spelt, diary, eggs, and peanuts. And more research has led me to try to restrict certain other foods, like nightshades (potatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes).

This year has been a big learning experience with food. And we’ve come a long way as a family with our diet. We started the year very grain- and dairy-heavy: lots of cereal, lots of cheese, lots of baggies of processed snacks and a whole pantry of dinner “helpers” in a box and processed convenience foods. Now we still have a couple snack foods that we buy but we’ve switched to buying brands with more quality ingredients. We read labels on everything now and we try to make foods rather than buy them.

Speaking of making foods, now we cook all our meals at home, three times a day (I work from home which helps with this tremendously). We went from going out to eat at least once or twice a week to family meals out maybe twice in the last few months (it’s easy to stop eating out when you’re avoiding just about everything on the menu!). This has been really great on our pocketbook and it’s really easy to avoid the “no” foods by just not being around them. But we’ve had to learn to cook everything!

I wasn’t too much of a cook before this year. I could make a mean boxed mac n’cheese. I could bake chicken and stuff too, but cooking a whole chicken or making a vegetable without a cheese topping really wasn’t my thing. This year I have learned so much about cooking and baking. I can make several meals without recipes now and I have lots of resources for finding things to eat when I get stuck. I meal plan every week – no more winging it like I used to! I know how to properly use and care for my cast iron pans (that I had but only used a handful of times before this year – now I use them at least once, sometimes two or three times a day!). I’ve totally changed how and where we shop for food so that we can buy from local farms and outside the industrialized food system.

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My latest meal planning tool – the list of foods we can eat!

 

I’ve learned that a lot of the food out there today is just plain not food. I’ve learned that I want to participate in a better food system, and if I really want to bring about change then I must be conscious of how each one of my food dollars is spent. We buy from local farms because organic is good for us, but we also buy that way because we’re supporting a way of growing food that is sustainable on every level: good to the Earth, good to the animals, good to the workers, good to the neighbors, good for the community, on and on and on. Yes it is more expensive but what is the true cost of the alternative? The cost of food is not just what I see on my receipt!! It’s in how the workers are paid so they can contribute to a healthy economy, it’s how the animals are treated so they are healthy and strong (cause if they’re not healthy my meat isn’t going to be too healthy eaither), it’s in the way we treat the Earth so we have fertile soil and clean air to keep growing healthy food, it’s in the LACK of government subsidies that decive customers with food prices that are unsustainably cheap. That cheap food is costing us much more than the tax dollars we spend on the subsidies. In my opinion, it is not sustainable or responsible to turn a blind eye to what we buy.

Out of everything, the biggest thing I learned and my family learned is just general awareness of food: what’s in it, where it comes from, who makes it, why it’s good for us or not, where we can buy it, etc. This year of discovery has completely changed everything about food for us and I’m so glad we opened this can of worms and started making these changes!

Weekly Lunch Wrap Up #14

Lunch time! Here’s what Kiddo1 ate for (most of) last week…

Monday

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Leftover beef meatballs. We’re still working through the ground beef of a quarter cow we got this fall. We still have like 8 pounds of ground beef left!

Tuesday

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We cheated a bit in the previous night’s “Meatless Monday” and added a little sausage to our spaghetti squash. We had this last month on Mr. Handsome’s birthday and it was so good I thought it was worthy of a cheat. Kiddo1 will even eat squash this way… as long as the meat-to-squash ratio leans carnivore.

Wednesday

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Leftover chicken tacos and peas. I’m just happy I remembered to take the Wednesday picture this week!

Thursday

…because I forgot the Thursday picture! Two weeks in a row that I’ve forgotten one! I believe Kiddo1 had a lettuce wrap with pork and cucumber, but I can’t remember for sure. He ate, though, that’s for sure!

Friday

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A fun theme lunch with stick-shaped foods! And Kiddo1’s latest favorite – the tiny oranges. Mmmmm, small fruit.

If you’re reading this post I hope it is helping to inspire healthy lunches for you! Thanks for viewing!

Weekly Lunch Wrap Up #13

Time for another post of the week’s lunches! This one is from last week. Kiddo1 was out the week of Thanksgiving so no lunch post from that week. Actually, he was out the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through Tuesday after, so I really just combined the short pre- and post-Thanksgiving days into one week. I thought that detail might be boring though, so I was going to leave it out. But then I thought I might as well be truthful. So there you go.

Monday

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Cubed foods day! A little fun to offset a drerry Monday. Kiddo1 had cubes of ham, carrots, and cucumber, with two chocolate cubes (Missionary Chocolates are vegan), and -gasp- oval-shaped grapes.

Tuesday

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Keeping it simple today – a lettuce wrap stuffed with ham and cucumber, some carrots and grapes, a little more Missionary chocolate (a slice of dark chocolate and peppermint flavors), with some apple-blueberry granola too.

Wednesday

I haven’t forgotten a picture in awhile, but I did this week. It was a nice looking lunch, too, so I was pretty bummed about it! I was going to try to draw a picture of it but that actually would have just been me tracing an old photo of tacos for lunch and I just don’t feel like doing that. Kiddo1 had leftover beef tacos, a clementine and a cookie.

Thursday

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On Thursday, Kiddo1 had leftover pork tenderloin, carrots and romanesco, a clementine and a little over half of one of the leftover apple cider donuts that we had for breakfast that morning.

Friday

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Somehow by Friday morning we had ran out of meat and I was taken a little by surprise at that! Luckily we have bacon for breakfast on Friday, so Kiddo1 got a little less bacon in the morning (with a little more fruit to make up for it) and he got what I like to call a BLC salad – bacon, lettuce, and cucumber (I’d totally put tomato in there but he won’t go for it just yet). He also had carrots and applesauce for dessert.

 

Thanks for tuning in!

Weekly Lunch Wrap Up #12

More lunches! I’m still catching up from my blog break so I’m a little behind with my lunch posts! This one is from the week before Thanksgiving.

Monday

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I haven’t done many silly things with the lunches lately, so for Monday I cut everything into strips. If only I had an elongated fruit, I could have kept it up! Alas, we had grapes that day. And Enjoy Life cookies – the soft ones that Kiddo1 still likes.

Tuesday

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More ham on Tuesday – we didn’t generate a lot of leftovers this week I guess! I was already in Thanksgiving prep mode and I didn’t want anything cluttering up the fridge! So Kiddo1 had a salad with ham and cucumber, plus some strawberries and an Enjoy Life cookie.

Wednesday

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Leftover tacos! These are turkey tacos – our last taste of ground turkey before turkey leftovers take over the fridge next week. Kiddo1 always has his tacos with a little romaine and cucumber. Rounding out the lunch are some grapes and another Enjoy Life cookie.

Thursday

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He really wanted another taco! And I really wanted to get rid of the lingering leftovers – must have space for the turkey! Sure I still had three days to clean out the fridge… but you can never be too prepared. Anyway, Kiddo1 also had applesauce and a coffee cake-style muffin, with the standard carrots and cucumber veggie sides, of course.

Friday

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Not a lot of creativity with lunch this week! But we did manage to get Kiddo1 fed with healthy foods and he wasn’t complaining so I guess the week wasn’t so bad after all! We finished it up with almost an exact repeat of Tuesday’s lunch, except our sides are applesauce and carrots instead of fruit and a cookie. He happily ate it all!

Weekly Lunch Wrap Up #11

Lunch wrap up time! I’m catching up after a few weeks of blog break, so this post covers lunches over Veteran’s Day week.  Only four lunches since we had Tuesday off!

Monday

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Monday was Mr. Handsome’s birthday and we celebrated with cupcakes. They were pretty good – I posted the recipe on Instagram I think… I’ll see if I can find it and update this later. So Kiddo1 had one of his dad’s birthday cupcakes for lunch, plus pumpkin seeds we roasted on Halloween, a kabob of turkey meatballs, and chopped carrots and cucumbers.

Tuesday – No school Tuesday for Veteran’s Day

Wednesday

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Leftovers of Tuesday’s tacos were for lunch on Wednesday. We had beef tacos and cauliflower rice. Kiddo1 isn’t a fan of the cauliflower rice though, so he got broccoli instead. Totally a fair trade, I think. And for dessert there was applesauce.

Thursday

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What would we do without carrots and cucumber? They’re Kiddo1’s favorite veggies so he gets them often. They came with some leftover chicken, another of Kiddo1’s favorites. For dessert he had an Enjoy Life cookie.

Friday

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More carrots! And there’s cucumber in the lettuce wrap. There’s also some meat in there but I can’t at all remember what it was! Kiddo1 had another Enjoy Life cookie for dessert. It was one of the crispy ones and he says he doesn’t like them anymore. So that’s cool I guess! Also, as you can see from the paper in the pumpkin seeds I am still sending jokes with lunch, although lately they have been less frequent. I’ve ran out of jokes already!