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Month: December 2017

Monthly Meal Prep for Our Family of 4-5

Monthly Meal Prep for Our Family of 4-5

How Can I Feed My Family?

This is a question I ask myself a lot. It comes with other questions like “What can I feed my family that is healthy?” or “What are the meals my family will actually eat?” or “What do I have time to make that is easy?”. This also comes along with budget and cost of meals too.

This question became even more daunting for me as my son Noah turned 2, and we found out we were having another boy. Would I have the time and the space to cook for everyone and their appetites without going crazy and needing to haul trucks of food to my house?!?! I needed a PLAN.

To add to the task, Brynn, my step-daughter, is a picky eater and is only with us half the time. So, I had to make a plan that would have healthy meals that catered to her modern child taste buds. I also needed a way to track meal planning with Brynn’s schedule. This helped me make a good rotation that would provide variety and allow me to plan shopping and prepping food ahead for quick meals.

28 Dinner Meals (4 Weeks)

Week 1: (M-no Brynn, T-Th-Brynn, F- no Brynn)

Weekend 1: (just me and the boys)

Week 2: (M-Brynn, T-Th- no Brynn, F- Brynn)

Weekend 2: (with Brynn)

Week 3: (M-no Brynn, T-Th-Brynn, F- no Brynn)

  • Chili – sweet potato/bacon/etc
  • Bean and Cheese Quesadillas
  • Pork and ramen noodles
  • Sweet Potato Bar Night – bacon, sour cream, cheese
  • French Dip Sandwiches – gluten-free bread, bottle red wine, beef broth, 3 lb brisket

Weekend 3: (just me and the boys)

Week 4: (M-Brynn, T-Th- no Brynn, F- Brynn)

Weekend 4: (Brynn)

  • Bacon Potato Soup (with cassava flour) or butternut squash soup
  • Honey ham (buy one without nitrites/sulfites, sugar), mac and cheese (using chickpea pasta and arrowroot starch), peas
Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Treats

Christmas sugar cookies are my absolute weakness! However, when I discovered that refined sugar was a sensitivity for me, I knew I had to find a good substitute. I love that this recipe is easy to make and has great ingredients. I love that this recipe is gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I don’t feel bad about indulging one bit!

The frosting is made with collagen, palm oil, and raw honey. My body loves it and just wants to gobble it up. Yes, part of that is because it tastes so sweet and delicious. The collagen offers great protein. The palm oil is a wonderful source of vitamin E, and the raw honey contains lots of B vitamins and enzymes. We even used natural food coloring.

Traditions

I love that I can still have my treats and share this tradition with the kids. Plus, I always want to provide the most nutrient dense options for growing kids, and I don’t really want to deal with a cranky kid that is coming off of a sugar crash.

Noah and I loved making these cookies together. This might be my favorite cooking adventure with him yet! We got so messy that Noah had to wash off in the sink I guess, and he is definitely a batter eater like his mama!

Watch Noah and I bake and decorate our cookies here!

Check out the original recipes here:

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving Leftovers

What do you do with all that turkey?

Sometimes it is hard to get creative with using up all of your Thanksgiving leftovers, and kids (and adults) don’t always want to eat all that turkey and mashed potatoes in the same way for the next week. Plus, it would be nice to have some lighter options that are easy to throw together, right? That’s what I thought.

So, I gathered up two ideas for some gluten-free, refined sugar-free, egg-free sandwiches to use up some of those leftovers. I made a cranberry, brie, and turkey panini and a cranberry BBQ slider.

The first option uses up some cranberry sauce, turkey, and your cheese of choice. I think swiss, sharp cheddar, gouda, or maybe even blue cheese would be great, but I went with brie cheese. The cranberry sauce I used for both options came from the FlavCity blog because it is only made with cranberry juice, orange juice, cranberries, and honey. It was so easy to make and tastes very traditional if you like stuff from a can even. It is a great flavor for kids.

For the second option, I snagged Giada de Laurentiis’s cranberry BBQ sauce recipe, but I used Tessamae’s BBQ sauce because it is sweetened with dates instead of sugar. I liked adding some grass-fed sharp cheddar on top of the turkey too.

Watch Noah and I make our leftover paninis here!

Thanksgiving Dishes

Thanksgiving Dishes

Happy, Healthy Holidays!

The holidays are already stressful enough. So, if you are trying to eat healthy or cater to food sensitivities that can only add to the work. For our Thanksgiving meal I wanted to cook a meal that was gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and egg-free for my family.

I loved the recipes I found to make our Thanksgiving a little healthier. The sweet potato casserole, gravy, biscuits, stuffing, and biscuits added elements to the meal that are traditional favorites. My family didn’t notice any lack of flavor with these better for you versions, and some of them they liked better!

I loved that the cranberry sauce was SO EASY to make, and I was able to put it together while I was cleaning dishes one night. Many dishes I could make ahead and save time on the day of. It made the holidays so much less stressful.

My Favorite Part of Thanksgiving

©TimeFramePhoto.com

My favorite way to start the day is by doing our local Turkey Trot in Lansing. We love to dress up and run together. This year, I let Noah out of the jogger right before the finish, and we were able to jog in together. It was so fun!

Plus, we get to see all of our friends from our running group. It is such a fun, happy atmosphere along with the exercise.

Watch Noah and I make the recipes here!

Sweet Potato Casserole

Check out the original recipe here. For our version, we used a banana instead of the egg. It worked great, and the banana added some nice sweetness to the taste. I even made this a week ahead and froze it to save time on the actual day (and space in my refrigerator).

Caramel Cheesecake Bites

Check out the original recipe here.

Other Recipes I Made

 

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes

Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes

Yes, More Pumpkin…

Have I mentioned my family loves pumpkin?!?! On weekends, I love to make fun breakfasts for my family, and this one was a hit. It is a recipe from the Eat This, Not That blog. However, I think it is important to share with parents the “healthy” recipes that kids will actually eat and that actually cook up correctly. Enjoy!

Watch Noah and I make the recipe!

Find the recipe here.

Tomato Soup and Gluten-Free Bacon Grilled Cheese

Tomato Soup and Gluten-Free Bacon Grilled Cheese

Cheap, Easy Weeknight Meal

I have been loving the idea of soup and sandwiches with the fall weather cooling down. However, I wanted something easy to make that I could still control the ingredients.

So, I found a great recipe for a copycat version of Panera tomato soup, and I modified some of the ingredients. Then, I put a fun spin on the classic grilled cheese and purchased ingredients I felt comfortable with.

Even with grass-fed, gluten-free, and organic ingredients, the meal per person was less than $6.50, and I am sure that many people could find even better deals on some of the ingredients than I did.

Watch Noah and I make the recipe!

Ingredients

Panera Copycat Recipe found here.

  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 14 oz can chicken broth {or 2 cups}**
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • ⅓ cup grass-fed butter
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk/cream
  • 1 tsp dried basil

**Note: It is ideal to make it using chicken bone broth.

Directions

  1. Combine the tomatoes, broth, and garlic. Bring to a boil, and let boil for 10 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the sugar and butter and mix until they are completed mixed in.
  3. Stir in the basil and coconut milk. For the coconut milk, select the portion that is the cream.

Cost of Ingredients

I bought the ingredients that I could on Thrive Market.

  • 1 14 oz can chicken broth {or 2 cups} – ideal to make it with bone broth – $5.29/32 oz – $2.65
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar – $4.55/16 oz bag = $0.30
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk/cream – $2.39/can – use about half the can – $1.20
  • 1 TBSP dried basil – $3.45/container – estimate $0.20
  • Schar multi-grain bread – $4.99/loaf

I bought the rest of the ingredients from the local store.

  • ⅓ cup grass-fed butter – average price for 8 oz Kerrygold is $3.50. So, I am going to estimate $1.25 spent on the butter that actually goes into the recipe.
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic – $4/container – estimate $0.25
  • Raw grass-fed cheese – $8.00 for one block (and I will use half of it probably)
  • Pederson Farm’s pasture raised bacon – $7.00/package –  if it isn’t all put on the sandwiches it will get eaten anyway
  • 1 28 oz can organic crushed tomatoes – $1.99
  • 1 28 oz can organic diced tomatoes – $1.98

Note: use cooked off bacon fat and extra butter while cooking the sandwiches

Cost per Person (Family of 4)

1.99 + 1.98 + 2.65 + 0.3 + 1.2 + 0.2 + 4.99 + 1.25 + 0.25 + 4 + 7 = 25.61/family of 4 = $6.40/plate

Baked Burrito Casserole

Baked Burrito Casserole

Crowd Pleaser

I found a recipe I figured my family would like and one that I could make several batches of and freeze. This recipe will please even the pickiest eater with the creamy, cheesy taste mixed with the taco flavors! It is gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and egg-free.

I found the original recipe on the Written Reality blog, but I swapped some of the ingredients for better options to use cassava tortillas, preservative free ingredients, and pasture-raised meat and dairy.

Noah and I had such a fun time making this one together, and there was SO much clean up to do after! However, the adventure and the meal were worth it!

Watch Noah and I make it here!

Ingredients

Find the original recipe here.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Dice the onion.
  3. In a large skillet, cook the onion in some butter or oil until golden brown. With kids, it is important to really caramelize the onions so they have a sweet flavor.
  4. Add the beef to the onion, and cook until the beef is no longer pink.
  5. Add the packet of taco seasoning and can of refried beans to the pan. Stir, and heat through.
  6. In a separate bowl, blend the cream of chicken soup with the sour cream. Add half of this mixture to the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  7. Add a layer of cassava tortillas on top of the soup mixture. Cut some of the tortillas in half so you can cover the whole casserole.
  8. Spread on half of the ground beef mixture.
  9. Top with a cup of cheese.
  10. Repeat all of these layers, and top with the remaining cheese.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes, and serve. If you are storing in the freezer, let it cool, cover, and then store. Make sure to label it with the date and recipe name.
Triggering Labor Through Supporting Lung Development

Triggering Labor Through Supporting Lung Development

Lung Development

  • lung surfactants – made of 6 types of fat and 4 proteins
  • surfactant protein A (SP-A) –  has collagen-like domains similar to SP-D
  • phospholipids – fat (lecithins)
  • cholesterol
  • calcium dependent lectins

Ways to Support Lung Development

  • exercise
  • eating vitamin D rich foods
  • eggs – yolks contain lecithins
  • meat (white meat is the best)
  • collagen – powder or bone broth
  • colloids – butter, collagen, eggs, gelatin, bone broth, mayo
  • beans (sprouted)
  • fruit
  • vegetables
  • support immunity – vitamin C and zinc
  • spices/pungent foods – horseradish, ginger, mustard, garlic, onion, etc – “Pungent foods generate the lung”
  • white foods – potatoes, apples, cauliflower, oats, rice, almonds, onion, garlic
  • fermented foods – saurkraut, kombucha, kefir, yogurt
  • warm foods

Relaxation

  • lower your cortisol
  • massage
  • no chores
  • low child stress

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surfactant_protein_A

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulmonary_surfactant_protein_D

https://www.bellybelly.com.au/birth/what-causes-labor-to-start/

The Lung in Chinese Medicine

https://www.google.com/search?q=chinese+medicine+foods+lungs&rlz=1C1NHXL_enUS734US734&oq=chinese+medicine+foods+lungs&aqs=chrome..69i57j0.6351j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

http://www.itmonline.org/5organs/lung.htm

http://breathe.ersjournals.com/content/9/6/476

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3929318/

Top Foods for Healthy Lungs

https://www.livestrong.com/article/163935-fetal-lung-development-stages/

Lung Health