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Whole Food Eating for the Newbie

 *Be aware that the following links for Real Food for the Real Homemaker are affiliate links on my behalf.* 

Are you new to whole or real food eating? Maybe you know you need to take your meals in a healthier direction but you’re unsure how. I know that’s how I was for years. Low fat, low carb, high protein, no fat, sugar substitutes….which one is right!?

Well, I am not here to tell you what is right or what you and your family should eat or not eat. I’m just here to share my experience.

Growing up, I never thought much about what I ate. We ate out a lot and had a many frozen meals when I was a kid. Both my parents worked and I’m sure it was a challenge feeding us kids when they would work late and come home exhausted. We were definitely a packaged meal, canned soup, microwave dinner kind of family. I didn’t really know any different.

We ate that way for a long time into our marriage too. Cream of mushroom soup, processed meats, box mixes. But after my second baby, I was diagnosed with Insulin Resistance. Then with our third pregnancy, I developed gestational diabetes and they discovered that I had hypothyroidism. I knew we had to do something. I prayed, Oh God…please do something. I do not want to end up with diabetes. Please. Show me the way, Lord.

Well, God is faithful and He showed up. A friend of mine and her family invested in our lives and shared their struggle with food and how God had transformed their lives by the way they ate.

One of the kids developed Crohn’s disease. She was on countless medications and even steroids to maintain her “health.” She gained a significant amount of water weight. Then her mom found out about the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. She learned how to prepare food traditionally in order to maintain its nutritional benefits and help the human body digest things properly. After changing their diet, their daughter’s health came back almost fully! She is healthy now, following a strict diet, but she is thriving.

So what changed in my life? Well, for starters, we try not to buy processed foods. Check out this post for more details. We also stopped drinking soda. We started making food at home and we began learning about good fats and fermenting foods.

You’re probably thinking, great…but what kind of results have you had?!  At least that’s what I would be thinking….Well, since beginning this diet January 2013, my husband and I have lost roughly 15-20 lbs each. I have lost 4 inches and we have each gone down a pant size or two. Not only that, but they have lowered my thyroid medication dosage. We are on our way to healing!

Now, that being said, we do not follow this diet to a t. We are still learning and we still eat things that are probably not great for us. But you know what? That’s ok. Stressing about what we eat only makes things more difficult. We still enjoy our food, we still eat plenty, and we still go out to eat sometimes. I’m sure with more dedication, we would see better results.

Maybe you’re sitting there and you’re like I was… You know you need to make a change but you’re unsure of the direction you need to go. Well, I am here to help!

 

As you might now, I am a contributing writer for Young Wife’s Guide and the author of that website, Jami, has begun another website called, Homemaking from Scratch. Well, she and two other authors have launched a real food cookbook called, Real Food for the Real Homemaker.

I really appreciated this cookbook. It helped me simplify some recipes and also gave me ideas for new recipes which was a huge help to get my family out of our “food rut”. One thing this book helped me do was start making my own tortillas. It’s so easy! Now, I don’t have to spend a bunch of money on sprouted or simple ingredient store-bought tortillas and I certainly don’t have to give my family the GMO-ladened, store-bought tortillas either.

The book is full of helpful tips and information and great recipes to help you get started on your real food journey. Right now since they are just launching this eCookbook, it’s on sale! For $9.99, you get the eCookbook (with kindle version included), printable recipe cards, and a meal planner too.

So check it out!

Don’t be scared of real food eating. Start small and simple. Learn the basics.

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Pizza Quesadilla Recipe


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This is super easy and fast way to feed your kids a nutritious meal.

You can make these as a quesadilla or you can even make your own personal thin crust pizza.

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First, you’ll need all of your ingredients. We just chose to do only mozzarella cheese but you can do any pizza topping you like. You’ll also need tortillas and tomato sauce.

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We chose to use sprouted wheat tortillas. Read about why sprouted grains are good for you here.

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We also used cheese from grass fed cows that we ordered from our co-op, Frankferd Farms.

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And for the tomato sauce, we used Muir Glen tomato sauce. Not only is it delicious, but it’s actually on the more reasonable end of the price range.

DSC_7011 DSC_6993Shred or break apart your cheese and put it on your tortilla.

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You can put it on the whole tortilla like this. Or you can put it on half like the one below.

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Next, place another tortilla on top, or fold it in half.

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Then, bake them at 350 degrees for about 5-7 minutes on each side. Or until the cheese is melted.

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DSC_7004Don’t forget to flip them over and bake it on the other side for 5-7 minutes.

DSC_7006Cut and serve. Yum!

When they’re finished, serve with the tomato sauce (heated) for dipping.

DSC_7016This makes a great little lunch or quick supper. With more toppings, it could make a really yummy pizza too! Add a salad, soup, or fruit to make this a super yummy meal that your family will love. Enjoy!

Pizza Quesadilla Recipe

Makes 3 large Quesadillas

Ingredients

1 Pack (6) Sprouted Tortillas (we like Alvarado Street Bakery)

1 can of tomato sauce and any seasonings for it! (Italian seasoning…pizza seasoning…garlic…..)

Mozzeralla Cheese- We used about 8-10oz. But you can put on as much as you like!

Other pizza toppings: sausage, pepperoni, peppers, tomato, onion, mushroom…etc.

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Shred or break apart your cheese and put it on your tortilla.
  3. Next, place another tortilla on top, or fold it in half.
  4. Then, bake them at 350 degrees for about 5-7 minutes on each side or until the cheese is melted.
  5. Cut and serve.
  6. Serve with the tomato sauce (heated) for dipping.

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Laundry, laundry, everywhere! (Including homemade laundry detergent recipe!)

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Photo by Average Jane

If I could name one major challenge that I’ve had during my career as a wife and mother…it would be laundry. It used to rival doing dishes. But now laundry is my only despised household chore. I’m not sure why I hate it so much. But my disdain is completely evident. Piles, piles everywhere.

I came across this post that has tips to make laundry easier and simpler. So of course, I was interested. One thing that hit me was the name of this website. Simplify 101. Simplify. In my mind, simple is best. It’s just getting to the point of simplicity that’s the hard part. So, I am trying to make laundry (and other things in my house…) simpler by de-cluttering, thinning out everyone’s wardrobe, and storing items we aren’t currently using but want to keep.

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With five people in our household, we have a lot of clothes. Organizing laundry is full time job anyway, but add that on top of three kids, daily cleaning, dishes, gardening, writing, cooking, ministry…and you get prioritizing. And laundry makes the bottom of the priority list.  Unfortunately, that makes things even harder because cleaning the bedroom or even making the bed isn’t very easy when there are piles of laundry everywhere.

So, Aby, the writer of the laundry post, suggests to get started whittling down the laundry by cleaning and putting away every piece of clothing you own. Everything. She says:

Get Caught up! Yep, that’s right. Step one is a laundry fest. Get every single article of clothing and all your linens washed, folded and put way — even the hand-washables! Block out a day, a few evenings, however long it takes, and get caught up. Laundry is your mission, but you can have some fun along the way too. Fold while you watch your favorite T.V. show. Bring a portable CD player into the laundry room. Have some snacks. Read a great book between loads. Do whatever you need to do, but get caught up!

That’s the hardest step for me! She goes on to talk about the other steps- 2.) Do laundry a little more often. 3.) Make it simple. 4.)Separate as you go. I would even add one more. If you can, hang laundry outside to dry. That way, you at least get a little fresh air and sunshine!

So I will be working on step 1. Slowly. You can keep up with me by following along with my laundry/homemaking posts. And don’t be shy… share some of your worst laundry nightmares, or your biggest challenge in keeping a home and share it below.

Along the lines of laundry, I have a wonderful recipe for you! It’s our homemade laundry detergent recipe! Get excited! No more buying that expensive, watered down, chemical-laden, dyed,  laundry soap from the store. This recipe will only cost you about $10 to start and $1 per batch after that. Check out the original recipe here.

This recipe will last us about 4-5 months. Sometimes more. I think it has lasted up to 6 months before. It’s fresh smelling even if you don’t add essential oils. It is even gentle and tough enough for cloth diapers. This soap is a lifesaver. And what’s even better? My husband makes it for us!

Homemade Laundry Detergent

4  Cups – hot tap water
1  Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

– Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

So get in there, make some soap, and do some laundry! You know I will be!

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Whole Food Eating:Guacamole Recipe

I thought I’d share one of my favorite recipes with you! You can also check this recipe out on my photography blog here. Check out my homemade guacamole recipe:

 

     I love avocados. No, I really, really love avocados. They are so delicious and they are so good for you! Their texture is smooth and just plain delightful. Just cut it in half and spoon out the wonderfully, creamy goodness. (I told you I love avocados!) So what would be a better recipe to make with my beloved avocados than my favorite dip: Guacamole! Who doesn’t like good ol’ guac? I sure do.

     Now, it hasn’t always been that way. I never liked guacamole growing up. To me, it looked like something incredibly nasty…I’m sure we’ve all had our own opinions on what guacamole looks like… Anyway, I hated the thought of it even though I hadn’t really tasted it much. Then one day, I came across a recipe that changed my life forever. Homemade guac! Uh! It looked delicious. So, I decided to give it a try and it has been a family favorite ever since. It never turns out exactly the same every time, but that’s what I love about it most. Unpredictable Guacamole. It sounds dangerous, exciting, and so incredibly yummy.

Homemade Guacamole

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 ripe avocados

1 bunch cilantro

1 lemon or lime

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

1-2 tsp finely chopped fresh garlic

1/3c-1/4c sour cream

sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Method:

Slice the avocados lengthwise around the pit. Once you slice all the way around, it should twist apart easily.

 Remove the pit. Sometimes it comes right out and sometimes it needs a little encouragement. You can use your knife to pluck it out or you can just pull it out with your fingers.

 Once you remove the pit, you can remove the meat of the avocado. An easy way to do it is to score it into small cubes. You can also take a spoon and scoop it out whole.

 Once you have all the avocado scooped into the bowl, you can start preparing the other ingredients.

Cut the stems off of the cilantro. We dont usually use the whole bunch. We use half and then use the other half for something else. Make sure you wash it really well.

Once the cilantro is completely washed, chop it finely.

 Add in the chopped cilantro, lemon or lime juice, shallot, garlic and then the sour cream.

 Mash well.

 Don’t forget to mix in salt & pepper to your liking.

And there you have it. Fresh homemade guacamole. 🙂 Dig in!