Monday, February 28, 2011

Woman, Nourish Yourself

Today is a busy, busy day for me. Our Saturday was filled with me running in the 10K, and then Mr. Strong fixing my sister's brakes. So today is catch up day on normal weekend cleaning and cooking.

Because I'm running around so much today, I thought I would repost a post from last year on my workout log.

But first, it is Menu Plan Monday!!

I am really tight on time this week, and I will be using the menu provided courtesy of of Money Saving Queen and Mommy Hates Cooking. This week's menu features a recipe for Baked Chicken Spaghetti! Yummo!

Check out Menu Plan Monday at Money Saving Queen for a dinner menu, complete with recipes and matching coupons as a bonus!

Woman, Nourish Yourself!

One of the most important aspects of taking care of yourself is making sure you eat right, or for starters make sure you eat at all.

We women fill many roles in life. And we keep ourselves so busy within these roles that we neglect ourselves, especially when it comes to eating for lunch or dinner.

In my personal experience, the largest role I fill is that of housewife and mom. As a mom I am normally so busy helping with school work, trying to keep up with laundry, chasing a toddler, continually filling the dishwasher, errands, volunteer work, school meetings, (notice I didn't say actually cleaning my house), etc.... that it's common for me to look up at the clock to realize it's already late afternoon, and my stomach is telling me it needs some attention! And not only my stomach, my brain is also a bit fuzzy because it too is in need of some fuel.

I make sure my kids get a decent lunch, but often neglect to stop and sit myself down to eat.

Whatever role you are filling today, there's a very good chance that you have neglected yourself once again by not eating a decent lunch. And most likely you'll have a not so good dinner.

Maybe your role is as an office worker, compelled to stay at your desk by a large pile of files in your inbox. Or your role is in the medical profession, kept busy by the constant demands of patients and their lack of time management. Or your role is caretaker, caring for a sick or elderly relative, and constantly putting their needs before your own.

Woman, you need to take care of yourself. You need to make sure you get a break in the day and eat some lunch.

No, a can of slim fast is not going to cut it. And no, a soda and a corn dog from the convenience store isn't going to cut it either.

Eating a good lunch or dinner will help make sure you have the fuel your body needs to make the necessary energy for the rest of the day. Without it, you most likely can't give he best you can give to whatever you are doing.

If you don't love yourself enough to take care of yourself, how can you truly love others in your life?

A good nutritious lunch doesn't have to be complicated. But it helps if you do a little planning and a little prep work ahead of time. This way you're not hitting your lunch break on Wednesday, wondering what you're going to eat, and end up grabbing something from the snack machine because it's close at hand.

For example...

A quick mid week salad is easy to toss together if you take a few minutes to wash, dice, and slice a variety of veggies early in the week.

Cook a whole turkey for dinner (or buy deli meat) and portion the leftover meat into zip lock baggies for a quick grab protein (freeze what you can't use within a few days, and just grab baggies out of the freezer as needed).

Hard boil a dozen or two eggs for snacks throughout the week. Steam and mash several pounds of sweet potatoes for an easy lunch heat and eat side dish .

A good nutritious lunch doesn't have to be complicated.

Taking just a little time to take care of yourself in this way will go a long way in your effort to help others in your life.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Child's Prayer

God make my life a little light,
Within the world to glow,--
A tiny flame that burneth bright,
Wherever I may go.

God make my life a little flower,
That giveth joy to all;--
Content to bloom in native bower
Although its place be small.

God make my life a little song,
That comforteth the sad;
That helpeth others to be strong,
And makes the singer glad.

God make my life a little staff
Whereon the weak may rest,--
That so what health and strength I have
May serve my neighbor best.

God make my life a little hymn
Of tenderness and praise,--
Of faith, that never waxeth dim,
In all His wondrous ways.

Matilda B. Edwards

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

One Pot Roast - Two Meals

As many of you noticed, the cost of food has gone way up. Way, way up. As the money keeper and cook of the family, I have to use a little ingenuity to make the food budget stretch farther.

I shop sales, and I do use coupons when I find coupons for the products I use. But the food budget is still really tight. Whatever I can do to make meals go farther, I do.

A roast is one of the easiest ways to make a meal that can actually stretch to two meals.

Whenever I make a chicken or beef pot roast, I add all the veggies I can fit in the pot. Veggies such as potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, onions, garlic, peas, etc. Then I add my spices and herbs, maybe a can of diced tomatoes, and let it slow roast for an easy meal that day.

Whatever meat and veggies are not eaten in the evening can be placed in freezer containers or baggies with the juice from the pot to freeze for a quick stew later. If you have a larger family, and not very many veggies left over, simply keep a gallon freezer bag in the freezer to add any leftover veggies to. Every time you have a roast, add whatever leftover veggies you have to the baggie. When the baggie is full, you have enough to make a yummy stew. Be sure to add any meat bones you may have as well.

For stew, simply toss the frozen veggies in a pot, or the crock pot. Add some beef/chicken broth, water, a can of diced tomatoes, 3/4 cup of barley or rice, and your favorite herbs. Let simmer for several hours.

Serve with home made Feather Bread, a salad, and tea.

Do you have any tips you can share to help others stay with their food budget? Share them in comments below, or post them on YOUR blog and leave a link below in comments.



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sourdough Bread - A new start!

One of my favorite breads to make is Sourdough Bread. I love sourdough bread for the taste and texture. Some time back I showed you how I made my Sourdough bread.

I've decided to restart a new sourdough starter this week. The last starter I had fizzled out after a few months for some reason. I will blame it on the Oklahoma humidity, and not on my lack of culinary skills.

When you have a sourdough starter, you have a pet of sorts. It is really fun to watch the sourdough starter begin from simple rye flour and transform into a bubbly mixture. To me its a calmer form of a pet that does tricks.

The recipe I use is from "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon. It is also the same Recipe in Above Rubies Magazine Issue #76, by Serene Allison.

All Sourdough Starters are started basically the same way.

First you sterilize a jar or a bowl. I bring water to a boil in a tea kettle, and then pour some into the bowl or jar and let the steam sterilize the inside. Let it cool to the touch and pour out the water.

In your bowl or jar, add:
1 cup flour
1 cup of filtered water

Rye flour is the best flour to make your starter with. Cover with a double layer of cheesecloth, or another breathable cloth.

In my last post I told you to use Honey, but I have since learned honey is not necessary, and it can actually lead to the failure of your starter.

Every day for 6 more days, sterilize a new jar or container. Pour your starter into the new container, and add 1 cup flour and 1 cup water. The changing of the containers helps to ensure you are letting the starter catch the wild yeasts in the air, and it discourages bad bacteria.

As the days go on, you will need a larger container. I use 1 gallon plastic pitchers, or 1 gallon glass pickle jars. Do not use a metal container, because the metal will kill your yeast.

After a few days you should see your starter begin to bubble, and it might have a slight alcohol smell. At the end of the 7 days, it will be really nice and spongy, and have a sweet/sour smell.

Use your starter to make sourdough bread (see the recipe and link to the video by Serene on the original post), but leave 1-2 cups in reserve to continue growing starter.

Feed your starter 1 cup flour and 1 cup water every day, stirring it around. Give it a new home once a week by switching it to a clean container. And keep covered with cheesecloth or another material.

Here is what my new starter looks like after only 2 days.

Isn't it pretty?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Meal Plan Monday 02/14 - 02/19

Here's our menu for this week in the Childress household.

Are you on a really tight budget and looking for a yummy meal plan? Check out Menu Plan Monday at Money Saving Queen for a dinner menu, complete with recipes and matching coupons as a bonus! Courtesy of Money Saving Queen and Mommy Hates Cooking.

Now back to our menu.....

Monday: Breakfast - Scrambled eggs, cheese, fruit
Lunch - Tuna and spinach wraps, carrot sticks
Dinner - Spaghetti - Making a double batch of sauce to freeze

Tuesday: Breakfast - Overnight Crock Pot Oatmeal, blueberries and strawberries, milk
Lunch - Toasted Cheese Quesadilas, celery sticks, peanut butter
Dinner - Chicken and Wild Rice casserole

Wednesday: Breakfast - Mushroom, spinach and onion omelet
Lunch - Peanut Butter and honey roll ups, cheese cubes, berries
Dinner - Crock Pot Roast and Potatoes

Thursday: Breakfast - Oatmeal
Lunch - Sandwhiches, peas
Dinner - Stuffed Chicken Breasts in Pastry Dough, making a double batch to freeze.

Friday: Breakfast - Yoghurt and fruit parfaits, baked oatmeal
Lunch - Grilled Chicken and Spinach salad, orange slices
Dinner - Slow Cooker Chili via Mommy Hates Cooking

Weekly items to be making today:

Feather Bread - Via
Baked Oatmeal - Via
Carrot and Celery sticks
hard boiled eggs
Black Bean Salsa

We're out of laundry soap, so I will be making laundry soap today as well.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentines Day Crafts - Hand Made Cards

Valentines Day is only a few days away.

I am not the best at keeping up with holidays or mailing cards, so any holiday requiring a gift or card usually leaves me scrambling to get something suitable mailed to relatives. And I admit, there have been many years my in-laws didn't get a Valentine's card from my littles.

But this year we are ahead and got the cards crafted and mailed early....

This great Valentines Day Craft idea, thanks to Mom Life Today, gave me the inspiration I needed to come up with a cute card that we all could do together, and I already had most of the materials, so it was pretty inexpensive as well.

The basic materials are simply construction paper, decorative tissue paper, plain tissue paper, scissors, makers, and glue.

All Nice and Neat Before Pic

Following the instructions in the Mom Life post I cut out roughly circular shapes of 6 sizes. I cut each circle out the layered tissue paper to make multiples of each size, and alternated cutting sizes from the plain tissue paper and the printed tissue paper. I also cut out hearts from different colors of construction paper.

Next each of the kids trace both of their hands, and cut out the hand traces (with help of course).

Each of the kids picked what color they wanted their card to be, and we folded the construction paper in half width wise. On the front we created the tissue rose by glueing each of the circles in layers, starting from biggest to smallest circle.

Then glued the "hands" on the inside, with a heart in each hand.

These are my hands
They bring you my love
Hug them
and hold them close

I Love You

My 11yo designed her own card.

The finished results
A beautiful bouquet of roses
.... and the aftermath of paper-scraps.

Disclaimer - This big beautiful house, and all the kids in the pics are not mine. My friend graciously let me "borrow" her home and her kids to do this craft with, while they are out of town. :)