Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Foods That Improve Your Quality of Life: Dark Chocolate

I was so excited to find this out.  Dark chocolate just happens to be one of the foods that makes you smarter and less stressed
A 2009 study of 30 individuals fed 40g of dark chocolate per day over a 2 week period showed a decrease in urinary output of the stress hormones cortisol and catecholamines.  

Another study indicates that the flavanols in dark chocolate help to increase blood flow to the brain and also to lower the stress level in those attempting spacial tasks.  

As the researchers put it, “Cocoa flavanol consumption may increase neural [brain] efficiency in spatial working memory function” (Camfield DA et al. 2012)

Remember though, not all chocolate is created equal.  Try to go for fair trade and at least 72% cocoa in whatever you purchase.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Focusing on Core Competencies: Minimizing Breakfast

I've recently been listening to the book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think on audiobook and, although it is geared toward the career woman, I've found some things that the author states to be highly practical advice.  After all, while I may not get paid for my work, with homeschooling and taking care of a very large household, my hours are definitely not a 9 to 5 job.

One of the things that the author stresses is finding your 'core competencies'.  The things that one does best that no one else could quite do as good of a job, and then focusing the main working hours on these things.  That means that things that are not core competency need to be outsourced, minimized or ignored.

So, as I'm revamping my daily schedule I'm working on outsourcing, minimizing or ignoring the things that someone else can do and that do not lead me closer to my goals.

Here is one thing I've come up with:

While I love cooking, breakfasts and lunches are not my favorite things to make.  So, my first step was to minimize breakfast, both the cooking and the clean up.

Breakfast needs to be over fast so we can start our homeschooling day and lunch comes right in the middle of schooling.  I really don't like taking the time to cook these meals.  However, on a real food diet, buying boxes of cold cereal is not an option for us.  And I like the children to go low on the carbs and high on protein for most breakfasts.

My solution (and remember, I'm feeding 13 people!):
  • Cook up 3 dozen hard boiled eggs on the weekend.  That gives me two mornings of eggs and fruit.  It's an easy prep and an easy cleanup.  
  • Also, baking 4 pans of soaked granola at one time will give me two more mornings of easy breakfast.  
  • A couple bags of make ahead frozen smoothies are a special treat.  
  • And then 4 dozen soaked muffins will round off the week.  

Over the next few weeks I'll be posting more ways to minimize, outsource or ignore the things that need to get done, but aren't my core competencies thus freeing up the set hours I have to be able to concentrate on other things.  Like my real food cooking or spending quality time with my children.

If you have any ways that you minimize the tedious to find more time in your day, please post them in the comment section.  I'd love to hear your ideas!

And if you want to check out the book I mentioned, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, I think any mom, those who work for pay and those who don't, would appreciate some of the advice.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday May 10th, 2012

Housekeeping: clean out refrigerator
Weather: rainy all day
brown rice
(I'll be posting my recipe tomorrow for GNOWFGLINS Seasonal Recipe Round-Up)
-radishes are looking great and needed to be thinned
- beets are coming up
-onion sets have started to turn green
Notes of the Day:
- Began a donation bag for Saturday.
- Agreed to make cookies for Bella's Day of Recollection before her First Holy Communion

This post is modeled after Dawn's posts at Daily Domestic Bliss

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Raw Milk Contraband

Watch this amazing video of SWAT team style raids on farms selling something that has been consumed by humans for thousands of years but is now considered 'black market'.

These are families just trying to feed their families what they know is nutritionally superior food and they are treated as criminals.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Sauteed Chard with Butter and Parmesan

Beautiful chard!  And it is amazing what a little butter and parmesan can do to it!

Wardah from GNOWFGLINS has offered a challenge to blog about cooking seasonally and this week the focus is chard.  So the following is my very simple recipe for Sauteed Chard with Butter and Parmesan.

If you are new to cooking seasonally, you may also be new to chard.  This recipe is difficult to mess up and the taste will bring chard back into your kitchen again and again.

First, I separate the leaves from the stems.  The stems I save for another recipe.

I boil the leaves in heavily salted water for about 4 minutes until they are tender.

While it is boiling, I grate up a handful of parmesan cheese.

After the chard has wilted and become tender, I drain it and then let it cool enough to chop it.

Then, I melt about 3 tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet.  I add the chard and sauté until it is warmed through and I then toss in the parmesan.

This chard recipe is absolutely delicious.  As you can see from the picture, one bunch does not make a huge amount, but this is easily doubled or tripled.


1 bunch of chard
3 tbsp. butter
handful of grated parmesan


Remove stems from chard and reserve for another recipe.
Boil the leaves in a large pot of heavily salted water for about 4 minutes or until wilted and tender.
Drain the leaves and cool, then coarsely chop.
In a medium skillet melt 3 tablespoons of butter.
Add the wilted chard leaves and heat through.
Toss with a handful of parmesan cheese.

This post is part of GNOWFGLINS Seasonal Recipe Round-Up

Saturday, April 28, 2012

What is NOT real food?

In case you are new to real food and don't quite understand what it is, let me begin by telling you what it is not.

  • If a fifth grader could not pronounce the ingredients or it has more than five ingredients, then the product probably is NOT real food.
    • Look at the labels on some of the products that you regularly purchase.  Here are the ingredients for Utz Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips.  How many would a fifth grader not be able to pronounce?  What ARE those things that you would be putting into your body?

      • Potatoes, Cottonseed Oil, Dehydrated Whey, Dextrose, Salt, Shortening Powder (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate (Milk Derivative)), Dehydrated Sour Cream (Sour Cream (Cream, Nonfat Milk, Cultures), Cultured Nonfat Milk.

  • Refined sugars are NOT real food.  This includes white sugar, cane juice, corn syrup, and any artificial sweeteners.  There are some wonderful real food alternatives to using refined sugars in cooking.  

  • Refined grains are NOT real food.  This includes white flour and white rice.  Items that you buy that contain flour must state whole wheat, not just wheat.

  • CAFO produced meats and eggs are NOT real food.  

Florida chicken CAFO
    • If you don't know what a CAFO is, it's time you found out! CAFO stands for Confined Animal Feeding Operation.  As you can see from the photo, CAFOs are more of a factory than a farm.  Not only is too much manure concentrated into one area which leads to the necessity of using antibiotics, but to increase and quicken weight gain, the animals are fed growth hormones, some of which are genetically modified.

  • Foods that don't eventually rot are NOT real food.

    • When I first began going to my wellness doctor, he had a loaf of white bread on the counter where I checked out.  Next to it was a sheet of paper tallying how many weeks it had been sitting there.  I remember looking at it at 8 weeks and it still looked the same!  It never rotted.  The bugs and organisms that cause decay wouldn't even eat it!

Switching to a real food diet can be difficult for some people.  Knowing where to start by knowing what to avoid can make the transition a little smoother.

This post is part of Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I've been listening to the book The Money Saving Mom's Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year and what a great book.  There is an entire section on slashing your grocery budget.  Crystal has so many great tips for Moms on how to get your life in order, not just your budget.  From how to cut clutter, run a yard sale and earn extra money here and there, it is just full of wonderful ideas.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wisdom from Julia Child

"Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen, because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music." ~Julia Child

Genetics or Behavior

Dr. Terry Wahls explains that lifestyle choices, what we eat and do, have far greater impact than genetics in determining the health we have. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Money Saving Diaper Coupon

I use Seventh Generation diapers for my little guys and right now they are offering a $1.00 off coupon for signing up at their website.