Motherhood – What Would the Dowager Countess Do?

If you don’t love Downton Abbey, then this post won’t make a whole lot of sense to you, nor will you find it humorous. I like humor, and often find it a good way to relieve stress, though I’m not in the slightest funny. But I got to thinking the other day when my children were needing extra attention, whilst giggling to myself and wearing a smirk on my face, what my favorite witty character on Downton Abbey would do or say when faced with various motherhood situations.

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If you don’t love Downton Abbey, then this post won’t make a whole lot of sense to you, nor will you find it humorous.  I like humor, and often find it a good way to relieve stress, though I’m not in the slightest funny. But I got to thinking the other day when my children were needing extra attention, whilst giggling to myself and wearing a smirk on my face, what my favorite witty character on Downton Abbey would do or say when faced with various motherhood situations. While I don’t make a practice of this–I usually go away and pray, I did find considerable amusement that day. I made some memes here in this post to brighten your countenance.

Motherhood requires more energy than I would have ever imagined. I always thought that I would instinctively just know the right things to do or say. My children would require teaching and lots of love, of course, and I imagined having a few small attitude issues to deal with.

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When I became pregnant, I began observing the other mothers around me. I mentally noted how they interacted with their children and decided which strategies I believed in and which I didn’t. I had my game plan all figured out. What I never accounted for in all of my planning, and what I still occasionally struggle with, is how I would deal with my attitude and outlook toward motherhood and my role in the family.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results. If this is true, we mothers are insane. When you explain to a child for the millionth time that something is a bad idea and will cause them harm, so they should avoid it, or the like, it wears on your heart. Are they even listening to me? Am I making any difference?

For this reason, I sought out a mentor, someone to encourage me along the way. Funny thing is that I found more like ten mentors. My motherhood mentors were/are the authors of the various books I read to gain insight and wisdom from those who have gone before me. If you are raising children, you need a mentor (or ten!). It’s also probably best not to take the parenting example of the Dowager Countess! 🙂

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The books above on Motherhood  are a great place to start and are being offered as part of the Ultimate Homemaking eBook Bundle. I have read several of these books and love them! I would not recommend them if I didn’t. I am especially looking forward to reading Hula Hoop Girl because I often find myself putting on too many hula hoops! I need to know my limits, which hula hoops are the ones I need to keep up and which ones are okay to let fall.

These eight books alone would cost over $60, but until 5/5/2013 you can get them in the bundle along with over 80 other helpful eBooks and eCourses for only $29.97.  Get these books now and start the mentoring process. Your heart will be glad you did.

 

My Eight Year Old Cooks Real Food – And Your Kids Can Too!

The other night my three children, ages 8, 4, and 3 cooked dinner for the family by themselves (I snapped this pic above as evidence!). No, this is not a dream, and yes, it was perfectly edible, tasty, in fact.

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The other night my three children, ages 8, 4, and 3 cooked dinner for the family by themselves (I snapped this pic above as evidence!). No, this is not a dream, and yes, it was perfectly edible, tasty, in fact. You see,  I have always been the main cook in the family. I am very blessed that my husband is happy to relieve me some days, and knows his way around the kitchen very well. I enjoyed cooking from scratch even before my real food days, but once I added in the extra preparation of soaking, fermenting and sprouting, I knew that it was going to be exhausting to keep it all up by myself. Besides that, I had become convinced that the best way to help my kids begin to make good food choices was to get them in the kitchen with me every day and forming good food habits.

How It All Started

My oldest, who is now 8, has been in the kitchen with me since she was about 2, though we didn’t start doing real food until she was 5. She began cooking entire breakfast meals and a few other things by the time she was 7. As soon as my younger daughter was about to understand and recognize numbers, about three, I taught her how to measure out and soak rice, beans, and oats. My baby, who is now 3 (wow!), happily stirred things for his sister, or was the designated taste tester.

My oldest daughter wanted to make a video (on the fly!) to show other kids the how-to of soaking beans and rice. She doesn’t get into the nutrition explanation of it so much, though she does understand why we do it, but it’s a good demonstration of something that she has been able to do for quite some time now. She is now capable of cooking many meals on her own. That dinner we ate the other day was a recipe she concocted all by herself! Little sis helped measure ingredients and my little man helped chop some things in his chopper.

How Can You Get Your Kids in the Kitchen?

Lorelei is getting more passionate about what she is learning and wants other kids to know that they can do it too! All of my kids appear with me in the Real Food Kids eBook and eCourse on GNOWFGLINS, the point of which is to give parents helpful strategies, tools, and encouragement to invite their children (all ages!) into the kitchen, in real-life learning situations, in order to teach them the importance of real food, nutrition, and cooking. These are life giving skills that are just as important as the daily hygiene practices and household chores we teach our children. Our motto is “Everyone eats, everyone cooks!”

 

Disclaimer: The post above contains affiliate links. Eat Nourishing will receive a commission if you purchase any products through this link, which helps support this site. We would never recommend any product to you that we didn’t love.

A Sneak Peak Video for Hard Working Moms

Do you ever get tired? Are you an introvert like me and need some quiet time everyday or your head will explode? Do you spend energy studying and soul searching, trying to be the best mom and wife you can possibly be? I feel so privileged to have my family and am honored to be able to stay home and use my gifts to nurture and grow my family and home, but I can’t do it alone!

to do listI am forever searching out helpful tools to make things more efficient, spending hours reading blog posts, ebook, and regular books. Learning from others who have gone before me has been transformational in my life. In the past, I had a tendency to compare myself to these seemingly perfect women, but I’ve learned that we don’t all have the same giftings or personalities, and each of our families are unique because of such. Now, I thoroughly enjoy reading books, blogs, and watching videos of other moms and wives to try and get some of their insight. I have a teachable spirit, rather than a judge mental one. Getting into the heart of these other ladies has incredibly changed mine.

That is why I am so excited about this homemaking ebook bundle! Before this bundle came about, I had already read many of these resources for my own personal journey. I have to say that these ladies touched and changed my heart and family (and they will yours too!) with their words of wisdom and helpful tools. This past week I’ve been catching up on the ebooks I hadn’t read and I am reminded of so many things that I have set aside. Even though I have been consciously working on my intentional living, there are always things I need constant reminding of.

I put together a short video to preview the bundle. Feel free to share it with your other mom friends. This bundle would make an excellent Mother’s Day gift!  (I’m probably buying one for my sister and mother-in-law–hope they aren’t reading this…) I’ll be vlogging (video blogging) about some of my favorites next week, so check back!

You can see all of the items being offered in this bundle here. The sale starts Monday. Please sign up below to be notified when the sale is live, do you don’t miss it. This sale won’t be repeated and it’s for 6 days only!
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One Dish, A Thousand Ways: The Breakfast Skillet

A Sourdough Cinnamon-Walnut Pinwheel Log
A Sourdough Cinnamon-Walnut Pinwheel Log I made.

At the beginning of my real food journey, I was really into sourdough. I mean, really into sourdough. I made everything sourdough. I made so much sourdough that I made things with sourdough that no one ever thinks to make with sourdough. Once I learned some tricks and gateway recipes from the Sourdough A to Z ebook at GNOWFGLINS (she has an eCourse on the subject as well!), I took off. Then it was all sourdough waffles, sourdough pancakes, sourdough english muffins, breakfast burritos made with my sourdough flour tortillas every. single. day. Yes, we were loving our sourdough.

It’s true that grains are more easily digested when they’ve been fermented (sourdough) or sprouted. These two ways of processing whole wheat, rye, emmer, kamut, einkorn, and other grains greatly reduce phytic acid which is bound up in the grains in order to protect them. Phytic acid steals important minerals like iron from your system in order to digest, thus robbing your body of vital nutrients. So if you’re going to eat real whole food and you’re going to eat grains, please ferment or sprout them. However, there are days in everyone’s busy life when you gotta say, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” (couldn’t resist *chuckle*)

Some days it just doesn’t happen. Even though I may have a menu plan, even though my kids know how to take care of a starter, something goes awry and I am unable to prepare the night before, or something comes up and I don’t have time to wait for proofing before we run out of the door. On days like this, I turn to my loyal, unfailing friend the breakfast skillet.

Asparagus Bacon, Onion Breakfast Skillet
Asparagus, Bacon, Onion Breakfast Skillet cooking

Now there are countless renditions of such a magnificent dish. So many, in fact, that I don’t have time to go through them all here. But I will say this: All breakfast skillets should (not must, but should) begin with a base of seasonal veggies and pastured eggs. Yes, you could make one without eggs if you have an allergy. Where you go from there is only limited by your imagination. Try add ins such as bacon, sausage, salmon, leftovers from previous night’s dinner, cooked beans, cooked rice, seasonings, sauerkraut, fresh herbs, cheeses, sauces, need I say more? The egg can change as well. You can have scrambled eggs, poached eggs, fried eggs or steamed (coddled) eggs in your skillet.

Lately, this is how my breakfast

skillet creations go:

1. Check produce on hand and select whatever veggies sound good that morning. Don’t be afraid to try ones you’ve never had for breakfast before! One of my favorite variations was made with brussel sprouts!

2. Chop said veggies and begin heating a medium cast iron skillet on low heat. Add in a tablespoon of fat of choice (lard, tallow, coconut oil, ghee). We typically use virgin coconut oil for this, but not everyone likes the taste. You could always use expeller pressed coconut oil if you don’t.

3. Add any meat to the skillet (if using) and saute a minute. You could also add in other solid mix-ins like beans or leftovers at this point. Also, this is a good time to add spices if using.

4. Add in vegetables. Saute veggies for a few minutes. This part is tricky. You have to be careful not to overcook the veggies here as they will continue to cook after you add the eggs, so keep that in mind.

5. Crack in enough eggs for the family. Put a lid on the skillet and let the eggs cook until desired doneness. This is my favorite way to do it, steamed (also called coddled). You can choose to scramble first if you want, but this way is easier, which is kinda what we’re going for in this recipe. I coddle the eggs for about 3-4 minutes to keep the yolks runny, but cook the whites.

6. Meanwhile, while eggs cook look for herbs to add and other toppings. Lacto-ferments are great here. Also cheese, tamari, crispy nuts/seeds, yogurt, sour cream, and avocado.

7. Scoop portions out and serve with your toppings.

My favorite skillet combo last month was shredded brussel sprouts, caramelized onions, garlic, coddled pastured eggs, cayenne pepper and butter.

What would be your favorite breakfast skillet combo?

 

 

This is About to Get Personal: How Far Are You Willing to Go to Feed Your Family Real Food?

Sacrifices for NutritionIf you’ve been hanging around EN for any amount of time you may recall that the site was originally started as a way to support our family while my husband was in seminary and only able to work part-time.  A lot has changed since then.

The site took off like wild-fire and began to get so big that I needed to either do it full-time (which was really out of the question, since I homeschool the kids and do a myriad of other things), or I had to scale it back. We ended up choosing the latter and preserved our sanity and our family. At the time, it seemed wise, but we didn’t foresee what was down the road for us.Frozen Dinner

Unfortunately, our decision also resulted in a loss of income from the site, which we assumed would happen. But that, along with the dwindling (previously abundant) side jobs my husband could now barely get to make up for the lack of full-time work caused us to prayerfully consider something that others would outright call crazy. In fact, they did. But I won’t get into all of that craziness right now.

Health and life are pretty up there on our priority list for our family. Even with awesome suggestions for cutting a real food budget down to size, like those I got from the Everything Beans ebook and countless blog posts from my blogger friends, it still just wouldn’t cut it. When we checked the budget numbers (and checked them again!), staying in our home meant eating Top Ramen and other nutritionally void, yet cheaper food like those Swanson dinners….eew. I was sick to think of it. Sure we could eat beans and peanut butter for every meal, but how healthy is that?

Instead, we made a careful and calculated decision to live within our means, however small they were, and still preserve our family’s health through nutrition. What did we do? Inspired by the Tiny House Movement, we bought a bus! Yes, we bought a school bus on eBay and converted it into a home to live it without going into debt. For real. It’s actually quite cozy and we are loving it! I’m not just saying that. We really love it. We haven’t even been able to travel in it yet for lack of funds (though she runs like a champ!), but we will be taking several trips in the coming months. This accounts for our absence around the site for the last few months.

Skoolie
Our Skoolie home. Bus sweet bus.

You can read about our conversion and see photos of the process on our Skoolie blog. Here’s my Pinterest board with some ideas for a skoolie home. Also, Wardeh at GNOWFGLINS did a podcast interview with my husband and I when we were mid-conversion where she asked us all sorts of questions about how we would do real food in a small kitchen (especially since our family cooks together), how would we homeschool, organization, and more! Listen to it here (just click play in the player below to stream the podcast):

Watch for a follow-up podcast interview with us coming soon where Wardeh gets the scoop on what it’s like for a real food family of 5 to live in just under 300 sq. ft.

You can support our efforts here on Eat Nourishing  to provide free Real Food recipes by using any of the affiliate links throughout the site. We get a small commission and it doesn’t cost you any more. Also, please visit our sponsors and affiliates in the sidebar!

Got any questions for me?

Tell us, how far would you be willing to go to feed your family REAL food? Would you ever consider living in a bus?

Real Food Camping: Grain-free Pizza Pockets

Yesterday, we spent all day at the beach playing in the sand and pretending the water wasn’t cold. By the time we got back to camp, it was late and everyone was ravenous. I needed to make something fairly quickly, but it was still going to take a little time, so everyone ate a Lara Bar while my my husband started the coals.

On the menu today was Pizza pockets. I’ll admit, this was a bit of an experiment. I had it in my mind that I would make pizza of some sort while we were camping as a sort of treat for the kids. I didn’t quite know how to do it until I went way back in my memory to my days of being a Girl Scout. Really, that’s where I learned all of my outdoor cooking skills. If I can build an oven out of cardboard and aluminum foil, then surely I could make pizza while camping.

The only slight issue was that we dot make traditional roll-out pizza dough anymore. Our favorite gluten-free, grain-free recipe is more of a thick batter. Plus, I wanted to keep it finger food and he less dishes the better. What I came up with was so super easy and the results were scrumptious. They ended up looking like little Hot-Pockets, but actually had nutrition.

Grain-free Pizza Pockets Serves 8
2 cups blanched almond flour
1 cup arrowroot flour
1/2 cup milk, milk kefir or coconut milk plus 1 teaspoon vinegar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons grain-free baking powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
3 cups of diced “toppings” (cheese, peppers, onions, sausage, mushrooms, whatever you like)
3 cups marinara sauce

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Beat eggs and add milk. In a separate bowl combine herbs, salt, flours and baking powder.

Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until a thick batter forms.

Add your diced toppings to the batter and mix until combined.

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Divide the batter between 8 sheets of parchment paper. Put the parchment paper on top of a sheet of aluminum foil.

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Wrap the paper and foil together “butcher style” leaving a little room for expansion around the batter.

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Place over very hot coals and put some hot coals on top. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Open a pack and poke it with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, it’s done.

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Enjoy it dipped in warm marinara.

Real Food Camping: Grain-free Sausage Pancake and Ultimate Bacon-Avo Grass-fed Burgers

Yesterday we had good ole scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast. Lunch was the usual foraging. Dinner was amazing. I am sorry to say I didn’t get a pic because my phone was dead. In any case, I will put the recipe up anyway.

Ultimate Bacon Avocado Burgers Serves 6

2 lbs grassfed ground beef
2 pastured eggs
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 jalepeno, minced
Unrefined sea salt
Pepper
Garlic powder
6 slices bacon
3 small sweet onions, sliced
2 avocados, sliced
3 tomatoes, sliced

Heat a cast iron skillet over a barbecue. Cook bacon slices until desired. Remove from pan. Add sliced onions to bacon fat. Sprinkle with salt and move skillet to upper rack. Cook onions until caramelized, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Add chopped cilantro, chopped green onion an jalepeno to ground beef. Beat the two eggs and add them to the beef. Mix until combined. Form into 6 patties and sprinkle the surface of the parties with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Cook burger patties on the grill over medium heat for 3-4 minutes in each side. Do not over cook or they will be dry.

Top each patty with one bacon slice, a spoonful on caramelized onions, avocado slices and sliced tomatoes. Enjoy!

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For breakfast this morning, we enjoyed a Sausage Pancake cooked in the Dutch Oven along with soft “boiled” eggs cooked in the coals without a pan.

Grain-free Sausage Pancake

6 large pastured sausage links
3 eggs
1/2 cup grassfed milk or coconut milk plus 1 tsp vinegar
1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 cup arrowroot flour
1 tsp grain-free baking powder
1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Place hot coals under your Dutch oven and in the lid to preheat it.

Brown your sausage links in the bottom of the hot Dutch oven for about 5 minutes. Remove.

Carefully, place a parchment paper liner in the bottom of your Dutch oven and put the sausages back in. Our oven was a little too hot and started to scorch our paper. Next time less coals underneath. Maybe 10 or so.

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Combine wet ingredients. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until a thick batter forms. Pour the batter over the sausages.

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Return the lid (should have about 10 coals or so on top). Bake for about 15 minutes or until slightly golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

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Campfire No-pan “Boiled” Eggs
6 eggs
Newspaper or paper towels
Aluminum Foil

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Wet the newspaper or paper towels. Wrap around individual eggs. Then, wrap aluminum foil over each paper wrapped egg. Put eggs onto hot coals and cook for 6-10 minutes depending on how you like them. turn them around every couple of minutes.

Also included in our breakfast time was making new batches of milk kefir and water kefir and chopping some produce so it will be easier to use tonight. We are off to the beach for the day so it will probably be a late dinner. I want to make it as quickly a possible. Everyone is amazed at the real food we are making!

Real Food Camping: Grain-free Berry Grunt Breakfast

We got here a little late last night and ended up eating a light dinner. This morning’s prep work included getting our water kefir, milk kefir and sour cream fermenting, as well as soaking rice.

Breakfast was a delicious (albeit a little sweet) mixed berry grunt. What is a grunt, you ask? It’s similar to a cobbler, but a biscuit like crust which steams onto of the fruit mixture. The dough soaks up to fruit juice as it cooks. Easy to make in a Dutch oven. I’ll post the recipe here (from my phone) and I’ll repost it to the main recipe database when we get home so you can save/print it easier.

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Grain-free Berry Grunt

2.5 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp grain-free baking powder
2 pastured eggs
1/3 cup melted butter or coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Zest from one organic lemon (optional)
2 lbs mixed berries

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Get coals going about 30-45 minutes before you start.

Line a 12 inch Dutch oven with parchment paper (makes for easy clean up). Once your coals are done spread half under the oven and put the rest on the lid to preheat it for ten minutes.

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Pour berries into hot oven and allow to cook about ten minutes with the lid on or until bubbly.

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Beat together wet ingredients. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until well combined.

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Remove lid and plop batter in by tablespoon full.

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Return lid with coals still on top and cook for about 25 minutes or until top is golden.

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Eat and enjoy! Serves about 8.

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(Almost) One Week Real Food Camping: The Planning

Excited. Tired. Pressed for time. That’s how I feel right now as I am trying to plan for our one week camping trip at the lake. Our family has been eating real food for some time now and we’ve been camping many times doing it. This time will be a little different. My husband and son have both recently found out that they cannot tolerate gluten. So our family has been gluten-free for a while now. Previous camping menus relied heavily on sourdough products for sandwiches and breakfast items.

Surprisingly, I am not finding it all too difficult to put together a gluten-free real food camping menu for our one week trip. We tent camp, so that means no stove and no oven. Yes, I suppose we could purchase the propane Coleman versions of those items, but we like to rough it. We will be bringing our water kefir and milk kefir to maintain and enjoy on the trip since we are in the habit of doing them.

I’ll share the recipes for some of these as we make them during the week and link back here. When we get home I’ll upload them to the recipe database as well.

Note: Menu subject to change with my exhaustion level, meeting and sharing with friends and catching or gathering game, fish or wild veg or if I come up with something better.

Equipment:

2 cast Iron skillets
12″ Dutch Oven
sharp knives
cutting board
hand-cranked egg beaters
Gigantic Ice Chest plus Normal Ice Chest
Funnel, Sieve, Quart Sized Mason Jars (for soaking grains and doing ferments)
Wooden Spoons
2 bowls
Spatula
Foil
Parchment Paper
Measuring spoons and cups

Things to Prep before packing:
Grate Cheeses, chop veggies, make lara bars, soak and dehydrate nuts, make dips and salsa.

Sunday:

Dinner: Grass-fed Beefy Taco Bake
PM Prep: Milk Kefir, Soak Rice, Make Kefir Sour Cream

Monday:

Breakfast: Grain-Free Blueberry Grunt
Dinner: (Plan A) Steamed Trout with Lemon and Dill Creme Fraiche (Plan B if we don’t catch anything) Easy Sticky Glazed Chicken, Grilled Veggies
PM Prep: Milk Kefir

Tuesday:

AM Prep: Water Kefir,
Breakfast: French Onion Green Bean Scramble
Dinner: Awesome Bacon-Avocado Burgers
PM Prep: Milk Kefir

Wednesday:

Breakfast: Asian Fritatta
Dinner: Grain-Free Pizza Pockets
PM Prep: Milk Kefir

Thursday:

AM Prep: Water Kefir
Breakfast: Sausage Pancake Casserole
Dinner: Ultimate Baked Sweet Potatoes
PM Prep: Milk Kefir

Friday:

Breakfast: Baked Eggs and Sausage Veggie Hash

Lunches will consist of leftovers, boiled eggs, meat sticks, veggies sticks in various dips (like probiotic ranch dressing or lactofermented hummus, cheese sticks, salads, homemade lara bars, crispy nuts, fresh or dried fruit, etc. Perhaps an occasional smoothie.

Snacks will be the same as above. I will probably make a dessert or two (or three….don’t judge me!) since we are camping and it’s a special occasion. I am dying to try to make ice cream while we are camping and probably a brownie and some cookies in the Dutch oven other nights. Mmmm. Can’t wait!

Photo Credit: porah