Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Planning for Paleo on a Budget

Over a year ago, my friend, Tina, introduced me to the Paleo way of eating.  I've done a little investigating since, and when a couple of blogs I follow started posting recipes and such, I decided I should give it a little more thought.  The health benefits of "good fats" is what is selling it to me.  The part about cutting out the grains scares me a bit.  I'm not even sure how to do that - cereal, bread, rice, most legumes, etc.?  Supper menus are easy to plan as I usually don't mind the extra time spent in the evening and on most days can allow for it - but my usual quick breakfast and lunch plans?  That will take more experimenting for sure.  Baby steps are my best friend. :>)

I could never just switch over everything at once, so little changes slowly are the way for me to go.  For instance, I had looked into buying almond flour for baking, but at $12 for 2 lbs. or so, I just couldn't do it.  In the meantime, I'm at least soaking my wheat berries (and dehydrating) before milling them into flour.  I figure that helps a little bit.

Dairy is also not so much Paleo from what I understand, but the raw milk I purchased this week was pretty tasty and amazingly creamy, and I feel that is at least a better choice when the budget allows.  I found it at a tucked away little store that Tina told me about and I was surprised at how much was in such a small space.  They had locally grown, organic fruits and vegs, and I'm pretty sure most were cheaper than the local grocery store.  They had grass fed beef for $6.50/lb, which is $2.50 less than what I had been paying.  They also had free-range, local eggs, so needless to say, I hope to be making weekly visits to this business.

Paleo can be more expensive, but I know if I can ever reach a point where I'm no longer buying "convenience foods" along with it, I'll probably be spending the same or less.  And of course, using coupons for the non-food items are a big help.

It takes a little thinking and thriftiness, but I'm trying to get as many meals out of my meats as I can.  When I buy the grass fed beef, I'm not making hamburgers.  On Sunday, this Spaghetti Sauce Recipe I used called for ground beef and sausage, so I used half of my grass fed beef and half turkey sausage.  Sunday night, I used the leftover sausage for sausage balls, and I'll probably use the rest of the beef for quesadillas for lunch today.

I also bought a whole hen.  I baked it in the oven on Saturday afternoon and then used half of it for the jambalaya recipe mentioned below, and last night I used the remainder for an orange chicken recipe.

As for these new Paleo recipes I've been trying, Pinterest, of course, has been a big help in finding these.

This past weekend, Brad wanted jambalaya for his birthday meal, so I used this:  Hearty Jambalaya with Rice  Although, I didn't use the cauliflower for the rice as suggested.  I had some organic jasmine rice that I used instead.  (At least it was gluten free.)  I guess the Mexican cornbread served alongside wasn't exactly Paleo, but at least the corn meal was GMO free.  Every little bit helps, right? (And then there was the homemade apple pie and ice cream - but what can I say, it was his birthday.) :>)

Here's the Orange Chicken Recipe I mentioned that I added to a stir fry last night.  My mother gave me a huge wok for Christmas, and I love how I can just keep throwing stuff in there until I'm satisfied.  For this recipe, using coconut oil, I sauteed a yellow onion, green onions, red cabbage, celery, carrots, and kale.  I added some organic brown rice that had been sauteed in olive oil and butter.  This one pan meal was more than enough for this family of six, and although the offspring was a little uncertain about the kale, I love the crunchiness that it added.  And the colors of this meal were so pretty!  I should have taken a picture. LOL

I thought it was funny how around bedtime, everyone seemed hungry again.  I explained to them how when you eat something so healthy and packed with nutrients, your body screams out for more.  Sort of like how I hear people say they don't like to eat apples because it just makes them hungrier.  It's just their body saying it needs more of that good stuff!

So here's the beginnings of my walking down the Paleo path.  I doubt we'll ever be completely Paleo - there's just some situations that I'm not sure about - but I have to say I'm sold.  I want to be content with what I have, but I don't want to ever be content with where I am - whether it's on a spiritual, mental, or physical note - I know there's always room for improvement.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Just recently finished reading this book {Indescribable} by Louie Giglio and Matt Redman, and I found the facts to be astounding and amazing.  I knew the universe was big, but after reading this, that is certainly an understatement.  Now when I consider myself and my place in God's creation, comparing myself to a speck of dust seems too much.  Maybe more like one of those organisms you can only see through a microscope - and that's probably still too big.

 "The point is this:  These incomparable and unfathomable wonders tell us of a God who is quite simply....indescribable."

There are pictures throughout the chapters that have been taken via space equipment that allow us to see things we could have never seen just by looking up at the sky.  Simply awesome.  (This book would be great to accompany a science curriculum when studying astronomy.)

The words and facts leave you with no other option but to worship a mighty God who alone only could have brought such marvelous things to pass.

I am the Lord, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens. (Isaiah 44:24)

Along with a great sense of worship towards my Creator, I was left with a few other facts to ponder....

"God is not like us. So often our nature is to cut corners.  If there's a room people rarely go into, we're unlikely to consider keeping it tidy. Or say, for example, we're decorating a room, and there's a piece of wall hidden from sight. We may not go to the trouble of painting it. Yet the Maker of all things is not like that. He does not cut corners or sweep things under the carpet. He has stretched out the universe, creating beauty in places our eyes - and even our telescopes - will likely never have the privilege of gazing upon."

This got me thinking about how often I cut corners.  (Just take a look behind my refrigerator and you'll see the remnants of a previously green kitchen.)  Isn't that like most humans, though.  Whether it's our house or ourselves or even our children, we do just enough to make the outside look good - often ignoring or not spending as much time on the areas that people never see.  As long as what can be seen looks fine, we're good.  Just keep the other stuff hidden away in the heart (or behind the refrigerator).  Sadly though, what is hidden away has to come to surface sooner or later. 

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

From the pictures I viewed in this book, the things God had hidden, which have come to surface, are quite beautiful.

Beautiful hidden things........Now that's something worth thinking about.

On another note, there are so many things I could mention, but hearing the stars sing was a highlight.

"Second after second, day after day, a giant ball of gaseous matter bursts into song - not that each one wasn't singing before it exploded - transmitting its electromagnetic melodies across the heavens."

Click here to hear some sounds of the pulsars

"Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars." (Psalm 148:3)

And here

And here

"You [God] give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you." (Nehemiah 9:6)

Lastly, along with highly recommending this book altogether, I'll end with this quote:

"So while it's stunning that we can glimpse a solar burst some thirteen billion light-years away, it's far more incredible that the One who fashioned that star and our own galaxy, and everything seen and unseen throughout the universe, would step onto planet Earth on a rescue mission that defies the odds.

When our foolish rebellion separated us from the God who formed us to both know and love Him forever, Jesus, who said, "Let there be light," spoke up for you and me.  And in the end, in human skin, the sinless and perfect Son of God exchanged His life for every twisted thing that we have done. In that single act, the star breather became the sin bearer.  The universe maker became humanity's Savior. It truly is, as Matt has stated so well, astronomical grace.

After all, you really can't use the AU, or the light-year, or the parsec to measure God's love for us. For that, all you need is a cross that's large enough to hold the Son of God." (LG)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

I'm Still Here

It's Saturday morning, and I'm home alone.  The house is clean, and unless I've forgotten something, everything is taken care of for the morning.  Seven of the nine of us (The six of us, plus Brad's parents, plus Cari's friend) have left already for a weekend trip to Tennessee.  I dropped Madison off at school early this morning so she could take her SAT, and I'll be headed back in a couple of hours to get her, and then we'll be on our way.  Even though it's just a couple of days, I'm looking forward to a change of scenery.

I don't have too many pics from February, but here's a few I saved to my computer >>>

In the shot above, I had cleaned out their living room toys while they were sleeping, and when they woke up, I think they were surprised to see what they had.  Less is more!  They had a lot of fun playing that morning, and I didn't even mind that we started school late that day.   

Below are a couple of shots from Matthew and Amelia helping dad out.  Brad is baby-stepping clearing of our property.  Each Saturday, he's been doing a section at a time - clearing, mowing, cutting, burning - and it is really looking good.

Matthew and Annabelle working hard.
Annabelle and Amelia taking a break from helping dad burn trees and such.

Amelia's basketball team

Amelia (aka spunky monkey) - #2
She was the captain for the last game of the season.  The last was the best by far for her!
(Amelia had a lot of fun playing basketball.  She had her first softball practice this week, and she didn't love it so much.  In fact, as we were walking away, she very bluntly stated she wanted to quit.  We tried softball a couple of years ago, and she didn't love it then either.  We took a year off and tried again, and I don't think it made much difference.  I'm trying to convince her to give it one more chance - it was freezing at her last 2-hour practice, and that was a bit of an influence - but I won't make her play if she doesn't want to.  She might just be a one-sport kind of girl, and that is certainly okay!)

Then came Valentine's Day! I found these old Bingo cards I had printed long ago, and we had so much fun playing over and over.
Decorating for Valentine's Family Dinner

Here's the shot just before we sat down.  I tried to make something that was everyone's favorite.  I made Brad's favorite cashew and craisin salad, chicken fingers, which everyone likes with "Chick-Fil-A sauce" (Madison's favorite and a recipe I found on Pinterest), french fries for Matthew, and a tasty garlic bread (another Pinterest find) for Cari - the bread lover. Dessert was M&M cookies.  Amelia pretty much likes it all.  She has become my non-pickiest eater and will try just about anything and rarely finds anything she doesn't like.

Matthew's new Spider Man bike helmet.

We found a new home for Molly, the Jack Russell.  I think she'll be very happy there as she will be living in a home with an older couple who have no small children around.  Matthew and Amelia were able to recoup a little of their Christmas money they had used on Molly, and Amelia got a new bike and helmet, and Matthew got a new baseball bat and mini-trampoline.

No pics of Cari and Madison - I'll have to do something about that in Tennessee - but Cari is currently getting ready for a Wizard of Oz play that her drama class at school will be performing soon.  She is a munchkin.  Madison has moved on to track season at school, and travel softball has begun as well with their first tournament last Saturday.  That was the first time I've ever watched softball in the snow, and I'm kind of hoping it will be my last.  LOL

And with this update, I guess March may officially begin. ;>)


Here's the "more about that" I mentioned in the previous post... I was around 6 years old the first time I realized I nee...