I’m currently in class waiting for my students to finish up on an assignment. Most of you know, that I’m a graphic/web designer by profession and this year the Lord has opened up the door for me to teach at a local community college. It’s been a great experience, however, at times difficult as I still have freelance clients. Next semester I have been given 3 classes that are mostly taught online. Praise the Lord!. He certainly has answered prayers! Starting next semester I will no longer be taking new freelance clients until the Lord directs my path as to what he wants me to do. I will have much more time to focus on my kids and family at home
The flu season is upon us and it’s hitting us hard this year! Especially, the H1N1. The media is exploding with topics on the swine flu and the government is campaigning for everyone to get the H1N1 vaccine.
As a mother with two baby boys, my head is spinning with the confusion the media has created. I want to make sure that my kids are protected against the flu and I want to ensure that their little bodies are not filled with harmful chemicals from the flu vaccine. Here’s a good post. So for me and my family, I have decided to take steps on how to prevent the flu. In this post I want to talk about prevention and steps we can take for our health starting with Vitamin D!
According to Dr. Mercola, “seasonal nature of flu is that influenza is a vitamin D deficiency disease.” It really makes alot of sense. During the summer, when everyone is out and about enjoying the outdoors, we seem to be healthier. Our body takes in UV rays from the sun and coverts them into vitamin D by a process called vitamin D synthesis. It comes to no surprise that during the winter season when the mass majority of us are indoors that the flu season starts and sickness begins.
So what can we do to increase our Vitamin D Levels?
- Natural exposure to the sun. Fair skinned people need at least 15 minutes a day and dark skinned people need at least an hour a day. In Iowa, although it’s freezing during the winter, we have a good amount of sunlight. Last year I started to expose my boys to natural sunlight by undressing them and sitting them by a sunny window. I would then play with them for as long as I could keep their attention.
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil – When you just can’t get the sunlight you need, we can supplement. I started giving my family Fermented Cod Liver Oil. My mother in Spain remembers her mom giving her Aceite de Bacalao. Unfortunately for her, they didn’t have the variety of flavors and capsule forms that we have today. I have never been a person to use supplements. However, after researching Cod Liver Oil and knowing that it has been used for years traditionally, I felt comfortable in adding this to my family’s diet. As long as we have the right amount of calcium in our body to absorb the CLO, I am quite excited to see how this helps my family this year during the flu season. I’ll soon have a post specifically on Cod Liver Oil, until then here is a great article on the Weston Price Foundation website. I chose to use fermented Cod Liver Oil because Fermented fish liver oils are extracted without heat but rather a natural lacto-fermentation. But more on that in my CLO post to come One thing I was pretty excited about is when I recently caught a short part of a Dr. Oz show. In his show he was talking about Vitamin D and also recommended Cod Liver Oil. I’m not a huge Dr. Oz fan, but what do you know, thanks Dr! -Before adding this to your diet, make sure to do the proper research and talk to your health professional. Green Pastures is the brand of FCLO that my family is currently using.
Natural Foods to Boost Our Immunity
Besides loading up on Vitamin D during the winter, I’ll also be adding many super foods that will boost our immunity.
- Antioxidants – Antioxidants help rid the body of free radicals. They boost the immune system and help fight off infectious diseases like the cold and flu. Vegetables and fruits is the way to go during the winter. The brighter the color, the better!
Antioxidant Filled Foods
- Berries – In my home, we like to load up on raspberries and blueberries during the winter.
- Elderberry Juice – Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995. Its antioxidant activity lowers cholesterol, improves vision, boosts the immune system, improves heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis.
- Red Grapes
- Garlic – The antiviral qualities of garlic may keep the flu at bay.
- Tea – Use herbs such as echinacea and goldenseal which are said to help with influenza, also try ginger tea to settle your stomach.
- Whole Grains
- Vitamin C Rich fruits and vegetables - All year round, my boys start their morning with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Other sources of Vitamin C include leafy greens, cabbage, brussel sprouts, potatoes.
- Cultured dairy with live cultures and lacto-fermented veggies - The live bacteria in cultured dairy and lacto-fermented fruits and veggies aid in digestion by creating enzymes that help us absorb nutrients and vitamins. They also create antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. Examples of Cultured Dairy and Homemade ferments include, Homemade Yogurt, Kefir, Homemade Cultured Butter, Creme Fraiche, Homemade Cream Cheese, Fermented Saurkraut, Kimchi, Pickles, and Beets just to name a few.
- Homemade Broth – I’m currently working on post specifically on the benefits of homemade chicken and beef broth. Broth is a super food and one that should be used in every household. Not only for it’s superior cooking abilities but that it contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and other trace minerals all required for good health. To boost your immunity and to help you fight off sickness, broth is the way to go!
- Drink Water – Water flushes out infections and keeps us hydrated.
Here’s a fun video on the Dr. Oz website about how to boost your immunity.
Other Ways to Avoid the flu
- Cutting down or eliminating sugar – The cold and flu season also happens to be the Holiday season where we are overtaken by sweets. Sugar negatively affects the body’s ability to fight infections. As we don’t celebrate Halloween, for me and my family, I’m going to be cutting down on all sugar and leaving a little room for pie and cookies during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- Wash your hands
- Try to avoid handshakes. This may be out of the question while at work.
- Avoid nose picking
- Watch where your sneezing! Sneeze into a handkerchief and teach your children to sneeze inside their elbows by covering their mouth and nose. (I once watched a shopper at a grocery store, sneeze into a large pile of apples, really!)
- Carry a bottle of hand sanitizer
- Wash door handles, telephones, computer keyboards, office desks
Now it’s time to take action, myself included. Here’s to a happy, healthy cold and flu season
- Web Md, October 6, 2008
- Mercola.com, October 12, 2008
- Nutrition Data, February 19, 2008
- In Good Health, June 7, 2009
- Kelly the Kitchen Kop
- The Miracle of Vitamin D, Krispin Sullivan, CN
- Ask Dr. Sears.com, 8 Steps to Prevent the Winter Flu
- Organized Wisdom, Antioxidants in Raspberries
- Web Md, Antioxidants and your immune system
- Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
First of all, I wanted to take the time to thank everyone that had nominated me for the first annual foodbuzz blog awards. I was taken a back when I saw that I was nominated under 4 categories. Best Recipe Blog, Best Green/Sustainable Blog, Best Family Blog, and What blogger would you most like to see have their own show on the Food Network. For being such a newbie, I’m really honored and excited just to have been nominated. The blogs that I’m nominated with are all amazing in their own right and I wish all of them the best! Now go out and vote
Before the nominations had come out, I kept hearing about the Foodbuzz blogger festival taking place in San Francisco this coming November. It seemed like it would be a fun experience to be able to meet foodies that you normally chat with on the blogosphere. I was so excited when I heard that the festival picked up Nature’s Pride as a sponsor and that they would be sending 6 bloggers to represent Nature’s Pride as an ambassador at the festival. To me, it was a great opportunity. Not just as a way to go to the festival, but that Nature’s Pride is a product that I can support and endorse.
Anyone that has been following my blog knows that I try to do my best to feed my family wholesome and nourishing foods without any of the preservatives or chemicals that are in so many processed packaged foods. Nature’s Pride makes a great line of bread without the use of trans fat, artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or high fructose corn syrup. Sounds like my kind of bread!
Check out the ingredients in their 100% whole wheat bread:
Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Yeast, Sugar, Wheat Gluten, Cracked Wheat, Cultured Wheat Four, Contains 2% or less of: honey, salt, brown sugar, sobean oil, molasses, wheat bran, raisin juice concentrate, vinegar, soy flour, whey, soy lecithin, cultured corn solids, contains wheat, milk and soybeans.
I could read and understand all of those ingredients! I’m still going to be making most of my bread at home, however, as a part time working mama, I’ll definitely be buying Nature’s Pride as my go to bread!
In order to apply as a Nature’s Pride ambassador they were asking for a recipe using their bread. At first I was thinking something Spanish, hmmm… torrijas, yummm! The more and more that I thought about what I wanted to make, I realized that sliced bread is to America what paella is to Spain or pasta is to Italy. It’s an American staple!
The origins of sliced bread can be traced back to 1928 when the Chillicothe Baking Company sold sliced bread to the public. It was the first place anywhere in the world that sold sliced bread. An interesting bit of history for me was when I found out that the greatest inventor of sliced bread came from IOWA!! Starting in 1912, Inventor Otto Rohwedder began working on a machine that would be able to slice bread in order to sell it in sliced form to the public. Building a machine to slice the bread was not the problem but in finding a way to keep the bread fresh. A solution came in 1928 with the assistance of Marion Francis Bench of the Chillicothe Baking Company. Together the two found a solution to the wrapping problem and were able to start producing pre-sliced bread to sell to the public.
For my entry as a Nature’s Pride Ambassador, I decided to take the entire day and for each meal use Nature’s Pride Bread. With the help of my son Nehemiah, we pridefully made American dishes!
Breakfast: My son Nehemiah making his own French Toast
Yes, it may say French, but anyone knows, this morning breakfast is as American as it gets!
And… here is a short video of Nehe making french toast
Lunch: My son Nehemiah making his own Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
An American favorite!
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 4 tbls butter
- 5 ounces dried beef, cut into 1-inch-square pieces
- 1 quart raw or whole milk
- In a small bowl, place the flour, salt, and white pepper; stir to combine; set aside
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Do not allow the butter to brown.
- Place the dried beef in the skillet; stir until the dried beef is coated with butter.
- Remove the skillet from the heat.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture ove the dried beef; stir until the dried beef is coated with the flour mixture and no lumps remain.
- Add the milk and return the skillet to the heat.
- Cook the dried beef mixture until the gravy thickens and is just under boiling, stirring constantly. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
The dried beef gravy is then poured over homemade mashed potatoes and toast. So simple and comforting!
I hope you enjoyed our day in America Buen Provecho!
For my eat on $30 challenge, the dried beef was given to us by my hubby’s father so I’m still within my budget
This past weekend I learned of the eat on $30 challenge hosted by running with tweezers. I thought it was an interesting concept. At first I was curious as to why Tami would host such a challenge.
I did it for a variety of reasons. The first being…times are tough for a lot of folks these days. Living on a budget is a way of life for many, many folks. Secondly, hunger issues are the cause I most believe in. I’ve chosen to do the $30 challenge again to draw attention to the food and hunger issues that many struggle with, particularly in our current times of layoffs and foreclosures. The facts speak for themselves:
- At some point during the year, 1 in 5 Americans receives food assistance from 1 or more of the 15 programs providing help.
- In 2009, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will help feed 31 million people per month. The average monthly benefit? $101.
- Between March 2007 and March 2008, the global price of food rose 43%. 1 billion people – 1/6th of the world’s population – live on $1 per day.
After reading this I felt that this was a great challenge I wanted to be a part of. I also thought it would be a great opportunity to show how one can live off $30 a week and still buy healthy, wholesome, organic foods. $30 a week meaning per family member. My family is one that lives on a budget. My average grocery bill ranges from $100 – $120 dollars a week, max. So as you can see, I’m already one of those families that lives off $30 a week. I have a family of four, with two young boys. I’m sure once they get older, that budget will have to go up
To me, $100 – $120 seems like an average dollar amount to spend per week. (I’m curious as to what others spend) In order to stay within this range, I have to be frugal with what I buy and where I buy my products. Especially, since it’s so important for me to buy local and chemical free. I’d like to share with you how I shop.
- I hit the farmers market every Saturday morning. This is the most important part of my weekly groceries. I make sure to be at the market by 8am to ensure the best pick of the day! Before getting to the market, I stop by the atm and pull out $40. This keeps me within that budget and doesn’t allow me to go over. I end up with a ton of fresh, local, chemical free produce, eggs, and meats. Here’s an example of one of my shopping trips at the Downtown Des Moines, Farmers Market.
- I buy my meat in bulk directly from the farmer. This saves so much money and ensures my meat is hormone/antibiotic free.
- I help out local farmers do farm chores. Here I was able to help Coyote Run Farm process laying hens and left with 8 chickens for my deep freeze.
- I grow my own organic vegetables.
- I shop at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. No matter what, Wal-Mart has enabled my family to buy the rest of my weekly shopping within my families budget. They’ve done a great job bringing in organic produce and products.
- I buy from Azure Standard. This is an invaluable resource for my family. Azure Standard is a buying club that sells organic/natural foods in bulk at amazing prices! Here is an article I wrote for examiner.com.
What allows me to stay within this budget, besides how I shop, is that I cook and have started to make my own bread. Sounds funny, I know, but my family doesn’t go out to eat much. When times get busy, and we do go out for some meals, we quickly realize how expensive it is to eat out. Going out for dinner, for a family of four, can cost us anywhere from $30 – $50. That’s almost half of my grocery bill. So nonetheless, I cook three meals a day.
So to start this challenge here is what I spent for the week (or had in my fridge/freezer/pantry that I have accounted for.
From the farmers market:
- lettuce: $2.00
- potatoes: $2.00
- green onions: $1.00
- butternut squash: $3.00
- cilantro: $2.00
- eggs: $6.00
From Amish in Missouri
- 3 gallons raw milk (1 gallon to make yogurt): $13.50
From Sams Club
- organic raspberries: $3.97
- Hormone Free Farmers Cheese: $5.50 (Total for a little over 2lbs was 11.09 which is enough cheese to last my family two weeks)
- Milk for hubby $5.58
- 3 gallon jugs of filtered water (filter at home broke:( 2.49
- YoBaby organic yogurt meals – $3.00
- Tuna in Olive Oil – $2.24
- Organic Mac and Cheese – $1.42
- Ranch Style Beans (Yes, this is for me, love em!) – $1.56
- Organic Peanut Butter – $3.88
- Organic Juice Boxes – $3.00
- Mexican Chorizo – $1.23
- Organic Coffee – $5.00
- Dried Garbanzo Beans – $1.38
- Bananas – $2.04
- Lemons – $2.16
- Organic Onions – $2.88
- Mango’s – $4.74
- Organic Fig Newmans – $3.88
- Organic Oranges – $5.00
- Wild Caught Whiting Fillets (Merluza) – $5.00
- organic brown long grain rice – $2.87
For what I’m going to make this week doesn’t account for things that I buy in bulk, such as wheat berries for bread making. For items such as honey and rapadura sugar, I split these items with friends through Azure Standard. For purposes of what I’m going to be making this week, I would add another $8.00 taking my total to about $106.00. Not Bad!
So here is my menuplan for the week, having started Sunday.
Saturday – Made homemade chicken stock (Chicken was free from chore help on the farm)(Saving chicken for 2 different meals in the week)
Early AM: Start on bread for week
- Breakfast – Strawberry/Banana Smoothies with homemade yogurt, raw egg yolk, tablespoon of coconut oil, drop of raw honey. (Strawberries, I had frozen from the spring)
- Lunch – Grilled cheese sandwiches and raspberries
- Mac and Cheese (Quick Dinner!)
- Breakfast – french toast and bananas
- Lunch – PB&J with grapes
- Dried Beef on Toast with a Green Salad, dressing olive oil and vinegar
- night prep for tomorrow: make croquetta masa for tomorrow’s lunch
- Breakfast – Scrambled Eggs, Toast and raspberries
- Lunch – Chicken Croquettas
- Dinner – Chicken Enchilada’s and Spanish Rice
- Breakfast – Strawberry, Mango Smoothie
- Lunch – At Sissy’s
- Dinner – Tortilla Espanola with Fried Green Peppers from my garden
- Breakfast – Blueberry Pancakes (Blueberries from Azure Standard purchased 2 months ago)
- Lunch – Fried Rice (Rice also from Azure Standard)
- Dinner – Fried Whiting Fillets with French Fries fried in Olive Oil and Green Salad
- Breakfast – Fried Eggs with Toast and Grapes
- Lunch – Cheese Quesadillas
- Dinner – Butternut Squash Soup with Green Salad
- Breakfast – Smoothie
- Lunch – Tuna sandwiches and whatever fruit is left
- Dinner – Chorizo Tacos with Spanish Rice
After writing this all out, I do wonder how much my bulk items increase my weekly dollar amount. That said, depending what I buy in bulk often time, I spend less at the grocery store. It really does fluxuate. I’m really excited for this challenge and to share with you what I learn from this through the week. It is so difficult to hear the statistics of hunger in this nation and throughout the world. however, with a little planning and improvising one can still feed their family in nourishing ways on a budget. (Think beans, chicken, fish, veggies, fruits and dairy
Green and red peppers provide a powerhouse of nutrients and top the charts with Vitamin A and Vitamin C. According to Worlds Healthiest Foods, peppers are rich sources of some of the best nutrients available. Peppers also contain vitamin B6 and folic acid reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Red peppers contain lycopene and lutein. Lutein has been found to protect against macular degeneration, the main cause of blindness in the elderly. (Something Grandpa Bauman suffers from) Besides the amazing amount of nutrients that peppers contain they also are a beautiful vegetable to grow! Beautifully shaped in bright shades of red, orange, green, purple and yellow makes for a beautiful display in the garden. (For more information on the nutrients and health benefits found in peppers, please visit theWorld’s Healthiest Foods.)
Below are some recipes for preserving peppers.
- 4 large red bell peppers
- 1 small to medium eggplant
- 1 large onion
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 1 tsp of crushed black pepper
- 1 and 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Wash your peppers eggplant and dry and well. Peel the onion and cut in half.
- Roast on 450 in the oven or outside on the grill until you have nice black marks on your veggies. You have to blacken them good so it’s easier to peel them. When you take them out of the oven or of the grill, put them in a plastic bag and let them stand like that for at least five minutes. (Onions don’t have to be blackened or put into the bag).
- Remove the skin from peppers and eggplant and cut them into one inch pieces. Do the same with the onion. Mince the garlic and the jalapeno.
- Put all of the vegetables and salt and pepper into a pot on your stove top on medium heat, add the 1/2 cup of oil and 1/4 cup of vinegar and cook for at least two hours steering frequently. Carefully (it’s HOT!!!) blend your ajvar and return it to the pot for just a few more minutes.
- While your ajvar is cooking, you can prepare your jars for canning. Wash them thoroughly and then put into the oven on 170 for about half an hour. Once ajvar is ready to be canned, heat 1 tbsp of oil on the stove top. Pour ajvar into the jar and return to the oven on 350 for a few minutes so it forms a thin crust on the top, then pour oil over it, just enough to cover the top. It should make sizzling sound when it touches ajvar. Put the top on and you are done! You can keep it like this for at least three months.
One of the best things about freezing peppers is that they do not need to be blanched before frozen!
Does anyone subscribe to Rachael Ray? (I hear many grunts here!) If you know me, you know I heart Rachael and everything she’s done to show our nation how to use and eat whole foods and a huge supporter of farmers markets Anyway’s each month, the last page of her magazine is always dedicated to showing what’s inside some celebrities refrigerator. For some reason, that’s the first page I flip to each month! I know, I get so curious as to what those high time celebrities eat. A month or so ago, I was visiting the very inspiring playfulnoshings. What do you know, she had participated in a what’s in your fridge photo and showed off her stuff! It looked like so much fun that I rounded up some foodie friends that I’m inspired by and asked them, “What’ In Your Fridge?” So take a look as we bare all!
Kristy from My Little Space blogs to us from Malaysia.
Andrea from Wellness Notes
Kristen from Flexy Fare
Heather from Girlichef
Rachael from La Fuji Mama
My refrigerator contains items that you would likely see in many American refrigerators–milk, eggs, butter, ketchup, mustard, etc., but it also contains a random assortment of foods that represent our love for cuisines from around the world and our time living in Japan. Let’s start with the door. The door contains a random assortment of bottles that contain everything from fish sauce to grenadine. Next to the milk is a pitcher of mugicha, a Japanese herbal tea made from roasted barley that is a family favorite. Inside the fridge on the top shelf is where I store my yeast for bread making (I make all of the bread that my family eats), as well as some Greek yogurt, a bottle of Ramune (a Japanese soda), a bottle of yuzu koshou (a spicy Japanese condiment made from yuzu citrus and chili peppers), and some other random items. On the second shelf on the left hand side there is a ziploc bag filled with pieces of kombu (a type of seaweed) waiting to be made into a relish, several bottles of Chinese chili sauce, some quail eggs, and baby food. The bottom shelf of my fridge holds a container of homemade dashi (a Japanese stock made from dried fish and seaweed), several varieties of miso paste, gyoza wrappers, and some leftovers. The produce drawers are filled with produce from a local farm–tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, jalapeno peppers, cabbage, and mushrooms. My freezer is mostly filled with homemade freezer jam (raspberry and strawberry), a variety of nuts, chocolate chips for baking, a container of homemade almond meal, and mint chocolate chip ice cream (my hubby’s favorite). There is, however, a massive bag of frozen edamame that my oldest daughter eats like candy.
And here is my fridge. What I have learned from this and that my fridge is WAY outdated, lol!!
What I can tell right away is that all these bloggers love to cook by all those fresh fruits and veggies! Well done ladies!!
Wasn’t this fun! Do you want to bare all? Let me know and we can do this again!
Thanks for stopping by My Humble Kitchen. I'm Diana, editor of this website. Here you'll find an encouraging community of like minded mothers, fathers, and everyone in between seeking to nourish our families with good, simple food. You'll find us in our gardens, foraging, canning, and preserving as we seek to be good stewards of our Earth and at the same time, economical.
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