What can you do with real food? Let me tell you…
The girls have now turned two and the boys are six! Everyday is an adventure that is filled with funny moments, stressful “events” and memories that I hope never fade. The questions that my six year olds ask are priceless and some conversations are a comedy that could be produced!
William expressed concern to me the other day that his “pee pee” was getting too big and he was worried that it would keep growing because he is growing!! This is not a joke…he said it being completely serious! Hilarious!!
Annabelle and Madelyn are tough as nails and love playing with their brothers. They may get mowed down but they always pop back up with a smile…ready for more.
Life poses a lot of demands including a daily movement ritual for all so maintaining a consistent real food diet for a family of six is a real challenge that demands organization. As I have documented in previous posts, I use a menu system for both lunches and dinners. This helps me stay organized keeps me from wasting our resources. In this post I want to share some meal pictures and ideas behind the recipes.
We have been adding in a lot of beans into the menu for both lunch and dinner. Costco sells a ten pound bag of organic dried black beans for less than $10. Just soak them overnight, rinse and cook low and slow with veggies and a ham hock if you like. They are excellent served with avocado and fresh chopped cilantro. This dish was a lunch meal.
Here, I made a super simple crock pot chili with heaps of veggies. The flavors are complex and it’s loaded with vegetables so you can feel good about every bite. I used an organ meat ground beef mixture as the meat but it could easily stand alone with the beans. For this dish, I used canned organic beans, canned tomatoes and fresh zucchini, bell pepper, poblano pepper, dino kale, onions and garlic. I sautéed the organ meat mixture with onions and garlic until browned and then combined all in the crockpot. I used chili powder, oregano and cumin for “chili seasoning”.
The boys did not finish their chili one night, so I saved it for breakfast the next morning… refreshed with a fried egg and avocado.
Annabelle and Madelyn had their leftovers with scrambled eggs and avocado.
The kids have a smoothie ever morning with their vitamins inside. The smoothie ingredients vary. But, they always contain a citrus, berries and vegetable. I also add seeds such as hemp, flax, sunflower or pumpkin. They get magnesium, vitamin C and DHA along with gelatin and sometimes a greens powder. I mix all the day before to make for speedy prep in the morning.
Another breakfast favorite is a berry parfait with chia seeds and raw milk yogurt. Here I served it with a chickpea flour banana/plantain muffin with ginger.
Eggs are always a huge hit! The boys easily polish off 3 eggs most mornings. Here I combined fruit, leftover muffin and tomato and avocado with their fried eggs.
Eggs are a great vehicle for leftover veggies. Here I combined leftover veggies, greens and scrambled eggs along with some marinated beets.
Breakfast is not always eggs…The stainless plate in the upper left corner is the girls’ breakfast of sweet potato, olives, avocado, broccoli, cauliflower and sardines. William loves oysters in the upper right corner with green beans, bell peppers, sun dried tomatoes, broccoli and fermented pickles. Cameron’s plate is the bottom photo with sardines, sweet potato, bell peppers, broccoli and sun dried tomato.
The girls love my seed toast and dried apricots. Costco has great kiwi which is a real treat with banana and pear.
Staying on track during the holidays with good nutrition is all about planning. It also helps making full use of leftovers.
One of our Christmas celebrations featured a smoked organic turkey. Now, this turkey was originally over $50 at Costco. But, I happened to take full advantage of a sign misprint at the store and got the turkey for $9!!! Kevin, brined the turkey over night and then rubbed it before smoking it for 6 hours. It was excellent!
I served mashed potatoes with coconut milk and grass fed butter, roast sweet potatoes with a pecan oat topping, steamed carrots with rosemary, steamed green beans with roast chestnuts and raw milk mac and cheese with rice/quinoa noodles. My sister made a delicious salad with mixed greens, weeds, pomegranate seeds and an avocado citrus dressing. It was all fabulous and best of all we felt good after eating!
The turkey meat served us for three more meals and I made a stock that served three dishes. I made a turkey soup from the meat and broth.
This is a chickpea salad with yellow carrots, bell peppers, red onions, parsley and red lentil noodles. I soaked dried chickpeas overnight and then cooked them in the broth I made from the left over Christmas turkey carcass. I added the noodles to the chickpeas and cooked until al dente. I diced the veggies and sautéed them in coconut oil until slightly tender. Then I combined all and tossed with fresh parsley. The texture of the veggies was intentionally crunchy to encourage acceptance of varying textures. The smoky broth added a rich flavor to the dish. Success! Two lunches for four kids who gobbled it all up!
Finally, I made a roast butternut, onion, apple and cauliflower soup with the broth.
So, you can see…there is a lot that can be done with real food. And, when you do it consistently…even during the holidays, kids will eat it.
I was thinking the other day about how awesome it is that the message of real food and its importance for children is becoming widely heard. My kids still get colds, in fact three are recovering from an ear infection now. Food does not make them immune to all, but it does give them a leg up against reinfection. They also are not exposed to the chemicals that are in all food products. Most importantly, they develop a deep understanding of the importance of nourishing our bodies and avoiding toxins. My kids all have seen that we cook from ingredients and combine them into meals. That to me is a definite WIN!!
Please share your meal planning strategies or real food stories with me! I would love to hear from you!!