Monday, March 30, 2009

Two Week Meal Plan

Two-Week Meal Plan
March 31st-April 15th

· Breakfast tacos
· Peanut butter and honey on homemade bread, fruit
· Breakfast cookies, fruit
· Yogurt and cereal, fruit
· Boiled eggs, toast, fruit
· Scrambled eggs, toast
· Granola, fruit, yogurt
· Cheese Grits

· Leftovers
· Dining hall
· Sandwiches
· Grilled cheese
· Tuna

Dinners: (14 meals)
· Breakfast (sausage, eggs, toast), once weekly (2 total)
· Chicken noodle soup, homemade bread
· Pasta and sauce, veggies, homemade bread
· Beans and homemade cornbread
· Shepherd’s Pie
· Chopped steak, mashed potatoes, carrots
· Cheesy baked squash (p. 164 in baby cookbook), Cuban Black beans (p. 173)
· Cheesy Chicken and Rice, veggies
· Skillet chicken and couscous
· 4 leftover nights

Things to Bake/Make:
· Breakfast cookies
· Breakfast taco filling (2 batches; 1 batch per week)
· Granola (1 batch)
· Wheat bread (total of 4 loaves; 1 loaf at a time)- try recipe on p. 41 in First Foods book
· Boil eggs
· Cook lentils, white beans, brown rice, and quinoa (for Ethan)
· Banana Coconut Pudding (p. 259 in baby cookbook)
· Make homemade peanut butter

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Favorite Products

Below, you will find many pictures, descriptions, and even prices of products in which I love so much that I want to share!! I have tried many different products, and have come to the conclusion that these are the best (at least in my price range and area). Some of these things I've had on here before, but I had to list them again if I'm listing my favorite products :).

Dr. Bronner's Baby Mild Organic Castile Soap
This is one of my favorite products of all time. It has so many uses- baby body wash, used in cleaners, hand soap, whatever you want! It's so natural that you could swallow it and it won't hurt you. It has a nice lather and rinses off completely. Who would've known that oils would make good soap? I buy this on vitacost- it used to be $9.32, but it went up to a little over $10. Still not bad for 32oz!! It's usually about $14.99!

Boudreaux's Butt Paste All Natural
I've always loved Boudreaux, but I wanted something more natural. I tried this natural stuff that I bought at HEB and wasn't happy with it because it didn't do anything. So, I found this at Target and was really excited. It's Boudreaux, which means it's going to work, but it has natural ingredients: Aloe Vera, Beeswax, etc. I haven't used it much, so I don't know if I should even recommend it, but knowing that it's Boudreaux means that I will probably love it.

Kirk's Castile Original Coco Soap
This is the bar soap that I use for my homemade laundry detergent. I absolutely LOVE it. It is completely natural castile soap, and it is only $1.19 a bar at HEB! :) One bar is enough to make an entire batch, which will last anywhere from 1-2 months. Tom's of Maine Natural Toothpaste
We buy this at Sam's- a 3 pack for just over $8. It's usually about $5-6 per tube! This is a great deal. The only thing about this toothpaste that took me a while to get used to was the fact that it's not sweet. It contains two different mint oils, though, so it still has a great flavor!

Fuch's Natural Bristle Junior Toothbrush
We haven't bought one for ourselves yet, but we bought one for Karis and we love it. It's very simple, though, so if you're looking for fancy, this isn't it. It was $1.61 on

Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash
This stuff is potent- it has tea tree oil in it. It is great for clearing blemishes. It took me a while to get used to, but now I love it. It's only $7.33 for 32oz on vitacost. I just filled up my old face wash squirt bottle; it lasts a long time.

Jason Lavender Body Wash
This stuff is an organic soap, and I LOVE it. I have tried making my own, and I decided that it costs too much and I don't like it as much. As soon as I received this, I was hooked. It is about $8 for 30oz on vitacost (usually anywhere from $12-15). They have MANY different scents. I think next time I will buy mango :). You only need one or two squirts for your whole body, so even though it's not super cheap, it lasts a long time.

Nature's Plus Source of Life Children's Vitamins
I've written about these before, but I had to list them again. They are wonderful. They are made from whole foods!! You can't get any better than that! They are $12.99 for 90 tablets at HEB, and they are $12.85 for 180 tablets through vitacost!

Nature's Plus Source of Life Prenatal
I have tried just about every prenatal out there (it seems!), and this is my favorite. It is also whole foods based, so it gives you what you need from a natural source. It is gentle on the tummy (which is necessary when pregnant!). (and, no, I'm not pregnant! I just wanted to share these!)

Organic Valley Pasture Butter
I will buy this one or the one below; it just depends on where I am. I like this one the best, but it's more expensive at Whole Foods than at Sun Harvest, so I'll get it when I'm at Sun Harvest. This stuff is made from milk from cows that are pasture fed. The benefit of pasture fed it has higher levels of antioxidants, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), and Omega-3 and-6 fatty acids.

Straus Family Creamery Organic Butter
I buy this at Whole Foods when I'm there because it's cheaper than the Organic Valley Pasture butter. This butter is made from cows that are mostly pasture fed (they don't have enough grass year round to feed them only that, so they have to give them some feed). Check them out

Remember When Dairy, Milk
Since I can't buy raw milk around here, I buy the next best thing. I can buy this milk at Whole Foods, and at the Farmer's Market (it is made in Texas). It tastes REALLY yummy! It is from Jersey cows (which have higher levels of calcium and protein), grass fed, it doesn't have hormones, antibiotics, etc. It is low temperature pasteurized and non-homogenized. Non-homogenized means that there is cream at the top. We pour that cream out and make butter. :)

Our Homemade Butter
This butter is by far my favorite. All you have to do is pour some cream into a food processor, turn it on, and walk away (for about 15 minutes). When you start seeing solid pieces form, turn it off, and scoop them out. Put them in a bowl, and pour some cold water on it. Rinse the milk out of the butter, then pour the water out. Do this again a few more times. And, you have some homemade butter! You can add salt to the cream at the beginning if you want salted butter!

Tillamook Cheddar Cheese
This stuff is AMAZING. It doesn't contain any artificial hormones or even artificial colors. It is one of the best tasting cheeses I've ever had. We don't go to Walmart often, but this is one thing that we do buy from there. It is $9 for 2 lbs, which is an amazing price! Nutiva Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil
I had this listed before, but I couldn't leave it out!! We go through one of these every 2 months!! We use it in just about every baked good. It is VERY healthy and yummy!!! Order it from vitacost and save about $10! Vitacost has a new one out that I think I might try next time- it's about $2 cheaper. I'll let you know!

Goodflow Raw Mountain Clover Honey
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this honey. It is unheated and unfiltered. It tastes amazing. There is NOTHING better than raw honey!! It is made right here in Austin!! :) I buy 2 1/2 pounds from HEB or Whole Foods for $12.99. This lasts us quite a while.

Marques de Paiva Organic Medium Roast Coffee
We buy a 40 oz bag of whole beans from Sam's for about $11. This is amazing coffee. Not only is it a great deal, it's organic, and it tastes great!!
Farmer's Market Eggs
There's nothing better than fresh eggs from true cage free chickens! Notice how they are all different colors? That's the way it is when they aren't in a controlled environment!

Farmer's Market Chicken
Here's a fresh, cage free chicken. The first thing that I thought when I bought it was how pretty it looked compared to typical store-bought chicken. It may be hard to tell here :).

Some things that I want to, but have yet to try:
Weleda Diaper Cream- I hear this is one of the best, I just haven't tried it yet! The last one that I bought was Boudreaux because it was half of the price! :) Although, I recently found that Weleda is MUCH cheaper through Vitacost! $6 instead of $10!

Desert Essence Shampoo and Conditioners- These are pretty inexpensive on Vitacost, we just haven't needed any yet! We bought a large amount of shampoo/conditioner at Sams a while back, and we are almost finished with them. So, I will be buying DE next vitacost order! These that I have here are about $3.50 for 12 oz.

Richardson Farms (Farmer's Market) Grass Fed Beef and Pork (we have some in the freezer, we just haven't tried it yet!)
See if they come to a farmer's market near you!

Full Quiver Farms Cheese (raw milk cheese, sold at the Farmer's market- I haven't bought it yet, but I want to next time!). They are pretty expensive, so it'll be something that we just do every once in a while!
Full Quiver Farms Cage Free Chickens (I bought one from a different farm last time, but I will try this farm next time because I found out they are cheaper!)

Taking a Break from Cloth Diapers :(

We went to the doctor on Thursday (for Karis' 3 year check up and Ethan's 9 month check up), and we found out that we have to stop using cloth diapers for a while :(. Ethan has had issues with really sensitive skin since he was born. When he poops, even after a few minutes, his skin will start bleeding. It can get pretty bad. It tends to get worse with disposable diapers, so we thought we had made the right decision to use cloth. The problem with cloth is that we can't use cream. It messes up the diapers. But, the doctor said that his little bottom looks really bad, and we need to start using lots of diaper cream every time we change his diaper to create a barrier. In fact, it's so bad that she prescribed 2 different creams that we have to alternate until he heals. Then, we have to use a strong cream on his bottom everytime we change him. So, we have to take a break from cloth for a while. We are going to strip the diapers several times (this gets the detergent build up from them) while we work on healing his bottom, then we may try them again. I'm really sad because not only do cloth diapers save money, they are almost leak proof. Ethan leaks very easily, and it can get frustrating! So, we can't use generic diapers because all the ones that we have tried leak very quickly. I want to buy seventh generation, but they are VERY expensive. And, HEB sells a chlorine free diaper that isn't too expensive, but they leak very badly. So, Huggies it is. I can buy them in a large box at Sam's, and sometimes even Target, so we are just sticking with those for now.
I'll let you know if we get to use cloth again on him. I'm hoping that as he grows up, he will get less sensitive. We'll see. He hasn't so far! :(

My Slow Switch to Whole Foods

Since my slow switch to mostly natural/organic/whole foods, I have started losing weight :). I haven't felt like I have tried because for me it hasn't been about that. I have lost 12 pounds! I am 2 pounds away from pre-Karis weight :).

Something that I've learned is that being healthy isn't about fad dieting. The problem with fad diets is that you may lose weight at first, but as soon as the diet is stopped, many times people gain the weight back. It has to be a lifestyle change. The switch to mostly whole foods didn't happen over night. We have made little changes here and there, ultimately leading to eating mostly whole foods.

Another problem with fad diets is that they are focused on low/no fat and little-no carbs. That's not healthy because it deprives your body of much needed nutrients! Your body needs the nutrients from some fats and carbs. It just depends on where those things come from. Focus on nutrient-rich foods, not on how much fat they have.

One thing that I have struggled with is sugar. I struggle because I have a huge sweet tooth. Cutting sweets out of my diet has been tough, but we're doing it slowly. I LOVE Dr. Pepper, so I treat myself to one sometimes. But, I don't have them daily like I used to. Maybe once a week- two weeks. I have a little bit of sugar in my coffee, but I've slowly been cutting that down. We use things like honey, maple, molasses, and raw sugar when we do use sweeteners because they are not just empty calories. Yes, they still have lots of calories, but they at least have some nutrients with-in them as well. So, when I have those things, I'm giving my body some nutrients. I've pretty much cut out tea because I can't drink it unless it is sweet. When I do, I use fructose because I can use 1/2 the amount for the same sweetness. At home I pretty much drink water. If I don't make a large pitcher of tea, the temptation isn't there to drink it. A cold glass of ice water is something that I want now :). Used to, I hated water!
My biggest indulgence is coffee. I LOVE coffee. This is something that I've decided is okay. We buy organic whole bean coffee (from Sam's- it's pretty inexpensive!). Coffee is something that I will probably always drink :). So, I'm working on ways to use less sugar! I'll get there. It's a slow process.

Anyway... it's been neat to see how making these changes have been taking the weight off without me feeling like I'm trying to lose weight. I enjoy making these changes now, and look for new ways to make foods nutrient-dense and healthy using whole foods. It's not always easy, but I'm getting there!!

And, I will say again that I don't know it all; I'm still learning. I still struggle in some areas, and I still eat things that I shouldn't at times.

I've also made the decision that it's okay to eat in the dining hall here at the camp; I just need to be choosy when I'm in there. I can't pass up the resource of free food. It's also a great time for the kids and I to get out of the house, a time to fellowship with others here at camp, and a time to eat meals with Robert. The food has improved greatly in the past year, and we always have the option of a wonderful salad bar. It's not organic, but that's okay sometimes. At least it's fresh produce!! As I've said before, for me, it's mostly important to eat whole foods, even if those whole foods aren't always organic. Of course, I think organic is better, but again, it's not always an option.

Sorry for the randomness of this post... I've had all these random things on my mind and thought I would just through it out there :).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm sorry that I haven't written in a while. Last week was spring break and the first part of the week we were out of town, and the second part we had a family emergency. Then, I broke out in hives and swelling and didn't go to the hospital until Sunday (it would go away, come back, go away, come back)... It was a long week. I'm just trying to get back into some kind of routine... We'll see if/when that happens. I've been struggling with routine this whole semester. I'm not sure why.
We only have about 6 weeks of school left (plus finals), then we are done for the summer. It will be nice to have a break because everytime I've had "time off," it has turned out to be busier than when I'm in school. I haven't had a break really yet.
I'm honestly pretty exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally right now. Please be praying for my family as we are going through a lot (not Robert, the kids, and myself, but my family outside of us if that makes sense). I don't want to go into details here because it's not the best place for that!!
Anyway... that's where I've been. I have several things that I want to post about, but it may take a while. Also, our internet is in and out right now; I usually have to sit outside to use it. So, I just don't get online at much.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My Baby Turned 3 Today!!

Karis turned three today!!! Here are some pictures to celebrate her little life so far:
Karis as a newborn:

Karis at 1 year old:

Karis at 2 years old:

Karis today!

Here's our whole family:

(For some reason the pictures didn't turn out well today, so this was the best one!)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Visit to Sunset Valley Farmer's Market

Today Robert's parents, the kids, and I went to the Sunset Valley Farmer's market, and I'm SOOOO glad that we did. This farmer's market had everything that I have been looking for (except raw milk), and at good prices. They had TONS of fresh produce; free range chickens (from a few different places); free range eggs (from about 5 different places); grass fed beef, bison, and pork; raw milk cheeses; raw honey; and the low temp. pasteurized, non-homogenized milk that I already buy (from Whole Foods), but directly from the dairy farm that produces it! They also have MANY different artisans that make breads, juices, clothing, bags/purses, soaps, jewelry, cakes and cupcakes, scones, etc. It was AWESOME. I have NEVER seen such a large Farmer's Market before! This is definitely something that I will visit often, maybe even weekly!! :) I am SO excited about it. I think I have decided to change my grocery shopping day to Saturdays. I will just put an ice chest in the back of my car, go to the Farmer's Market, then head to Whole Foods (an idea from my in-laws). They loved it too, and have decided that they will definitely want to go there everytime they visit!
Check out how many vendors are at this thing:
They are there every Saturday, all year long, rain or shine. They have live music, good food to eat, and it's just a fun atmosphere.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pondering some things

I read a blog today ( that has me thinking about some things (well, I've already been thinking some of these things, but it definitely confirmed my thoughts and convictions).

Where does my passion for nutrition, natural, organic, and local foods fit into an eternal perspective?

As important as it is to do research about the food that we eat, make sure that we are feeding our family natural/organic/local foods, and spend time planning and price comparing, we need to make sure to keep it in the right perspective. I have been enjoying the process of figuring everything out, looking for the cheapest place to buy things, and putting them into use as I make new and yummy foods (and sharing my information). But, has it been too much of a focus? Have I been "worshipping" my new found knowledge, food, and grocery shopping more than God? Have I been caring more about making sure that my family has nutritious food, more than caring about others' souls?

It's important to take good care of our bodies, and the bodies of our family because we need to be good stewards of the bodies that God gave us, and we need to be healthy for the Lord's service, but I personally feel that I need to take a step back and focus more on worshipping my Jesus, taking care of others, and sharing Christ with others.

Now that I know what I know about food, my next goal is to just put it into practice in my every day life and not focus on it so much. Again, it's not bad to research and learn about nutrition (in fact, I think it's good), but I, personally, just need to make sure that I keep it in the right perspective.
I've been so focused on eating the best way that I can, that I have made it into a mini "god," and it has caused some burden for me because I want everything to be perfect. I'm going to do my best to get my focus off of food, and onto Jesus where it should be!!

Praying Continually

Check out today's devotional from Proverbs 31 ministries:

Monday, March 9, 2009

Issues with Grocery Shopping :)

So, I had the plan of shopping at Sun Harvest and using, and that's not going to work :). Farmhouse Delivery doesn't deliver all the way out here (which is understandable), and the only option that would even work for me would be to pick up my order at their farm. Their farm is too far away, at least for what I would be spending on the food (although, I do want to say that they have been wonderful and are very helpful!!). I might buy from them some, but for now, I'm just going to have to stick with natural meats, from Sun Harvest. There's also a central market near the Sun Harvest that has some things that we can get some times. Sun Harvest, surprisingly, has more of what we buy, and for a better price (most things). Central Market's whole wheat berries are $1.49, and Sun Harvests' are 89 cents a pound. That's a HUGE difference. That's just one example! Although, we got natural whole chicken today for 99 cents a pound (at Central Market); that's $2 off a pound! :)

Anyway... you're probably sick of reading about where I'm going to shop, but I just like to think "out loud" through my blog!!

My New Shoes!!

I bought these shoes today! :) They are Simple brand, in their "Green Toe" line, made of all sustainable materials. I found them first at Whole Foods, then Robert and I searched for a better price, and found a pretty good one, but decided to wait. Then went to Whole Earth Provision (an AWESOME store with so many cool things- today just looking around, and they had them more than 1/2 off! And, they only had one left, in my size! It was meant to be :).
I always feel bad buying things for myself, but I haven't bought a new pair of shoes in a LONG time, and I needed some new ones. So, I got them. :)
Simple Shoes is an awesome company. Check them out!

Robert and I have turned into such hippies. I promise I still wear a bra! And, we don't do drugs :).
**** Correction- my friend reminded me what real hippies are, and we are NOT hippies :), we just love natural things!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Changes in My Job

Next year, Faith Academy is starting a K-2 program!! Right now, they only offer 3-12. I will be teaching 1st grade!! :) I love the age group that I work with, but I feel elementary suits me better. I will be working T, W, and Th. T/Th will be 8:30-1:00, and W will be 8:30-12. I get to write my curriculum!! Well, I was provided with books, but I have to pick and choose what we're going to do in class, and I get to decide how it will be done. The curriculum was written for M-F, all day classes, so it's a lot to fit into 3 short days (it's actually not possible, that's why the parents do some things at home as well!).

Changes in Grocery Shopping

I have been trying to "streamline" and simplify my grocery shopping lately to make it more predictable (and to make it easier on the kids!), as well as looking for pastured dairy, meat, and poultry. I would just shop at HEB in Marble Falls, but they don't carry a LOT of things that I buy. I LOVE Whole Foods, but it is really far away and always crowded/stressful. I have decided to go back to shopping at Sun Harvest. My plan is to use them for my major shopping (instead of going to 2-3 stores in one trip), use HEB in Marble Falls when I'm there for work (for a few as needed household items; not regularly), and to use a delivery service for my meat, dairy, and poultry. I just found it the other day (by picking up an EdibleAustin magazine from Whole Foods). They are brand new- I haven't figured out if they deliver out here (their delivery is free, if so!), and their website isn't working right at the moment, but if I can schedule a pick up while I'm in town to go to Sun Harvest, that would be fine too. They sell only pastured meat (beef, bison, lamb, pork), dairy (milk, cheese, etc), eggs, and poultry. They also sell produce shares, but for now I'm just going to continue buying it at Sun Harvest, and if our garden works out, I will have that produce! I may decide to start buying shares if I like what's in it! :)

Robert let me get out of the house by myself last night, so I went into town and checked out Sun Harvest again since it's been a little while since I've been there. Their organic whole grain berries are CHEAP. Their organic hard red winter wheat is 89 cents a pound, and their organic hard white winter wheat is 79 cents a pound!! They also have organic kamut, quinoa, etc in their bulk section at reasonable prices. We're buying a grain mill attachment for my stand mixer soon; I'm so excited! :) The store is so much more peaceful and laid back compared to Whole Foods, and they actually have better prices on a lot of things (including organic pasture butter!). So, I made the right choice. They don't have the selection that Whole Foods has (and they don't have the milk that I buy), but they have (almost) everything that I need.

I have been thinking a lot about the farmer's market that I posted about, and I've decided not to rely on it as one of my regular sources for groceries. I very rarely go into town on Saturdays, so it would be difficult to get into that new routine... Plus, if I can find everything that I need/want elsewhere, I would rather do that. I may shop there every once in a while, but as of now, it's not going to be my regular shopping place.

I will still use Vitacost for formula (although, they have gone up considerably! from 8.79 to 10.28! yuck!), coconut oil, honey (if I don't buy it at HEB), and personal care products. I just can't find anywhere to beat their prices. I'm considering using for coconut oil, but I would have to buy a gallon at a time, so I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet! :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Farmer's Market

I'm SO excited. I haven't been yet, but I found a Farmer's Market that's not too far away from me, that seems REALLY awesome. Here's their website:

Not only do they sell produce, they sell grass fed meats, fresh milk and cheeses, etc. I CAN'T wait to check it out!!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Meal Planning

This is how I plan our meals:
1) I look to see what we already have
2) I come up with a list of meal options based on what we have
3) I write a list (for 2 weeks, 5 days each week) of options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and other homemade items (I don't plan the days because our schedule is always changing, and when I did that, I ended up switching it around a lot anyway!)
4) I write my grocery list based on the list of meal options
5) When making my grocery list, I allow $10ish for good sales (like when I was able to buy organic wheat flour for $2.69 for a 5 lb bag!). I can't pass up sales like that!!

Here's our meal plan for two weeks:

Breakfast Options:
(each morning is a combination of a few of these items)
Breakfast Cookies
Breakfast Tacos
Eggs, sausage
English muffins
Fruit (apples, grapes, bananas, oranges)
Peanut butter and honey sandwich

Lunch Options:
Dining hall
Grilled Cheese w/ raw veggies and dip
Tortillas and Cheese w/ raw veggies and dip

Dinner Options:
Balsamic and Garlic Venison (p.203)
Black Bean Wraps
Quesadillas (with black beans, cheddar, and homemade salsa)
Shepherd's Pie
Lemon-Pepper Flank Steak w/veggies (p.276); homemade bread
Rice Paper Rolls (w/rice, black beans, cabbage, broccoli); roasted zucchini
Roast w/ carrots and potatoes
15 Bean Soup w/homemade corn bread, roasted squash
Sausage, potato, and squash soup; homemade bread
Stiry Fry w/ chicken, broccoli, carrots, snow peas, red pepper, peanut sauce

Homemade Items to make:
Wheat bread
English Muffins
Breakfast cookies
Corn bread

Monday, March 2, 2009

Recipes: Beef and Pork

Many of these recipes I have found on other websites/blogs.  Sometimes I change them up a bit, sometimes I don't.  

  • 1 1/2 pounds 80-85% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats OR 1 slice of bread, torn into small pieces plus 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 large or extra-large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon catsup
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons catsup
  • water
1. Place the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hands.
2. Form meat into one 9-inch long loaf, packing it together well with your hands to avoid air pockets Place in a shallow baking dish (9x13-inch dish works well).
3. Spread 2 tablespoons of catsup over the top of the loaf. Pour water in the dish around the meatloaf, about 1/4 to 1/2-inch deep.
4. Place dish on a rack in the middle of the oven, and then turn on the oven. Set the temperature at 325 degrees F if the dish is glass, and 350 degrees F if it is a metal dish.
5. Bake for 2 hours uncovered. The outside of the loaf will be dark brown.
6. After baking, remove from the dish to a platter. The meatloaf will be easier to slice if you let it cool slightly before slicing. A sharp, thin knife works best for slicing, as a thick knife tends to break up the meat. Slice loaf into 10-12 slices and serve with catsup or barbeque sauce on top.

Sloppy Joes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups prepared pasta
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 to 2 tbsp brown sugar (I use sucanat)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Burger buns
  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and pepper and saute until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute more, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Add ground beef and cook.
  5. Add the pasta sauce, vinegar, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  6. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes more. 
  7. Spoon mixture onto toasted buns.
Beef and Bean Chili
  •   2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato suace
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cooked kidney beans
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Hot pepper sauce, to taste (optional)
  1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic, and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently until onions are translucent.
  2. Stir in chili powder, oregano, cumin, and crushed red pepper and cook 1 minute.
  3. Add ground beef and stir to brown meat.
  4. Add tomato sauce, water, and beans.  Season with salt to taste, then bring to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring often, until flavors have melded and sauce is thickened and bubbly.
  5. Stir cilantro and hot pepper sauce if desired.
Shepherd's Pie
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups mixed vegetables, either frozen, canned, or leftover*
  • 4 cups (approximately) mashed potatoes (made from about 8 potatoes)
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

1. Brown ground beef with onion, pepper, and garlic. Drain grease.
2. In a large bowl, combine the meat, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, and mixed vegetables.
3. Grease a (deep) 10-inch glass pie plate. (You could also use an 8-inch square glass dish.) Spread the meat and vegetable mixture in the dish. Top with a layer of the mashed potatoes, sealing to the edges. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.
4. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Just before baking, pour milk over cheese. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until pie is hot and cheese is lightly browned.

Pasta and Homemade Sauce
  • 1 package of whole wheat pasta (any kind)
  • 1 pound hamburger (we also use venison)
  • 2 cloves garlic (or a few tsp minced garlic)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 small cans (or one large can) tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • ½ can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Basil
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 zucchini, diced
  • 1-2 yellow squash, diced
1. Brown hamburger in garlic, onion, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper
2. Add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and paste
3. Add in zucchini and squash
4. Add more of the herbs and seasonings if desired
5. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes (until veggies become soft)
6. Serve over cooked pasta

Beef and Spinach Quiche
Whole Wheat Pie Shell Ingredients:
  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

Quiche Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey (85% lean or leaner)*
  • 9 ounces fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped**
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 4 to 6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. To make crust, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Cut in butter. In a separate small bowl, lightly beat egg, vinegar, and water. Add to dry mixture and knead with hands for a few minutes, until smooth.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a circle and place in a 10-inch pie plate. Trim and flute edges. Prick with a fork on bottom and sides. Preheat oven to 475 degrees and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven.
3. To make filling, brown turkey with the chopped onion. Drain grease, return to skillet, and add the chopped spinach. Over medium-low heat, cook and stir until spinach starts to wilt. Remove from heat.
4. In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add milk and mix. Add turkey and spinach mixture, stirring to combine. Pour into pre-baked pie shell. Top with shredded cheese.
5. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into pieces and serving.

Hamburger Stroganoff
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 can mushroom stems and pieces, drained (or fresh, chopped)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (or homemade)
  • 1 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)
  • 2 cups hot cooked noodles or rice
  1. In large skillet, cook and stir ground beef and onion in butter until meat is brown and onion is tender.
  2. Stir in flour, salt, garlic, pepper, and mushrooms.
  3. Cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in soup; heat to boiling, stirring constantly.
  5. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in sour cream; heat through.
  7. Serve over noodles.

Cream Cheese Potato Soup
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 5 medium potatoes, diced fine
  • 1 package cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dill weed
Cover and cook 4 hours (will not be ready until the very end)

Enchilada Casserole
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning mix (or just use onion powder, garlic salt, cumin, and chili powder)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 large can enchilada sauce (or 2 small) (or make homemade- see condiments and "canned items"
  • 1 package cream cheese (softened)1 can diced green chilies
  • 1 pkg. corn or flour tortillas
  1. Brown ground beef and onions.
  2. Add rest of ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Spread cream cheese on tortillas, top with green chilies, and fold in half.
  4. Place tortillas in 13 x 9 casserole dish layered on top of one another.
  5. Pour meat mixture on top, then top with cheddar cheese.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes at 350.

Spinach Enchiladas
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2-1 pint sour cream
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 pack taco seasoning
  • 1 box frozen spinach
  • 10 flour tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Brown meat with onion.
  2. Mix in taco seasoning according to package directions.
  3. Divide meat among tortillas and roll tightly.
  4. Spray 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray. Place tortillas in baking dish.
  5. In separate pan: Cook spinach as directed on the box. Drain.
  6. In separate bowl: Combine soup, sour cream, and drained spinach. Spread the mixture over the enchiladas and sprinkle top with cheddar cheese.
  7. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes.

One 'N' One Casserole
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 package dry onion soup mix
  • 1 can cream of mushroom
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  1. Brown ground beef in skillet
  2. Put into a greased two quart casserole dish
  3. Sprinkle with rice and onion soup mix.
  4. Combine mushroom soup and boiling water
  5. Pour over rice and beef
  6. Bake covered at 350 degrees for one hour

Sausage and Pasta
  • 1 pkg. link sausage
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 orange pepper
  • Mushroom
  • Pasta
Cook the sausage, sautee in the peppers, mushrooms, etc. Add in pasta sauce if desired.

Homemade Pizza
  • 1 large can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella 
  • Pepperoni and cooked sausage (I like meat pizza)
1.  In a saucepan mix together tomato sauce, paste, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.  Simmer for about 10 minutes or until warm all the way through.
2.  Spread on homemade dough
3.  Sprinkle with mozzarella
4.  Layer with pepperoni and sausage
5.  Bake on 425 for 20-25 minutes.

Seven Layer Taco Salad
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced (or a sprinkling of garlic salt)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Tapatio hot sauce (or hot sauce of your choice), to taste (I like about 2 teaspoons of Tapatio -- this really adds a great flavor!!)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large head iceberg lettuce, shredded or chopped
  • 2 cups torn fresh spinach leaves, optional
  • 2 cups Fritos (or other small yellow corn chips)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups fresh diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup sliced black olives (drained)
  • sour cream, for serving

1. Brown ground beef with onion and garlic. Drain well and return to pan.
2. Add water, paprika, chili powder, cumin, pepper, salt, hot sauce, and beans. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until hot.
3. Mix lettuce and spinach together.
4. To serve salad, layer each platter or plate with a thick layer of the lettuce mixture.
5. Top with a small sprinkling of corn chips.
6. Add a layer of the meat and bean mixture, and top with shredded cheese.
7. Add a decent layer of tomatoes, sprinkle with sliced black olives, and dab with sour cream. Enjoy! :)

 Beef (Venison) Vegetable Soup
  • 1 lb chuck steak or roast (fresh or leftover)
  • 4 c beef broth
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 c tomatoes
  • 1 c chopped cabbage
  • apporximately 1/2 c each of celery, corn, carrots, green beans, and peas
  • water, as needed
1. Cut meat into small cubes. If using fresh meat, fry in a little oil in the bottom of a large pot and drain grease. If using leftover, continue to next step.
2. Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, for at least 2 hours, and up to 4 hours.

Crockpot: Cook on HI for 4 hours and on LO for 4 hours or until ready to serve.

Breakfast Cookies

This, to me, is like eating oatmeal in a portable form. It works well when on the run!

I got this recipe from I cut it in half.
It made 6 LARGE cookies.

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup honey
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup buttermilk (I used regular milk; I will use buttermilk next time)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup whole rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins or chocolate chips

Mix everything but the flour and oats. Stir in flour and oats. Fold in raisins or chocolate chips. Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet before removing.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

We take one whole chicken, boil it with salt, pepper, 3-4 garlic cloves, and crushed red pepper (very little). Once boiled, remove the chicken and leave broth in pot. Cut up the chicken (however you want) and save some for another meal. We used the meat from the thighs and legs for this soup.

Keep the broth hot (you need about 10 cups; if you don't have enough, add water). Stir in 1 onion, diced; carrots (as many as desired); celery; potatoes (diced); and more seasonings (the same as used for the broth). Cook for an hour. Add a package of rotini whole wheat pasta. Cook for another 30 minutes. Sorry that I don't have a lot of exact measurements for things. I kind of just threw it together and hard to record it :).

Black Bean Wraps

1/2 yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1 cup corn
Juice of one lime or lemon
Salt and pepper
Salsa, guacamole, sour cream, grated cheese

Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil, add the rest of the ingredients and heat through. Serve on tortillas. Add toppings as desired.

Easy and yummy!!!

Resource Sections

I'm still in the process of organizing, but check out the resource sections that I have on the right (under all the pictures). I have a natural living section and a home management section. I will slowly be adding to them.