Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Sacred Dinner Hour

This week friends and I were comparing schedules to find the best time to contact each other.  Powerfully, I was reminded that I am the defender of our home.  As I reviewed my friend's availability,  she could be reached after 9 a.m. any time except 5-7 pm, "the sacred dinner hour."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


What does 230 pounds of pasta look like?  How can it be stored?  Here is a picture.  It fit nicely on two shelves in the food storage room.  I will leave it in the original packages.   I calculated the amount we would need if we ate 5 pounds a week (which is generous).  For 10+ people this pasta will probably last more than one year.  The total pounds of pasta is counted in the grain group with rice, wheat, corn and oats.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Healthy Eating - A meal plan

Dieting is a bad habit.  Sensible meal plans that balance food groups, provide a wide variety, and allow for versatility and use easily accessible foods sustain family life and good individual health.  Good health in turn saves money and increases happiness because we feel like enjoying life.

The Goal for every meal:

2 Fruits
1 vegetable
2 Carbohydrate exchanges
2 protein exchanges - 1 egg, 1 oz meat, 1/4 cup nuts, 1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 milk (For adults it is recommended to have 16 oz/day - I recommend 6 oz liquid at every meal.)
1 fat

If there are food sensitivities, milk intolerance, diabetes, heart health issues, this meal plan can be modified, substitutions made and either low fat or high fat choices within food groups.  The caloric range can be from about 1600-2400 depending on whether high fat meats and milk are used and the fat exchange is eliminated.  A good way to cut calories further if desired is to just eat 1/2 a meal for one of the three meals in a day.  Meal exchanges can be carried to snack times (save a fruit and a vegetable for snack or only have 1 protein exchange with the meal and the other at snack time).

I think a raw foods diet is hard to maintain for long periods of time with small children but I do feel that as much as possible fresh fruits and vegetables need to be served at each meal.  Bowel heath, heart health, the antioxidants for anti cancer health, etc.. all improve.  Combined with whole grains and legumes for protein sources, good health is maintained.  High protein diets such as P90X, Atkins, Zone, etc.. can yield results for weight loss quickly.  Long term, more plant sources for proteins need to be used (beans) to make these diets wise.  My personal preference is moderation and variety.  So I try to serve 2 oz of meat at each meal.  Legumes of some sort at least once a day (1 ounce on salads, as chip dip or a main dish).  The goal is to have fish twice a week, beef twice a week, and fill in with a variety of nuts, chicken, cottage cheese, etc..  Foods that can be in two groups (PRO and CHO or dairy) change according to my need in the day.  Sometimes I need more protein so another glass of milk suffices as a protein not a dairy.

Shopping List

To meet nutritional goals of the above diet plan, here is a suggested shopping list.  The cost of this list was $51.00 - not Nebraska prices.  So adding or subtracting $5 would give an estimate of food costs in the US.  Depending on  where the shopping is done, food items could be substituted within a food group.  I chose these items based on price and nutritional value along with how long they would store.  This first week I opted for a large shank ham because it would be used to flavor beans, as sandwich meat, breakfast meat and in potato skillets.  Ham adds lots of flavor and is versatile besides providing over 30 portions 3 ounces each which were diced and frozen.

bananas (6 gave 12 servings)            $ 1.40
butternut squash  (3 cups)                  2.40
cabbage (12 wedges)                          1.50
broccoli (6 servings)                            2.00
lettuce green leaf (8 servings)             2.30
whole tomatoes (2-3 servings)             1.40
oranges (8 gave 16servings)                 3.50
10# potatoes (24 potatoes)                 2.60
oatmeal non-instant (30 servings)        3.00
bread (16 slices)                                 3.00
1# black beans dry                             1.70
shank  ham                                      11.60
frozen boneless chicken breasts           6.50       (2.25 pounds)
eggs 1 dozen                                      1.40
molasses 12 oz jar (on pancakes)           3.20

Servings Yielded from the above Shopping List

If a person purchased the above list of groceries, these are the approximate number of servings
provided from each major group of fruits, vegetables, carbohydrate (CHO), dairy, proteins and fats.

Fruit: 28/ a goal of 21 servings per week
Vegetables: 34/ a goal of 21 servings per week
CHO: 70/ a goal of 42 per week
Dairy:  128 oz/ 126 oz liquid milk to drink per week
Protein:  80/ of a goal of 42 oz a week
Fats: 96/ of 21 servings a week added fat in added butter/margarine

If a person strictly followed portion sizes, in this first week of grocery shopping we have accumulated 4 weeks worth of butter, 2-3/4 weeks of fruits and vegetables, 2-3/4 weeks of CHO and 2 week's meat that will be further extended in next week's groceries.  Week by week we will increase our stores, eat nutritiously, and gain control of finances.  :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Land of Milk and Honey

My husband and I are studying the Old Testament together.  This week we read Numbers 14 where Joshua has to reassure the people that God wants them to eat milk and honey.  He wants them to have the richness of the land.  He wants them to prosper.  I wonder if sometimes we feel like God wants us to suffer and so we fail to take advantage of the opportunities we have when we have them - then it is too late.  God wants to prepare us to meet challenges like those in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami; He wants us to prepare for unemployment; He wants us to prepare for rising oil prices and world turmoil.  Preparing is a process that takes faith.  The preparation had to occur on a daily basis.  Yesterday I felt I should stop by one grocery store - not knowing exactly what I was stopping for - I stopped.  They had just cleared the produce racks and I stocked up on apples and bananas for 1/2 the price.  With the savings I bought some quinoa flour to try some gluten free baking.  I marveled, God does provide for us, He will prepare us for times to come and He will fortify us to make it through the challenges we face one day at a time. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Training Dogs and Children

My Dad spent three months in the mountains herding sheep when I was two years old.  He spent the summer training a sheep dog.  That dog could round up a whole herd of bulls and push them down the field with one voice command from my Dad.

I had to chuckle when I read this months Readers Digest article "Sit, Stay,Whoa!"  Certainly dog trainers have more consistency than the crowd offering child rearing advice.  My favorite grains of wisdom were to leave the pup with its mother for at least 28 days or the equivalent of 6 months in human years.  To remove a pup from its mom sooner spells "disaster."  Commands need to be short and start early.  In an interesting study pups trained to be Guide Dogs for the Blind when started at one year 20% were successfully trained.  When the age of training started at 5 weeks the success rate went up 90%.

Come to think about it, my Dad employed one command in rearing children that may have had it's origin in dog training.  I personally think it quite effective - no long reasoning sessions, no reverse psychology, no threats, just a command that meant "No, Stop That, Danger!"  His command was SSSST!  We learned, almost subconsciously, to obey immediately.

Breakfast today:
Oatmeal/Cinnamon Bread
left over Rice Pudding, Ham Scram, and Chicken Supreme

Lunch:  Leftover Stew from Sunday's Pot Luck Social (Chunks of pork tenderloin, potatoes, carrots, onions, celery and hamburger - precooked and frozen.  Simmer together until vegetables are tender.  Season with salt, pepper, onion salt, herbs de provence or Italian flavoring.)

Dinner: Chicken breasts with Bow tie Pasta and Pesto, Steamed Cauliflower and Broccoli, Cabbage/ Ramen Noodle Salad.