story fam

story fam

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


In just 3 days, our family will be starting our official "Food Revolution" that is largely shaped by guidelines already set on the blog  Now to be fair, I will note that we will tweak the rules a bit.  If you would like the original rules, head over to the blog and you can check out what Lisa Leake did with her family.  This is one of the best food blogs out there!! 

We are defining "real" food in our home as fresh and non processed.  We will not be buying everything organic. 

30 Days of Real Food "Rules" (adapted from

What you CAN eat:

  1. Whole foods - defined as those foods that are more a product of nature than industry
  2. Fruits and veggies - we will do our best to shop at the local farmers market and our own garden once it provides food
  3. Dairy products - Skim milk (although we might go to 2%), unsweetened yogurt, eggs, cheese
  4. 100% whole wheat bread - I am buying honey whole wheat from Great Harvest
  5. Seafood
  6. Meat - we will use pork, beef, and chicken in moderation
  7. Beverages - limited to water, milk, 100% natural juice, coffee, tea, beer
  8. Snacks - Dried fruit, seeds, nuts, air popped popcorn, cheese, etc.
  9. All natural sweeteners - honey, 100% maple syrup, fruit juice
What you CANNOT eat:
  1. No refined grains such as white flour or white rice
  2. No refined sweeteners such as sugar, any form of corn syrup, or artificial stuff
  3. Nothing out of a bag, box, can, bottle, or package that has more than 5 ingredients on the label
  4. No deep fried food
  5. No "fast food" or "take out" food

There you go.  Honestly I've been doing this as much as possible since May 1st, so I don't think the transition will be traumatic.  We have gone out to eat which will stop and I did admit to the Grove Street Bakery cookies. 

The one big rule that we are not abiding by is this:  if our family is at a party/cookout/family event, or if one of our children attends a sleepover/birthday party, we do not expect to follow our rules 100%.  I do not think it is fair to a) offend anyone by bringing our own food and b) go somewhere and not allow our kids to enjoy a treat.  I know that treat and food should not go hand in hand, but the reality is that at a family reunion when everyone else is having a cookie it seems unfair that we would not allow our kids to have ONE!!  Again my goal is not to present this experiment as a punishment where the kids feel deprived!!  My goal is to show our family that by eating whole, good foods we will feel better, have more energy, and be making better food choices.  My ultimate hope is that my kids start to choose the good stuff on their own!!

One last note-I am going to try to be more diligent about adding in a protein at each meal.  It has been suggested to me by several people that the protein will help us to feel fuller longer.  I will be adding something protein to each of the meals that I have already planned.  Thank you for suggesting these cool tips to help!!  I really do appreciate hearing what other families are doing!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Milk (yes they were) Duds

So I am not ashamed to share that I love candy-I mean I LOVE IT!!  I love it so much that I regularly buy it and then hide the goodies so I don't have to share with my little peeps.  This transition to "real" food is just as hard for me as it is for the under 12 set!!  In preparation for the revolution, I have cut back to purchasing NO candy and have the occasional treat (Emmy did have Grove Street Bakery cookies for her birthday mid-May).

Last night I decided that we would each have one "last supper", if you will, and I bought each of the kids a box of candy for our family movie.  Before you judge or "tsk" me, I did not tie this purchase into our impending food revolution.  In my mind I will admit that I was thinking-better enjoy it, cause this is it my friends-but my yes was a simple yes you may. 

I chose to eat one entire box of Milk Duds (my personal favorite).  I sat in the chair and after one handfull started to feel not so very special.  My stomach literally felt....well....icky.  In true I have no self control style, I proceeded to eat the entire box and after about 20 minutes felt nauseated and jittery-hello sugar high.  I then tried to go to sleep and felt completely ill.  I woke up at 3:30 this morning after tossing and turning and did not get a good nights sleep.  Now at 6:45, I am still dealing with a stomach that feels crummy. 

Is all this possible from one box of candy?  Yes, I do believe it is.  I have not had sugary crap for almost one month.  I am convinced that there truly is something to cutting out the junk.  What interests me is that as I laid in bed during the night, I started to think about other times where I gorged on candy at bedtime while reading or watching t.v. and clearly remember feeling this same way.  Hmmmm.... 

Reality lesson learned. 

P.S.-While I pigged out and paid for it, my youngest peep threw her box (half full) in to the garbage.  My son saved some of his as did my eldest.  It was interesting to hear my son say, "Mom I feel full.  I'm not eating all of this!!".  Last night I should've taken a cue from the kids!!!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Kitchen is CLOSED!!!!!

Rolling out the whole wheat dough that Warrior girl made on her own!!

"Wow Mom, these are REALLY GOOOOOD!!!"  She chose honey as her topping.

The finished product.  We used a small jar to form our biscuit circles and ended up making about 24 out of this recipe (you can find the whole wheat biscuit recipe at

So instead of starting out my post sounding like Oscar the Grouch, I thought I would share my own little triumph-Warrior girl (who LOVES to cook and bake) helped me make whole wheat biscuit's for our Friday morning breakfast.  She is accomplished enough in the kitchen that she can be trusted with most equipment, so I turned her loose and she did a wonderful job.  She learned how to knead the dough and then got to use an old school wooden rolling pin-it honestly was fun!!!!!  The best part?  She LOVED the biscuits and encouraged her siblings to try them as well!!!  Honey was the favored topping and all of the kids came back for seconds, and thirds-they quickly disappeared. 

But why, you may wonder, am I crabby?  I will call my issue: the need to graze.  Before I share, here is my disclaimer: I know there are many different opinions on eating and children out there so let me reassure you- this is how I feel.  I am not judging nor do I honestly have any feelings about how you feed your own children.  Trust me, I learned long ago that judging is a bad idea (sometime I shall share my, "I will NEVER let my kids have a pacifier" story).  

 This past Thursday and Friday,  I started to notice that there was a lot of random grazing going on-especially right after a meal time.  This created a bad cycle-I eat breakfast and then I eat the fruit that is on the table and then I am not hungry at lunch but someone else is so Mom has to make lunch for others but not for me.  I am then hungry about 30 minutes after lunch is put away and expect all lunch items to come back out.  I am done eating lunch but now another little peep in my house wants a snack because they are STAAAAARVING as they rushed away from the table without finishing their food because they want to play.  Hey wait a minute-I think I"m hungry again so I'll ask for another snack which will make dinner unappealing because I'm not hungry.  Oh, by the way-it's an hour after dinner and since I didn't really want to eat because I had that other snack thing...I'm hungry again.

Perhaps this isn't a familiar scenario.  Well let me tell you-it about pushed me over the edge on Friday!!!  I do not mind preparing meals and providing a snack, but on Thursday afternoon and Friday throughout the day I was in our kitchen constantly!!!!  Like more than normal (which is typically a lot!)!!!   It was, quite frankly, ridiculous!!!  So being the routine/system minded gal that I am, here is what I instituted:

If you are a member of the Story household, you will be offered the following:  breakfast where we all eat together;  lunch where we all eat together; a snack around 3:00; dinner where we all eat together; and depending on what time dinner has been served, there is a possible snack that could be offered in the evening (p.s.-this evening option will not be made public knowledge).   If you choose not to eat at a set meal time, then you will be hungry enough to eat at the next meal time.  In between said times, the KITCHEN IS CLOSED!!!!!  Of course water is always available since it is smoking hot outside.  I don't think that this is mean-I think that this is reasonable.  The snacking is honestly causing a problem-even if it is healthy!!!!  We will see what happens.

On to the week-I am now adding in all "real" lunches!!  June first is just a mere 4 days away and I'm not sure that I am fully ready!!!!!    Again you may notice that the breakfast choices are familiar-I'm sticking to what the kids like!!  Lunches are also not that exciting, but keeping it simple is really what is working around here!!

  • Breakfast - Breakfast bites, fruit
  • Lunch -      Salad, hard boiled eggs, fruit
  • Breakfast - Pumpkin bread, yogurt
  • Lunch -      Grilled cheese (using whole wheat bread and "good" cheese)
  • Breakfast - Pecan breakfast cookies (these didn't go over well last time, but I'm trying again!!)
  • Lunch -      PBJ sandwiches, fruit, veggies
  • Breakfast - Fruit smoothies, toast with peanut butter or jelly (I'm going to add spinach today!!)
  • Lunch -      Crackers, cheese, hummus, veggies
Friday, June 1st-Food Revolution (plus "rules" begin)
  • Breakfast - Scrambled eggs, toast, and fruit
  • Lunch -      Caprese pasta salad (new recipe for us to try-check it out at 100days)
  • Dinner -     Sandwiches (we have dance recital rehearsal all day so it has to be EASY!!) and veggies
  • Breakfast - French toast (yes it's legal-we cut out brown sugar and replace with honey)
  • Lunch -      Cheese, crackers, fruit, peanut butter to dip and/or hummus
  • Dinner -     Grilled chicken, veggies
Sunday (Dance recital crazy day!!)
  • Breakfast -  Smoothies, toast  
  • Lunch -       Salad with left over grilled chicken
  • Dinner -      Grilled cheese or whole wheat pasta-we will be exhausted so this will be whatever is easiest!!!

Whew-long post!!!!  I'll be sharing the "rules" in the next few days as I gear up for the "Story Family Food Revolution" as we go all in!!  I am still confidently sharing that while this is hard, it is worth it 100%!!!  So whether you make little changes or big, congratulations to you for doing something awesome for your family!!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's all about the money

So I've been asked several times about the financial aspect of this food revolution.  There is a perception (mine included) out there that eating healthy in this day and age is impossible due to cost.  When I have shared our decision to cut out processed foods, the reaction that I largely get is, "Dude, how will you afford that?"-the dude is for real!!  I have cool friends.  To answer the money question (and for the record I don't mind because I am used to people asking me how we swing it with a big family-I learned long ago not to be offended) we operate with a flexible zero based budget that uses cash envelopes for our variable spending. It's all about the budget baby!!! 

About, well I can't even remember how long but I'll guesstimate that it's been 5 years,  I started to get tired of randomly spending money and then wondering why at the end of the month we were short-REALLY short.  A bit of background here-my husband gets paid once a month.  I have been a stay at home mom for almost 13 years (working here and there but nothing full time).  There isn't a lot of wiggle room in the paycheck.  I had no system of tracking the dollars that were spent, and while I was not the most fiscally responsible person, I didn't think I was buying that much stuff.  I honestly couldn't figure out why the checkbook was so empty!!!  In desperation, I sat down with Derek and we made a list of all of our monthly expenses including debt.  Then we made a list of variable expenses for the month which could change (groceries, gas, entertainment, miscellaneous spending, etc.).  For one month we tracked every penny that we spent and kept the receipts.  From that month we created a budget and decided to use cash envelopes for the variable expenses that we had.  Our budget has changed (we used to have a specific envelope for baby needs) over time as have the dollars that we dedicate to an envelope (the grocery money has needed to increase several times).  If there is money in an envelope it can be spent.  When the money is gone-it's gone.  We do have to adjust our budget during the summer months because our income goes down with my not working and Derek not teaching his class.  We know ahead of time that things are very tight during June-September and so we plan accordingly for that. 

Now to the nitty gritty of the grocery envelope.  For the past two years I have devoted $800 cash (for the month) to the envelope labeled grocery.  My definition of grocery spending in the past has been anything that I can purchase at a super store such as Walmart or Sams.  I do include paper products, cleaning products, personal products, and alcohol in this spending.  It is easier for me to do this because I hate having to break down our spending into these little micro subcategories.  I DO NOT use my debit card unless it is an absolute emergency and then take the exact amount of cash and replenish my checking account.  I keep all receipts that I use for the month in that envelope so I can always go back and see what I have spent our money on.  As the food revolution gets closer (June 1st is right around the corner!!) I am trying to decide if this is going to change-am I going to continue including items other than food in our budget?  And the big one-can I reduce the $800 down at all?

The big question is do we stay within the budget??  It is hard.  I would be lying if I told you that I had hundreds of dollars left over at the end of the month.  Typically towards the end of any given month I am shopping from our cupboards and cursing any unexpected item that we run out of.  In the past I would do one very big shopping trip to Sams where I would purchase the "snacks" for the month (both for school lunches and for home) and most of our meat.  Then I would fill in with fruit, vegetables, etc on my weekly trip to the store.  This month it was different.  I did go to Sams and make some big meat purchases, but everything else was fresh-less one box of "on the go" peanuts that the kids can have for a snack.  I also utilized Aldi (how could I have forgotten about this gold mine?), Walmart, and Kroger (they had a huge 10 for $10 sale on peppers and blueberries this past week).  So what you want to know is-did I blow my budget?

Drum roll please......I still have money and it is the end of the month.  I've purchased "real" food and when I looked in the envelope there was one last $100 bill!!!  How did this happen??  I am convinced that it is simply because I didn't buy one single "snack" food the entire month.  No industrial sized boxes of baked chips or cookies.  No (sniffle, sniffle) goldfish crackers or pretzles.   Even with my $10 a week bread purchases at Great Harvest I still came out ahead.  I still bought the monster toilet paper package, still bought paper towels, still bought laundry detergent-I just didn't shop many of the center aisles when I needed things.  Is it a fluke?  I don't know, but I have decided that on June 1st I will be sharing any receipt that is spent out of the envelope.  I want everyone to see what I buy-hey, maybe it will inspire you to try to shop this way too:) 

Now not to give you the impression that this is all Pollyanna rosey over here-I had some different issues with my family this past week-I'll share that in my food post.  A lot of frustration here at chez Story!!  It centers around the idea that we shall graze in the kitchen all day long whilst Mother prepares endless healthy snacks for the children-hello, I don't think so!!!!!  I need to give that a bit more time before sharing-don't want to come across negatively!!

So to wrap this post up:  Yes we use a budget.  Yes it works for our family.  No it isn't fancy (I write it down each month on paper and put it in a 3 ring binder).  No it isn't rigid.  Yes we allow for fun things (we have an envelope for entertainment) and yes we try very hard to stick to the amount in the envelope-i.e. once it's gone it's gone until the next month.  If the cash envelope sounds interesting to you, google Dave Ramsey or Financial Peace.  There are a lot of different methods that you can use-it really is helpful.

Happy spending!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Clean eating "caramel" popcorn

Holy cow!!!  I stumbled on to this SUPERB recipe and it is out of this world!!  It is a whopping 3 ingrediants:

8-10 cups of air popped popcorn
peanut (or almond) butter-which is what I used

The directions are below at  I am telling you it is delish!!  This is a good, sweet treat that I can't wait to serve the kids!!!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Michael's Smoothie Success

Here is a smoothie recipe courtesy of my own resident chef, Michael.  It is really easy and good.  Please note that due to the oatmeal, it does have a different texture.  He found it because it is dairy free and right now I cannot have dairy-such a sweetie!!!

Michael's Spring Smoothie

1 cup frozen strawberries (or any other frozen fruit-the second round I used frozen bananas)
1 cup orange juice
2/3 cup Quaker Oats (uncooked or cooked-I used uncooked)
2/3 tsp ginger or 3/4 tsp nutmeg (I used ginger and it was good)

Directions - Combine all ingrediants in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour in a glass and enjoy.

*Helpful tip* - the longer you pulse the blender the smoother the oatmeal becomes.  The first round of smoothies were a bit chunkier which I didn't mind.  For the second round I used some fresh strawberries, fresh blueberries, frozen bananas, and a little less oatmeal.  I blended it longer and it tasted a bit, well smoother.

Breakfast week 3 (adding lunches too)

It is the last week of school around here, so I will be adding in official lunches starting on Thursday.  I have decided that as we ease into this new eating plan, I will be doing really simple meals and snacks before branching out.  Keeping it easy will help me stay on track.  Who needs one more thing to do that causes stress-right?

Also want to share-the whole wheat banana pancake recipe is also AWESOME plain.  I made those for breakfast yesterday and they were a huge hit!!!!! 

  • Breakfast - Pumpkin bread (new recipe that I will actually follow)
  • Breakfast - Fruit smoothie, hard boiled eggs, toast
  • Breakfast - Whole wheat waffles (if I can find a good waffle iron) or pancakes
Thursday *Last day of school*:
  • Breakfast - Scrambled eggs, whole wheat biscuits (still haven't made this), fruit
  • Lunch - peanut butter/apple-wiches, air popped popcorn
  • Breakfast - Banana bread, yogurt
  • Lunch - Grilled cheese on whole wheat bread, veggies, fruit
  • Breakfast - Whole wheat french toast
  • Lunch - Granola, yogurt, veggies and fruit
  • Breakfast - Smoothie (would like to try adding something green in-we'll see how that goes)
  • Lunch - shop from the fridge and freezer (there is A LOT of miscellaneous stuff I've found in the freezer and I want it gone!!  Frozen chicken, beef, etc.).
Next week I am going to add in all snacks and lunches.  Because of how the calendar falls, I will start our official Food Revolution on Friday June first (I am such a nut-it bugs me that it isn't on a Monday!!!).  This is the day that all rules will be followed for 30 days.  Again I will add the disclaimer that if we are attending a party/cook out/etc. I will not be bringing, or sending, food.  We will anticipate treats being present and make the best food choices available.  My goal isn't to deprive-my goal is to realign our eating habits so that we all (adults included here) want to feed our bodies good food-hey, I've been known to eat an entire sleeve of girl scout cookies in my time!!!!

Sometime this week I will also share how our grocery dollar is spent around here.  We have used a cash envelope system for years that is awesome-I want to share how this isn't costing us as much as I thought it would so that you are encouraged too.  Healthy eating has a reputation for this high price tag and while it is a bit more costly, it isn't breaking our bank.  I suppose this is where I also need to share that I am not going 100% organic.  I've had a few questions about this,  so I apologize for not clarifying that at the start. When we really roll with this I will define what our family considers "real" and I understand that we may not agree.  To be perfectly honest, there is no way that we can afford to feed 7 people 100%  organic food.  That would be financially impossible. 

I am still open to ANY snack and/or lunch ideas that you would like to share!!!  Please leave your ideas here or on Facebook.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday reflections and bread like a brick

This past week breakfast was largely successful-minus a disgusting pumpkin bread that failed miserably!!  Even Derek said it was gross-like a brick!!!  I used too much flour (it would help if I slowed down to read the recipe correctly) and it was dry.  But my failure turned into a great teaching moment for our family!!  The kids were sitting at the table looking at the bread (even the flexible peeps that have been open to trying new things) like it was poison.  I had Daddio try it and he immediately put the plate down.  When he put the plate down, I knew something was wrong because he respectfully eats EVERYTHING I cook without complaint!!  I know the kids were trying to figure out how they were going to refuse the bread without getting in trouble, so I used the moment to open the door for a conversation.  I wanted them to know that  if something they are trying doesn't taste right then we need to talk about it.  Telling me that something is soggy, dry, runny, etc. is a good thing.  Telling me that something looks "nasty" before trying it is not.  I figure if we can dialogue about the texture, density, etc.(and I explained to the kids what those words meant) then we can begin to learn why we like or dislike certain things.  I certainly don't like dry bread and I don't like runny eggs.  If one of my little people feel like a blueberry in a muffin is too runny then I want to know.   To me this is a far cry from looking at the plate and declaring grossdom without even putting said gross food (pretty much anything for Warrior girl outside of yogurt and grapes) into your mouth.  I want our kids to understand the difference between trying a new food and being able to explain what they like or dislike about it rather than judging a food by the appearance.  None of us like everything (hello brussel spouts make me want to puke!!!!!!!) but I want the kids to learn from this and expand their ideas about new things.  We also talked about trying a food more than once.  Would I make them eat the dry pumpkin bread?  No!!  Will I set asparagus out again?  You bet.  We are trying to find this new balance and I want to be able to talk about what we are doing.  As I've said all along, I want the kids to want to eat better.  Part of this comes from being able to talk about food.  I'm glad the bread turned out this way-it provided an awesome discussion that takes the pressure off of us all when something doesn't turn out.  It was also sweet to hear my son say, "Mom, bakers make lots of mistakes when they are trying to make something good."  I love that boy!!

As I gear up to head to the store with our meal plan for the upcoming week, I do want to note that I am making more trips to the store for fresh produce.  It isn't bad, but I do feel like it's worth noting.  I am still way ahead of where my food budget usually is at this time of the month so that is good, but I do feel like we are running out of the good stuff pretty quickly.  Sams is my best friend as is Aldi-I forgot how awesome the produce is there!!!!

One other cool thing-I am learning about using our food up-i.e. finding ways to use every last bit of fruit or a vegetable.  Not that we are wasteful, but I will admit that I have thrown away soft strawberries before without blinking an eye.  Now I know that those mushy berries will be just fine in a smoothie or muffin.  It is cool to learn how to use our resources better.  I like that I am more aware of what I am doing with our food as a whole. 

I'm putting the finishing touches on my breakfast plan for the week.  I will be sharing that tomorrow. 

Loving the sunshine and warmth!!!  Everything is better in the summer!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Breakfast-week 3 and such

This week is extra busy for our family, but at this time of the year, who isn't?!?  My menu is largely the same as weeks prior.  I do want to note that I did not get around to making the whole wheat biscuits last week or the whole wheat waffles-imagine my frustration when I went to make the batter and realized that I had thrown out the waffle irons-ARGH!!  I am also going to include my second mini-lution for this week-it's pretty good!!

Monday -  Emmy's Birthday Breakfast *Scrambled eggs, bacon, whole wheat toast with jelly*

Tuesday -  Whole wheat muffins with apples, yogurt, fruit

Wednesday -  Breakfast bites (recipe can be found at

Thursday -  Banana pancakes

Friday -  Fruit smoothies, toast, fruit

Saturday -  Derek's french toast

Sunday -  Hard boiled eggs, fruit, toast

These easy recipes work and reusing them is really smart.  The kids don't mind and it keeps things simple and efficient!!

*Mini-lution 2*
This week for my mini-lution, I am going to continue offering the 2 fresh fruits and I am going to add the offering of 2 fresh veggies at snack, lunch, and dinner.  I purchased a pre-cut mix of carrots/broccoli/cauliflower at Sams for $4.98 and have started leaving a bowl out on the table.  I also purchased mushrooms, multi-colored peppers, a cucumber, and more celery to rotate on the table.  As I wrote over the weekend, the chips are gone baby-the choices are quickly becoming healthier. 

As I was reflecting on these changes with my Mom tonight at dinner, I felt very satisfied with how things are progressing.  I will admit that there is NO way we could have done this cold turkey!!!  I would encourage anyone who wants to cut out processed foods to take baby steps when making changes as the nutritional gatekeeper.  Breakfast was the easiest starting point for me, but maybe there is a different meal time that would work better for you.  Find what works for you and plug in better food choices for your family.   

And for what it's worth, our food dollar is honestly going farther.  Each month I start out with $800 in cash for groceries and it goes quickly.  As of today, I still have approximately $250 left for the remainder of the month which for us is awesome!!!  Over the weekend (I took a pic of our Aldi score) I spend $20 at Aldi, $26 at Walmart, and $59 at Sams (the $13 pure maple syrup killed it!!).  So for $105 I got our groceries for the week.  I know that when I started this my biggest worry was cost.  I truthfully am finding that it is easy to find good food that won't break the bank. 

Here is to a fantastic week!!! 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

So long...farewell

It's official!!  We are packaged snack free (less the 3 lone Nature Valley Granola bars that are sitting in the snack basket)!!  What you see in this picture are the containers that used to house lunch options for the school day.  In the "snack for school" box I used to have peanut butter crackers, goldfish, fruit snacks, and granola bars.  The "chip/cracker" bin is self explanatory.  In the dessert bin I used to keep snack baggies of cookies, pudding, and random sweets for the kids to take.  Below the bins you can see random containers of fruit cups that are now looking mighty enticing!!  These are 100% fruit cups that I actually have always purchased for the kids that were largely ignored until now.  These shelves are going to transition into storage for the new Ninja Bullet that I purchased as well as various other cooking items that need a home off of the kitchen counter!!

So what are we doing for snacks and lunches?  I have taken the suggestions of friends (thank you so much for your ideas!!) and have started to pop air popped popcorn for school and home, celery with peanut butter, fresh fruit, and have added fresh veggies as well.  What I have noticed is this-if the kids are really hungry, they will eat the choices that they are given.  If they are just jonesing for boredom food, they walk away-hey, then we are all happy.  They find something else to do besides eat, and I don't feel bad for giving them options that will build up their bodies!!  In my opinion that is a win/win for us all.  As our pediatrician pointed out, if they are really hungry then they will eat whatever is put in front of them.

That's right-the nutritional gatekeeper is taking charge around here!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday

Well the honeymoon period is over.  I've been faced with several recipe's that have just plain bombed.  My whole wheat blueberry muffins didn't go over well;  the PBJ smoothie was largely untouched;  the pecan maple breakfast cookies that were the choice for this morning were also not a big hit.  So what's a Mom to do?  Persevere my friends!!  It didn't take a week for my kids to love frozen pancakes, frozen waffles, and honey nut cheerios, and I know that it is going to take a while for things to change.  Am I frustrated?  YES!!!  Am I going to quit?  Nope.  Though I will admit that while wallowing in a moment of "I cannot believe that my kids will not eat this good food that I am making and don't they know it's hard because I am working everyday and this is an added thing for me to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I came across two passages in a book that I am reading called The Cleaner Plate Club that gave me the boost I needed.

The first passage that reinforced my need to push through this frustration is simply knowing that I am what the authors refer to as the nutritional gatekeeper.  If you are the person who does the majority  of the shopping and meal preparation in your home then you are one too.   Seeing this in print brought me directly back to one of the main reasons for starting on this journey-I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT MY KIDS EAT because I am the one who buys the food!!!  Again this drove home the point that I determine what the kids are eating for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all snacks day after day.  If I present them with choices that are healthy then I am doing what is best for them.  If they don't eat what is provided then that is their choice.  I buy the good stuff and they see the good stuff-then they will hopefully want to eat the good stuff.

The second passage that gave me peace is the 72% rule.  Simply stated, the gatekeeper is responsible for 72% of the family diet.  What about the other 28%?  Well quite frankly I have decided not to worry about that.  I am taking the stance right now that if my kids go to a party and have a piece of cake I'm not freaking out.  If I send them with a healthy lunch and they get an oreo it isn't the end of the world.  Going to a family cookout (we are on Saturday) where there are going to be sweet treats?  How about pushing moderation?  I don't want this plan to backfire!!  I don't want my kids to end up sneaking candy or feeling deprived.  I want to create an environment in my home where we are eating well because it is the best thing for our bodies and minds!!!  Will I be buying candy/cookies/chips?  No.  But do I expect the general public or extended family to make special accommodations for us?  Honestly, no.  I think that if we can control 72% of what we are putting into our mouths, that other 28% will even out.  Wouldn't it be lovely if my kids got to the point where they just said no to junk food on their own?

So here is where I'm at today.  I've hit a bump and refocused.  I didn't think this would be easy (and it isn't) and I knew I would be frustrated.  I wish my kids were embracing this wholeheartedly (which really means I wish that Warrior girl would eat what I am making) and for the most part they are.  This is where I will insert that Miss Warrior did take a reasonable bite of the breakfast cookie before saying that she "did not care" for it.  That is a baby step forward that I will take!!!  I still feel really good about doing this.  I know that we are all going to feel so much better!!

And thank you for the supportive comments and cool posts about what you do with your families!!  I love learning from you.  Keep the ideas coming.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mini-lution week one

As our family gets closer to some big changes in the near future, I browsed the mini-pledge section on 100daysofrealfood to see what little pledges were out there to test.  After browsing Lisa's ideas, I decided that our family could stand to try out a mini-lution within our bigger breakfast revolution-hey, what's wrong with another  mini-change?

With no fan fair or official announcement, today I started putting out two fresh fruit options at each meal.  For breakfast it was cantaloupe and apples.  For dinner......well....I offered the same.  I didn't say that I was creative-just wanting to offer two choices (I'm trying to win Warrior girl over!!).

In a moment of parenting genius, I covertly encouraged above child to help me make our blueberry muffins for tomorrow with the shameless hope that it would entice her to try one.  Sigh.  She has already informed me that she would prefer the muffins from a box and why exactly am I changing things when everyone in this house is perfectly happy?  Oh-she also asked how many days are in June and will we be done with this revolution at the end of June or is that a trick?  Insert witchy cackle and duh duh duh music.  Yep, things are changing around here and the healthy food is here to stay.

So back to the mini-lution of offering two fresh fruits at each meal-if you are willing to take the plunge and try this with me welcome to the party!!!!!  Let me know if you are signing on for the mini-lution, how it's going, and what fruit options are you serving.  It's so much fun to share!!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Breakfast Revolution-week 2

This week I am able to shop largely from my pantry!!  I have a lot of items ready to be used.  I am also "pantry" shopping for dinner this week as well, so we can start from ground zero next week as we will be adding in a Dinner Revolution as well.

Special Note:  Yesterday for breakfast we had THE BEST french toast!!  Derek ( a.k.a French Toast Master) eliminated brown sugar from his special mix and there was literally NO difference in taste so this delicious meal was LEGIT!!  We used Great Harvest Bread, the egg/vanilla mix, and 100% maple syrup (oh yes, I was stingy with this liquid gold!!).  EVERYONE (yes even my Warrior girl) LOVED this breakfast!!!!!

  • Monday:         Whole wheat banana bread, fruit, yogurt
  • Tuesday:         Whole wheat blueberry muffins, fruit  (I will use the whole wheat muffin recipe from last week and use the blueberries as the add in.  I have frozen berries to use up.)
  • Wednesday:    Whole wheat waffles
  • Thursday:        PBJ smoothies and whole wheat biscuits
  • Friday:            Scrambled eggs, toast
  • Saturday:        Baked french toast (this is made on Friday night and sits overnight in the fridge)
  • Sunday:          Any left over item from the week and/or fruit smoothies
You can find the recipes for Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday at under the breakfast tab.  If you are interested in the baked french toast recipe, please let me know and I can post it.

If you have any healthy snack ideas that you would be willing to share, PLEASE feel free!!!!!  I have found some great suggestions on pinterest and at the 100 days site, but I wonder if any one has any easy, yummy "go to's" that they use frequently. 

So as things stand right now, Tuesday May 15th begins the Dinner Revolution (which I probably won't really announce as I will just tweak a lot of what I make right now) and I am going to start on snack items as we speak.  I'm not sure why the snack thing is such a roadblock for me??  Just being honest-I really struggle when the kids get home and "MOM WE ARE STARRRRRRRRRVING" hits.  It has always been our routine to have a snack basket that is filled and they pull from.  The basket has items ranging from Nature Valley granola bars to my beloved Goldfish crackers.  Those will both be going bye bye.  Sigh. 

One more quick note.  Great Harvest (thank you for this tip Christine) sells their whole wheat flour (in our local store) for $1 per pound.  You can get as much, or little, as you want.  The HONEY WHEAT is allowed on the "real" food plan as it has 5 ingredients:  whole wheat flour, honey, yeast, salt, and water.  Is is very good and very filling!!!!  I made a few notes about other items they sell and have lost it-hopefully I can find it at some point-but I know I will be going back in later on in the week for more bread.

Tomorrow I will be starting a "mini-lution" for the week.  I'll post that later tonight.  If you want to join me, I'd love it!!!!!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Week one-was it worth it?

As the week winds down I'm ready to answer the questions/comments that have been posed to me about starting on this food journey.  "Isn't that expensive?"  "Whoa that sounds like a lot of work!"  "But I work and I am so busy!!  That would never work for our family!"

"Isn't that expensive?"- I.e. dude you have a lot of kids!!  How will you afford to buy "real" food?  Let me share that after making the initial investment (yes friends I see this as an investment in my family!) last week, my grocery list for next week is rather short.  The items that I did buy that are normally not on my list (whole wheat flour, coconut oil, 100% maple syrup) are all going to be used over a period of weeks so the cost honestly does even out.  I did notice that I had to make an extra trip mid-week to the grocery for more fruit-but hey, it wasn't like I was buying dorito's or candy.  If I am buying more of something real and good, I feel pretty good about that.  I do know that for our family, eliminating the packaged snacks is going to save money!!  Each summer I notice that our grocery bill goes down when I am not buying snack for school lunches, so I can't wait to see how this works once I am intentionally making better choices with our food dollar.  Not to sound all rosey (I don't want to lose your trust early in this journey!) I will say that the bread was a major expense.  I did go to our local Great Harvest and purchased 2 loaves of the Honey Wheat big loaf (which was cut into sandwich slices for me).  The 2 loaves did total $10, BUT I still have a full loaf AND the slices are so big that I am making sandwiches with one slice of bread.  Great Harvest does have the bread system where you purchase 12 loaves and get one free-I'll be racking up some free bread in the upcoming months!!

"Whoa that sounds like a lot of work!"-Yes, honestly it was!  I have 3 words for you about my breakfast menu:  prep, prep, and more prep.  I handled this by taking a day (for those who work full time this would be Saturday or Sunday) for cooking what I needed ahead of time.  I made the whole wheat pancakes the day before and did the same for the muffins.  For the upcoming week, I plan on making what I need for the week and will then freeze the items so that I have everything.  For the record, I substitute teach and have many weeks where I am working full time.  I appreciate that we are all busy-look, it's a choice you have to make and then find the time to make it happen.  I can't believe that TRYING to make a change for your family isn't the best choice, but I'm not in the business of making those judgments for you.  I would encourage every family to try to make little changes.  It's taken me several attempts (and failures) to get this going. 

Week one tips:
  • Plan, plan plan-plan for success!!  If you don't want to do this on a large scale, who cares!!  Try to make on change for your family!!  Take a mini pledge!!  Serve a new fruit or veggie for dinner!!  Replace your white wonder bread with some whole wheat.  It's okay to try.  Trust me!!
  • Set a grocery budget and stick to it.  Try shopping from your pantry.  Use up what you have and fill in the gaps with "real" food. 
  • MAKE A WEEKLY MENU!!!  Keep your menu simple.  Keep your choices simple!!  I am no Martha Stewart but once I find what works, you will find it rotating frequently on my menu plan.
  • Prep whatever you buy as soon as you get home.  You don't need fancy schmancy containers.  Use plastic bags, recycled spaghetti jars-just get everything cleaned, scooped, chopped and ready.  Then when you need it and you are super exhausted and cannot handle the "I need a snack right now" meltdown you are ready!! 
  • Check out a new cookbook on healthy eating at the library.  I was blessed this week to get a book on loan and it was wonderful!!  I now have armed myself with choices!!  I feel good knowing that I can try a variety of new healthy recipes and keep what works while ditching what doesn't.
  • Be patient.  I could have an entire post on my Warrior daughter.  Perhaps I will in the upcoming weeks.  I shall nickname her Warrior because she FIGHTS against every healthy item that I place in front of her.  It is a battle!!  Again being totally honest, the only morning that she TRIED any of the breakfast items I made was the day of the smoothie.  Don't feel like you have to cheer or pat me on the back-we already had test driven the smoothie when I first found 100daysofrealfood so it was kind of like cheating.  Do I get frustrated with her?  No doubt about it!!  Do I long for her taste buds to change-absolutely!!  Do I worry that because she is athletic that her little body isn't getting the food it needs-yes, and that is why I will keep putting the healthy stuff in front of her.  As a side note, she is really going to freak out when we hit June 1st.  She talks about it daily as if the world is ending.

So as week one of our breakfast revolution winds down do I think that it was worth it?  YES, YES, YES!!  Was it extra work-yes.  Did it take time-yes.  But, did I feel good sending my kids out the door knowing that they ate really good food-that is the biggest yes of all.

Tomorrow I plan on posting my breakfast menu for week two.  I am also going to do a "mini-lution" for the week.  If you are interested in doing it with me leave a comment here or on Facebook.  I have two that I am mulling over and can't quite make the decision yet!!  If you want to do your own "mini-pledge", head over to and click on the mini-pledge tab.  Again, you will find so much stuff there-it is amazing!!!