story fam

story fam

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A new challenge-the school lunch

I've been a bit lax with the blogging lately.  So I thought I would get up to speed with the goings on here.  Specifically, what does life post 30 day revolution look like.

As the summer has progressed, I have to admit that my will power and drive has worn down a bit.  Dude, it takes a lot of effort to make those pancakes/muffins/scrambled eggs every day!!  There are no Lucky charms in the house, but I did buy Cheerio's.  No pop tarts but I caved and got sour dough pretzels.  No microwave popcorn, but I did purchase a Stir Crazy (friends if you do not have one of these you NEED to get one!!!!).  No white bread, but I did purchase a few loaves of whole wheat from Sams.  I have become flexible in what I buy, but the kids have stopped asking for a lot of the junk which is AMAZING!!!!  I can actually walk down the cracker aisle and they go right to the triscuts instead of the cheese it's!!  Yes, I am still lamenting the gold fish crackers!!  I love them so.

Our meals are similar to what I prepared during our 30 day revolution.  I have brought back some old favorite recipe's and tweaked them.  Baked ziti with whole wheat noodles and homemade sauce, "easy" joes(which are homemade sloppy joes-delish) made with low sugar ketchup, and a lot of grilled chicken.  I did also follow through on my weekly rotation and it worked beautifully!!  The kids didn't even notice that the meals were the same.  I will be doing this for the school year on a monthly basis.  It just creates a wonderfully organized system of getting meals on the table.  It makes grocery shopping easier-and isn't that what we all really want?

I have a new challenge that I am going to gear up for now-the school lunch.  Those 3 little words that make me quiver, sigh, and wait...I feel a headache coming on!!  It is the worst part of the school year!!  Coming up with clever food items to put in that little lunch bag-man, it just drives me crazy!!!  I'll give you more insight on what it looks like to prepare a school lunch around here at a later date.  I just can't even go there right now-I haven't had enough coffee!!!  But I need some healthy choices. 

My other big news is that Mama got a job!!  After almost 13 years of being at home (well for 8 of said years I have worked various part time jobs but nothing full time) I am headed back to the land of full time work.  Am I excited-YES YES and YES again!!  Do I wonder what that is going to look like for our family?  Of course.  I have scoured pinterest for organization tips (who am I kidding....I scour pinterest for any tip!!), recipe's and other information to get myself geared up for this transition.  Can I still make healthy meals for my fam while throwing a job into the mix of all that returning to school brings (i.e. I become a glorified taxi driver to and from all after school activities)?  Why yes, I do believe that I can.  It is kind of sickening, but I operate well when busy.  The summer is my time to recharge, and by September I am ready to roll!!!

This is going to be awesome!!  So if you have any healthy lunch tips, let's start there.  And if you have any other tips about being a working mom share those too!!  I think if we all shared more about the things that make our lives easier, we would all be so much happier:)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Adventures at the Farmer's Market (Mom, can we go now?)

So what do you do at 10am when it is already like 99 degrees out??  Yep, you drag your family to the Farmer's Market.  I'm not sure why we chose to go in the heat?  I'm not sure why we decided that yesterday of all days was the perfect time to make this journey.  But, we did and it was great!!!!  It was our first adventure into shaking the hand of those who feed us and we were not disappointed!!!  Now for those of you who have not gone to the Farmer's Market here in town, let me encourage you to get your tushie's out of bed and get there EARLY!!!  While I was impressed with the selection at 10:30 am, I am certain that the selection is even better in the early morning hours.  We started at a tent full of homemade pies-not the best place to start, but oh my everything looked SO yummy!!!  Our strategy was to walk the entire circle and then make our decisions.  There was a lot to look at!!  Beautiful orange and yellow zinnia's, colorful foxgloves, and brightly colored veggies were everywhere.  It was truly appealing to the eye to see all of the colors.  It was also entertaining to listen to the music being played while we shopped around.  We were told that the market wasn't even full of the usual vendors due to the heat, but I have to say that for such a hot day it was well populated!!

Our first stop was at Troyer's sweet corn.  While I didn't get to talk to this family as much as would've liked (the kids were DYYYYYYYIIIIIINNNNGGGG it was SOOOOOO HOOOOOOT), I quickly hit it off with Lis (pictured below).  She was cheerful, even in the heat, and I really liked the conversation I heard her (yes, I was eavesdropping!!) having with another customer.  She was gracious, kind, and happy to share information about their produce.  Their prices were very competitive-I purchased 12 ears of corn (but she threw in some extras when she saw all of the kids) for $5.  When I pulled back the husks I was delighted to see the yellow and white kernels!!  DELISH!!

Lis (Troyer Sweet Corn), Emmy, Fiona, and Peris
I told Lis I would plug her fresh corn and she was delighted!!  If you stop by their tent at the Farmer's Market, let her know that you saw her picture here on my blog.  She was pretty enthusiastic about being included on a post about real food.  I wish we could've talked more-I will look for her again next week!! 
These families work hard for their dollar!!  I felt so good about buying corn from a real person-knowing that no big company had any access to modify this food means something to me. 
Thank you Lis for shaking my hand and giving me peace about what I am feeding my family!!!

As we ventured on (by this point we were all absolutely disgusting!!) we stopped at Prairie Earth Farms out of Atlanta, Illinois.  Two young men were manning this tent, and while they were eager to share their organic methods of growing their produce, I have to admit that I had checked out!!!  They were gracious and informative-I will be going back to their tent next week as well to chat them up.

These green beans looked gorgeous!!  And smelled so fresh!!  I also purchased a pound of Yukon gold potatoes and Derek bought two onions.  Everything smelled....real.  The container of beans cost $2.50, the pound of potatoes was $3 and the two onions were $1. 

I just thought this picture was beautiful.  All of the colors.  Even in the heat I had a great time!!! 

Okay, so the heat was pretty bad, but the produce, fresh baked goods, fresh flowers, and the artisan wares were amazing!!!  If you live in the area and haven't ventured Downtown-get going!!  Check out this (not so secret I'm sure) little jewel that goes on every Saturday morning.  It is well worth it!!  Save some of your food dollars and spend it here-a place where you can meet the people who are feeding you.  They love to chat (even when you are all melting) and love that you want to buy good food from them.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Zucchini, zucchini, zucchini!!!!!

WOW!!  I have a lot of zucchini!!!  I sent some with Derek to work and STILL have more than enough here at home!!  What's a girl to do with all of this green stuff??  Here are two really good/easy recipe's to try if you are overwhelmed with this piece of produce too:

Zucchini Bread (adapted from 100 Days of Real Food)

  • 3 cups of whole wheat flour (pastry flour does make this a lighter bread)
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon (I throw in a lot because it's yummy!!)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 c unsweetened applesauce (this replaces oil and works beautifully at keeping the bread nice and moist!!)
  • 3/4 c honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 c grated zucchini (to be honest I used A LOT of grated zucchini to use up my produce!)
  • 1 c chopped nuts (optional-I didn't use them)
  • Preheat oven to 325
  • Blend all dry ingredients in a big bowl
  • Make a well in the center (a hole) and pour in the eggs, applesauce, honey, and vanilla.  Stir just to mix-don't over do it!!
  • Fold in the grated zucchini and chopped nuts if using
  • Pour into a greased loaf pan(s) or muffin holders and bake until a toothpick comes out clean in the center.
  • Bake loaf for approximately 50 min
  • Bake muffins for approximately 20-25 min
  • Baking time depends on the heat of YOUR oven
Left overs can be frozen!!
P.S.-you can add semi-sweet chocolate chips to this and be someones hero:)

Broiled zucchini bites with Parmesan cheese

  • Zucchini halved and sliced
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
  • Turn broiler on
  • Half and slice zucchini into small round pieces
  • Place on cookie sheet lined with foil
  • Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of each
  • Broil until cheese is brown and melty
Yes, it is that easy AND it is super yummy!!!!!!!!!

There you go, two easy possibilities to use up those zucchini that seem to multiply overnight!!!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Flexibility and beyond

Well our journey is officially over.  The 30 day mark has come and gone.  So, what's the plan? 

First of all, I hold these truths to be...well, true:  eating real food DOES make you feel better!!!  It DOES help you sleep!!  It DOES aleviate belly bloat (ladies, I'm speaking for myself here)!!  It DOES do away with those jittery feelings I have in the morning (my cortisol levels are off and when I removed the sugar it really helped)!!  It DOES take time/planning/and a certain mind set.  And last but not least, IT IS NOT TOO EXPENSIVE!!!!

My plan  for our future is simple-I am continuing this journey with flexibility.  I am going to pursue the 80/20 rule-80% of the time I will ensure that my family is provided with healthy food choices.  I am going to continue buying the good stuff and I am not going to buy those convenience items that we got along just fine without for the last 30 days.  If it isn't in the house, it really isn't a daily option.  That being said, I am going to accept that there are situations (now when I say situations, what I am really doing here is giving myself an out for those nights where I am so exhausted/lazy/unmotivated that Little Cesar's is a just fine/20% option) where the unhealthy stuff will be present in our lives.  I might not go looking for it on a regular basis, but life happens around here and I just don't want to stress. 

There has been a slow awakening here that I am loving!!  It is coming without any nudging from me!!  The kids are seeing first hand that when you stuff yourself with crap you feel bad.  I am done policing plates when we are at a social gatherings.  Several times the kids have gone wild and have ended up with a stomach ache/bathroom issues/fatigue/etc. and they are starting to make the correlation-remember what my original goal was??  I want my children to learn how to make good food choices for themselves!!  I want them to know when they are full.  I want them to realize that one piece of cake is a treat-but having the cake, ice cream, kettle corn, and a snow cone is going to make you sick!!!!!!!!!  And for the record, I am making these same mistakes and learning these same lessons.  To be perfectly honest, I didn't do so good myself on the 4th of July and woke up this morning feeling pretty miserable. 

This is a journey that we will continue to travel on!!  It is a process that I have learned takes time.  So if you are the parent of very little people, I would encourage you to start making good choices while your kids are young.  And keep offering these good choices even when said children turn their noses up at them.  And then keep offering those choices when you feel like throwing  in the towel because of the complaining.  Our kids used to eat everything we gave them-veggies and all.  As they grew so did their palates (i.e. pickiness) and so did our will power to enforce better habits of trying foods.  All is not lost!!  We have 3 children who will eat anything once, one child who will pretend to try, and one who...well quite frankly I have no idea what happened with her because she ate everything as a little peep. 

Thank you so much for reading these posts.  There were some days where I felt really frustrated but kept things rolling because I knew that people were keeping up with the Story's.  I am going to keep posting-we are always trying new things over here to make life interesting.

Here is to better eating choices for the long haul!!