Category Archives: nourishing foods that kids love

How to cut up your own organic free ranged dead chicken.

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I’ve decided that I would like to do more videos and less writing.
Sure I would I want to share my random opinions but I’ve realized that I have some mad skills that I could be teaching.
I’m spending my life collecting skills that improve quality of life.
Many of them are very easy and anyone can do it. And Many of them also do not involve pig heads or chicken feet. I will warn you when those ones come up but I would like to invite you to set an intention for yourself to be cool with uncommon animal parts because they are so commonly thrown away.

So, here it is!

My first skill share, just for you, my beloved followers.
It’s only three and a half minutes long and will teach you how to cut up your own free range organic chicken.
Doing this makes ethical meat so affordable. And we all love meat that wasn’t raised in its own poop without a beak of its own to peck bugs with.
I’ll figure out how to put the video right on the page, but until then you’ll have to click the link…

How to cut up your own free ranged organic dead chicken.

Lying to my children about food.

One day I decided to stop lying to my children about what they were eating. I would always try to sneak in a little hemp hearts or cod liver oil or whatever my newest fad food was at the time. I started to wonder if this practice may have been hurting them more than helping. I thought about this deeply and realized that it didn’t feel honest and authentic to me. By lying about their food I was sending them the message that I didn’t trust them to want to nourish their bodies. I was also creating a relationship of distrust in such an intimate way. Food is something that we put inside our bodies. How could I be all gung-ho for food labelling yet not allow my children to know what they were eating?!?!? I’m amazed by my own level of narrow minded thinking but we grow and learn better, right?
Another thing I thought about was how powerful it is to associate what we eat and how we feel. I wasn’t allowing my children that opportunity to make the food/body connection because I assumed that I knew best. I assumed they wouldn’t want to do the best thing for themselves. That’s crazy talk (or thought). All humans want the best.
So, I swallowed my fear and clenched my butt a little, when I said ” there’s hearts and livers in that chili.” and “Yes, I added some raw egg to that”.
When I first started being honest they would often decline to eat because I had trained them that health foods were to be hidden and mistrusted. Things are much different now.
My oldest son was sure that he HATED kombucha because I didn’t tell him that I added into jellos and soups and other things, but once I started telling him, then he knew he liked kombucha and was more willing to try stuff. Everything, he was more open to trying everything!
We are actually coming to a place where the previously hidden ingredients are now prized treasures. My daughter often asks if something is good for her as she knows the value of it. My son looks up recipes for new healthy things to try. He can be heard saying such things into google search as “heallllthy marshhhhhhmalllllows.”. I believe that this honesty has improved our relationships (and our lives) in so many ways. I feel like I can openly talk about what I am fermenting and making with it and they are interested and happy to try it, most of the time. They are still human though and sometimes I wonder when I will have gone too far. The boys did try the authentic headcheese I made last week even after seeing the “ingredients”. 😀

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Beautiful headcheese. I was told by a food historian, author, professor guy (Ken Albala) that I nailed it. It’s so exciting to take something that would otherwise be garbage and make food.

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Happy Kombucha SCOBY. We don’t eat these. Yet.

Do you sneak foods into your kids?

Decadent Chocolate Cake (flourless, resembling the best brownies of your life).

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I wish I could remember where I found the original idea for this cake. I would like to credit them as it is absolutely brilliant. I stared at the ingredients wondering how a cake without flour would hold together. I was sceptical, but gave it a try and was amazed by the results. Without flour you get pure, delicious chocolaty-ness. I now make this cake for all birthdays requiring chocolate cake. I top it with the birthday persons favourite fruit and whipped cream and/or icing. It’s incredibly rich and special.
*I will post a picture once I make the cake again.*
I will give a few ingredient options, highlighting in bold the ones I used.

Rich, dark and decadent chocolate cake

-12 oz. of chocolate, melted*(chocolate chips, bakers chocolate or raw cacao paste)
-1 cup fat, melted (butter, coconut oil, lard, ghee)
-1 1/2 cups of sugar (coconut sugar, sucanat, rapadura)
-1/2 tsp salt
-4 tsp vanilla (raw vanilla powder, vanilla extract or bean)
-6 large eggs (4 of Chicken Man’s egg yolks)
-1/2 to 1 cup cocoa (raw cacao powder, cocoa powder)

Blend all ingredients together until smooooooth.

Pour into greased pan lined with parchment paper. I use a large round clay pan, but an 8×8 or a bit larger would work too.

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, until
Middle is no longer jiggly and firm
On top.
Cool completely before cutting.

This can feed up to 20 people especially when cut into small pieces and generously topped with fruit and whipped cream.

Thick Fruit Sauce

2 cups frozen fruit, thawed.
1/2 cup sweetener, like honey.
4 tbsp thickener like arrowroot or potato starch.

Mix all ingredients together while cold. Bring to boil and keep on until mixture turns clear (cooking the starch out).
Cool.
Eat with a spoon repeatedly to test it. 🙂

Chocolate Salted Fudge Dreams. (Flourless, Gluten Free)

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Oven 350

In a bowl:

1/2 cup of egg whites (3 large eggs)
1 cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
3 TBSP arrowroot (or tapioca, potato starch)
2 1/4 cup sugar (I used coconut sugar)

Put on a cookie sheet. They will expand quite a bit.
Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
Bake 8-10 minutes.

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Perfect Gluten-Free Waffles, light and crispy.

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I get very excited when I discover a new recipe that is super satisfying and full of real ingredients like eggs and butter. It’s been years of eating satisfactory waffles until this week!

WAFFLES:

This recipe *could* be all thrown together in a bowl and blended instead of doing separate bowls like in the recipe:

Melt on low:
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil

Whisked together to remove clumps:
1 1/4 cup rice or sorghum flour (or half and half)
1/2 cup potato starch
1 tbsp potato flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sweetener (coconut sugar, rapadura, honey or maple syrup)
1/2 tsp sea salt

In another bowl:
3/4 cup of milk or other liquid
2 eggs
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla (optional)

Combine all ingredients.
Let the batter stand and it will be thick and this is good!
Cook until golden and perfect.
These waffles freeze perfectly.
If you freeze on a cookie sheet and then bag, it makes it convenient to grab one or two for a quick snack or meal.

How to easily make delicious beet kvass.

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This is a picture of the beet kvass after I’ve drank most of it. Beet kvass is a wonderful and richly nourishing drink that’s loaded with probiotics and healing properties. It supports immune function and cleanses the blood. I find that it gives me energy and an overall feeling of goodness. It’s my favourite ferment right now.
*update* I am finding that when I do not consume the beet kvass regularly I get dehydrated with headaches. I try to start all my mornings off with beet kvass. Here’s something else that’s interesting… If beet kvass makes your pee (not poo) red, then you have low stomach acid. I figured this out after I went on a research hunt to figure out why the beets had suddenly stopped creating red urine even though I was drinking more than ever. And when I quit drinking it for a while, the beets make my pee red again (low stomach acid) until I’ve been drinking it for about a week consistently every morning.

*i highly recommend making this in a FIDO (clamp down jar). The FIDO (made in Italy) brand does seem to be the best or other brands like LeParfait (made in France). Anything really not “made in China” should be good. When you make it in a FIDO, you don’t have to worry about yeasts and moulds as the environment becomes anaerobic (without oxygen) and yeasts and moulds need oxygen to survive.*

HOW TO MAKE BEET KVASS:

PER LITRE: (I make 4 litres at a time in a large FIDO jar):

-2-3 large beets, cut up with skins on. Notes: (do not grate your beets or they will ferment too fast and turn alcoholic). Your beet to brine ratio should be about half and half to get a good, thick kvass.
To make beets sweeter for your kvass, cut tops off and leave a week to let the sugars concentrate.

-1 TBSP salt (20 grams precisely)- you can use a bit less salt if you don’t like salty tastes.

-1 litre of unchlorinated water (I use the beet water from cooked beets, cooled)

Enchanting Additions:
-cut up pieces of ginger
-cayenne
-peppercorns
-carrot
-dill
-some people swear adding by onions and cabbage for people that don’t like beets.

1. Put all ingredients in a jar, the clamp down ones work best. Leave a good amount of head space, about 1-2 inches. Don’t leave too much or the environment may not become anaerobic.
2. Let ferment 5-9 days on the counter, or longer. It’s fine for long periods of time as you don’t open it.
3. Strain the liquid out once its thick and delicious. Refrigerate liquid. You can use your beets now to make a second batch by adding more brine. I usually add a few more beets.

OR The leftover beets can eaten as pickled beets or in a salad. To make them they should be placed in another brine to ferment them further. 1 tbsp salt to 1 litre water. Add some dill?

Fudgy Flourless cookies, as promised…

20130804-171514.jpgI promised everyone a recipe taken from this Flourless chocolate fudge cookie recipe that did not use confectioners sugar.
I’ve done about six text batches and they’ve all turned out very tasty! The stickiness and their ability to hold together was very different depending on whether I used the whole egg, a clay baking sheet, arrowroot added and the time baked. Some turned out really sticky and ended up as one, big delicious cookie once put in a container together. When baked a little longer, they turned out like the cookie
In the picture.
They are also super simple to make!
So basically I just substituted the confectioners sugar for coconut sugar and 3 tbsp of arrowroot. One batch I use xanthan gum but I really don’t think it is necessary. It was easy to play with, adding mint or dried cherries, cranberries. Maybe you will play with the recipe too and let me know?

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cookies:

Oven at 350 degrees

Mix together:

3 egg whites (or 2 whites and 1 whole egg for thicker cookies)
2 1/4 cups coconut sugar (rapadura or sucanat would be great too)
3 TBSP arrowroot
1 cup cocoa (I use the high fat red cocoa)
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tBSP vanilla
For thicker cookies add 1 tbsp. potato flour and 1 tbsp. potato starch

Drop onto greased parchment paper (never wax!).
These cookies REALLY spread out. So I tried to do 1 inch across blobs with lots of space in between.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
They worked best with waiting until they COMPLETELY cooled. Very hard to do, very hard to do. 🙂

Options, ADD:
-1 tsp espresso powder
-a drop or two of peppermint oil
-dried cherries or other fruit (add after its been dropped onto cookie sheet)
-what can you think of?

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Chaz and Emmett and Brother-Love.

Weedstock and Food Freedom: Discovered!

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I pleased myself greatly last night when I came up with Weedstock and when I fully developed my thoughts and feelings on food freedom with children. I was watching Michael, my partner, meticulously pull and nibble on “weeds” in the front yard. We eat our weeds, so far they’ve all been edible. I noticed that he was pulling more weeds than he could consume and so I asked him for them to throw into my soup stock. The undesirable plants that grow voluntarily and that we rip, hoe and poison: they are loaded with valuable nutrients, more so than the lettuce and cabbages we so laboriously grow. When picked young, they are also tender and not as bitter. Or simply throw them into your stock. I have a few things that I do for a super rich and delicious stock.

How to make Weedstock:

1. Sauté your vegetables (onions, carrots and any other vegetable scraps) on low in a fat with a high smoking point. I use lard, chicken fat or you could use butter or olive oil. I cook them slowly to perfect caramelization. I like to do this over a morning as it poses no risk of burning when it’s on low.
2. Add water to cover: bones, meats, herbs, a few spoons of vinegar (or over fermented kombucha, to draw out minerals), egg shells and WEEDS! Please make sure you’ve identified a plant 100% before using.
3. Simmer (do not boil) for 2 days or more.
4. Strain and use in dishes, soups and sauces. I strain it as we need it.

My kids are so use to these foods now that they ask for it. I wasn’t making broth due to not wanting to heat up the house and my oldest asked why I wasn’t making broth. I was pleasantly shocked as he has been the child to complain the most about the healthy foods I’ve been cooking. Now he has a taste for it. He told me that he comes and grabs a cup of broth out of the pot when he’s hungry. I’m so happy!
There seems to have been a major shift in my kids lately. I’ve been letting go of food issues and beliefs and focusing on the foods that call me, and them. There was a point when candy and processed treats distressed me and I wanted to rip it from their hands and run with it into the wild where I could burn it and dump dish soap all over its KRAFT insides. Well, as fun as that was, I’m letting it go. I’m accepting it as the reality that is now. Factories make food like products and sometimes my children want it and they want it too much. Well, the truth is that I want it too much sometimes as well. It’s not just children. It’s a challenge; a gastrointestinal challenge mostly. I’m working on conquering my own by cooking and eating what I am peacefully drawn to and I see that it is radiating down to the children. They are joining into my passion for wild and local, real foods. They love to be able to identify wild foods they can eat as well as take part in animal and vegetable harvests. More importantly than what they eat, is how they eat. I want them
To feel free to eat without stress, judgement, shame or guilt.
With this freedom, we are finding the foods that they love.
With the inner candy/junk struggle within me, I decided to focus on the good and ignore the sneaky candy. I knew it had gotten bad when they felt they had to sneak it. That’s not true freedom. My restricting had led to them wanting it more and sneaking it. But oh well right? Live, love and learn. So…
I was also starting to see how my projecting of fears and beliefs about certain foods could and would cause food issues in the kids. But I had an idea…
So I started making ice cream for them every night. Sometimes we had leftovers for breakfast or an afternoon snack. They love it. I make it with LOTS of egg yolks, raw/local honey, fresh fruits, mineral rich maple syrup, fresh garden herbs like mint and basil, probiotic loaded kefir and occasionally raw cream and milk.
They are seeming more satisfied these days and are not asking for foods which I am not already buying. Interesting. I buy a variety and I buy what they like. They are inventing their own satisfying recipes out of our good, wholesome ingredients. Fascinating! Sometimes I’m buying marshmallows, as the homemade ones just melt into the hot campfire coals. yes, sometimes I am buying marshmallows and my friends and family become wide-eyed as I am usually known as crazy, food person. Well, crazy just got kooky.
Something has switched, and I think it is me. It’s always me.
It turns out that children are people and they do want to be healthy and happy. Sometimes they fail, but so do I. It’s all part of the journey.

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“Lettuce-head”, Michael. He is twelve and sometimes takes on the character of a rabbit when he eats his lettuce plain and plentiful.

Day One of Big Family Trip: Gravelbourg to Fargo.

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This is what it looked like before we left. You can even see exhaust from the van running. I love this organization system. We have one bag that comes in with just what people need for the night and we have a laundry bag and a swimming bag. And food.
It’s early morning the day after our first day traveling and I’m up to reflect on it. It was our biggest travel day with 937 km (10 hours plus) and it felt like a breeze for the most part. There were times when I would become anxious and fear that things would get bad. By bad I mean loud crying, whining and general unhappiness.
I definitely could have done the day better, and here’s how:
-I didn’t pack enough food for fear of having it taken at the border. I brought lunch kits for the kids but didn’t put anything in them, thinking I would do it once we cross the border. Mistake number one. Chaz was hungry and the passing of things back and forth was making me carsick. Next time I’ll fill their lunch kits and not worry if they take it away. We can buy more.
-I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be but I also could have been more connected to my kids. I was worried about unhappiness and carsickness. Neither were a problem. Today, I’m going to make a point to connect with each child in a meaningful way before we head out. I’ll fill each of their lunch kits with foods that they like.

I did a lot of stuff right!
We had no problem at the border, he seemed please that we all had passports. I also had a bank statement, our land title, all our hotel reservation info, a list of all the foods in our van, trip
itinerary and homeschool registrations. Only the passports were asked for. He didn’t even verify the lump under the blanket in the back, which was our Mexican, Michael. We laughed about that for quite a while when we realized.
I had brought a lot of water and kept
It in an accessible container with a straw. This kept us all hydrated until Emmett chewed the straw up.
I diffused peppermint throughout the vehicle with a bit on a kleenex and jammed into the heater. I’m pretty sure this is what saved me from sickness.
We were very good at stopping when kids had to pee. We brought the potty which made it so easy. Trying to balance kids over a ditch in the prairies with wind is not easy! Even the older kids can use the potty. It’s a large baby bjorn which is very stable.
When we got to Minot we went to the grocery store, kindly found by our good friend, Garmen the GPS, we spent $51.40. At the suggestion of my
Mom and the criticism of me, We bought:
Buns, a whole cooked chicken, smoked salmon, imitation crab, cheese slices, a veggie tray, two tomatoes, organic baby kale and avocado and four Pieces of assorted fruit. Michael used his own money to buy fried chicken and Chaz bought a $6 pint Of raspberries. We could have bought liquor, had we wanted.

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I made sandwiches in the van which had me designing a travel cutting board in my head. It would fold out and have a space for two types of knives and a wet cloth, my dad would be proud. The sandwiches were satisfying and did well with a swig of milk kefir which I’ve been choking down lately with my changed pregnant tastes.
The kids went swimming with daddy as soon as we arrived and I organized our room and cleaned garbage out of the van.
After swimming there was enough food leftover from the Minot grocery store to make salads:

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The kids complained a bit saying they wanted a real supper in a restaurant, but then they happily picked apart the rest of the food:

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Yesterday was good, actually it was great and I learned a lot! My favourite part was the giant billboard that said “Be American use ethanol”, all one sentence.
Our hotel room has three beds, a pool and free breakfast for $56. With the grocery store trip and coffees we spent $62 on food, and our budget is $95 a day. We plan to save up and eat like kings. Maybe in Chicago we will do street hotdogs and deep dish pizza. I’ll need a nap.
Today I let go of fear and of lack. There is enough. I submerse myself in the abundance available to me. I am
Open and ready to respond to all that wants to come through me.
But first a shower…

The Battle in Gluten-Free Baking

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White flour makes me tired and gives me a headache. It makes my body feel like I’ve just been injected with poison. So, I have been on the hunt for some great gluten free baking recipes. Most of them called for a gluten-free mix. Which I didn’t have, which was expensive in health food stores and when I googled it, there were so many recipes to choose from. I wanted a recipe I could make now. I did some coconut flour muffins and they were good and everyone liked them but the texture threw me off. I finally went to bulk barn and got a variety of gluten free flours to experiment with. Here’s what I bought:
More coconut flour
Potato starch
Sorghum flour
Rice flour
Tapioca flour
Buckwheat flour
Arrowroot flour
And Xanthan gum.

I made some pretty good muffins using the Coconut Mama’s coconut flour recipe and adding 3 TBSP of arrowroot. The texture was a lot better. Here’s the basic recipe for that:

Makes 12 medium-small sized muffins:

3/4 cup coconut Flour
6 eggs
3 TBSP arrowroot flour
1 cup of fruit or flavourings (dried, fresh or frozen, sometimes I add more and a combination of fruits)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Xanthan gum (I’ve done it without)
1/2 cup honey or other sweetener ( I do this to taste, and add some stevia too)
1/2 cup butter Or coconut oil (I should say melted but I have just blended it up with great results)
Now add flavourings:
Vanilla?
Cinnamon?
Almond extract?

I just blend it all up with an electric mixer and pour into muffin tins lined with paper cups. The batter will be thick. I bake mine in a convection oven at 325 F for up to 20 minutes, usually about 16-18 minutes.

What I have discovered is that the best gluten-free muffins come from using a combination of flours and lots of flavourings and fruit. But not too much puréed fruit because it ends up soggy.

Here is the muffin recipe I have tweaked to my liking. These muffins rely rise too! I actually forgot the rice flour the last time I made them and they still turned out great (as you see in the picture above, that’s them).

Super Fruit Gluten Free Muffins:

1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
3 TBSP arrowroot flour/starch
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp Xanthan gum
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 cup butter, melted or partially melted
1.5 cups of liquid (applesauce, yogurt, kefir, mashed bananas)
1/2 cup honey or more (or other sweetener)
10 drops of stevia (optional)
2 tsp vanilla
2-4 cups of diced apples, fruit (frozen or fresh)
6 eggs

Maple sugar to top muffins (optional)

Mix all ingredients. Bake in muffin tons lines with paper liners. I baked at 325 F in a convection oven for 20 minutes. Done when toothpick comes out clean. The texture of these was absolutely perfect. Even when I omitted the rice flour. Play around with this recipe and let me know how it goes.

Here’s the beautiful insides of these muffins:

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