Category Archives: nourishing foods that kids love

Weedstock and Food Freedom: Discovered!

20130710-072537.jpg

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.

20130710-074841.jpg

“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.

20130327-072544.jpg

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.

20130327-074325.jpg
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:

20130327-074803.jpg
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:

20130327-074858.jpg
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

20130117-144149.jpg

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:

20130117-145012.jpg

Fermented Foods Blog To Come!

20121207-135107.jpg

I am quite in awe right now of the attention I am getting in regards to fermented foods. People want to
learn about these cultured foods and I want to teach it. Teaching is has been instrumental to me learning it. I love the wisdom of cultured foods and the availability for everyone to experience them. Beneficial Microbes are waiting for you everywhere. They want to be made into these life giving foods. We need it. Did you know that there are more bacteria in your body than cells!?!? Imagine them with me now, all microscopic and lively living along the walls of your intestines. Your intestinal wall cells (epithelial cells) actually have receptors for bacteria! Bacteria fill up the spaces available and lets hope
Its the good bacteria that has taken up residence. They crowd out the bad guys, did ya know?
Making cultured foods is not expensive or time consuming unless your like me and are consumed by it… Then it is life consuming. And ANYONE can do it safely. Fermented foods are safer than canning. The microbes are genius as they preserve their own environment with acids and alcohol, preventing pathogens. Wow!
So this is my BIG announcement. I’m having a new baby…. A blog baby! A blog dedicated to probiotic recipes and information! Everyday I discover new ways to put together probiotics with healthy ingredients and nourishing coconut oil. And my eyes swell up at the possibilities to be nourished AND have it taste amazing. I can’t keep
It in any longer. My dabblings in cultured treats, snacks and such shall be yours. I’ll post the link to my new site as soon as it’s up. Stay tuned…
UPDATE, new blog:
Cultured Food Humblings

20121207-140337.jpg

20121207-140347.jpg

Robbing The Hole.

I’ve been there, trying to stretch your money to make food last the longest. This often means going to a big cheap store and loading up on two dollar boxes of crackers, breads, cereals, granola bars and pasta. When you look at the entire picture, this is actually a very expensive way to eat. I know, I’ve been there, trying to fill the hole so the children don’t go hungry; So they always have snacks. But really, by filling up on cheap, processed foods you are really robbing the hole, not filling it. These foods deplete your body and force it to work overtime to deal with such inappropriate foods for humans. It takes energy, vitamins and minerals for it to pass through you. They also contribute to every known ailment ask Dr.Oz or Dr.Mercola. Hah!
Now, if you’ve been robbing the hole, let’s set aside guilt, it is of no use to us. You were doing your best and now you’re going to do better. What can you do? A lot, even on a tight budget. Think about Grandma or Great Grandma, what did they eat during extremely hard times?
You can watch your health and the health of your family increase dramatically as you replace processed foods with real foods. You all will get use to it, even your tastes will change. Here are some cheap nutrient dense foods to start adding in, you can get them for cheap or often free:

1. Eat eggs! They are good for you again (hehe). Even the little contradictory pamphlets at the doctors office tell me to eat eggs now. Egg yolks are full of Vitamins and good fats and when eaten slightly cooked or raw, your body barely has to digest it to get energy. They contain almost every nutrient we require, as an egg has all that it needs to create a baby chick.
2. Make lard. There’s an abundance of pig fat due to lard being given a bad name and rendering is not hard. But it’s actually a very high quality fat that your body needs; think about the animal fats that your ancestors survived and evolved on. Their brains grew larger on it. Try googling lard is bad for you and all it comes up with is “lard is no longer bad for you” and “lard is the new health food.” This is based on ancient wisdom combined with research. Please eat lard, it’s WAY cheaper than butter and margarine is evil. Evil!
3. Make bone broth now. Have soup once a day, or more. Source bones for free or cheap. Research all the good info on bone broth and ask my kids (or my poops) how Amazing it is. You can do it.
4. Buy lots of organic apples on sale they last and can be made into stuff. Apples are now what my kids (and children visiting us) go for when they want a sweet treat. Your children (or partner) will get use to it and love it eventually as they no longer feel like crap all the time. You can even fancy up your apples with cinnamon and vanilla!
5. Ok, now we are going to get a little more complicated, but we are still staying very inexpensive. Start Fermenting Foods. I can’t stress enough how Important it is to repopulate your gut with good bacteria everyday. E. Coli and Salmonella and Clostridia Dificile are all kept in check in your body by the good microbes, unless you don’t have enough… Good microbes inhabit space and use up available nutrients (prebiotics) before pathogens can, thus crowding them out. Fermenting (or culturing) foods can feel daunting at first, but it’s not hard and there’s a lot of hard working people out there (me included) who can guide you through it. You can start with something easy (and super cheap to make) like kombucha. You need to source a kombucha mother or SCOBY. You can pretty much ferment any real food. I love to make sauerkraut and kimchi and other fermented vegetables like cortido. There’s also dairy ferments like yogurt and kefir and cheese and sour cream and on and on. My family and I have come to crave these foods as has many people who have converted to real foods.
6. Eat organ meats!?!? Yes. Animals store vitamins (not toxins) in their organs especially the liver. Vitamin D ad A specifically, and in high amounts. If you don’t like organs, you can add small amounts into sauces and soups. I blend chicken liver from organic, grass fed chickens into beef stroganoff and it’s amazing. Use very small amounts to start, an ounce or less so you don’t ruin your meal. I cut up the liver and freeze on a cookie sheet to have small pieces to use at a time. We’ve been very fortunate lately and have been getting free liver from Deer. Sound scary? When my mother brought it to me, it was the most amazing and Healthy looking liver I had ever seen. Actually, the entire deer is that way. I stare in awe at feet that are never gnarly, broken or raw. Their hides are so full and thick and their flesh smells so clean that my mom can’t resist eating it raw. O.o

These foods I have mentioned are all inexpensive and will leave you feeling full longer. They are all nourishing and healing. They will also eliminate the cravings for bad foods when eaten for long enough. An apple a day…
By adding in good, nutrient dense foods you are protecting and strengthening generations to come! Hiya!

So, my last words: A box of something processed can buy a dozen eggs or maybe 5 or 10 lbs of pig fat or a head of cabbage to make a fermented, probiotic rich drink (called cabbage rejuvelac) or a whack load Of bones or a bag of apples. Stop robbing the hole and start nourishing it. You deserve it!

For more info on fermenting contact me or join my partner and I on fb at “Nadine and Keirsten’s Fermentation Station.”
Another great resource is Donna Schwenk’s site
http://www.culturedfoodlife.com

Mouth watering goodness. A meal complete with ferments (the jalapeños were fermented).

20121129-084351.jpg

Liver on a cookie sheet.

20121129-085112.jpg

20121129-085510.jpg

Soaked Oatmeal.

Me.

20121129-085634.jpg

20131230-232415.jpg
Our newest investment… A new baby! Little Aayla Olive.

To Busy Parents and People:

There are so many amazing people out there that are dedicating their time to research and development in nourishing foods. There are books and blogs but what I’m hearing parents say is that they don’t have time to read all the information. They know that health impacts their entire life, but don’t know where to start. They would like to improve their diet and they have stacks of books or pages of articles that they mean to read but never get to. Does this sound like you? Well, I have time. I would like to make this a place that brings together all the best recipes with the wisdom of the ages and the most recent research. I don’t intend to reinvent the wheel instead I would like to honour those that have already done it. And by wheel I mean cheese from a grass-fed cow.
I am committed to helping busy parents (and non-parents) improve the health of their entire family.
You can make that change and I want to help! It doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming either. You can fit it into your schedule. Let me do the leg work and report my findings. Over the next few months I’ll be summarizing important books for parents; books on health and deep nutrition. I’ll also be exploring ways that parents can make their own convenience foods to replace the typical boxed cereals, crackers and other snacks. I’ll be highlighting the most important foods and the ones to avoid. Who would like to borrow some of my time?

20121115-142216.jpg

Food Preparation Becomes Meditation.

20121111-142730.jpg

I’m making probiotic almond milk for the first time. I’ve soaked the almonds for days and days in a nut milk bag. I’ve rinsed the almonds every day by pulling out the bag and leaving the liquid. It’s ready.
Now it’s time to do something with the milk and the almonds. I’m going to skin the almonds by hand. By gently squeezing each one the skins pop off. One by one, I’m in a beautiful daze taking note of the tiny sprouts protruding; the browns of the skins which remind me of tree bark. It all amazes me; the colours, textures and smells…but mostly by the ability of food to be brought to life simply with water and maybe salt. Now I have live almonds that I can use to make tamari almonds and almond flour for cookies or muffins. Probably muffins. It took a long time to peel but it was time spent reflecting and enjoying the process. When I’m skinning almonds, I’m skinning almonds.