Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pesto Mint Lamb Kabobs

This past summer we decided to eat less pork and beef.  The main reason is that we found that when we cut these two things out of our diets we felt better overall.  Pork especially had an impact for most members of our family.  I can't describe it exactly other than to say we felt blah after consuming bacon, pork chops or roast. Our kids still eat ham for sandwiches but I believe taking the dinner portions out of their diets has helped them digest the bit of pork they eat for lunch.  I have had the same reaction to beef.  I just feel better without too much of it in my diet. 

 In fact all meat makes me feel and react with a bright red nose, cheeks and chin.  I get small blisters around my face too.  I think meat may be a trigger for my GERD and Rosacea.  I have taken meat out of my diet completely for the last month and I feel great.  Honestly it has been easier than I thought because I can see and feel the difference this change has made in my life.  I will still continue to taste my recipes and, on rare occasions, eat a small amount of meat...but...it better taste dang good in order for me to put it into my body.

My family won't, nor should they, give up meat just because it triggers a bad reaction in me.  For this reason I still prepare meals for them that have lamb, chicken or turkey in some of the recipes.   We really like lamb.


I make a lot of pesto in the summer and sometimes I am down to the very tail end of the jar.  I decided to use it as a marinade with these lamb kabobs.  I know that lamb and mint go really well together.  I buy little bundles of mint but never manage to use the whole bunch.  This time I did because I added the rest to the pesto.

To bring out the flavor of the mint I also served the kabobs with mint jelly.  You can make this or buy it from most grocery stores.

Kabobs just scream summer to me.  Cooking on the grill on our back porch or at the park adds so much flavor to meat.  I love grilling.  I used metal kabobs but you can use the bamboo ones too, just soak them for 30 minutes so they don't catch on fire.

Enjoy!

Pesto Mint Lamb Kabobs

2 pounds leg of lamb roast cut into cubes
1/2 cup pesto (homemade or store bought)
handful of mint leaves, washed and minced
olive oil to brush on grill

1.  Preheat grill or prepare coals.  I like mine hot so the kabobs take less time to cook.

2. Add the cubed lamb to a large bowl and add the pesto and minced mint leaves. If the marinade seems dry then add some olive oil.

3.  Thread the meat on the kabobs and grill.  Lamb does not need to be well done. In fact, we like ours to be pink on the inside.  The kabobs don't take long to grill.

If using metal skewers please be careful because they can get very hot on the grill.  Use a mitt to help rotate them or tongs.

Written by Sherron Watson


Friday, May 8, 2015

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies #dairyfree


Oatmeal Raisin Cookies remind me of my childhood.  Why? I don't know they just do.  Maybe it's the smell of them baking in the oven or the texture of the cookie itself.  Something sends me back to my youth when I make this cookie.

The memory is there but I can't put my finger on it.  I notice the older I get those early memories are fading.  I feel their imprint on my soul but the details have been crowded out by new memories.

At any rate this cookie is delicious.  It does perform better when baked in a Whoopie Pie pan over spreading out on a cookie sheet.  I bought this oddly shallow Whoopie Pie pan at Goodwill without fully understanding what it was.  I Googled it and discovered the real purpose but I use it for a lot of different recipes.

You can see from the picture below the difference.  The thicker cookie is softer while the flatter cookie is soft in the center bus has crispy edges.  You can make them how ever you want.


Speaking of Whoopie Pies, Rye found a vending machine the other day that had them in two flavors.  Her excitement was contagious.  For her, this was one of her childhood memories.   My heart melted as she bought the pie and shared it with Isabella in the back seat on our ride home.  She carefully split the pie down the center and explained how she and Drake used to eat these when they were younger.  

Witnessing this whole exchange made my Mommy heart strings hum with love.  To see the bonds between my kids grow is a tender moment.  I am amazed when my kids share their memories with each other.  They see their lives so differently than I see it from my Mom perspective and watchful eye as a caregiver.  

Joy only starts to express the feelings it sprouts in my being.  My kids are everything to me but to see them being everything to each other is something completely breath taking in my mind.  The seeds have been planted and they are growing.  The memories are being made.


I don't remember things from my childhood as clearly as I used to but I know these cookies played a special roll.  I will have to ask my Mom to see if she might have a clue as to why this cookie stirs such emotion for me.

Enjoy!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Makes 16 large cookies

1/3 cup oat flour
1 2/3 cups of uncooked oats
1 cup cashew flour (Vitamix whole cashews into flour)
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt
1 cup of raisins (soak in 1 cup of water for 30 minutes)
1/3 cup maple syrup

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or spray a Whoopie Pie pan with your favorite cooking spray.

2.  Make sure to soak the raisins to hydrate them. This helps to add moisture to the cookie.

3.  Combine all the ingredients into a large bowl and combine well.

4.  I use a large cookie scoop and usually get about 16 cookies.  Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes or until cooked to your desire.

NOTE:  I make my own cashew flour in my Vitamix.  If you don't have a Vitamix then you can try a food processor or a grain mill.  I would also suggest a replacement flour would be almond meal or almond flour.

Written by Sherron Watson


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cashew Basil Pesto


I first made pesto a few summers ago.  I see a lot of recipes for this sauce, dip or salad dressing.  Honestly, I am not sure what to call it because we use it for everything.  You can see in the picture above we tossed it with some pasta.  I also use it served with fresh veggies, over eggs, thinned down for a salad dressing and as a marinade for chicken or kabobs.

Basil is in my top five for fresh herbs.  I buy this herb more than any other herb all year round.  My neighbor can grow it like he is a super farmer.  Me?  Not so much.  I use the same technique and I get nothing.  Nada.  My brown thumbs may never turn green at this rate but I keep trying each year hoping for the same results.  For this reason I buy basil instead of growing it myself.

Pesto is a party in my mouth.  The freshness that is present is undeniable.  The flavors linger long after my meal is over.  Much to my delight.  I  know this version is not traditional but it is what I like. I prefer the flavor of cashews to almonds or pinenuts.  I am pretty sure that I burned my taste buds out on almond flour, almond nuts and anything that looks or feels like an almond.  Blech...I needed a break from that healthy nut.  Cashew is a great replacement in pesto.

Using fresh ingredients is the way to go but also using a good quality olive oil is key too.  I have tried plenty of icky tasting olive oils to last a life time.  I now invest in what I think is a great flavor, organic extra virgin olive oil.  It makes a difference in the dishes that you prepare.

If you want great flavor, I encourage you to use, great ingredients.  Give this pesto a try and let me know what you think.


Cashew Basil Pesto

1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups tightly packed basil leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped cashews
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons boiling water

1.  I use my Vitamix to make this.  I add the first 5 ingredients and pulse until blended.  You can also use a food processor too.

2.  I then pour the pesto into a small bowl and add the parmesan cheese and boiling water.  Mix together.  Add more water if you would like it to be thinner.

3.  Keeps in the refrigerator for 10 days.  It never last that long in our family though.


Written by Sherron Watson

Friday, May 1, 2015

Hawaiian Meatballs



There was a time that Cory and I thought about moving to Hawaii.  We spent 6 weeks there during the summer of 2010.  I fell in love with the islands but there were a few things we were worried about and the longer we stayed the more diverse the islands became to us.   If it was just Cory and I we would have considered it but with 4 kids and the cost of living the reality of the move was not going to happen.  We still return for visits and have chosen to enjoy them as tourist instead of as home owners.



I was born on Midway Island which is not too far away....only 1500 miles...Okay so it's a bit far.  My dad was in the Navy and this is why we were stationed there. The sound of waves crashing against the shoreline sends a ripple of emotion through me.  I feel connected to the lifestyle.  My dad always reminded me of Jimmy Buffet because he had a very laid back approach to life and loved the water.  I remember being on the water at an early age wearing my life jacket and being dumped into the San Diego Bay more than I like to think about.  His catamaran was his toy and he wanted to share it with his kids.  I am not sure my Mom completely liked the idea but she went along on most escapes.

Living in Maryland and being so close to water has felt great.  I can see why the sea was a place that my Dad found his happy place.   While garage shopping last summer I found a box full of old cookbooks.  I quickly glanced through the titles and spotted a book on Hawaiian cooking.  The date on the inside cover read: 1973.  My heart pounded a bit with excitement as it often does when I find a cookbook that is not in my collection.  I thumbed through the pages and found several recipes that I knew my family would LOVE.

These Hawaiian Meatballs were located smack in the middle of the book. I soon discovered that the book was a compilation of recipes from a local newspaper. In my mind that read, "the best of the best" for that year. I took the liberty to alter the recipe a bit to accommodate my family's taste and used what I had on hand.

Oh did these taste amazing! They have been added to our rotation of recipes that I use when I have run out of ideas....it happens.  I made the meatballs from scratch but you can use frozen meatballs too.
I served the meatballs with rice and fresh fruit.  Let me know what you think!


Hawaiian Meatballs
Makes about 25--depends on size of scoop you use

Meatball:

1 package of meat with three kinds:  beef, veal and pork
1 egg
1/4 cup  diced bell pepper
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4-1/2 cup BBQ sauce

Sauce:

1 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1 cup of crushed pineapple with juice
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup red onion, diced small
1/4 cup bell pepper, diced small
salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, add more to taste

1.  Prepare sauce by including all ingredients into a medium sauce pan and bringing to a gentle boil.  Let simmer until thick.

2.  Make meatballs by adding all the ingredients to a medium bowl and blending well.  Shape meatballs by using a cookie scoop.  Line them in rows on a cookie sheet.

3.  Bake meatballs at 375 degrees until done, about 20 minutes.

4.  Transfer meatballs to a baking dish and pour sauce over the top.  Bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove and serve with rice.

Written by Sherron Watson






Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sifting Through Life: I am Back and I Feel Great



Hello friends!

I have been on the wildest ride of my life over the last 4 months.  Emotionally draining me of everything.  What hit me?  I haven't the slightest idea other than to say I was hit with a case of the "nothingness".  

Remember I wrote about being lost in my own nothingness a while back?

Well it completely consumed my life.  I didn't feel depressed or sad.  It was a void that I could not escape. Where it came from I don't know.  It was just there looking at me each morning in the mirror and holding me at night while I rested.

To be honest I felt like a prisoner in my own mind and body. 

 Cory was constantly asking me, "Are you happy?"

I kept replying, "Yes." Happiness is a state of mind and I believed I was completely happy with myself, my life, my marriage and my blogging work.  

I lied.

Looking back I replied with what I thought everyone wanted to hear but inside I was scrambling to hold on to anything.  I felt so empty.  I really felt nothing: no joy, no sadness, no excitement, no heartache...nothing.

Nothing excited me.  I tried to write and couldn't find the words.  I tried to cook but the inspiration never made an appearance.  Trying to blog, write and cook without feeling excited about what you are doing is the worst feeling in the world.  I seriously contemplated closing the blog down and starting over.  

I soon realized that I was losing myself and I had to fight to get back.  My favorite set of words that I tell my kids are: "life is not worth living if you don't feel anything".  I was living my nightmare of not feeling anything.   I desperately wanted to feel something.  I long for the tallest mountain to climb.  I want to feel the burn in my legs, feel the sweat rolling down my arms and the tears on my cheeks.  I craved this kind of jolt back to life.

There is where I ran into a quandary of sorts because nothing was pulling me in one direction or the other.  What mountain could I possibly climb that would bring me such satisfaction?  I tried to quilt..no sparks.  I attempted some drawing...temporary satisfaction. I found myself sitting a lot.  Thinking to myself and searching for an answer.

I needed something to stick. My mind was yearning for a connection and the rush of a thrill when you attempt something new.  I tried to write more and nothing came.  I read books hoping to reconnect with old passions and still I sat and waited.  

This deep void caused me to ask myself some serious questions and to seek for help and answers.  In my attempt to be something I lost focus of what was in front of me.  I forgot that I am doing exactly what I set out to do 27 years ago when I got married and that is to be a MOM and a WIFE.  If this was my dream then why did I feel so lost?

As a kid I wanted a family and to be married.  I had small dreams of doing a few things but having a family is what I really wanted more than anything.  As you know it took us a while to start our family but once it got rolling we ended up with 4 amazing kids.  Here I am with 4 kids (my dream came true) and  yet I find myself wanting more.

More of what I don't know but I feel drained and tired.  Finding myself on autopilot is a frustrating place to be.  This is the life I wanted and I was coasting through it with a sense of failure.  How is this possible?

So what did I do? 

I started listening to the void.  Believe it or not the void has a very loud voice.  It has been telling me for a few years what I should be doing and I made a choice to not listen.  Through meditation and yoga I have gained a greater appreciation for where I am at in my life.  I am gaining acceptance that being a Mom is wonderful and I am doing exactly what I should be doing.  It is okay for me to want something for myself.  Listening to this void has allowed me to stay present.  In this mindset I have found peace.

I dug deep into my inner soul and found that I have left my own sense of value on the back burner and channeled all of my hopes, ambitions and desires into my kids and family.  This left me feeling empty and unfulfilled.  I realize that to be successful in anything we have to be willing to take care of ourselves before we can care for others.  I have to give back to me once in a while. Guilt is a huge hurdle for me to overcome and I am still working this mental block.

I visited some dreams and aspirations that I have longed to complete.  It sounds funny but I made a bucket list.  At the top of this list was to run again.  I started running after Isabella was born and loved it.  I am not a fast runner.  I am a slow and steady jogger.  I let my mind tell me I was not good at running and this defeated my dream of running in a few races.  Well, not anymore.  I have started training for a marathon.  I am on week 3 and I have never felt so good and alive. I have something that is allowing me to cry, my body to burn, my heart to swell and my passion to move forward.  I feel alive!

I couldn't escape the nagging feeling that I needed to run.  It seriously is a voice that keeps prompting me to get out and do it.  Each time the thought entered my mind I was the first to shut it down: you're too old, you're body can't and won't handle the training---that is complete bullshit!  Being 47 is not going to hold me back--I will run and I am running.  I am a runner!

Food--oh jeeeez here we go again! Again,  listening to that voice in my head I finally decided to follow it and do what it has been telling me for years.  Stop eating meat.  Yep!  I have given up meat and dairy.  I have not ever felt this good in my life and I ran 5 miles straight last week.  In my early years of running, even running 11 and 12 miles, I never felt this good and never ran that many miles in a row without having to take breaks.   I was having more and more issues that I could not overcome without changing my diet again.  My face is no longer red, my stomach doesn't hurt, I have lots of energy and I feel full.

I woke up this morning feeling alive again.  The past two months have been some of the strangest minutes in my life but also the most revealing.  Spending time with my deep self was scary and going into a place that left me vulnerable had its moments filled with tears and a few fears.  

Facing the feeling of this deep void was hard. Taking the time to figure it out was worth every second.  I woke up this morning and the words just started coming. 

Drinking my coffee this morning I looked at Cory and said, "I feel alive again. I don't want to quit my blog.  I love writing and cooking.  I love running. I have found peace in yoga and meditation.  I have found my community and it feels like the world is wide open.  I love being a Mom and a wife.  I feel like I can finally be my best because my cup is full."

"Welcome back", was his simple reply.

This is why after 27 years of marriage I truly love this man with all my heart.

Happy Anniversary Cory!



Oh and that amazing salad at the top:  Super simple!

Half an avocado
Pea Shoots
Yellow Apple
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt

....and a healthy appetite!

ENJOY!


Written by Sherron Watson



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sifting Through Life: Here and There



Today has been a day of restlessness and anxiety for me (I started writing this back on February 4th it will all tie together towards the end).  I have been quiet on my page because we have been making some big changes in our lives. Honestly I  feel as though I am in a time warp that keeps looping around and around.

Here we go again....heading back to Oregon.

Moving..on the go..off to the races.

This decision has not been an easy one to make because we love the east coast. We love Maryland.  We have felt that this is our home.  We also feel the tug of our families on the west coast as they tackle some big issues with their health.

The hardest thing has been to not be there with my extended family because I am here.  Here in a state I love but not there with people I love more.  My brother-n-law is due to have open heart surgery tomorrow morning.  He is only 53 years old.  ONLY--my GOD that is young.  I am 6 years away from that age myself.  Life has the ability to make you see clearer when tragedy is knocking at your door.

The doctors don't know if he will make it or not (he made it just fine and is recovering well) .  We don't know anything really of our futures do we?  I called my sister today to see how they are holding up and she said it is a surreal experience.  She is going through the motions but not really feeling anything because she can't believe it is happening to her in the first place.  They never saw this coming.  Mike has been strong as an ox his whole life.  Walks every day. Doesn't drink or smoke.  They have had to put their affairs in order and plan for what will be either an altered future or a funeral.

He has two choices: he will live or he will die.  Two choices that we all have as we stare into our own futures.  Well, I have decided that I don't want to be 3000 miles away from my family.  They need us and we need them.  So tomorrow I will wait here in Maryland and plan my trip to help Shannon (I leave on March 2nd) there in Oregon when this is all over.  Mike's recovery will be about 3 months.

I have eaten everything in sight.  I told Shannon that my goal this week has been to not eat so much that I can't leave my house.  We had a good laugh and she said that was her goal too.  I have tried really hard to get back to eating the right way--I promise.

You see, this is just one change we are dealing with.  The other two changes are weighing heavily on my heart.  We are moving and this requires a lot of work.  Work that I don't look forward to doing because we are moving to an unknown area and will figure it out when we get there.  Doesn't that sound fun?  Ha--it could be worse though.  The second thing are our older kids.  We are at a place in our lives when our big kids are ready to leave our home.

I am not ready for this.  I'm not.  I want them to stay.  I don't want them to stay behind BUT then I do.  I am so selfish in my thinking because I just need one more year.  One more year for what?  Being a Mom is so hard.  I have these two little kids at home and in a way I am here and there.  I see that the time goes by so fast. I want them to grow up to be there, like their older siblings, but I want them to stay here--with me.  I need their hugs and simple I love you's!

I recently read an article that the author was quoted as saying that we die a hundred times in our lifetime.  I was intrigued and decided to click and read.  It talked about how the people we are now are not the people we were when we turned 18, 28 or 40.  Those people are gone....dead.  Our bodies are here in the now but our minds, our actions, our desires, and our plans have changed or completed there cycle.  How many times in our life time do we start over?  Start something new and finish it only to start something new again.   We are essentially here and then we are there.  It all happens so fast.

For this reason I have been in deep thought this past month.  I tell you having a large age gap between your kids is a blessing and a curse..seriously I am laughing...but not.   As my older kids age and make their own decisions I really do scratch my head because most of their decisions are nothing like what I saw for them in the future. With the two little kids I kind of get a do-over, right? I don't think so!  If it was only this easy. Everything I thought I knew has been tossed out the window for raising our second two.  Ask Rye, she will already tell you that we parent different today than we did when she was much younger.

 My four kids are four unique individuals that require different elements in their lives.  I am learning and seeing that I am more of a trail guide as they travel through this life instead of their trail blazer--so to speak--cutting through the brush and finding new territory.  That is their job. I can warn them, instruct them and even hand them a band-aide if necessary, but they are the ones walking here and now.

I am starting to understand  that no matter how much time and effort you put into raising your kids they will grow up and make their own decisions.   It doesn't matter that sacrifices were made, hours were devoted to dinners, vacations, and birthdays or that we spent every waking hour reading and learning in the hopes that they would grow up to be responsible, reliable, loving, caring, and nurturing individuals---and they have---only they are making their own life choices.  That is the hard part.  Letting go of my desires that I had for my kids and letting them live theirs.

I found a box of baby pictures while packing this past week and I was immediately transported from here to there.  It was only yesterday that I received my hand written Mother's Day cards, a list of my favorites things to do according to my kids (Favorite Country to visit:  The China Buffet....I laughed for years over that one), and I was reminded of so many fond memories.  My heart exploded.

I knew the day would come when I would be here.  Facing the fact that our lives will run its course: family will have health issues, we will age, my kids will leave our home and we will eventually move again--we always do.

Dammit,  sometimes I want to still be there--holding my babies, laughing with my Dad, vacationing with friends.   It has taken some will power this past month to be strong for our family.  To be supportive, smile and offer advice (when asked--important note with teenagers) but inside,  I am silently hugging my inner self and reassuring that this is life.   I have shed a few tears of joy and some of sadness.  I need to stay present and enjoy every minute that I have with this sweet family of mine.   As we celebrated Valentine's Day all I could think of is, "we won't all be together next year--that sucks."  I need to stay here and not already wish my life was there--I really do.  Its been challenging--I won't lie and I guess that is why I have been quiet on the blog.

Now you know.  Would I change a thing?  NO WAY!  I realized that allowing myself to go "there" once in a while is okay.  It reminds me of how far I have come to get HERE.  Will I return?  Yes--I usually do-- but staying present most of the time has been such a rewarding experience for me. I just get overwhelmed sometimes and slip back into old habits.

To keep my mind from exploding I have decided to start drawing again.  This is something that I have enjoyed off and on in my life time.  It centers me to work with the colors.  Holding the pencils are calming. Blending the colors are rewarding.  I enjoy watercolor and oil but I have fallen in love with colored pencils.  I am teaching myself along the way using what I have learned from other methods.   I share my progress on my Instagram account if you want to follow along.   When we finally get settled in Oregon I hope to spend some time photographing more pieces of fruits, flowers, butterflies and vegetables.  I have shared a few pieces here.

Sorry this Sifting Through Life is all over the place. I guess it is where I am currently in my life--all over the place.  I have many recipes to share and I will get them up on the blog soon--but first I need to take care of my family and their needs.  One thing I am learning is that the blog can wait but my family will quickly get from here to there in a blink of an eye and I must hold onto every second.



Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cooking From Scratch


Cooking from scratch means different things to different people.  I know some families that make a cake with a box mix and then add the eggs, milk and butter. This is cooking from scratch to them.  It is making something in their kitchens.

To me, making it completely from scratch, is a bit more refined than that.  I don't care if you use a box, can or bag to make your meals but I do believe that when we use simple ingredients with single items we have more control over our food and menus.

When I use a box, can or prepackaged food item I read and reread the labels.  At first glance I can tell if I will even give this product the time of day.   If the ingredient list is more than 3 or 4 lines I don't buy it.  I don't even bother to read the ingredients.  I do this because I want food that is "added to" with as little possible ingredients as possible.  I want food to be minimally processed or not processed at all.

Sometimes I can't avoid it though and I am left buying something bagged, canned or packaged.  I don't freak out about this and make a big deal about it.  I do my homework and try to buy the best possible fit for my family.

Single ingredients are what I hope to spend my hard earned cash on.  I want to control how my food is put together.  This is why I cook from scratch.  I want complete control over how much sugar, salt, oil, flavor, and spice go into our meals.  Call me a control freak if you must but this control has led us to living a more balanced life and a healthier and more fit lifestyle.

Diabetes is an illness that runs rampant in my family.  It is a disease that I have watched my grandmother and mother battle.  It is something that I don't want my kids to have to watch or be a part of.  For this reason I have taken measures to eat as little processed food as possible.  I cut out almost all refined sugars from our diets.

I know when my blood sugar is off.   I think to myself,  how can a person live this way?  I feel terrible, sick and out of sorts.  I immediately reflect on what I have eaten and try to improve and refine my diet even more so.  My Mom was with me last year and we ate real food.  We checked her blood sugar levels every day.  She could not believe how low they were.  She was eating  home cooked meals with natural sugars, a little bit of salt.  Meals made with single ingredients and with as little processed food as possible.


Do I believe cooking from scratch has healthy benefits?  You bet I do.  I know that this way of cooking won't prevent diabetes or any other illness in some people but I do believe it can help many many lives.

Cooking from scratch is personal to me because it has given me hope that I won't fall into the family health plan of getting some of the more dominant issues in our family tree.  It is worth it to me to try and stay as healthy as possible for the sake of my kids.

Oh I know it takes time.  Preach that to the choir.  Time is relevant when your health is at stake or you are overweight.  Make the time.  Find the time.  Create the time.  I am just as busy as anyone else.  I still manage to make almost all of our meals from scratch.


HOW?

1.  Make easy meals.  DUH?  I used to think that every meal had to be this gourmet production.  It doesn't.  My kids would prefer to eat the same thing twice a week instead of seeing me wig out because this or that dish did not turn out.  Keep it simple.

2.  Make a menu.  Yes, take a few minutes to write down your ideas of what you want to make.  This will help you make time to make real food.

3.  Involve your family.  Kids love to cook.  Believe it or not, husbands, can shop too.  My husband will often go to the grocery store for us.  Does he buy exactly what I need...not always.  I don't care though.  The fact that he went is HUGE in my book.

4.  Start reading food labels.  Educate yourself on what you are consuming. If this doesn't scare the shit out of you then I don't know what will.  Discover what kinds of dyes, preservatives, artificial flavorings, etc...the list is a mile long of reasons why you should care what you are eating when you buy something processed.

5.  Decide to do it and just do it.  Nike had it right.  Just do it.  Take baby steps. Figure out how to make breakfast from scratch: eggs, oatmeal, homemade pancakes or waffles, hash browns.  Focus on one area first and then when you become comfortable try lunches.  Lunches are the easiest because you can use leftovers from dinner.  Dinners take more planning but they can also be made with time saving kitchen gadgets like: Crock Pots, Vitamix's and pressure canners.


These five suggestions can help you get started.  Teaching you how to incorporate cooking from scratch and using simple single ingredient foods when planning your meals at home.  If I wasn't a beneficiary of this method of cooking and seeing first hand how it has helped our family I might be more passive about discussing this way of life.

People talk about passions and this is one of mine:  Eat real food made from single ingredients as often as possible.  Know your food.  Shop local.  Visit the farms in your area.  Know those that cut your meat and sort your produce. Engage in your meals. Involve your family.

Get in the kitchen and start cooking from scratch.

Simple?  Maybe.  Manageable?  YES!

Written by Sherron Watson

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