Traditional Tuesdays: Back to Traditional Foods

Today is the day!  We start back on the road to health and that means making sure we are eating more traditional foods and less processed foods for the family. I am taking small slow steps this time around to hopefully make it a permanent change for the family this time around.

I plan to get rid of all the prepackaged side dishes that I have been using the past couple of months. I know I can make things that are better for us without all of those preservatives and additives. I will spend today doing the research for some ideas. One thing I will be doing is hauling out the Make-a-Mix book I have on top of the fridge. I will be looking through it to find homemade alternatives for the family favorites. 

Once I have the favorites found, I need to make a shopping list of the items I need for the mixes.  After the list is done, I will call my friend who works for the McCormick Spice Company and set a date to go at the employee store.  I figure I will probably buy them out.  Once I have all of ingredients in the house, we will have a mix making day for homeschool (is is math you know).

Our road back to traditional foods and more healthy eating so far includes Meatless Mondays, Fishy Fridays and homemade side dishes.

What steps are you making to move your family toward a healthier lifestyle?

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Traditional Tuesdays: Amish Friendship Bread

Last night I went the month meeting of our area’s version of Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS). It was our Christmas celebration and one of my friends at the table gave us all a container of Amish Friendship Bread Starter. YAY! I had starter going about a year ago, but with everything going, I forgot to feed it, so it died off. I now have a chance to redeem myself with this new batch.

Today is day one for the starter, for the next four days it will be stirred. On Friday I get to feed it a cup each of flour, milk and sugar. Then for 4 more days it is stirred. On Wednesday the 21st, I feed it again with flour, sugar and milk. Then I get to make the bread just in time for Christmas. I think I am going to feed it a mixture of whole wheat and white flours and eventually move it all to whole wheat.

I am also going to be selfish and not give any away this time. I may actually feed it double the next couple of times to build up the starter so I have enough to make 4 loaves for the family each time I make it.

Here is the recipe I use to make two loaves of the bread. 

1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1/2 whole wheat)
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 2 (9×5 inch) loaf pans.
2.In a large bowl, combine the ingredients. Mix well. Pour into prepared loaf pans.
3.Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes and then remove from pan and finish cooling.

Enjoy!

Pax Christi!

 

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

PrepWise Wednesday: Heirloom Seeds and The Garden

Part of prepping and being self sustainable is learning to have a garden to grow foods for your family. One of the most important things you need to remember is that most seeds in the big box stores you purchase are hybrids or genetically modified (GM).

You want to know why to use heirloom and non-GM seed I am betting.  Some of the major seed companies want to control the seed market and force people to use them for their vegetable garden seeds. If this happens they then control the first stage of food production.  If they chose not to provide seeds, then you will have to purchase THEIR foods from the markets.
Hybrids and GMs are geared to modern agriculture’s mass production. They aim to produce higher yields and more uniform size and maturity times of fruits and plants. With this focus on breeding for specific characteristics, much has been lost in the flavor and nutrition department, with unhealthy side effects for us all as we have witnessed in our population over the past generation.
With the proper ground preparation, heirloom seeds produce vibrant, wonderfully tasting fruits and vegetables. Now they may not look the pretty because they haven’t been bred for looks, but the flavor compensates. Plus you can save the seeds and use them to grow next year’s crop.
In the past I have purchased my seeds from several places. One company I use is Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. They have wonderful customer service and the plants and vegetables have been wonderful.

Another company I plan to use this year is St. Clare Heirloom Seeds.  It is run by a Catholic homeschooling family.  I want to support as many companies as I can which are providing us these seed options.  St. Clare’s has seed packs for a variety of needs: a beginning gardener, a large family, an herb garden, a children’s garden and so on.  Plus they have a large selection of books to help you get started.
During the late fall and early winter is the time to check with you local extension office for when you can safely plant in your area and the usual growing season length. Decide what you would like to plant for the coming year.  If this is your first time, maybe to a salad garden. Your would plant different types of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and maybe onions and bell peppers.  Zucchini is always a good one to plant, and very hearty with decent yields.

Then look online and through the catalogs and see how much you would need to plant to feed your family.  The wonderful thing about a salad garden is you can have multiple plantings of lettuce through the growing season so you can always have fresh.  I love heading out to the garden and picking our salad for the night.

Once you know how much you need to feed your family, then you need to plan your garden.  You will need to figure out the best place to plant the garden in your yard.  Based on what you are planting, you will need to figure out the size you need for your garden.

Next you will need to decide are you going to do a Square Foot Garden, or a regular in the ground garden.  Once that is done, you will need to plan it.  There are several garden planning tools available on the Web or you can just take out some graph paper and go to town.

One book I love to share is The Backyard Homestead.  It shows you how to use the space you have to have a bountiful harvest.  It is amazing what even a quarter acre can provide for your family. It even shows how you can use your space to have things like dairy goats, make cheese or raise meat rabbits.
So check out The Backyard Homestead, as good starting point to learn about being self-sufficient.  Once you have the basics there are so many other books where you can go for details and further knowledge.
Now is the time to start thinking about a garden, so come on and join me as I plan mine.
Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Traditional Food Tuesday: Honey

I am slowly working my way back to the traditional food lifestyle. One of the first things I need to go is get the “whites” out of the diet. The white flour, white sugar, and white rice.

My family is BIG on sweets, we are definitely a dessert loving family. So right now I am researching alternatives to sugar and how to use them in the recipes we like. There are many good alternatives to white sugar that we can use. I am going to talk about probably one of the best out there: honey.

Honey has been collected for over 10,000 years. Can you imagine the first man that tried the honey and tried to get others to try it. I can just imagine that conversation. Humans began to keep bees sometime in Ancient Egypt. Honey is comprised of fructose and glucose. It also contains antioxidants, enzymes and trace minerals.

If you can find raw honey from a local source that is wonderful thing. It will contain pollens from your area and can work wonders on seasonal allergies since it will act as immune booster and reduce your seasonal allergy symptoms. You should start taking 2-3 spoonfuls day a few months before your seasonal allergy symptoms begin. Natural allergy shots!

Another interesting face is honey is the only food that never goes bad. Honey was found in an Egyptian tomb that was over 3,000 years old and it was still good. How is that for freshness!

Honey is sweeter than white sugar so you would use three quarters of cup for every one cup of sugar in a recipe. Since honey has so much moisture in it, you will need to adjust the amount of liquid in the recipe. A rule of thumb is use a quarter cup less liquid for every cup of honey. In addition honey can be acidic, so you will want to add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda for every cup of honey used.,

Finally, honey can cause things to brown much faster because of the sugar content. You will want to reduce the temperature in the oven by 25 degrees.

I also love that you can get different flavors of honey depending on the the source of the pollen. Right now in my pantry I have wildflower, orange blossom, clover, strawberry and buckwheat. Sometimes I use honey to flavor the bread or muffin and then make a complimentary sauce, topping or glaze. It makes for a new depth flavor.

I would encourage you experiment with a trusted quick bread or muffin recipe and see if you can discover the joys of leaving the white sugar behind.

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Traditional Tuesday Restart

Now that summer has come and gone and my life appears to be heading back onto a “normal” path, I am returning to my traditional foods lifestyle. We slipped into the convenience of the traditional American diet with all the crises and chaos this year. I am noticing this change, some in the children’s behaviors and attitudes, some with my behavior and attitude and mostly in how I am feeling overall.

I am inviting you to join me in moving your diet to a healthier one. Do some research and see if this will work for your family. I didn’t think it would for mine, but now I can tell it did make a difference.

The premier book on this topic is Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions. That book is packed with a lot of information and recipes. Another great is a Nina Planck’s Real Food: What to Eat and Why. I encourage you to pick up one of these books and read them with an open mind and see where can easily make changes and get started on the traditional foods lifestyle.

I would encourage you to join the Cooking Traditional Foods forum. This site contains a huge amount of information. The members are extremely helpful and friendly so don’t be afraid to jump in and ask questions. And if you are looking for some great traditional foods menus you can subscribe to the menu mailer. As a matter of fact if you are new to traditional foods now would be the perfect time to join since the mailer has started a Back to the Basics series to show you how to switch to a traditional foods lifestyle.

I look forward to seeing you all at Cooking Traditional Foods!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome