I know that the notion of eating tongue is probably totally unappealing to most of you; it was to me for sure. Recently, however, at an authentic Mexican restaurant, I ordered tongue tacos and they were delicious and inexpensive! When I found out that my grass-fed, organic beef farmer sold tongue for $2.50/lb, I had to figure out a way to use it in a delicious way. Here’s what I did, with pictures of the transformation from icky cow tongue to deliciously spicy, shredded beef! Read the rest of this entry »
This post is modified from an article I wrote for our church’s school, of which I am a board member. I thought I would share these tips for healthy lunches for school, work, or simply being on the go with little ones!
One of the biggest challenges we as parents face is feeding our children. Good, nourishing food is essential for their growth and development, as well as for their brains and learning. Packing a healthy, nutrient-dense lunch that will appeal to young children can be tricky, but it will pay off dividends in your child’s energy levels, immunity, and overall well-being.
Sugar,white-flour, and unhealthy fats form the backbone of a typical school lunch. White bread, jelly, peanut butter filled with sugar and hydrogenated oil coupled with fruit juice and chips may be appealing for children, but the high carbohydrate intake can cause a major “crash” in blood sugar after lunch. This “crash” (for lack of a better word) can lead to brain fogginess and lack of focus, and ultimately hunger, later in the afternoon.
For a healthy lunch, it’s important to focus on healthy fats, proteins, veggies, and whole-grains. These foods provide not only essential nutrients, but also provide fiber that slows down digestion so that you avoid that dreaded “crash” after lunch.
Luckily, there are some simply things you can do to transform the “typical school lunch” into a wholesome, healthy lunch that your kids will eat.
Sprouted Ezekiel Bread or Brown Rice Tortillas for sandwiches If you are grain-free, use sheets of nori for nutrient-dense roll-ups and make “sushi”. Leftover grain-free pancakes made from almond flour can be spread with nut butter and a touch of honey for sandwhiches as well.
Whole grain crackers or veggie sticks, raw cheddar or Swiss cheese slices (not processed!), and nitrate-free ham or turkey, smoked salmon, or left over roast beef.
Purchase a soup thermos and fill your child’s lunch with homemade soups or leftovers. Simply heat up a small portion in the morning before school and put in thermos and it will stay warm until eaten!
Dehydrated veggies (carrots, zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes). Trader Joe’s has some yummy “plantain chips” that are high in potassium and additive-free. Seaweed chips are also a delicous, mineral-rick potato chip replacement.
Fruit juice boxes
Iced herbal tea sweetened with honey or stevia. There are so many sweet, fruity herbal teas that when lightly sweetened taste great with next to no sugar! We like Stash’s mango-passionfruit herbal tea as well as Teavana’s herbal teas (but they are a Thrifty Oreganic indulgence and not an everyday staple!)
Shelf-stable, ultrapastuerized fat free chocolate milk
Raw milk blended with real, unsweetened cocoa with stevia or maple syrup to taste.
Jell-O chocolate pudding cups
Chocolate banana- avocado pudding (puree 1-2 avocados with 1 banana in food processor. Add 1-2 tsp cocoa powder and 1 TBS honey or to taste)
As you can see, it takes only some small changes on your shopping list to yield big benefits to your child’s health, your budget, as well as the environment. Packaged “convenience” lunch foods (like juice boxes, lunchables, “uncrustables” and pudding cups) are both expensive and not eco-friendly. While I realize that these can be tempting (primarily because big box stores like Wal-Mart and Costco can sell these at a pretty appealing price), DON’T be fooled. A little more money spent on quality ingredients (like nitrate-free ham, avocados, and Ezekial bread) will save you money on co-pays and prescription drugs or supplements because your child is less likely to fall prey to illnesses when consuming real food! This may sound like bogus claim, but I encourage you to take the Real Food Challenge and see what happens!
Butternut squash has become a staple in our home, thanks to being on the GAPS/Standard Carbohydrate Diet. Low in carbohydrates and high in nutrition, this vegetable can meld into sweet or savory dishes. One butternut squash usually provides about 4-5 cups of puree, which can stretch for several meals.
Making squash puree couldn’t be easier. Some sources say “peal, dice, and steam”. That’s way too much work for me. I stick my whole butternut squash (uncut) on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes (or when it has dark brown “welts” on it). I let it cool, slice it in half lengthwise (see picture). The skin just falls off and the seedy pulp can be discarded. Carefully spoon out the squash and place in your food processor. Process until smooth.
* Squash Pudding: Blend 1-2 cups of squash puree with 2 Tbs coconut oil, 1/2 tsp (or so) of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice, and 2 (or more) egg yolks from pastured hens. Add some honey or agave nectar to taste; 1 TBS does the job for us! This can be eaten as is, or if you are worried about the egg yolks , bake in a pie pan for 30 minutes at 350. My kids lick the bowl and ask for seconds every time! A great breakfast or dessert!
*Macaroni and “Squash” Cheese: We are off all noodles now, but back when we could eat them, I’d use Brown Rice Elbow Noodles and top with with this sensational squash cheese sauce. 1 cup squash pureed with 1/2 cup of milk or cream and 1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar. Add salt and pepper to taste, and garlic powder if you like. This is a delicious way to enjoy “hidden” vegetables in a wonderful comfort food. (Credit: Jessica Seinfeld’s “Deceptively Delicious” for inspiration).
*Peanut Butter Squash Brownies: These are totally amazing. I give props to KerryAnn of Cooking Traditional Foods for coming up with this incredible GAPS-friendly and delicious dessert! Super easy to make, it contains only 5 ingredients, egg, peanut butter, honey, butternut squash, and baking soda! No grains of any kind! Go here to check it out!
*Instead of Mashed Potatoes: I blend a bit of cumin and butter with the squash and it whips up great! I also use this as a topper for Shepherds Pie (aka the great leftover makeover meal….scroll down the link page to get to it!)
*Butternut Squash Fries: Ok, I haven’t tried this one yet, but I’m totally excited to. Check it out at Martha Stewart’s website.
Photo credit: www.harvestsensations.com