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Chicken feet, yep seriously!

My 2 year old daughter saw these on the counter after we got back from grocery shopping. “Do they scare me, Mama?” she wanted to know. “No, baby doll, they are chicken feet-ies. We use them in soup.” “Yeah Mama, I think they scare me!”

DSC06353

Okay, 1 year ago…(not that long ago), they scared me too. My mom had a bunch and I thought it was just weird. You know…in my head – that is fine for you to do, but there is NO WAY I WILL EVER BUY CHICKEN FEET!!! I know they are for soup, they add more gelatin to the broth (a great bone-building, gut-cleansing food). HOWEVER, I am not that crunchy!

Well, I watched for a year. And my mom made the most amazing soups! AND her broth was thick and loaded with nutrients. And when it was still cold, it was like jello – jiggley. That is a sign of lots of good gelatin. When your chickens are eating off the ground, bugs and things, they are so healthy. So-ooo….

Here we are a year later, at our little market. And I saw chicken feet! My first thought was, “YES! Now I can get some and make some awesome broth like mom does!” Next thing you know, I am home with them, cutting the package so I could freeze them in such a way that allows me to grab a few and toss them into the broth. Yeah, it was weird! Yeah, they have toenails!!! A little eww…!

So, I guess I am that crunchy???! Or maybe eating healthy is a process, a learning curve and I am a year farther on the curve…

I am still dead set that I don’t want to butcher our own meat!!!! Are you going to laugh if I have to eat my words?? Tell me in the comments. 🙂

~ Savvy Food Mama

 

I’m writing seven posts in seven days this week (or trying to, anyway). To check out other bloggers who are doing the same, see the list here.

Tips for freezing food!

Freezers are genius! I am so so glad we have access to this neat invention!!

My freezer

1. Keep a stash of frozen bananas in the freezer. These make for a fast smoothie. Also, if you have popsicle sticks, frozen banana popsicles are one of the quickest and healthiest ways to deal with a late afternoon meltdown of the little ones. If you have any kids. I have 3.

2. When berries are on sale in the summer, buy lots of extra and freeze them in 1 cup increments. I love it when our local grocery store sells organic raspberries and blueberries 2 for $4. I buy about 8 of each, and then we have berries for muffins, scones and cobbler in the winter.

3. When making muffins, freeze the leftovers. They reheat beautifully @ 350 degrees for 10 minutes. I often use the leftovers in the mornings for breakfast. I can pop them in the oven, set the timer and go fix my hair + put on makeup. So easy!

4. When making dinners, double the batch. Freeze half of what you make and you have a homemade “freezer dinner”. We do this with spaghetti, chili, hamburgers, white sloppy joes.

5. Do you make chicken broth? If yes, freeze some in 1 cup increments. I do this in zip sandwich baggies and freeze them flat on a cookie sheet. I usually get 8-10 cups of broth to freeze, plus enough for soup for dinner.  Then, each time I have a recipe that calls for chicken broth, I have it all ready to go!!

What are your freezer tips? What do you do to short-cut or make life a bit easier with your cooking?

~ Savvy Food Mama

 

Linking up to 5 favorites this week:

http://moxiewife.com/2014/02/five-favorites-vol-47/.html

What cooking does for my soul

I like cooking best when the kitchen is quiet. Kids napping. I think, perhaps, because I am creating something, making a new thing from other things, the door is opened for me to ponder. Pondering what is going on in my life, marveling at the good things God has brought to our family, considering what direction to take our family or how best to meet a need. I often pray when cooking. It just spills out sometimes, like a pot set on a back burner that finally boils over.

I love how it feels when I taste what I made, and it is good! Don’t you think, God must have had a lot of fun creating the world?!

My cooking specialty is in the Art of Tweaking. I love to tweak a recipe! Sometimes it is because I don’t have the thing on hand, sometimes it is because I know I can make it taste better or make the process go faster. Sometimes I plan to not tweak and then I forget and I do. Lastly, sometimes it is simply because I messed up!

My tweaking adventure from yesterday was all about biscuits. I measured the dry ingredients, and cut in the butter. Then I set the buttermilk next to the bowl and asked my 4 year old to mix it into the dry. (I was dealing with a 2 year old moment.) I came back, looked into the bowl, and it was a soupy wet mess of dough. I didn’t have enough butter to triple the recipe – I had added 2 cups of buttermilk instead of 2/3 of a cup. So I decided to add more flour and try my hand at making fried biscuits.

They were amazing!! I have never had my dad like a bread type of food that I made so much. I fried them in pork lard – a good source of fat. Yum yum!

The lesson I love from this is to try to solve the mess before you throw it out.

 ~ Savvy Food Mama

*How* we eat….

What a funny title for a blog post!!!  Well, I promised y’all that I would share how we avoid the conundrum of an open-house refrigerator. So here it is!

We feed the family 3-4 times a day. Breakfast around 7-7:15am, lunch @ noon-ish, snack about 3:30-4pm and dinner is usually between 5 and 5:30. The adults in the house may or may not have a snack. We use the French word for that, “goûter” pronounced goo-tay.

I usually do not allow any eating between meals. There are occasional exceptions, like a party or a special playdate.  Tough mama? Nope. Think back to traditional cultures where their survival depended on them working very hard for every thing they used – clothes, food, shelter. They didn’t have time to be grazing constantly!!! Do you remember talking about the “satiety switch” that is triggered by the good fats? (https://savvyfoodmama.com/2013/08/13/the-story-of-flavor-part-1/) Eating enough good fats is the key here to being satisfied for several hours. Gradually, one begins to get hungry again. And then it is time to eat. It does take a consistent effort on my part to make sure we are including enough good fats at a meal. I frequently ask myself, “what else can I do to add good fats in?” In America, we actually eat very little good fats. For our good fats, we focus on coconut oil, pastured butter and cod liver oil. I notice my little people do really well on 1 tsp of good fats/meal. An adult needs more like 1 Tbs.

It is so interesting to see what my metabolism is up to right now. I am pregnant with my third baby, and thus far, I have always thought that I was just “one of those” pregnant mamas that needed to eat 6 times a day. You know – breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. This is the first pregnancy I am not experiencing those cravings. I can tell the difference when I am eating enough of the good fats. Most of the time, I stop eating with dinner. On the occasion where I have forgotten or skipped the good fats, sure enough I end up hungry sooner or more frequently than usual. 

You know, it is no secret that the U.S. is considered unhealthy. The latest I have heard is that 1/3 of the country’s population is obese and another 1/3 is overweight. I don’t know how accurate that is, but it makes me wonder about this predicament we are in. Do you ever wonder if maybe it is because of the way we’ve learned to eat? With all the vending machines available and the habits of eating between meals or on the run, it is just so easy to eat very frequently.  What do you think?

~ Savvy Food Mama

The Secret behind eating Real Food all the time…

No, I am not the perfect mama, and no, I don’t have all the time in the world. However, I do like to feed my family real food! And real families sometimes need dinner to ready in 10-15 minutes. So, what is my secret?

 

 

It is pretty simple really. (Almost) Every time I cook, I make double or extra. So, I am making burgers tonight. I am making enough for dinner, lunch tomorrow, and 1 more meal besides. That last meal’s worth, I freeze. Then when we have “one of those nights” where I need dinner ready lickety-split, I pull out those burgers from the freezer and heat them up for 10 minutes @350 in the oven. Bang! Our main dish all ready.

I do the DOUBLE-UP with lots of things – I always make 2 meatloafs, double chili, extra muffins. Any thing you can think of that would heat up just fine, make extra. I can’t tell you how many times this has saved me!! Sometimes we have leftover soup – it is a cinch to heat that up, pull some muffins out of the freezer, and pour glasses of milk.

So that’s my secret to real food, even when it needs to be fast. 🙂

~ Savvy Food Mama

Tip: most things heat up just right for 10 minutes @350, unless it is larger (as in meatloaf). To save on heating time, cut prior to heating.

Traveling with Food

It is very simple. It comes to this – plan the meat!!! (or main protein.)

It is easy to pack the snack-y stuff or even the fruit. I found that by freezing liquids, I could bring them with no problems around staying cold for an extended period of time.

I traveled half-way across the country, by plane, pregnant! Since I eat gluten-free and I didn’t want to deal with the difficulties of not having food available that I can eat, I decided to pack my own. My sweet husband took a Styrofoam container and made a handle out of tape. He then sealed it very thoroughly. It traveled so well – I checked it as one of my bags with no difficulties. As mentioned previously, I froze my liquid items.

What I packed: main dish = grass-fed meat balls for 3 meals, a couple of black bean burgers, enough pastured bacon for 2 meals, leftover homemade pizza for 2 meals, and pastured sausage and egg muffins for breakfast everyday. Dairy = 2 quarts milk (originally frozen – it still tasted great), 1/2 tub yogurt, pastured butter and Brie cheese. Fruit = homemade applesauce and pears. Other stuff = 8 muffins (4 pumpkin and 4 cranberry – I thought I might be sharing), homemade granola to mix into the yogurt, pecan butter, these chips. and some crackers ( I didn’t eat any of those).

http://www.amazon.com/Way-Better-Snacks-Simply-Tortilla/dp/B00DOPY3WE/ref=sr_1_15?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1382559391&sr=1-15&keywords=sprouted+chips

This worked so well!!!! It felt great, knowing that I was feeding my body the way I am used to eating versus travel food. I also took my cod liver oil, my probiotics, and my JuicePlus+ every day.

Then, I could just leave my styrofoam container and not worry about bringing it back – perfect!!

What are some of your traveling-with-food Tips? Do you pack it? Get it at your destination? I would love to hear in the comments!!

 ~ Savvy Food Mama

Lunchtime!

 

Lunch really comes down to 1 simple thing: if you plan a little bit, you will probably eat well most of the time. If you don’t plan ahead, you will probably not eat well most of the time. I have found this to be true for me over and over…

So, the key is to find a time (5 minutes is all you need) and a space to write. Here are 2 ways that have been successful for me. 1) Right before bed – I have a menu/grocery list taped to a spot in my kitchen. There is a pen attached. I take 5 minutes before bed, figure out dinner for the next day, breakfast for the next day, and then lunch tomorrow will be leftovers from that evening. (If I think of any groceries we are out of, I can write those down too.)  I pull the meat out of the freezer, or the dinner I made double of and froze – so that it can thaw.  2) Another way I plan is using a whiteboard (sometimes first thing when I wake up) and jotting down the plan for the day. Again, I plan breakfast and dinner, and lunch is leftovers from the night before.

What is lunch actually? I try to keep in mind that part of the trouble with the way we eat as Americans, is when most of our plate ends up being carbs. (*Fruits, veggies and grains are all processed as carbs. So are chips, candy, soda and other desserts.) This type of lunch gets digested more quickly than meats or good fats, and so we end up hungry again sooner.  Planning for lunch, I find it easiest to make double of dinner the night before. If we are having hamburgers (with grass-fed beef), I make enough for all of us to have one for lunch.  If we are having tacos in lettuce “shells”, I make double the ground beef or fish that I used for the dinner. I also try to incorporate some good fats into our lunch – coconut oil, grass-fed butter.

Lunch probably won’t be the exact same thing as dinner the night before. It does help though to base it around a main dish. I might add crackers and cheese. I love serving plain yogurt in individual bowls and putting a bowl of fruit on the table for each person to add a handful or two. Sometimes, I incorporate cut fresh veggies, or the leftover ones from the night before. It all depends on the day and how busy we are. We do try to sit down for all our meals. I keep a tiny table in my kitchen that the girls can eat at if I am in the middle of cooking or catching up on dishes.

How do you solve the lunchtime conundrum?

 ~ Savvy Food Mama