Monday, January 24, 2011

My 30 for 30 Challenge

This past year has been one with a lot of transformation in it and it has been a great year as well.  Next month I am turning 30 and decided that to kick it off I would commit to 30 days of eating only real food. 

We’ve been doing pretty well since starting our real food journey but I still have some bad habits and some cravings that I am having a hard time kicking.  Since we are getting closer to introducing solids to Kaiden and he’s becoming more aware, I can no longer indulge in things and think it’s no big deal because he doesn’t know what is going on.  Now I have to make sure that I eat how I want him to eat.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been eating WAY better that we used to.  Things like fast food no longer interest me, in fact I can’t even stomach the thought of Wendy’s or McD’s anymore and we are making most of our meals from scratch.  But we still get caught in our unprepared/lazy ruts and will get pizza from the local Greek place (which is really really tasty) or donairs.  And it is happening a little too frequently for my liking.  I also have a big issue with chips, I eat them too often and find I eat way too many in one sitting even if I am not enjoying them.

So I decided that we needed to get into a habit of being more prepared and increasing our recipe base so that we have ideas to turn to when we are in a rut or unprepared.  I figure that if we commit to 30 days of no cheating that will really help out.  Plus it will have all the other benefits that come with a healthier diet.

For me there will be no cheating at all (although for the record I don’t consider things like homemade ice cream cheating, hehe).  Everything, including snacks and treats, will be made from scratch or a real food version will be used (in the case of bread, we aren’t making it yet so we buy organic sprouted bread).  I am letting Cody cheat though; he can choose to do what he likes at lunches with no bugging from me.

My 30 days starts tomorrow and will end on my birthday.  I think I am going to have to come up with a really good dinner and dessert for that night!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Swimming fun!

Three weeks ago Kaiden started swimming lessons with us and it has been so much fun!  I can't believe how fast these past 6 months have gone.  It feels like just yesterday we decided to start trying to conceive but it also feels like Kaiden has always been here. 

We also knew that once Kaiden was 6 months we would have him in swimming lessons.  We go away for a little bit each summer and spend time with family at a couple of different lakes so we couldn't imagine it any other way.  I was happy to find a local pool that specializes in kids swimming lessons, has small classes, keeps their pool super warm and uses UV filtration, reducing the amount of chlorine in the water.  I also agreed with their teaching philosophy which was important as I wanted swimming to always have a positive association.

The best part is Kaiden loves going every week and he loves water too!  Today he was hungry, wouldn't eat and tired but he still enjoyed every minute of his lesson.  It's a fun family outing, for the first three years you go in the water with them. 

Kaiden loves to kick and splash in the water and is hilarious on his back when he insists on throwing his legs in the air and playing with his feet (I think we'll have to try to get a picture of this).  He is already able to go under water which is awesome!

I suspect that weekly swimming lessons will be a family tradition for us from now on!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup Success

Tonight Cody and I made our first homemade chicken noodle soup and it was fantastic!  I had big plans to freeze a bunch of it, but I suspect it won't make it past tomorrow's lunch.  The best part is how easy and economical it is.

Yesterday we picked up a pastured chicken from a local store and roasted it.  Then put some potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic in the bottom of a pot with a bit of some homemade stock and placed the chicken on top, bottom side up.  Brush the chicken with some melted butter and sprinkle with salt, pepper, basil and thyme (or stuff some fresh basil and thyme inside).  Cook at 375 for about and hour and then take the chicken out and flip it to be breast side up.  Brush this side with butter, sprinkle with spices and then bake approximately another hour.  Let the chicken rest and enjoy!

After you've enjoyed your chicken, take the rest of the meat off the bones and store in the fridge to add to the soup later.  Place all the bones & chicken scraps in a pot, add about 4 liters of water, some carrots, onion, celery and 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (this helps to draw the minerals out of the bones).  We also added two chicken feet and a couple of bay leaves.  Let set for about an hour, bring to a boil, skim of the foam that rises, reduce to a simmer and cover.  Then let it simmer 3-24 hours.  I usually try to go as close to 24 hours as possible.  Sally Fallon recommends adding a bunch of fresh parsley in 10 minutes before you're done, but I didn't do it this time.  Now you have a homemade and nutritious bone broth!  At this point you could freeze it if you just want some broth.  When I freeze broth I do some in jars and some in ice cube trays, then I have small amounts to add things like veggies.

Once your broth is done, strain it with a fine strainer and put it back in a pot.  Add the chicken, some carrots, celery, onions, plenty of good sea salt, pepper and spices (I used oregano, basil and thyme).  At this point I let it simmer for a bit and then added cooked brown rice noodles and some fresh parsley, I really like the freshness the parsley added.

And that's it!  Super easy, tasty and cost effective!  The only problem is that it is so tasty that it may be tricky to freeze some before you eat it all.