Monday, October 27, 2008

Meal Plan Monday 10-27-08

As promised last week was a wild and crazy ride! The week started out with a cake order for a bridal shower. Yes, I know I teach low glycemic eating. Yes, I know these cakes are not low glycemic. But here's the deal, I started a small cake baking business four years ago (before low glycemic eating) and I don't advertise anymore but I do still get calls for cakes. My thought on that is this: if you pray daily for the Lord to provide and the phone rings for work...well you get the picture right? I can't exactly choose how the provisions will come. So they come and we are able to balance our finances because of them.


One thing I had not planned last week was a killing frost. I ripped the sad looking vines out of the front yard, they were the last to go. My new all time favorite cherry type tomato is Sungold. What a great producer! We had about 20 plants or so in back of our picket fence and they went wild and produced up until last week.

Tuesday we had a dinner party for 14 people from our supplement business. We had an honored guest who is a leader in this industry in attendance. J.W. spent the whole week with our group helping and training. He definitely is a great motivator as well and we look forward to his next visit. A leader who is a do-er is definitely someone to follow.


The dinner went well. We break down our sunroom once a year and turn it into a dining room for our Thanksgiving Dinner, so we just did it a little early this year and set up our banquet tables and got out my collection of vintage dishes and linens and set up the potting bench as a buffet table. For dinner we had Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Pecan Stuffed Mushrooms, Scalloped Cauliflower and String Beans and a delicious salad that my friend L. made with walnuts and mandarin oranges. (Thanks L.!) You can see from the picture to the right that Little T. sat at the head of the table. Every aspect of life is a homeschooling opportunity and attending a dinner party is a great thing to learn how to do, not to mention she was elbow deep in the preparations of the event.



Wednesday didn't slow down a bit. I was on the road at 6:15 AM with Thelma and Louise for a seminar on Aging. The whole day was filled with great stuff on how aging effects the brain and weight. Great stuff I'm still processing and will share soon with our Wednesday night group. Speaking of which....we drove back from our seminar just in time for our Wednesday night Health/Nutrition and Weight Management class. The topic last week was about flax; what it is, the benefits and how to incorporate it into our lives. After our class we had low glycemic ice cream sundaes - Yum!



The rest of the week was filled as well... but enough of that. Here is our menu for this week. For more great menu ideas visit www.orgjunkie.com.

Sunday
Breakfast
Eggs Overeasy
Lunch
Whole Foods Field Trip
Dinner
Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries


Monday
Breakfast
Baked Oatmeal
Lunch
Tuna Sandwiches

Dinner
Kung Pao Chicken and Brown Rice

Tuesday
Breakfast
L. O. Baked Oatmeal
Lunch
T.B.D. (to be determined)
Black Bean Burgers & Cauliflower Salad

Wednesday
Breakfast
L.O. Baked Oatmeal
Lunch

T.B.D. (to be determined)
Dinner
Salad Night

Thursday
Breakfast
Omelets
Lunch
T.B.D.
Dinner
Turkey Cheddar Meatballs, Brown Rice & Broccoli

Friday
Breakfast
Baked Eggs

Lunch
T.B.D.
Dinner
Pizza Night

Saturday
Breakfast
Sourdough Pancakes w/ Blueberries & Whipped Cream (we didn't have this last week)
Lunch
Leftover Pizza
Dinner
Garlic Pasta, Sourdough Biscuits and Salad


Snacks this week: apples, grapes and Spelt Pretzels

Treats this week: Coconut Loaf (I substitute agave nectar, use spelt flour and double recipe for a loaf pan)

Enjoy your week - Wonderwoman

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sourdough Starter

Once you learn about the health benefits of sourdough, the health conscious will appreciate how simple it really is to bake with once you get past the whole mystery of the "starter". Baking will, however, take a little longer than it used to because this is natural yeast.

Getting a starter (this is the term for a soupy, living mixure of flour and water that you store in your fridge) that is tried and true from a friend is preferable for most. But what if you don't have a friend with a 'pet' in their fridge? It's easy to start your own starter. For the simplest way to do this look here. While you're waiting to create life on your counter, you can check out this site that has videos for using your sourdough starter. I love that guy - it just shows that technology allows us to share great stuff with so many people.

Let me tell you how I care for our starter as you will find everyone has their own way or technique. I like simple. Simple is good. We (I mean me) feed our starter a lot because we use it several times a week. How much I feed it depends on how much I need. The bottom line is equal parts whole wheat flour and water. You must feed your starter once a week at a minimum otherwise it will starve. This minimum can be 1/4 flour and 1/4 cup water. WHEN you forget to feed Fred (you can call your starter what you want), it will turn a grayish color. I've brought Fred back from death in the early days, just feed it to bring it back to life.

Before feeding your starter you will notice there is usually a layer of liquid on the top of your jar. Pour this out into the sink. This is called the 'hooch' - don't drink it. After the hooch is poured off, dump in your flour and water and stir with a long handled spoon and return your starter to your fridge.

How soon can you use it after a feeding? I usually will feed it a few hours before I plan to use it. The look of the surface of the starter should look bubbly - note the difference in the look of your starter at different stages and you will soon be an expert.

Keep your starter in a jar or container with a lid. The lid should be slightly loose. That's why I use the jars shown in the picture above, they are not air tight. Little T. helped to show the height of our jars in the photo by using a tape measure so you can get an idea of how much starter we keep on hand, I try to keep the jar as full as possible. The jar on the left has the amount I am left with after baking 2 loaves of bread, 2 pizzas, muffins and pancakes. When I use a large quanitity of starter at one time, this is when I will pour the remaining starter into a clean new jar and start the process over.

Use your starter for:


Sourdough Pancakes

Sourdough Pizza


Sourdough Bread

Please leave me a post if you have questions. Sometimes I miss the obvious.

Enjoy the day - Wonderwoman

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Meal Plan Monday 10-19-08

This is going to be one of those 'fly by the seat of your pants' week. We will be having a dinner party Tuesday night for Superman's supplement business and Wednesday I will be gone all day on a road trip with Thelma and Louise (not their real names). We are going to an all day seminar on the aging brain, weight loss and sleep problems. It seems right up my alley and I haven't been anywhere since.......it's been a long time so I jumped at the chance! I will be packing our lunch and snacks for that day since Thelma has taken care of everything else. We'll be headed back to our house for our weekly recorded low glycemic class after the seminar. Our class this week is about - HA, I rarely tell (although I will tell you that I've made 3 different low glycemic ice creams to make sundaes with after the meeting - hope that will pack the house)! I'll tell you on Thursday what it was about. I really get into the research part of these classes. The rest of the week is pretty full too! School has been canceled tomorrow due to food prep for Tuesday, gotta love the flexibility of homeschooling.



Here is our menu for this week:

Sunday
Breakfast
Eggs on Toast
Lunch
Leftover Butternut Squash Stew
Dinner
Turkey Meatloaf and Spaghetti Squash

Monday
Breakfast
Smoothies and French Toast (sourdough)
Lunch
Meatloaf Sandwiches
Dinner
Chicken Fettuccine

Tuesday
Breakfast
Scrambled Eggs & Toast w/ Coconut Oil
Lunch
T.B.D. (to be determined)
Dinner (Dinner Party Night -16?)
Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Scalloped Cauliflower
Wild Rice
Pecan Stuffed Mushrooms
Big Salad
Flourless Chocolate Cake

Wednesday
Breakfast
Smoothies, Toast & Peanut Butter
Lunch (on the road with Thelma & Louise)
Salmon Sandwiches on homemade Sourdough Bread
Hummus and Baby Carrots & Flax Crackers
Dinner
Salad Night

Thursday
Breakfast
Omelets
Lunch
T.B.D.
Dinner
Tuna Melts and Cauliflower Salad (it's like potato salad)

Friday
Breakfast
Baked Oatmeal
Lunch
T.B.D.
Dinner
Pizza Night

Saturday
Breakfast
Sourdough Pancakes w/ Blueberries & Whipped Cream
Lunch
Leftover Pizza
Dinner
Kung Pao Chicken & Brown Rice

Snacks this week: apples, grapes, baby carrots and hummus
Treats this week: Granola Cookies, Cheesecake Muffins

HELP! Does anyone know why fresh eggs that are hard boiled are so hard to peel? The egg whites stick to the egg shell and take big chunks of the egg AND it takes forever!! How can I make them easier to peel?

Want to see more great menus? Check out orgjunkie.com
Leave a comment so I know that you were here. Thanks!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I love my Barbies!

Now don't get me wrong, because I love all of our chickens...it's just that some of them I will love fried or roasted a little more! But we love our Barbies. Let me tell you about them. Our first group of 11 chick-a-bay-bees came from our local Tractor Supply on a whim to surprise Little T., again on a whim. No chicken coop, no waterers, no feeders....just a cardboard box. Superman and I were there to buy 6 chickens and of course we were buying them by their looks. There was this nice lady shopping and giving us advice telling us "it doesn't matter if you have 6 or 60 once you have chickens". We thought that made perfect sense (NO IT DOESN'T) at the time and scooped up more of the little fluff balls. We especially liked the little yellow ones with the feathers on their feet, the nice lady telling us those were Brahmas. Keep in mind our goal for the chickens - eggs. Fast forward from spring to fall....those little yellow chicks are Buff Cochins, an ornamental chicken that lay about 160 eggs a year! But we've found greater purpose for them anyway - .


All of our chickens have a name or a joint name. The Austrolaups (not sure if that's spelled correctly) are named Butternut because they're loud and freak out if the rest of the flock don't stay with them - just like Supermans mom who is also called Butternut. The Golden Comets are Pixie, Trixie and the other 4 are just Ixie because we can't tell them apart and besides that we ran out of ixie names. The Speckled Sussex all have names: Sally Ann, Sweetheart, Vanilla (she's a little plain), and Bad Hair Betty (she's got a cow-lick). The Buff Cochins are all blonde and very pretty and they look alike just like Barbie Dolls, so they are all Barbie. There is Fashion Barbie, who is the plumpest and has the largest comb. There's Sport Barbie, who can run real fast - head down, wings back, full speed ahead! And there's Garden Barbie, she is our gardener. If you start to dig a hole, she's sure she can do it better so move over. Garden Barbie is also an excellent tomato picker.



They are great companions for Little T. and I who spend a lot of time outside. Every day they are the only ones we let out of the pen early, around 3:00. They're like little plump ladies with slippers on their feet pushing their way to the front of the line because they know it's their time to get out of the pen. The Barbies follow us around the yard watching everything we do with a low Awwww for a noise. Now I realize that I'm talking about chickens here....you know....food - but we really do love our Barbies!
Enjoy the day -Wonderwoman

Monday, October 13, 2008

Meal Plan Monday 10-13-08

The weekend is over and it was two picture perfect autumn days in New England. These are the kinds of days that you want to spend every second outside because God only makes so many perfect days. However, I had two out of the ordinary tasks that have been nagging at me lately to accomplish. The one that took priority was changing over all the closets from summer clothes to winter clothes. This took all day on Saturday but the job is done! Also on Saturday I gave our sourdough starter a real workout. We had Sourdough Pancakes for breakfast, I started two loaves of Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread and also Sourdough Pizza Crust prepped early in the morning to be ready for dinner. The other task did not get the same discipline. I have a collection (lots) of African Violets that I have been propagating to make more little violets. The thought was to be able to have a gift on hand whenever I need one. The little violets will have to wait until next weekend to be transplanted because we enjoyed the outdoors on Sunday after church.


Here is our menu for the week:


Sunday
Breakfast
Baked Oatmeal
Lunch
Dinner
Baked Chicken and Gravy, warm Sourdough Bread & Sweet Potatoes


Monday
Breakfast
Leftover Spinach & Cheese Casserole
Lunch
Leftover Pizza
Dinner
Spaghetti with Chicken Sausage & a quick sauce


Tuesday
Breakfast
Egg on Toast
Lunch
T. B. D. (to be determined)
Dinner
NEW - Chicken Fettucini & Green Beans


Wednesday
Breakfast
Leftover Baked Oatmeal
Lunch
Tuna Sandwiches & Pickles
Dinner
Big Salad


Thursday
Breakfast
Smoothies, Toast & Peanut Butter
Lunch
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Dinner
Butternut Squash Stew


Friday
Breakfast
Omelets
Lunch
Salad with Wheat Berries & Beans
Dinner
Pizza


Saturday
Breakfast
French Toast
Lunch
T. B .D.
Dinner
Beef & Bean Crockpot Casserole

Hope your week shines! - Wonderwoman


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Roasted Veggies

What a beautiful and perfect day it was today. I called for a half day of school today...shh...principal Superman still doesn't know. Speaking of which, he's working late tonight so I have the night off from kitchen duty and we stayed outside extra late and enjoyed the weather and the view. A few hundred Canada Geese came for a visit today. I look forward to their visit and find them to be entertaining - we don't have T.V. so it doesn't take much to entertain us. Little T. spent the afternoon making mud pies with help from our Buff Cochins (their names are all Barbie), and then whittled (with a clam shell) a broom out of a stick and used daylily stems for the bristles.


Little T. and I will be having leftovers tonight from the Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce and Rigatoni I cooked earlier in the week. I'm going to add some chicken stock to it to freshen it up a bit and melt some mozzarella on top. I'll also steam some green beans I froze when the garden was in full production mode.


It occured to me a few days ago that Superman can now see what we're having for dinner before he comes home everyday. Now, while that may seem like a good thing....if he doesn't see meat on the menu he might not come home. So I have to be crafty and switch it up so he won't exactly know what to expect. Before we began our low glycemic eating he would have stopped to eat his pre-meal meal at Mc D.'s (by the way, he's now down 40 pounds). I switched our Tuesday and Wednesday on the Menu Plan which means that last night we had roasted veggies and brown rice. Yummy and nutritious - but not on his top 10 list. I like to make it because it's an opportunity to clean out the fridge.

Here is the Wonderwoman Way of roasting veggies:

Chop all the veggies you'll be roasting early in the day to give them a chance to marinate. This time I've used a head of cabbage, bag of baby carrots, an onion, 4 zucchini, a pepper and 4 cloves of garlic (diced). Combine all of it in a huge bowl and liberally pour olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top of the veggies. Now add kosher salt, pepper, and italian seasoning (organic always seems to have more flavor) and toss. Keep in the fridge until dinner time.




I really like cooking on stoneware so I used two bar pans to roast the veggies on. Roast at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until their perfectly done to your liking - serve over brown rice.
Enjoy - Wonderwoman

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Spaghetti Squash

I don't want this fall season to go on much longer without singing the praises of spaghetti squash! For some people this post may not be necessary, but not everyone is familiar with this marvelous squash. Here, we will simplify this gem that you can purchase at a reasonable price per pound at farm stands and grocery stores right now.


The first thing you'll want to do is pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Now, slice off the stem and bottom end and slice your squash in half lengthwise. You'll find the inside to be a lot like a pumpkin.
Scrape out the seeds and the center. If you're feeling adventurous, you can save these seeds and toast them in some butter like you would toast pumpkin seeds. I like to turn mine into eggs - so Little T. brings them out to the chickens. There is nothing quite like the happy squeals of chickens when they see you coming with a bowl.
Place the squash cut side down on a
baking sheet and put it in the oven for about 50 minutes. It may take longer, poke it with a fork to check it. If it's done it will puncture easily. When in doubt, just keep cooking.
Now that it's cooked, (cool it a little to keep your fingerprints) you need to take a fork and scrape the insides out of the shell. I'm not sure how my mom's hands got in this photo of 'the scraping' because I clearly remember doing it myself. Scrape all the way to the shell. You'll notice as you're scraping how much this 'ribbons' and actually looks like spaghetti.
Now you get to decide how to eat it. You can serve it with butter and salt, parmesan cheese, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, or toss with olive oil and sea salt.
I like to serve it as a side dish with something like this Turkey Meatloaf I made last week. I will post another time how I make meatloaf - I pad it with a lot of vegetables! Hope your day shines! - Wonderwoman

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Meal Plan Monday

I'm so excited to post our first weekly menu here on the blog Superman just finished designing! Next week I will be participating for the first time at www.orgjunkie.com in sharing our families menu with hundreds of other menu planners - so this is our trial run.

Sunday
Breakfast
Baked oatmeal
Lunch
Tuna melts and pickles
Dinner
*NEW - Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce over Rigatoni and a side salad

Monday
Breakfast
Leftover
Sourdough pancakes (changed sweetener to agave nectar & I use whole wheat flour)
Lunch
Leftover pizza

Dinner
Grain burgers and spaghetti squash


Tuesday
Breakfast
Leftover Baked oatmeal

Lunch
Egg salad sandwiches

Dinner
Oven roasted veggies over brown rice & side salad


Wednesday
Breakfast
Omelet w/ peppers, onion & cheese

Lunch
Salad w/ homemade sourdough croutons
Dinner
Stuffed zucchini (stuffed w/ spicy turkey) and wheat berry salad w/ beans


Thursday
Breakfast
Chicken in a basket

Lunch
T.B.D. (to be determined -usually leftovers)

Dinner
Spaghetti and meatballs


Friday
Breakfast
Ezekial english muffins w/ egg & cheese
Lunch
T. B. D.
Dinner

Pizza (sourdough crust)

Saturday
Breakfast
Sourdough pancakes
Lunch
T. B. D.

Dinner
Coconut chicken and acorn squash w/ side salad


As this post is being written, the Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce has been eaten and the verdict is in - it's a winner - yummy! It was really easy too! The hardest part was cutting the acorn squash because it's so hard....I know, I've been told to put it in the microwave (after it's been punctured) first to soften it but I'd rather not microwave unless I have to.

I will be giving updates during the week with pictures and tips as I prepare meals so be sure to check back or better yet, you can subscribe to my blog.

Have a wonderful week - Wonderwoman

Friday, October 3, 2008

And the days go by....

The summer of 2008 will go down in our families history as the year of the chicken. They pretty much have taken over - from the 6:00 AM wake up call to the 9:00 PM let me just check on the chickies one more time (they might be thirsty). They are definitely spoiled. Husband has pretty much spent his summer building the Taj Mahal of all chicken coops. He was the one who said he was not going to have anything to do with the chickens. Dangle some power tools in front of that man and I've got him!