Menu Plan Monday

Every month, before the 1st, I plan my menu for the entire month. Breakfast, Snacks, Lunch and Dinner. I get all the cookbooks out along with my list of new recipes to try. We then do a once-a-month family shopping trip (to save gas money and time). Then, weekly I plan my meals based on what I have planned for the month, when the avocados soften up, if there are any sales at the local stores, and what the husband’s request is for the week (Actually, I rarely ask that anymore… it’s always Burgers… you will notice we have these a LOT!)

Here is week 1 for March:

March Week 1 Menu

2011 Book List

I love to read. But I rarely finish anything (nevermind that I have 100 different things I could be doing in my “free time” (a.k.a. time when children are sleeping). Oh, the life of a mother…).  Therefore, I am trying to keep myself accountable by posting here, for everyone to see, my reading GOALS for the entire year. Most of these books aren’t books I’m dying to read, but rather books that have been on my shelf for many years and still left untouched. Someone gave them to me or some I may have purchased when I was really interested in something but since have forgotten about them, or ashamedly I say, some of them are books I was supposed to read in Bible College but didn’t. Some of them I am very anxious to read… those ones usually get read first. I will write a brief synopsis after I read them. Okay, time to get a blanket and some peppermint tea…

  1. To Train Up A Child + NGJ Volumes 1, 2, 3 Michael and Debi Pearl (RE-READING for the 50th time)
  2. The Pursuit of God A.W. Tozer
  3. The Power of the Blood of Christ Andrew Murray
  4. Discipline, the Glad Surrender Elisabeth Elliot
  5. Escape from Reason Francis Schaeffer
  6. Paths to Power A.W. Tozer
  7. Simple Faith Chuck Swindoll
  8. Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ John Piper
  9. How to Raise your Children for Christ Andrew Murray
  10. A Chance To Die Biography of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot
  11. They Found the Secret V. Raymond Edmond
  12. A Life Embraced Gayle Haggard
  13. Knowing God J.I. Packer
  14. Herbal Antibiotics Stephen Harrod Buhner
  15. Never Be Sick Again Raymond Francis and Kester Cotton
  16. Fit for Life Harvey Diamond
  17. Shopping for Time Carolyn Mahaney
  18. A Well-Trained Mind Susan Bauer [has potential to be replaced in this years list by another homeschool book.]
  19. The Privilege Kay Smith
  20. Crazy Love Francis Chan
  21. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation William W. Klein
  22. Raising Godly Tomatoes L. Elizabeth Krueger

There’s WHAT in my wheat??

Phytic acid.

Actually, its in almost all grains and nuts and seeds. Whole grains and nuts and seeds, I should say. So you think you’re doing something good by eating Whole Wheat bread on your sandwich. And you are, because even with phytic acid, it is better than refined and bleached white flour. But it can also be a little dangerous. You like to live on the edge, I know.

In the bran or the hull of the grain, nut, or seed is phosphorus. This phosphorus is tied up in the bran by phytic acid. Phytic acid combines in the intestinal tract with micronutrients like iron, copper and zinc and even macro nutrtients like calcium and magnesium and blocks their absorption into your body. This makes them an “anti-nutrient”. We’re all about getting more nutrients in our food, but we’re unknowingly ingesting ANTI nutrients every time we eat oatmeal, pasta, etc… Phytic acid also contain enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion. (That’s what this whole popular raw-foods diet is all about… enzymes… and we’re inhibiting them with our improperly prepared.. or un-prepared grains.)

So when phytic acid binds with its strong binding power to these important minerals, the mineral is no longer bio-available to our bodies for use. It is now non-absorbable to the intestines. This could be a very big deal to vegetarians who count on grains, nuts and seeds for some of their minerals that they don’t get from meat and animal products and also to third-world countries who depend heavily on these cheap and available foods to sustain and nourish them. Zinc deficiency is a real problem, causing fertility issues among other things. Calcium mal-absorption has obviously become quite an epidemic in our country with bone-loss and osteoporosis. There are myriads of problems that can occur because of the lack of these very important minerals.

Phytic acid is also in: Sesame seeds, brazil nuts, almonds, tofu, oatmeal, beans, soybeans, corn, peanuts, wheat, wheat germ, brown rice, chickpeas, lentils…. and I’m sure there are others.

But there is a solution: soaking, sprouting or fermenting! When you see “sprouted whole wheat bread” at the store, this is why. A seed or grain that has been “sprouted” or germinated no longer has the phytic acid inhibiting mineral absorption. Traditional societies (with opposite diets of us Westerners) soak (in an acid medium) or ferment their grains before eating them. This sort of pre-digests the grains so that all the nutrients are more available. Soaking and lacto-fermenting can also accomplish this.

Many people who are allergic to particular grains may tolerate them well when prepared with one of these methods. An added bonus: this type of preparation also helps to break down complex sugars, making them more digestible.

So, how do you soak?

1. With an Acid Medium. 12-24 hours (depending on the grain) before you are going to make a recipe, prepare to soak. If the recipe calls for liquid, mix the grain with the liquid and an acid medium. If the mix is too dry, add the other liquid ingredients the recipe calls for (honey, oil). Use warm water to start the breakdown of the phytic acid.

Acid mediums to use: – lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, cultured buttermilk, cultured yogurt, whey, milk kefir, coconut kefir, water kefir. (For dairy, you must use a cultured product for it to have an effect and for it to be safe to sit out at room temperature.)

This doesn’t really belong here, but Soy is high in phytic acid, so any soy product needs to be fermented to avoid the mineral blocking effect in the body. (think miso and tempeh… more on Tofu and sprouting and fermenting later.) Soy protein isolate, in particular (as commonly found in… everything… like popular protein shakes, etc…), are very high in mineral-blocking phytates (and thyroid-depressing phytoestrogens and enzyme inhibitors that depress growth and can cause cancer.) Although you can’t really soak soy (I don’t think?), soybeans are able to be fermented. Like I said, more on fermentation later. That’s a post… or two or three… in and of itself.

Brown Rice, Millet, and Buckwheat are fairly low in Phytic Acid, therefore only need to be soaked for 7-8 hours. This is also the reason I use Brown Rice pasta (mostly) instead of whole wheat pasta.

Oats are extremely high in phytic acid, so a 24 hour soak is necessary!

All other grains, 12-24 hours.

Beans Cover with warm water and leave in a warm place for 12-24 hours. For black beans, stir in whey or lemon juice.

2. Let sit at room temperature and cover with plastic wrap (or towel, plate, etc…) to keep from drying out.

3. After soaking, add the rest of the ingredients (if any) and proceed with recipe as written.

Here are resources for further reading:

Phytic Acid and Mineral Loss in Grains & Legumes

Phytic Acid e-course

Be Kind to Your Grains by Sally Fallon

Also read: Nourishing Traditions (where most of the information above was gleaned from)

Blender Pancakes

This recipe is one of our favorites! We have it once a week, at a certain 3 year old’s request! This can also be made into waffles. (Waffle batter is better slightly thinner, so add a little more buttermilk.)

1. Place in blender and blend at highest speed for 3 minutes:

  • 1 1/2- 1 3/4 C. Buttermilk
  • 2 T. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 C. Brown Rice or Uncooked Rolled Oats (or other grain variation)*

The batter should always swirl about a vortex in the blender. If it doesn’t go smoothly, slowly add more buttermilk until the hole re-appears.

2. Cover blender and let stand at room temperature overnight or 12-24 hours. This time is necessary for the acid in the buttermilk breaks down the phytates or “anti-nutrtients” in the grain. (More about this in another post.)

3. Preheat griddle on Medium-High heat.

4. Just before baking, add & reblend on highest speed for 1 minute:

  • 1 egg
  • additional Buttermilk, if needed

5. Blend in throughly but briefly:

  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt, to taste

6. Pour batter onto hot griddle sprayed with olive oil or a dab of butter.

Grain variations:

  • Brown rice or millet- equal parts
  • Kamut, spelt, wheat
  • Buckwheat- reduce to 1 cup because it expands
  • Barley- hulled, not pearled. Reduce to 1 cup, it expands.
  • Quinoa- thoroughly rinse in strainer 1-2 minutes. Let stand in water overnight, drain & rinse 1 more minute. This removes bitter flavor. Batter will be thin.
  • Oats- uncooked rolls oats or oat groats. Use in combination with other grains. *

*I typically use 1/2 C oats and 1 C Kamut (or use 1/2 and 1/2 if cutting recipe in half). I have also used spelt, buckwheat, and brown rice with great success!

Sometimes I add mashed Bananas for Banana Pancakes- those are always a hit! Or blueberries (right before pouring).

Serve with REAL Maple Syrup and/or Butter or Almond Butter. This is packed with protein, though not complete protein, so serve with eggs to start your day off with a nourishing meal!

(This recipe was adapted from Sue Gregg’s Blender Pancake Recipe)

I’m New Here

This is a long time coming.

I have a private family blog that I always want to write on, but so few view it that sometimes it hardly seems worthwhile to spend a half hour writing a post. Also, I had nowhere to point people to or link to when I wanted to share my thoughts or something in my life.

This is a blog for spiritual things- word studies, devotionals, quotes, passage studies, etc…  How we are nourished by heaven, by the Bread of Life Himself. So often I am reading the Word and I am struck by something and want to share it… only… I am at home with 2 kids. I think, “I should journal this”… but don’t, of course, because I put the pen in my hand, lay down and hold my journal open and fall asleep on the pages.

So, a blog.  I am attempting to publicly journal and am hoping that this implements some sort of consistency for me in recording and sharing things.

And nourished by earth? Nutrition, health, food, supplements, vitamins, meal planning, etc…  There are times when I study something in depth, say calcium absorption or saturated fats, or I make a very nourishing dinner for my family, or plan a months worth of meals and then shop for them all in a one-day shopping trip.  Someone asks me, “What do you do to prevent sickness?” or, “Are you a vegetarian?”… and then, “Why not?” when I answer in the negative. Now here is my one-stop place to share all things health, nutrition, Jesus, food and love from my table and my kitchen and my bookshelf and my heart to yours.

Be nourished.