basics to master

it’s been a while since i’ve been here. i’ve mostly been on my other blog (but you have get invited to that one!). if you’d like an invitation please let me know.

let’s get back to the basics of feeding our families awesome food with little prep.

there are so many places to buy “food” these days, and most of them are happy to fill their aisles with boxes, cans and packages of processed/toxic matter called food. i went into a local market a few days ago to buy vinegar for the science class i teach and remembered why i stay out of there. except for the produce area 95% of the store was dead boxed food. who feeds their families this? the vast majority of americans…sad!

have you ever made kefir? it’s a delicious cultured milk, healing for the body and offers millions of beneficial bacteria for your intestinal tract. i really enjoy goat milk kefir from our own goats, but raw cow’s milk has great flavor too. culturing the milk eats the lactose (milk sugar) and makes this a very low glycemic food. as goat’s milk is naturally homogenized (the cream doesn’t separate from the milk) goat’s milk kefir is fantastically creamy (unlike the packaged stuff at the store, which i have used in a pinch, but i digress…). you can buy kefir grains online (my original grains came from and i recommend them. they multiply like crazy so if you already know someone making kefir ask for some grains to start!

here’s a very basic recipe to get you going:

1-    pour 1-cup keifr into blender

2-    add I heaped TB raw virgin coconut oil

3-    add 1 heaped tsp chia or golden flax

4-    add maple syrup to sweeten (or a dab of honey) to taste

5-    blend well and enjoy!


Next time you could add

a half cup of berries

vanilla or chocolate protein powder (omit sweetener!)

an omega-3 egg yolk





another item i have spent a lot of time researching is my personal need to move and exercise.  i have gotten incredibly lazy, and it shows in every area of my life (from my increased weight to lack of energy).

i have made a commitment to move (either walking or swimming) every morning.  today was day one and i got a 30 minute walk in by 8am.  want to join me?  just leave a comment for some encouragement.

make it a great day- & MOVE IT!

having a plan for each week is a great help in budgeting and time management.  there are a number of bloggers who post their menu plans each monday, and i am joining them to help you.  My husband is working from home this week so breakfasts are a bit more extravagant than usual!

monday 3/1

breakfast: bacon, eggs & fruit

lunch: vegetable soup with cabbage, green beans, onion & tomato

dinner: spaghetti & green salad

tuesday 3/2

breakfast: sticky toffee stuffed pancakes with homemade whipped cream

lunch: peanut butter & jelly sandwiches & a banana

dinner: chicken fried rice

wednesday 3/3

breakfast: peanut butter smoothie & breakfast bars

lunch: leftover soup from monday

dinner: bacon, lettuce, avocado & tomato sandwiches

thursday 3/4

breakfast: gluten free crepes with strawberry jam

lunch: tuna melts in your mouth sandwiches and green salad

dinner: meatloaf, baked sweet potato and salad

friday 3/5

breakfast: orange bread, creamy dreamy orange freeze smoothies

lunch: peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and apple slices

dinner: roast chicken & winter root vegetables (beets, turnips, carrots, onions)

saturday 3/6

breakfast: sausage, eggs & cantaloupe

lunch: egg salad in homemade gluten free pita pockets with veggies

dinner: braised lamb shanks w/ white bean salad

sunday 3/7

breakfast: raspberry smoothie & fruit

lunch: mexican chicken & “rice”

dinner: homemade Armenian mezze with family

Menu planning is the single most important part of healthy eating I can share with you.  I used to look at the clock about 5 pm every night and have zero idea what I would be feeding my family.  This led me to the store where we all spend more money (hint: stay out of the store, save money!).

With a plan I am much more likely to prepare our meals, thereby saving the money we might otherwise spend on take out or less nutritious fare.

Here is my meal plan for the next seven days:


Br: Grain free nut granola (homemade) with raw milk and oranges

Lu: Green salad with tomato, grilled chicken breast & green bell pepper

Dr: White chili & green salad


Br: Purely pecan pancakes with maple syrup and melon

Lu: Curry chicken salad on lettuce leaves

Dr: Vegetable frittata

Make bread for tomorrow


Br: Yogurt, fresh fruit & sausage

Lu: Egg salad sandwiches & fruit

Dr: Our local chicken farmer is hosting a dinner tonight so we will be there.


Br: Almond cherry muffins & yogurt

Lu: Soup made with homemade broth, corn celery & shredded chicken

Dr: Taco salad with avocado, tomato, kidney beans, cheddar cheese and tortilla chips

Make sandwich rolls for tomorrow


Br: Yogurt & fruit

Lu: Baked beans & hot dogs

Dr: Sloppy Joe’s on sandwich rolls with green salad

Make bread for lunch tomorrow


Br: Peanut butter smoothie & homemade snack bars

Lu: Turkey sandwiches with tomato & avocado

Dr: Crock-pot chalupas with tortilla chips and green salad


Br: Bacon & eggs

Lu: Crackers with cheese and fresh fruit

Dr: Smothered pork chops, brown rice & green beans


Br: Parfait w/yogurt, fruit & granola

Lu: Ham & cheese rollups in lettuce

Dr: Homemade pizza and green salad

As I planned this menu I tried to use up what I already have in stock or in my pantry.  I am working very hard to feed my family of six for $150/week.  Keep in mind that we eat all organic produce, raw milk and locally grown meats so it’s more expensive than what is found in the local supermarket.  I also make all of our bread and we eat at home 99% of the time.

What does your menu plan look like for the next week?

Happy Cooking,


you’ve had several weeks now to get into the groove of weekly stock making.  how is that going?  this week i have sold all of the stock i generally have for my family so i will be making an additional 16 quarts tomorrow.

when we first journeyed into this wonderful nourishing of our bodies and our children i began making beet kvass.  my then 4 year old son HATED it, it’s still not something he willingly drinks.  beet kvass is a traditional fermented drink made with beets and whey.  i began making vegan kvass for one of my dear clients who does not use any dairy at all and i actually like it better!  it might be a very acquired taste for some, it’s earthy and salty, very thirst quenching on a hot day and an excellent flavor enhancer for soups and other dishes.  according to nourishing traditions: “this drink is valuable for it’s medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid.  beets are just loaded with nutrients.  one 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aid digestion, alkalized the blood, cleanses the liver and is a good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments”.

beet kvass

4-6 large organic beets, peeled and coarsely chopped (NOT shredded, chopped)

1/4 c. coconut water kefir

1 tsp. sea salt

filtered water

place the chopped beets, coconut kefir water & salt into a gallon glass jar.  add enough filtered water to fill the container.  stir it up, seal it tightly & put it into a dark cupboard for a few days (room temperature for several days).   shake it a few times each day.  your fermenting times will differ based on the temperature of your home, it will bubble and slightly fizz when it’s ready to go into cold storage.  take several sips twice daily and see how you feel.  let me know!

if you’ve been with me on my journey for a little bit you’ve seen some changes, big changes.  i am really excited to get blogging again about real food cooking, revitalized health and wellness.  your journey might look different, but stick around and maybe we’ll learn something together.

if you are new to whole food cooking there are some basics to master, not hard, but critical to your overall health and well being. the most important item to have on hand is homemade bone building broth. chicken is our favorite; we drink it by the cup each morning with some sea salt added and use it as the basis for vegetable soups, the liquid for cooking brown rice, and a host of other recipes as well. reduced down and thickened with tapioca starch is makes a wonderful gravy, over just about anything….

chicken stock
1 whole free-range chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones, wings.
4 – 6 quarts fresh filtered water
2 Tb. vinegar
1 large onion, quartered
2 -4 carrots peeled and coarsely chopped
3-4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch fresh thyme (or several Tb. dried)

optional ingredients include gizzards and feet. i always use feet!

put everything into the pot except the parsley. let stand 30 minutes to one hour.
put a low fire under the pot, you don’t want it to boil, just come up to a nice simmer. check on it after about an hour and then turn the heat up long enough to skim off all of the scum that comes to the tops of the pot (careful you don’t take out a lot of water in the process). lower the heat again and put on the lid (i put a weight on my lid so i don’t lose any of mine to evaporation).
simmer for 12 to 24 hours. the longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. about 10 minutes before finishing the stock add the parsley (this imparts mineral ions to the broth).

after the stock cools skim off the fat. if you need to store the stock for more than a few days leave a layer of fat on the top as it keeps the stock underneath fresh.

you can use the meat from the whole chicken in things like enchiladas, chicken salad, etc.

this is the place to start regaining your health. once you have this mastered you can move on to the next phase which i will share next time!

(recipe adapted from nourishing traditions by sally fallon and mary enig)