Monthly Archives: May 2010

What’s the point of health, anyway?

As you may have noticed, I changed the name or title or this blog. I haven’t figure out how to change the url yet, but that’s besides the point. These last couple months you’ve probably noticed my focus has become much more based on health and nutrition. I’ve been learning new ways to cook and prepare foods that both help our bodies and help the earth. These have been and will continue to be skills that I know are ultimately for the glory of God.

The last few days, however, I’ve began to see light shown on the ugly sinful places in my heart related to these new endevours. What is any of this good for, if it’s not for the Lord? And I don’t just mean good for our bodies and good for the earth, but beyond that. What are we doing with our healthy bodies that is bringing Him glory? Are we giving of our time and resources to others in need? Are we inviting others into our homes as a place of rest and fellowship? Are we preparing ourselves for possibly beginning a family soon that will be trained in His teachings and purposes? What is all of this healthy knowledg for, other than… health?

I felt so suddenly convicted on the other night to the point of tears. Although I’m loving all this new information and have felt much healthier, at times I’ve also felt so very empty and yearning for more. So much of this has left me feeling so very selfish. Some days I spend more time reading up on blogs and figuring out menu plans and shopping lists than I do reading the Word (happens way more often than I like) or even spending quality time with my husband. What does that say about where my heart’s at? NOT aligned with God’s Word, that’s for sure.

I know there are times for learning and excitement for doing things with wisdom, but I really struggle with moderation with it. Once I’m sold on something, I guess I just go for it and it starts to consume me. But I didn’t really know this about myself until recently, as there hasn’t been many times in my life where I’ve been this excited and motivated to do something that affects my life so much. And the fact that it IS a good thing for myself and my husband, makes it that much easier to go overboard and lose focus on the main thing (….the Lord!).

Another somewhat related endevaur has been growing in our financial wisdom lately. We’ve stopped using credit cards completely, we’ve implemented a great budget/spending system (first pearbudget.com and now YNAB 3 program), we’re working towards paying off all our debt as fast as we can. We’re trying to simplify our lives.  Sounds good, right? (and it is!)

BUT… I need to do this slowly and always always always keep my focus on the Lord. Because if I’m spending 2 hours on our finances and budget and 3 hours reading food blogs each day and an hour finding new cookbooks on amazon and an hour figuring out my next Azure Standard order for this month… how am I ever going to grow in my knowledge and love for the Lord and for his people?

Always growing and learning and being convicted, that’s for sure. I hope that over these next months and years we can use the knowledge we’ve learned to bless others and bring Glory to HIS name, always keeping the focus on him and all he is and has done for us! :)  I don’t want the “For our good” part to become the priority here, but for the glory of God always as #1.

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Homemade Crockpot Chicken Stock from a Crockpot Roasted Whole Chicken

Another fun adventure has been making my own chicken stock! I roast a whole chicken in the crockpot for about 8 hours on low in just a little filtered water and with salt/pepper on the chicken. For now it’s an organic “free-range” whole chicken from Trader Joe’s but eventually later this summer will be a truly free range chicken from the farm I also get my beef and eggs from.

Once the chicken is done, when the meat is tender and falls off the bone (but is not overcooked and dry),  I take all the meat off the bones (enough meat for a couple meals!) and throw all the bones and other leftovers back in the crock pot. Then I fill it up about 2/3 full with filtered water (I have a 6 quart crockpot, I believe) and add a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. This helps draw out all the healthy stuff from the bones. I leave the cold water and vinegar for an hour and turn on the crockpot on low for ideally 24 hrs. The last couple hours I throw in a couple carrots and celery stalks (cut in half) and a couple onions (cut in fourths) and let it cook on low for the last couple hours.

Then, I strain out the bones, veggies, and other goodies using a large stainless steel mesh strainer with a bowl underneath. Next I pour the stock in some quart sized canning jars and let them cool a little before placing in the fridge. You can also freeze the jars, but make sure they are completely cooled first and that you leave an inch of space at the top of the jar for expansion. There will be some fat on the top once it cools. I read somewhere to leave that there until you’re going to use the stock, and then you should spoon it off and discard before using the stock. You could use the fat for cooking, if you desire.

The result? VERY healthy chicken stock and also, might I add, SUPER cheap and easy!


April Reading Review

I mentioned a couple blog posts ago how I have this new goal of following a monthly reading plan. Since there have been so many great books that I’ve bought and sought to read but haven’t, I realized I need to crack down on myself and stick to a plan. This is always a struggle for me, so I had high hopes but also knew that it might be a big leap.

April went pretty well! I was only able to read two and a half of the four books I planned to read. I felt like I was reading a lot compared to the month before, but still wasn’t able to reach my goal. Of course the whole reason for this is not only to reach a goal and get through the books as fast as possible to check them off a list. But,  also know myself and that I need to have a deadline in order to get anything. Posting about it on here also gave me an extra push to do what I’ve said I would do.

One thing I realized was just how much time I spend reading others blogs. I love my Google Reader and how I can subscribe to blogs that I like and have them automatically updated sort of like an email program. My problem is the number of blogs I follow! It has to be over 50 (I lost count!).  There’s been many times when I’ve tried to “clean up” my subscriptions by unsubscribing to blogs that I feel won’t directly benefit my relationship with a) God, b) my husband, c) our home.  There’s just so many good blogs out there! So what I’m trying to say is, I need to cut back on my blog reading and focus more on reading these books. Most of the time the content on the blogs points to making time for beneficial activities like reading! Kinda silly if I read about reading without actually reading!

The two (and a half) books I read in April were: Real Food by Nina Planck and A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh Demoss. I really enjoyed both books, especially the latter.

Although I have really enjoyed learning more about food and nutrition these last couple months, it does start to get repetitive and even overwhelming, sometimes leaving meal almost paralyzed with all the information and not knowing what to do with it. I’ve already implemented many many things in what we eat and how we cook that were consistent with Real Food’s information, but even so, I honestly was so glad to step away from that book and delve into a book specific to my faith in Christ.  To read a review that is pretty much dead on with what my thoughts were on this book, lookie here.  I know that’s kinda a cop-out review, but why write what’s already been written, right? And seriously, just about exactly my thoughts on the book.

A Place of Quiet Rest was an easy yet very challenging read. Easy to understand what she was saying, but challenging to my current practices as a Christian. As someone who’s always struggled with consistent time studying the Word and spending quality time in prayer, I knew that this book would be just what I needed. Mind you, most of what I read I have heard in sermons or just over the years in small groups and doing various studies, but when you sit down and read a book specifically on a topic you struggle with, you can’t help but be convicted and DO something about it. God knows what I’ve read and I can’t hide from the fact that my sheer laziness (and yes, some just plain old lack of knowledge/wisdom) has kept me from really digging deep in the Word and in prayer. Demoss lays out some great suggestions and tools on developing your study of the Word that I really gleaned a lot from and hope to put into practice ASAP. She has such a heart to help others grow closer to the Lord and every bit of this book nudged me in that direction. Even if I only develop one or two new “skills” in the near future, I know this will be a book that I return to for years to come, maybe even making it a yearly read!


A First: Homemade Bread

For someone who has little experience at even the simple baked goods of boxed cake mixes and frozen pre-made cookie dough cookies… I am proud (yes, even though pride isn’t good, I’m proud of myself for this since it’s good!) to say that I have successfully made homemade bread!  My first loaves, four of them, turned out beautifully! YAY!!!

During the mixing of the ingredients, I was a little freaked since my lovely wonderful new Bosch mixer started making some scary noises, but lessons were learned (i.e. Don’t use the regular mixer thingies (nice name huh?) but use the dough hook to mix in everything, especially the 10+ cups of flour!).  Here’s a picture of the loaves getting put in the oven for their second rising.

Hooray! I bet my husband is even more excited than I am, since he’s been wanting to see that new (and yes, expensive!) mixer get put to good use and make it worth it’s dough (ha, I just love stupid puns!). My next step is to plan ahead a little better and SOAK the grains overnight, along with using freshly milled flour using the 50 lbs (yes, 50 pounds…) of grain berries I purchased last month from Azure Standard.

The recipe for this bread came from here and although it’s perhaps geared a little bit more towards at least somewhat experienced bakers (which, remember from above, I am NOT in any sense!), it was not too hard to follow. I did have to refer to the bread recipe instructions that I got with my Bosch mixer (from Pleasant Hill Grains, a great online store!), especially when I started hearing scary metal clanging sounds as I was mixing in the flour. But alas, it all worked out! :) Praise God!! No more store bought bread for hopefully… ever!  And especially with all those wheat berries in buckets waiting to be put to good use!

Hopefully in the near future (I really do try to post more often, but it always gets pushed back!) I’ll post about some other exciting adventures in the kitchen, like making homemade kombucha tea (and the scary scoby that floats in it!), making homemade chicken stock from a whole roasted chicken (and veggies), making homemade sourdough (have yet to use the sourdough starter that’s growing!), and making homemade kefir!  So much fun!

(P.S. Sorry for the weird placement of pictures in this post. I’m struggling with it and will hopefully figure it out soon!)