Tuesday, May 28, 2013

7 Ways To Use Apricots (or Apriums)

Ah, apricots.  The harbinger of summer.  We have been enjoying local apricots (or apriums, in our case) for a few weeks now.  Learning to eat locally means you not only enjoy the fruit as it is in season, but also find ways to extend the season by preserving in various ways.  I am sharing seven ways we have prepared and preserved apricots over the years so as to not let a single one go to waste.  Find this post over at Modern Alternative Kitchen by clicking here.  Happy apricot harvest!

Friday, May 17, 2013

I Want To Homeschool But... I Am Battling The Baby Blues

This post is one that has been on my heart to write since last August.  It's taken me this long to pour it out because it's quite a vulnerable subject that many have very strong feelings about.  Both Jeremy and I are advocates of homeschooling.  We were both homeschooled.  Today I share our journey of why our children attended our church's school this year, what our plans are for next year, and the importance of mothers, families, and communities supporting and loving each other no matter what their schooling choices are.  I had the privilege of sharing this story over at Cheeky Bums, so head on over there if you are interested in reading.  Happy weekend!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekly Menu Plan #75 ~ Proving That Planning Saves Time, Energy, & Money

Not having a menu plan last week revealed a few things to me:

  1. I stressed out a little every time meal preparation came along because there was no plan.
  2. I really don't need extra stress in my life.
  3. Instead of our family of seven filling half a trash can once a week, all the packaging (of "organic products") filled our trash bin; something that never happens.  It was startling and appalling.
  4. We spent way more money for all those easy-to-grab items.
  5. The house was crumbier because everyone was running around while they ate instead of sitting down to a meal.
  6. We lost our usual connection times of sitting together as a family to enjoy a meal as we ran around, eating and working.
  7. With everything said and done, I really didn't save any time buying more pre-made food.
  8. At the end of last week, we all noticed a severe decrease in energy and productivity and our stomachs hurt.
All that to say, I am so happy to be back on the menu-planning bandwagon!  That was a lesson well-learned.  No matter how crazy life seasons may get, it is crucial for our family to have a basic plan of action when it comes to nourishing our bodies. It is a place of connection, togetherness, and not just to re-fuel, but to nourish, heal, rest, and renew body, mind, and spirit.  These next few weeks will probably still include some compromises (more pre-made things than normal).  We are still in the process of finishing our garden on top of maintaining what's already been established, packing up our house to be expanded, and, well, I won't bore you with the rest of the to-do list.  I will not, however, slack off making smoothies (a massive part of our health-promoting nourishment) and providing a high-protein diet.

Breakfast: Porridge
Lunch:  Nuts, Raw Cheese, Summer Sausage (organic, grass-fed), Sourdough Bread
Snack: Apricot Creme Smoothies
Dinner:  Cauliflower Pizza (using rutabaga instead of cauliflower; we'll see if it works!) with Cheese, Olives, & Pesto

Breakfast:  Grain-Free Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Muffins
Lunch:  Nut Butter & Berry Wraps
Snack:  Strawberry Cacao Smoothies
Dinner:  Simple Taco Salad

To do: thaw steaks for Friday night
Breakfast:  Yogurt with Maple Syrup & Fresh Berries
Lunch:  Sourdough Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches, Hummus, Carrot Sticks, Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds
Snack:  Carrot Cake Smoothies
Dinner:  Nourishing Potato Cheddar Soup

Breakfast:  Chocolate Breakfast Shake
Lunch:  Sourdough Ham & Turkey Sandwiches, Sprouted Sunflower Seeds, Apriums
Snack:  Orange Julius
Dinner:  Simple Summer Succotash

Breakfast:  GF Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal
Lunch: Sourdough Raw Almond Butter & Homemade Jam Sandwiches, Coconut Secret Bars, Leftover Muffins From Tuesday Morning
Snack:  Nut Butter & Honey Popcorn
Dinner: BBQ Steaks & English Pea Salad

Breakfast:  GF Pancakes
Lunch:  Quesorritos
Snack:  Leftover Muffins From Tuesday Morning
Dinner:  GF Turkey Pesto Pasta

Breakfast:  Fried Eggs & Avocados
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Leftovers
(Sunday is my day off)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dairy Goats Of Our Very Own

A couple of years ago, we had the privilege of goat-sitting for some friends.  I fell in love with the peaceful rhythm of milking in the morning and at night.  We were amazed at how delicious the fresh milk from these Swiss dairy goats tasted.  There wasn't a trace of "goat taste."  The cute little does we watched over for a month have since had kids, and we are now the happy owners of two.

They are only seven weeks old so there will be no milking until March; perfect timing for us.  One of the most important jobs our children have is loving on the little kids so they don't become wild and milking will be easier for them.

These cute little goaties are half Oberhasli and half Saanen; both Swiss dairy goats with exceptional milk, known for their gentleness and ease of milking (perfect for families with children who will help with the milking).

When the day is done, you will find my nose buried either in one of two books: Natural Goat Care or the Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening.  They might not be the most inspirational literature when it comes to writing style and creativity, but this new-farmer-needing-wisdom mama is captivated by them both.  When we are not doing, we are learning.  It's a very happy, full season of life and I honestly wouldn't have it any other way. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Very Unusual Weekly Menu Plan

Our four-week-old garden is already offering food.  The Christmas Cabin we have lived in for two and a half years is about to expand.  Spring is so very here on the Riddle Ranch; even our home is growing!  To make room for all this change, I had to face reality and make compromises this week.  Off to Costco I went, and what I found was most encouraging!  I hadn't shopped there in months (usually only for toilet paper and pet food).  I know, I know, most of their organic products are probably barely organic, but I won't lie; finding sprouted pumpkin seeds seasoned with only Celtic sea salt just about made my heart skip a beat.  I also found hemp and chia seeds, frozen organic berries, and organic hummus!  I'm very proud of ya, Costco.  I really am.

My cart also held a few boxes of organic cereal.  It was a tough choice, seeing as we weened from our boxed cereal addiction years ago (and I can see it begin to rear it's head again if we aren't careful), but, again, there are only so many hours in the day.  Our garden is big and requires much (glorious!) tending.  Preparing a home for an expansion is also very demanding. One week of packaged foods won't kill us, especially with the added pleasure of eating food straight from our land as well.

Oh, and the menu plan?  Well, it's very unusual because it contains these foreign boxes and bags filled with food-ish things.  Honestly, there is no official menu plan this week, but if you are looking for ideas, there are 74 weeks of them all stored up for you right here.

May you have a lovely week.  I hope to make space for quick little notes and snippets containing Riddle Ranch's goings on several times a week.  Nothing long and grand, just a few pictures here and there, some thoughts, some lessons learned and the likes.  Activity on the ranch is currently so accelerated, not posting little bits and pieces will render me hopelessly behind and most likely many things would remain un-shared.  

Much love to you from our little home.  Happy May to you!


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