cooking

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This is our small but cozy kitchen, one wing of it anyway, and I have been enjoying spending more and more time here. Just to the right of this photo is the front door and if you walk in you’re bound to almost always see dirty dishes, fresh eggs, and an industrial-sized dish drainer. Because that’s how we roll.

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Also plentiful these days are helpers. Someone’s always willing to lend a hand at pounding kraut, they’re happy to bring in firewood, and their daily table and floor chores sure help their mama out. And when the little lady isn’t making a bigger mess than we started with, she’s coming and going with plates and jars and carrying in eggs with me from the coop.

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An afternoon spent fermenting various things is well worth the extra dishes. A couple of gallons of ferments make for some quick meals when enzymes and probiotics are scooped right from the jar.

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Fermented cranberry-sweet potato relish anyone? Next time maybe I’ll remember to put it away before it turns to sweet potato hooch.

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And am I the only one loving soup season? Fresh chopped vegetables and a bit of protein covered in water or broth all go straight in the pot and dinner is served, right?

How are you spending those moments in the kitchen these days?

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Note: Just a few more days to get my grain-free cookbook, along with four other cookbooks, for 80% off the original prices.

The shift we have made over the past couple of years away from the more citified way of living has been part of a larger decision to live more sustainably. In short, being good stewards meant we had to reevaluate much of the way we did things and start from scratch.

And nowhere have I felt the squeeze of that shift from then to now than when I’m in the kitchen. (Well, there’s the laundry room too, also known as a bucket outside my front door, but that’s another story for another day.)

I’ve always been a reader of cookbooks and food blogs. They give me ideas, inspiration, and information for feeding my family. More recently, though, I’m more likely to want to pick up that book, rip every page from its binding, light the whole pile on fire, let the chickens poop all over it and then use it for compost.

It’s not you, it’s me.

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A Typical Day In My Kitchen

Right now, Stewart is in deep need of nourishment. So we are trying to be careful about what we feed him. We’ve always had that overarching philosophy with us and the children, but right now it seems even more acute. Three meals a day from scratch with a host of foods that I cannot use - like most grains, eggs, and pasteurized or processed anything – are the parameters I can work within.

It’s my job and I enjoy feeding my family, but it’s also challenging and time-consuming.

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In the morning, a high-protein breakfast is made, and washed up after. By the time that gets taken care of I usually start a pot of bean and vegetable soup with a bit of meat in it for lunch. By the time lunch is over it is nap time for Annabelle, my only quiet daylight hours to work, so I quickly get any food put away and abandon the dishes for the laptop. Two hours later, she’s up and kicking, and I’m starting on dinner – usually meat and veggies – followed by dishes, and before you know it the sun is starting to set. Somewhere in there is laundry, some reading and math, gardens and chickens, and the general chaos that is life with Annabelle small children.

A Story of Two Different Worlds

And then I sit down to a food blog or a cookbook full of pretty pictures and inspiring stories of how not to spend your whole day in the kitchen while feeding your family in the most nourishing of ways.

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Yes, I know I could just take some meat from my freezer, cook it up with some vegetables stashed in my giant refrigerator, add bone broth from stock I made two weeks ago on a once-a-month cooking day, and then put them all together in my crock pot and let it simmer all day (while I blow our solar power system to smithereens), top it with the fermented vegetables from the back of my refrigerator, and then take the leftovers and freeze those for an easy weeknight meal.

But the only freezer space I have, I borrow from a nice neighbor. My refrigerator, if it’s working, might be smaller than a cabinet full of cutesie tea cups. That marathon once-a-month cooking session is what every day looks like around here. And, if we’re having bone broth, someone’s axing, gutting, and boiling a rooster and then we’re soaking our blood-stained aprons in a hardware store bucket at the end of the day.

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I’m sorry, but I don’t live in a Williams-Sonoma fantasy world full of pretty pictures and clean counter-tops. My kitchen holds approximately 1.5 people (1, if you’re pregnant), is usually swimming in dirty dishes, has egg shells and real live pieces of dirt on the floor, and my 4 feet of counter-top is full of stinky meat and lard jars that are weeks days overdue for a good scrubbing… if I can just have some water heating when I get there. Oh, and there is always, always, someone who needs to eat right now so why didn’t you start dinner 30 minutes ago before I started my meltdown, mom?

(Because you didn’t actually eat your lunch on account of some unknown particularity which I will starve out of you, buster. And, I love you.)

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Sometimes all of that gets frustrating, if I’m being honest, but mostly that’s just real life on our homestead and I wouldn’t trade it for all the crock pots in the world. Someday we might get that solar cooker up and running, have a more permanent kitchen setup, and I might get better at this off-grid kitchen thing. But I’ve learned to have no expectations of “when it gets easier” because we don’t know when or if that will be.

Oh, and to keep things in perspective, here’s a 1901 journal entry:

“The day & night before school started in 1901, I worked one hundred buttonholes and sewed on one hundred buttons, trying to finish up the children’s school clothes. I was still sewing at dawn. I milked the cows and fixed breakfast. I worked all morning about the house and cooked dinner. Then that afternoon I gave birth to my tenth child.”

Just like that, she gave birth to her tenth child. I may not live in Martha Stewart land, but believe me, I’m no bad mama jama like that lady.

If you’ve been thinking about getting my grain-free winter cookbook full of warming nutrient-dense one pan meals coupled with healthy enzymatic pairings, now is the time. This week only it is being paired with four other cookbooks that will give you 175 recipes for all types of winter foods.

In Simple Food {for winter} I share how to…

  • Make creamy soups that will leave all of the goodness of your raw and cultured dairy intact.
  • Make grain-free biscuits that are tender on the inside and crisp on the outside.
  • Identify and prepare the foods that your body needs most during the winter.
  • Stay out of the grocery store and start eating from your own homegrown, home preserved foods.
  • Pair every dish with an enzyme-rich condiment or side dish that will aid digestion and boost your immune system.
  • Use those squash, turnips, kale, lacto-fermented and dehydrated vegetables that are the backbone of winter vegetables.
  • Get the most out of your beans through soaking and sprouting.
  • and much, much more.

This collection includes more than 175 recipes at almost 80% off their retail price from bloggers who are known for their delicious and nourishing real food recipes.

Bundle #43: Real Food for Winter

Get all 5 of these ebooks this week only:

Simple Food {For Winter} by Shannon Stonger
Simple Food {For Winter} is a seasonal cookbook that emphasize real food and sustainable living with 30 grain-free recipes. Shannon also shows you how to make grain-free biscuits that are tender on the inside and crisp on the outside, identify and prepare the foods that your body needs most during the winter, use the squash, turnips, kale, lacto-fermented and dehydrated vegetables that are the backbone of winter vegetables, get the most out of your beans through soaking and sprouting, and much, much more.

Nourishing Menu Plans on a Budget by Diana Bauman
In Nourishing Menu Plans on a Budget, Diana shares more than 20 meals plus recipes for homemade stock, salad dressings and desserts to help make cooking real food simple for your family. She’s also included a menu plan and shopping lists to help you save money in the process. Planning ahead is the key to serving healthy, nourishing meals, and this ebook offers you a month off from meal planning with recipes your family is sure to love.

Soups, Chilis & Stews: From My Table to Yours from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures
While soups are simple to make, they are bursting with complex flavors and offer a deliciously simple and nutritious meal for your family. Unfortunately, most canned soups are full of preservatives and sodium, but in Soups, Chilis & Stews, Lynn shows you how to cook healthier versions at home just as easily. These recipes are hearty and filling, easy to freeze and perfect for winter evenings!

Wholesome Comfort by Kate Tietje
Comfort food is perfect in the snowy winter — warm, creamy, and satisfying. In Wholesome Comfort, Kate offers more than 40 tried-and-true, down-home comfort food recipes made with only real food ingredients. This cookbook offers recipes that will make you feel as good as they looks and taste, with no guilt or after-effects: Food that nourishes while it comforts. Food that’s reminiscent of perfect family favorites…and will become new family favorites.

Steeped: Simple Nourishing Teas and Treats by Katherine Stanley
Discover the simple pleasure of curling up with a cup of hot tea on a cold winter day or sharing tea with friends and family through Katherine’s Steeped: Simple Nourishing Teas and Treats. With more than 50 recipes for scones, breads, ice creams, teas, sandwiches and salads plus an introduction to tea essentials, this ebook will help you view tea time in a whole new way!

The Real Food for Winter bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 10/28. Get yours today!