Whenever we have guests over for a cookout, they always ask me for my ketchup recipe. Here it is—5 ingredients, 5 minutes, and no fuss is all it takes.
I don't know anyone who would argue that cookies and cakes are necessary food groups for a balanced diet. (Chocolate, on the other hand...) But even with all the conflicting information, I believe that baked goods can still be a nutritious alternative to store-bought processed foods. Here is the outline of the philosophy I have embraced to judiciously incorporate delicious baked goodness into our family's diet over the years while still keeping as much nutrition in our calories as possible.
Now that we have a lactose-intolerant child in the family, I have had to revamp our menu quite a bit, obviously. Soup is still my favourite way to get kids to eat their vegetables, and here is a family favourite that has shown up a few times on the menu.
Coconut Vegetable Soup
Makes about 12 cups.
3 c. chicken stock
1 can (13 oz.) lite coconut milk
1 med. onion, chopped
3-4 celery sticks, chopped
3-4 lg. carrots, chopped
2 med. potatoes, diced in ½” cubes
½ pkg. (4 patties) instant noodles
2 tsp. celtic sea salt
½ tsp. oregano
pepper, to taste
shredded cheddar or cilantro sprigs for garnish (optional)
In a large pot, place stock, coconut milk, vegetables, 1 ½ tsp. salt and oregano. Cook on MEDIUM until vegetables are crisp-tender.
Meanwhile, prepare noodles by boiling enough water to cover them (don’t put them in yet!; about 4-6 cups) with ½ tsp. salt in medium saucepan. Add noodles and cook for approximately 1-2 minutes. Move to soup pot with slotted pasta spoon.
Pepper to taste, ladle into bowls and add garnish.
Optional Variation: Add 1 c. cooked diced chicken into the soup for an even heartier meal.
Great bread for sandwiches and more!
'Tis the season for preserves. Between deals on fruit at the grocery store, fruit stands, and berry bushes on the property of anyone willing to let you pick them, there is plenty of sweet goodness going around right now. And despite the heat, I am determined to keep some of it to be available during the long winter months.
A smooth Red Lentil Soup with instructions for the crock pot or stove top method.
Spicy Hamburger Scrambler recipe using ground beef or game. Fast and delicious!
It's official--we are on the road. We left
this morning this afternoon, when we finally got all of the last-minute stuff packed, I got my "Thank-You" gift together for Jude's karate teachers (okay, a little late since his last day was last week, but better than me having to mail it back later!), and we crammed a truly improbable amount of stuff into the van.
You shoulda seen how big this pile was before it got stuffed in here!
Our last few days in Mena were so bittersweet. I had lunch with Alicia, zipped around doing last-minute errands, said goodbyes to other friends, and the whole time it felt surreal--like we were just going on a holiday instead of moving away, most likely to not be back for years. After all, the house we were leaving was still full of stuff, wasn't it? Even if it wasn't our stuff?
Today was a great travel day--not too sunny for the most part. The kids were all so excited that we were finally "going back to Canada" that they were pretty good in the van. We stopped for an hour and a half at supper time near Weatherford, OK at a truck stop with a little rest area. I pulled out the camp stove, and we heated up potato soup and had apples and boiled eggs, plus the kids ran off energy kicking the soccer ball around as I was getting stuff ready.
Mom has decided to come with me, and it is so nice to have the extra adult along. It did make things a little more hectic as we prepared to leave, since both of us had to be preparing for the long trip, but that's okay. Having the extra hands to help with the kids, the extra person to drive, and the conversation along the way s all worth it.
So, I know what you're all thinking... Okay, not really, but it made a nice intro, didn't it? Anyway, you might be wondering what the food preparations look like for a trip like this in a family that cooks from scratch and tries to avoid restaurants when possible? Here are some of the things we brought along:
- 2 dozen boiled eggs
- 1 dozen fresh eggs
- 2 8-cup containers of frozen potato soup--some for us, and some to share with our hosts in California
- 6 cups of frozen Roasted Garlic, Squash and Apple Soup
- 1 frozen leg of lamb for our hosts
- 8 cups of frozen rice pasta and ground lamb meat sauce
- 1 loaf sourdough bread
- Condiments such as homemade mayo, butter, homemade ketchup, peanut butter and honey
- The healthiest all-beef hot dogs we could find (okay, we fudged a little by getting hot dogs)--and soft tortillas to eat them with! It is nearly impossible to find hot dogs without high fructose corn syrup in them, but apparently, it is impossible to find hot dog buns without it! (At least at Wal-Mart.)
- Various healthy snacks, such as Mom's home-made travel cookie favourites, "Bible Bread" (which looks a lot like matzah), organic animal crackers and pretzels, apples, date bars, home-made granola, kefir, home-made yogurt, bananas, organic dark semi-sweet chocolate bars, home-made trail mix, organic nuts and dried fruit, baby carrots
- Home-made pancake mix, plus the "wet stuff" to complete it (we'll have to forgo soaking on this batch)
- Rolled oats for breakfasts
- Applesauce--I could have brought frozen home-made stuff, but decided to go with organic cups from Wal-Mart, 'cause I was running out of cooler space! Plus, it's a little easier to eat when it's not frozen!
- Leftover lamb steaks, frozen
- Frozen pinto beans (for the vegetarian in the group--that would be my mother)
- Block of white cheddar cheese
- Instead of juicing on the trip (because one has to have limits somewhere!), I bought high-quality instant juice powder from AIM Barleylife, so I can still have my carrot, beet, and barleygrass juice in the morning. No, it is not quite as beneficial as fresh, but better than nothing at all!
To prepare all this food with, I brought our camp stove and camp cooking gear (including a 10" cast iron pan), camping plastic plates and cutlery to eat it with, etc. We froze a lot of it so it would stay good until we get to California on Saturday night--we can slowly be heating the items up and using them as we need them, but this way we don't need to keep buying ice to cool everything off--there is enough frozen stuff in there to keep everything cool for now.
Chances are, we will be eating in restaurants a few times on the trip. I just didn't want to be doing it three times a day for three weeks--not only is this very expensive, but after only a few days of this, I feel really gross, and usually we all end up sick if we do it for long enough. Not to mention constipated.
Tonight, we were blessed to find a great deal in a motel, right off the pool (the kids are pretty stoked about trying that out first thing in the morning!), with Wi-Fi, full breakfast included, and not too spendy. And, you guessed it--we'll be hitting the "famed" Amarillo, TX not long after we leave here tomorrow morning.
However, unlike in the song, we brought a lot more than we've got on!!