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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are MAINSTREAM eaters for lack of a better word. I would like to change that. But it is going to have to be a slow process. Number one roadblock I have for my family is monetary. It seems so expensive to eat completely any way in particular. The second roadblock is just shock, I don't wan to SHOCK my family. My third roadblock is I have no idea where to begin? I need CHEAP recipes to try. I have no idea what to cook. WHat to make or how? I'd like to incorporate one -two recipes per week for a while then three etc etc. OK! So my huge question is WHO of you out there in MDC land have made the switch from completely mainstream diet to a more natural one?? How did you do it?<br><br>
So I guess I need a few things form you guys:<br><br>
Recipes (stuff I'll know what the ingredients are and that we can afford)<br>
Experiences<br>
How do I make a smooth gradual change over time so my family will be more accepting?<br>
How do I begin?<br><br>
Please help me folks....I REALLY want to make this change and I don't have time to read a book or money to buy special cook books etc. Please help me.<br><br>
Middle Mamma
 

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I just started reading this forum and am also trying to gradually change our way of eating. We're doing better. Nowhere near where I'd like us to be, but better.<br><br>
What I did was start off by replacing some of the stuff we normally buy with healthier (read: better than before, but maybe not perfect!) choices. For example, the first thing I did was to go completely organic with eggs and milk. No one even noticed, and my grocery bill only went up literally a few dollars. Then I switched us from white bread to some of the store-bought "whole grain" breads. Gradually we converted over to home-made sprouted grain bread. No one complained at all, and now my DH even buys grain bread by default if we need a loaf or two for convenience. We also started making our own homemade versions of things like potato chips, cookies, etc. Probably not the healthiest, but we use all natural ingredients- no preservatives or partially hydrogenated junk. Now we're working on adding more veggies (soup is a great way to do that) and sprouts and fermented foods to our diets.<br><br>
I'm sure some of the more experienced mamas out there have more advice, but from a novice's perspective we feel that every step gets us closer to our goal, even if they're just baby steps. Making things from scratch, buying less processed stuff and more whole foods, eating organic and local whenever possible... all good for you and your family. "Nourishing Traditions" is a good cookbook if you'd like a reference guide. I got a copy off Amazon and am very happy with it. HTH a little ... Good luck!
 

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What do you mean by "mainstream?" Are you buying a lot of prepared foods? If so, I would start by cooking from scratch more. And then, after you get that down, look at your budget to see what items you can buy that are organic.<br><br>
Maybe you could post some of the meals you make often, that your family likes, and we could give you hints on making them healthier.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>middlemamma</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Number one roadblock I have for my family is monetary. It seems so expensive to eat completely any way in particular.</div>
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Not sure what "ways" you are contemplating, but one of the things I do is to eat foods as close to their natural states as possible. This is not only more healthful, but usually cheaper, too. For example, don't buy frozen broccoli with cheese sauce in individual packets; buy broccoli and cheese and milk and flour and MYO. Don't get pre-breaded chicken nuggets; buy chicken in bulk and bread it yourself and bake or fry it. Don't buy premixed, prepackaged, prechopped, preseasoned anything -- learn how to do these things from scratch. This way you will not only save money, but you'll avoid the chemicals and preservatives and PHOs and HFCS. You can take this philosophy as far as you like, or do it as gradually as you like. Start by eliminating, say, prepackaged cookies, and make your own instead; then move to making your own crackers, pasta sauce, chicken stock, bread, yogurt, and so on. Make sense?<br><br>
Of course, this will take more time in the kitchen. There's a reason you pay money for "convenience" foods like bags of prewashed salad and prechopped soup veggies and premade stuffing cubes. But it's worth it, not only for the money and the health benefits, but the taste. And you can draw the line at any time and say, "Hey, it's not worth it to me to save these few cents by making my own cheese. I'm just going to buy this item, and put my energy towards other areas."<br><br>
HTH.<br>
~nick
 

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We made the change, and we are really stinking poor... like below the poverty line. I have found that it is actually cheaper to eat like we do now. We eat a lot of beans, and they are dirt cheap. We can't afford meat too often so that gives us adequate protien, plus you can use it as pretty much anything you'd use ground beef for. And then we eat a lot of fruits and veggies. They're also a lot cheaper than prepared foods. I make certian things a priority to buy organic. for instance, a banna has a thick peel that you throw away, so I don't need to buy it organic, but grapes and apples I do. If I could afford to eat all organic I would, but for now it's pick and choose. It is also important to me that we not have any bovine growth hormones, so our milk and cheese is organic too... it's more expensive, so we don't eat as much as we used to. Eggs are another thing that we get organic. We don't eat chicken anymore because it is too expensive for us to buy it organic. So there are lots of changes, and we made them pretty gradually (except going off of sugar, we had to do that cold turkey. just like ripping off a band-aid). I have also found that planning at least a weeks worth of dinners helps me not buy extranious things, cause I know exactly what I need for when. HTH
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ok well time and scratch is a factor. I work full time plus and so does my husband. I bring my dd to work with me and work from home thursdays and fridays. I don't mind not eating as much meat as I also cannot afford it in the organic store. So I was looking at cooking more egg dishes, bean and lentil dishes, soups, rice and vegggies etc. Maybe egg and veggie things?<br><br>
What do we eat now? Well we eat chicken and rice a lot and when I say rice I mean a box of rice a roni with the chx mixed in, salad with chicken on it, salad with no meat, tacos, burritos, (these I buy the hamburger meat and season it with a taco seasoning store bought and then we use store bought tortillas). I tend to make alot of one dish meals, anything I can add to chicken or hamburger mostly. and maybe once a week we have salad without meat. Sometimes I will make pinto beans and flavor with a hamhock. Thats about the extent of my bean knowledge. We grill alot, brats & chx mostly. We don't eat meat because we crave or HAVE to have it.<br><br>
These are just the quick things I have gotton into the habit of making. If I could make a good tasting meal and use meat about 1/2 as much my hubby would not complain.<br><br>
We don't drink a lot of milk here at all, but cheese we eat quite a bit of. I don't even go through a whole gallon of milk a week.<br><br>
So does that help you guys help me?
 

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If time is a problem then make friends with a crock pot. :LOL You can make a lot of delicious and very healthy meals in the crock. There is a thread with lots of recipies. You can make stock in the crock which I think is essential for healthy eating and a great frugal way for those that can't afford a lot of meat. Planning and more planning is the key to healthy eating. If you use dried beans (which are best) then you need to soak them so plan ahead. It doesn't take much effort to plan and it makes everything so much easier.<br><br>
Start with labels. Before you buy it read the label. If it has stuff in it you can not pronounce, don't buy it. If it contains "modified" ingredients, don't buy it. If sugar is close to the top of the list, don't buy it. Stock from cubes are not really good for you so it's a good thing to figure out how to make it. Having stock in the freezer is wonderful because you can make so many healthy dishes with it that taste great.<br><br>
Make a double batch of whatever and freeze it. When I make lasagna I make 2 at the same time and stick 1 uncooked in the freezer. Extra soups freeze nicely. Tomato sauce gets made in a huge pot and I freeze it in containers for when I need it, plus I add lots of green pureed vegetables to my sauce. I usually spend 2 Saturdays a month cooking stock, soups/chili, and tomato sauce for the freezer. I also spend a day baking and freeze.
 

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My suggested program:<br>
1)organic milk. Regular milk is probably one of the grossest things you will ever hear about. Just.....don't do it.<br>
Now, while you're at the organic milk section, just look around at the other stuff. Usually there are "organic snacky foods" that are about the same price as the regular ones. Maybe 20 cents more expensive. Pick an item or 2.<br>
2)Base your salads with fresh spinach. Actually, become very good friends with fresh spinach in general. Everyone thinks spinach is gross, but that's only because of canned spinach. Buy a bag (or box...they come in organic pretty cheap) and use it in place of lettuce. It is so, so good for you and freakishly yummy.<br>
3)Stop buying stuff that is obviously junk food. (Soda, chips, cookies, Hostess stuff.) Just go cold turkey on it all.<br>
Organic crackers (cheap) and hummus (not as cheap)is a great, healthy snacky food.<br>
4)Start reading labels. Look for, and avoid, hydrogenated oils. Avoid things that have "sugar, corn syrup, glucose, fructose" as leading ingredients.<br>
5)Get some olive oil. Figure out what veggies you like best. Put a little olive oil in a skillet and put those veggies, sliced, in there and simmer till golden on the edges. Call it a meal. Dip them in Ranch or whatever if you need to.<br>
Green beans, squash, cucumber, onions...whatever. This will also get you in the habit of buying produce. This might also eventually become your family "snack" once the junk food is gone.<br>
HTH. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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One small change at a time. That's how we're doing it-we've been working toward healthier eating for a few years now! Funny how I still see so much room for improvement and get grumpy about our diet not meeting my standards, but if you compare our eating habits now to 5 years ago it's a world of difference. Easy first changes are going organic on dairy, because that's usually pretty easy to find, and switching from white to brown on bread, rice, etc..<br><br>
If oyu need to teach yourself to cook get a good cookbook. Sound slike cooking from scratch is new to you (it was to me), so get something really basic like Betty Crocker or better homes and gardens. They tend to have easy tips and instructions for stuff you feel too silly to call someone nad ask, lol. I use mine all the time when I never remember how long an egg takes to boil, what temp to cook something at, etc.. and they typically don't have scary unheard of spices and ingredients that cost a fortune or can only be found at specialty stores. Just normal ingredient-type food that you won't regret buying like ground meat, flour, cornmeal, etc.. that can be used for a million other recipes.<br><br>
Just start somewhere. Whatever sounds like the easiest change for you. Mark a date on your calender about 6 months from now to look back and pat yourself ont he back for the good changes you've made. I say htis because it's easy to forget how far you've come when you only look at the next thing you need to do. Good luck <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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The easiest thing I could suggest to you...to transition...is start adding veggies...add a bag of frozen veggies (easy, fast, cheap, way better than canned) to what you're already doing (for example...you're doing chicken and rice a lot...add a bag of california blend veggies--carrots, broccoli, cauliflower--to start...then you can slowly change your rice-a-roni to brown rice)--(but when you make the switch--I recommend doing it with broth, not water...then eventually you can switch to just water)...oh and I second the crockpot...you could do a beef roast (beef, potatoes, carrots, corn, onions, etc.) or a frying chicken in the crock pot (add butter and veggies and seasoning)...you could make a TON of soups or chilis in the crockpot too...
 

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Everyone's had great ideas. Someone mentioned humuus and how expensive it can be. We make our own and it's much cheaper than buying it prepared. Get a can of chickpeas, drain them about half-way and put in a food processor. Add lemon juice, salt, granulated garlic, and olive oil for a really simple humuus. Tahini would make it really authentic, but I don't always have it on hand. Dh likes to add cayenne pepper to his. You can eat it with crackers, pitas, or raw vegetables. My ds (4) who is extremely picky even likes this <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> It's a very fast lunch or snack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok..more info on me..you guys are a GREAT HELP. I can easily do a lot of what has been mentioned.<br><br>
I actually am a really good cook, but cooking totally from scratch is new to me. And I will probably have to teach myself to cook all over again a different way.<br><br>
A few questions:<br><br>
What is stock? and how do i make it. I mean I KNOW what stock is but I have NO IDEA how to make it. Well I think I know what it is. Like when I make soup I put "base" in it for flavor. Chx, beef, whatever. How do you make it if you don't buy too much meat?? I use tomato base a lot in my soups if I want to make like veggie soup etc. Is there a recipe for this?<br><br><br>
What are "fermented foods"?<br><br>
Where is the crock pot thread?<br><br>
What are some veggies that are good but not normally eaten. Like...our favorites in my house are: bell pepper, snow peas, celery, I love tomatoes hubby hates them.<br><br>
You think I could get 5 recipes from you guys for non-crock things.....like fritata with veggies etc? lentil recipe? bean recipe? Things like these?<br><br>
THANK YOU ALL for your help, I am learning a lot....<br><br>
Middle Mamma
 

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A couple of my favorite easy-peasy recipes:<br><br>
Black bean/corn casserole:<br><br>
Take 2 cans of organic black beans or equivalent dried (and cooked/prepared) black beans.<br><br>
Put them in a bowl with a few handfuls of frozen corn niblets (or 2-3 ears of corn kernels cut off the cob).<br><br>
Add some tomato sauce (I usually boil down some old, going soft tomatoes. You can also use a can of regular old tomato sauce).<br><br>
Add some mustard, a little maple syrup if you want some sweetness, some chopped onion, some salt and pepper.<br><br>
Then, mix it together with some cooked whole wheat pasta (little noodles are better, or cut up spaghetti) or brown rice. Leftover rice/pasta is great for this dish.<br><br>
If you like cheese, add some.<br><br>
Put it in an oven and bake it til it bubbles, maybe a half hour.<br>
It doesn't freeze well but it's delicious and does last a couple days well in the fridge.<br><br>
Another one: Hummus:<br><br>
Add a can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas (or equivalent prepared/cooked). Add some olive oil, some Tahini, some garlic to taste, some lemon juice. Put in a food processor and puree.<br><br>
Another one: Fried rice<br><br>
Take some vegetables that have been sitting in your crisper a little too long and stirfry/sautee them in a little oil of your choice. I like to use carrots, broccoli, peas, corn kernels, snow peas, green beans. whatever you have. Add some leftover brown rice or make some new. If you eat eggs, scramble a couple with the the vegetables. If you eat deli meat, sautee that with the vegetables too (cut it into thin strips, this is great for deli meat a little dried out from the fridge). Mix it all together with a bit of soy sauce and some brown sugar if you do sugar. It's a whole meal in one bowl - veggies, protein, complex carbs.<br><br>
Another one: potato fritatta (sort of):<br><br>
Boil some potatoes, then cut them up or fork them until they're in little pieces.<br><br>
Sautee some onions until very well done.<br><br>
Sautee some vegetables (carrots, peas, broccoli, spinach, whatever you have around) until just tender.<br><br>
Add to potatoes, and put in a baking dish. Add a couple beaten eggs, salt and pepper, and some shredded or flaked cheese if you do cheese. Bake in the oven.<br><br>
Yummy and healthy!<br><br>
Does this help? There's a great book called Meal Lean i Yum that has lots of healthy recipes. Also anything by Molly Katzen is wonderful, and the whole "Moosewood Restaurant" series is great, especially "Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home". Take a few out of the library and peruse til you find a recipe or two that fits your budget and interest and copy it, try it out. Pretty soon you'll have your own recipe collection.<br><br>
Good luck! We're working on this too...
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>middlemamma</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">What is stock? and how do i make it. I mean I KNOW what stock is but I have NO IDEA how to make it. Well I think I know what it is. Like when I make soup I put "base" in it for flavor. Chx, beef, whatever. How do you make it if you don't buy too much meat?? I use tomato base a lot in my soups if I want to make like veggie soup etc. Is there a recipe for this?</div>
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Stock is just a flavorful cooking liquid...They can be based on practicaly anything: beef, chicken, turkey, pork, veggies, seafood, etc.<br><br>
Here's a link to some recipes for stocks:<br><a href="http://www.fabulousfoods.com/school/cstech/stock.html" target="_blank">http://www.fabulousfoods.com/school/cstech/stock.html</a><br><a href="http://www.gourmetspot.com/todo/makestock.htm" target="_blank">http://www.gourmetspot.com/todo/makestock.htm</a><br><a href="http://www.gumbopages.com/food/stocks/" target="_blank">http://www.gumbopages.com/food/stocks/</a><br><br>
An example for your tomato based for soups...you could just have your veggie soup ONLY be a veggies soup (so tomatoes and veggies)--or you can have a beef/tomato base (beef stock/broth with tomato added)...<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">here is the crock pot thread?</td>
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here?: <a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=237665&highlight=crockpot" target="_blank">http://www.mothering.com/discussions...light=crockpot</a><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">What are some veggies that are good but not normally eaten. Like...our favorites in my house are: bell pepper, snow peas, celery, I love tomatoes hubby hates them.</td>
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I'm confused by your question...so I'll just list a bunch of veggies:<br>
Common Vegetables<br>
Artichoke<br>
Arugula (US) == Rocket (UK and Australia)<br>
Asparagus<br>
Avocado<br>
* Beans and Peas<br>
o Azuki beans, adzuki beans<br>
o Bean sprouts<br>
o Black-eyed peas = Black-eyed beans (UK and Australia)<br>
o Broad beans<br>
o Chickpeas = Garbanzo beans<br>
o Varieties of the Common bean<br>
+ Pinto beans<br>
+ Navy beans<br>
+ Kidney beans<br>
+ Black turtle beans<br>
+ Borlotti beans<br>
o Green beans<br>
o Lentils<br>
o Lima bean (US) or Butter bean (UK and Australia)<br>
o Mung beans<br>
o Runner beans<br>
o Soybeans<br>
o Sugar snap peas<br>
o Peanuts Goober Peas, or Goobers<br>
o Peas<br>
+ Mangetout (UK) or Snow peas (US and Australia)<br>
Beets<br>
Bok choy (US and Australia) == Chinese leaves (UK)<br>
Broccoflower (a hybrid)<br>
Broccoli<br>
Broccolini<br>
Brussels sprouts<br>
Cabbage<br>
Cauliflower<br>
Celery<br>
Chard<br>
Collard greens (US)<br>
Eggplant (Aubergine)<br>
Endive<br>
Kale<br>
Lettuce Lactuca sativa<br>
Maize (UK) == Corn (US and Australia) == Sweetcorn (actually a grain)<br>
Mushrooms (actually a fungus, not a plant)<br>
Mustard greens<br>
* Onion family<br>
o Chives<br>
o Garlic<br>
o Leek Allium porrum<br>
o Onion<br>
o Ramps (also known as Wild leeks)<br>
o Shallot<br>
o Spring onion (UK and Australia) == Green onion (US) == Scallion<br>
* Parsley<br>
* Peppers, Capsicum<br>
o Green pepper and Red pepper == bell pepper == pimento ==<br>
Radicchio<br>
Rhubarb<br>
Root vegetables<br>
o Beetroot (UK and Australia) == Beet (US)<br>
+ mangel-wurzel: a variety of beet used mostly as cattlefeed<br>
o Carrot<br>
o Ginger<br>
o Parsnip<br>
o Radish<br>
o Swede (UK and Australia) == Rutabaga (US)<br>
o Turnip<br>
o Wasabi<br>
o White radish<br>
Scallion = Green onions<br>
Spinach<br>
Squashes<br>
o Acorn squash<br>
o Bitter melon<br>
o Butternut squash<br>
o Chayote<br>
o Courgette (UK and New Zealand) == Zucchini (US and Australia)<br>
o Cucumber<br>
o Gem squash<br>
o Marrow (UK and New Zealand) == Squash (US and Australia) Cucurbita maxima<br>
o Patty pans<br>
o Pumpkin<br>
o Spaghetti squash<br>
o Winter melon<br>
* Tubers<br>
o Jicama, Potato-bean (Pachyrrhizus)<br>
o Jerusalem artichoke<br>
o Potato<br>
o Sweet potato (known as "kumara" in New Zealand)<br>
o Taro<br>
o Yam<br><br>
Another good resource:<br><a href="http://www.dole5aday.com/ReferenceCenter/R_Home.jsp" target="_blank">http://www.dole5aday.com/ReferenceCenter/R_Home.jsp</a><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">You think I could get 5 recipes from you guys for non-crock things.....like fritata with veggies etc? lentil recipe? bean recipe? Things like these?</td>
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Have you considered quesedillas or fajitas or tacos? (Meat, onions, bell peppers, corn, avocado, tomato, cheese, etc. on tortilla shell)<br><br>
Have you considered doing eggs (scrambled, omlet, sandwich, fried, hard-boiled, etc.) with veggies? (Onions, peppers, tomato, asparagus, broccoli, carrot shred, squash, etc.) (you can add cheese too--and other meat, such as ham or steak)...<br><br>
Stews? Chilis? Soups?<br><br>
Just my two cents...we don't eat a lot of beans here (DH hates them)...HTH!
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">What is stock? and how do i make it. I mean I KNOW what stock is but I have NO IDEA how to make it. Well I think I know what it is. Like when I make soup I put "base" in it for flavor. Chx, beef, whatever. How do you make it if you don't buy too much meat?? I use tomato base a lot in my soups if I want to make like veggie soup etc. Is there a recipe for this?</td>
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Stock is just a flavorful cooking liquid...They can be based on practicaly anything: beef, chicken, turkey, pork, veggies, seafood, etc.</td>
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Stock is much more than just a flavorful cooking liquid. It is in fact very flavorful, but it is chocked full of nutrition if it's home made. Stock is full of calcium, protene and geletin (which is excellent for your joints); plus all the other nutrients from the added vegetables. It's very simple. Find a BIG pot. You can use your crock but you want to start with a big pot. Have a big roast chicken for dinner and cut all the meat off the bones, then throw the bones into the big pot. Add celery, carrots, onions and cover the contents with water. Add a little apple cider vinegar and let sit for an hour. Turn the heat up high and bring to a boil. There will be grey scum stuff that surfaces to the top once the liquid starts to boil. Skim this off. This is why you want to start in a pot. If you want to put it in the crock then do so at this point or just leave it in your big pot. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 24 hours. Most will say just a few hours, but you really want 24 to get all those nutrients out of the bones. I then take a collander and put it in another big pot and dump the stock and "stuff" into the collander. The "stuff" collects into the collander and the liquid goes into the other pot. Put the pot in the fridge overnight or longer. It's now winter and if you are in a colder climate you can leave it covered outside and bring it in in the morning. The fat will have accumulated on top and you can skim that off and throw it away and the stock should be like a loose jello and that's want you want. Put the stock into containers and freeze.<br><br>
Do the same for beef but use marrow bones and I love to use the oxe tail. I go to my butcher and I get a bag of marrow bones, a big oxtail and a bag of meating soup bones. I roast all the bones (except the marrow bones) for an hour or so and then put them in my pot with the vegetables and water and continue the same way I would for the chicken stock. When the beef stock is done then fish out all the chunks of beef and put them in a small pot. I then strain the same way I do the chicken stock and fish out more of the meat. I then make beef barley soup with the meat, some fresh carrots and onions and a handful of barley. I season with salt, pepper and some rosemary and that's dinner. Cool the stock and skim.<br><br>
For vegetables just go the store and find 1 thing you have not tried. It's squash season so try roasting a different type of squash.<br><br>
Fermented foods are things like yoghurt (real yoghurt with "active cultures"), miso, and naturally preserved vegetables. You can buy pickles and sourkrout at a health food store and the only thing on the ingredients list should be the vegetable, water and salt...no vinegar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wow I am really dumb. I had no idea of any about any of the things you have answered to my last post. If anyone else hasn't posted and has more info please add it I am learning so much.<br><br>
Isn't vinager good for you?<br><br>
Middle Mamma
 

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We are making the switch! I figure it is costing me about $20 more per week, but I am still buying some convenience food b/c of the time factor. THe very first thing we did was nix the sugar. We got rid of any processed goodies we had (debbie snacks, ice cream, ect.) and stopped drinking anything except water, milk, and friut juices (100% juice only). We threw out the chips, and replaced them w/ dried fruit (banana chips and apples). We also got rid of everything w/ hydrogenated oils in it (READ YOUR LABELS).<br><br>
With that done, we had to decide how to replace everything. For margarine I now make Better Butter (2 sticks butter, 1/2c safflower oil, a tad bit of water and dried milk powder) and it is wonderful! No hydrogenated oil, and since we cut it completely first, we are using less of it as well! For our chips we immediately replaced w/ dried fruits, but have since changed to salads. I always have cut up salad handy, and cut up a whole head every other day or so. I also buy those bags of baby spinach (organic isn't a whole lot more), and alfalfa sprouts! Those are things I would have never bought before. You can add whatever you like to the salad, beans, cheese, boiled eggs, carrots, tomato, the list goes on and on! We now eat at least 2 salads per day, and no chips! We also no longer crave the really sweet stuff, but it took a few months not to crave them really bad. Now super sweet stuff I taste the sugar. For a treat, make sweet potatoes! They are super yummy, just like a dessert, but you know exactly what goes in them (buy 3-5 sweet potatoes, put in a pan of water, and boil until you can pierce w/ a fork all the way thru them, drain, and let cool until you can peel the skin off. Mash, and add a bit of butter and milk, and cinnamon, bake for 30-40 min on 325-350, depending on whatever else you are cooking).<br><br>
This weekend I made a turkey, and I saved all of the broth to make a soup with. Last night I added the stock (it's like geletin, the run-off from the turkey, w/ the fat skimmed off) to a bag of frozen veggies, a little bit of water, and let it cook for several hours. It was VERY yummy! We don't add much seasoning, but I did put a bit of sea salt in it. I also made a pot of green beans. It's easy and cheap. Get a big bag of frozen green beans (a really big bag, like 3-4lbs), dump it in a big pot,and put a little bit of water in it, and a little bit of sea salt. Keep it cooking for several hours on low heat. You can heat them up the next day, too, and they keep getting better the longer they keep.<br><br>
Potatoes are good, and cheap, as are bananas!<br><br>
Hot cereals like oatmeal are cheap, too! Sweeten w/ maple syrup <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yummy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yummy">my We have this or Bear Mush (think malt-o-meal, w/o the sugar) every morning w/ eggs and toast.<br><br>
As for the organic stuff, I'd start out slow, and only get what you can afford to get. I am now getting my milk and meat hormone/anti. free. We get our meat from a local farmer (we have always done this b/c the taste is so much better, so this wasn't a change for us) and our milk comes from a whole foods co-op that delivers to me once a month. There are things that we can eat that I can get locally, but it's easier and I have more variety from the co-op. I get eggs from a local farmer as well, so just start checking out the resources near you!
 

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Okay, I answered food questions above, but though I'd add a little bit about the actual change, and how it has affected us. I will say that I am cooking 3 meals per day now, and it takes a long time to prepare, however I really think it is worth it. We are eating really healthy! When we decided to change, it was hard to know what to do first, b/c you suddenly feel like everything you are eating is wrong. I converted my fridge first, and a cabinet each month. THis allowed me to eat up what I had, and jsut replace a little bit at a time. I also try lots of new stuff now. FRozen veggies are the easiet things! Stock up on several bags. We eat a bag or two every day. THere are different blends to try, and it's easier than cutting it all up when you are in a hurry. I WAH, too, and alot of stuff you can do the prep work in stages. Good luck!
 

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The fermenting process creates a good bacteria in the food that helps to preserve the food. The bacteria is very good for you and helps with immune support and digestion. The vinegar kills this good bacteria so the benefit of naturally fermented foods is lost.
 
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