A recipe using what you already have (including leftovers)
I’m deceiving you. That is because although I usually use chicken, I actually used leftover frozen turkey in the picture you see above. This is one of those recipes that begs you to play, using a pinch-of-this and anything left over lurking in the fridge. It’s the quintessential makeover meal. You are really looking at my leftovers in that picture.
I have read through many pages of technical detail. I have read through documentation provided by African countries that have tested the SolarBag and found it to be a viable solution to their water crisis. In 2012, the Embassy of Camaroon wrote a nice letter to the makers of SolarBag after extensive testing, and the two worked together to curb a Cholera outbreak in the Northern part of the country.
Is the SolarBag just yet one more water purfication system out there? We will explain the differences, which includetechnology, viability, portability, and pricing. Then we are giving you a chance to try one for yourself–for free.
The official EPA testing was completed through the University of Arizona, and it exceeded all requirements to be labeled a “purification system” (which is of the highest order and not to be confused with “filtration system”). You might be familiar with the Berkey family of products, which also fall into this same “purification system” certification. What you might not know is that the technology used to create the SolarBag is unprecedented and not found in any other water purification system out there.
“The SOLARBAG® is the only water purifier that’s proven it can remove virtually everylethal toxin found in contaminated water, including gasoline, diesel fuel, pesticides,herbicides, toxic heavy metals like lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury, andpharmaceuticals like artificial hormones and animal antibiotics.”
World Water Magazine
The nanotechnology in the SolarBag does not trap contaminants like all of the filter-style purification units on the market. It destroys them. Do you realize what this could mean for the world’s water supply if we could put this technology in the hands of its people? This is a game-changer, and the maker of the SolarBag has been recognized for this through a myriad of awards given for this innovation.
The SolarBag is made in America. In fact, there is a small piece of the device that is made by individuals with disabilities (I have a soft spot for that).
It is non-chemical and non-powered. Just like we love the gravity-fed nature of the Berkey because it requires no electricity, we love the solar-powered nature of the SolarBag–4 hours outside on a cloudy day is all that is necessary to exceed the World Health Organization and the EPA’s water purification standards.
How It Works: The SolarBag is a transparent 3 L bag that encloses a nanotechnology coated mesh insert. When the SolarBag is placed in sunlight, five photochemical processes are activated which destroy a wide range of contaminants; including pathogens, heavy metals, and chemical toxins.
500 Uses Per Bag.At Least. Multiple uses per day. You can produce 3 liters of pure water at a time by leaving the filled bag in sunlight for 2-3 hours of direct sunlight (or 4-6 hours on a cloudy day). You will know the water is pure when the drop of food coloring has disappeared (because it was cleansed completely out of the water). The number “500” was based on an area with extremely high heavy metal content. My contact at Puralytics told me: “In Malawi the bags have been used 3 times per day for over a year now, or well over 1,000 uses and are still going strong.” So there you have it. The math below is based on 500 uses, but you can double the output most likely.
One bag = 1,500 liters of water
That’s over 396 gallons of clean drinking water.
Cost per liter: roughly $.05
(even cheaper this week. Spoiler: we have a special price for 1 week only)
Endless Applications: hiking, camping, overseas travel, emergency aid, a spare one in each vehicle, bug-out bags (preparedness packs).
7 Year Shelf life. At least. This means that an emergency SolarBag tucked away in a bag will still be useful when you need it most. The makers of the BPA-FREE plastic actually said that they should have a shelf life of –exact wording–“hundreds of years” but they’re only guaranteeing seven. It is not so easy to guarantee something “for hundreds of years” since you don’t really have a way to test that.
Self-Sustaining Water Purification System: no chemicals, no electricity, not even a bright-shining sunny day is required. Nothing to add, replace, or fix.
Made from recycled materials and sand, and then you can recycle it again. The SolarBag is made from recyclable plastics. The insert is made from environmentally stable materials derived from sand. After 500 uses, you would dispose of the insert but put the bag back into your recycling bin!
Bulk Purchasing: Because of the natural humanitarian applications for the SolarBag and because of the commitment by both Pantry Paratus and Puralytics to help assist in that effort, bulk pricing is available! See the end of this post for pricing on 6 or more units. Please email customer (at) pantryparatus.com if you are looking for numbers closer to the 50-100 range.
SolarBags being used in Uganda
I suppose you can even put portability under the “viability” section, because it’s one-dimensional, lightweight design gives this far greater reach to the furthest corners of the world than anything else. You could mail one with first-class postage (without the box), it is so lightweight! You could tuck it into the thinnest zipper-pouch on a backpack or suitcase, and you could send boxes of them as humanitarian aid for a fraction of the cost heavier (and bulkier) systems require.
Total Weight: 4 ounces
We mentioned earlier that the average cost of 1 liter of clean drinking water by using the SolarBag is only $.05. That is based on average pricing.
Pantry Paratus, as an authorized dealer, generally sells the SolarBag for $77.99.
It is difficult to put a price on self-sufficiency, safety, and security. But if a person wanted to put a price on clean water anywhere at any time–Pantry Paratus can help.
There was a giveaway, but it’s over now! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to hear of other offers like this one.
I do not keep buttermilk in the refrigerator routinely, mostly because I do not use it frequently enough to warrant the cost and short shelf life. It is easy enough to make your own homemade buttermilk and that is preferred; but for many of us, having powdered buttermilk on hand saves a last minute trip to the store, saves money and waste, and is easily used in any recipe calling for buttermilk. The convenience and shelf life, along with the ability to get bulk pricing make it a must-have for your pantry shelf. In fact, check out this article on making buttermilk from the powdered stuff by Mom Prepares.
Oh, and if you are new to Pantry Paratus, you should know that we are advocates for whole, home-milled flour. This recipe (as all of my recipes) use it; if you are using a store bought flour (even if they claim it to be whole wheat) it will have a different texture and you will want to adapt the recipe by adding the flour slowly until you get the right texture (it will likely mean using more flour than called for in this recipe). * Because of our corn allergy, we do not use baking powder; you could substitute 2 tsp baking powder for the cream of tartar and then cut the baking soda in the recipe down to 1/2 tsp, if you like.
This recipe makes exactly 12 biscuits using this $3.00 cutter.
1) Mix 2 cups of flour along with the other dry ingredients (powdered buttermilk, cream of tartar, baking soda, sea salt).
2) Cut in the 4 T. of home rendered lard.
3) In a measuring cup, lightly beat the egg and then add enough water so that the egg & water combined equal 1 cup. Add this to the dry ingredients until just mixed, then let it sit for 5 minutes. It should seem like a runny pancake batter at this point.
4) Slowly stir in the remaining flour until the texture is a smooth and flexible dough. Then turn out onto floured surface.
5) Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes (but no more). Use a rolling pin and spread dough to 1/2″ thickness (or slightly less) and cut into 12 round biscuits.
6) It is optional (but delicious) to brush butter over the tops. Place on either a greased or floured baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Blueberry Pancakes An Allergy-Friendly & Gluten-free Recipe
I really love to forage for wild berries, especially blueberries. But what do I love to do even more than find them? Eat them! And I can think of few things as exciting as fresh fruit and pancakes!
Since our family is plagued with an abundance of food allergies, I had to come up with a special pancake recipe so that everyone in our home could enjoy. Not being able to cook with things like wheat flour or gluten, eggs, or even dairy products present a regular challenge in my kitchen. In the end, a tasty recipe just took a little creativity and outside the box thinking!
What you’ll need…
2 c almond flour 2 c buckwheat flour(mill your own with a Wondermill) 1 tbsp. baking soda 1 tsp sea salt 2 c fresh blueberries 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil 1 egg or egg substitute 1.5 c liquid of your choice Additional liquid or water, if needed
1. Mix dry dry ingredients.
2. Mash blueberries, using a fork or potato masher, and add to your mixing bowl.
4. Add liquid of your choice & stir/mix. If the batter is still too thick, slowly stir in additional water as needed. Sometimes the batter thickens as it sits (while I’m cooking the pancakes) & I have to add in more water.
5. Cook in olive oil on low heat. It’s about time to turn the pancake over when the uncooked side is filling up with little bubbles in the batter.
6. Smother pancakes with extra berries, syrup, or your other favorite toppings and enjoy!
That’s it! It really is pretty easy to make a tasty pancake using fresh berries. If you don’t have blueberries in your area, try substituting with another berry that you do have available.
Marine Corps Veteran and homeschooling mother of two active boys, Krystyna stays busy helping her husband (and best friend!) with the daily demands of life on the farm. With a family to nurture, food to grow and preserve and animals to raise, there is never a dull moment in her life. Krystyna is a city girl gone country and natural living enthusiast who is passionate about sharing her homesteading experience with others. She hopes to help readers climb the ladder of self-sufficiency and encourage others in their journey towards a greener (and healthier) lifestyle.
Once upon a time in a small fishing village was a young and humble fisherman. He would rise very early to cast his nets, and he would bring in the catch by noon.
He would join his wife and small children for lunch, and spend some time playing with them afterwards while his wife completed her chores. He faithfully took his children to the rest of his day, where they helped him clean and sell the fish at the market.
The younger ones played at his feet and the older learned from their father. In the evenings, there was often a gathering in the village, music and conversation.
One day a businessman was stranded in the town. While waiting for a car part, he met this fisherman at the market and the businessman saw the savvy business dealings of the fisherman. “If I could give you some advice,” he said, “you could quickly turn your business around. You could market your fish for a higher price, and afford a second boat by the end of the year.”
“Why would I want to do that?” the fisherman asked, never looking up as he packaged fish on the table.
“Because then with two boats, you would double profits. It would be long days, and some payroll, some extra boat maintenance too…but you could get a fleet of boats with fisherman working for you! It wouldn’t be long then, and you could even buy a cannery. You could quit fishing altogether! And if you quit fishing altogether, and worked long hours at your very own cannery, you might even be able to retire early. Think of what you would be leaving for your children!”
The fisherman picked up a fussy child at his feet and thought about this for a moment. “Why would I want to retire early?”
The business man replied, “Well, if you retired early, you could go out and fish in the mornings, and then come home to your wife and spend your afternoons with your family. You would even have time to spend with your friends in the community.”
“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them? The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep.”
I consider myself modest, I consider myself plain. I don’t need a fancy car or home. And yet, how many times (even this week) has the thought lodged into my mind that I needed just a tiny bit more of something?
There is an old song called “Cash Cow” by Steve Taylor, in which he compares consumerism in modern times to the graven images written about in the days of Moses. The song may not be to everyone’s liking, but there is one line in there– one truth buried in the lyrics– on which the whole matter rests:
I deserve better.
Solomon does not mention pride in the passage above but I find that to be my personal downfall in regards to income satisfaction. And so Solomon asks what good all of this stuff may be to the owner. Temporary comfort begets long-term stress. In contrast, hard work makes for wonderful sleep and a certain type of contentment. Learning to rely on the provisions as they come has its’ own peace, if pride does not get in the way.
And so as I face the day, these goals are mine:
I’m going to spend more time in the sunshine of the day than in the fluorescently dim aisles of a store.
I’m going to spend more time in the hugs and tickles of my young children than in the presence of peers, especially those who lean towards a life of chasing after things.
I’m going to spend more energy trusting for provision than asking for desires.
I’m going to work as hard as I can, and realize that the outcome is enough. And then tonight, I will indeed sleep well!
Even if you keep a spotless kitchen, chances are your pantry could use a little TLC. In my house, a messy pantry often leads to wasted food. Without realizing it, food expires and ends up in the trash instead of on the dinner table.
Organizing can seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually simple once you start the process. Here are some helpful tips on how to tidy up your pantry and keep it that way.
1. Clear out the pantry
Start by taking everything out while checking for any outdated items. Have one pile for items to keep and another pile for things to throw away. You can keep products that are just nearing their expiration or consume-by date for immediate use.
Chaya suggests: the next time you shop at Pantry Paratus, be sure to put the FREE downloadable Annual Pantry Checklist in your cart–a very handy tool!
2. Clean the shelves
Once you’ve cleared out the pantry, it’s time for some good ol’ elbow grease. Use a handheld vacuum to get rid of dust and dirt, and then wipe down the shelves with a damp rag. If you have a walk-in pantry, don’t forget to sweep off cobwebs that may have accumulated in corners or the ceiling.
3. Organize by zones
This is the most efficient way to organize a kitchen pantry, instead of arranging the contents by size. Designate separate areas for food and cooking, with often-used items within easy reach. If you bake a lot, for instance, group baking supplies such as flour, eggs, and sprinkles together. Place breakfast food like cereal, bread, and oatmeal in another corner.
*Chaya suggests: new to the idea of zones? Learn more in this concept in this blog post.
4. Use clear containers
Clear containers let you quickly find what you need and see when supplies are running low. They also eliminate the mess of packaging and boxes. Use baskets or bins for larger items or to save space when they’re stacked together according to category.
Sometimes, you need something and it’s all the way at the back of the shelf. A lazy Susan makes it easier since all you need to do is spin it to retrieve what you need instead of moving things around. Shelf risers, on the other hand, will double your pantry space.
6. Utilize cabinet doors
Make every inch count by hanging over- the-door organizers. You can also mount racks to hold spices, canned goods, and oils.
7. Labels, labels, labels
This helps everyone locate and put items back into their designated places. You can use a label maker or chalkboard labels for any quick changes. Erasable labels are also great for adding opened-by and expiration dates. A cheaper alternative is masking tape and permanent markers.
Check out our Modern Harvest Shrink Wrap Labels–easy to put on and to take off of jars, and they come in 4 super-cute designs. We love these for our pantry, but for craft & office organization, too.
8. Make an inventory
Make a list of everything you have, including expiration and use-by dates. This will help you keep track of your supplies and figure out which ones to use first. Build a template on your computer, print it out, and then hang it on a clipboard by the door. Check your inventory before grocery shopping to see if you need to replenish any stocks.
9. First in, First Out
Implement this rule to avoid food waste. Place newly bought items at the back and the oldest ones in front. This way, you’re less likely to let food go bad.
Writing the expiration dates on cans will also
help you grab next-in-line when cooking.
Check your cupboards at least once a month and stick with this routine. Organizing your kitchen pantry can be fun and stress-free, especially when you get to save more time and money for you and your family.
If you have a big, juicy watermelon, have the little ones strip down to the diaper in the yard and just dig in. Spit seeds, eat it straight from the rind, and hose off before going back into the house.
That is the best way to eat watermelon.
We have some avid watermelon eaters around our place. Even yet, with a food co-op order yielding three very large organic watermelons in the same week, even my kids began to waver on their dedication to the cause. When life hands you watermelon, make taffy!
The word “taffy” is more of a descriptive term for the texture and candy-like result you get from dehydrating watermelon. This is not a true candy or taffy; for a dye-free and whole-foods family like ours, this is an awesome way to treat the kids with candy.
Paraflexx Sheets (this makes cleanup extremely fast & speeds up dehydrating time since the juice will not be re-wetting the trays underneath)
1) Quarter the Watermelon.
2) Using a sharp knife, slice the watermelon quarter into very thin slices, left to right (as shown). Doing this in the rind holds it steady for you and means you get the thinnest slices possible. Make sure that you are getting consistently thin slices; too much differentiation will affect the dehydrating time.
3) Slice the watermelon quarter once down the middle (how the knife is positioned in the picture).
4) Cut along the rind to release the triangular shaped slices of watermelon.
5) Dehydrate with the dial set to the low-end of the fruit range. Dehydrate it to your preference, but it will create a thick, chewy candy. You can dehydrate it for an extremely long time and never get this to a long-term food storage dryness.
6) Vacuum seal the candy in portion-sized bags, then freeze until ready to use them! They are good at room temperature for about 3 days.
Since we do not use food coloring, finding cute ways to decorate children’s birthday cakes is a constant struggle for me. I’ve tried a million things, but some natural alternatives leave strange flavors for a birthday cake (I over-did it on the beet juice one year). This is my idea for Bug’s birthday cake. She turns 5 in just 2 months; I have plenty of watermelon taffy in the freezer for this:
If you think of other creative uses, send us a picture or leave a comment!
All photos are property of Pantry Paratus; feel free to pin or share them only in connection to this blog. Thanks!
“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” ― Julia Child
First of all, I need to share I am so excited to have an opportunity to guest post here at Pantry Paratus ! I have gotten to know Chaya through our blogging connections and I can vouch that she knows her business; and I love that her and her husband (Wilson) support American made products. That being said, I was mulling over what to write for this post. Then it struck me when I was writing my “Secrets to Making Your Very Own Prized Pickles” post for my own blog that the right or correct kitchen tool for the right job is so important and how indispensable some tools are.
For those of you who don’t know me let me introduce myself: my name is Karen Lynn. I am the blog owner of “Lil’ Suburban Homestead” and I am also a Survival Mom Radio Network Host and a Survival Mom Writing Team Member. I write and discuss all things homesteading….my motto is “If you have a home you’re a homesteader.” My husband (The Viking in my life) and I are Suburban Homesteaders on 1/3 of an acre in Coastal, NC. We raise chickens, bees, and supplement our diet from our raised bed gardens, and we are extremely passionate about canning and preserving our food from our garden and supporting our local farmers too.
I was canning up a batch of salsa recently and realized how much I enjoy canning now– and the very act of taking control over the quality of food my family eats and how fulfilling and rewarding it is. I realized it has not always been this way. When I first started canning, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much but at the time it was a way to stay on budget and preserve fresh produce when I had access to it. We bartered a lot when we first got married. One time my husband bartered HVAC labor for a truck load of corn and, well… keeping food in our bellies with a young family was a top priority. In my opinion, fresh food on the table equals money in our wallets. It was a great trade! Looking back, one of the reasons that I did not enjoy canning is because I often had to sift through cracked hand me down canning jars, and I had to scrape money together for canning supplies. I didn’t have all the correct products to get the job done. For example at first I did not have a canning funnel, or even a canning jar lifter— both of which are worth their weight in gold to a seasoned canner.
Peaches were the very first food item I ever canned. Shortly after, I added tomatoes and corn and all of my products turned out so delicious and fresh I slowly became a canning addict. I didn’t admit defeat after broken seals from using worn old canning jars, broken canning jars that were weakened with age and ending up with my beautiful product ruined. I persevered and oh boy I am so glad I did. What I once did as a necessary requirement to stay on budget now still helps me stay on budget but I have the added bonus of such a fulfilling and rewarding hobby that hopefully I can pass down to my Grandchildren one day.
Slowly over time, I was able to add to my canning collection and upgrade to better jars and better equipment the investment over time which for me took about 5 years to really have the collection of canning supplies and books that I needed, which really turned my attitude around about canning. In addition to having the proper tools was having the know- how via education (which for me was books, and the library at the time made all of the difference). I am so envious today of canners with all of the blogs, facebook groups, businesses like Pantry Paratus, and Youtube. You gotta’ love you tube it makes so much of a difference in how fast one can become a seasoned canner these days.
Be sure to visit Karen Lynn on her own site, Lil’ Suburban Homestead, and let her know that you appreciated her canning chat here on Pantry Paratus!
You so knew I was going to say this one! Experiment, though; don’t just stick to zucchini bread, and if you are—please use chocolate chips! Anyway, I’ve slipped shredded zucchini into cookies, muffins, and regular yeast breads. I’ve also put it into apple cake before, too. Just remember that you are adding some moisture and so you will need to adjust the recipe ever-so-slightly. Don’t be afraid to try something new with it.
2) Soups & Casseroles
Yes, okay…I’m getting the obvious suggestions out of the way. Most of us eat who preserve our own foods eat so much soup in the winter that we like the summer break from it. Truthfully, I haven’t made soup in over a month and don’t plan on it during zucchini season. I did, however, make great cabbage rolls and rolled lasagna noodles—both dishes lend themselves to hidden zucchini is shredded form.
3) In the freezer— for future baked goods, soups, & casseroles.
Cuz’ yeah, I already said. No soup for you…at least, not in the summer when fresh, crisp garden veggies abound! No prep work needed; I recommend peeling them before shredding. Then place the shredded zucchini into cheesecloth and squeeze the ever-lovin’ moisture out of them; better choices are the stainless steel chinois or the jumbo potato ricer, which does wonders with less wrist-and-hand action. Use a vacuum sealer to ensure that they are air-tight before freezer storage. Anything inherently wet like zucchini is ripe for freezer burn, so taking a few precautions will prolong the freezer life.
4) Side Dish
This is the last “well, duh” answer, I promise. But there are multiple things to do with this! Read One Ash Farm’s recipe for sauteed summer squash here. These veggies also have a long history of being deep-fried, oh-yeah….I’m having a Midwestern craving now. You can use a spiral slicer or a julienne slicer (triple peeler) to make “spaghetti”—a common paleo take on the old Italian fave. You can slice thinly and serve over rice noodles, along with chopsticks and a dipping sauce made of soy sauce (we use Amino Acids—much healthier) and peanut oil. An old Japanese friend taught me this one and it’s brilliant in simplicity and flavor. It can be rather fun watching others splash their noodles attempting to “dip” with chopsticks.
This mixes well into pastas or chuck it into the crock pot for a ‘little-of-this’ soup or stew. Since zucchini has a substantial amount of Vitamin C, Manganese, and the B12 vitamins, it’s a great food storage item! Pantry Paratus has a great post about vegetable powders that explain it in detail. Here is a warning, though; because zucchini is very moist, you will get a lot of shrinkage. Use paraflexx sheets with shredded zucchini, it will keep the mess down considerably.
6) Zucchini chips—my favorite use!
With a long life history of pre-processed junk food, I suffer from uncontrollable cravings at times. I have zero self-control with potato chips; I cannot go near them. So instead, we slice zucchini into medallions, lightly salt, and dehydrate! Wow! They are great just like that, but also make a quick appetizer when arranged on a tray with dehydrated tomato slices and a bowl of homemade ranch dressing.
I have yet to try this but am super-excited. I once had an addiction to gummy bears and have yet to find something that satisfies that craving since switching to a whole foods diet.
8) Pickled & Canned
Not many people do this, but I don’t know why. Tasty! Books like Put ‘Em Up! and Pickled Pantry have entire sections devoted to zucchini, or summer squash.
9) Barter Economy
Maybe you have too much zucchini, maybe someone else has so many flowers, they’d share a bouquet with you! Or perhaps they overplanted tomatoes this year (is that even possible?) or something else that did not do so well for you. Maybe an avid baker will take all of your zucchini in exchange for a couple of loaves of zucchini bread in return.
10) Gifting the Ungardened
This may seem similar to bartering, but no. There are those who need to be brought along slowly to the joys of home gardening, to the flavors and smells of living, nourishing food! And there are those who have knee surgery or arthritis, caregiving responsibilities, or unemployment who would see your plethora of zucchini as a major blessing in their lives.
Keep Producing, Preparing, & Preserving!
Several photos were courtesty of other great websites; click on the photo to visit them now!
All other photos are property of Pantry Paratus–please feel free to share or pin them in connection to this blog. Thanks!
My Ongoing Battle and a Quiz from Yale Researchers
Proviso: Nothing in this blog constitutes medical or legal advice. You should consult your own physician before making any dietary changes. Statements in this blog may or may not be congruent with current USDA or FDA guidance.
Well, sort of a shrink. Not an official one; I was a licensed psychologist’s assistant, which means I did the work and he signed his name on the bottom so we could bill insurance. Oh and the malpractice insurance was rather high. Probably not as high as it would be if they had malpractice insurance for parenting, which is my current occupation. I have a master’s degree in psychology, which qualifies me for absolutely nothing, by the way, except having lots of opinions about the motivations, fears, and comforts people experience in daily life.
Today’s blog comes from life experience, not from a stuffy textbook.
I have an addiction.
As with most addictions, I should really say that I am a recovering addict because even though there are times in life when it seems I got ‘er licked as it were, it will once again rear its ugly (melty, gooey) head when I am least vigilant.
Long before children, long before that crazy psychology degree actually, I discovered that people knew me for my love of chocolate. When I quit a job to go back to school, the co-workers went in together and bought an insane amount of it for a going-away present. In that same week, my childhood-best-friend’s father was flying through our town. We met him for an hour in between his flights, and he handed a bag of chocolate to me:
“I wanted to get something for you, but all I could remember was how much you loved chocolate.”
Wilson snickered. Sure, laugh it up, but I don’t see you refusing our chocolate stash, which now overflowed the pantry shelf and onto the counter.
I then read a really dumb book, you know the kind. The author had one brilliantly valid point to make, but after making it on the first page he spent the next 212 regurgitating it. The book was about the connection between food and love (or something like that) and how we often turn to food to fill an otherwise void area in our hearts. So I did the hard work of self-examination, and then swore off chocolate.
The first week was the hardest; it was also my birthday week (my timing has always been like that). My best friend surprised me with a chocolate cake (hey, I wasn’t quick to denounce chocolate out loud lest someone hold me to it).
Okay, so the NEXT first week was the hardest.
Over time, I quit thinking about M & Ms all of the time like a junior high crush. Yes, I broke off my relationship with chocolate. And then it got to where I could even be in the same room with it at social functions. Eventually, I was enjoying alternative foods more and realized how much I was missing out with my monochromatic obsession with the Dark. And one day I realized, I much preferred the flavors and textures of other offerings and I was not even missing it, really. I knew I was going to be okay. Do you know that it took over 3 months to get there?
Am I addicted?
Well, apparently, I personify chocolate and have been known to hug it.
And the muppet to which I most closely identify is Cookie Monster.
I did eventually allow chocolate back into my life, but never in the house (word on the street was that Wilson had his own private hiding place for it). I could eat a modest piece of someone else’s cake, or a scoop of gelato. This was a healthy relationship.
Today as I write this, I am distracted by chocolate. I am– as I occasionally do– fasting it. I do this in part to see if I can live without it. If I cannot, then I need an intervention. I am confessing it; I need an intervention. My timing is poor; there is chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge and I’m making a very chocolatey cake for my son’s birthday in a few days.
So where does this obsession with the beany-brown bar come from, why does it plague women across industrial nations? Can’t I just have my Ghirardelli’s and eat it too? Am I really “addicted?”
Harvard Medical School said that yes, I am addicted. Well, they were not talking to me personally, but I do meet the criteria they set forth below.
There are three essential components of addiction:
loss of control over the object of that craving
continued use or engagement despite bad consequences.
By that definition, addiction can move beyond chocolate or coffee, and can even mean that bag of potato chips or those choco-mallow-puff-fluff some people call breakfast.
Emotionally, we may use food as a reward (i.e., “I’ll eat that after I clean the kitchen”) or to alleviate emotional distress (i.e., ordering pizza to overcompensate for a bad day). The emotional reactions are probably first in the physiological chain reaction that ensues, but there is indeed a physiological response in the body to these foods! These foods affect the blood oxygen level and can be responsible for the release of dopamine very similar but on a different level than drug addictions (Gearhardt, et al, p. 809). In turn, the dopamine plays with Leptin levels, the chemical (peptide) regulator that alerts you that you are full (Grosshans, et al, p. 530). Leptin levels can change without taking a single bite, but by merely seeing a picture of a juicy burger or a candy bar. Just as food affects us psychologically and physically, it can also affect us behaviorally. It determines what we purchase when, and whether we are going to finish the to-do list to get our Pavlovian reward.
What This Means
Well, I suppose we are all in good company, if the line at the local Starbucks or the annual revenue of chocolate companies is any indication. The obvious first step is identifying foods that create a psychological, behavioral, or physical reaction in us. If I know that chocolate is my kryptonite and that by simply seeing it my body undergoes an addictive reaction, I am better prepared to guard myself against it. Remember, Harvard said that an addiction can be partly defined by our continuance of something harmful. And consuming entire bags of hydrogenated potato chips is not exactly in my best interest (no, I’m not a medical professional but I think we can call this one accurately). So, for me, it means never bringing those chips into my home. Ever. I also have very limited exposure to a television screen –we don’t own one—and so that Wendy’s Frosty commercial will therefore not entice me to jump in the car and indulge. I remember doing that many years ago!
Sometimes we need to look in the proverbial mirror to reexamine where we stand with things. I found the Yale Food Addiction Scale for you to use as your mirror, if you want. I give it to you in the spirit of self-reflection, not as any form of medical, psychological advice. There is no rating given at the link above, but it might be helpful to fill this out and take with you to your next medical appointment for a professional to evaluate.
I cannot set forth a plan to help you overcome a food weakness. You could benefit from nutritional counseling and medical assistance if this is affecting your weight, health, or quality of life. But if you find yourself licking the lid to the ice cream carton and think, “golly…I did it again,” I hope this quick insight helps you. Let’s make conscientious food choices so that we can live nourished lives, inside and out.
On the Long Road to Recovery,
Nothing in this blog constitutes medical or legal advice. You should consult your own physician before making any dietary changes. Statements in this blog may or may not be congruent with current USDA or FDA guidance.
Gearhardt AN, Yokum S, Orr PT, Stice E, Corbin WR, Brownell KD. Neural Correlates of Food Addiction. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2011;68(8):808-816. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.32.
Grosshans M, Vollmert C, Vollstädt-Klein S, et al. Association of Leptin With Food Cue–Induced Activation in Human Reward Pathways. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012;69(5):529-537. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.1586.
Be sure to visit the other fabulous host bloggers or sponsors participating in this giveaway. Although I labeled the items coming directly from our store, the bloggers below are the ones who contributed to the overall cost of them, and are offering out the other prizes mentioned.
Amazing Graze Farm I get all of my Lilla Rose clips from her (and I have four of them!). She has great skillet meal recipes on her blog, too, as well as a consistent dose of encouragement.
Faulk FarmsteadCome here for an honest approach to homesteading and for “how to”!
Good Not Perfect The name says it all; this is aguilt-free, realistic approach you canfeel good about.
We have a family argument about this recipe: my husband has spent much time in The Desert and says that these do not taste “authentic,” even though he loves mine. I believe that they are extremely close to my gustatorial memories compiled from many ethnic meals throughout the years. I believe the word “falafel” is as varied as the term “pasta” may be, connoting different spices and presentations in different places. But then again, I never let the wordauthenticitykeep me from making delicious meals based upon the best of all cultures.
Those of us who have sworn off CAFO meat must live within a prescribed food budget are constantly scrambling to fill our tummies with meatless meal alternatives. The key is the full tummy. This recipe fills the tummy– the house with delectable fragrances common to Middle East cuisine. Your dried bean food storage never tasted so good!
The geek-free answer is because it’s downright tasty.
The geeky answer comes down to the nutritional facts. You are packing a serious punch with this combo! The lentil registers at half on the Glycemic Index than the chickpea, but the chickpea is a complete protein since it contains all 9 of the required amino acids required for that designation.
The chickpeas are high in fiber and have a healthy iron content, whereas the lentils are high in Vitamin C, Manganese, and Folate. These two legumes will balance each other in flavor and texture as well as their various nutritional compenents.
You have some choices with your lentils; I prefer red because they are frequently used in Indian food and have a sweeter flavor. Green work well, though, and have a nuttier flavor. If brown lentils are all you have, try them, but they can be a bit blander and change the color.
The Night Before (10 minutes tops)
*Soak 2 cups of lentils and 2 cups of chickpeas, mixed, in warm water.
*Take your older, stale homemade bread leftovers and pulse into bread crumb using your spice (coffee) grinder or food processor. If you make the recipe in the quantity listed below, you will want 2-3 cups of bread crumbs. I have also used panko, but your own homemade bread will give you more nutrition (just make sure they are thoroughly dry; lightly toast in dry skillet if not).
Makes 16-20, depending upon size
How many it feeds depends upon how you serve them!
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Preheat Oven: 350°
2 cups soaked lentils
2 cups soaked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 Tbs fresh parsely (about 3-4 sprigs)
1/2 tsp All Seasons Salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/3 cup broth or water
Enough bread crumbs for coating
1. Rinse all of the legumes.
2. In a food processor combine 1/2 of all of the ingredients (two batches makes this much more manageable): 1 cup lentils, 1 cup chickpeas (or 2 cups total of the combined mixture), 1 Tbs parsley, 1/4 tsp All Seasons Salt, 1/8 tsp cumin, and some of the water.
3. Once the mixture is pureed into something similiar to hummus, scoop out into a separate bowl and repeat the process with the remaining ingredients.
4. Using a large spoon, scoop out enough to roll into a ball that is between 1″ to 1 1/2″ in diameter. These should hold together very nicely; if they do not, try to squeeze out excess moisture in your hands.
5. Roll the falafels in a bowl of bread crumbs, and then place on an ungreased cookie sheet*.
6. Bake, uncovered, at 350°, for 15 minutes. Turn them all over to the other side, and bake for another 10-15 minutes (the bread crumbs should brown nicely).
*If you know you want to serve them in pita bread, you might want to make them slightly flatter; it will take extra cookie sheets and you should monitor the cooking time.
This happened in a bad kinda’ way at our place. Our kids—who have never been subject to frozen fish sticks or to a gelatinous mass of Wonder Bread—had become food critics. I’m watching some major improvements take place; we’re having a real turn around. From one parent to another, I realized that I need to share my theories with you as to how it is getting better, just in case you have experienced this too.
Wardee from GNOWFGLINS enjoyed this post and so we are a guest contributor over there today! Be sure to leave a comment over there, letting us know what tricks and strategies help your family mealtime contentment.
One of the biggest black holes at your local supermarket is the salad dressing aisle. They are charging you for flavorless chemicals; they are stifling your creativity and making you pay for it. Salad dressings are fun! Not everything in the kitchen benefits from your pinch-a-this style of cooking, but salad dressings and vinaigrettes a fantastic outlet for flair.
A vinaigrette by definition is a dressing made of vinegar and oil in a 3:1 ratio. The oil should be a fine, healthy oil such as extra virgin olive oil but you can certainly use others such as flax. They need to have a delicate flavor. Many vinaigrettes are balsamic, referring to the vinegar used. Although this is traditional, it is not necessary. In this recipe I prefer organic apple cider vinegar because the hint of fruit pairs well with the blackberry.
I make the honey optional; I have tried it both ways. Although I liked it just as well without the honey and some might think it’s too sweet with it, it helps to emulsify the oil and water. If you you a wisk or one of these bad boys, or your blender, they will merge with or without the honey, but the texture will last longer with it. You will have some separation of ingredients at the table whether you go with the honey or not, so use a container that allows for shaking.
This vinaigrette recipe is sweet and tangy. You can adjust the ingredients how you so choose–we use more garlic in ours than I am recommending for you, so play with the levels and don’t be afriad to taste and tweak as you go. The garlic brings the fruit flavor back down to earth and bridges the gap between a “fruit sauce” and a vegetable salad. Don’t skip the garlic!
Overripe berries work best, or you might want to put them in a small sauce pan with just enough water in the bottom to keep them from scalding, and let them soften for a few minutes. Alternatively, I once soaked the berries in the apple cider vinegar overnight–that made them mushy and ready for blending!
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic (we like 1 Tbs)
1 tsp dehydrated onion
1 Tbs honey (optional)
1 clamshell Blackberries (or to taste–less is just fine)*
Add ingredients and blend in a blender that will puree the berries well. Put into a jar that allows for shaking. Refrigerate the unused portion. This serves approximately 6-7 salad bowls.
*Alternatively, I’ve made this using the last of blackberry preserves–since I make my jam with honey, I omit that ingredient and add just a tad bit more oil…it works great!
A small working farmstead in Eastern Maryland not far from Washington DC . . .
We recently had an email exchange with Sally Fallon, and we wanted to share some news from the farm with you! Wilson had the pleasure of spending time on the farm firsthand and has full confidence in Sally and Geoffrey in regards to caring for the health of their animals. They have made some shifts in cow feed, finding a very creative alternative that provides the necessary nutrients for their optimal health. It was such an unusual solution, that we wanted to share it with you…dried coconut meal! They are having much success with it, and you can read more about their decision and the unfortunate event that led to finding this creative and natural, whole-foods solution.
Meanwhile, we wanted to share this post from 2013 to give you a feel for their operation!
Okay, so I am a sucker for farm tours. Some people collect decorative spoons, shot glasses or bumper stickers from places that they visit—me, I collect mud on my shoes because I want to see how other farmsteads do it.
Recently on a trip through Washington DC for business, I had the chance to stop by a particular farm in less than an hour south of the nation’s capitol called the P.A. Bowen farmstead in Brandywine, MD. It is a working farm and if you go by the Joel Salatin metric that “a farm should be aesthetically and aromatically, sensually romantic” then the P.A. Bowen farmstead is check, check and check. Some farms may stick out in your mind as special because they sell something that you really like:
Some farms are special because you got to hold your first baby livestock animal there or stepped in your first cow patty or maybe, like me, you got to milk your first cow (here I am doing just that for the first time prior to having to apologize to the cow):
For us at Pantry Paratus, this farm is VERY special because it is home to Chaya’s hero—Sally Fallon Morell, who is of course president of the Weston A. Price Foundation. It was kind of like the time I had the opportunity to visit Polyface Farms and to meet my hero, I could not pass up the opportunity to come to the farmstead on a day that Sally was giving the tour in person and was going to be signing books afterwards:
The farmstead is historic, beautiful, quaint, modern, awesome and a source for good eats all-in-one. Sally Fallon Morell and her husband Geoffrey run the farmstead as a for-profit dairy that makes pretty amazing cheese. So good in fact, that Chaya will not let me come back from any trips to DC in the future without it from now on I am sure. The whole dairy operation is amazing and very clean. The milking parlor is built as a New Zealand style where the cows are up on a flat platform and the person milking is in a sunken walkway behind the business end of the cow in a standing position as opposed to hunched over.
Afterwards, the whole thing is washed downhill out the door
All of the “waste” water is collected in that tank and sprayed onto the pasture as fertilizer.
The sign is from Geoffrey’s original dairy in New Zealand (this whole farm is so cool):
The milk is collected via a co-pulsation system into cans (which is not common in most dairies) to maintain the very hygienic standards that good cheese makers demand. I got to peak into the cheese making area which is amazingly clean; a necessity because making cheese is like making bread—it is a controlled experiment.
The farmstead produces (soy free) poultry and eggs, silviculture/pasture raised pork (nitrate and nitrite free!), pasture raised dairy products and pasture raised beef. Raw milk is not legal in MD, but cheese made with it can be sold after 60 days of aging—did I mention that it was amazing?
Napoleon the boar (I did not see Snowball anywhere):
Domingo, the Jersey Bull. All the cows are Jerseys and named after Opera stars:
You can watch this video to get more of a view of the farm:
The “waste” product called whey from the cheese making is pumped into this tank and fed to the pigs (much to their delight):
The chicken feed is soy free and ground on site. The chickens are raised on pasture for the best tasting eggs:
Sally, the greatest farmstead tour guide ever. Does anyone know what that is she is standing next to? Leave your guess in the comments section:
The small strawbale pig shelter is blocked on the prevailing wind side (open on the leeward side) which is a nice juxtaposition to the old tobacco barn which was built facing the exact same way for the same reason:
All farms are special, and I have gotten to visit some pretty cool ones in the past to which I can say that I have learned a lot from every time. Yet the P.A. Bowen farmstead is special because of what it produces and who produces it. Thank you Sally Fallon Morell for all that you do for real food!
Nothing in this blog constitutes medical advice. You should consult your own physician before making any dietary changes. Statements in this blog may or may not be congruent with current USDA or FDA guidance.