Sunday, June 29, 2008

Meal Planning 101; Step #2

Now that you have completed Step #1, we will continue on to the next step, which may or may not apply to you. This is for those starting out from nothing or never really made a pantry! This step is done once a year or once every 2 years, depending on usage. So Step #2 is:

Stock your pantry

This isn't completely a must, but I find that it helps me have more "luxury" items each month. Everyone has something in their pantry.......right? Well we didn't when we moved from Alaska to Washington in 2006, so we had to start all over and stock up a pantry. I had to buy spices and the basic dry ingredients that most people already have on hand. So if you already have these items, then skip this step.

Here is the list of things that I stocked up my pantry with:
  • Flour
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Spices/Seasonings
  • Oil
  • Dry Milk
  • Cornmeal
  • Cornstarch
  • Oats
  • Non-stick spray
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Shortening

I'm assuming most of you are not starting from nothing, but have most of these above in your pantry anyway. Am I right? If so, you really don't need to do this step. I simply put it in here because we started from the "ground up" when we moved. We didn't really have anything and had to start over.

You will find that if you keep these items continually on hand, your meal planning will be much easier! Say one month, you get some beans, the next some flour. Or you can do it all at once, one time a year or every other year.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Meal Planning 101 Course; Step #1

Ok ya'll, we are going to go real sloooowwwww so everyone can get each step and all that I will be sharing.  If you have ANY questions about THE STEP, leave a comment on the post.

The very first thing I do and you should too, is:


I pray and ask God to help me plan the meals and to do it on as less money as I can and to where my family is eating healthy at the same time.  I want to be a good steward of what God has given me and provide healthy, wholesome meals for my family, all the while saving money for other things for them (and me).

So everyone take a moment to pray to God for wisdom and help to do a meal plan for your family!

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Frozen Produce

I'm going to start giving some explanation before I get into the whole Meal Planning 101 Course. A lot of the vegetables and some fruit that we buy are frozen. However, I do buy certain items "fresh" for salads and snacking, such as spinach, cucumbers, celery and carrots. Then for fruit, I buy my bananas, kiwi, oranges and apples "fresh". The rest are mostly frozen and here is why:

Some of you know I was a personal trainer a few years ago and I also studied Nutrition for a full year. What I learned then and still practice today is eating a large portion of my vegetables (and fruit) in the frozen form. The reason for this is because as soon as the produce is ready to be picked, it is flash frozen and thus locks in the (more) nutrients. Fresh produce is still nutritious but the LONGER it sits out, the lower the nutrient content. As for canned produce, I only buy canned tomato products and canned pumpkin. (Growing your own vegetables would be the "optimal" healthy thing to do. I did that last year growing my own tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and peppers but didn't do it this year but I may still do some tomato plants)

Let's think about the process here for "fresh" produce: The produce is ready to be gathered/picked. It is then hauled to a truck and then transferred to the warehouse or processing plant. Then from there it goes to each individual company and then from there put on another truck to whatever state and then eventually makes it to the store! That is a lot of time, whereas the other process of freezing is immediate.

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Seasonal Produce

For reference, here is a list from Wikipedia:

Although in the United States most produce is available year-round, produce is at its best and cheapest in the season it is harvested. Seasonality of produce depends on the region. Below is a general list of seasonality for United States produce.

Spring fruits are apricots, pineapple, strawberries, and mango. Spring vegetables for spring are peas (sugar snap and snow) and more delicate cabbages including mustard greens, baby lettuce, baby spinach and watercress. Also in season are artichoke, asparagus, avocado, new potatoes, rhubarb.

Summer fruits include some berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries) and stone fruit (nectarines, peaches, and plums) as well as melons. Summer vegetables include beets, corn, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, tomatoes, zucchini.

Autumn fruits includes apples, grapes, figs, pears, and pomegranates. Autumn vegetables include many cultivars of wild cabbage (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, endives, and kale). Root vegetables (garlic, ginger, parsnips, turnips and yams) and winter squash (acorn squash, butternut squash and pumpkins) are also in season. Corn is in season and peas, seasonal in spring, are also seasonal in late autumn.

Winter fruits include citrus (clementines, grapefruit, oranges, and lemons) and pomegranates. Winter vegetables include hardier cabbages (kale, leeks, raddicchio, and Brussels sprout). Also seasonal in winter are some root vegetables (rutabaga, turnips, and radishes) as well as winter squash.

Some produce, such as onions, lettuce and spinach, are seasonal year-round.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Do We Love the Word Preached?

I've been reading a book by Thomas Watson called "The Godly Man's Picture" and it has been a good read thus far! Here is an excerpt from a section "Do we love the Word preached?":

" we love the holiness of the Word (Psa. 119:140)? The Word is preached to beat down sin and advance holiness. Do we love it for its spirituality and purity? Many love the Word preached only for its eloquence and notion. They come to a sermon as to a performance (Ezek. 33:31,32) or as to a garden to pick flowers, but not to have their lusts subdued or their hearts bettered. These are like a foolish woman who paints her face but neglects her health.

Again, do we love the convictions of the Word? Do we love the Word when it comes home to our conscience and shoots its arrows of reproof at our sins? It is the minister's duty sometimes to reprove. He who can speak smooth words in the pulpit, but does not know how to reprove, is like a sword with a fine hilt but without an edge. "Rebuke them sharply" (Titus 2:15). Dip the nail in oil, reprove in love, but strike the nail home. Now Christian, when the Word touches on your sin and says, "You are the man", do you love the reproof? Can you bless God that "the sword of the Spirit" has divided between you and your lusts? This is indeed a sign of grace and shows that you are a lover of the Word.

A corrupt heart loves the comforts of the Word, but not the reproofs: "They hate him that rebuketh in the gate." (Amos 5:10). "Their eyes flash with fire!" Like venomous creatures that at the least touch spit poison, "When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth." (Acts 7:54). When Stephen touched them to the quick, they were mad and could not endure it.

Question: How shall we know that we love the reproofs of the Word?

Answer 1: When we desire to sit under a heart-searching ministry. Who cares for medicines that will not work? A godly man does not choose to sit under a ministry that will not work upon his conscience.

Answer 2: When we pray that the Word may meet with our sins. If there is any traitorous lust in our heart, we would have it found out and executed. We do not want sin covered, but cured. We can open our breast to the bullet of the Word and say, "Lord, smite this sin."

Answer 3: When we are thankful for a reproof: "Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities." (Psa. 141:5). David was glad of a reproof. Suppose a man were in the mouth of a lion, and another should shoot the lion and save the man, would he not be thankful? So, when we are in the mouth of sin, as of a lion, and the minister by a reproof shoots this sin to death, shall we not be thankful? A gracious soul rejoices when the sharp lance of the Word has pierced his abscess. He wears a reproof like a jewel on his ear: "As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear." (Prov. 25:12). To conclude, it is convincing preaching which must do the soul good. A nipping reproof prepares for comfort, as a nipping frost prepares for the sweet flowers of spring."

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Clearing Things Up

You would think people would read my sidebar where it states I don't post for debates and I don't approve comments as such. Yet, you always have those who want to stir up whatever they can.....sigh. CLEAR up what others may have took to mean something else let me make myself clear on the bearing children issue. Since I have received many comments from both sides and accusations, of which were grounded on them not reading the ENTIRE post or other posts about the same topic......let's set my stance straight here:

I do not take birth control pills.

I personally, don't take birth control and believe its wrong especially when taken with the motive of "I don't care what God wants, I'm not having kids" attitude. Take that up with him, but as for us, we don't take the actual pills because of research that shows it can kill an actual pregnancy and you won't even know it. I don't want to risk killing a fertilized egg and I don't care how you think they are safe.......I don't even want to get near the gray area!

Next, I also do not stand with those who let the babies come whenever. God has a plan, and wants us to use wisdom and do things according to HIS will. You should seek God in all things.

Also if the mother would die or is medically unable to bear a pregnancy, then HELLO should not try for one. There are methods that do not have chances of killing already fertilized eggs that you can use to prevent pregnancy in these situations and when it isn't God's timing. Those methods, I agree with.....I don't think we really need to go into detail about that.

I have prayed over the years to have children when it is God's will and ONLY when it is his will. Our first child was purely at a time when God opened my womb! I was sterile and unable to have children but after praying, God blessed and my miracle baby was born! HALLELUJAH!

Of course when I say God's will, I'm talking about the is his will for women to bear children but I also want to do it in HIS timing, when it is right.

So there you have it.....and no I didn't publish the comments and most of the time I don't even finish reading them if the first few words are debate-style. Just stating where I stand, so there is no confusion.

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