I grew up in a restaurant, not that we lived there…well, at least we didn’t sleep there. I remember getting up in the morning, going to school, walking home and either walking to the restaurant or my parents picking me up and taking me to work with them. We would usually go home in time for bed. The office had a TV, small table, desk, a couple chairs and was about 10 ft by 12 ft. While I can complain on and on about how miserable it was (and most of the time it was) I learned so much from growing up in a self-owned and operated business.
One of the things I did not learn was how to cook…at all. We always ordered our food from the cook (I know, cushy life) and took our dishes to the dishwasher (cushy, cushy.) We rarely observed a meal being prepared, let alone helped in the preparation of a meal. We rarely saw how a home should operate as mom did the cleaning after we went to bed and paid bills in the morning before the restaurant opened. We did, however, learn good work ethic and the value of someone who isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty. We learned wonderful social skills and at a young age could hold conversation with people from all walks of life and all ages. We learned that work was not always fun, and we learned that fun was sometimes work.
- The twins playing in the kitchen after a busy night…they like to stir in all the odds and end bowls. Thankfully there is a BIG dishwasher right behind where I took the picture from!
Then I got married. My poor husband slowly began starving. Kidding! He knew how to cook more than I did. He could make Hamburger Helper and he could make homemade chocolate chip cookies. I remember the first time he made cookies for me thinking what a wonderful guy I married. To this day, I love to cook with him in the kitchen cooking along with me. When we built our kitchen, I wanted to make sure the island was far enough from the counters so that we both could easily move and work together in the kitchen.
Back to our first year of bliss in the kitchen. I kept getting migraine headaches, bad ones that would have me crawling into darkness with a pillow over my head. I finally narrowed it to Hamburger Helper and a few other “meal-in-a-box” type things. In retrospect I suspect it was MSG as if I ingest it in a fair quantity now I will get a migraine. I was forced to learn to cook and boy was it scary. My poor spouse probably never knew what was going to be on the table when he got home and looked forward to Wednesday nights when I worked late at the jewelry store and he could eat whatever he wanted without fear. I had to call my mom to make a baked potato (what temp, how long), to figure out what meat to buy for a roast, etc.
That was ten years ago. I like cooking at home and my skills slowly developed from there. I’ve already blogged some about how we got to where we are with eating whole foods, raw dairy, and meat raised the way it was meant to (cows were not meant to eat grain, they are supposed to eat grass.) I know I still have much to learn and these last few months I came away with something I find significant. When you learn something that is exciting to you, you feel the need to share it and share I will.
Starting with next week’s food plan the girls (older two) will help me and we will start by planning a non-starchy vegetable first. Then plan our meal around that. Not that we are ditching meat, we’re just starting our planning with the veggie and a non-starchy one at that.
In the future I would like for at least one and preferable two meals to be divided in four parts. Two parts non-starchy vegetable, one part protein, and one part whole carbs. So if I were looking at my plate I want one half of that plate to be non-starchy vegetables and the other half divided between carbs and protein. I’ve really come to believe that ratios or categories are just as important as calories. I also believe, through what I have learned, that this will not only help me drop the baby weight that is no longer excusable (my birth babies are 6 and 7, don’t think adopted twins count for baby weight), but it will also help our overall health and energy levels.
At the end of this post you’ll find a list of non-starchy vegetables. Some of them are debatable (tomatoes) but this seems to be as good a list as I can come up with in the time that I have. My goal is to try this for two months and see where we all stand in mid-October. If I eat my words, so be it, I know I won’t be doing anything detrimental to my families health in eating more veggies. If I’m right, well then you’ll have two months worth of menu plans that you can try for free and hopefully it will work for you too! We have a vacation in there as well, so it will be interesting to see how well we can accommodate the new menu ideas while at a big-time amusement park…that’s right, we’re going to Disney World and I hope to blog the vacation! That’s coming up in just over three weeks (my goodness I’ve got to start thinking about what to take, who will watch the dog, and so forth…the panic a mom goes through before any vacation!) There is also a short camping trip that just my husband and I will be taking in two weeks…no children, our best friends meeting us there for one night. Wonder how I’ll work in those non-starchy’s when camping?
So, while not earth shattering, there it is. I plan on getting the kids involved by teaching them what their plate should look like, when it’s okay to eat special foods/fun foods/sweets/junk (you can’t completely eliminate it, I’ve tried), what is a starchy veggie and what is a non-starchy, and to start letting them plan one of our meals each week. I know if I have them involved it will help them not mind the change so much and keep them excited about eating healthy and helping in the kitchen. In fact, they really are getting to the age that they can help prepare most of the meal they plan. No, not slave labor, any mom knows a kid helping in the kitchen is harder than doing it yourself. The long-term investment for their health is immeasurable…besides their personal health I’ve got future (way, way in the future) grandchildren to think about!
Sprouts (bean, alfalfa, etc.)
Greens – lettuces, spinach, chard, etc.
Hearty Greens – collards, mustard greens, kale, radicchio and endive
Herbs – parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.
Sea Vegetables (Nori, etc)
Cabbage (or sauerkraut)
Cucumber (or fermented pickles, no sugars)
Peppers (all kinds)
Summer Squash (including zucchini)
Scallions or green onions
Snow Peas (pods)
Green Beans and Wax Beans
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