Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Is a Big Mondo Food Processor Better Than a Less Expensive One? {& a $349 value GIVEAWAY}

September 25th, 2014 · What to Buy

Is a Big Mondo Food Processor Better Than a Less Expensive One? {& a $349 value GIVEAWAY}

I’m trapped in this interesting world between my staunchly frugal nature, the urge to buy the best-sourced food possible (which means paying more and more on the food budget all the time) and a world of gadgets and natural living products that should make the TIME aspect of the real food life easier but always impact the budget portion in a serious way.

I’ve been fortunate enough in my job here at KS to review big-ticket items like a Nutrimill grain mill, Excalibur food dehydrator, and Blendtec high-powered blender (and a juicer I have never even talked about yet…but it’s terrible!). I get the items por nada as review samples (but I do work for them, don’t worry!). My question as I’m using them is always the same:

Sure, this is a great appliance and handy to have around…but is it worth the 5-10x price upgrade over an inexpensive brand or size?

Some of these items cost as much, or about half as much, as many families spend on food for an entire month! They’re equal to a major automotive repair or a brand-new grill or even entire oven – a small appliance that costs as much as a large appliance.

For some, the purchase is 100% worth it – they use the item as much as their stove, they truly can’t do a process without it, or preserving food by dehydrating or grinding grains saves enough over a few years to pay for the machine.

Today’s review item is definitely in this "big-ticket" category: it’s a $350 food processor.

(Phew, right?!)

Because of my power ball recipe (like a homemade Larabar) in my Healthy Snacks to Go eBook, people often ask me what kind of food processor I use. My answer was always that I had just borrowed my mom’s old 7-cup Cuisinart. I guessed it was about a $50 machine, although I see now that’s it’s more of a $100-200 model on Amazon (surprise! It felt small and inexpensive!).

It did everything I needed for a while:

  • handled quadruple batches of the aforementioned power balls
  • pureed batter for black bean brownies 
  • shredded cheese in bulk
  • sliced potatoes for various recipes
  • shredded zucchini for freezing, potatoes for potato pancakes, etc.
  • plus more random tasks from time to time…

But its size started to drag me down as our family grew – I wanted to make double batches of the brownies without egg and oil oozing out the top all over the machine, and I wanted to make a double batch of these chickpea wraps without having to juggle back and forth single batches because the food processor just couldn’t fit it all in.

I went on the hunt for a larger size, unsure of what I would find or price ranges.

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Three 5-Star Real Foodie Cookbooks This Fall

September 24th, 2014 · What to Buy

I don’t really buy books much anymore or have many coming into my house at all…except in one category.

Bet you can guess what that is!

Like many of you, I still appreciate a real copy of cookbooks and recipe books – something to earmark pages, drag into the kitchen to get sticky or floury fingerprints on, and be able to write notes in as I make recipes.

My mom has always had a habit of marking a short note at the top of any recipe she tries including the date and a one-word evaluation:

4/98 good!

3/04 so-so

9/14 YUM!

Guess who else has that habit? Winking smile

Typically I’ll make more notes than that nowadays since I’m always tweaking things in the kitchen, but at the very least, I can look back at recipes to see when we made it (which helps me understand what part of our real food journey we were at and how many kids might have tasted it, at this point in my life) and how it went over the first time.

That’s not as easy to do in 3 seconds with all my eBooks and online recipes, so I’m always geeked to get my hands on a "real" cookbook.

I’ve spent the better part of the last year watching friends and colleagues from around the web work HARD behind the scenes on their own "real" cookbooks – writing, testing recipes, editing, photography. I’m so thrilled to share not one, but THREE fantastic cookbooks with you today, all of which deserve to be iconic titles that represent favorite blogs: Laura from MOMables, Jessica from Good Cheap Eats (and also Life as MOM), and Lisa from 100 Days Real Food.

We’re featuring all three today as part of our back-to-school theme this week, which has included so far:

…and these books, all of which will either make school lunches 1000s of time improved or help you make quick and easy (nourishing!) dinners for those days that are just so hectic you’re not sure you’ll make it through.

Let’s jump into the books! (no fingerprints included, sorry)

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Supercharge Your Smoothies

September 23rd, 2014 · Super Foods, Tips

Supercharged Smoothies - Easy ways to up the nutrition in your morning smoothies :: via Kitchen Stewardship

Written by KS contributing writer Debra of Worth Cooking

It is official, everyone in our household is a smoothie drinker. Our 14 month old just recently began drinking them (with minimal help). An important milestone indeed. Ok, so maybe not that important. But, smoothies are a big deal around here.

While I have always had, and enjoyed, smoothies, last summer when I needed to cut out nuts, eggs, and dairy in pretty quick succession, I appreciated the humble smoothie all the more.

I reached for them for easy sources of protein (beyond the meat and beans). I even got some protein powder, but that just did not sit right with me. The pretty natural stuff did not taste good, and the yummy stuff had kind of scary ingredients. So, I began to to try and figure out natural ways of adding protein to my smoothies. 

But why stop at the colorful array of fruit and some natural protein? Why not supercharge those smoothies with foods for energy, vegetables, and supplements I had trouble taking otherwise.

6 Ways To Supercharge Your Smoothie

Switch Up The Fruits

Different fruits have different benefits, so vary it up. Make smoothies with blueberries for those antioxidants, bananas for potassium, fresh orange juice for vitamin c, beta carotene rich mangos etc. etc. Enjoy the rainbow of colors you can make, and the associated health benefits of different fruits.

Supercharged Smoothies - Easy ways to up the nutrition in your morning smoothies :: via Kitchen Stewardship

 

Add Natural Protein

There are many ways to add protein to smoothies without the powders. They might not be as incredibly high in protein, but that is because they are whole natural sources. The proteins naturally come with other macro nutrients as well.

  • Hemp Seeds- This is my go to for adding protein to my smoothie as they blend so easily into smoothies. Plus, 3 tablespoons of hemp provides 10 grams of protein. Not bad at all. Because they do take longer to blend than fruits I usually blend some with water (or milk) first and than add the rest of my ingredients. Usually just banana and ice.
  • Nut or Seed Butters – These blend in easily too. Just make sure they are not salted! Salty smoothies just aren’t tasty.
  • Soaked Nuts or Seeds – If you soak a nut or seed until soft it can easily be blended into smoothies. It can be done overnight in the fridge, or pour on hot water and let sit for 30 minutes or so. Blend with the liquid first then add the rest of the ingredients.
  • Collagen Hydrolysate – Though this sounds kind of scary, it is basically gelatin that has been treated a little differently so it won’t gel in liquids. I personally have not tried it, but hear it is good.
  • EggsIf you know where your eggs are coming from and if you are comfortable with the raw egg thing, throw in one + some extra yolks if desired. Combined with ice it can make an incredibly creamy and frothy smoothie that has healthy proteins.
  • Chia Seeds - These have the added benefit of being energizing. Not a bad deal for moms, right? You can add about 1 tablespoon per cup of smoothie without it getting overly thick.

My friend Tiffany wrote an excellent eBook all about adding natural protein to smoothies. Make sure you check out High Protein, No Powder for her great ideas. -Katie

Supplement with Herbs & Spices

I am far from an expert here, but my basic process is this- I figure out what herbs or spices I should be taking for a specific thing I am having trouble with then I try to add it to my foods in some way. If it is a “sweet” herb or spice I add some to my smoothie. If not I will go ahead and add it elsewhere.

The ones I routinely add are basil and mint as they both taste really good, and I find that they help me feel more energized and clear headed. It is not what those herbs are known for, but that is what I find they do for me.

Supercharged Smoothies - Easy ways to up the nutrition in your morning smoothies :: via Kitchen Stewardship

 

Add Some Vegetables

Smoothies aren’t exactly the most efficient way to get your veggies, but since I am already having them and I want to eat vegetables (even for breakfast) in they go.

  • A handful of greens (I usually do spinach). To get the smoothest smoothie either use a really awesome blender (which I do not have) or load the greens with liquid and blend till smooth BEFORE adding the rest of the ingredients.
  • 1/4 of an avocado per serving (any more than that and I feel like I need to add honey or maple syrup)
  • Squash, or other low flavored vegetable purees - I prefer to use frozen ice cubes of squash, but will also just use pureed squash and add ice as well. I find that I need to add a bit of additional sweetener (beyond fruit) when using squash, so usually blend in a medjool date too.

Looking for a way to take your smoothie on the go? Check out Squooshi for a variety of sizes and designs. There are fun animals for the kids and new large sizes with geometric designs for the older crowd. We love these at our house and are pleased to have Squooshi as a sponsor. -Katie

Get Your Probiotics

Chances are you are already doing this, as yogurt is a very common smoothie ingredient but if you are dairy free (which we are) it can be a little harder. Here are a some things you can add to smoothies to make them probiotic rich:

An Easier Way to take (some) Supplements & Tinctures

‘Hmm… they really liked that mint smoothie. I wonder if I should tell them it has fermented cod liver oil in it?’

This is a pretty broad idea. If being in a smoothie does not negatively effect a supplement, I say go for it. The only thing I would caution against is don’t add supplements that have a very strong (unpleasant) flavor, because then you will just have more to drink.

Other than the sneaky cod liver oil I have done an herbal multivitamin (which I made in vinegar instead of glycerin), apple cider vinegar, blackstrap molasses for it’s iron, and I want try adding some maca root after reading this article about its vitalizing affect.

Supercharged Smoothies - Easy ways to up the nutrition in your morning smoothies :: via Kitchen Stewardship

 

Naturally Sweetening Smoothies

The last thing you want to do after taking the time to supercharge a smoothie is add a bunch of sugar. Right?

Because of that I figured I could hardly finish this post without talking about natural sweeteners for those supercharged smoothies. I usually find fruit enough to sweeten my smoothies, but every so often I decide to go a bit sweeter.

  • Ripe Bananas – These add great sweetness, and are often what I use.
  • Vanilla – I always reach for this first because while maple syrup and honey are healthy sweeteners I don’t exactly need to worry about getting more of them. It gives a dessert like quality to smoothies, and in general is just really good. Vanilla is also said to be a mood lifter, which I can often use.
  • Stevia - A few drops of liquid stevia can add sweetness to your smoothies without the sugar.
  • Dates – Medjool dates blend surprisingly well so if need be I throw in one or two of those. Just make sure they are pitted!
  • HoneyHoney is a natural sweetener, and my family’s sweetener of choice. I try to not add honey to my smoothies because I do not feel like I need to take steps to get more of it.
  • Maple Syrup – Yum! My budget is not as fond of this natural sweetener, but occasionally I will add a bit anyway.

Do you enjoy smoothies? What are some ways you supercharge them? 

DebraDebra Worth is first and foremost a daughter of the king of kings. She resides in central Missouri with her husband of 6 years and three young kids. She is passionate about serving her family nutritious and delicious foods, especially after needing to cut out many foods due her family’s food intolerances. In March she started the blog Worth Cooking where she shares her healthy, delicious, and allergy friendly recipes.

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If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.

Kitchen Stewardship is dedicated to balancing God’s gifts of time, health, earth and money. If you feel called to such a mission, read more at Mission, Method, and Mary and Martha Moments.

Disclosure: There are affiliate links to Tropical Traditions in this post from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. Squooshi is a sponsor of Kitchen Stewardship receiving a complimentary mention in this post. See my full disclosure statement here.

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Monday Mission: Your Resources for a Natural Health Season

September 22nd, 2014 · Monday Missions, Natural Health

Natural Wellness for Whatever Ails You

‘Tis the season…for getting sick.

Between going back to school, the change in the weather in general and the increased "inside time" most climates experience in the fall and winter, the germs just seem to spread faster, don’t they?

Of course when you feel off (or awful) you know more sleep, more liquids (but not sugary ones), and homemade chicken stock in your soup is the first line of defense…but what else can you do without relying on over-the-counter medications, doctor’s visits, and even prescriptions?

LOTS!

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to make a commitment to at least explore natural options when your family gets sick this winter…and having resources at your fingertips is definitely the first step.

I’ve covered quite a wealth of natural remedies for illnesses and other general "feel icky" situations here at KS – which means we’ve experienced them in the past five years, to your benefit! I thought it might be a helpful start to the sick season to compile all my "get well" resources in one place for you. You can pin it, bookmark it, or put it right on your desktop to refer to when the sick bugs hit your family…

This post is sponsored by TriLight Health, where their goal, like mine, is to keep you well and get you better when you’re not. Thanks for making this information free and easy to find, TLH!

When the Sick Bugs Hit

fight infection and congestion naturally

Stock your Natural Remedies Medicine Cabinet: A little of everything, from natural antibiotics for fighting infection to cough and congestion remedies to preventative methods for avoiding the sick bugs or fighting them before they get the best of you.

More specific remedies for what ails you below…

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New Product from Katie and more!
Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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