Monthly Archives: April 2010
Thanks Darcy for passing it around!
“Many Christian parents, myself included, tend to speak to children as though they were Pharisees. We can speak harshly and with judgment, implying by our manner that their hearts are hard and resistant. But this attitude is not justified by Scripture. There is no record of Jesus ever speaking to a a child in a harsh tone. When the Gospels record Him speaking to a child, it is always with gentleness. Our children are not our adversaries. Though our children’s hearts are corrupted by sin, they are not hardened sinners who have made conscious choices to reject the Savior. Our children are simply immature and childish. That’s why children need love and compassion, not harshness and guilt.” ~ Clay Clarkson in Heartfelt Discipline
The other night at the end of supper, I told everyone I was clearing the table and would be bringing in dessert. Since I have been limiting “dessert” to a once a week event, I knew I would receive a positive response.
Soon I brought in bowls full of strawberries, cool and delicious, large and colorful. Everyone was enthused, even my mom who has the biggest sweet tooth I have ever seen. As I got up from the table to bring in hot tea, I heard her whisper to Joe, “Oh, these aren’t even sweetened. Why didn’t your mother sweeten them?” I had to laugh because as I popped the first one out of the box and into my mouth, I was thrilled to enjoy the familiar taste of a real spring strawberry and the natural sweetness we had waited all winter to taste.
My mom’s response was more than stating her preference; it was representative of the way her generation and much of mine has thought about food. Bananas had to be enveloped with strawberry Jello, apples had to be baked in a crust, fresh raspberries were served with ice cream. And that is just the dessert side of it.
My dad, on the other hand, could have been a vegetarian and when he was still living, they always ate healthy foods. He spent most of his free time in his garden and during about four months of the year, vegetables were the centerpiece of most meals. But as they got older and cooking and shopping were more difficult, my mom resorted to many meals that were pre-prepared and developed a taste for them, or them, at least for the additives they contained.
I love to cook and especially love old-fashioned recipes that call for real ingredients. There is nothing wrong with eating fried chicken or chocolate cake as long as they are not the standard fare every day. All efforts on my part to lose weight in the past have resorted to regaining it simply because I tried to lose weight by eating low fat diet foods and would eventually just be sick of not eating real food. Then I would crave sugary, rich foods and be back at square one. This time and after losing the first 15 pounds, I have another plan.
A year or so ago, we watched a documentary called King Corn that blew my mind. I live here in the Midwest, surrounded by fields of corn, and yet had no idea how much of that corn ends up in food products and is a leading contributor to major diseases. I began looking at labels on products in the grocery store and was amazed to discover the truth of these claims for myself.
I also came across two interesting books called In Defense of Food and Food Rules by journalist Michael Pollan and have come to realize that his seven simple words for healthful eating are true: eat food, not too much, mostly plants. Pollan lists his 64 rules for healthful cooking and eating, most of them so practical I think most moms could have written this book.
So what does this have to do with minimalist living?
Here are just a few ways that I am trying to incorporate healthy cooking and eating into my life and because they are so simple and easy and make this part of life so much less complicated, they are minimalist! Many of these things I have done my whole life but am being more conscientious and purposeful in doing them these days. I am in process but can already feel the benefits! Here is my own list:
Bake homemade bread regularly. If I can’t bake it fresh every day, I don’t beat myself up. I buy a couple loaves of whole grain bread and bake again as soon as I can. The Artisan Breads Method has been a lifesaver and the whole grains are the best and easiest I have ever made.
Drink 10 glasses of water every day.
Don’t drink any pop or sweetened beverages except the occasional Pomegranate Lemonade! Experiment with delicious varieties of tea and coffee.
Keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter that include apples, bananas, oranges and pears. If I am not hungry enough to eat an apple, I am not hungry.
Eat 40 grams of fiber each day, mostly fresh vegetables. This requires going to the store several times each week to be sure to get fresh produce so would be more difficult if I didn’t live 5 minutes from the grocery store. I also shop at the Farmer’s Market when it is open and prefer buying from local farmers or gardeners than the store. I am trying to eat things as close to the way they are grown as possible. I have been experimenting with roasting all sorts of fresh produce with rave reviews from the family. Typically I choose 4 or 5 different vegetables and clean them, slicing when necessary but not peeling, and arrange them in a roasting pan. I drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with a variety of seasonings and a little coarse salt and fresh ground pepper. I go down the produce section first in the store, choosing what is on special or in season and have those veggies as the main part of the meal. And can I just say sweet potatoes rock!!!!!
Have a fresh leafy salad once or twice a day. Lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper whisked together makes the best dressing.
Stock my cupboard with a variety of grains, rices, and pastas. It is amazing how wonderful pasta can be served without meat but with roasted vegetables and fresh bread!
Learn how to make a perfect omelet. The secret ingredients are patience and medium low heat. Eggs are good for you and make a simple and economical supper. There is nothing like an omelet with fresh mushrooms that were sautéed in olive oil and garlic!
Pollan quotes the old Chinese proverb that says “Eating what stands on one leg (mushrooms and plant foods) is better than eating what stands on two lets (fowl), which is better than what stands on four legs (cows, pigs, other mammals).” So my preferred meat of choice is chicken, followed by beef but both in moderate quantities. I am trying some more recipes with beans, too, and they are especially good in chili and other Mexican dishes.
Eat real fats that are good for you like olive oil and avocado. Butter is better than margarine.
Low fat milk products are good as long as they don’t contain fake sweeteners. Mix fresh fruit with plain low fat yogurt.
Cook and eat at home. We do have dinner out once a week on date night but most of the time I am doing all the cooking.
Get all the family on the same page. I am currently weaning the guys off of Mountain Dew and they are down to having it only one a week. Disgusting. Aside from my mom’s sugar withdrawal, it is going well.
I will keep you posted and would love to hear ideas from anyone else who is trying to incorporate minimalist ideals in meal preparation.
“Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, forbearance, patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles, a readiness to take part in childish joys, these are the cords by which a child may be led most easily, these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart.” ~ J. C. Ryle
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9
I have been involved in an evangelism Bible study and yesterday our teacher shared this story with us. I kept thinking of how important it is to remember that salvation is of the Lord and our responsibility is to present the Gospel, in word and in deed, and to trust the Lord for the increase. Sometimes we forget this as moms and what an awesome reminder this story is! May we be as faithful to Christ and may we begin in our homes!
My daughter, Mollie, was recently interviewed for CafeMom. Check it out as well as her Etsy shop with all her lovely paper creations. See, there is hope if you have one of these mess makers in your own house right now!!! When Mollie says she has always made things out of paper, she is telling the truth!
Well, if Everett Bogue, poor boy, ever visits my house, just seeing my library would probably put him into some sort of minimalist coma. I think seeing my kitchen might have the same effect, though I imagine I might be able to revive him with a loaf of homemade flaxseed bread or a light and yummy mushroom omelet. The Culinary Temptress, that’s me. If you could just see the work I was able to get out of the grown men in this house yesterday with the promise of two perfect rhubarb pies, you would be convinced of my power.
I have spent much of the last couple of weeks going through my kitchen cupboards with the goal of minimizing the number of actual cooking items I own. I think I have done pretty well considering I still own some of the waterless cookware I purchased from Darryl Gomes, before I was married. (Darryl was trying to earn money for college and probably knew nothing about cooking but he was a great basketball player and sort of cute so I bought the pans.)
It is obvious that the kitchen, primarily my domain in this house, is certainly the place where minimalist thinking is going to be tough. I can assuage the guilt by remembering that most minimalists do not include community owned items in their under-100 lists and I did send a large tub of unnecessary items out the door last week.
I toyed with the idea of getting rid of most of the specialty pans but changed my mind as I thought about the pleasure it gives me to bake and cook interesting food gifts around the holidays and even during the week for my own family. This is what I did keep, excluding the utensils. Sorry Everett.
Two 9 X 12 glass baking pans
Six glass pie plates
One beautiful pink ceramic pie plate, a gift from a special friend and beautiful with a rosy rhubarb pie inside!
Six stainless steel bread pans
Six miniature bread pans
One French bread pan
One large tart pan
Eight miniature tart pans
Three spring form pans, various sizes
One miniature heart shaped spring form pan (I had to save this one since it is for the anniversary cheese cake that goes in Clay’s lunch box every year!)
Four large cookie sheets
One large cooling rack
One angel food cake pan
One large bundt cake pan (keep thinking of Tulu’s mother saying “booonnnnt”
Six miniature bundt cake pans
Two muffins tins for large muffins
Two muffin tins for miniature muffins
Two stock pots
One Dutch oven
One large, restaurant sized colander (Looks cool hanging from the pot rack and was quite handy when all the boys were still home and I needed to make 3 pounds of pasta at one time.)
One normal sized colander
One small but tall colander that is perfect for asparagus or strawberries and is also quite cute.
Assorted sizes of sauce pots and pans with lids
Assorted sizes of skillets
Three stainless steel mixing bowls
Three plastic mixing bowls
Two guacamole/salsa bowls
Three glass salad bowls
Eight glass salad serving bowls
Two enamel pop corn bowls
Six casserole dishes with lids, various sizes
Service for 36 of Syracuse restaurant dishes
(This is one of the best purchases I ever made for my kitchen. If you visit a restaurant supply store, you can often find used dishes that are in wonderful condition and they are so sturdy and practical for a family. I intended to get service for 24 but when I bought them had to buy them in a 3-dozen lot. It may seem like a lot of dishes but when you have a large and growing family or if you like to have other families for a meal, you would be surprised at how wonderful it is. My set includes dinner plates, dessert plates, cereal bowls, fruit bowls, large soup bowls, cups and saucers and mugs. They are off-white and look beautiful on a variety of table cloths and dressed up or down.)
Two sets of goblets, one green, one clear, 12 each.
One set everyday glassware, maybe 12, maybe not.
Assorted children’s plastic plates and cups
One cupboard full of assorted vases, glass trays, four cake stands, one with a glass lid, and small dishes for serving relishes and candies.
Three tea pots, three sets of creamer and sugar bowls.
Set of 12 dime store ice cream dishes on pedestals
Set of six parfait glasses that had been used in the Pere Marquette Hotel dining room in Peoria during the 1930’s. Ok, who doesn’t need these, I ask you?
Random mugs I keep around to send coffee out the door with someone
One Commercial Size Kitchen-Aid Mixer
One 4-slice toaster
One Cuisinart food processor
One coffee grinder
One 12-cup coffee maker
One tea kettle
One tub of cookie decorating equipment and about 100 cookie cutters
hand operated pasta maker and pasta drying rack
grain grinder and other attachments for Kitchen-Aid
Next I will talk about minimalist cooking and some of the changes I have been trying to make.
Another sweet Campbell grandbaby is on the way and this little buddy will be the big brother! Please pray for a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery for Janel.
A new daughter-in-law will join the family soon and we are thrilled! Julie will be graduating with honors in a couple weeks with a Bachelors in Nursing and has landed the job of her dreams! We are so proud of her! We look forward to a beautiful wedding, a great time of fellowship with the whole family, and some great pictures of fancy schmancy dresses on granddaughters if I can get organized!!
And, though it isn’t near as exciting, but perhaps it could be life-changing, I am reorganizing my book review pages. Be sure to check out the main page for a little background on how I review books and then watch for additions to the page coming soon!
“Everything really great begins with garlic. Except maybe chocolate chip cookies.” ~ Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman