Food Goals for 2013 {Eat Well Spend Less}

Our family does not have a ton of food goals for this year, as we are doing fairly well at maintaining the goals set in previous years. We are definitely not perfect, and have backslid in a few areas. As always, these are goals for our family; do what works for you and your family!

We have reduced the number of processed foods by quite a bit, and those foods are rarely seen in our kitchen. One of my favorite {easy and quick!} resources is the Easy. Homemade. eBook, written by my friend Mandi. This eBook is clear and concise, and is full of wonderfully easy recipes to replace processed favorites. Another {new!} favorite is Katie Kimball’s Better than a Box, which is a fantastic guide on real food cooking, reverse engineering processed foods, and creative recipe development.

Our family food goals for 2013

Reduce the sugar. Again. We have slowly fallen back into some of our old sugary habits, even after a fairly successful sugar challenge last summer. Shane and I want to limit the sugar we have in our home, that way when we are out, we can let the girls make their own choices without being too strict on sugar intake. Of course, we will still monitor it and not let them go overboard, but if we are carefully limiting sugar at home to better sweeteners, I will feel okay with them having the not-so-good sweets outside the house on occasion.

Meleah (age 4) cooked scrambled eggs by herself!

Include the girls in meal planning and preparation whenever possible and as often as possible. The girls love to help me in the kitchen, and as a card-carrying member of the Type-A Club, I sometimes have a hard time slowing down and getting on their level so they can learn. I am much better than I used to be, but I definitely still need to work on this.

I recently finished the book French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters, and while I’m not on board with everything the French seem to do food-wise (I am definitely an on-demand feeder when it comes to Cam… the poor kid would spend most of his day screaming if he ate on the French schedule. Ha!), I love several of the author’s “rules.” I definitely want to work on implementing a few of them throughout the year.

Abby Grace making a pie crust

{French Rule} I am in charge of my children’s food education. Having a healthy knowledge of food can help us assist our children in making wise food choices. I plan to do baby-led weaning with Cam. I did it with Meleah, and even though she is in a fussy stage now where food is concerned (I think it is her age, and that she’s too busy to eat), she was a super eater when she was a baby. I am getting so much inspiration from Aimee’s posts on BLW with her daughter Clara.

{French Rule} Do not eat the same main dish more than once per week. That’s going to take some creative menu planning, because I tend to stick with the same main dishes {blush}.

Making biscuits

{French Rule} You don’t have to like it, but you do have to taste it. We do this pretty well, but it’s worth mentioning. Taking a bite won’t hurt, even though it can feel painful when you are dealing with a super-picky/fussy eater. I sympathize, believe me. Meleah likes to begin the meal (even meals she likes!) with, “How many bites do I have to eat?” So, I definitely need to work on this area!

{French Rule} Take our time, for both cooking and eating. This is going to be a hard one, because well… it’s hectic in the evenings, even for us homeschoolers. It always feels like there aren’t enough hours in a day as it is, and to take time to actually savor a meal? It’s almost unheard of. We do sit down as a family to eat our evening meal, and we almost always have a, what-was-your-favorite-part-of-the-day discussion, so we aren’t exactly wolfing down our meals. But I know we aren’t spending the time at the table that we should.

Grow a garden. Again. Nothing is tastier to me than something freshly plucked from a garden, preferably a garden our family has grown. I have attempted gardening for the last several years, and each year it gets slightly better. I’m not exactly someone with a green thumb; I’m not even sure if my thumb is brown, I’m such a bad gardener! Surely this year is my year!

Strive toward the eating lifestyle we want to achieve: cooking at home, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and nary a box in sight. This may seem a lofty goal, but I believe it is doable. There are times when eating out {or from a box} is just easier. I would like those times to be fewer and farther between so when we do choose to eat out, it isn’t because there is nothing to eat at home, but because it’s a treat.

Have you made food goals this year? What are they?

photo credit: Calsidyrose

This month we are going back to the basics. Read more great tips, ideas, and recipes here:

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Eat Well Spend Less: Have a Great Holiday on a Budget

Are you wanting to have a great holiday, but keep it within a budget? Well look no further! Our Eat Well, Spend Less series this month is focusing on having a fantastic holiday without spending a lot of money.

  • Aimee’s husband Danny creates tasty mini Tourtière Hand Pies that are perfect for any holiday party… or keeping for yourself!
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Dump the Box: Make Your Own Pie Crust {Eat Well Spend Less}

This time of year, the dessert of choice at any of our holiday gatherings is pie. Pecan, Apple, or Pumpkin, it doesn’t matter, as long as it is encased in a flaky, homemade crust.

I actually don’t think I have ever bought a crust from a box; for me it is much cheaper and easier to make at home.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Abby Grace (who is 8 years old) decided she wanted to make all of the crusts for our holiday pies. I turned her loose, and she is now our “official” pie crust maker.

Many people are intimidated by the thought of making their own crust, but it really is easier than you might think. All it takes is a little practice!

How to Make a Homemade Pie Crust

1. Gather your ingredients. You will need 1 1/2 cup of flour (I use unbleached, all-purpose), 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup of cold butter (or shortening, if you prefer), and 1/4 cup cold water.

2. Measure out the flour. Use a spoon to carefully fill your measuring cup. Be sure to over-fill, and then use the flat edge of a knife to shave off the excess. Pour the measured flour into a sifter.

3. Measure out the salt and add it to the flour. If you don’t have a sifter, pour it into your bowl and carefully use a whisk to mix them together.

4. Measure out the butter or shortening. I like to cut the butter up before adding it to my flour/salt mixture. Work the butter into the mixture with a pastry cutter or fork. Mix it until the mixture is hanging together in clumps.

5. Now it’s time to get down and dirty! Add the water to your mixture a little at a time. Work in the water with the pastry cutter or fork or your hands. I prefer to use my hands. Sometimes I have to add a little more water than the recipe calls for. You will know you need to do this if you have quite a bit of flour not sticking to the ball of dough you are making.

6. Shape the dough into a disc and let it chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. When you are ready to roll out your crust, place it on a well-floured surface. Keep extra flour handy, because you may need to add more to your surface or to your rolling pin.

7. Rub flour all over your rolling pin and begin rolling out your dough, starting at the end closest to you and working your way out. Pick up your rolling pin and start again at the end closest to you, and work your way out. Repeat this until your dough measures about 12 to 16 inches across, and is evenly flat.

8. Carefully pull up the edges of the crust and wrap the end around the rolling pin. Work the crust back and forth carefully to loosen it from your surface. Lay your crust in the pie plate. Crimp the edges however you wish.

9. Add your favorite filling, and bake as directed. Enjoy!

This month the Eat Well, Spend Less crew is showing you how to have a great holiday on a budget. Read more great tips, ideas, and recipes here:

Written by: Amy Norton
Amy is a youth pastor’s wife and homeschooling mom to three girls, ages 8, 6, and 4, and an new baby boy. When she’s not writing at Kingdom First Mom, you can find her cooking, getting crunchier by the day, and trying to stay on top of the laundry. She enjoys writing about her family, homeschooling, and life adventures at Amy Loves It.

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