Changes are coming…

Ok, so this is probably the longest post I will ever write, so I apologize in advance…

I have been pondering this post for a while now. It has been a little over three years since my last post. A lot of things have changed! The changes that have the most relevance to this blog are our dietary changes. So, first a little background…

Four years ago, I had a sweet little baby girl. While we were over the moon about the new addition to our family, her birth was the beginning of a completely different way of life.

As you can probably see, from previous posts, we had the standard American diet (SAD) four years ago. After my daughter was born, I suffered from many health issues…some of them were very scary. Directly following her birth, my blood pressure began to climb. Slowly at first…then it escalated. It got so high that I found myself in the hospital hooked to machines to monitor my heart and blood pressure. I was in danger of a stroke or heart attack.

After a subsequent visit to the doctor, I was placed on blood pressure meds. They made me feel sick and shaky all the time. When I asked how long I had to be on the pills I was told that it would be for the rest of my life. I asked about dietary changes to control my BP and my doctor told me to avoid butter and lots of fat, but basically my diet wouldn’t affect my BP that much.

This information didn’t sit right with me so I began to research. My research was the beginning of a complete change in our lifestyle.

We started off slowly and prayerfully, changing things here and there. Some of the first changes included removing all inflammatory oils and hydrogenated oils from our diet (canola, cottonseed, soy, vegetable oils, etc.) and replacing them with healthy fats (coconut oil, avocado oil, butter, non-hydrogenated lard, olive oil, etc.). We also got rid of any foods that had any version of soy in it (soy causes inflammation and damages the thyroid) and anything with high fructose corn syrup.

Two weeks after making these changes I was off of all blood pressure medications. This made me wonder, if we changed our diet further would our other problems heal? I was convicted by a Christian comedian when I watched this routine:Tim Hawkins Food Prayer How many times had I asked God to bless the junk food I was about to eat for the nourishment of my body?

Even though we had made some changes, I knew God was not done with us and how we ate. I realized, through scripture, just how much pride God took in our health and well-being.

Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse. As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Daniel 1:12-17

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I realized that we were not taking care of our bodies the way God intended, so I began seeking Him even more for whatever changes He had for us to make.

Through this we also discovered that Celiac disease ran in our family. For those who might need a refresher in what Celiac is, basically it is an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten which interferes with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. It causes damage to the small intestines which can eventually lead to other autoimmune disorders, certain cancers, thyroid damage and a lot of other serious problems. Often people do not have any symptoms, or the symptoms are explained away as other things (heartburn, IBS, eczema…many seemingly different things). I realized that just because I was thin, did not mean I was healthy.

So, here is where we are now…we eat very little sugar of any sort, no high fructose corn syrup, no soy, no inflammatory oils or hydrogenated oils, nothing containing gluten, very few artificial colors or flavorings…basically…no processed foods!

What do we eat? Lots and lots of vegetables, high fat foods like avocados healthy oils, butter, yogurt and cheese…lots of cheese. We eat meat, preferably pasture raised and hormone/antibiotic free. We eat a lot of eggs! And who can forget…uncured bacon!

Not all of these changes may be for everyone. And as with anything, if you are looking to change for your health I would advise going slowly and prayerfully. It is very difficult and overwhelming to revamp too much of your diet too soon.

I will say that we enjoy eating this way. Some changes have been harder than others and sometimes we miss some of the old foods. We do not miss how they made us feel though.

Since we have changed our diets we have healed a lot. My blood pressure is normal with no medications, bloated bellies are gone, one kid’s chronic skin rash disappeared, chronic nose bleeds and upset tummies after eating are gone. When I was younger, I suffered a severe head injury that caused neurological pain on my right side. It wasn’t constant, but it was easily triggered and would cause severe, cold pain from my head (on the right side) down my spine and down my right arm. I haven’t had that pain in two years and there have been plenty of things that would normally trigger it.  So many things are better! Are we perfect? Nah, we have a long way to go…but things are a lot better!

Anyway, I say all of this to let you know that things are changing on here too. I suppose our diet is much different, which means the recipes that I will post from now on will be different. No more highly processed comfort foods. I will try as I go along to give some of our reasons, resources and research that help understand why we made the changes that we did.

I hope that this blog will be a help to anyone looking to make some changes and regain their health. To that end, I will say a brief word about blog etiquette. I shouldn’t have to, but I notice that more than ever people seem to forget their manners when visiting someone else’s site. I know most of you that visit here would never do any of these things, but for anyone else venturing on to this site… I moderate all comments and do not allow any that are mean spirited. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but if it bullies or belittles anyone then it will not be allowed here. I hope that everyone will feel welcome here no matter where you are at in your diet. Everyone must go at their own pace and no one will be looked down upon for whatever stage you are in. There are lots of ways to do things and constructive sharing will be accepted so that we all might learn from it. There, hopefully I have dispensed with the unpleasant stuff.

I am sorry again for the length of this post. Next time I hope to be back with some lovely recipes and pretty food pictures! In the meantime, thank you for bearing with me!

Sour Cream Raisin Pie

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So…It’s been a while… Life here has been busy as usual with homeschooling, daily activities, a couple of minor surgeries and birthdays. My baby girl turned a year old in December! She is such a sweet little girl! I can’t believe she is getting so big already! My other kids are all chomping at the bit waiting for spring. They are ready to spend their days outdoors, riding their bikes and playing. And while I enjoyed  winter, I am ready for spring too!

Lately, I have been making a lot of the foods that I grew up eating. Today I made a Sour Cream Raisin Pie.  I love this pie because not only is it delicious but it is very simple to make!

You will need:

1 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup sour cream

3 eggs, slightly beaten

2 cups raisins

1 unbaked pie shell

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Combine all ingredients

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Pour into uncooked pie shell.

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Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes then reduce oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30 more minutes.

Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving. A little whipped cream on top makes it extra yummy!:)

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Jello Cream Squares

I hope that everyone is enjoying their Labor day weekend!:) We are spending our weekend  laboring, hehe. My husband and dad are in the process of turning one of the basement rooms into an office! Perhaps I will share more on that later.:)

Today I wanted to share an easy treat: Jello Cream Squares. These things are very addictive!

You will need:

3 (3 oz.) boxes of Jell-O (any colors you like) I used 2 orange and 1 strawberry

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin

Prepare the Jell-O using 1 cup of hot water per flavor in three separate containers. Chill for 4 hours until the Jell-O has set up. Cut the Jell-O into pieces (they do not have to be uniform).

Place Jello pieces in a 13×9  pan. (Keep them  in the refrigerator until ready to add the white layer). In a separate bowl mix the 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin with 1/2 cup cold water. Add 1 1/2 cups of boiling water and stir until dissolved.

Mix in the sweetened condensed milk.

Allow the milk mixture to cool and then pour over the Jell-O cubes.

Chill for 4 hours or overnight.

After the mixture sets up cut into squares and serve.

I chose red and orange for fall colors, but the color combinations are as many as there are flavors and colors of jello. I think I will make red and green for Christmas!:)

 

Joining these great parties:
Cast Party Wednesday

 

Snappy Lunch Pork Chop Sandwich

Here in NC the Andy Griffith Show is a big favorite. Most of us that live here have grown up with Andy, Opie, Barney and Aunt Bee as if they were part of the family. The show still airs every week night. :) Though we were all saddened by Andy Griffith’s recent passing he will always be legendary in this part of the south!

The Andy Griffith Show was set in the fictitious Mayberry, NC which was based on Andy Griffith’s home town Mt. Airy, NC.

Many of the places mentioned on the show are real places in Mt. Airy. One such place is the Snappy Lunch Diner. The Snappy Lunch is famous for its pork chop sandwich. Check out this Southern Living video about the Snappy Lunch. If you make it over  to Mt. Airy, be sure to stop in the Snappy Lunch and order a sandwich. For those of you who would like to try it now, here is the recipe.

You will need:

Thin cut slices of pork tenderloin

Oil (for frying)

1 cup flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

2/3 cup milk

Burger buns

Yellow mustard

Coleslaw

Canned chili (no beans)

Tomato slices

Mix the flour, sugar and salt together. Whisk the eggs and milk together.

Add milk and egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until smooth

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil on medium heat Dip the pork into batter and then place into heated oil.

Cook until golden brown on both sides.

Spread mustard on bun

Place cooked pork chop on bun

Add a large spoonful of chili

Add tomato slices

Top with coleslaw

Enjoy the sandwich, y’all!:)

Joining these fun parties:
Cast Party Wednesday

In The Old Road

Owl Cupcakes

The summer has really flown by! As much as I love summer, I’m ready for my favorite season: fall! If only it wasn’t followed by winter!😀

These little owl cupcakes look perfect for a fall party! They are really easy to assemble, too!:)

You will need:

Cupcakes – any flavor you prefer (I choose orange butter cake)

Oreos (or Oreo style cream filled cookies)

Frosting (I used a standard chocolate)

Reese’s pieces

Frost your cupcakes with a thick layer

Separate the cookies. Try to keep the cream in the center intact.

Place the cookies on the cupcake center, cream side up

Cut the cookie pieces with no cream in half. I found it easiest to gently saw it with a small serrated knife. This keeps the cookie from shattering.

Place the cut cookie pieces at an angle above the cream filled cookie, rounded side out.

Stick the brown Reese’s pieces in the center of the cream for eyes (I used a bit of frosting on the bottom so they would stick). Place  the orange and yellow Reese’s vertically  for the nose.

Now go surprise your kids with some cute little owls!

I’ll be joining these fun parties:
Cast Party Wednesday

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

In The Old Road

Ranch Oyster Cracker Snack Mix

It’s back to school time and if your kids are anything like mine, they are ALWAYS hungry! Here is an easy snack mix idea that only takes a few minutes to mix up.

You will need:

10 0z. bag of oyster crackers

1 oz packet ranch dressing

1/4 cup oil

3 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

Mix oil, ranch dressing packet, Parmesan cheese, onion powder, and parsley flakes together in bowl.

Add in oyster crackers and thoroughly coat.

Spread on cookie sheet and bake at 250 degrees for 15 minutes stirring every 5 minutes.  Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.

These are perfect for after school snacking and also a great party mix! Easy and yummy, too!:)

Joining these awesome parties:
Cast Party Wednesday
 

 

Cornbread Sausage Casserole

I can’t believe how fast summer is flying by! Right now we are preparing for the new school year. This year I have a child in second grade, one in first grade and a preschooler…I think we are going to have a fun and exciting year! My seven year old just started piano lessons this week and has amazed us with how quickly he catches on. I also have lots of fun projects and some new subjects that we will be introducing this school year.

Today I spent time organizing our home school drawers and getting our materials together. Since I have been very busy all day, I wanted something easy to make, but filling and tasty too. So, I whipped up this sausage and cornbread casserole and it was a big hit!

You will need:

1 lb sausage roll

1 onion

1 green pepper

3 garlic cloves, minced

6 oz. can large black olives, pitted, drained and chopped in half

2 cups salsa

2 boxes of Jiffy corn muffin mix (8.5 oz)

2 eggs (for the corn muffins)

2/3 cup milk (for the corn muffins)

8 oz. bag shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese

Chop the onion and green pepper.

Fry the sausage, onions, peppers and garlic on the stove top

When the sausage is fully cooked add in the olives and salsa

Pour mixture into a casserole dish and top with 1/2 of the cheese

Mix the corn muffin mix according to the package. Spread corn muffin mixture on top of sausage mixture

Sprinkle evenly with the rest of the cheese

Bake for 25 -30  minutes (or until toothpick comes out of corn muffin batter clean) in preheated oven (400 degrees).

Mmmm…comfort food at its best!:)

Joining these great parties:
Cast Party Wednesday

In The Old Road