Saturday, February 23, 2013

Delicious Food From Gods Green Earth

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This family loves food. We adore food. Wes and I both love to cook. I've cooked my whole life and began making nightly dinners for Wes and I before we were even married. When Wes went on the road, I would only see him 4 days a month and cooking for yourself and a toddler just isn't very exciting. I lost my passion for food this past year. I stopped caring about a lot of things while he was gone, food being one of them. This past year, being pregnant with Wes away was hard on me, I pushed through it because that is what I do, but I often don't realize the toll something takes on me until I look back at it. I struggled with depression through this whole pregnancy, it took a serious toll on me emotionally. I praise the Lord that it was easy physically because I was under constant mental warfare. I look back now and see how I lost my passion, I lost interest in almost everything that I would normally fight for. Fortunately, I had a daughter to raise and a baby to grow so I fought through, staying strong for my growing family. I'm not sure how deep I would have gone had I not had that responsibility.

I've struggled with depression before, this was not the first time. I think that helped as well, knowing what it was I was feeling and knowing I had made it through before. So here I am, two months postpartum, realizing that this monster is biting at my heels once again. Have you ever felt this way? I could make a list a mile long with all the beautiful blessings in my life, yet I will often be overpowered by the monstrous weight of something I cannot control.

Except that I can control it. Or at least, I can outsmart it. I've realized in my past battles that there are certain things that make excellent weapons in this battle of the mind:

- Prayer and scripture
- Crying... yes crying. As my mom says, " sometimes you just need a good cry"
- Staying busy, very busy (i.e. keeping my mind occupied)
- Listing the things I have to be happy about, the things I praise the Lord for, my blessings
- Giving praise to God on an almost hourly basis for everything that brings me joy (my faith, Wes and the kids, nature, coffee, friendships - there's nothing too little to praise God for)
- Reigniting my passions

A passion I am finding easy to reignite at the moment is my passion for food. I had to force myself into it at first, but now I look to it with excitement! I look forward to farmers markets and grocery store runs, I look forward to wholesome, natural foods.

We eat whole foods in our house. We eat very few shelf-stable foods and those that we do eat have 5 ingredients or less (all of which I know and can pronounce) and are typically organic.

We're struggling financially right now, which means we buy less "ready to go items" and more items that may require more work, but are also friendlier on the pocket book and provide you with much more for your fridge. For example, I've stopped buying chicken breasts. I buy whole chickens. I roast the whole chicken, we eat the breasts (pictured below) and I take all of the rest of the meat and shred it (either eaten throughout the week, used in soups, pastas etc. or frozen for future use). I take the carcass and make chicken broth out of it which I freeze in ice cube trays and then keep in a freezer bag in the freezer for when I need it (rather than buying broth), if I have enough broth already, I will freeze the entire carcass for future use to make soup. All that from one lil chicken. We eat tons of fruits and vegetables and often make pasta with whatever veggies we have that week.

I love creating meals for my family and despite the challenges (no dairy), I have become very passionate about it again. I know that the storm will pass, I know this is just the beginning of a beautiful life and well, all good stories must have their ups and downs. I look forward to each moment I spend with my family, my husband and my beautiful children. I look forward to many healthy meals in our future.

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