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Real Food For the Next Generation: Essential Resources

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Real Food For the Next Generation: Essential Resources

Our real food kitchen training sessions have been on hold for several weeks as we wrap up loose ends and adjust to the summer routine. I’m planning to fit them back in very soon! In the meantime, I want to share with you some of the resources that have been invaluable to me in training my kids in a real food kitchen.

I’ve already mentioned how we’re working our way through Real Food Nutrition and Health by Kristin at Food Renegade, plugging in corresponding lessons from the Gnowfglins eCourses. My younger kids are following along with Real Food Nutrition For Kids, with various other books and resources added where they fit.

There are two other resources I’m finding absolutely indispensable to me as I train my kids in the kitchen: 

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Real Food Kids: In the Kitchen from Gnowfglins. 

This book and the corresponding eCourse are just fantastic! In fact, I can’t sing the praises of all the Gnowfglins eCourses highly enough! I’ve been a subscriber for nearly two years now, and they’re just a wealth of information and encouragement! I go back to them again and again, even those I’ve worked my way completely through! Real Food Kids contains all 19 print versions of the Real Food Kids eCourse lessons:

  1. Philosophy of Teaching Children in the Kitchen
  2. Routines, Mixing it Up, and Efficiency
  3. Kitchen Safety
  4. Recognizing Real Food
  5. Basic Strategy for Teaching
  6. Helpful (and not so) Kitchen Tools and Gadget for Kids
  7. Organizing the Kitchen with Kids in Mind
  8. Keeping Kitchen Duties Light, Interesting, and Enjoyable
  9. Babies and Toddlers in the Kitchen
  10. Swing Cooks, ages 3 to 6
  11. Line Cooks, ages 7 to 11
  12. Sous Chefs, ages 12 to 15
  13. Head Chefs, ages 16 to 18
  14. On Their Own: Kid-Friendly Breakfasts
  15. On Their Own: Kid-Friendly Lunches
  16. On Their Own: Kid-Friendly Dinners
  17. On Their Own: Kid-Friendly Snacks
  18. On Their Own: Kid-Friendly Desserts
  19. Bonus: Napkin Origami (napkin folding)
I love that the lessons focus on practical issues like kitchen safety, kid-friendly organization, and giving kids the skills to be independent in the kitchen to their level of capability, all while teaching real food principles! 

Real Food Kids is available for $20 (less for members) with lifetime updates, while the eCourse has several different subscription options.

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Restocking the Pantry: Easy-to-Make Condiments to Save Money and Nourish Your Family from Kresha at Nourishing Joy. 

This little book is jam-packed with tips and over 55 recipes for common pantry staples like:

barbecue sauce

Worcestershire sauce
jellied cranberry sauce
classic salsa
hot sauce

steak sauce
teriyaki sauce
popular salad dressings

and more…

And of course, none of them contain high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, or additives. They’re all simple, kid-friendly recipes, and they cover a variety of techniques, including lacto-fermentation. These are perfect to sprinkle into our training sessions! My kids are gaining valuable experience and knowledge in the kitchen while we save money and replace processed items with healthy versions! You can see the entire table of contents and several sample pages here.

Restocking the Pantry is available for $9.99 AND you’ll receive a $10 coupon code to apply to your next purchase, making the book essentially FREE! 

As we continue on our real food adventure, I’ll share more details about how I’m incorporating these resources and what else we’re up to in the kitchen! Watch for more updates soon!

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Real Food For the Next Generation: Making Ghee (Clarified Butter)

Making Ghee (Clarified Butter)

I haven’t updated on our “real food” learning in the last few weeks, but we’ve continued with it, even through all the busyness we’ve had lately. We’ve looked at and discussed some of the differences between industrial and real food, including some of the current controversies, like GMO crops, aspartame in milk, and so on. We also learned about healthy fats, and made ghee, or clarified butter.

I want to share more about the resources we’ve used in my next update. This time, I’m going to show you how we made the ghee.

Ghee (pronounced with a hard ‘g’ and silent ‘h’) is butter that has been clarified – had more of the water and milk solids removed than regular butter – which makes it highly preservable, reduces the lactose and casein content, and gives it a higher smoke point, making it more suitable for high temperature cooking. It’s used in many cultures around the world.

I’ll quote Wardeh from Gnowfglins, whose directions we followed:

“Butter is heated and allowed to simmer until two things happen. First, it separates into three layers. A bunch of sediment falls to the bottom of the pan, and some impurities float to the top. The middle layer, also the thickest, is a perfectly pure layer of butter oil – or ghee. Second, during the simmering, the impurities are often browned (but not burned) to give the ghee a rich, nutty flavor. This process takes about 30 to 40 minutes over direct heat or 8 to 12 hours in a crockpot. Then the ghee is strained to separate out the sediment or solids, and allowed to cool and harden.” (from the Gnowfglins Fundamentals II eCourse)

I really wanted to try the crockpot method, but on the day we did it we had to leave the house in the afternoon and wouldn’t have been home when it finished, so we did the direct heat method. I definitely want to try it in the crockpot next time!

For our first try, we used store-bought, hormone-free but not grassfed butter. Now that I feel more comfortable with the process, I’ll use my good grassfed butter next time.

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We put the butter in a saucepan and brought it to a simmer. Once the butter had melted, it began to separate into the three layers.

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After the butter had simmered for about 40 minutes, we skimmed the foam off the top.

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Next, we ladled it through a cheesecloth-lined funnel into a jar.

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The sediment left in the bottom of the pan made a great treat for our chickens!

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Here it is! Nice clear, pure, clarified butter!

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As it cooled, it solidified into a nice, spreadable consistency.

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It’s supposed to keep for two to three months at room temperature or up to a year in cold storage. We’ve been keeping ours in the refrigerator and using it for cooking, or just to spread on a biscuit. It works anywhere that butter would work. The flavor is definitely unique, but it’s very tasty!

Next time, I’ll share more about the resources we used to learn about industrial versus real food and healthy fats, and we’ll move on to learning about the health benefits of pastured and organ meats.

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Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of Your Homeschool Day (Review Crew)

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With four kids and a pretty wide age range from oldest to youngest (15 to 4), having a time during the day when we can all do something together is tough. The older kids come and go with various outside activities and do much of their schoolwork independently, I have plenty on my plate to keep me busy, and no two days of the week look exactly the same around here. I also get frustrated because there are a handful of things I always plan to do: art appreciation, life skills, etc. that we just never seem to get around to!

Spring Gardens and Chickens!

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We’ve had an unseasonably cool spring, but I think warm weather is finally here to stay! We’ve been spending a lot of time in the yard and garden, especially Karate Kid. He’s definitely got a green thumb, and just loves working with his plants, keeping up with the chickens, and doing whatever he can outside.

We’ve got beans, zucchini, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and more in our one small garden plot and my hubby is planning to get another one going in the next week or two, as soon as he can move the chicken coop over. Last year, Karate Kid planted one pumpkin vine and grew one beautiful pumpkin…this year he has several going and has 3 or 4 pumpkins doing well so far!

The chickens are loving getting to roam free around the yard most of the day, although one has decided to go broody on us, which really cuts into the egg production when you only have four hens! Our shepherd mix is the self-appointed chicken-herder…it’s quite entertaining to watch him herd them around the yard!

Here’s a few fun scenes of a typical day in our backyard right now…

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The chicken-herder keeping close watch.
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Happy hens!

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We have a jungle of cherry tomato plants…soon we’ll have a bumper crop!

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A baby pumpkin!

If you work outside in your garden and yard at this time of year, how do you handle sun exposure? Here’s what I discovered about the role our diet plays in how our body reacts to the sun and healthy alternatives to sunscreen:

Also, watch for another Real Food For the Next Generation update soon. We’ve been spending a lot of time outside in the garden, but we’ve been getting some things done in the kitchen too! 

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