Chalkboards: meal planning strategy
My chalkboards are the most essential tool that I use in the kitchen. I have one for dinner and one for lunches. The dinner board serves the whole family and the lunch board is for the kids. In this blog post, I want to share the dinner board for the next two weeks and how I strategize my menu.
This is my latest chalkboard menu. When I plan a menu, I consider each meal and how it can contribute to meals later in the week. I am fortunate that I only work one day per week outside the home. I take my job of providing nourishing meals for my family very seriously. It is challenging and I have to sacrifice a lot of personal things that I enjoy. But, for now, this is my responsibility and I work consistently to make it happen every day.
Here's what is currently on my chalkboard:
Sunday-Monday: Crock Pot-pot roast (shoulder steak with marrow bone and 3.4-pound chuck roast with bone) smashed redskin potatoes, steamed carrots, and mushrooms
Tuesday-Wednesday: Chicken fajitas with homemade corn tortillas, guacamole, refried beans, black beans, raw milk farmer’s cheese, sautéed bell peppers and red onions and tomatoes (start broth on Tuesday morning, use bones from pot roast) (Leftover corn tortillas can cut into triangles, baked and used as chips with guacamole)
The picture on the left is the bones left from the broth. The picture on the right is the marrow that I add back to the broth after skimming the fat. I love making the broth in the winter because I can cool it quickly on the deck in the morning. I simply strain the broth, carefully remove the marrow bones, and put the strained broth on the deck with a box fan blowing on it. If it’s in the 30s outside, the broth cools quickly and the fat solidifies on the surface. After skimming the fat, I stir back in the marrow to add flavor and nutrients.
Thursday: Roast salmon, green salad, and butternut squash soup (use broth for butternut soup, cook the pasta on Friday, millet on Sunday, and stir fry sauce on Monday)
Friday-Saturday: Organ meat meatballs (2 pounds of organ meat blend: 1 part ground beef, 3 parts beef heart, 2 parts beef liver) and sauce (3 medium beets, 1 red onion, 1 head of garlic, and 4 medium carrots roasted; 1 pound mushrooms, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes, 1 pound spinach all pureed together in the dream blender (aka Vitamix) over rice noodles and spaghetti squash
Sunday: Pork chops, millet, green peas, sautéed spinach, and grapes
Monday-Tuesday: Seafood Stir fry with cod, scallops, shrimp, calamari, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, onion, turnips, and greens over broth cooked forbidden rice
Wednesday-Thursday: Banana pancakes (4 ripe bananas, 3 eggs, 3 Chia eggs: 3 Tbsp Chia seeds soaked in 9 Tbsp water), 2 tsp baking soda, 2 Tbsp coconut flour, a pinch of cinnamon, and vanilla; with ham steak (render fat from ham steak)
Friday-Saturday: Crockpot whole chicken, green salad, broccoli, green beans, and roasted roots (use broth from chicken for the girls; save the bones and the skin for the next batch of broth)
With four hungry kiddos to feed and cooking everything from scratch, careful planning and daily strategy is essential. The boys are eating machines and the girls are not too far behind. I am eagerly weaning them from nursing and plan to start integrating raw whole milk in three weeks. The girls are starting to eat more fermented foods now and diversity of solid finger foods. They can eat almost everything that we eat with the exception of rice, white potatoes, nuts, seeds, and raw veggies. Each of their meals includes protein, veggie or fruit, and fat.
Here are some examples of their regular solids:
Fruits: Avocado, banana, peeled apples and pears, frozen-thawed strawberries, blueberries and cherries, pineapple, cantaloupe, mango, and papaya
Veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato, purple cabbage, red onion, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, butternut, and acorn squash
Proteins: Raw milk, yogurt, raw milk cheese, beef liver and heart, sardines, oysters, salmon, ground beef, pastured pork sausage, (they don’t like lamb or mutton… but I will try again), venison, chuck roast, soaked and sprouted lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans
Fats: Avocado, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, lard, marrow, and tallow
Fermented foods: raw milk yogurt, fermented bread, and butter pickles and sauerkraut
They have also had coconut flour that I use to make their pancakes and muffins. There is nothing more powerful and rewarding than having the knowledge to nourish my children. If you are willing to do the work, plan, and commit to making the changes, I guarantee you will have a positive impact on yours and your family’s health. There is a lot of free information that you can use to plan and strategize for your family’s needs. One way to do it is to take what you are routinely eating now and look for substitutions. Shop around for the best quality ingredients you can afford and begin planning your new menu. Once you have your ingredient sources, you can establish a routine.
I hear a lot of parents saying they have picky eaters. That is most defiantly difficult. One of my sons went through a very picky time and it was challenging to find ways to continually nourish him without forcing him to eat. I always offered him something he liked along with something he did not like. We tried the two-bite rule with the hopes that he would miraculously turn the two bites into ten bites… no dice. So, I decided to “hide” what I wanted him to eat with something else. Also, I served the most “important” food at the times he was most hungry… salad for breakfast? Yup. The boys love crunchy foods. But, we don’t eat chips, crackers, or pretzels because they don’t serve anything but our minds. So, for a crunchy treat, we use green plantains fried in coconut oil. I can serve these along with a veggie dip. The dip can hide heaps of raw veggies. The batch below is sprinkled with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Plantains are $0.59 each at our Walmart and we buy Costco’s Organic Coconut Oil for $15.99 for 54 ounces. Now you have a very affordable treat that offers some resistant starch to feed the good bacteria in the gut, palate building spices, and enzyme-rich raw veggies. AWESOME!
In my next blog, I’ll share how I “hide” nutrition until the boy’s gut tells their mind that the food is actually good for them. Remember, your body craves what you give it. So give your kids and yourself the best possible nutrition. Nourish every day through food and movement. With two sets of twins, I am continually challenged and learning every day. I hope you continue to follow my journey.