Welcome to the Let’s Get Real Party #35

Welcome to Week 34 of our Let’s Get Real party.  We would love for you to link up your posts that focus on healthy living, fitness, healthy recipes, family, inspiration and tips for better living.  Don’t have a post to link up?  Then please visit for a while and check out some of the great posts our friends have shared below.

**This week you can enter to win next week’s special co-host spot. If you are interested in co-hosting next week, please enter the rafflecopter give-away. We would love to have you join us for the week.**

A Big Welcome to our Special Co-Host Chrystal from    YUM eating! Make sure you give her a big Let’s Get Real welcome.
I’m not big on rules (since this is what I do for fun), but I do have a couple of guidelines.

1) Follow all your co-hosts. We follow back! Leave a comment for us on the post and we will know you are a new follower.

Christina: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +

Nicole: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +/Instagram

Nicky:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+

Gaye:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+

Chrystal:Blog/Twitter/Facebook/Google +

2) Please don’t link and run! Follow and comment on at least 3 other blogs. The more effort you put into getting to know everyone, the more you will get in return. Everyone is here to get more readers and traffic to their blogs so let’s show them some love!

We will be pinning our favorites!!
My Let’s Get Real Featured blogger this week is:

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Oven Frittata with Vegetables – An Easy and Healthy Brunch or Dinner

Omelet with vegetables and cheese. Frittata in a frying pan A frittata is an open omelet that’s usually cooked on the stove, then broiled for several minutes to set and brown the top.  It’s easy to make, delicious, and adaptable, but it requires some hands-on time and attention to figure out when it’s done.  For those who need to streamline meal prep and limit hands-on cooking, though, there’s an easier option.  An oven frittata offers all the benefits of the traditional version, with the added benefit that you simply pop it in the oven and set the timer!

Frittatas feature whole foods – fresh eggs, milk, cheese and your family’s favorite vegetables.  You can eat them hot, warm or cold, at just about any meal.  They make a nice brunch with crisp bacon and fruit, or a great dinner with a salad and whole wheat rolls.  And you can make two or three at a time, so it’s easy to adjust the ingredients for different tastes, feed a group, or have some to enjoy the next day.  A frittata can be a “there’s nothing for dinner” dinner, especially if you can pull grated cheese and chopped vegetables out of the refrigerator or freezer.  Or you can jazz if up for a special occasion – I’m planning to serve frittatas, bacon, fruit and homemade cinnamon rolls when my in-laws come from brunch after church on Easter.

Do you make frittatas?  If so, which version do you make and what ingredients do you like to add?  Gaye

Oven Frittata with Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup vegetables (chopped or diced)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cup grated cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 375. Oil or butter 9-inch glass pie plate or a similar oven-safe dish.

Use any combination of vegetables your family enjoys. Onions, peppers, celery, mushrooms, broccoli, tomatoes, and many others work well. The amount is very flexible; you can use more or less. I usually end up with about a cup of vegetables, after they've been cooked. Chop or dice the vegetables, and saute them in olive oil until soft. (Tomatoes do not need to be sauteed). Cook until all excess liquid is absorbed.
Spread vegetables in the bottom of the pie plate. Top with 1/2 of the cheese. We like extra sharp cheddar in this frittata, but any cheese your family likes will work. (The amount of cheese is also flexible; you can use a bit more or a bit less.)
Mix eggs, milk, flour and salt and pepper to taste using an electric mixer, blender or stick blender. Add to pie plate and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes, until the egg mixture is set in the center. Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving. Cut into wedges to serve.

Sharing with Get Schooled Saturday, Weekend Wind Down, The HomeAcre Hop, From the Farm Blog Hop, The Weekend ReTreat, Family Fun Friday, That’s Fresh Friday and The Pin Junkie.

When Your Body Feels Like Your Enemy…

A picture of a mature woman in a sensual pose isolated over white background Do you ever feel like your body is your enemy, rather than your friend?  I’ve been thinking for a while that many women feel exactly that way, and several things I read this week helped clarify the idea in my mind.  In particular, three posts by J at Hot, Holy and Humorous about how difficult it is for wives to enjoy being naked with their husbands made me realize how much women are struggling to overcome problems with and perceptions of their bodies.  In a sense, their bodies have become their enemies.

Here’s what I think happens.  Beginning with pregnancy, many of us begin to feel as if we’ve lost control of our bodies.  And certainly, when we’re pregnant, we have lost control – another human being has taken over and is doing very strange things to our formerly normal bodies!  Then there’s breastfeeding, which also requires ceding a certain amount of control over our bodies.  Then come the toddler and preschool years, in which little people are constantly touching us and climbing all over us!  And in the midst of all that, another pregnancy frequently starts the cycle all over again.  And then we’re exhausted and want people to stop touching us, but our husbands still want to have sex with us.  And so sex becomes something for him, rather than something for both of us, and we feel even more control slipping away.  And then we start running the kids from one activity to another, and there doesn’t seem to be any time to take care of ourselves, and we start to feel exhausted or fat or frumpy.  And then we realize we’re not getting any younger and it’s harder to lose weight and we don’t bounce back the way we once did.  And are those crow’s feet I see?

At this point, I think many women simply feel as if they’ve lost control.  Their body isn’t their own – it’s taken on an unwelcome life of it’s own.  It’s become an enemy, rather than a friend.  It’s doing what it wants to do, and they feel helpless to stop it.

The good news is, we can stop this cycle.  We can take back control of our bodies and change the way we think and feel about them.  We can turn them from enemies into friends.  And these four steps can help us get started:

  • Understand that cultural images of women are just that – images.  Almost no woman looks like the women we see in magazines and on television.  For reasons I don’t completely understand, our culture seems intent on making women feel as if they don’t measure up.  It also focuses on physical appearance to the exclusion of other aspects of a woman’s beauty.  And it keeps us from understanding that we don’t have to look like supermodels in order to be beautiful or that, in most cases, our husbands find us very attractive, despite what we perceive as our flaws.
  • Take control of your body through exercise.  This isn’t my usual tirade about the health benefits of exercise.  This is about using exercise as a tool for taking back control of your body and turning it from your enemy into your friend.  Many of the things that make us feel as if we’ve lost control of our bodies, particularly weight gain, loss of muscle tone (feeling “flabby”), low energy, and that overall frumpy feeling, can be alleviated through regular exercise.  Committing to a program of regular exercise and sticking with it sends important messages to yourself and others, including – I’m in charge of my body.  I’m taking care of my body.  I’m building a strong and healthy body.  I’m worth the time and effort it takes to become fit, strong and healthy.
  • Take control of your body through eating well.  Again, this isn’t about the health benefits of eating well per se.  It’s about taking control of your body by eating real foods that promote health, strength and beauty, rather than processed foods that promote fatigue, weight gain and illness.  When your diet consists primarily of fast food, junk food, and foods high in sugar and chemicals, you’re exchanging convenience for control.  The control comes from feeding your body well – taking the time and effort needed to prepare and eat foods that build a strong and healthy body.
  • Create some space in your life.  Taking control of your body requires time and space.  You can’t be running full-steam-ahead 18 hours a day and expect to have energy to devote to your body, mind or spirit.  Something (or, more likely, some things) will have to change.  If your body feels like an enemy, and you want it to become a friend, you’ll have to make time for things like exercise, eating well, and generally maintaining your sanity.  Running all day, every day, until you drop into bed from exhaustion is part of the problem.  Creating time and space in your life is part of the solution.

Clearly, we can’t control everything that happens to our bodies.  Sometimes we get sick, sometimes we get injured, sometimes bad stuff happens.  And as we get older, our bodies change in ways we probably won’t like.  But I think we give up too easily, and let go of things we really can control.  And sometimes we let our bodies become our enemies, when we have the power to make them our friends.  What do you think?  I would love to hear from you.  Gaye

Helpful articles on this and related subjects:

Sharing with Get Schooled Saturday, SITS Sharefest, Stumble Upon Link Up, Weekend Wind Down, Friday Pin Fest, The HomeAcre Hop, From the Farm Blog Hop, The Weekend ReTreat, Family Fun Friday, The Pin It Party, To Love, Honor and Vacuum, That’s Fresh Friday, Messy Marriage and The Chicken Chick.

 

Welcome to the Let’s Get Real Party #34

Welcome to Week 34 of our Let’s Get Real party.  We would love for you to link up your posts that focus on healthy living, fitness, healthy recipes, family, inspiration and tips for better living.  Don’t have a post to link up?  Then please visit for a while and check out some of the great posts our friends have shared below.

**This week you can enter to win next week’s special co-host spot. If you are interested in co-hosting next week, please enter the rafflecopter give-away. We would love to have you join us for the week.**

A Big Welcome to our Special Co-Host Michelle from A Dish of Daily Life! Make sure you give her a big Let’s Get Real welcome.
I’m not big on rules (since this is what I do for fun), but I do have a couple of guidelines.

1) Follow all your co-hosts. We follow back! Leave a comment for us on the post and we will know you are a new follower.

Christina: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +

Nicole: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +/Instagram

Nicky:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+

Gaye:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+

Michelle:Blog/Twitter/Facebook/Google +

2) Please don’t link and run! Follow and comment on at least 3 other blogs. The more effort you put into getting to know everyone, the more you will get in return. Everyone is here to get more readers and traffic to their blogs so let’s show them some love!


We will be pinning our favorites!!
My Let’s Get Real Featured blogger this week is:
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

30 Fun Ways to Feel Sexy this Spring!

Sexy married couple in spring flowers For me, spring is the season to feel lighter (no more heavy clothing) and live healthier (more fresh fruits and vegetables).  This year especially, it’s the time to shake off winter and enjoy longer days and warmer temperatures.  I always feel better when spring finally arrives, and I think other women do too.   For those reasons and more, spring is the perfect time to  develop a sexier mindset and become more intentional about enjoying sex with our husbands.  If you’re ready to be done with winter (all those heavy covers and warm pajamas!), here are 30 fun ideas for enjoying your own “spring fling” this year:

Read a sex-positive article, blog or book every day for a week. (Check out these great resources.)
Recognize that God created your sexuality.  Affirm it, embrace it, live it.
Make a playlist of  sexy music and listen to it regularly.
Arrange for a night away from home and enjoy “hotel sex.”
Arrange for a night at home alone and enjoy “at-home sex” without interruptions.
Give your husband a sensuous back rub or massage.
Send your husband sexy texts throughout the day and follow up on them that night.
Wear clothing or accessories that make you feel sexy.  It can be something simple – a great pair of heels, dangling earrings, a slim skirt, a well-fitted top. sensual couple
Buy and wear lingerie that makes you feel sexy.  Wear what makes you feel good.  If you feel comfortable in it, you’re much more likely to feel sexy in it.
Set a romantic mood in your bedroom, with candles, scents, dim lighting and/or music.
Ask for what you need in order to boost your sexuality – a break from the kids, help with the house, time out of the house, time to relax in the evening.
Pray about your marriage and sex life.  A weird idea?  Maybe.  But if you believe in God and believe He created intimacy for marriage, talk to Him about anything that’s keeping you from embracing your sexuality and enjoying sex fully.
Make love at an unexpected time or in an unexpected place.
• Change something small.  Even something as insignificant as putting the pillows at the foot of the bed and lying “upside down” can make a difference.  (Trust me on this one!)
Take a shower together.
Initiate sex.
•Read Song of Songs.
•Train your mind to understand that sex isn’t just something for your husband.  In every possible way, sex is about you too.
Do something sexy for your husband that you know he enjoys.
Train your mind to think positively about sex.
Anticipate sex throughout the day.
Figure out what makes your body feel good.  Then do it!
Make love regularly.  It creates a positive cycle that makes you want to, well, make love regularly!
Plan your day with sex in mind, to ensure you end up with time and energy for it at the end of the day.
Get in the habit of going to bed at the same time as your husband.
Initiate morning sex.
Dance together.
Practice stripping and do a strip tease for your husband.
Pull out your lingerie and try it on.  Which items make you feel good about your body?  Move those items to the front of your drawer or closet and wear them more often.
Model lingerie for him.
Plan a dinner date and wear something sexy.

What are your ideas for fun ways to boost sexy and intimacy?  Please share them in the Comments – I would love to hear from you.  Gaye

(This post is an updated version of a post published in April 2013.)

Sharing with Motivation Monday, SITS Sharefest, The Pin Junkie, Family Fun Friday, Friday Pin Fest, The Weekend Retreat, To Love, Honor and Vacuum and Messy Marriage.

7 Things to Know About Baking and Cooking with Einkorn

Einkorn bread Have you heard of Einkorn?  It’s an ancient form of wheat, the one our ancestors first cultivated approximately 10,000 years ago.  It’s considered a “relic grain,” one that produces much lower yields than modern hybridized wheat.  Recently, however, interest in Einkorn has increased, because several of its qualities make it an attractive alternative to modern wheat.  Here are 7 things to know about Einkorn:

  • Einkorn contains 2 sets of chromosomes.  Modern wheat, which has undergone repeated hybridization over the past 50 years, contains 6 sets of chromosomes.  Hybridization isn’t bad – it creates qualities that improve plant health and increase yield.  But some research suggests that hybridization has introduced genes (and the proteins they produce) that have increased rates of allergy and sensitivity to wheat.
  • Einkorn has less gluten and a different gluten ratio than modern wheat.  Einkorn does contain gluten, and it isn’t recommended for people with celiac disease or gluten allergy.  However, it has significantly less gluten, and a higher ratio of gliadin to glutenin (2 gluten proteins) than modern wheat, which may result in a lower level of gluten “toxicity.”  Some people who are sensitive to wheat or gluten find that they are less sensitive to Einkorn.  That’s the reason I use it; I experience mild digestive problems after eating regular wheat that I don’t experience after eating Einkorn.
  • Einkorn is high in lutein and other nutrients.  Einkorn contains significant levels of lutein, a plant pigment in the same family as beta-carotene that gives dough and bread made with Einkorn flour a lovely pale yellow color.  It’s also a good source of thiamin and other B vitamins and trace minerals.  Some research suggests that Einkorn retains its nutrients better after baking or cooking than other forms of wheat.
  • Einkorn is grown primarily on family farms that use organic growing methods.  People who are interested in restoring ancient grains are also interested in growing them in the safest, most healthful way possible. The Einkorn flour and pasta I use, from Jovial Foods, is grown on one organic farm in Italy.  (This is not a sponsored post for Jovial.  I’m just sharing information about a product I use and like.)  Other companies, likeTropical Traditions and Einkorn.com, also sell organic Einkorn products.
  • Bread and pasta made with Einkorn are delicious.  Bread made with Einkorn flour tastes fabulous.  The pasta is wonderful; even the whole wheat pasta, which is not usually a favorite with my family, is very good.
  • Baking with Einkorn is easy.  Because it contains less gluten than modern flour, I was afraid Einkorn dough wouldn’t rise, or that bread made with it would be heavy and dense.  Einkorn dough Fortunately, I was wrong on both counts.  Einkorn dough rises beautifully, although not quite as quickly or as high as dough made with modern flour, and it shapes or rolls out easily.  It’s a bit stickier than regular dough, so I oil my hands, bowl and surfaces well.  My basic recipe for bread, pizza and flatbread, using just a tiny bit less water, works great with Einkorn flour.
  • It’s expensive.  There’s no getting around this – Einkorn flour and pasta are expensive, compared to flour and pasta made with regular flour.  If you’re baking bread and serving up big pots of pasta for a family, it’s going to cost a lot to serve Einkorn products.  (But see my money-saving tip below.)  So if you or someone in your family is sensitive to wheat (again, it’s not recommended for people with celiac disease or those who are allergic to wheat or gluten), try it for a short period of time and see if it makes a difference.  I’m the only one in my family who is sensitive to wheat, so in order to keep the cost down I usually avoid regular wheat products and only eat bread, pizza or pasta made with Einkorn about once a week.  My family is always thrilled to see a bowl of Einkorn dough on the counter, especially if it’s going to be turned into pizza or flatbread!  And if you do give it a try, here’s the money-saving tip – every time I have ordered from Jovial, using the coupon code ‘realfood’ has given me free shipping on my entire order.  In addition, some Jovial products on Amazon qualify for free shipping.

Have you ever tried baking or cooking with Einkorn products?  Please share your experiences in the Comments – I would love to hear from you.  Gaye

Sharing with The HomeAcre Hop, Family Fun Friday, Friday Pin Fest, The Weekend Retreat, Motivation Monday and The Chicken Chick.

10 Things to Know About Gut Flora, Probiotics and Your Health

Digestive system Until a couple of years ago, my understanding of the bacteria that live in our digestive systems could be summed up in two sentences – “If you take antibiotics they’ll kill some of the good bacteria along with the bad, and you’ll get diarrhea.  So eat some yogurt to help restore the good bacteria.”  That’s true as far as it goes, but I’ve now learned that those bacteria, which many people call “gut flora” and scientists call “gut microbiata,” do so much more than prevent diarrhea.  Although the study of gut flora is still in its infancy, many scientists now refer to it as a separate “organ” of the body, one that plays key roles in everything from digestion to immunity to mental health.  Here are 10 things to know about gut flora, probiotics (“good” bacteria consumed in food or supplements) and your health.

Why are gut flora important?  Research is beginning to show that “good” bacteria play dozens, if not hundreds, of roles in maintaining our health.  Here are five:

  • Bacteria in our intestinal tracts produce B vitamins and vitamin K.  These vitamins play important roles in energy metabolism (producing energy from food), maintaining the health of the nervous system,  and clotting blood.
  • Bacteria in the large intestine digest fiber and use it to produce chemicals that feed and protect the intestinal lining.  This lining plays key roles in preventing infection, boosting immunity, and reducing inflammation.  If the lining breaks down, chemicals that should never leave the intestines end up in the bloodstream, which can lead to inflammation or an overactive immune response.
  • Gut floral produce most of the body’s serotonin, a key neurotransmitter.  Scientists are beginning to see connections between the health of the gut and the health and functioning of the brain.
  • Intestinal bacteria produce enzymes that metabolize drugs, hormones and toxins.  In addition, they produce chemicals that “communicate” with the liver regarding production of enzymes used in detoxification.
  • Gut bacteria may play a role in obesity.  Some animal studies, and now a few human studies, have shown that animals or humans deficient in certain bacteria may be more prone to gain weight.

Can we “improve” our gut flora?  And should we even try?  Yes!  Although scientists are hesitant at this point to “prescribe” actions people should take, the research to date suggests that people can change their gut flora in ways that are likely to benefit their health.  Here are five things we can do:

  • Eat foods that include natural probiotics (good bacteria).  These include yogurt and fermented foods, such as kefir and sauerkraut.
  • Eat fewer processed foods.  Processed foods lack  many of the nutrients that contribute to a healthy “climate” in the intestines.  In addition, they tend not to contain the kinds of healthy bacteria found in more natural forms of food.  (For example, think of a processed cheese product vs. real cheese.  The former doesn’t contain any bacteria when it leaves the factory, but the latter contains plenty of “good” bacteria – and it tastes delicious!)
  • Eat foods high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Plant fiber feeds the bacteria in the large intestine, and they in turn produce chemicals that protect the intestinal lining.  (Another drawback of a diet heavy in processed foods is that it’s generally low in fiber.)
  • Take antibiotics only when necessary.  If your doctor says, “Let’s wait a day or two to see if you need antibiotics,” don’t insist on getting some right away!  Antibiotics can significantly alter the gut flora, killing off beneficial bacteria and providing an “opening” for harmful bacteria to move in and “set up shop.”  When you do take antibiotics, take steps during and after treatment to re-establish a healthy gut microbiata.
  • Consider taking probiotic supplements.  Scientists, physicians and government agencies have not issued official guidelines on probiotic supplements.  The research on the benefits (or drawbacks) just isn’t clear yet.  So right now there’s no clear “right” or “wrong” answer to the question, “Should I take a supplement?”  I’ve done some research on probiotics, and my husband and I take a supplement fairly regularly (probably 4 or 5 days a week).  We buy several different brands that contain different bacteria, and we alternate them (because it’s hard to figure out which bacteria are the best ones to take!).  Our younger son takes a probiotic supplement every day – he had some digestive problems when he was younger and believes that probiotics were a key to overcoming them.

Do you take any steps to boost your gut flora?  Is it something you’ve even considered?  Please share your thoughts in the Comments – I would love to hear from you.  I would also love for you to follow Calm.Healthy.Sexy. by email or social media.  Thanks.  Gaye

Sharing with Motivation Monday, The Chicken Chick, From the Farm, SITS Sharefest, Weekend Wind Down, Friday Pin Fest, Growing Circles Hop and The HomeAcre Hop.

 

A Thought for Reducing Stress and Increasing Calm – Maybe the Time Isn’t Right

Dock and sunrise with text One of the major causes of stress and worry in my life is trying to make things happen on my own schedule.  If I think something is important, and I want it to happen, and I’m working hard to make it happen – then, it should happen.  Preferably now, or at least very soon. The problem, of course, is that many things can’t be forced onto my schedule.  So when I assume (or insist) that they should, the only things I achieve are more stress and less calm in my life.

The devotional book I’m reading, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, reminded me this week to “stop trying to work things out before their times have come.”  That idea really spoke to me; it made me realize that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do.  Even though I believe in God’s timing in my life, I haven’t been operating as if I believe in it at all.  I’ve acted as if everything depends on me, as if I just need to keep charging ahead and things will fall into place exactly as I’ve planned.  The only problem is, it’s not working.

This idea – that some things can’t be forced to happen on our schedule – applies to so many things.  Changes we want to see in our marriages, decisions we want our children to make, the outcome of an illness, our hopes for a business or project – all of them include elements that can’t be forced to operate according to our timing.  So while we work hard to make them happen, peace comes only when we allow them to happen in their own time.

You’ve probably noticed that “things tend to happen when they’re supposed to happen.”  If you see that as God’s hand in things, then do what you need to do but focus on trusting Him for the timing.  If you don’t see it that way, then do your part but don’t try to force the timing.  More often than not, things will happen when the time is right, and you and I will have reduced stress and increased calm in our lives as part of the process.

Sharing with Motivation Monday, Empty Your Archive, Friday Pin Fest, Family Fun Friday, Messy Marriage and To Love, Honor and Vacuum.

Real Food Strategy – Go Ahead and Make a Big Mess!

Cooking real food Have you been “testing the waters” with real food, trying to incorporate more of it into your family’s diet?  If so, you’ve probably discovered that it’s not an easy task.  Cooking real food takes time, effort and energy.  I wish it was as quick and easy as serving processed food or fast food, but it isn’t.  So the reality is that if we want to eat real food and feed it to our families, we’re going to need some strategies that will allow us to cook and serve it without losing our sanity.

Before we talk about strategies that can make life easier, let’s talk about one that won’t.  To my way of thinking, the least efficient way to prepare real food is to start each meal from scratch – washing and chopping vegetables, making sauces, preparing dishes from start to finish.  It just takes too much time.  A more efficient approach is to combine tasks and prepare ingredients for several meals at once.  That way, many of the ingredients you’ll need during the week are already prepped and ready to go.

One way to combine tasks is to take brief periods of time throughout the week and use them for real food prep.  I shared this approach in 17 Ways to Prep Healthy Food in 15 Minutes or Less and 10 Real Food Mini-Projects for Busy People.  My friend Christina at Juggling Real Food and Real Life refers to it as using “pockets of time” to prepare real food for your family.  It’s a great approach; for those of us who juggle lots of responsibilities and activities every week, it saves time, energy and hassle.

An even more efficient approach, though, is to take a few hours and just make a big mess, in order to prepare lots of ingredients to use in future meals.  With this approach you pick a block of time – Saturday afternoon, Sunday evening, or any 3-4 hour period that works for you – and use it to get as much food as possible ready for the week (plus more for the freezer).  You save time and energy because you consolidate steps and effort – wash fruit, then wash vegetables; cut up fruit, then simply wipe off the cutting board to cut vegetables; chop celery and carrots in the food processor, then chop onions; grate mozzarella, then grate cheddar; cook a big pot of pasta, then cook rice in the same pot.  In each case, you save a significant amount of time that would normally be devoted to washing, cleaning up and putting things away.  You also gain efficiency by preparing several things at once – you can start one or two things baking and cooking, then work on other things.

Here are some examples of real food you can prepare using a “big mess” approach:

  • Bake whole chickens or a number of chicken breasts.  Shred the meat and package some to use during the week and some to freeze.
  • Cook pork roasts, shred them and add barbecue sauce.  Serve some for dinner during the week and freeze the rest.
  • Wash the fruits and vegetables you plan to use during the week.
  • Wash and dry salad greens and cut up salad vegetables.
  • Bake several loaves of bread.  Make extra dough to use for pizza or flatbread.
  • Chop vegetables and store or freeze them the way you plan to use them.  For example, package chopped carrots/celery/onions together to use in homemade soups or chopped peppers/onions/garlic to use in jambalaya, spaghetti sauce, quiche and omelets.
  • Make a big pot of tomato sauce and package it to use for spaghetti, lasagna or pizza.
  • Bake double or triple batches of muffins, bars or cookies.
  • Shred all the cheese you’ll need for the week, plus extra for the freezer.
  • Cook a big pot of rice and freeze the extra.
  • Organize and package snacks for yourself and the children.
  • Prepare a casserole for the week and an extra for the freezer.

The options are almost limitless – you choose the tasks that will make your life easier and focus on the real foods your family will enjoy.  This approach does require some planning and effort – and it does make a mess – but it pays you back many times over.  Consider giving it a try and see how it works for you.  Gaye

Sharing with The Pin Junkie, Family Fun Friday, Weekend Wind Down, The HomeAcre Hop and From the Farm.