Transitioning to Healthier Eating with Kids

People often ask if my kids eat everything I make, especially the more unique recipes. And the answer is, for the most part, they do. I attribute this to the fact that the healthy food I eat is the food they’ve been offered their whole lives. This doesn’t always mean they are always dying to try my weirdest dishes but for the most part we don’t have much of a fight.

That being said, my girls do have different tastes and sometimes one just doesn’t love something that the other might and we do have to adjust according, but within reason. Just because someone doesn’t like the dinner I made doesn’t mean they get heir own made to order meal. They still eat what was made but they may be allotted more of what they prefer and less of what they don’t.

But what about kids who didn’t grow up with healthy eating and are resisting the transition? Well there isn’t a one size fits all answer. The age of child makes a big difference and their personal preferences and level of stubbornness to try new things all play a factor. For example, Tilly will succumb to eating a dinner she doesn’t particularly love if she has a sweet she wants to eat but can only have after she finishes dinner. On the other hand, Cecily will go without the Sweet and will refuse to finish her meal. I’m fine with both. My kid isn’t going to die because she didn’t eat her dinner and I don’t have to feel bad about her not getting a sweet, it was her choice. I also feel fine about offering a positive reward for my child who did decide to finish her meal.

I’ll address a harsher opinion first and then hop of my soap box and share some less intense ideas after.

Assuming your children aren’t old enough to walk out of the house and go buy their own food at the store, kids aren’t going to starve. And if you get rid of the crap in the house and only offer healthy food to your kids, they will eventually choose to eat over choosing to starve. The secret to success with this cold turkey switch? Your ability as a parent to ignore the whining long enough to let your children choose to eat the healthier options. It is a battle of wills and yours has to be stronger and more patient. I often times hear “oh my kid won’t eat anything healthy I make.” Really? I wonder…is that because after 20 minutes of them complaining you allowed them to get what they wanted out of the pantry? Or did you make them a second dinner? If so, that’s like telling your child they can’t drive the car but then handing them the keys after they complain long enough. I’m not saying your kids will choose to eat the healthy food today, or even tomorrow, but they likely won’t skip too many meals before deciding that food is better than I food.

As for handling spouses/partners or teenagers who refuse to eat what you offer?Thats a different battle entirely that I have no qualifications to address. I’ll jut pray for you. 😉 The more you and your partner can be on the same page regarding health and diet, the exponentially easier the switch will be for the entire family.

It’s no secret that the older your kids are the harder transition it becomes. Which speaks volumes to the importance of starting early!

Ok now that I’m off my soap box let’s hear some less intense options shall we? In my opinion, the easiest way to transition is slowly and consistently. Start regulating the sweets first. Start with only one Sweet a day. After that, replace snacks at home with healthy options. Instead of chips, fruit snacks (which are not a healthy option), and juice, try offering REAL FOOD like hand fruit, berries, vegetables nuts, raisins, string cheese, and water. Don’t try and force your kids to eat these foods but have them easily available throughout the day so that when I child (or you) is hungry they easier options are the healthier ones.

Next you can adjust meals. Make simple adjustments to breakfast. Add some healthy fats to breakfast like eggs and avocados or even breakfast meats in addition to their pancakes, then slowly limit the pancakes eaten or trade the Bisquick out for a healthy pancake recipe like I’ve shared in other posts. Breakfast may be the hardest switch if you are just giving your kids cold cereal. In which case, stop immediately and she make the sacrifice to fuel your child’s body with something other than sugar. (We’ll save the details on that soap box for another day.)

Lunchtime at my house involves a lot of finger foods. We snack a lot at my house and I find it easier to get my kids to snack on healthy foods like nuts, berries, cheeses, and veggies than it is to eat then to eat a chicken breast, sweet potato and salad with me. I’m sure you may feel the same. Sometimes I think moms feel emotionally gratified when their child eats, so we push them to eat a meal or make them something they will love, rather than allowing them to listen to their bodies and select healthy foods that will satisfy their cravings. I remover how I used to stress myself out SO much when my toddlers wouldn’t eat what I thought was “enough.” But neither of them died…shocker….they were listening to their bodies.

(Home made apple chips were a hit with the girls!)

Dinners are tricky too because you don’t want to make a cold turkey switch if you don’t have to. So for any adult or child I think it best to slowly substitute good food in place of bad food. More healthy for less healthy. Add some more protein and leave out some noodles, trade flour noodles for sweet potato noodles, spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles. Switch white potatoes for yams, trade quinoa for rice, make broccoli instead of a iceberg lettuce salad, etc. make the transition slowly. Build on what you know your family already likes and run with it. Your family will probably notice the absence of unhealthy food less than they will the introduction of some new weird food. Slowly eliminate the bad for something good, then better, and eventually best.

I do believe that moderation in all things is key. Currently I’m trying to teach my daughters the appropriate amount of sweets to eat and allow them to embrace the cookies when they come. Often times all the girls want to eat is bread or crackers/pretzels. Pretzels and crackers are rarely in our house bare on occasion. Realizing that grains are beneficial to growing bodies I buy the healthiest wheat bread available and limit consumption. If the girls want bread it needs to be coupled with a protein or healthy fat and they get to choose their favorite one to with or along side the bread.

That’s what moderation looks like at our house. But moderation is a term flung around with varying degrees of meaning. Moderation doesn’t mean only 2 ice cream sandwiches a day instead of 3. That may be a good start to cutting back on your ice cream addiction but it isn’t moderation. Evaluate where you may be making justifications and do your research to learn how impactful food is and then stick to your guns. Your kids won’t starve.

I know I am only one woman with a limited scope of perspective. I realize that everyone has a different situation, different limitations and obstacles in the way of healthy eating. But I hope some of the things I’ve shared with you may help give you a boost of confidence in helping your family, and especially young children, transition into making healthier food choices. It can be done and it will indefinitely benefit heir lifelong health!

Please comment and share your secrets about what has worked for you and your kids. I’ve only touched the tip of the ice berg and would love to learn more from each of you!

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Keto Quiche

I don’t know what your family eats for Easter dinner but ham was abundant at ours…and eggs of course. Both families had lots of ham and lots of left overs. I hate letting leftovers go bad so I wanted to put all that extra ham and eggs to use!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cubed ham
  • 1 c shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 c Swiss Cheese
  • 1 c goat milk (or whole milk)
  • 1/2 c low fat cottage cheese
  •  4 small eggs (or 3 large eggs)
  • 1/2 t salt 1/2 t pepper (if your ham is already heavily salted, no need to add extra salt)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cube your ham and lay in the bottom of a pie baking dish. Sprinkle cheddar cheese + swiss cheese on top of the ham.
  2. In a blender (I use my Vitamix) combine milk, eggs, cottage cheese, and seasoning. Blend on med-high until smooth.
  3. Pour the egg/milk mixture over the ham and cheese. The filling should be about 1/2-3/4 inches from the top of the dish. As the Quiche cooks the pan will fill but not overflow. If you feel like your dish is too full you can place the baking dish on a cookie sheet to catch any spills.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-45 minutes or until the quiche forms up. You may be tempted to keep cooking the quiche until it feels hard in the middle, but overcooking will cause the eggs to be rubbery, The goal is for the quiche to be light and fluffy. So as soon as the center is no longer liquid it can come out. it will firm up as it cools.

Typically I add mushrooms, spinach, and other veggies to my quiche but this is a good ole meat and eggs version that even my husband loved! (he doesn’t  usually care much for quiche). I hope you enjoy it and will share your feedback!

Katie

Sweet Potato Lava Brownies

My girls asked for a treat tonight and I had a sweet potato in the fridge and thought….well let’s find a recipe for sweet potato brownies! I made sweet potato brownies once before, a few years ago, but lost the recipe. After searching good old google and not finding any recipes that looked good or that I had all the ingredients for, I just made my own recipe…and… it turned out AWESOME! I was too excited to not share it right away.

A few weeks ago I was at Happy Sumo for sushi and decided to try out their “lava” cake for dessert. There wasn’t so much “lava” in it but it was moist and dense and delicious. My sweet potato brownies had the EXACT same consistency + a bit more lava. I have some friends who are always looking for desserts that are healthy but also tasty enough that their non-healthy friends will eat them. This recipe checks both boxes! Throw some vanilla protein goat milk ice cream on top and you’re golden! (I’ll share my goat milk protein ice cream recipe soon).

If you need a chocolate fix this recipe will do the trick! PLUS you can feel good about knowing you’re using wholesome ingredients + free of gluten and refined sugar. Try it out yourself or tweak the recipe like I did and tell me what you think! I plan to use applesauce instead of butter next time to see how it turns out and maybe even add a bit of protein powder too…hmm…

Ingredients

  • 1 cup baked sweet potato (bake 1 large potato at 400 degrees until its super soft)…now that I think of it, you could probably use pumpkin instead of sweet potato too… now my wheels are turning! ha
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 stick butter melted (sub 1/2 cup coconut oil or other “fat” and see how you like it!)
  • 1/3 c cocoa
  • 1/4 c honey (you could sub agave or pure maple syrup)
  • 3/4 c oat flower (I just put whole oats in my Vitamix and blend until flour-like)…try other flour substitutes and tell me what you like best!
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 c dark-no sugar added chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Pre-cook your sweet potato @ 400 degrees. Then turn oven temp to 350 degrees to prepare to cook brownies. Melt butter in a sauce pan.
  2. Combine wet ingredients and mix on low speed until smooth
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated
  4. Add chocolate chips and stir in
  5. Pour into greased 9×9 baking dish. Cook at 350 degrees for about 22-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting + Enjoy!

 

Cheesy Keto Cauliflower

This is soon becoming one of the favorite dishes at our house! Gary has been kicking diets in the butt lately and after doing 3 months of no sugar, no flour, decided to do a 6 day water fast that he really enjoyed. After completing his water fast he wanted to keep his body in a ketogenic state and has been eating a keto style diet for a few weeks now. He is loving it and he has maintained his weight since his water fast.

Since keto is low carb he searched for veggies that were on the OK list. Cauliflower is one of them and we decided to experiment with cheesy cauliflower for dinner one night. We have never eaten a lot of cauliflower before and when we have it hasn’t been a raving success but this recipe redeemed them all! I give Gary all the credit for making this cauliflower recipe that I love so much!

This dinner fills me up but doesn’t weigh me down. I feel good eating a veggie based meal and my girls love it too! It tastes great re-heated and you can cook it in the oven or on the stove. Make it your own with your favorite flavors of cheese and toppings. Enjoy and let me know how you like it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 4 oz cream cheese (1/2 package) softened (I always get low fat)
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream (I prefer low fat as well)
  • 4 oz of your favorite cheese or a combination of cheeses
  • bacon bits/crumbles
  • 1-12.5 oz can of canned chicken (I added this part for some extra protein, Gary leaves this out of his.)
  • salt/pepper/favorite seasonings

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium size bowl combine softened cream cheese + sour cream+ most of the grated cheese + bacon bits. Save some for the topping) Mix until smooth
  2. Remove the base of the cauliflower and separate into bite size pieces. Add the cauliflower and canned chicken to the  mixture, add seasoning to taste and stir until cauliflower is evenly coated. (I usually let people season their own food because my house has very different preferences in that department)
  3. Put mixture into a 9×13 baking pan or casserole dish and cook in oven for about 20 minutes or until cauliflower begins to get soft.
  4. Remove cauliflower from the oven and mix up the cauliflower to makes sure the meted cheese evenly coats everything. After, top your dish off with the remaining cheese and bacon bits to make a yummy crust on top! Place back in the oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and cauliflower is soft.
  5. Enjoy!

This dish is very yummy without the chicken and is a great vegetarian dish. We also love adding mushrooms and it would be delicious with bits of smoked tri-tip on top for those carnivores our there! If you find that your dish is just too cheesy for your liking, cut back on the cream cheese and grated cheese, the cauliflower by no means needs to be “swimming” in cheese to taste good. Just having a bit of sauce on top makes them delicious and keeps you from feeling weighed down. I hope you love this as much as we do!

Love, Katie

 

Grain Lovers Breakfast Ideas

Some breakfast foods that can really be hard for people to avoid are cereal, pancakes, french toast, etc. When you cut out gluten and sugar from your diet these things become a big no-no and they are often times difficult to replace. Some of these breakfast ideas help my family to get some good grains in our diet that are more filling, tasty, and nutritious.

Katie’s Protein Pancakes/Waffles

This pancake recipe is my go-to for pancakes or waffles in the morning. They are more dense than regular pancakes and far more tasty. Don’t be surprised that they don’t taste like regular pancakes, they are definitely different, but I personally enjoy them much more.

Ingredients: Serves about 3 people

  • 1/2 cup whole steel cut oats
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (whichever protein is your favorite)
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Directions: 

  • Put all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until the consistency is smooth
  • Cook on low-medium heat until pancakes are firm.

Toppings: 

  • Peanut Butter (this is my favorite)
  • Sugar Free Jam/Syrup*
  • Nothing- they taste great plain too

Sugar Free Strawberry Jam Recipe (from my sweet friend Lacey):

Sweet Lacey in my neighborhood knew that Gary wasn’t eating sugar or flour so she sent her boys over with a jar of the most delicious home made strawberry jam one day. It was the perfect amount of sweet and I loved the texture that the Chia seeds added. It is my girls new favorite jam for their protein pancakes and waffles and the best part is there are only 3 ingredients! I plan to test this recipe with raspberries and other fruits too!

Ingredients/Directions:

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries washed and stemmed
    • put into a blender with
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
    • blend until it is as chunky/smooth as you want
    • put into a pan and bring to a light boil + stir for 5 minutes
    • pour into mason jars suitable for fridge or freezer

    • let cool in the jar and either freeze or refrigerate

Home Made Granola Cereal

If you simply cant live your life without some sort of cereal then I suggest you make your own granola that you can eat to satisfy your cravings while actually giving you some sort of nutrition instead of eating empty calories. Even though I do substitute oats for flour in some of my recipes these should still be eaten sparingly and should not dominate your diet in any way. Check your allotted macro levels (go to bodybuilding.com for an easy macro calculator) and makes sure any grains/complex carbs you do eat stay within the healthy limits you have.

Granola is great because you can definitely make it your own and add the things you love to help you truly enjoy your food. To make your own granola you’ll need a few components:

  • Raw Whole Oats- the backbone of your granola
  • Honey/Agave/Maple Syrup – to make it “stick”
  • Flax Seed Meal, Protein Powder or another gluten free “powder” that will act as the “mortar” to bond the honey/agave to the oats/other ingredients and make yummy clumps
  • Yummy add-ins – we like dried blueberries, cranberries, almond slivers, & raw coconut flakes
  • Other flavors- Mexican vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc, & salt to bring our flavors
  • Oil/fat- helps make the granola a bit crispy.. if you’re into that

Ingredients/amounts

  • 4 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup honey/agave
  • 2 cups nuts, seeds, dried berries,
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder and/or 1/3 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/4 c oil
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of any other flavors you like

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet/cake pan with parchment paper. Add all dry ingredients into a bowl, stir.
  2. Add honey, vanilla, oil and stir until the “glue” is evenly coating the dry ingredients.
  3. Pour mixture onto the prepared cookie sheet/pan and cook until the oats turn golden. about 20-25 minutes. Stir the ingredients after about 10 minutes to make sure all sides cook evenly and get crispy. Press the mixture  back into the pan to get it to stick together as it cooks the rest of the way.
  4. Let cool before breaking into pieces & enjoy!

 

Protein Oatmeal

In college, my friend Zach introduced me to quinoa, pre-workout, and protein oatmeal. I loved this simple way protein oatmeal turned a carb loaded breakfast into a power breakfast that incorporates healthy grains, proteins & fats..and its so quick! The protein powder you use will make a big difference in the taste so give a few tries before you make up your mind about it:)

PB Chocolate Protein Oatmeal:

Directions: Prepare oatmeal as usual with oats and water. When oats are cooked (either on the stove or microwave) add the protein powder + peanut butter and possibly a bit more water or milk depending on how thick you like your oatmeal.

Vanilla/Fruity Protein Oatmeal:

  • 1/2 cup Whole Oats
  • 1 cup water/milk
  • 1/2-1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • dried berries, nuts, fruit, cinnamon, or any other add ins you might like

Other Ideas:

  1. Peaches + Cream: Vanilla protein, milk, peaches
  2. Berries + Cream: Vanilla protein, milk, berries
  3. Mexican Hot Chocolate: Chocolate protein, milk, cinnamon
  4. Fruit + Nut: Vanilla protein, fruits, nuts
  5. Try something different and send me your idea!

 

I have so many more ideas to share and they are coming soon! Hopefully these can give you a starting point in your search for breakfast alternatives! Enjoy!

 

 

Meat/Egg lovers Breakfast

Over the years I have had many people ask me what I eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner if I don’t eat flour or sugar. I wanted to share some of them with you here in case you are trying to transition into healthier meals. If there are certain foods you love or hate and want ideas of how to incorporate or avoid those foods let me know so I can add more recipe ideas for you!

Meat Lovers Breakfasts

The easiest way to avoid carbs during breakfast is to stick with eggs and meat. This may not be for everyone but if it is, you know who you are. When I am eating very clean I find that my metabolism gets a boost and I get very hungry come breakfast time. A good hearty breakfast can help hold you off until your next meal and control your eating throughout the day. Here are some common Meat Lover breakfasts we enjoy at my house.

But before we get to meat, lets talk about Eggs- Lots of eggs.

If you hate eggs than let me know and we’ll come up with a solution for you. But eggs are a wonderful source of protein and can be made a plethora of ways.

  • Scrambled*
  • Fried*
  • Poached
  • Boiled
  • Made into an Omelet*
  • Quiche*
  • etc

Depending on your fat allowance for the day you can eat whole eggs or separate the whites from the yolk to increase protein without increasing fat. If I am eating predominantly eggs for a meal I’ll use one whole egg and maybe two egg whites scrambled together with a little bit of my favorite meat.

*Our Favorites

Andersen Omelet

If an omelet is made at our house it usually includes:

  • 4-6 Mushrooms Chopped
  • A handful of Spinach
  • Gary likes to add peppers or onions to his omelets. I prefer just the mushrooms and spinach.
  • Sliced Turkey meat/sausage/or cut up bacon pieces (maybe a 1/4 cup of meat)
    • put into a pan with a bit of olive oil and cook until spinach is wilted and meat + mushrooms are cooked.
  • 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites (Gary likes to add a dash of milk and water to his eggs to make them light and fluffy)
    • mix in a bowl and pour over the veggies and meat
    • cook until eggs are firm enough to flip
  • Add cheese to cooked side (if desired)
  • Salt/Pepper
    • fold in half and enjoy!
  • Top with avocado, salsa, hot sauce, etc

Here’s where I get weird. Instead of eating salsa or cheese on my eggs I’ll usually put a scoop of cottage cheese on top instead. It adds a bunch of protein and helps avoid the taste of dry bland egg in my mouth. Feel free to knock it after you’ve tried it 😉

Favorite Meats

Whenever I make eggs I usually combine them with a meat I’m digging that week. Some of my favorites are:

  • Uncured Bacon
  • Turkey Bacon
  • Low Fat Ground Turkey
  • Ground Sausage
  • Deli Turkey
  • Ham

Cook up a fried egg and slap that on top of any of these meats and I call that a great breakfast.

Andersen Scramble

My house is also the castle of scrambles so we’ll throw a bunch of meat and veggies in a pan, scramble in eggs and maybe some cheese and we’re set. The scramble came about because I suck at perfecting the omelet (while Gary’s omelets look like works of art). I ruin the omelet every time when I try and flip it. It either gets stuck to the bottom of the pan or I turn it too soon to avoid “dry egg” from overcooking it, blah, blah, blah, I gave up. The easiest solution? Mix all that shit together.

Our favorite scramble includes:

  • 1 yam/sweet potato peeled + diced
    • Cook in the pan first with 1 T olive/coconut oil until sweet potato begins to get soft
  • Add 4-6 mushrooms chopped
  • Add 1/4 cup of your favorite meat- ground or cut into bite size pieces
    • Cook the potatoes, mushrooms, meat  & any other veggies until the meat is cooked and potatoes are soft.
  • Next you can either scramble in your egg/egg whites/milk/water mixture or remove the “hash” from heat and fry up some eggs to put on top (my favorite).
  • Top with salt/pepper/salsa/hot sauce/or Katie’s weird low-fat cottage cheese.

Meal Prep- Breakfast Quiche Muffins

Growing up my Nana made the BEST quiche and if there was ever a brunch party I looked forward to that delicious egg-pie-thing that I knew would be served. Obviously this quiche had pie crust in the bottom and became off limits when I started paying attention to the amount of flour I ate. But I found a solution, quiche muffins!

Things to love about quiche muffins:

  1. East to meal prep and have on hand for on the go breakfasts
  2. No Crust
  3. So versatile! Quiche muffins can be different every time and will help use up whatever leftover meat/veggies you have in your fridge
  4. Fun for kids to help make and eat. Great for little people portions too

Ingredients: 
Spinach/Kale, Mushrooms, Favorite Meat, Favorite Cheese, Eggs, Milk/Cream, Salt/Pepper

Directions:

  • Get a regular sized muffin tin and either grease it with butter or fill with muffin wrappers.
  • Begin filling with the veggies. fill about 1/3 of the cup with pre-cooked veggies. Some of our go-to’s are
    • spinach/kale
    • mushrooms
    • peppers
  • Add meat (if you are a meat lover…which you should be if you are still reading this post). Fill the cups another 1/3 of the way with Pre-cooked meat. This is best for quiche because you’ve been able to remove excess moisture and grease before adding it to the muffins.
    • Crumbled bacon
    • Ground Sausage
    • Diced Ham Steak
    • Chopped Deli Meat
    • etc
  • Add Cheese – fill the rest of the cup with shredded cheese. Use your favorite cheese. If I am trying to cut back on fat I’ll use low-fat mozzarella cheese or maybe not even add cheese. Some delicious/flavorful cheeses are
    • Swiss
    • Smoked Guda
    • Sharp Cheddar
    • Pepper Jack if you like a bit of a kick
  • Eggs- Your egg mixture will change depending on your fat allowance. Anyone doing keto can dump the cream or whole milk into their eggs and be just fine. Those of you trying to cut out some fat, I suggest using a low fat milk (dont use fat free milk, you might as well just add sugar water and it wont add any creaminess).
    • Depending on how full your 12 cups are you probably only need 4-6 eggs. If you want to cut out more fat then you can sub egg whites for some of the yolks. But the consistency will definitely be better if you just use the whole egg.
    • Add 1/4 teaspoon and 1/4-1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • Add a 1/4-1/2 cup cream/Milk to your eggs and beat until the consistency is smooth.
    • Fill each cup up to the top with your egg mixtur & put in the oven

* Bake at 375 degrees for 30 min-1 hour…once the muffins are firm to the touch you’ll know they are ready to come out. The amount of fat/water in each batch will alter baking time. Let muffins cool completely before wrapping/covering and putting in the refrigerator. These should be good for about a week:)

What about Hash Browns?

If you grew up like Gary and Me you are probably used to having some sort of carb or starch with your breakfast. That can be a hard habit to shake! The easiest way to change your eating habits is to substitute what you are used to for something healthier. The Hash brown substitutes we use are:

  • Sweet potatoes or yams instead of white potatoes
    • Peel uncooked potatoes and use a cheese grater to make your own hash browns. Cook them in a bit of oil just like you would with regular hash browns and carry on as usual.
  • Spaghetti Squash
    • Yep, here is a weird Katie thing again. Go ahead and knock it after you’ve tried it. Spaghetti squash is such a simple substitute for regular hash browns and tastes SO good! So much more flavor.
    • The easiest way to incorporate this food is to plan a bit in advance. The night before, cut the spaghetti squash in half, gut the seeds, cover in a bit of oil + bake at 400 degrees until soft. Eat one half for dinner the night before and then refrigerate the rest for hash browns the next morning.
    • Scoop the squash out the next morning and “fry” them up in a bit of oil or butter the way you would usually make hash browns. They taste delicious if you get them a bit crispy too.

Did I forget something? Let me know if there are other Meat Lover breakfast you like that I can add to this list! And share any of your own variations of quiche muffins, favorite omelets, or scrambles that you love! Enjoy!

Crazy Goat Lady

There, I said it, I am a Crazy Goat Lady. The truth is, we’re all a bit crazy but we each get to pick our kind of crazy, right? Well, goats are part of my crazy.

When Gary and I were looking for a piece of land to build our home on we decided one of our non-negotiables was a somewhere we could have animals. Gary grew up with horses, dogs, birds, etc, and after I moved out of my suburban house my mother raised chickens and rabbits. We both agreed that teaching our children to care for animals and have responsibility over another life was important to us. We weren’t quite sure what animals we wanted first but we knew we at least wanted the option.

After we moved into our home in Fall of 2016 I started brainstorming about what sort of animal I wanted to get. Our neighbor joked with Gary about wanting to get fainting goats and Gary sounded like he’d be on board for that so I began researching goats. After a lot of research I decided that I wanted milk goats so I could convert my baby on to raw goat milk once I was done breastfeeding. I visited multiple goat farms, tried a lot of goat milk, and finally made the jump to buy a pair of Nigerian Dwarf goats. I put money down on two does (females), one of which was expecting babies in the spring! But….I didn’t have anywhere to keep them yet.

After making a few popsicle stick models of what I wanted my goat shed to look like my sweet husband and our close friend (who has carpentry experience), helped me build a fantastic shed over Thanksgiving weekend so I could bring my goats home in December!

Our experience over the last year has been fantastic! We have learned SO much! Gary let me know up front that this was going to be my project and its been a great project for me and my girls to have. In the last year we have been able to:

  • Kid 3 baby goats from Mamma 1 in March 2017
  • Get fresh, organic goat milk every single day to fill our families needs and then some.
  • Kid 1 baby goat from Mamma 2 in September 2017
  • Breed 2 more goats and expect “kids” in June 2018 from Mamma 1 and Little Mamma 3

Our goat count is at 4 right now and we plan to keep it between 4-6 from here on out. We kept the 2 baby girls we kidded and were able to sell the 2 boys to a sweet family down the road.

I’ll briefly highlight some of my favorite things about this experience so far.

Kids Kidding Kids

My 4 year old daughter has been with me in this goat business since day one. She came with me to see the goat farms. try the goat milk, and choose which goats to buy. She is such a wonderful observer and can tell you just about as much as I can about Nigerian Dwarf goats!

Since we purchased a goat already expecting babies we knew we needed to prepare for kidding and know how to do it! So a sweet friend we met through the “Goat World” allowed us to come watch/help her goats kid in February 2017. My sweet daughter was so tiny and it was SO cold during kidding season but she wanted to come along. When our friends doe was in labor we drove over late at night to come watch. It was a difficult birth and took some time. My sweet little girl sat on my lap for hours in her snow pants as patient as can be until the the goat finally had her babies. I’ll never forget her sweet willingness to just watch and learn with me that night.

As time got closer for our goat to Kid I let my daughter help me prepare a “birth box” with everything we might need when it came time to kid. She took such ownership over that job! Unexpectedly our goat had her babies quickly and in the middle of the day so we were hardly ready! When we checked on the goat to see how things were going and realized it was Game Time my sweet 4 year old knew exactly what to do and ran straight back to the house to get dad and the birth box while I caught the first baby to come out. She fearlessly stepped through the muck of birth to bring me towels, scissors to cut the umbilical cords, and even reminded me I needed to put iodine on them when I had forgotten.

To give my girls the opportunity to understand about conception, birth, life, and death through the lens of an animal has been priceless. The circle of life is normalized and their hesitation to participate in what some may consider “dirty work” is minimal.

Fresh – Raw – Organic Milk

Lets be clear, NOT all goat milk is created equal; and store bought pasteurized goat milk is not a good representation of what fresh, raw, good goat milk tastes like. I’ll be real with you, if you don’t like Whole Cows Milk you won’t like my goat milk. But if you DO like Whole Cows Milk, well then mine tastes better than that.

My household is divided on milk. My husband dislikes all milk but will tell you that our goat’s milk tastes just as good as any cows milk he’s had. I typically only use milk in cooking, protein shakes, and if I eat fruit ‘n milk (one of my treat alternatives). My girls drink milk as much or as little as they want. They drink it from a cup or use it in their oatmeal cereal.  The goats we have provide plenty of milk for us and enough to share with any friends or neighbors who are interested in trying some. We have a few neighbors who LOVE our milk and beg for any extras.

So why do I like goat milk? Honestly, I like knowing where the heck my milk came from and what the animal was fed that produced it. That is the main thing I love about having raw milk. I know exactly where it came from. Other things I love about it are the amazing health benefits, the ease of digestibility compared to cows milk. and the taste. Here is a quick link to some benefits of raw goats milk. Just be mindful though, because the FDA doesn’t endorse raw milk of any kind you will be hard pressed to find government backed studies that are pro raw milk. However, I believe that it makes much more sense to keep all the original vitamins and nutrients in milk rather than kill them off and then supplement them back in with fortified ingredients. That’s just me though. Also, with a clean milking process, “home grown” milk can have significantly less bacteria in it than the FDA’s allowable limit that you’ll find in store bought milk. 

Other Benefits

  • The satisfaction alone that comes from being able to provide food for my family for only 15 minutes of extra work a day is a fantastic feeling that definitely fills my cup.
  • My goat project is cost effective, saves money on store bought organic milk, and can even bring in money if selling raw milk is legal in your area.
  • Low maintenance- my 3 lb Yorkie Terrier is more maintenance than goats.
  • Such fun pets. Baby goats are the cutest/most fun things in the world!
  • Goat manure and mulch are great for gardening
  • etc

I hope you enjoy learning about this little hobby of mine. We really enjoy having our goats! If you are thinking of starting your own little goat herd I’d love to answer any questions OR you can hope over to Weed em and Reap’s website for EVERYTHING goat…and chickens….and gardening.