What I’m Into {January 2014 Edition}

What I'm Into ~ Plumfield DreamsThis is my first time participating in Leigh Kramer’s monthly “What I’m Into” linkup. I’m excited! I love this sort of thing. Hopefully some of you gentle readers do, as well. (Speaking of what I’m into…when I typed “gentle readers” my mind went to a specific Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode. Can you go there, too? Oh, I hope so, because that means you lead a happy life.)

What I’m Reading

I’ve been sick so much, and subsequently so busy when I’m well, that I haven’t gotten much reading done. I even missed book club. A Million Little Ways has been my primary read this month, and it is fantastic. It’s been a while since I’ve done much underlining in a book, but this one is getting heavily marked up. It has inspired a lot of thoughts, all milling around waiting for me to have the time to focus properly on each. It’s a book to savor, for sure.

The books most heavily in rotation with the kids this month are Katie Loves the Kittens, a couple I Spy books Aria got for her birthday, Madeline’s Rescue, one of Andy’s Garfield comic strip books Aria found on the bookshelf, and Charlie the Ranch Dog.

What I’m Watching

Downton Abbey AND Sherlock came back this month, so I’m basically in television heaven. I’ve also been rewatching NCIS. I’m up to season nine, which is the last one I own (no, I did not watch nine seasons this month). There are many things to appreciate about this show, but one of my favorite aspects is the subtlety. They don’t spell things out, and they don’t show a lot of the relational situations. Instead, they drop hints – verbal, contextual, and physical – and trust the viewer to follow. It’s refreshing.

Geeking Out

I just learned about this awesome curated box of bookish things you can receive quarterly. I AM SO EXCITED. I only wish I had learned about it before the first box went out, because I want everything in it. Oh, and I also wish I could afford to do this one, too. And that I could gift one to everyone I know.

Around the Web

Emily Freeman is one of my favorite bloggers (she also wrote A Million Little Ways). This post about Choosing the One You Least Expect is moving and inspiring.

I can very much relate to the whole waffling thing Anna discusses in Moms Need More Swagger (also to the idea my mom knew everything with confidence, and to the waiting for that to kick in).

The Kids Are Learning 

Aria (two) has started saying “I love you” and “I like you”. The latter is a song from her favorite TV show, “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”. She has also started singing – more than just mimicking me – beginning with the “I like you” song. She has become extremely polite. It’s cute. She says “thanks” for pretty much everything, is getting quite good at remembering her “pleases”, and (my favorite) says “excuse me” if she needs to pass you. I hear “‘Scuse me, Mommy” a couple dozen times a day. She has also learned to apologize to her brother if she does something mean, or something thoughtless that results in him getting hurt. She’s pretty good about it, but sometimes I feel badly because I’ve heard her saying “Sowwy, Noey” when he cries about something totally unrelated to her. It’s cute, and a little sad, but I think she just doesn’t quite understand it yet. She seems to be basically trying to get him to be quiet. 🙂

Noah (6 months) is starting to play independently on the floor for short periods of time. Yesterday I left him in the Bumbo seat on the living room floor, and when I came back ten minutes later he was hanging out on his belly on the floor. We may be about done with the Bumbo seat. He isn’t crawling yet, but he does push himself up almost onto his knees regularly, and he pulls himself around the room. He got three more teeth in a period of about four days, so he now has a total of five. We started him on solids a couple weeks ago. Thus far he’s eaten avocado, banana, sweet potato fries, roasted carrots, green beans, and homemade chicken fingers. He seems to have enjoyed all of it.

What I’m Pinning

Super Bowl food! We started our clean eating endeavor this month, and I’ve been pinning food like crazy.

Here’s what we think we’re going to try for the Super Bowl:

Buffalo Wings with Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Spinach Brownies

Texas-Style Cilantro Jalapeno Hummus


What I'm Into

{Clean Eating} Real Food Ebook Bundle Deal

Bundle of the Week #50: Real Food for Every DayI am particularly excited about this week’s ebook bundle, valued at over $100, because it goes perfectly with what we’ve been discussing around here recently! With dozens of tips, hundreds of recipes and a complete 7-day meal plan, plus a shopping guide and activities for children, this collection is the perfect how-to for anyone on a real food journey.

And now you can choose between the PDF, Kindle or ePUB versions of the ebooks in each bundle.

7-Day Real Food Challenge by Roxanne King
Planning and practice is the key to providing a healthy real food diet for your family that doesn’t take up too much time or too much money, and you can jump start the process with the 7-Day Real Food Challenge! With this ebook, you’ll get a full meal plan for 7 days (for all three meals, plus snacks!), recipes for every dish in the meal plan, and a shopping list to help you prepare for the challenge. In addition, Roxanne offers tips on how to prepare your kitchen for the challenge plus membership in an active private Facebook group for help and support!

Real Food Nutrition for Kids by Kristen Michaelis
Teach younger children about real food with child-friendly lessons inspired by the same love of wholesome, traditional foods that you find in Nourishing Traditions, the work of Weston A. Price, the Slow Food movement, and farmer’s markets everywhere. Real Food Nutrition for Kids is a beautiful book full of fun illustrations, coloring pages, and activities to help young children learn the basic concepts of digestion, nutrients, healthy food, and where their food comes from.

Real Food for the Real Homemaker from Real Food Cookbooks
Real Food for the Real Homemaker offers budget-friendly recipes and resources for any cook on a whole foods journey! Dive into real food homemaking with topics such as real food basics, frugal grocery shopping, must-have kitchen tools, make it yourself tips and recipes, and more. You’ll also get 75+ delicious and familiar recipes that use normal, everyday ingredients that can and do fit into your monthly budget!

Real Food Hits the Road by Millie Copper
In Real Food Hits the Road, Millie offers tips to help you save the budget, keep your digestion working well, and enjoy real food away from home while letting you enjoy the trip and not “cook” all of the time. It’s not just a cookbook, but a tutorial in making real food simple and enjoyable while away from home. Travel and good eating do not have to be an all or nothing deal, and this ebook includes suggestions to help you eat well with minimal time and effort.

Eating Additive-Free Cookbook & Shopping Guide by Christy Pooschke
If you want to reduce the amount of processed food and chemicals in your diet, the Eating Additive-Free Cookbook and Shopping Guide gives you all of the recipes and information you need to enjoy tasty, additive-free meals! Get 160 delicious natural recipes that even the kids will enjoy as well as hundreds of product selection tips, ingredient warnings and suggestions for specific brand names and retailers. This guide is packed full of information to help you make the best decisions at the grocery store.

Get yours today!

{Clean Eating} What Exactly CAN You Eat?

{Clean Eating} What Exactly CAN You Eat? ~ Plumfield DreamsIf you’re anything like me, when you hear about people cutting gluten and such from their diets you think, “So, what can you actually eat? I could never survive on so little variety…” It’s a common misconception that a clean diet means a lack of variety. Actually, there’s no truth to that idea.

We can still eat bread, muffins, cookies, pizza – we just make them without gluten, corn, or refined sugars. You’d be amazed at what great flavors you can achieve without the “junk”. The thing it requires is time. We don’t cook from boxes anymore, and we can’t just pick up bread from the shelf. If we want bread, we make it from scratch. I know it sounds intimidating, but it’s not as difficult as you’d think. Baking bread is not difficult – mix up the ingredients, let it rise, stick it in the oven. Voila! You can make your own gluten-free pasta, or better yet, vegetable pasta. You get the idea. You don’t have to be deprived.

Here’s what we eat:

  • Spices and seasonings – I’m starting here because it’s key to all the rest. If you want to eat good food, you need to get comfortable with spices and seasonings. In our house we love strong flavors and spicy foods. We don’t do bland food.
  • Vegetables – We eat all veggies, cooked a bunch of different ways (though simple roasting brings out wonderful flavors in most veg).
  • Meat – We primarily eat chicken, turkey, and beef. Of course there’s more variety of meat than that, we just don’t prefer them. We also eat fish – primarily shrimp and salmon. Again, that’s because those are what we prefer.
  • Fruit – Some people say you should limit your fruit intake, and maybe you should, but we don’t really. Aria loves fruit and eats it all the time. Andy and I eat less, but still partake regularly. Apples, oranges, grapes, and bananas are favorites around our house. We also eat a lot of tomato (including canned) and avocado. Both technically fruit, though they aren’t treated as such in the kitchen.
  • Rice – We eat quite a bit of rice. We like to make a cilantro-lime rice (basically a knockoff of Chipotle’s) to eat with our favorite shredded chicken taco meat. We eat several things over rice. Aria and I eat unsalted rice cakes with peanut butter and jam regularly. We also bake with rice flour.
  • Legumes – We don’t eat these nearly as much as we do the other things listed here, but they are still in our arsenal. For example, we eat black beans in some Latin dishes, and a variety of beans in chili (we don’t use chili beans, because they have additives). For some people legumes can trigger illness, so that’s something to keep in mind if you keep them in your diet. It’s best to use dried beans, but they take some prep, and we often eat dishes with beans because I’m in a hurry, so I’m not good about that.
  • Breads – As I mentioned above, we do eat bread. However, we don’t eat it with the frequency common in our culture. I may make a batch of muffins or a loaf of bread in a week, and it will take the three of us that week to eat. We may make a pizza for one dinner. We eat these things regularly, but not necessarily often.
  • Eggs – Eggs get a lot of play around our house. Fried, hard boiled (great in salads or as a snack or quick meal), and as omelets. We eat them every day.
  • Sweet Potatoes – These get their own bullet for a couple reason. First, there’s some controversy about whether they should be considered a vegetable or a starch. Second, we eat them a lot. They’re one of my favorite foods. We make chipotle chicken stuffed sweet potatoes for a healthy, yummy dinner. We make sweet potato fries regularly. I have a wonderful recipe for coconut cilantro mashed sweet potatoes (in the slow cooker). The other week we tried this wonderful beef brisket recipe that is eaten over sweet potato waffles (yep, you cook the sweet potatoes in a waffle maker). That meal was fantastic.
  • Almond milk and tea are our favorite cold drinks, other than water. Aria drinks unsweetened almond milk and dark chocolate almond milk regularly. We use this tea maker to brew tea, our family favorite. Andy and I also drink hot tea and coffee (I just do decaf).

There are many great desserts. I don’t recommend indulging often, but you can make pretty much any sweet imaginable without refined sugars or gluten. They’re not the same, but – get this – sometimes they’re better. This Salted Peanut Butter Cup is my favorite go-to when what I really want is ice cream.