7 Quick Takes: The One with a Yummy Paleo Recipe

Christmas Decorations 2013 ~ Plumfield Dreams

  1. Our Christmas decorations are up, and they are gorgeous. We put lights on the entire tree, but decorations only on the top half, out of Aria’s reach.
  2. It’s December 6th. Thus far this month, I’ve had a potluck at church, a Christmas dinner with the ladies from church, the last rehearsal before the Christmas concert for the middle school choir I direct, and two rehearsals for Holiday Pops. This weekend we have our visit to Santa at the fire department and the homeschool choir Christmas concert. And the real madness doesn’t even start until Sunday. I’m living a day or two at a time right now, so I can enjoy the moments and not freak out. December is going by far too quickly already. Well, honestly, time consistently goes by too quickly these days. I’m thankful that reading Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift is helping me savor the season, even as it seems to fly by.
  3. Aria and I are having a great time with our advent Christmas reading. I put our Christmas picture books in a festive box, and we set it in Aria’s room the day after Thanksgiving. She spotted it immediately, and asked, “This?”. I told her it was a surprise for before bed, and at bedtime she remembered and asked “supwise?”, pointing at the box. I got down at her level and told her, “This box is full of Christmas books, and every day between now and Christmas you get to pick out a book and we’ll read it!” She was really excited, and chose one readily (she’s typically very decisive). Every day thereafter she’s asked for “Box! Book?” I am absolutely thrilled at how quickly she understood and took to it. We read a lot anyway, but somehow this month something has clicked, so she is engaged with the reading most times, instead of just wanting to turn the pages constantly. She’s growing up. <tear>
  4. I’ve gotten back in the reading groove. I recently read Lauren Graham’s debut novel, Someday, Someday, Maybe. I thought it was delightful, and intelligent. I’ve seen Lauren Graham on late night television, and I’ll be honest – I wasn’t sure she was more than a ditzy actress. I was wrong. In addition to Ann’s book, I am also currently reading Allegiant, the third book in the Divergent series. The series has gotten better with each book. I’m pleased with the way things are coming together in this last installment. It’s deeper and better-written than most YA fiction.
  5. I got my stitches removed this morning. It was unpleasant, what I would describe as highly uncomfortable. After more than a week dealing with them, I’m glad to have them out.
  6. I just rediscovered Old Navy. They have the most adorable clothes for little kids. And I got myself these lovely leggings for lounging.

    Aren’t they cute? They make me happy.

  7. This is my current favorite recipe. It’s flavorful, and healthy, and basically an entire meal in a sweet potato. Seriously, y’all. It’s SO GOOD.
    Chipotle Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

    Chipotle Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


Our Real Food Journey and a New Year’s Resolution

Our Real Food Journey ~ Plumfield Dreams

This article is part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlowerEvery Breath I TakeI Thought I Knew MamaAfrican Babies Don’t Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo. This month’s topic is Natural New Year’s Resolutions. Be sure to check out all of the participants’ posts through the links at the bottom of this page.

Bloggers, visit GrowingSlower to sign up to write for next month’s carnival.
A couple of years ago I learned Andy had been suffering from serious breathing issues for many years, since before we got married. He’s a quiet guy, so I thought all those evenings he didn’t want to talk to me he just didn’t want to talk. It turns out he physically couldn’t talk, and since he’s quiet, he never explained it to me when he felt better. Things escalated over time, until we finally started visiting doctors in an attempt to figure it out. The doctors couldn’t find anything, and kept suggesting anxiety as the root problem. That answer didn’t work for us, and a series of clues led me to the conclusion he was having issues with food. We did an elimination diet for him, and he felt nearly 100% better (and lost 40+ pounds). He’s still working out exactly what things bother him, but it seems to be additives more than the actual food. But, y’all, most of our food, even the “healthy” stuff, is made up largely of additives.

Cut to: Aria was born and the first couple weeks she spit up constantly and was incredibly fussy. I didn’t think it could be normal, so I started researching, and learned she probably had a dairy intolerance. I cut all dairy from my diet, and she was entirely better. With Noah we witnessed the same thing. This time I found it easy to cut the dairy from my diet – not too much had crept back in after nursing Aria. But we were also watching him get stuffier and stuffier, to the point some nights he sounded like he was struggling to breathe. I started researching again, and discovered stuffiness can be a sign of food allergies. I started an elimination diet, and quickly discovered one of the foods I thought I could eat on the diet, corn, caused a severe reaction in him. Eventually I also discovered he was reacting to soy.

By now we’ve learned so much about food and its effect on our bodies. Currently we eat very few processed foods, though we still consume too much sugar (especially me). Andy has cut many things he finds bother him (canned soups, and other such processed foods, artificial sweeteners, carrageenan, etc.). I largely avoid dairy, soy, and corn. Aria doesn’t eat much dairy, though we’ve allowed her consumption to creep up some.

I am encouraged by the good steps we’ve taken for our health in the past couple of years. We also see areas we would like to continue to improve. We both tend to eat too much, and would like to lose some weight. I struggle with moderation – if there’s junk in the house, I eat it. The solution for me is for it to not be around. After all my research I’ve reached a couple of conclusions. I don’t believe there’s one particular diet that everyone needs to follow. I DO believe there are certain foods that are making all of us sick. But I think there are other foods that bother some of us and not others. I’ve reached the conclusion we should all be eating whole foods, and from there the question of specific food groups that might need cut is an individual one. Because the other conclusion I’ve reached is that the very thing we need to stay alive is killing us. Since we start dying the day we’re born, I’m not going to worry overly much about it. I’m going to strive to be healthy so I can live fully – that way when the food eventually takes me out I can go smiling. 😉

I’m not typically a resolutions kind of gal, but it so happens January is the perfect time for us to make this next step in changing our diet. Come January, we plan to:

  1. Cut sugar and gluten from our diets. We haven’t made this final leap yet, because it requires a level of planning and preparation I haven’t yet been ready to commit to. Now I am. I’m sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. 🙂
  2. Stop eating out so much. We get fast food or takeout far too often recently. The change from one child to two has taken its toll on our cooking habits. Though I’m home every day, I work part time and have several other irons in the fire. When you combine that with a baby who is just starting to decide on a schedule, I often find it difficult to have dinner ready at a decent time. Obviously if we’re cutting sugar and gluten, in addition to the soy and corn we’ve already cut, eating out is going to be a rare thing.

Accomplishing these goals requires some planning. To that end, I’ve been doing research. These are some great blogs I’m following:

I’m also pinning recipes we want to try. I’ve got a few boards focused on allergy-friendly or whole foods.

I’m not worried about finding tasty foods to eat. Many of my favorite recipes already fit within this new way of eating. I am, however, a bit nervous about finding simple convenience foods we can fall back on. If you have advice for me, please share!

Healthy Holiday Recipes

Healthy Holiday Recipes ~ Plumfield DreamsBecause of the kids’ food sensitivities, we eat mostly corn-free, soy-free, and dairy-free in our house. Andy does eat some products that contain those ingredients (sour cream, yogurt, store-bought bread, etc.). Primarily, though, our recipes exclude any major sources of those ingredients. This is the first year we’ve been avoiding corn and soy for the holidays. It requires a little additional thought, but for the most part it is not difficult to eat cleanly and festively. You just have to be willing to do the cooking!

Where we come across ingredients that are necessary but don’t work for us, we just substitute. For example, almond or coconut milk in place of cow milk (I’ve come to prefer these milks for cooking, baking, and smoothies), and dairy- and soy-free buttery spread in place of butter (no, that is NOT the same, but it IS healthier, and in our case, necessary).

Here are some healthy holiday recipes we plan to try out this Thanksgiving.


Smoky Paprika Bacon-Wrapped Turkey

Smoky Paprika Bacon-Wrapped Turkey


Rosemary Roasted Carrots

Rosemary Roasted Carrots

Roasted Green Beans

Roasted Green Beans

Citrus Coconut Roasted Beets

Citrus Coconut Roasted Beets


Paleo Pumpkin Pie

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

You can find more healthy and tasty recipes, including some clean stuffing recipes, on my allergy-friendly Pinterest board.

Ebook Bundle: Real Food for Winter

Bundle #43: Real Food for Winter

I love these ebook bundles! Each week a new bundle of 5 books on a specific topic is released. The bundle is always $7.40, and the book selection is always great. I’ve purchased several bundles, and starting this week I am working with them as an affiliate partner. That means if you purchase the bundle through a link you receive from me, I will receive a small portion of the profit (at no extra cost to you). Check out this bundle and see if it’s something that appeals to you! (Personally, I’m excited about the whole foods aspect, and the book on soups is right up my alley.)

This collection includes more than 175 recipes at almost 80% off their retail price from bloggers who are known for their delicious and nourishing real food recipes.

Nourishing Menu Plans on a Budget by Diana Bauman
In Nourishing Menu Plans on a Budget, Diana shares more than 20 meals plus recipes for homemade stock, salad dressings and desserts to help make cooking real food simple for your family. She’s also included a menu plan and shopping lists to help you save money in the process. Planning ahead is the key to serving healthy, nourishing meals, and this ebook offers you a month off from meal planning with recipes your family is sure to love.

Soups, Chilis & Stews: From My Table to Yours from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures
While soups are simple to make, they are bursting with complex flavors and offer a deliciously simple and nutritious meal for your family. Unfortunately, most canned soups are full of preservatives and sodium, but in Soups, Chilis & Stews, Lynn shows you how to cook healthier versions at home just as easily. These recipes are hearty and filling, easy to freeze and perfect for winter evenings!

Simple Food {For Winter} by Shannon Stonger
Simple Food {For Winter} is a seasonal cookbook that emphasize real food and sustainable living with 30 grain-free recipes. Shannon also shows you how to make grain-free biscuits that are tender on the inside and crisp on the outside, identify and prepare the foods that your body needs most during the winter, use the squash, turnips, kale, lacto-fermented and dehydrated vegetables that are the backbone of winter vegetables, get the most out of your beans through soaking and sprouting, and much, much more.

Wholesome Comfort by Kate Tietje
Comfort food is perfect in the snowy winter — warm, creamy, and satisfying. In Wholesome Comfort, Kate offers more than 40 tried-and-true, down-home comfort food recipes made with only real food ingredients. This cookbook offers recipes that will make you feel as good as they looks and taste, with no guilt or after-effects: Food that nourishes while it comforts. Food that’s reminiscent of perfect family favorites…and will become new family favorites.

Steeped: Simple Nourishing Teas and Treats by Katherine Stanley
Discover the simple pleasure of curling up with a cup of hot tea on a cold winter day or sharing tea with friends and family through Katherine’s Steeped: Simple Nourishing Teas and Treats. With more than 50 recipes for scones, breads, ice creams, teas, sandwiches and salads plus an introduction to tea essentials, this ebook will help you view tea time in a whole new way!

The Real Food for Winter bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 10/28. Get yours today!