Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

My baby loves hummus…really LOVES it!

Ask the kids what they want for a snack and Sweet Girl will ask for a sticky bun…not the little guy, nope

He wants carrots and hummus!

Now there are so many hummus recipes out there  but I am always on the look out for something new.  When my friend, who’s husband is on an anti-inflammatory diet due to arthritis, gave me this recipe I jumped all over it…thanks Brenda!

3 cups cooked garbanzo beans (chick peas) or 2 cans

1/4 Cup of the cooking liquid from the beans

1/2 Cup Tahini (sesame seed paste)

3 cloves garlic peeled (I often use more but I’m a garlicky girl!)

1/4 Cup + 1 TBSP lemon juice

3 TBSP Water

3/4 tsp sea salt (adjust to your taste)

1/2 Cup Almond butter (I make mine out of raw almonds in the Vita-Mix)

2 tsp Curry powder
Put it all in a blender and blend till smooth!

(If you leave out the almond butter and curry you can have plain hummus, but what fun is that?)

Serve to your kids with carrots, peppers, broccoli or celery to dip…what a perfectly healthy and easy snack!

And just for fun try different flavors, like hummus with spinach, or feta cheese, or my all time favorite…roasted red and yellow peppers.  Oh my!

So go and make yourself some homemade hummus…you will be glad you did!

Kim can also be found at the inadvertent farmer where she is raising organic fruits, veggies, critters, kids, and…a camel!

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Last night I finally got to watch Food Inc.! My mother was the first to tell me about it months ago. Then Kim went temporarily insane and challenged the whole dang world to eat better by nixing all processed foods. Ha! I was the first to jump on board. You see, I also went temporarily insane (Hubby would argue) after reading Kingsolver and Pollan.

image c/o USDA and Wikipedia


I thought, “how in the world can we be paying people to eat this crud?!” I willingly exposed myself to nothing but scratched foods for a month because of books I’d read, but now, having watched the film that inspired The Real Food Challenge I feel even more disillusioned by corporate farms and industrial organics. In a nutshell here are my immediate opinions of the film, the foods, the companies, and The Real Food Challenge: 

  1. Our food situation is so much worse than I thought – even after reading An Omnivore’s Dilemma.
  2. I cannot get the imagery of the miles of mud and manure that our beef is raised in, nor the industry of chicken.
  3. I’m appalled that we humans can treat each other so, so poorly; that the dollar is more important than humans’ well-being.
  4. Joel Salatin is my hero. Not only can this man raise humane food in a self-sustainable manner, but he’s reversed ecological damage on his property by doing so. Raising food CAN be good for the environment! Happy Earth Day, Joel!
  5. Growing up an Indiana girl and having watched this film, I have learned a new disdain for corn and our country’s reliance upon it. I think I truly understand now why it was chosen as a resource for fuel.
  6. I will never look at a grocery store the same way when the same four or five companies are filling it up with different labels.
  7. We can make a difference by talking, not purchasing, teaching, learning. 
  8. My concience is having a very hard time considering ever feeding my friends and family any of this slop. If I could only afford to purchase a few humanely raised/produced foods it would include milk and all meats – or I will do without.

Those of us here at NDIN have continued on by still eating the same types of foods as we did during The Real Food Challenge. What I want to know is who of you out there are continuing to live the Real Food lifestyle, and what your opinions are of Food Inc. (Think we forgot it? Nah, we still have a few prizes to give away for those of you that are keeping up!)

If you want to make a difference in the way our communities eat you can help! Teach a child to garden. Share your bounty with someone in need. Speak to the government. Boycott CAFO products. Buy local. Go to your farmers’ market. Start a garden. 

What will you do?

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With the premier of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution series on TV (which I begrudgingly watched with Mr Chiots) there’s been a flurry of posting on the internet about the school lunch program and the health of the children in this country. I have very strong opinions about this matter, and food in general. Since we spent the month of March focusing on Real Food I thought this might be a good time for us to discuss the feeding of our children.

Who’s responsible for the nutrition and feeding of children?
the government? the state? the community? the school? the parents?

photo courtesy of al la corey on Flickr

What Is the National School Lunch Program?
According to the USDA website: The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day.

A Little History of the School Lunch Program
The school lunch program was started by Harry S. Truman in 1946 for reasons of “National Security”. He read a study that said many soldiers that wanted to join the armed services for WWII were denied due to medical issue caused by malnutrition in childhood (note: my grandpa was rejected because he was double jointed in his elbows). The school lunch program was expanded by Lydon Johnson to include breakfasts in 1966 and summer lunches in 1968.

Since its inception, the school lunch/meals programs have become available in more than 98,800 schools. The 2004/05 school year reported that over 9.2 million children participated in the breakfast and lunch programs; and as many as 1.6 million children took advantage of the summer meals program that same year. *

What were school kids lunches like before school lunch programs?

What did children bring for school lunch in the 19th century? History books tell us their meals were usually composed of leftovers from the previous day. This means Italian, Irish, Swedish, Jewish and German immigrant schoolchildren likely consumed very different foods for lunch. A century later, ample evidence reveals home-packed lunches still reflected family heritage and economic status. The classic “American melting pot” school lunch of sandwich, fruit, dessert & drink was promoted by the same folks who worked hard to establish school lunch programs.

Possible “melting pot-type” school lunches based on period cookbooks are these:

1. Ham salad (or just plain ham) on whole wheat, graham crackers, fruit (apple, grapes, strawberries)
2. Chicken breast on roll, deviled eggs, carrot sticks & celery curls, ginger snaps or ginger bread
3. Corn bread & jelly, beef jerky, dried cranberries or raisins, popcorn balls
4. Cornish pasty (small portable pie filled with meat & vegetables), fruit (plums, pears, cherries), sugar cookies
5. Deviled ham (Underwood Company began in 1869) & soda crackers/saltines, canned fruit (peaches, pears), muffin (blueberry, apple, cranberry) **

What were school lunches like when they were first being introduced?
School lunch menu in Philadelphia in 1917
Monday: Baked beans and roll, Cocoa or milk, crackers or ice cream
Tuesday: Vegetable soup and roll, Cocoa or milk, crackers or ice cream
Wednesday: Creamed beef on toast and roll, Cocoa or milk, crackers or ice cream
Thursday: Macaroni with tomato sauce and roll, Cocoa or milk, crackers or ice cream
Friday: Creamed salmon and roll, Cocoa or milk, crackers or ice cream**

photo courtesy of Writing Program PTW on Flickr

So, the school lunch program is providing “nutritionally balanced” meals to our kids? really? I remember school lunches, I rarely ate them and I remember not liking them and knowing they were unhealthy. We packed our lunches because my parents knew school lunches weren’t healthy. Our lunches were simple and delicious, sandwiches on whole grain bread, carrot sticks, apples, fruit, cheese, etc. Visit the Fed Up With Lunch blog to see what school lunches actually look like.

I believe it’s a parent’s responsibility to feed their children healthy food. My parents were always proactive about keeping us healthy and about providing good food for us. We didn’t have tons of toys or tons of clothes, but we had good food and we spent a lot of time being active. Because my parents made the effort to make sure we had healthy childhoods my brother and sister and I have the blessing of being healthy adults. Sadly in our society many don’t see fast food and junk food as unhealthy (or they just don’t want to admit it since they consume so much of it). I had a friend recently who was taking her son to checkup. The son happened to mention that he was going to start drinking raw milk. The doctor gave my friend a lecture about the dangers of raw milk and how it wasn’t good for kids. This is very sad, especially coming from a doctor, because if the boy had said he was excited that his mom was going to take him to McDonald’s after the appointment the doctor would have said nothing about that.

It’s interesting to me that many people will make sure their children wear their bicycle helmets, but don’t make them eat any vegetables. Sure our children may be emotionally happy, have tons of toys, and access to health care, but if we’re not nourishing them properly what kind of future will they have? This doesn’t just affect the lives of our children but it affects the future of our country and society. These children are the future adults/leaders/parents of our country and we’re not doing a very good job of equipping them with basic health so they can enjoy a prosperous future. It’s one thing if you don’t want to eat healthfully yourself as an adult, but when you don’t nourish your children well you’re setting them up for a grim future.

Who’s responsibility do you think a child’s nutrition is?

*cited from Education Bug
**cited from FoodTimeline.org

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Some of my fondest memories are of cooking with family members. In our family everybody cooked, even the fellows. Grandparents took their time, allowing me to be part of the process. I remember how slowly and perfectly Grandma Dorothy sliced onions and potatoes, and how we peeled tomatoes for canning. Grandmama was the queen of braided bread, chicken and noodles, and all things sweet. She taught me to savor food. Poppy was the ultimate breakfast cook, preparing eggs, bacon, and pancakes or toast every morning. The younger generations like to experiment a bit more: Mom introduced me to crepes; my stepdad is the reigning champion of baking desserts; my uncle, in his own disturbing way, got me to sample deer and rabbit; and my brother, well, let’s say he was one prime reason I was a vegetarian for some time.

kidhelp collage

It’s amazing the memories that food invokes. If a smell can trigger a memory, then the impact of food has to be tenfold. These are some of the reasons that I love to cook with my daughter – so that when she leaves this nest that she’ll have the knowledge and good memories of family and food.

There are some keys to cooking with children. Allow plenty of time for play and mistakes, let your child experiment, and never tell your child that something’s gross unless it’s unhealthy for them. My daughter’s favorite foods include eel, oxtail, squid, and spinach because we’ve tried not to negatively influence her relationships with food.

orange peel scraping

Let your child play with the tools except for those that can be dangerous. One way to allow your child to explore kitchen tools is to make “Bathtub Soup.” We like to gather sieves, strainers, ladles, slotted spoons, measuring cups, bowls, pans, and so on and dump them all in the bathtub with her. It’s like a science kit for the bathtub. She gets to see firsthand how many bubbles fit in ½ cup versus 1 cup or how the turkey baster sucks up water into its bulb.

butter making

To reinforce the importance of the family dinner, I involve my daughter in every meal. She has the responsibility of setting out the silverware and napkins. As she gets older she’ll have more responsibilities. On weeknights I’ll allow her to help stir or pour things into a pot, but our biggest experimentation comes on the weekends when we have more time. I allow her to help make decisions, like deciding on a side dish. On Friday nights we make pizza and she’s allowed to help with the dough and decorate her own dinner. She is also a big part of our garden. She helps to harvest our fruits, vegetables, and herbs, giving her ownership of what we’re preparing. She was 5 years old the first time I allowed her to use my chef knife – and I taught her the first time how to use it properly and without fear. Cleaning up is included in her responsibilities to dinner, and as she gets older those responsibilities will all increase.

Common sense comes from experience. I have had to remind my daughter every time we cook together the three most important rules before anything begins: 1. Fingers away from the cutting board while cutting utensils are in use. 2. Never assume that the stove is ‘off’ 3. No cooking without a grownup (one day I’ll share the story of a certain 5-year old that tried to make oatmeal all by her big self in Mommy’s new pan). I occasionally add a few extras like keeping hands clean or enforce the no double-dipping rule. Now that we’ve cooked together on many occasions, my daughter knows these rules exist and that there are no exceptions.


Above everything else, remember to have fun and don’t let mistakes discourage anyone. Involving your children in cooking will teach them a skill, build creativity, and create bonds and special memories – each of which will last a lifetime.

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Mr Chiots and I don’t have children, so our “homesteading kids” are our nieces & nephew. I went out to the farm where they keep their chickens with them and they were super excited to show me around.

Our little nephew is like most boys, he loves playing in the dirt, so gardening is a fine hobby for him.


As most of you know I have a whole passel of children and I will say that I think without a doubt raising them in the country, around animals, the garden, and nature is just about the best gift I could give them…and myself!

They are great help in the garden…


They feed the animals…

Out of mama’s tea cup…ewwww!

They are pros at checking the fences…

And picking their own breakfast…

They help haul hay!

And even make bread!

Yes homesteading kids work hard and play hard!

And sometimes…just sometimes…they even kiss the camel! 

At least the weird big ones do!

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My littlest kids just loves granola…well we all do, but they do especially.  I on the other hand hate the high price of good granola.  Making your own is so simple and satisfying…not to mention less expensive!  There are so many variations you could have a different kind ever day of the week and still not run out of ideas for great granola!  Today Sweet Girl chose her very favorite, coconut with cinnamon and raisins!

For this recipe you will need.

  • 4 Cups Old Fashioned Oatmeal (not quick cooking)
  • 1 Cup Wheat Germ
  • 4 TBSP Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 5 TBSP Vegetable Oil
  • 3 TBSP Water
  • 3 Cups total extras (we used raisins and unsweetened large flaked coconut)

Note…I always try to use as many organic ingredients as possible

Extras that you could use: slivered or sliced almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, chopped pecans or hazelnuts, dark or golden raisins, dried currants, chopped banana chips, chopped dried pineapple, dried blueberries or cherries, chopped dates or mini chocolate chips

Flavorings you could use: cinnamon, ginger, almond extract, orange zest, vanilla extract

Liquid Sweeteners you could use: honey, maple syrup,  molasses

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

In a large bowl mix Oats…


Wheat Germ…


Brown Sugar…


Salt and Cinnamon…


and Coconut…


Mix it all together…


In small microwave safe bowl or small saucepan mix together…


Pure Maple Syrup…


Not forgetting of course to…


Lick the cup!


Whisk Syrup, Oil, and Water together and microwave for approx 1 minute until hot

or simmer on low in saucepan till hot.

Whisk again well and drizzle over dried ingredients…


Stir well…and place on lightly greased large cookie sheet (you may need two since you need to keep it away from the edges so you can stir it later without spilling) or jelly roll pan


Now if you are like me and like little lumps of granola instead of just loose granola here is a trick…


Taking small handfuls at a time squeeze it into little lumps and place back in the pan…


Then you will have cute little lumps of granola…ahhhh!

Place in preheated oven for 30 minutes then…


Add any dried fruit you are using, in the case raisins, mix them in and place back in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until your granola is a deep golden brown.  Let cool completely and store in airtight container.  It will keep for two weeks…mine usually last about 2 days because…


Kids sure do like its crunchy yummy goodness!


So remember it is always a good morning for great homemade granola!!!


So what is your favorite thing for breakfast?

Kim can also be found at the inadvertent farmer where she’s raising organic fruits, veggies, critters, kids…and a camel!

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Last week I posted on my blog about making butter at home. Alan and I had a chat about how our grandmother’s would have known how to do it without even thinking, not to mention measuring the temperature of the cream. They would have learned from a young age how to do a lot of the things that we are trying to learn now, the lost arts. My grandpa tells some great stories of his childhood, things like storing potatoes in a pit filled with straw outside and going out in the winter to retrieve dinner. I did grow up in a household that had a huge garden and canned all summer for winter. My dad is an avid hunter so our freezer was full of venison and my mom loves to bake, knit, and sew. I learned a lot of skills growing up, but there are things I had no idea how to do until recently. Today we’re sharing photos of things that we see as Lost Arts.

I’m sure our great grandmother’s were expert sourdough bakers. I have to read up on it and look at recipes when I make my sourdough. I’m starting to get the hang of it though, soon enough I’ll be doing it without the cookbook nearby.

Hunting was something my grandpa had to do to survive. He passed his skills down to his sons and my dad is currently teaching Mr Chiots about hunting. We have a freezer full of venison thanks to Mr Chiot’s hard work during deer season this past November.

My grandma, being of German descent, would have been an expert at fermentation. My mom made sauerkraut when I was growing up, so this art wasn’t necessarily lost. But I did have to read up on it when I decided to do it to make sure I was doing it right. Making butter would have been a quick chore as well. I make butter every week, so now I can do it without checking temperatures and it comes out great every time.

Butchering is definitely something that seems to have been lost along the way. I watched a You-tube video on how to portion this rabbit when I got it. It’s something that definitely fascinates me and I want to learn more about it. Perhaps someday I’ll butcher a deer Mr Chiots gets during hunting season.

The area I think I’m most sad about not having a lot of knowledge is in traditional medicine. Using herbs and foods for medicinal purposes. I’ve been spending a lot of time reading up on this to regain some of this knowledge. This was perhaps something my grandmother knew about as a girl but lost as she grew older and conventional medicine became more available.

Hi Kim here…When Susy suggested a post on lost arts I was excited… and then perplexed.  I figured I had covered all of those with my posts on bread baking, animal tending, vegetable canning, etc., posts.  But then I remembered that I do something that I haven’t shared here.  I sew most of Sweet Girl’s clothing! 

I learned to sew at my grandma’s side with an old black Singer sewing machine.  I learned to baste, tuck, pleat, and rip under the patient and watchful eye of a wonderful seamstress.  Now Sweet Girl and I go fabric shopping and planning together and at 6 she is beginning to learn to do the sewing too…but the wearing is still her favorite part!

Mostly we make simple little frocks with aprons or flowers…many times the garden is our inspiration…like this pumkin.

Or this sunflower…

Sometimes we even use a favorite book as inspriration…recognize this?

And sometimes…just sometimes I go all out and make something out of vintage fabric with hat, hand beaded flower and all, like this Easter dress!

Sewing for one’s children is not as easy as running to the local mall and grabbing something off the rack but it is rewarding and after 4 sons…sewing for a little girl is an old-fashioned pleasure I cherish!

What are some of the “Lost Arts” you want to find?

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