Real Food For the Next Generation: Essential Resources

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Real Food For the Next Generation: Essential Resources

Our real food kitchen training sessions have been on hold for several weeks as we wrap up loose ends and adjust to the summer routine. I’m planning to fit them back in very soon! In the meantime, I want to share with you some of the resources that have been invaluable to me in training my kids in a real food kitchen.

I’ve already mentioned how we’re working our way through Real Food Nutrition and Health by Kristin at Food Renegade, plugging in corresponding lessons from the Gnowfglins eCourses. My younger kids are following along with Real Food Nutrition For Kids, with various other books and resources added where they fit.

There are two other resources I’m finding absolutely indispensable to me as I train my kids in the kitchen: 

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Real Food Kids: In the Kitchen from Gnowfglins. 

This book and the corresponding eCourse are just fantastic! In fact, I can’t sing the praises of all the Gnowfglins eCourses highly enough! I’ve been a subscriber for nearly two years now, and they’re just a wealth of information and encouragement! I go back to them again and again, even those I’ve worked my way completely through! Real Food Kids contains all 19 print versions of the Real Food Kids eCourse lessons:

  1. Philosophy of Teaching Children in the Kitchen
  2. Routines, Mixing it Up, and Efficiency
  3. Kitchen Safety
  4. Recognizing Real Food
  5. Basic Strategy for Teaching
  6. Helpful (and not so) Kitchen Tools and Gadget for Kids
  7. Organizing the Kitchen with Kids in Mind
  8. Keeping Kitchen Duties Light, Interesting, and Enjoyable
  9. Babies and Toddlers in the Kitchen
  10. Swing Cooks, ages 3 to 6
  11. Line Cooks, ages 7 to 11
  12. Sous Chefs, ages 12 to 15
  13. Head Chefs, ages 16 to 18
  14. On Their Own: Kid-Friendly Breakfasts
  15. On Their Own: Kid-Friendly Lunches
  16. On Their Own: Kid-Friendly Dinners
  17. On Their Own: Kid-Friendly Snacks
  18. On Their Own: Kid-Friendly Desserts
  19. Bonus: Napkin Origami (napkin folding)
I love that the lessons focus on practical issues like kitchen safety, kid-friendly organization, and giving kids the skills to be independent in the kitchen to their level of capability, all while teaching real food principles! 

Real Food Kids is available for $20 (less for members) with lifetime updates, while the eCourse has several different subscription options.

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Restocking the Pantry: Easy-to-Make Condiments to Save Money and Nourish Your Family from Kresha at Nourishing Joy. 

This little book is jam-packed with tips and over 55 recipes for common pantry staples like:

ketchup
mustard
mayonnaise
barbecue sauce

Worcestershire sauce
jellied cranberry sauce
classic salsa
hot sauce

steak sauce
teriyaki sauce
popular salad dressings
pickles

and more…

And of course, none of them contain high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, or additives. They’re all simple, kid-friendly recipes, and they cover a variety of techniques, including lacto-fermentation. These are perfect to sprinkle into our training sessions! My kids are gaining valuable experience and knowledge in the kitchen while we save money and replace processed items with healthy versions! You can see the entire table of contents and several sample pages here.

Restocking the Pantry is available for $9.99 AND you’ll receive a $10 coupon code to apply to your next purchase, making the book essentially FREE! 

As we continue on our real food adventure, I’ll share more details about how I’m incorporating these resources and what else we’re up to in the kitchen! Watch for more updates soon!

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Real Food For the Next Generation: Making Ghee (Clarified Butter)

Making Ghee (Clarified Butter)

I haven’t updated on our “real food” learning in the last few weeks, but we’ve continued with it, even through all the busyness we’ve had lately. We’ve looked at and discussed some of the differences between industrial and real food, including some of the current controversies, like GMO crops, aspartame in milk, and so on. We also learned about healthy fats, and made ghee, or clarified butter.

I want to share more about the resources we’ve used in my next update. This time, I’m going to show you how we made the ghee.

Ghee (pronounced with a hard ‘g’ and silent ‘h’) is butter that has been clarified – had more of the water and milk solids removed than regular butter – which makes it highly preservable, reduces the lactose and casein content, and gives it a higher smoke point, making it more suitable for high temperature cooking. It’s used in many cultures around the world.

I’ll quote Wardeh from Gnowfglins, whose directions we followed:

“Butter is heated and allowed to simmer until two things happen. First, it separates into three layers. A bunch of sediment falls to the bottom of the pan, and some impurities float to the top. The middle layer, also the thickest, is a perfectly pure layer of butter oil – or ghee. Second, during the simmering, the impurities are often browned (but not burned) to give the ghee a rich, nutty flavor. This process takes about 30 to 40 minutes over direct heat or 8 to 12 hours in a crockpot. Then the ghee is strained to separate out the sediment or solids, and allowed to cool and harden.” (from the Gnowfglins Fundamentals II eCourse)

I really wanted to try the crockpot method, but on the day we did it we had to leave the house in the afternoon and wouldn’t have been home when it finished, so we did the direct heat method. I definitely want to try it in the crockpot next time!

For our first try, we used store-bought, hormone-free but not grassfed butter. Now that I feel more comfortable with the process, I’ll use my good grassfed butter next time.

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We put the butter in a saucepan and brought it to a simmer. Once the butter had melted, it began to separate into the three layers.

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After the butter had simmered for about 40 minutes, we skimmed the foam off the top.

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Next, we ladled it through a cheesecloth-lined funnel into a jar.

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The sediment left in the bottom of the pan made a great treat for our chickens!

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Here it is! Nice clear, pure, clarified butter!

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As it cooled, it solidified into a nice, spreadable consistency.

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It’s supposed to keep for two to three months at room temperature or up to a year in cold storage. We’ve been keeping ours in the refrigerator and using it for cooking, or just to spread on a biscuit. It works anywhere that butter would work. The flavor is definitely unique, but it’s very tasty!

Next time, I’ll share more about the resources we used to learn about industrial versus real food and healthy fats, and we’ll move on to learning about the health benefits of pastured and organ meats.

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Real Food For the Next Generation: What Is Real Food and How Does Our Body Use It?

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My kids are pretty aware of what we consider healthy and unhealthy, and understand the basics of why. They also know about some of the traditional cooking techniques we employ in our kitchen (soaking grains, etc.) and some of the benefits. My older two know the basics of cooking, and my little guys love to help in the kitchen.

But I’ve thought for awhile now that it was time to bring all the why and how together and follow an intentional plan to teach them traditional cooking techniques along with nutrition and health. So, this past August I sat down and coordinated Kristin Michaelis’ Real Food Nutrition and Health book with the corresponding sessions of the Gnowfglins eCourses, dividing them into units we could do weekly.

I made parallel lesson plans for Peanut (6) and Monkey Boy (3), using Real Food Nutrition For Kids, and coordinating several books I’ve used in the past for a unit on nutrition and health in a co-op setting.

Then, our schedule changed and I wasn’t able to fit it all in when I thought I would, so it was put off all fall. Now, we’re finally digging into it! We’re only on our second week, but so far they’re all loving it!

The first thing that the Dancer (14), Karate Kid (12), and I did was discuss exactly what “real food” is and why it matters. Does it have to be labeled “organic”? Where do you find it? At the grocery store? A farm? And what’s our motivation for eating this way?

Resources we used:

Peanut and Monkey Boy learned about how our body uses food and colored a fun page about our digestive system!
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Here’s what we used for them:

After a brief look at what traditional food cultures can tell us, we’re going to take a look at healthy fats and oils and how to properly use them, and hopefully learn how to make ghee! As we get further into the lessons, the kids will be involved in actually learning techniques for traditional food preparation and doing plenty of hands-on kitchen work that we’ll share with you each week!

By the time we’re through I’m hoping my kids will be “real food experts”, well-equipped to help with anything I need in the kitchen, aware of why we eat the way we do, and able handle the task of feeding their own families well some day! We’d love to have you join us on our journey!

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This post is part of
Day 2 of the 5 Days of Teaching Creatively Blog Hop:
hosted by The Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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