Grayson and I were settled into a comfy couch in the foyer of our church watching the sermon on a television. This is where the parents of babies sit. Here there is no fear of if, or when your little one will stir, scream, or express gastric discomfort without shame. Zeke was two months old, sleeping dead to the world upon my chest. When you have a newborn, you meet a whole church of new people. They are drawn to the tiny toes, fuzzy head, and bright blue eyes. A gentleman approached us and commented, “I loved the ‘sack of potatoes’ stage, when you can set them anywhere, and know they will be in that exact location when you return. They just lay there, like a sack of potatoes.”
Well, my little sack of spuds has developed some mobility, and speed to go with it! Just to get him dressed in the morning is much like the breakout of a war. I maneuver a little onesie over his head, and guide his squiggling, fighting arms through the arm holes. All the while he is screaming, crying, and twisting his little body in every direction. Every few moments he wiggles out of my grasp, quickly gains his balance on his knees, and makes a run for…or, crawl for it…out the door. I catch him, lay him on his back, and we start all over. It causes me to consider—is this how God views His children? We scream and twist and war with Him, thinking our way is superior to His, until we finally squirm away and book it to, and out of, the doorway. Only God doesn’t snag us back and hold us down as He makes us obey. No, He waits patiently until we realize we are lost without Him, and His desire for us is always, after all, the best for us. He is our Father. Suddenly that actual sack of potatoes sitting on my hutch in the kitchen seems so, well, obedient! I’m considering allowing Zeke to wait out this phase in his pajamas.
A few weeks ago Grayson and I were in search of some potatoes to go along with our dinner. Potatoes are one thing I have been trying to buy organic, knowing that they are vigorously sprayed with pesticides. As I walked out of the market $3 poorer, I felt slightly defeated that I carried only 3 potatoes in my hand. Who ever said eating real food is cheap?
Eating real food, however, does not need to break one’s wallet. One of our goals in this endeavor is to figure out how to eat real food in an affordable way. Last week I walked through the doors into my favorite market to find, right in the middle of the produce section, sacks upon sacks of beautiful organic yellow potatoes marked on sale to $2.48 for a 3-pound bag!
Waiting for my turn in the checkout line, I found this little gem: The Turbo Cabbage Soup Diet. Lose 8 pounds a week! With the changes Gray and I have made to our diet in the past 2 months, I have lost 6 pounds, and all while eating delicious food. Food that we look forward to eating. A diet should not be primarily focused on what not to eat, but instead, the great plethora of foods that God has given us to enjoy! Simply transitioning into a real food diet has already, in only two short months, been proven worthwhile. It dawned on me today that I have had no stomach problems for the past two months. I used to experience stomach pain every few weeks, lasting for about a week. As well, Grayson was taking supplements to aid his joint pain from roofing. His knees were being destroyed by his hard work. He has not taken a supplement in at least a month, as his joint pain has greatly subsided. I praise God for that, because at the outset of this all, seeing Gray relieved of his joint pain was one of my greatest desires and motivation, but it was also daunting. We realize that these claims are not solid proof that real food has healed us. However, we feel better. We have more energy and focus. We have lost weight. We are really enjoying what we are eating. Let’s see a cabbage soup diet do that!
Many of our dinner dishes begin in my mind at breakfast. They sprout from a small idea, and transform throughout the day as I look at various recipes, taking ingredients and techniques from each and transforming them into a new dish. I figure out what produce we have on hand, and how to make it the star of our dinner. Yesterday it was Organic Yellow Potatoes and Organic Kale.
A Tale of Kale
The first time (and last time, until yesterday) I made kale, it was in a meager attempt at health. You see, this is not the first time Grayson and I have tried to be healthy. The difference is stark, however, between prior attempts, and the journey we find ourselves on now. Before it was nothing but rules created by improper understanding and motive. Eat vegetables. Ok. What in the world is kale?
I steamed some of the curious green stuff up, and we mixed it into some off-brand boxed macaroni and cheese. Please note that this attempt was much different than the White Pepper and Dill Macaroni and Cheese with Arugula, Spinach and Mushrooms which I highlighted in my last blog post.
Needless to say, this attempt at kale was a huge flop. It ended up in the trash bin, and we haven’t touched kale since. This experience with kale left we somewhat intimidated of the green. Recently we have been hearing more about the health benefits it offers, and so with a coupon in hand, I decided to give it another try.
Kale is somewhat unique in that many of its health benefits come into play as it is cooked, compared to eating it raw. Research is supposing that lightly steamed kale eaten regularly in one’s diet, through its ability to bind bile acids, has the ability to lower the risk of heart disease and some cancers. I have also been adding some raw kale into my smoothies, which definitely gives them a more “green” flavor, but one I really don’t mind. In fact, I enjoy it!
Fish, Potato, and Corn Chowder with Kale
1.5 lb organic yellow potatoes (skins on)
12oz frozen corn
3/4 lb organic curly kale
1 medium onion
salt, pepper, and additional seasonings of your choice
3 cups stock (vegetable or chicken) home made is always preferred
1 and 1/2 tbs real butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 lb white fish (I used 2 tilapia filets) cut into chunks
Wash, chop, and boil potatoes until fork tender.
Wash your kale, and pull the leaves off of the stem. Chop. Place into a casserole dish, add about an inch of water, and steam in the microwave for 2 minutes. Cool and then drain the liquid. (Don’t attempt to cook the kale with the potatoes, I hear the kale flavor is too strong, so it is best to cook separately.)
Saute onion (no oil needed) over medium heat until tender, then add your boiled potatoes. Saute about 5 minutes, adding a little of your stock if the mixture gets too dry.
Add your corn and butter. Add 1/2 cup of your stock, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you desire (I used a Tuscan seasoning blend). Cook over medium high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more stock if the mixture gets too dry
Remove from heat. Puree half of your mixture, along with your remaining stock and the milk, in a food processor (or blender) until smooth. Add liquid slowly, adjusting the amounts to your desired consistency.
Note: You really do not need to add dairy to this recipe. Omit the butter and milk if you desire. Simply replace the milk with additional stock. The potatoes are what gives this chowder its creamy texture, the milk simply adds a little richness.
Add the rest of your potato mixture to the food processor, and pulse once or twice, until you have your desired, chunky chowder consistency.
Pour your mixture into a pot. Taste, and add more seasoning if desired. You may need to add some more salt at this point. The potatoes make for a starchy taste and salt compliments it well–just don’t go sodium crazy.
Add your steamed kale and raw chunks of white fish. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until fish is thoroughly cooked.
Always, always, always enjoy soup with fresh bread!
I just walked into the kitchen and Grayson told me, “There are two tests to whether or not a food is good. The primary test: if it is eaten. The secondary test: if the leftovers are eaten.” He told me this as he polished off a bowl of leftover chowder. It’s amazing to think that diet crazes in our society tell us we can lose 8 pounds a week by eating cabbage soup everyday. I have lost 6 pounds, have more energy and focus, and clearer skin, just to name a few benefits of our new way of eating. All while eating foods like this recipe, with some fresh bread and real butter! I’ll opt for real food, and variety, thank you!
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
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