After living on our off grid homestead over a decade, our saying here is……..We are living the pioneer life in the 21st century. We wanted to live a similar way as the pioneers did of the 1800s. We wanted to get closer to our food and be more involved in the process so we knew how and what went into our growing of food. We discovered that many of the produce items we were buying at the store travel hundreds and even thousands of miles to get to the market. By growing our own produce, it would make for better tasting food along with higher nutritional values. Most produce loses 30% of its nutrients within three days after picking. We also wanted to grow organically without the use of herbicides or pesticides. Doug and I decided to take charge of our health and nourish our bodies with the best foods possible and change how and what we were eating. We especially wanted to cook at home and not eat out as much as we used to because we wanted to take the best care of ourselves as we could and know exactly how it was prepared and what went in it.

In our spare time, we would watch old westerns and learn about the old ways of doing things and implement them in our daily life on the farm. We noticed that preparation and cooking was what dominated most of the woman’s day. Most everything was raised, grown, and prepared on the homestead. We quickly found a new and exciting relationship with our food. By going through the process of growing, harvesting, preparing and storing, we really appreciated what we were eating. For the first time in our life, we both were grateful for our meals.

Food is fuel for energy, for your mind, and your hormones. You truly are what you eat! Cooking from scratch isn’t just about making your own food. It has to do with a relationship with the food. It is easy to see how people migrated to restaurants, fast food windows, and boxes of processed food from the grocery store. These convenience foods are high in preservatives, additives, dyes, and unhealthy oils. However, convenience is killing us. Our food should bring us life and vitality, not sickness and disease. We have a vested interest with our food to keep us healthy. Cooking at home is not hard. It is actually very rewarding. You know that feeling you get after cutting the grass……..well, it is the same after preparing a delicious meal! Eat food that is closest to the way nature made it. For example, cooking a grass fed steak, baked sweet potato, and tossing a big salad from the garden with homemade salad dressing (most store-bought dressings are loaded with rancid oils and preservatives.) This meal will be bursting with flavor, nutrition, and is not complicated to make. Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best.

Meal planning was so helpful in our home. Without planning, we never knew what to make. If you have a plan in whatever you do, it always works out. Planning ahead one week at a time works the best for us. Doug is not a big fan of eating leftovers. I just needed to change up what we ate and not eat the same thing two days in a row. Deciding to double and triple certain foods in our recipes helped to make three or four other meals for the week. I would cook 2-3 pounds of hamburger meat with onions, garlic, and seasonings to use for 4 separate meals. With that meat, I would use it as:

  1. A topping for a hamburger sourdough pizza
  2. Sloppy Joes with homemade sauce
  3. Taco night with lots of fresh veggies
  4. Hamburger stuffed butternut squash with tahini sauce.

Of course, there will be days when you won’t know what to make. Breakfast for dinner is always a hit especially when you have an infinite amount of chicken, turkey, and duck eggs! If ever you are in a pinch, sourdough French toast, quiche, potatoes, and eggs are something everyone agrees upon.

The main and biggest meal of the day in the 1800s was what they called “dinner”. This meal was eaten in the early afternoon. The Amish of today still practice this. It was not the large evening meal that many of us are accustomed to. Doug and I call it “linner” (combination of lunch and dinner.) We found that when we ate our biggest meal “linner” in the early afternoon, we felt much better. We even had better digestion. If we were hungry late in the day, we would eat a small snack. There is an old food adage saying, “Eat lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” Remember, food is energy. If we eat a huge meal at night and sit or lay down on the couch, we are not using energy. That food can cause oxidative stress or damage to the body. So try eating your meals during daylight hours or within an eight hour window during the day.

Cooking from scratch seems like a lost art these days. It is our job to bring it back alive. Today is the day for a cooking from scratch challenge. Try 30 days to start and notice if your health and vitality changes for the better. Get friends and family involved with you to start cooking at home. Come back and leave a comment on your progress. I can’t wait to hear about it. Turn up some music and start cooking. The more you cook, the easier and better you will get. Did you know I have just finished writing a cookbook? Yes, I know, it took me three years but the wait is over. The good news is this cookbook is loaded with simple, healthful recipes from chocolate stuffed medjool dates, chicken chili, Armenian rice pilaf, arugula beet salad, zucchini boats, homemade yogurt, sourdough bread and flatbreads, bone broth, kombucha, and Stacy’s spicy sauerkraut. Now get cookin!!!!!

Click here to order your copy of “Stacy’s Cooking with a Smile Cookbook.”