When It All Started
What sights and smells transport you back to your fondest memories of childhood? For me, it is bread and butter. Now I love my mother, but I became bored very easily while my brothers were at school. My mother’s solution…give me bread dough. Well of course, I thought I was important because I was making bread and she would put my creation in the oven alongside her bread dough to bake. Soon the smell of freshly baked bread filled our home and this smell from my childhood still connects happy memories. With it, freshly baked bread requires lashings of butter to this day.
I also have vivid memories of watching my grandmother make bread rolls. She would toss ingredients into a large bowl without measuring, and after a good mix, delicious, hot bread rolls would magically appear from the oven. Years later, my cousin broke the news to me that her recipe had always been taped inside the cabinet door. This however only adds to my fond memories of her. These memories have stayed with me, and now I hope to pass on the same love of cooking to my children and create more family traditions.
Ignoring My Health
How do you make traditions when you’re not around? Do you ever feel like you are on a roller coaster health wise? I’m probably just like most people bouncing between a balanced approach of diet and exercise to a complete disregard. I really have no excuse as years ago I had a physician (a good friend) warn me of the need for a balanced lifestyle that includes diet and exercise. He explained that the body has a limit and if you continue to have a poor diet and not exercise, eventually it (the body) would start wearing down, resulting in increased infections, diseases, and overall poor health.
Well, now I am a diabetic. That was certainly a wakeup call, and one that I cannot completely blame on genetics. Trying to see the positive side, I now have an excuse to make time to do what I love. Search out, and experiment with new recipes.
The Challenges Ahead
Being a husband and father changed my entire viewpoint. I’m now working towards making choices everyday to live a healthier lifestyle. Why? The simple answer is my family. I want to be around to see my daughters develop into strong confident women.
In my opinion, prepackaged diabetic friendly foods taste like cardboard without a discernible flavor profile. So, now the challenge is to adapt our favorite dishes into healthier versions, which isn’t always an easy task with children (I have already failed many times). This process takes time. I truly believe home cooked meals made from scratch are healthier, and hopefully taste better.
The Fun of Experimenting
Do you get excited about a new recipe you’re making at home but are a little apprehensive? They’re not always a success and I dread the instant critique of “I don’t like that” or “that’s not my favorite”. Here’s my tip: Make a game of it by asking, “What can you taste?” It takes the kiddos attention off the aesthetics of the dish and gets them thinking about flavors. It turns out that we have better success with the girls eating the food they’ve helped cook, especially the new dishes. I hope they never lose the joy of cooking and if they remember the times we spent together in the kitchen with delight, because they will most certainly pass the joy on to their families.
Teaching Life Skills
However, it’s much more than only creating joyful moments when cooking healthily. I come from a family that believes, “If you get everyone to sit down at a table and eat, then that is the first step to solving any problem”.
Food has always been a center point in my life, and yes entertaining and feeding people can be tiring, but is there a better way to develop friendships than over a good meal? Nevertheless, the problem is where do children learn these skills today. A person would think school where they spend a significant amount of time, but that is no longer the case. Home Economics (EC) has generally been faded out, and replaced with Family and Consumer Sciences. Do the digging yourself and find out what has changed in our schools.
Here are two articles on Home EC just to start:
After the birth of my first daughter the subject of school never really crossed my mind. It was simple. The school system leads the way from kindergarten (or even preschool) all the way to college. What was there to think about, right? Wrong. My wife, who had never considered homeschooling before, first discussed this subject with me out of concern for our children. That made me take notice. Home EC is just one aspect for consideration, there is a multitude of others. Think what else they’re missing in their education? In the end we decided to home school our children. Yes it can be frightening and sometimes overwhelming with the amount of effort, energy, and time spent educating our children, but so far it’s worth it.
Lead by Example
My wife and I try to set the examples for our daughters. They’re always watching. Children are sponges, so if you don’t teach them, they will learn from someone else. But as their parents it’s our responsibility to set the foundation for their lifetime of learning. The ability to cook for themselves is only one element in the beginning of their journey in life. I want them to have confidence. In my family’s lifescape we are going to expand upon this. Watch out for the recipes coming up so you too can have fun creating memories with your family.
Saturday Morning (Brunch) Tradition
We alternate between biscuits, pancakes, or waffles with eggs and turkey bacon, the number three involved in this formula is not an accident, I rotate the girls – one week bacon, one week eggs, one week biscuits etc. Instead of generic syrup from the grocery store (read the ingredients), find a grade A Maple syrup, but most weeks we prefer to make a berry sauce.
2 cups organic berries (your choice)
2 tbsp Grade A Maple syrup
1 tbsp butter
Bring to a boil and reduce heat. If you like the sauce thicker I use what I have on hand.
1 tbsp of cornstarch mixed with about ¼-cup water
2 tbsp of flour mixed with about ¼-cup of water
Mix into the berry sauce for desired thickness
Off heat, add:
4 drops Orange Vitality
2 drops Cinnamon Bark Vitality
2 drops Nutmeg Vitality
1 drop Clove Vitality
Off heat, add:
5 drops Lemon Vitality
1 drop Lavender Vitality