Saturday, May 19, 2012

Healthy Thoughtful Food

I have signed up and am joining in with the 30 Day Vegan Workshop that Heather from the blog, Beauty that Moves is leading.

Over the past seven years our family has worked toward eating healthier food. This started out as baking our own bread, cooking more from scratch,keeping chickens, choosing organic versus nonorganic when possible, growing/raising some of our own food, and buying local and in season foods when possible.  One area that I can see we need to improve upon as a family is eating a more varied diet by preparing more interesting plant based foods.

We are not vegan, but are more than willing to add more vegan meals to our weekly menu.
I think that this course will be a boost for my enthusiasm in the kitchen and I also hope to learn more about nutrition.  With seven children and turning 43 years old this summer, breastfeeding off and on (more on than off!) for the past 18 years, I  know that I could surely improve upon my diet.
I would love to hear from others with large families (we have three boys ages 18, 16, 14, girls ages 12 and 8, and then two little ones - age 4 and 8 months) about how they prepare nutritious, in-season, healthy meals for their families and stay within a reasonable budget.

I was trying to stay within a $800 food budget beginning May 1st, but have completely failed. 
Maybe we could travel this journey together, looking at how it is possible to feed a large family, by growing/raising some of your own food, supporting local producers when possible and buying as much in season and organic while staying on a reasonable budget.
While I am not able to share the recipes from the course, I will be sharing what I learn, how I plan to apply what I learn to our family - food choice truly is an individual journey.

Warm wishes,


  1. Have you looked at the Down to Earth blog.

  2. Hi Tonya,
    I joined too--excited about this:-)

  3. While my family is not large by any means, I often fight the budget battle myself on a smaller scale. I would love to hear more of your ideas on the subject. We find our chickens pay for themselves but other areas of the food budget could definitely be trimmed.

  4. I have been preparing vegan meals 5 days a week. It has been a big change for us. Brown rice will be your best friend. ;). I will randomly post about it on my blog.
    I have gotten some really good recipes from is a sweet Christian gal with a witty writing style.

  5. I'll be walking this path with you Tonya. I signed up for it also and I am truly looking forward to learning how to eat healthier.

    $800.00 a month? Something else we can encourage each other on...

    Be a blessing today,


  6. Hi Tonya. What a great idea. We've been doing the same lately but I need to learn a bit more. If you want come and take a look at my recipes. They are all vegan or at least non meat meals. I will follow you in your new ideas and hope to learn many things. Thank you for your blog, Raquel

  7. Healthier eating and staying in budget are always a challenges. I will look forward to future posts about what you are learning.

  8. Very neat! I wish I could offer suggestions, we have a much smaller food budget, but also a much smaller family!! And with access to our own dairy and meat, we can save a lot (we are not vegan!) ;)
    But I can say that we eat a lot of grains like quinoa, for one...that is filling and nutritious and easy to combine with our canned or frozen veggies that we have on hand! We eat many types of soups, which I find economical and most recently, we have been grinding our grain and have discovered a great 5-grain mix that is nutritious and everyone enjoys as waffles many mornings a week!
    Can't wait to hear more about this on your blog!! :)

  9. I am excited to read about what you have learned! I want to try to cut down the amount of meat we eat in our family. My hubby loves meat dishes so it can be challenging. I'm following your blog now and can't wait to hear what you have coming up!

  10. $800 a month? wow! food there must be quite expensive...what a great idea though, I'm always looking for ways to expand none meat meals :) can't wait for your recipe reviews :)

  11. I will be glad to hear how you progress with this. Our family has been going down the same road, but we need to dig a bit deeper too. We have 9 people in our household so I would particularly appreciate your input for the large fam.

  12. With my 9 (8 of them are boys) we TRY to stay within $1,000 a month. Eating plant based more often than not has truly helped the budget, but buying the meat that is hormone/antibiotic free is very hard- so expensive. I look forward to following your journey during the workshop, hopefully we can share good ideas for our large families!

  13. Hi Kathy,
    So wonderful to "meet" you! Nine children - wow! What a blessing.

  14. Hello Tonya, I will also be following the 30 Day Vegan workshop for a boost of inspiration in the kitchen and for some new recipes. Our family eats mostly vegan, plant based foods however we have some hens that provide us with fresh eggs. I find dried lentils and beans to be so handy, nutritious and the most economical item on my grocery list (as well as eco-friendly, sold in bulk). They can make up so many meals (soups, casseroles, curries, spreads, in pasta, salads, burritos, the list is endless...) and can easily be cooked in large quantities.

  15. We all just watched Forks Over Knives, which is all about a plant-based diet. We would love to do the challenge with you, our budget is about a thousand (because we have 11 at home and that includes 22, 19, 16, and 13- year-old males who are always hungry). We have a large garden this year and are just starting to raise rabbits.

  16. sounds exciting. we've actually embarked on a different approach, largely to help my son heal (and probably me too though I didn't realize it) - eating a hunter/gatherer ancient sort of diet, mostly greens and proteins and very little fruit/sugar/refined anything. it's been wonderful for energy and feeling better, and lentils are not very expensive at all. we buy a half cow cut up (grassfed) and it's very cost effective since we can have the roasts and steaks that are from the less tender areas to marinate and make delicious with spices and herbs. i will check back and see what you've learned - sounds exciting!

  17. Hi Tonya, stopping by from 30 Day Vegan :) I'm looking forward to the workshop for the same reasons. Very excited for the inspiration and knowledge that Heather and Renee have to share. We're not quite vegan but have been moving toward eating a much more plant based diet. Love your blog! Looking forward to coming by again!

  18. When we found out that my little eight year old girl had a pre-cancerous mole, we completely changed our diet. We said goodbye to white flour, sugar, most meat and dairy. I have five chickadees with the oldest being 13, then 11, 8, 6 and 3. My husband has been super about this. We did watch forks over knifes and a couple other really good vegetarian documentaries. I was lost at first but I have so many great recipes under my belt. It was hard too because we have food allergies that prevent us from eating all legumes. :( We have been staying in the $800 dollar amount and sometimes under. Brown rice, tons of vegetables, we juice every day. Smoothies. Soups and salad as the star with potatoes (cheap). You do adjust. We were hungry but not starving at first but not anymore.
    I plant an enormous garden and we do have chickens. So right now we are having eggs a couple times a week. We will keep improving as we go.
    A couple books I got out of the library that I love. :)
    The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook by Cybele Pascal - I loved this because of our allergies and I also eat gluten free. There are some really good rice dishes and an onion gravy that is awesome over potatoes. It feels like a meat and potato meal. This book is not vegetarian but I loved the other recipes in it. It is also sugar free.
    Wholesome Sugar free Cooking - again this is not vegetarian but some great recipes.
    Disease-Proof Your Child by Joel Fuhrman - love this book! It has recipes and great advice from a Doctor's perspective. He has four of his own children so he know's what he is talking about.
    Hope this helps.

  19. As a hint for all those out there that are trying to eat healthy and stay in a budget, What we have found that helps is to be able to buy meat in bulk ie: a whole or half animal. If you ask "Where would I find such a thing? I live in the city." Do a search for butcher shops out in the country around where you are. They will have contacts in the area and know who has animals for sale. Often they can sell you the animal direct ( I know ours does). Hope that helps! We are going in halves with another family on a cow and I can't wait till the fall when he is "done"!
    Enjoy healthy eating!