Category Archives: inspirational

Cranberry Orange Coconut Flour Muffins

cranberry orange coconut flour muffin resized titlesEver since the kids were little and we were doing Five In A Row as part of our homeschooling, I’ve had a craving for cranberry bread every time Thanksgiving rolls around. One of our favorite books from FIAR was Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin. “At the edge of a lonely cranberry bog in New England and the winds were cold at the edge of the sea” lived Grandmother and Maggie. Every Thanksgiving they would each invite someone to share dinnerCranberry Thanksgiving book cover with them. This time around, however, Grandmother does not approve of Mr. Whiskers, Maggie’s guest. He behaves suspiciously and when the secret family recipe for cranberry bread just happens to disappear he is the first one Grandmother suspects.

I love the message of the story, that we cannot judge someone by outward appearances, but rather it is what is on the inside that makes someone a precious friend. I also love that at the end of the book they actually share Grandmother’s recipe for cranberry bread!

So here I sat, gray skies threatening rain and me in want of cranberry bread with a hint of orange and sweetness giving fragrance to the gloomy day.  But having put myself on a gluten-free diet I couldn’t make the traditional recipe from the book. Thanks to the Radiant Life free e-book on cooking with coconut flour I was confident and inspired enough to translate the tangy sweet flavors of Grandmother’s recipe into the perfect little gluten-free cranberry muffin. Even my husband, who is not a fan of coconut flour and frequently sighs longingly after the good ol’ days of gluten, said these were great and he could definitely have them again soon!

Cranberry Orange  Coconut Flour Muffins

6 eggs

1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil

3 Tablespoons of buttermilk

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest (use organic oranges for this)

1 cup fresh cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 12 cup muffin tin.

In a food processor, blend the eggs, butter, buttermilk, maple syrup, and vanilla until well mixed. Add the orange zest, baking powder, baking soda, salt and coconut flour. Blend until there are no lumps. Add the cranberries and pulse just until they are chopped.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin – use about 1/4 cup per each. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until the tops are just golden and they begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for about 3 minutes before you remove them to a cooling rack. Serve warm with plenty of butter and a little raw honey if desired.

Cranberry Orange Coconut Flour Muffins
Recipe type: quick bread
Serves: 12
Inspired by Grandmother's secret cranberry bread recipe in the book Cranberry Thanksgiving
  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil or butter
  • 3 Tablespoons buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh orange zest
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, washed
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a 12 cup muffin tin.
  2. In a food processor, blend eggs, coconut oil, buttermilk, maple syrup, and vanilla until well mixed.
  3. Add orange zest, baking powder, baking soda, salt and coconut flour and blend until there are no lumps.
  4. Add the cranberries and pulse until they are just chopped.
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin using about ¼ cup per each.
  6. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until just golden on top and firm to the touch.
  7. Cool in the pan about 5 minutes.
  8. Remove gently to a cooling rack.

cranberries resized precious friend titles

What are your favorite foods this time of year? What one thing do you crave at Thanksgiving? Share with us by leaving a comment, or replying on Facebook.

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The High Cost of the Value Meal

value meal titles

A few weeks ago I shared the picture below on the Well Fed Family Facebook page. It received a lot of comments ranging from those who were disgusted to those who really wanted to know how it was possible to eat well when you didn’t have a lot of money.

too poor to be healthyWhen I mentioned that I had once blogged about how if someone was willing to just cook for themselves they could eat organic potatoes and grassfed beef burgers for less than the price of a fast food meal. Several people asked if I’d repost the article. So here it is, updated with current prices and including some recipes. I’m also going to post more budget-friendly recipes here on Well Fed Family that are healthier and cheaper than eating off the $1 Menu.

The High Cost of the Value Meal

It’s been 10 years since filmmaker Morgan Spurlock released his documentary Super Size Me where he eats 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, exclusively from McDonald’s. It’s doubtful anyone really thinks they are getting a healthy meal this way, however we still choose it all too often, eyes wide open to the detriment to our health and our children’s health. Why? Because often we perceive these foods to be inexpensive, a good value for the money and time spent. Some go so far as to say they cannot afford any other kind of food; that they are victims of the food industry. I’m here to show you nothing could be further from the truth.

Is a value meal really as cheap as it seems?

Let’s look at two common meals from two familiar fast food chains. Then we’ll compare costs with what we’d spend if we prepared these meals at home. I’m using restaurant prices from Fast Food Prices and grocery prices from my own personal grocery receipts from stores here in the metro-Orlando area where I live.


chickfila 1Meal 1:
Chick-fila original 8 count nuggets plus waffle fries and a sweet tea:
Items purchased individually total $6.59, purchased as a meal combo $5.95

The Chick-fila chicken nuggets are a favorite with most of the little kids I know. It’s the same chicken recipe as the original chicken sandwich, but cut into finger food sized pieces. Reading the actual ingredients might shock a few playgroup moms to discover they are seasoned with mostly MSG (monosodium glutamate – a known neurotoxin ) and sugar plus over 15 other ingredients. By the way, if you order the sandwich instead of the nuggets you might want to know there’s no actual butter on the “buttered bun” and the pickle chips contain 9 more ingredients in addition to cucumbers including two chemical preservatives and two petroleum-based artificial colors.

The waffle fries are made with potatoes but also include GMO canola oil, TBHQ, anti-foaming agents plus a little dextrose (sugar) and some color enhancers. All total it looks like about 8 ingredients not counting the salt.

Thankfully the sweet tea is simply water, sugar and tea. whew!

Cost breakdown for Chick-fila meal:
4oz of chicken nuggets for $3.25 is $13/lb.
4 oz of waffle fries for $1.65 is $6.60/lb.
15 oz of sweet tea for $1.69 is $14.36 per gallon

Mcdonalds 1Meal 2:
McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese, medium fry, medium soft drink:
Items purchased individually total $7.17 or purchased as a combo meal $6.39

The Quarter Pounder with cheese is a McDonald’s staple. I have to say the burger itself isn’t bad – 100% beef, salt and black pepper. The bun, however, has the usual suspects in any factory-produced bread, things like GMO soybean oil, yoga mats, and several other chemical conditioners and preservatives. The burger toppings add more chemical preservatives, plus a hearty serving of high fructose GMO corn syrup in the ketchup.

The fries are worse here than at Chick-fila with three kinds of GMO industrially processed oils including trans-fat filled hydrogenated soybean oil, plus the usual chemical preservatives and anti-foaming agents. Interestingly these fries are vegetarian, but they contain “natural beef flavor” made from hydrolyzed wheat (a hidden source of msg) and milk.

trivia mcdonalds fries

As for soft drink ingredients… Do I really need to tell you what’s in these? Do yourself a favor and just order water.

Cost breakdown for the McDonald’s meal:
Quarter pounder with cheese is $3.89 which is $15.56/lb
4oz fry is $1.79 or $7.16/lb
21oz soft drink is $1.49 or $9.07/gallon

Here’s the “I told you so” part:

Making chicken nuggets or hamburgers isn’t rocket science. If you can follow the directions on a box of Easy Mac, you have the cooking skills to make these things at home.

Easy Nuggets or Chicken filet:
Cut your boneless/skinless chicken breast into whatever size/shape you want, stick it in a ziplock bag along with ½ cup flour, 1 tsp garlic salt, 1 tsp black pepper and shake it up. Fry the chicken in a skillet over medium-high heat with some melted butter until it’s brown all over and done on the inside – about 8-10 minutes per side. Voila! Chicken nuggets!

Fries are super easy as well if you make them in the oven. Use one large potato for each person being served. Cut the potatoes lengthwise into 8-12 wedges. Toss with melted butter or olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 475 degrees in a cast iron skillet for best browning and crunch, or just use any baking pan or stoneware pan. It takes about 20-30 minutes. If you want to kick up the flavor of your fries then crush a clove of garlic into a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. When the fries come out of the oven drizzle this garlic oil over the hot fries with a little more salt. Wow!

Sweet tea: Bring 1 quart of filtered water to a boil. Add two teabags and allow to steep for ten minutes. Sweeten to taste and serve over ice.

Hamburgers: Use 1 pound of ground chuck to make four burgers. Each burger will be ¼ pound pre-cooked weight. Mix 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1 tsp of black pepper into a pound of ground chuck. (preferably grassfed or antibiotic-free) weigh out ¼ lb of the ground beef mixture and use your hands to shape it into a pattie. My mom likes to use the plastic lid from a quart yogurt container to help make the right size and shape to fit a bun. Grill or pan fry on medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes per side until done to your liking.

Make your own buns with just flour, water, egg and yeast following this recipe from King Arthur Flour.

Soft drinks: like I said earlier, don’t even go there. Drink water. Learn to make kombucha or water kefir. Make your own lemonade if you want.

Ok, so what’s the bottom line on our homemade chicken sandwich meal?

Conventional boneless/skinless chicken breast is $5.49/lb. I like to buy the non-GMO verified/antibiotic-free chicken which is about $7/lb for breast meat or $5.50/lb for thighs (which I think taste better.) However if you have a little skill with a knife you can buy bone-in chicken and remove the bones yourself. This saves you money and gives you the side benefit of having bones leftover to make homemade broth (instead of buying those expensive cans of broth – more money saving!) Boning your own chicken saves you another $2-$3 per pound.

Organic russet potatoes are $1.79/lb
Tea bags are about $4 for 100.

Cost breakdown for homemade chicken nugget meal for one serving:

$1.75 for chicken meat
.45 for potatoes
.08 for teabags
$2.24 is the grand total.

This leaves you between $4-$6 less than the purchase price at the fast food restaurant. This leaves plenty of change with which to buy the extra ingredients to make it from scratch and still have some leftover money to put in the savings account. (You only use a fraction of the flour, salt or olive oil so the per-serving amount cost from those ingredients is still very small.)

Bottom line on the Quarter Pounder meal?
Grassfed beef prices are high, but going down as the demand for this healthy meat increases. Right now I can get it for $7/lb from my grocery store. (I also have access to bulk beef and can get ¼ of a whole cow for about $6/lb. meaning steaks, roasts and ground beef are all the same price. This doesn’t have bearing for this argument unless you have a deep freeze, but the fact remains that you can get good prices on this kind of high quality meat if you know how.) Regular feedlot grocery store ground beef costs even less, and is still better for you than meats processed with nitrites, msg or preservatives. I’m sticking with grassfed beef because it proves my point just fine for this argument. This means our quarter pound burger is about $1.75.

Cheese: if you own a knife you can make your own cheese slices. Buying pre-sliced cheese is a waste of money and usually you can get much higher quality cheese if you buy it in a chunk. A good grocery store brand is Cabot. 8oz for about $3 means .38cents for a 1oz slice. (btw you can get Cabot for about half that price if you have a Sam’s or Costco membership. The big warehouse membership stores often have high quality cheese, even raw cheese, for very reasonable prices.)

Soda – remember, we aren’t drinking this, but for comparison’s sake you can purchase a 2 liter of soda for $2 or less. 2 liters = roughly 64 oz. That’s about 3 cents per ounce making your grocery store soda roughly 48 cents per 16oz glass.

Cost breakdown for the hamburger meal for one serving:

burger 1.75
cheese .38
soda .48
fries .45
$3.06 is the grand total.

Making it at home saves you between $3-$4, that’s plenty of cash leftover to more than supply funds for pickles and ketchup.

Feeding a Family of four?
Using the prices on our example meals you would spend $25.56 for McDonald’s or $23.80 for Chick-fila. Food for thought – feeding a family of four from Chipotle is $26.60 even if you ordered the most expensive thing on the menu for everyone, but it is quite a bit healthier with all of the vegetables, beans and quality meat choices. Feeding this family homemade organic/antibiotic-free versions of the fast food meals would cost between $8.96-$12.24. Now tell me you don’t have enough money to eat healthy.

determination to eat well quoteSave even more money by preparing Taco Stew, Rosemary Garlic Grilled Chicken, Cheesey Parmesan Fish, or Creamy Turkey and Brown Rice Soup for your family.

Here at Well Fed Family we post recipes all the time. Frequently they are very budget friendly, because that’s how we eat in our own homes, too! Subscribe to our newsletter (use the link at the upper right of this page) and we’ll send you more recipes and tips for healthy living each month, plus you get a bonus free e-book on how to make your own homemade ice cream! Follow us on Facebook or Pinterest for even more recipes and ideas.

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How to Start a Bulk Food Co-op

How-to-Start-Bulk-Food-Co-Op-GNOWFGLINS-mainBig chain warehouse stores aren’t the only ones to offer the power of buying in bulk. Individuals and families can harness this power when they join with other like-minded people to form a private buying club: a co-op. The age of internet commerce and communication makes buying even nutrient-dense foods, chemical-free personal care products, and non-irradiated spices easier than ever.    Read more on my October guest post for Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS.….(click here)

Let Us Not Grow Weary

I don’t think I’ve ever done this before, which is weird since that’s what most bloggers do all the time….   I had planned to sit down and finish a blog on SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth), but I’m feeling prompted to just share with you what’s on my heart.  It has been a very draining couple of weeks. And it all seems to relate back to the fact that no matter how much I talk, no matter how much I tell people, however many blogs I write or classes I teach – I just can’t change anyone’s mind unless they are ready to be changed. It just isn’t in my power.

I would love to know how to inspire change in people who desperately need it. I’m so tired of seeing friends suffering with super heavy duty illnesses. I’m tired of seeing children suffering when they don’t have to. I’m weary of the news reports of all the anger and abuse, aching to see friends and children of friends burdened with depression.  One person I’ve been trying to talk to for three years, trying to share how they could change their diet and feel so much better, has now been diagnosed with cancer. Of course the children are devastated. So am I.

I want to help. I want to give people the tools to begin building a better life, better health, better mindset…. But I can’t do it by myself.

The contractor who redid our kitchen is back. He’s working on the kids’ bathroom now  (my daughter is so thankful, she can’t wait to have drawers that work again so she doesn’t have to share the only drawer with her brother).   So my contractor is wonderful, and he’s also a pastor at a little independent church a few miles away. He’s listening to me talk to him about one friend who has been sick for ever so long, who just can’t seem to catch a break, and he tells me that part of it is she hasn’t been set free spiritually. Her mind is still in chains so her body can’t heal. Ok, so my contractor isn’t a medical doctor, but he’s right.  And it explains a lot of why I can’t help some of these people, why I can’t do this by myself….

To put it another way “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” Proverbs 23:7a. 

Whether or not someone attends one of my classes, or reads a blog, or says to me “I need to get healthy,” doesn’t matter. What does matter is what is in their heart, what is their desire, what is truly important to them.  No one is going to take this health journey and succeed unless they truly believe it. They must believe they can be healthier. They must believe they are worth the effort it will take. They must be strong enough to persevere when friends or family question them.  And it isn’t ever easy.

My friend, Brenda, was remarking to me today how it always seems that when someone decides to become a Christian, makes the commitment to a new life and a journey of spiritual healing, that obstacles seem to spring up out of nowhere to sidetrack them, bog them down, take away their enthusiasm.  The same can be said for someone beginning a physical healing journey as well.  And the solution for each is the same – it cannot be done with sheer willpower, it can only be done when you realize you cannot do it alone. Reaching out in prayer, diving into God’s word, fellowship with others on the same journey, meditating on the motivation and reasons you are making this effort to bring change to your life.

let us not grow wearyDo you ever grow weary? Do you ever feel like no one is listening? Is there someone in your life your would like to motivate, but can’t seem to get them to hear you? How have you handled this situation? How do you help people start a journey to better health? Share your comments and leave a reply.

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Follow Recipes or Cook Without Them?

*Amy shares her thoughts on the idea of cooking without recipes. 

Lamb burgers may be a new Well Fed Family Cousins Camp tradition.  I say “may” because this is only our second year to have them.  But I think I speak for everyone when I say I hope we have them next year!  Judging by the way the kids gobbled them up, arguing over the last few on the platter, I’m pretty sure they would agree.  These burgers were tender, juicy, and full of flavors that made us feel like we were eating somewhere in the Mediterranean.  Right here at the lakehouse in Alabama.

The side dishes were well planned, keeping with the flavor of the burgers:  yogurt-cucumber sauce (Tzatziki), raw vegetables with hummus (homemade of course!), roasted asparagus, Well Fed Family Moroccan Chickpea Quinoa Salad, and roasted potatoes that were specially seasoned with rosemary, parsley, and garlic.  I love it when all the items on a menu go together.  It makes the meal feel complete.  Sometimes it’s difficult coming up with sides, but that’s the beauty of starting with plain vegetables and adding your own herbs and spices:  you can create any dish you want, any time you want.  You might call it customizing your meal.

I’d love to share the recipe for the lamb burgers, but there isn’t one.  Lee is one of those kinds of people who love to cook without recipes.  She chose a few fresh herbs based on the flavor she was aiming for, finely chopped them with garlic, added salt, and mixed it all into the ground lamb.  Lee customizes most of her meals.  When she wants to cook something new, she may start with a recipe the first time and use it as  a jumping point for future attempts as she tweaks it here and there, adjusting it to her family’s tastes.  This involves a lot of trial and error, and may result in a few disappointing dishes sometimes, but it also brings about a knowledge and skill of cooking that only comes with experience.  Food Freedom is a very pleasant result.

If you are a recipe-follower like me, don’t despair.  Time in the kitchen nurtures a familiarity and skill that will lay the foundation for confident cooking and ultimately your own Food Freedom.  If you are just starting your exodus from the Standard American Diet, don’t let these non-recipe free spirits intimidate you!  I am sure that there will still be recipes in the Promised Land of Food Freedom.  Meanwhile, I’ll keep working on Lee to write down the recipe for the lamb burgers.

lamb burger plate

lamb burger with tzatziki sauce, fresh vegetables, rosemary oven fries, roasted asparagus, and Moroccan Quinoa Chickpea salad

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It Wouldn’t Be Honest If I Said I Really Liked Fish…

*Amy shares her thoughts on having to eat fish and not complain in order to be a good example to her kids at the dinner table. 😀 

It wouldn’t be honest if I said I really liked fish.  In fact, in all honesty, fish is probably one of my least favorite foods, and I don’t really like seafood either (although there are a few things I can choke down if necessary). This character flaw, as my sister so sweetly describes it, has caused trouble all of my life.  In general most people like fish.  Most of society loves fish – I can say that because, trust me, fish is always on a menu and sometimes seafood is the only thing on a menu.

Truly, I wish that I liked fish (and seafood).  Tonight’s dinner would have been amazing if I did!  Lee and Mom prepared another Well Fed Family feast:  slow-cooked collard greens, fresh sweet corn on the cob, purple-cabbage vegetable slaw, cornbread …. and yes, you know where this is going … fried catfish.  After going on last night about how wonderful the green beans smelled, I was a little nervous about tonight’s meal.  I really didn’t want to smell the catfish frying; I don’t have any happy childhood memories tied into the smell of fish, trust me on this.  Thankfully, the catfish did not smell fishy!  In fact, it had a nice country-fried smell because Lee dredged it in Cajun seasoned sprouted corn flour and fried it in bacon grease. The catfish fillets looked beautiful, sizzling on the griddle all golden brown.  And the cousins were salivating over them – they couldn’t wait to “have at ‘em!”

fried catfish

Cajun fried catfish fillets

We didn’t really have what one might call a “kid friendly meal,” yet our six children ate with gusto tonight.  Some kids were not crazy about the collards or slaw. Some kids had never had catfish.  Some kids discovered they liked a new food.  Some kids confirmed they still didn’t like collards. Everybody tried everything, though, and everybody ate well.  Including me.  Since I’m being honest tonight, I need to say that things were not always this way for Well Fed Family and children.  Years ago I had a child who lived almost exclusively on grilled cheese sandwiches, Nutri-Grain bars, fruit, canned green beans, American cheese slices, and bread.  Yet tonight he ate eagerly.  And I must confess that not too long ago I would have turned up my nose at the catfish and collards myself.

What happened that caused a picky eater to become adventurous and eager, and a life-long confirmed fish-hater (I’m not using that word lightly) to actually look optimistically at a catfish dinner?  And actually eat it without choking?  I believe the answer is Real Food.  Real Food is what happened.  Over a period of 11 years, we phased out the processed foods engineered to always look/taste/smell the same regardless of the season, location, and shelf-life.  We gradually replaced that food with the real stuff that’s always different depending on the season and location, and never has a shelf-life.  Over time, we re-trained our taste buds to enjoy new textures, colors, and flavors; I will take it a step further to say that our taste buds now expect to experience variation with every meal.  It wasn’t something we intended to do, and there were battles along the way, but it is a very pleasant result that has even been good for me.

Tonight was memorable.  Six children, some of whom used to be picky, ate adventurously and asked for more!  And, yes, so did I.  That’s just one of the things Real Food will do for ya.

catfish plate

Cajun catfish, sprouted cornbread with raw butter, sweet corn, collards, vegetable slaw

Note from Lee: the catfish fillets came from the Fish Market connected to the Auburn University School of Fisheries & Aquaculture. The market also sells tilapia and shrimp raised locally.

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Precious Memories

*Enjoy another blog from Amy as she shares memories from our childhood dinners.

There’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh green beans cooking, especially in the summer when they are in season.  Aromas can dig deep into the mind revealing long buried memories making them just as fresh as if they were yesterday. And that is what happened as the savory scent of green beans cooking with onions and bacon filled the house tonight as Well Fed Family prepared dinner on the official Day 1 of Cousins Camp.  It’s a comforting, homey aroma that takes me back to the days when I was a little girl and my grandmother snapped beans on her back porch in West Virginia, and then cooked them for a family feast that night.

pork chop dinner cousins camp

family dinner


Grammy’s house had a back porch that wrapped around two sides and the back corner of the house with a portion enclosed for a laundry room and storage area.  The enclosed area was just off the kitchen, and always smelled like fresh produce.  I remember playing on her outside back porch with Lee and smelling the fresh, raw beans as our Grammy snapped and strung them.  Later the wonderful smell of the beans cooking permeated the downstairs.  We would come in for the family meal, then return to the yard where Lee and I ran around catching fireflies.  I remember how the grass felt as I ran barefoot through her yard, running back to the porch to show everyone the firefly I had just caught.  And now our children are growing up with their own special memories tied to the wonderful smell of fresh green beans simmering on the stove in summer.


We had a full day today that began with worship, followed by wave jumping in the boat and swimming off the dock.  As dinner cooked, the house was filled with the aroma of simmering green beans and the noise of bustling cousins horsing around.  When the meal was prepared and on the table, we sang the Doxology together before digging in.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow

Praise Him all creatures here below

Praise Him above ye heavenly host

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost

pork chop plate cousins camp

pork chops, green salad, sweet and white oven fries, and slow cooked green beans

Tonight’s menu included grilled pork chops and those fresh green beans from Randle Farms, homemade oven fries, and a fresh salad (the lettuce was from Malco’s, a Tennessee farm produce stand) with homemade vinaigrette (using fresh herbs from the backyard).  The chops were tender and savory, full of flavor.  As my 8 year old daughter hungrily ate all the crispy fat from the edge of her chop, we remembered the Mother Goose rhyme about Jack Sprat:

Jack Sprat could eat no fat

His wife could eat no lean;

And so betwixt the two of them

They licked the platter clean.

 We talked about how modern illustrations of that rhyme show Jack Sprat as skinny and his wife as plump, when the reality should be the opposite because we know that it’s too much lean protein that adds weight, not fat.  Eating fat doesn’t make you fat.  Interestingly, the name “Jack Sprat” may have been used to describe people of smaller stature several hundred years ago; not far off base since robust health is tied to the important fat-soluble vitamins that aren’t well metabolized when you eat only lean.

storm cousins camp

storm rolling in over Lake Martin 

Just as dinner was winding down, the weather radio alerted us to a severe thunderstorm headed our way.  Everyone jumped up to check their weather apps, grab the swimsuits drying on the deck, and make sure everything on the dock was tied down tight.  Then we stood on the porch and watched the sky turn from the beginnings of a beautiful sunset to dark, angry clouds pulsating with lightning.  Once the wind picked up and the lightning intensified, we came inside for dessert: homemade ice cream, Nourishing Traditions-style.  While we ate we planned out our activities for the week and had fun taking silly panorama pictures with our phones.  The evening wound down with a game of Clue (the very one that Lee and I played when we were girls) while Lee and I worked on Well Fed Family stuff.

clue cousins camp

Professor Plum in the conservatory with the rope?


Fresh green beans with sliced onion, salt and pepper, and a dollop of bacon grease – set for a slow, lengthy simmer.  There’s a lot tied in to a pot of beans. It’s real food for a real family that creates real memories for all generations.


For we are the aroma of Christ to God

among those who are being saved

 and among those who are perishing.

2 Corinthians 2:15

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Meaningful Meals

*Welcome Amy as she contributes her blog post today!

Well Fed Family is together this week for our annual Cousins Camp on Lake Martin in Alabama.  While the emphasis for the week is reuniting with family, food plays a big part.  We spent time together planning the menu and purchasing food. Together we will prepare it and, most importantly, eat it.  All of this is done in fellowship together.  As we nurture our relationships and build each other up, we are also nurturing our bodies and making them stronger.  Healthy food, joyful fellowship, and thankful hearts contribute to good digestion, which creates healthy bodies.  One might say it’s a beautiful cycle, as a healthy body is better able to participate in joyful fellowship, have a thankful heart, and digest food well.  While we don’t have ultimate or complete control over our health, we are certainly having a good time doing what we can!

grilled chicken platter

Rora Valley Farms grilled chicken

Lee and I thought it would be fun to blog this week about our meals, and maybe share a recipe or two.  We will definitely have photos!  We based much of the menu on what our mother will be receiving in her CSA box this week, other seasonal foods, and special dietary needs  (some folks are currently gluten free).  We are looking forward to catfish, grilled pork chops, lamb burgers, grilled chicken, and everyone’s favorite grilled hamburgers.  Some of our sides will include corn on the cob, collard greens, potato salad, green beans, quinoa, asparagus, Nourishing Traditions baked beans, and roasted potatoes.

grilled chicken dinner from cousins camp

grilled chicken, sprouted brown rice, sauteed squash and leeks

Our first night’s feast was simple: grilled chicken, sprouted brown rice, and squash.  In fact, it sounds kind of boring.  But this was the meal that gave us the idea for this series.  When we thanked the Lord for those who prepared our food, it suddenly dawned on us that we could associate a name and face with each and every dish on our table.   Noah Sanders, of Rora Valley Farm, raised and processed our chicken.  He has a wife and baby; his family is just beginning.  Our mother has supported his farm and family for at least three years now.  The sprouted brown rice came from To Your Health Sprouted Flours, a flourishing company from right here in Alabama owned by Peggy Sutton.  We have been purchasing from Peggy since maybe 2007, back when she was still selling baked goods.  And finally, our squash and leeks came fresh from last week’s Randle Farms CSA box.  This well established family farm provides this community with pastured meats, lots of delicious vegetables, and amazing strawberries and blueberries. (I would also like to mention the farmer who provided our delicious raw milk, but …)  Now mindful of these connections, dinner was even tastier.

 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is

 than a fattened ox and hatred with it.

Proverbs 15:17

What is it that makes a meal delicious?  This week Well Fed Family is reminded that there are several components of a meal that work together to make it delicious, memorable, and nourishing.  Of course the food itself should be fresh and nutritious.  But there is much more.  Enjoying a meal with loved ones is very important; it’s always better to eat with someone than all alone.  Preparing the meal in joyful fellowship with one another also matters.  An atmosphere of joyfulness and thankfulness sets the stage for good health.   But let’s not forget where it begins: on the farm, with those families who intentionally raise or grow your food in a spirit of joyfulness and thankfulness, allowing the animals and crops to flourish in a way that glorifies the Lord.

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Mom’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Amy and I both owe a big heartfelt thanks to our mom for teaching us to cook. Some of my earliest memories are in the kitchens of all the different places we lived.  Playing under the table while mom cooked dinner, licking beaters from the mixer after she made a cake, helping roll the Snickerdoodles in the sugar or press the crisscross marks into peanut butter cookies.  As we grew older she encouraged us to find recipes we wanted to try on our own. She even  encouraged us to enter the Girl Scout Bake Off. I remember when I was in 6th grade she bought ingredients for three or four pound cakes and let me practice before the big event. I actually won a prize!  In high school she occasionally assigned us times to plan and make dinner, which is when I think I first tried making lasagne and french bread.

By the time I went to college I was a confident enough cook that I wasn’t forced to rely on frozen dinners or the campus cafeteria. My roommate and I actually used the kitchen in our college apartment and had friends over for homecooked meals.  Cooking and eating at home saved us a lot of money when my husband and I first married and had to live on graduate student salaries. Now our kids are becoming skilled cooks in their own right. What a wonderful legacy!

Kristy Gilliland, Jane, LeeOf course there were cakes every year – homemade ones which have spoiled me for any other kind of cake. I remember a big Pink Lemonade Cake with marshmallow flowers, and a Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake on my 16th birthday. One family favorite I want to share with you in honor of Mother’s Day is our Mom’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake. I can remember eating this cake as a very young girl. It is one of our Dad’s favorites, too. It goes well with a cup of coffee, or a big glass of milk. If no one is looking you can even lick the cinnamon sugar crumbs off the plate when you are done.

Mom's Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Recipe type: dessert
This moist spicy cake has been a family favorite since we were little girls.
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cups plus 2 Tblsp cane sugar
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder (non aluminum)
  • ½ tsp baking soda (non aluminum)
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  1. Mix 2 Tblsp of sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Butter a 9" bundt pan or angel cake pan.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  4. In a mixer, cream together the butter and remaining 1½ cups sugar.
  5. Add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla to the butter mixture, mixing well.
  6. Blend in the flour, baking powder and baking soda, mixing until smooth.
  7. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Sprinkle half of the nuts and half of the cinnamon sugar evenly onto the batter. Spoon in the remaining batter.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining nuts and cinnamon sugar on the top.
  10. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  11. Cool the cake for 20 minutes in the pan before removing from the pan.


We’d love to hear your memories of mom, share your favorite recipe, or tell us how you first learned to cook.  Leave us a comment in the comment box, or click on the “leave a reply” link at the top near the title of this article. Tell us how you are leaving a legacy of cooking for your kids.

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