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Monday Harvest Report January 26, 2015

I promise our long absence from the blog will be explained very soon.  We have been working hard on a project that has been super fun and very time consuming!!  But I’m almost done and I hope for a big announcement later this week!!

The weather here in Utah has been VERY strange for January.  Highs have been in the 40’s and for the last 3 days we have had highs in the 50’s!!  That is almost unheard of this time of the year.  The nice thing about all this warm March like weather is that the cold frames are just thriving!!  We are still harvesting lettuce every week and I even pulled a few carrots.  The spinach crop is way ahead of where it normally would be this time of year and we will need to start harvesting it again soon!  I’m even tempted to go out and plant a few seeds inside the cold frames and see how they do?

My biggest worry is water for the summer.  So far we have only had one really big snow storm all winter.  That could make for some really dry conditions and water restrictions for this summer!!

Monday Harvest Report Lettuce

We have been harvesting a pretty steady supply of lettuce from the cold frames.  I have picked 1/2 pound for each of the last two weeks.  It is still sweet and tasty and is making some excellent salads!

Monday Harvest Report New starts

I also got started on the first seedlings for 2015.  I planted 13 cells of lettuce.  I’m hoping these will be up and ready for planting in the cold frames on March 1st.  You will notice I used 3 different methods for seeds this time.  Cell packs, newspaper pots and peat pellets.  This is kind of an experiment on using different methods for starting seeds and relates to this “big project” I have been working on since the first of the year!

The harvest total for the last 2 weeks are just 1 pound of lettuce and brings our yearly total to 1.66 pounds!  Not much but still off to a good start for 2015!!

I will be joining Daphne this week for the Monday Harvest Report!!

2015 Gardening Goals for Stoney Acres

2015 Gardening Goals

So I’m a big goal setter!  Every year at the first of the year I sit down and try to map out a few things that I would really like to accomplish in the different aspects of my life.  The gardening goals are no exception to that.  So here’s a look at what we have planned for 2015 around Stoney Acres.

Garden Production Goals for 2015

In 2014 the home garden produced a total of 711 pounds of produce.  That was short of our goal of 775 pounds.  But last years shortage came from a combination of poor soil (it was our first year in this garden) and no melons from the home garden.  I got the melons planted late here at the home garden and they never really got a chance.  We only got one small Crenshaw melon the whole year.

So our goal for the home garden for 2015 is 875 pounds!  Yeah I know that 160 pounds more than we had last year but I’m pretty confident I can pull it off!  Why, well for one we will be adding some new beds this year and the other is I’m determined to get our normal 100 + pounds of melons from the home garden this year.

2015 Gardening Goals borrowed space

What about the borrowed garden space?  Leo has told us we can use it again this year but we are planning a few things differently for that space.  For one we are not going to grow as many melons there.  Last year we grew a ton and sold them to the neighbors, but I’m not sure I want to do the “selling” thing again this year.  It worked out okay but I wasn’t all the big on trying to round up customers to sell melons to.  So this year I’m going to grow fewer melons and just give the extra away to friends and neighbors.

2015 Gardening Goals Corn

We are also going to grow more potatoes in place of the melons.  Last year we had 3- 40 foot rows, this year I am going to add a 4th.  We also want to extend our sweet corn harvest so we are going to do that by adding another 3 rows of corn and staggering the plantings a bit so that we have a longer amount of time for fresh corn on the cob!

Last year we had 600 pounds from the borrowed garden, this year I will be happy with 400.  The breakdown will be 200 pounds of potatoes, 100 pounds of corn and 100 pounds of melons.  I may use some of that space to experiment with a winter squash or something else like that as well.

 

New Beds and Structures for 2015

As you may remember we got a new fence (or really a wall) on the south side of our property last year.  We weren’t planning on that so it ended up adding a lot of shade to two of our garden beds.  The one closest to the wall was the one impacted the most, It will be in the shadow of the wall for all but maybe 3 months of the year (June, July, August) so that will cut down the production in that bed a ton!!

2015 Gardening Goals Trailer Bed

We have decided to replace that bed by adding a bed here on the west side of our yard.  We are going to add an 8 x 12 foot raised bed.  For the next few years we will use this bed for popcorn, melons and pumpkins.  The bed will get plenty of morning and afternoon sun so I think it will do great!  We will have to hit it pretty quick in the spring so that it is ready for planting by early May.

2015 Gardening Goals Patio Bed

We are also going to add a small 30 inch bed all the way around the patio out back.  We will use this bed to plant some flowers, herbs and veggies.  This will be a great addition to the yard and will soften the look of this other wise bland concrete patio.

2015 Gardening Goals trellis

Last year we planted these two grape vines.  By the time we got them in last spring it was pretty late, so the plants spent most of the year getting established and not growing much.  But I’m sure they will take off this spring so we will need to get them some support.  The plan is to add a nice trellis here that will look similar to the one at the front.  Valerie has always wanted a grape tunnel in our yard so this will make a fun entry to the back yard!

Potted herbs; in the past our garden grown herbs have been limited to parsley, chives, basil and some times some dill.  This year we really want to expand the number of herbs we are growing so we will be adding some nice big pots to the back patio to grow herbs in.

New Plants for 2015

2015 Gardening Goals New Plants

So I found this year that I’m getting a little bored with the same old veggie varieties.  Many of the veggie varieties we grow we have been growing for the entire time we have been gardening (that’s 17 years!!).  This year I’m going to shake things up a bit and try a few new varieties to replace old favorites:

  1. Glacier tomatoes (this is an early cold resistant tomato)
  2. Crocket Bush Beans
  3. Royal Burgundy Bush Beans
  4. Two or 3 types of shelling beans
  5. Arcadia & Umpqua broccoli (Arcadia for the larger heads, Umpqua because it is open pollinated)
  6. Leeks (we like leeks but have never grown them???)
  7. Peanuts (Valerie really wants to try these so I’m making space this year)
  8. Sprouting Broccoli
  9. Winter Density Lettuce
  10. Tom Thumb Lettuce
  11. Napa Cabbage
  12. Blackberry
  13. Chamomile
  14. Lavender
  15. Peppermint
  16. Oregano
  17. Thyme
  18. Stevia

 

Also if I can find the room I want to try the following:

  1. A pumpkin with an edible (hull-less) seed
  2. A smaller zucchini plant
  3. Some kind of fun summer squash (i.e. a fun color or shape)
  4. Parsnips
  5. A hotter pepper for making paprika

If you are interested you can jump to this page to see a list of all the edible plants we will be planting this year (the list is surprisingly long)

Flowers

2015 Gardening Goals Flowers

We also hope to add a few new perennial and annual flowers to our yard this year

  1. A climbing rose bush on the east of the house
  2. A forsythia bush
  3. Bleeding heart
  4. Snap dragons
  5. A trailing petunia for some of our flower pots

So there you have it, my 2015 gardening goals for Stoney Acres!  I’d love any input you guys might have!

The first Garden Harvest of 2015

Whew, sorry it has been so long since you have heard from us.  January is a super busy work time for us and I just haven’t been able to make the time to get a few posts written.  But never fear!  Lot’s of good stuff coming soon from Stoney Acres!  Including a few new gardening series we will be writing and a soon to come video course!  I won’t say anything else for now but just know I’m super excited for 2015 on the blog!!

The first garden Harvest of 2015

This winter has been super mild so far and the proof of that is the fact that our first garden harvest of 2015 which happened on Friday was mostly lettuce!  Normally we wouldn’t have lettuce this time of the year.  It’s just too cold and the lettuce plants either give in to the constant freezing and thawing in the cold frames or that freezing caused the lettuce to go bitter.

The first garden Harvest of 2015 Cold Frame

But not this year!  We did have a brief cold snap the week after Christmas where we had a few nights down in the single digits.  Since then we have slowly warmed back up and we are back to where the day time highs are in the 40’s again.  Very unusual for January!  But you won’t here me complaining too much, we are still getting moisture (mostly rain) and the mountains are still getting snow so I’m happy to have a zone 6 garden this year instead of my normal zone 5!!

First Salad of 2015

 

I cut 3 small heads of lettuce this week, 1 head of red and 2 heads of Paris Island Cos.  There was a bit of bitterness in the red lettuce but the Paris Island was crisp and tasty!  The total harvest was only about 2/3 of a pound but will give us a couple of good salads over the next few days.

IMG_0550

We also picked a big handful of spinach and added it to a yummy minestrone soup earlier in the week but I forgot to weigh it or take a picture.   But here’s a shot of some of the plants in the cold frame.  As you can see they are looking super healthy especially for this time of year!  I’m looking forward to a big spring harvest from these plants!

I’m really excited for 2015 in the garden and on the blog!  Later this week I will put together a post outlining some of our goals for the garden for 2015 and some of the new plants we will be growing for the year, so watch for that!

Harvest Totals:

Lettuce – .66 lbs

Annual total – .66 lbs

Have a great week!!

We will be joining a few blog hops this week including the Monday Harvest Report at Daphne’s Dandelions and Good Morning Monday at Darling Downs Diaries.

2014 Garden Year in Review

2014 Garden Year in Review title

Wow, where did 2014 go?  For some reason this year just flew by for me!  We have now been settled at the new place for well over a year and had our first full year of gardening in the new garden.

For those of you that are new to us Stoney Acres moved about 18 months ago, the first summer (2013) that we lived here we were only able to get a small patch of grass dug up for garden space.  In 2013 we borrowed some garden space from a friend.  So this year was really the first full year of gardening at the new space.  Over all we have a much smaller yard to garden in at this house so I was a little worried about whether we would be able to grow as many veggies, but the new space held it’s own against our old garden.  In fact this was our second biggest year ever with our garden totals coming in at just over 710 pounds.  Add to that the fact that we also used the borrowed garden again this year and our harvest total was 1330 pounds from the combined gardens.

So here is our 2014 garden year in review!

Borrowed Garden

2014 Garden Year In Review

Let’s start with the borrowed garden.  This year we used the borrowed space for strictly big space loving staple crops.  So we planted only 6 crops here.  Sweet Corn, potatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon and Crenshaw melons.  We also had a few tomato plants here that Leo (the land owner) gave us late in the season.  They didn’t get planted until July so we only got a little bit from them.

2014 Garden Year In Review potatoes

The potatoes were the highlight of this garden.  147 pounds total, about 30 of those were russets, the rest were red pontiac.  We are still eating from that stock of potatoes and will for a couple more months!

The melon production was fair this year.  We had a very strange cool, wet summer and that caused a little havoc with the melons.  The lack of heat this year I think really affected the taste of all the melons.  They were good, but not their normal FANTASIC!  The lack of heat also really affected the Crenshaw melons.  We never really got a 100% perfectly ripe yellow melon.  We did end up with about 8 that ripened enough to eat, but Crenshaws like long hot summers and we just didn’t have that this year.

2014 Garden Year In Review Melons

On the fun side we did have more melons that we could have possibly ever eaten so we were able to offer a bunch for sale to our neighbors!  We ended up getting $72.00 over the course of the season so that was enough to cover the cost of all the new fruit trees we bought this year!

Also on the good side was the fact that the slightly cooler wet weather really helped the sweet corn.  We planted Serendipity this year and had a great harvest with a total of 120 ears of corn.

So the totals for the borrowed garden were as follows:

Corn                             59.50 lbs
Watermelon                  225.50 lbs
Cantaloupe                   132.50 lbs
Crenshaw                       35.00 lbs
Potatoes                       147.00 lbs
Tomatoes                       20.75 lbs
Total                            620.25 lbs

Home Garden

2014 Garden Year In Review home

Soil quality is always a concern with a new garden and that was the case with us this year.  Despite bringing in a whole load of organic compost I still felt like most of our plants suffered from our newly tilled heavy clay soil.  Next year I think we will need 2 loads of compost!!

Over all the garden really did pretty well, but I could see some differences caused by the soil.  For example we had the same number of cucumber plants that we always plant but our harvest this year was ½ the usual.  Also I would have expected more and larger tomatoes from the 16 plants that we put in.  We ended up with 200 pounds of tomatoes but I was expecting closer to 300.  So I guess it will take a few years of amending our soil to get it up to where it should be!

The only big disappointment at the home garden was the few melon plants we put in here.  My plan for the year was for us to eat the melons from the home garden and sell all the melons from the borrowed garden.  But we ended up only getting one ripe melon from the home garden and I think that was a combination of the poor soil and weird August weather.  Had we gotten a decent melon harvest I think we would have been looking at a total harvest from the home garden closer to 850 pounds.

So enough complaining, what about the positive stuff from the home garden this year?  Let’s start with tomatoes!  Even though it was smaller than I had hoped for we still had our best tomato harvest ever.  200 pounds beats our old record by 50 pounds.

2014 Garden Year In Review tomatoes

 

We also had our first successful year growing some heirloom tomatoes.  We planted Brandy Wine and loved them!!  They will be a definite keeper in our rotation of tomatoes.  They are big and tasty!!

2014 Garden Year In Review broccoli

Broccoli was another highlight!  Because of the cooler weather our spring planting of broccoli continued to produce side shoots well into September!  That is unheard of for us.  We ended the year with 17 pounds from the two plantings (spring and fall).

2014 Garden Year In Review strawberries

The new strawberry patch also did really well.  33 pounds from a 4 by 12 foot bed and the berries stayed sweet all season this year.  I think the berries may be the one plant that actually likes the soil in the new garden!

We had a bumper crop of lettuce this year.  We totaled over 26 pounds spread out across the year.  The overwintered lettuce in the cold frames did fantastic, we had spring planted lettuces until June, followed by summer crisp lettuce all summer and we are still harvesting the fall plantings form the cold frames all the way into December!

2014 Garden Year In Review popcorn

Pop corn was by far our favorite crop this year.  We more than doubled our former record with 17 pounds of raw corn and 11 pounds of “finished” product!  That will be enough popcorn to cover all our snacking needs until next summer.  Valerie has told me that she wants to double our harvest again next year so that we can give popcorn out as Christmas gifts to friends and neighbors!  So I guess I have my work cut out for me next summer!

A few other highlights included a really good beet harvest, some beautiful kohlrabi and a great crop of onions and garlic!

2014 was a fantastic year in our garden and we feel blessed to have the space, time and desire to grow our own veggies!  There is no rest for the weary gardener though!  Only 20 more days until it is time to start the first seedlings for next years garden!!  Thanks to all our readers!  We so appreciate you joining us often on our little blog!!

 

Home Garden Totals

Cold Frame Carrots                           17.75
Ripened Green Tomatoes                     4.00
Cold Frame Spinach                          10.74
Kale                                               11.25
Spring Lettuce                                  19.83
Shelling Peas                                   16.75
Snow Peas                                        5.33
Radishes                                            .50
Kohlrabi                                           2.75
Sunflower Seeds                                2.00
Cold frame Potatoes                          28.00
Green Onions                                     1.08
Onions                                             46.00
Broccoli (fall & spring)                        17.02
Green Beans                                        .30
Crenshaw                                           2.50
Beets                                               19.25
Fall Potatoes                                      40.00
Tomatoes                                         200.15
Garlic                                                 1.75
Pumpkins                                         112.50
Bell Peppers                                       13.66
Zucchini                                             34.20
Popcorn                                             17.00
Cucumbers                                         41.05
Strawberries                                       33.33
Raspberries                                          1.50
Fall Lettuce                                           6.25
Various Herbs                                       3.45
Fall Greens                                             .35
Celery                                                  1.25
Total                                                 711.49

Whole Wheat Pancakes and Waffles

Whole Wheat Pancakes and waffles

I grew up having homemade pancakes and waffles, that is just what my Mom made for us and I loved them.  I hated the box mixes, whenever we had them when we went camping, it just tasted like cardboard!   So I have continued this tradition with my family.     For years the pancakes we made were all white flour pancakes and fried in grease, so I had to clean up this recipe.

whole wheat waffles and pancakes 3

As we started our real food journey we first started out slow by doing half wheat and half white flour so we could ease the reluctant kids to this idea of whole wheat pancakes/waffles.  This worked well and they adjusted to it and they didn’t make too much of a fuss when we added 100% whole wheat to it.   These whole wheat pancakes and waffles taste so good and I feel like I am actually eating something healthy for breakfast.   Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.

Homemade Whole Wheat Pancakes and Waffles recipe
2 Eggs
2 cups of milk
1/3 cup of oil (I never use this much; I only put in a couple of tablespoons.)
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons of brown sugar (or you can use honey instead just do 2 Tablespoons)

This batch makes approximately two dozen 4-5 inch pancakes or the same amount of waffles.

whole wheat waffles and pancakes 2

Whole Wheat Waffles

We use this same recipe for waffles,  I don’t change anything and they turn out perfect every time.  I use two Oster Dura Ceramic Flip Waffle Makers, they are the best thing I ever purchased, I love them. I use two so we don’t have to wait too long, and everyone wants hot waffles.  The greatest thing about the waffle makers is, if your waffles do get cold you can put them back in the iron and warm them up again.  I never even thought of doing that before, until I read it in the waffle iron directions.  We just love the Belgian waffles much better than normal ones, they turn out so good.

Batch Size

This whole wheat pancakes and waffles recipe is easy to cut in half if there aren’t very many of you.  A 1/2 batch makes about 12 pancakes.  Or you can 1 – 1/2 it or even double it if you have a big group!!  1-1/2 makes about 36 to 40 pancakes and usually feeds our family of 6 with a few left over to put in the freezer for later.

Freezing

We make whole wheat pancakes and waffles on the weekend because we have more time and no one is rushing out the door to go to school.  It gives us a chance to actually sit down and have breakfast together as a family.  We will often make an extra-large batch and freeze the left overs in a plastic bag.

Believe it or not these actually freeze really well, especially the waffles.  I like to have extra in the freezer because it gives the teens another healthy fast option they can choose for breakfast during the week.  It is so easy to pull some out and just pop in the toaster.  My son hates cold cereal and so this is what he eats almost every day!!!

whole wheat waffles and pancakes 4

Toppings instead of syrup for your whole wheat pancakes and waffles

I am now working on getting rid of the brown sugar in this recipe.  I have to do baby steps with my family.  I have tried once to replace it with honey and it seemed fine, but I got eye rolls from all the teens.  I am definitely going to try it more often to see if I can get them used to it without the sugar!   I then will move on to getting rid of the gross sugar syrup.  They just can’t seem to go without it.  Ugh……It is homemade syrup, but I want to replace it with real maple syrup or just plain honey.  I haven’t had success convincing anyone yet.  I know I will eventually.  It will just take some time.

I refuse to put syrup on mine!  I usually top my whole wheat pancakes with sugar free applesauce, cinnamon, and ground flax or I pull out the frozen strawberries/raspberries from our garden and put those on top.  I also have used bananas on top.  I top the whole wheat waffles with frozen peaches(defrosted in microwave) or strawberries or if I have them huckleberries.  This tastes so much better than jam (which I have stopped making) or syrup.   I can’t believe I haven’t been putting these toppings on sooner.  I always would feel sick after having my normal peanut butter and syrup pancakes or waffles…it was just too much sugar.  I haven’t missed the syrup at all and I feel better putting something healthy on top of my whole wheat pancakes and waffles.  I hope you enjoy these as much as my family!

If you try this recipe would you please come back and leave us a comment on what you think?

Winter Garden Structures

This post was featured first on Bakerette.com.  Thanks again to Jeni for allowing me to guest post!

Winter Garden Structures

 

This month I want to teach you about some very important Winter Garden Structures you need to extend your gardening season into the fall and winter months.  There are three simple methods for extending your season, first fabric row covers, second mini hoop houses, and third cold frames.  Let’s talk about each in order of the level of protection they provide.

Floating Fabric Row Covers

Winter Garden Structures 2

Floating row covers are the simplest and least expensive of our winter garden structures.  Floating row covers are agricultural fabrics produced in a variety of weights and materials.  You can find row covers at many garden centers or online.  They come in many different sizes but for most garden applications you should be able to find pieces that are roughly 5’ x 20’.  A piece that size will usually be under $10.00!  For fall and winter applications you want to buy the heaviest weight you can find.  The thicker the material the more cold protection you will get.

You can get as fancy as you want with row covers.  I’ve seen folks who build simple wire hoops and then attach the fabric to the hoops.  But for me that’s too much work.  We simply use the row fabrics to cover our crops when there is a threat of frost.  It’s light weight so you can throw it over your lettuce bed and hold down the edges with a few rocks or bricks so it doesn’t blow away in the wind.  The heavier row covers offer around 6 to 8 degrees of protection.  So on those frosty fall evenings your plants will be protected down to as low as 26 degrees!

Fabric row covers are also super handy to use to protect your warm season crops from an early freeze.  It happens every year around our place.  We will have a night in late September that gets down below freezing which will be followed by 2 weeks of nice warm weather.  If it weren’t for the protection of our row covers we would lose our tomato, melon, and squash plants and miss out on that last couple of weeks of ripening time.  Some years we are able to keep our tomato plants producing well past the 3rd week of October, almost a month past our first frost date!!

Mini Hoop Houses

Winter Garden Structures 3

Hoop houses offer the next level of protection.  Again these can be as simple or complicated as you want to make them.  Basically a hoop house is 4 to 6 “hoops” covered with a plastic.  We make our hoops fairly inexpensively by using four 10 foot lengths of PVC pipe (available at any home improvement center) with a piece of 1” x 1” wood as a ridge poll.  We then cover the structure with 10 mil clear painters plastic and use some simple clamps to hold the plastic to the hoops.  The longer you are planning on leaving your hoop up the stronger you need to build it.  If it is only going to be up through November then you may be able to get away with simply sticking the hoops in the ground.  If you want it stay up all winter then you will need to be sure that the structure is strong enough to endure the wind and snow winter has to offer.  You can head over to my blog for some more ideas on building a hoop house.  You can easily build a hoop house for around $30.00

Winter Garden Structures 4

Hoop houses offer a higher level of protection from both the wind and cold.  You can combine a hoop house and fabric row covers for an added level of protection.  We have found hoop houses handy for our late fall crops.  Plants like broccoli, cabbage, carrots and kale do very well in a hoop house.  But our experience has been that you should only plant your hardiest crops in hoop houses.  Ultimately they don’t offer as much protection from the cold as our next season extension option, the cold frame.

Cold Frames

Winter Garden Structures 5

Cold frames offer the most protection of the three winter garden structures options.  A cold frame is basically a wooden box with some type of glass top.  Again, you can make it as simple or complicated as you would like.  You can also make them any size to fit your garden beds.  A few things to keep in mind when building a cold frame:

  • Usually cold frames are no more than 12 to 15 inches tall.  This keeps them low and out of the wind
  • Whenever possible the top should slope to the south.  This lets in the maximum amount of light
  • Plexi glass is much lighter and less likely to break than actual glass.  So if you are going buy something for your cold frame lid buy plexi glass.  But don’t let that stop you from using that old storm door you have lying around, that can be perfect for a cold frame lid

You can jump over to Stoney Acres to see how we built our 3 cold frames.  If you are building from scratch and using plexi glass tops, plan on spending around $130 dollars to build one.

Build your cold frame so that it can simply sit on top of the soil over your garden beds.  Fill in any gaps so that the wind can’t get in and your plants will be tucked in for a long cold winter!

Cold frames are perfect for all your low growing crops.  Carrots, spinach, Swiss chard, Asian greens, lettuce and Mache all love a cold frame.  If you live in an area where it gets really cold in the winter you can even add a row cover inside your cold frame during those months when you never see the temperatures rise above freezing.  This will give you some added protection.

Here’s a warning; if you want to build a hoop house or cold frame for your garden you need to be prepared to manage the temperatures inside the structure in the fall and spring.  If someone isn’t going to be around during the day then be sure to open up your hoop house before you leave for work on days that will be over 50 degrees.   You would be amazed how hot it can get in a hoop house or a cold frame on a sunny 60 degree day.  If you don’t open it up your plants might just get cooked inside a 95 degree cold frame!!

I really hope you have enjoyed these last two posts on season extension.  It’s a fun part of gardening that many people over look.  Two posts don’t even scratch the surface of all the information out there on winter gardening.  I’m very happy to field any questions at my own blog; ourstoneyacres.com or right here in the comments section on the Bakerette!

Next month we will look at what we can do in the fall to get our main garden ready for planting next spring!!

Real Food Breakfast

Real Food Breakfast

When we began our real food journey we tried to do too much too soon and the teens did not react well and so I backed off and have just made slow, small changes and it has worked out a lot better.  One of the most important things I wanted to change, was breakfast!!  This was super important to me because it is the first and most important meal of the day.   I wanted my family to have a real food breakfast each and every day to get them started out with the right kind of food!!  I didn’t want them to packed full of sugar to start their day!!  We have slowly changed what we eat for breakfast, and almost all of my kids have adapted to the change.  I still hear the moaning and groaning about how they want that sugary cold cereal…but I won’t buy it anymore!!   I want them to be eating a real food breakfast.    Here is the trick if I don’t buy it, they can’t eat it because it is no longer in the pantry for them to grab.  Before I read about real food I didn’t really pay attention to the labels on those cold cereal boxes!  I picked what I thought was not too sugary,  Ha, Ha…you will laugh when you find out what I bought.  Yes, I did buy Frosted Mini-wheats ( what they have wheat in them right??), Cheerios, Chex, and Honey Bunches of Oats(they are good for you right? Oats are in the name?).  My husband on the other hand liked the sugary cereals and so he would throw in Frosted Flakes or Marshmallow Matey’s(Lucky Charms) .

Tosca Reno in her book, The Eat Clean Diet for Family & kids calls cold cereal, “Chemical Soup!”   She also said, “I feel like the cereal aisle is  booby-trapped at entry point.  At least when you are in the junk-food aisle you know it.  On every level, even the junkiest of cereals is trying to present itself as a healthy food.    Would it shock you to learn that the sugar content in a small serving of Froot Loops is the same as a Kit Kat bar.”

It is hard to believe that there is so much sugar content in our food but it is so true.  When my husband and I decided to start this real food adventure, we started by going to the grocery store to see what we could possibly buy!  The first few times at the grocery store took quite a while because I would check ingredients of every label of food I picked up before it went in the shopping cart.  I encourage you to do the same and you will be surprised what you see.  I was so shocked at how many ingredients each label had and how many  I couldn’t pronounce.  I found that sugar and high fructose corn syrup were in most everything!!  There are so many chemical preservatives added to cold cereals to help them last longer, but do we really know what those preservatives can do to us???

Real Food Breakfast Eggs

It makes me sick to think that I was even feeding my family this junk!!!   They would even go to the pantry and get the cereal out and eat it as a snack…yikes!!!   There had to be a better way to feed my family a real food breakfast than out of a box!  The Cold Cereal aisle is really overwhelming because it is full of box after box of cereal claiming to be good for you but when you  look at the long list of ingredients and all the sugar….ugh…it makes me so angry at myself for not paying attention to what I was putting in my body!

When I walk down this aisle now, I do not buy very much from it and guess what I am saving a lot of money by not buying those expensive boxes of cereal.    I slowly stopped buying the sugar cereals until we only buy one, but only because it has 6 ingredients but it still has sugar and corn syrup in it…sigh!!!!   I haven’t convinced my family completely, including Rick to give up on this one cereal….Wheat Bran Flakes….it is a work in progress…I will convince them eventually.  This was not an easy adjustment!   Like I said above, there were complaints of how there wasn’t anything to eat for breakfast!!!  But I am slowly getting my family to adjust to a healthier real food breakfast. A real food breakfast is so much better for you!  When you eat a good breakfast it gives you the right energy your body needs to make it through the day!  I feel  so much better not starting my day being packed with sugar!!!  I have also shed a lot of unwanted pounds that I haven’t been able to lose in years!   This was a total bonus to my real/clean food journey!!!  (I will share more about that in a later post on exercise/clean eating.)

I have found a couple of cereals that have less than 5 ingredients in them but do not have sugar that I do still buy.   Western Family Bite size Shredded Wheat (1 ingredient, but it does have BHT in it) and Western Family Wheat and Barley Nutty Nuggets(this has 4 ingredients).  I also buy oatmeal, Cream of wheat, and Zoom.  I have to mix up my real food breakfast each day.  Tosca Reno just has oatmeal every single day!!  I can’t do that I have to have different things each day otherwise I would get sick of that same old stuff day after day.   Just because your eating  a real/clean food  breakfast  doesn’t mean it has to be boring and tasteless!!  I have made a list of our Real Food breakfasts that we have and I hope it helps you to make the change too!!  I will be posting some of the real food breakfast recipes in later posts.

Real Food Breakfast Granola

This is a list of the options that I have in the pantry for my family  to have for a Real food breakfast each day.   They are simple and easy and don’t take much more time than pouring cereal in a bowl.   The ones that take longer I save for the weekends when I have more time and  I also have some things in the freezer for easy grab and go..like whole wheat tacos,  homemade whole wheat waffles/pancakes.  I also at times will make extra scrambled eggs and either freeze them or put in the fridge for an easy breakfast burrito.   I hope this list will help you see how good a real food breakfast can be each day!:)

Real Food Breakfast Real Food  add ins or Toppings Prep time  
Cold Cereal- Bite size Shredded  Wheat or Nutty Nuggets Fruit-strawberries, raspberries,Bananas, add some honey 1 minute
Cream of Wheat Add honey, bananas, & flax 2 ½ minutes
Zoom Add honey and fruit of choice, flax 2 ½ minutes
Homemade Granola Add fruit and milk
Oatmeal Add a pinch of salt and  then add applesauce, flax,  and cinnamon. This tastes so yummy! 2 minutes to boil water.
Whole wheat English muffin egg sandwich. Fry a n egg and toast the muffin, add some spinach/ kale and some homemade BBQ sauce and oh so good!! 5-8 minutes to cook the egg
Plain Yogurt Frozen/fresh fruit of choice, add a little honey, some flax and mix together then sprinkle granola on top.  This is my favorite! 2 minutes
Whole wheat  Pancakes/ Waffles Add fresh/frozen fruit to top or drizzle honey on them. 20 minutes-I save these for the weekend.
Scrambled eggs Add onion, green pepper, spinach/kale, and zucchini and you have a great breakfast. 15 minutes
Breakfast Burritos Grab a frozen whole wheat taco and add leftover scrambled eggs from fridge put in a little spinach and add some homemade BBQ sauce and a little cheese…mmmm!! 45 seconds in microwave.
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