A Cuppa Cosy Adventure: Raw Milk Pasteurization

Recently we got the chance to stop and get fresh milk. We live in the rural countryside of Germany and the farmlands are everywhere. There are a couple spots somewhat near to us that offer these milk vending machines where you can get fresh milk. Not only is seeing this happen up close, it’s such a fun experience to use the vending machine, and then look around at the other goodies offered. In our area a liter of fresh milk was 1 Euro, 10 fresh eggs (from that morning!) we’re 3.50 Euro, apple chips were 2.50 Euro, and a jar of honey was 5 Euro. You are able to either bring your own milk bottles or purchase from them (I think to purchase was about 2 Euro, plus the Euro to fill them up). We had a fun little time filling our jars (we recycled 3 from our store-bought milk), saying high to the cows, and just generally looking at the different offerings and set up.

Super cool, right?!

One catch, it is Raw Milk. And by saying Raw Milk, what I mean is Unpasteurized Milk.

There isn’t really anything inherently wrong with raw milk, you can certainly drink it if you would like to, and in some cases it may actually taste better than store bought milk. BUT it basically hasn’t been “purified” of any bacteria or diseases that the cow may have or may have consumed prior to being milked. Again, each person is able to make the decision as to what they wanted to do, but for us, with our children being the main milk consumers in our house, I definitely wanted to pasteurize it before it was consumed.

A chance for another adventure for us!

Luckily enough, pasteurizing milk is something that you can do at home and is easy enough to do. At its core, pasteurization is simply heating the milk to a certain temperature for a certain amount of time and stirring. A lot of stirring. Once I realized just how simple and straightforward this was, I became all for it.

Monday morning, I pulled out my pot, using one of the thicker bottomed ones that already has a pretty good nonstick bottom (and that holds heat very well), grabbed a thermometer, and got to work. I used the low temp pasteurization method, which involves heating the milk to 145 degrees Fahrenheit and keeping it at that heat for 30 continuous minutes. If it falls below the 145 then you will need to start the 30 minutes over again. I erred on the side of caution, both not trusting my thermometer entirely and wanting to be extra safe, and tended to let my milk drift a little on the upward end of 145-150.

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LOVED involving both boys in this process. It takes quite a bit of time at the stove, so fun to pick them up and have them watch or take a turn stirring 🙂

You will need to continue stirring the milk throughout the entire process as it will stick, scorch, and lump up if you do not. This means that if you choose to do this, you will need to have at minimum an uninterrupted hour of time. To do my 3 liters of milk (done 1 liter and then 2 liters), it took me about 2 ½ hours total time. Once the 30 minutes were up, the milk is then transferred from pot to a clean (sanitized) container for chilling and consumption. I think for the next round I will get a few larger pitchers or glass jars that are specifically for milk. You will definitely want to use a funnel as well to get from pot to container.

-6120453172414164475_IMG_5483Once all three were full I put them in the fridge to cool down so the boys could drink it. I ended up filling about 2.75 liters of milk (some splashed and such) and labeled each bottle with the batch info and date for my own knowledge. It took about 6 hours or so until it was cooled to drinking temps in our fridge.

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In terms of taste- neither myself nor my husband noticed any difference. We did a comparison between a store-bought jar and our home pasteurized and while they didn’t taste identical, there wasn’t a super noticeable difference either. Most store-bought milk goes through the high temp pasteurization which already gives it slightly cooked taste (not overly so and we’ve all adjusted to that taste/don’t even notice it) and ours tasted fine when compared to it.

So, would I do it again? Absolutely! It was one of those really fun adventures and things to do with the kids (they were involved ever so slightly), and you can’t get any better than fresh milk. I’m curious though, after reading about what all it entails…would YOU do it? Let me know down below!

The Joy of Being In The Kitchen

IMG_8867.jpgOne of the things that I do everyday that brings me such a large amount of joy is working in our kitchen. There is something to be said for doing a light bit of work, with my hands and food, and turn it into a wonderful meal for my family. To create something tangible and provide it for my family (whether the kids actually eat it is another story…)

I’ve always loved to bake and our kitchen and pantry has reflected that over the years, but in the past couple years I have really developed a deep love for cooking full meals. When we started cutting out all the processed junk, the boxed meals, and went for healthier options that may have required more work I really truly fell in love with cooking and being in the kitchen.

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I love when I have a little helper on hand too!

I find cooking to be such a comforting activity. If I am having a rough day or feeling particularly stressed, I can step into the kitchen set to work on our dinner and feel my world shift right back up. I’m not sure if it’s the process of creating the meal, or working with my hands, or the fact that part of my brain can shut off while I am cooking. No matter what it is, there is nothing better for me to do than make a full meal. I also just really love being IN a kitchen. The hub bub of activity, the warmth of the oven and cooktop going, the warmth of the people cooking around you, the love that you feel when someone is taking the time to prepare something for you, it’s just wonderful. There is a reason why a lot of people think the kitchen is the heart of the home (although honestly my heart also lies in a library, let’s be honest).

I’m not going to stand here and say that I am even remotely good at cooking or that I always make the healthiest meals, nothing could be farther from the truth. And I think that that is part of the beauty of cooking. The willingness to step into a room with an open mind and come out with a new (potentially bad) dish to try or even just a spin on an old classic.

IMG_8883.jpgI try to cook as much as I can from scratch either following a recipe that I’ve found online or that I’ve learned from parents/friends. I prefer to create a meal from the “ground up” and build upon elements in each dish. I will try and offer a main protein dish, a veggie, and some sort of carb with each dinner that I provide. I will try to switch up what meats we use throughout the week as well just to add some variety. Often times I go for Italian dishes as we love those dishes as a family and they are easy to “whip up”.

Whenever I feel like we are in a “rut” I’ll grab my phone (for Pinterest of MyRecipe) or my cookbook. I got this great 1950’s era cookbook that covers anything you’d ever dream of cooking from baking a loaf of bread to burgers to appetizers. It’s one of the favorite things I’ve ever been gifted and something I reach for quite frequently. I also enjoy a couple other cookbooks that we have and look forward to continuing to collect more as the years go on.

Honestly, I encourage everyone to at least spend a little time in the kitchen. I don’t know if I really was able to capture in words the way I feel in a kitchen, preparing our meals, but it is not only a good feeling, but a sense of accomplishment at the end.

Are you a kitchen/food preparer/cook/baker person? Do you understand that feeling?

The Busy Gal’s Guide to Meal Prep : Guest Post Featuring Kelsey from AdventuringKelsey!

Entrepreneurs, diligent moms, and workforce women alike all have one thing in common. We want to be efficient with the time we have. We want to spend the least amount of time on chores, errands, and those annoying work tasks that always end up following us home, and the most amount of time with friends, family, and a glass of red wine (give or take on your preferences).

I am a teacher, and from the day I began my career I knew that meal prepping was what I needed in my life to ensure that extra time to spend on the things that I enjoy. Being a person who purses a healthy lifestyle, meal prepping has become very beneficial to my way of living. I can hear you now, “You’re telling me to take 3-4 hours out of my sweet weekend to plan and cook food?” Heck yeah I am. I totally get it. I know the feeling of the weekend being too short. But don’t you feel like week nights are even shorter?! Why not have an extra hour of time each night to spend playing with your kids, cuddling your fur baby, or catching up on your Netflix shows while still having a delicious dinner prepped and ready to go? I know that hour provides me with endless possibilities and it feels FABULOUS.

Let me provide you with a few tips to get you started on this journey. Trust me. You won’t regret a minute of it.

  1. Planning

It all starts with a plan. There are two different directions you can go with this. If you are a person who is trying to lose weight or watch what you eat, I suggest doing your planning on the app, MyFitnessPal. This is what I personally use because I can plan out each meal, log it in, and see how much I am consuming in a day. It helps to make sure I’m not eating too much, but that I’m also not eating too little. If watching what you eat does not matter to you, I’d suggest either writing your plan down on a notepad, or downloading a meal planner printable. There are so many free ones out there! After you have everything planned out, make your grocery list. I even go to the lengths of making sure I write down how much of each item I need. That way it won’t be necessary to make extra trips to the store throughout the week.

  1. The Cooking Process

Start by thinking through what you are prepping. What’s going to take the longest amount of time? Can you multitask by baking your chicken while you chop up the veggies? This one takes some working through, practice, and simply just experience. I won’t lie to you, when I first started prepping it would take me anywhere from 4-5 hours. I’ve gotten it down to a science now where food is cooked up, packed up, and the kitchen is cleaned up within 2 hours. But that’s because I figured out what works for me and the meals I typically prepare (I’m not one to expand my horizons with meals often). If something can bake while I work on preparing another item, that’s the first thing I pop in the oven. If prepping my lunch is going to be quicker than my breakfast, I start with the lunch. Think your meals through, and just know it’s going to take some time to get used to.

  1. 0553CED0-1C9C-4401-B5D1-76D6F7C9F213.JPGPrep it ALL!

It may sound tedious. But seriously, prep it all. The granola you’re going to put on your yogurt? Portion it out and put it in a baggie or small Tupperware. The spinach, banana, and berries you’re putting in your smoothie? Put them in a Ziploc and toss that in the freezer. You won’t regret it when your workout ran longer than expected in the morning and you don’t have time to measure out and toss every ingredient in the blender. You especially won’t regret it when you’re packing your lunch for the next day and can barely see straight from exhaustion. It’s SO convenient to just be able to grab things and go! It’s really nice when you know it’s healthy and that YOU prepared it. It’ll make you feel a lot better than that Egg McMuffin you picked up at the drive thru because you were out of time. Trust me on this one.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetI get it. I know it sounds like a lot. And I’m not going to lie to you, at first it will be. But once you get in a routine you will never regret spending a couple hours of your weekend preparing your meals for the week. Heck you don’t even have to prep all of them at first, or ever. If you enjoy cooking dinner for your family each night, don’t give that up. Just prep your lunch instead so you have something you can grab quick before heading off to work. Or maybe mornings are just really hard for you and you don’t want to have to think about your breakfast in the morning. Spend 30 minutes on Sunday getting those breakfasts ready, and grabbing them will be like second nature.

Happy Prepping!

Kelsey

The Gal behind Adventuring Kelsey

www.adventuringkelsey.com

@adventuringkelsey

Loves collaborating with other exciting women!

 

A Fresh Outlook pt 1: Healthy Eating

*Small disclaimer- I did use to have a very unhealthy relationship with food and eating. I am still recovering and dealing with that every day. You can read about that HERE. I feel comfortable talking about this as I am in a relatively good place (with only a few rough days) and this mind shift has really helped me. 

When my husband was a Drill Sergeant and had a crazy schedule, meals became whatever was quick, easy, and there wasn’t much thought put into them. We were often eating dinner late at night due to his hours (we always eat dinner together and I wasn’t changing that) and I was a big snacker throughout the day. It wasn’t until we moved that I was able to implement a real change in our eating. 

When we moved almost 2 1/2 years ago I decided that we were cutting out the processed crap. I was going to cut all of those box dinners and get back to cooking meals. My husbands schedule tamed down a lot, didn’t have so many crazy or odd hours, and we were able to start meal planning a little better. Changing dinner meals was the easiest with of our lives and we’ve never looked back to those pre boxed quick meals. I actually can’t believe we ate as many as they did as most aren’t super good in taste.

The process of cutting out the junk food was a much harder road to travel. I am a huge snacker and for me, the only way to cut junk food was to cut out most of the snacking. I started by eating a proper breakfast in the morning and then really trying to focus on eating when I was hungry, rather than when I was bored. I also started to try and look at what I was actually eating, rather than just reach for whatever. 

At this point, I’ve cut soda to one a week, plain water and hot tea during the day to drink, popcorn (my guilty pleasure) once a week, and no other chips or really candy. I eat 3 meals everyday, and then if I still feel like I need a little more I’ll reach either for a bar or some fruit. 

To say that I have felt a shift is putting it very mildly. I’m not being “cooky” when I say it was like coming out of a fog. It is absolutely insane to realize how much just eating chips, or having some candy, or even a single soda can really do to you. Not only does my body just feel so much better and healthier, but mentally it is a whole separate ballgame. I find that I am much more even keeled and I don’t constantly just feel yucky. 

I would say the moment that everything clicked was when I was a few weeks clear of chips and candy. I really just felt light and clear in my mindset. I felt like I was just in a better state across the board with my body, my mind, and my emotions. I was able to just do much more because I didn’t have the extra “junk” of junk food in my body. 

That was when it clicked in my head. What fuels our body? In a very literal sense what fuels our bodies is what we actually put in. A lot of how we feel physical and even emotionally can be related to what we are consuming. Our bodies need nourishment in a most basic sense and what you put in is what you will get out. 

This is not only something that I learned not only throughout recovery, but in just experiencing different things in life. What I eat is more than just what I eat. It relates not only to my body, but to my energy, my mood and just my overall health. 

When you look at the idea of food being your fuel and you look at the big picture of what you are putting into your system, you start to get a crystal clear perspective.

Just a few years ago I was eating junk food all the time. I had chips and cookies everyday and a soda almost as frequently. We were having pre made box dinners at dinnertime (mostly out of ease and quickness of preparation than anything else) and while it didn’t seem so bad at the time, looking back I see just how bad I felt.

Hindsight is 20/20-although at the time, I very much knew that I wasn’t the healthiest with my eating habits. At this point we are eating almost all home cooked meals (there are a couple of exceptions here and there) and it has made such a difference. In fact, I would say eating healthier has made more of a difference than the workouts I’ve done. The workouts are great and needed, but where it all begins is with what you are consuming. It’s not a hard change, it just requires a little more thought at the outset. Once you feel the difference, you won’t go back to any previous eating habits. 

My Evening Routine

Good afternoon everyone and Happy Monday! I hope that this week is getting off to a great start for you! It’s been fantastic here in our home as my nearest and dearest friend is in town visiting for a couple of days. It’s already been a whirlwind of a couple days and I can’t wait to see how the next couple days go!

Today I’m excited to share a little glimpse into my evening routine. You can find my morning routine HERE and while I get a lot done in the mornings and have some “me” time, I feel like my evenings are where the real relaxation is. It’s a great time for us to spend together as a family and when we get to just enjoy the coziness that is our home.

I work from home and then once I’m done with work, I typically do my daily chores around the house. I consider my day “over” around 4:00-4:30pm. At this time our little man is typically waking up from his nap, so I’ll get him out of the crib and we will enjoy a little bit of time together in the living room. I’ll grab his leftover milk out of the fridge and we just relax for about 30-45 minutes with a little TV or playing on the floor.

Around 5:15-5:30pm I start on dinner. I make home made dinners every night, except for a Friday or Saturday night, when we either do something easy or order in for our date night. Because I am making dinner almost completely (and completely in some cases) from scratch it can take upwards of an hour to cook. I enjoy cooking and typically during this time, my husband will arrive home from work. I try to clean as I go, rinsing out dishes and doing what needs to be done.

Dinner time is typically around 6:30pm in our home and we like to sit around the table and just chat about our days. This is our time to catch up with each other and just chat. After dinner, I’ll get the kitchen and dining room cleaned up and my husband will either play with our little man in the living room or head down and do homework. One way or the other we will all end up on the floor in the living room playing until it is little man’s bed time.

We start getting little man ready for bed at around 8:30pm and my husband actually handles bed time for the most part. While he is getting little man ready for bed, I am taking my make up off and washing my face. I occasionally change into my pajamas at this time, but more than likely not. Once little man is in bed, we either catch up on some television or read in our living room until we are ready to go to bed. This is the time that we get to just relax and spend a little one on one time with each other, without little man.

So that is what our evening looks like! What is your evening routine like?

My Weekday Morning Routine

Good afternoon everyone! I thought I would share something that is somewhat important to me, as small as it may seem, and that is my morning routine on weekdays. The morning time is what I refer to as “my” time. It is the time when the house is the quietest and the most calm. It is very important to me as a wife, mom, employee, and business owner to get a good start for my day. I find that this is also a good time for me to just have some time to myself, to do what I need to do and just enjoy the morning.

I typically will wake up about an hour and a half to two hours before my son, so around 6:30-7:00am and one thing that I make a point of is to not get on my phone. I find that if I pull out my phone and start playing around I won’t get up and get things done and then next thing, little human is awake and I haven’t gotten anything I needed to get done. I don’t typically get on my phone until about 7:45-8:00am and it helps so much with my getting gout of bed and getting things done.

With that being said, the first 30-45 minutes are devoted to doing bathroom things; Taking a shower, brushing my teeth, makeup, hair, etc. I do this right as I get out of bed and it usually only takes me 30-45 minutes total for everything. Once done, I make our bed up, get dressed and head out of our bedroom.

Once I am done, I like to “open up the house”. I go through the living room, front nook, and kitchen and open up all of the window blinds. We are so blessed in our house with an abundance of natural light along with some great views, so I like to take advantage of this every morning and I feel like this also helps put me in the “right” mood for the day. I also run out to the drive and grab the newspaper that has been delivered.

img_9662I then head to the kitchen for breakfast and tea. I set the kettle on to boil and start to pull some food out of the fridge for breakfast. My breakfast differs from week to week although I try to always have some fruit and protein. Right now I’ve been loving gently scrambled eggs and a piece of pear for breakfast. While eating breakfast I typically read the paper or a book or if I need to I’ll get some writing done.

Typically, sweet little human is up around 8:30 am and then the rest of our day begins. So, that is my morning routine! Do you have anything specific that you do every morning or that helps you get your day started off well?

Healthier Living

Hello my lovely readers! I wanted to take a minute and chat with you about a transition that we had at our home earlier this year. It took a little time, a lot of dedication, and something that has really changed our household. I wanted to share a little bit of the journey that we went through and how everything came about.

I’ve always loved cooking (and baking). I always loved creating meals from scratch and experimenting with foods. When my husband and I first started dating, we somewhat shared the cooking duties, but my husband kind of did it a little bit more than I did due to our schedules. At the very very beginning, we had kind opposite schedules, so he would cook and then I would eat when I got home. Then once our schedules balanced out and matched we split the kitchen duties. We cooked from scratch some, and used frozen dinners or box dinners for quite a bit as well.

Then we moved to South Carolina and my husband became a Drill Seargent. Honestly, nothing could have prepared us for what that was going to be like. The long hours and the constant “tiredness” for my husband changed a lot. We started to rely on the box or frozen meals as they were quick to prepare, kept relatively well on the cooktop, and they allowed for quick eating late at night. Honestly, I kind of despised what I was making for dinner and felt very stuck in a rut of unhealthy but quick meals. This was a little over two years and that habit (even though I didn’t like it) became very easy to fall into. I made a promise to myself that once we moved and left that lifestyle I would make more of an effort to make full meals from scratch, no more boxes.

Fast forward to a few months after our little human was born, I finally felt like I was in a place where I could make good on that promise I made myself. Typically in our household it takes about 2-3 weeks to make a habit “stick” and one weekend I just decided that we were not having anymore box dinners. That’s exactly what happened. I looked up a couple of recipes to try out and made a meal plan that had Rigatoni, Casseroles, etc that I knew would be a good entry into this new lifestyle of dinners.

Honestly the only thing I kept thinking to myself was “Stick to it. 2 weeks, just get through 2 weeks”. I knew deep down that at the end of those 2 weeks I would be so hooked and it would feel like the new routine. And those first 2 weeks weren’t easy. They weren’t hard, per se, but they weren’t a breeze. Our little human was just starting to become more of a handful and it was difficult to set aside the time, but I made myself. I knew that it would be better for our family once I got into the routine and got away from the unhealthy things that we were eating.

I got through those 2 weeks and sure enough, the habit stuck and I started loving being back in the kitchen. I started venturing into new recipes and started making more complex recipes again. Along with this change, I tried to implement a couple of other changes, I cut most of my soft drink intake (only one a week, except on vacation) and started trying to eat better lunch and breakfast meals. I am also trying to start adding more salads and vegetables into our dinners.

Here is the biggest part of our transformation. Although this wasn’t a sudden change, when I decided to do it was and so therefore, we still had one Hamburger Helper meal left in our cabinet. My husband didn’t want to simply waste the box and I wanted to test and see how much we had really left the box dinners behind. About 2 months after making the homemade meals every night, we made the Hamburger Helper. It just so happened that it was one of my husbands favorite ones. After finishing, he found that he didn’t want a second helping (unheard of) and that he didn’t really like the meal! I knew at that moment that we weren’t going back and that we were back on track.

We’ve been eating homemade meals for ~4 months now and are happier and much healthier with the rest of our choices in food as well! My biggest takeaway was to just stick with the change, even if I had a night that I didn’t really want to cook I knew that I had to and that it would be worthwhile. It was and still is! Now, I’m off to eat my Chicken, Rice and Salad dinner. Until next time…

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