Alright so I really love food. This is not to mean ALL food but rather GOOD food. I believe that food is ment to be a full body, full sensory experience. When I walk through my local market, store, farm stall, food group buying list options or through my own garden, I look at food with more than the abstract thought of will that feed my crew and give me little headache? (With all the mouths in my home it is a very real possibility that at least one person will grumble that they do not like something) There are times when we all want fast and easy but even then food should be amazing. I am not one that believes it will be every time, but I strive for sensory zen as often as I can. This goes back to living life with joy and to the fullest for me. How can a person live with joy if their food is “just okay” or with the attitude of “I filled me up and I did not gain weight” I just do not relate. I want the smells of make everyone dance and squirm with anticipation of what may be being put before them. This happens more often than not here with an average of 4 meals a day where at least 8 or the 9 children coming to the kitchen door asking if the smells they are getting upstairs are… (they love to guess) and the funny thing is I know they could just look at the menu outline on the fridge but they don’t because they love the game as much as I do. I make an outline of the basic protein source based on what I can get from which farmer at what cost as I am on a tight budget like most people. I then start a list of what produce should be in season and available from my garden, a local farm, or my buy club. From the list I pick with I THINK I will get but it can change and if so I change it on the menu (even if it is when I am making the meal) because I like to track things like this. I find it helps me know what I made and how many of the crew enjoyed it or how it mixed visually with the rest. The list is important here because we normally have three items of produce at 2 meals, and at least 1 produce item at the other meal and 2 snacks. For us we always have a cold vegetable option like salads or vegetable platters or simple a bowl of something. We also normally have a hot vegetable and then we always have a fruit for dessert in some form. I love the colors, textures, and flavors that blend and accent everything else. Produce just screams “take a bite of me!!!” and we oblige every chance we get. We have grains a lot and as much as I love them I have to be very careful. I have celiac and I am a diabetic. This translates out to no gluten for me ever and I have to limit the carbs per meal or my sugars spike and although I have had to add insulin to my life I in addition to my oral meds, diet control, and excercise, I want to keep the levels of insulin usage down for as long as I can. It is better for me in the long run. I love produce more than grains though so I burn my carb counts pretty fast. How could I not though I mean take a look at the salad we had tonight: This is color and texture galore! Yes, this is a restaurant size bowl and it was all gone in one meal along with 5 pounds of steamed carrots, 24 kiwi fruit, more pork chops than I would care to mention (grilled with a Polish flair), and the most amazing steamed jasmine rice that was cooked with a vegetable stock! The feel to the produce while prepping the meal was a joy. The smells of the hot foods cooking had the house aflutter with guesses and giggles of anticipation. When we sat down as a family we talked, laughed, and savored together. That is pretty amazing and worth a whole lot of joy at the end of a long hard day. We had a small crew today of 13 people at our supper table and when we were all done we all had smiles on our faces and even while everyone did their chores there was chatter about the joy of life.