Friday, February 25, 2011

This Moment

I'm following along with SouleMama - in her words:

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spree for me

It is an addictive kind of rush. It's hard to believe I had forgotten what it felt like, and harder still to believe it had been so long since I last did it. Today, I shopped. For me. For clothes. For fun. And I want to do it again. Very. Very. Soon.

Since I was young, I have been a shopper. I love dressing rooms, trying on clothes that fit your life and those that are way out of your league in whatever way. I love the feel of different fabrics. I love knowing something is going to look great on, and being right. I love when the salesperson sees how much you have bought or what you are carrying and scurries to find you a dressing room and then checks in to be sure you have what you need. I love the calm quiet atmosphere of a nice department store, and the miles of beautiful things you could just have. I love the pile of possibilities, and culling it down to what you are really going to take home.

I didn't plan on a spree today. I went into the mall for a pair of jeans. I knew what kind, what size, and didn't even need to try them on. So in and out of one store in a flash, but my eye had already begun wandering. I had Pumpkin with me, so I know I would have been on an all day bender had I not had to feed and change the poor boy, but I did some serious shopping nonetheless. Several stores, fitting rooms, sales exchanges later, I was the proud owner of some new tops, new underthings, jeans, and tinted lip gloss (oh!) which may not sound too crazy, but when you have been wearing nursing bras and tank tops with the same 4 shirts and the same 3 pairs of jeans pretty much every single day without fail, this is a big deal. It's a bit deal too because it felt so good to try on clothes and have them fit and look good! That's a new experience since everything in my closet is either too big or too small, or I wear it everyday and it is becoming threadbare.

Now I just need a new pair of boots, a dress, a new skirt, and some tank tops. Oh and a new handbag. And maybe some fun jewelry. Some cute spring shoes would be good too...ahhh, that's a nice feeling.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Staples - Part 2

Another snacking portable food (see coconut muffins as the first staple) we eat a lot of are egg muffins. These are like little mini quiches without crust. They are a great place to toss in a lot of veggies, they're really tasty, and if you call them "omelet bites" like my friend A does, you can serve them at a bridal shower or other fancy event.

This recipe is one I discovered on and also have in The Primal Blueprint Cookbook. The online recipe is here, but I do mine a little differently as I thought mayonnaise in the batter sounded way too gross. I probably make these once every two weeks or so. I often make a double batch and freeze some, but these go pretty fast since they are a great portable breakfast for honey.

So here's the recipe:
6 eggs
meat of some kind - about 1/4 lb
veggies of some kind - about 1 cup
2 big spoonfuls of chunky fresh salsa (I like Trader Joe's or Tommy V's)
coconut oil for greasing the muffin pan

If the meat is not cooked, then cook it up. You can use leftover hamburger, bacon, pancetta (my current favorite) or anything else.
Once the meat is cooked, if you are using any greens for your veggies, toss them in with the meat in the pan to wilt them.
Other veggies are fine to go in the egg batter raw, but greens have so much moisture that it is better to cook them a little first.
Whisk together your eggs, add the meat and veggies, and pour the batter into greased muffin cups.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes depending on the muffin size. I like using mini muffins most of the time, but find that for a breakfast muffin, regular muffin pans are better. This recipe makes 24 mini muffins.

Let them cool and store them in the fridge. I use a sauce with everything else!

Just my imagination...

As Peanut has gotten older, her dives into dramatic play have become more complicated of course, but lately it seems like a whole new level has been opened up. Pumpkin follows along with whatever game she invents, and now I have two big kids who create their own dramas and can play on their own for decent stretches of time... so you will probably hear more from me since I've suddenly got some free time.

I've been feeling under the weather and this morning the kids were playing downstairs while I sat on the couch. The got a whole bunch of the dolls hooked up in the double stroller and started planning and expedition. They both loaded the stroller with provisions, Peanut talking the whole time about how they would be "super, super hungry" when they got to their destination.

Later in the day, we were playing outdoors (in February without jackets!) and Peanut set up a kitchen in the top part of the playground. She pretended to be "a lady named Elizabeth" and cooked Pumpkin and I turkey, fish and sauce for dinner. The two of them dragged a little table and chairs over to the "house" and set it all up for the meal. I was invited and served - how lovely!

It is so fun to hear her set the scene for me and tell me what part I should play. I just love the leaps of three...

Staples - Part 1

There are several staples that I make regularly for snacking and meals in our home. I've continued to make the things that are hits for most or all of us, as long as they are pretty easy and healthy. Since I know there are many on a food journey, I thought I'd share a bit about our food prep with you. We strive to eat a grain free diet and we do limit dairy to some extent, and mainly eat only fermented dairy like yogurt and kefir. We avoid processed soy, artificial dyes and flavors, and generally ingredients that are hard to pronounce. We are not perfect and since we are not allergic to any foods (although Honey's consistent reactions to breads are debatable and we all have intolerances, so each of us has to decide if it is "worth it") we have the luxury of letting go a bit.

I make Coconut Muffins almost every week. My recipe comes from Many Paths, One Journey to Health, an HMN Cookbook. The recipe is one adapted from Bruce Fife's Cooking With Coconut Flour by fellow HMNer Jessica at CrunchyChewyMama. I like coconut, and I like this recipe because it is pretty versatile; I've added carrots, almond extract, raspberry extract, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips and I bet you could do any fruit or vegetable and it would be good. Depending on the additions, this can be breakfast, snacks, part of lunch.... anything you want. It's gluten and dairy free, and you can completely eliminate the sugar as well if you want. I found that the carrots added a lot of sweetness and I could cut the sugar and add a little cinnamon and they were great.

Here's the basic recipe:

3 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
3 eggs (warmed in water so they don't re-solidify the coconut oil)
2-3 Tablespoons sugar, rapadura, Sucanat, maple sugar or date sugar
2 Tablespoons of full fat coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup coconut flour - sifted
1/4 teaspoon baking powder sifted into the flour

Blend the wet ingredients together, then add the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth. Add in whatever fruits, veggies or other flavoring you'd like. Spoon the batter into well greased muffin cups. I like using coconut oil in the cups whether they are metal or stone. The batter will stick to paper cups, so leave those out unless you like the taste of paper. Bake them at 400 degrees for 8-15 minutes.

I usually double this recipe and make mini muffins. A double batch makes 24 very full mini muffins. You may want to stretch the batter to 48 level mini muffins if you add a fair bit of veggies or fruit. My kids really like these and coconut flour is a great protein source, as is the egg, so I feel good about them having seconds and thirds.

These muffins get stored in glass jars (we reuse the ones from spaghetti sauce or use canning jars) in the fridge or freezer. I'd put them in the freezer for sure if they are not eaten within 3 days or so.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

This Moment - A Friday Ritual

I'm following along with SouleMama - in her words:
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Garden of my dreams!

It is that time of year - the time to plant seeds indoors and get all fired up about the tremendous farm I will plant outside in a few short weeks/months. I got myself a serious set up this year with a grow light and heating mat, and I have already had one inquiry from the neighbors :) about the odd glow. Last year, I had seedlings all over the place, but I didn't have any excellent light or warm spaces to keep them healthy, so they got kind of leggy and droopy. Peanut helped me plant our seeds over the weekend, and we already have sprouts only a few days later. Our brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbages, lettuces, tomatoes, basil, thyme are all coming up fast! Of course that means I need to get on it and build at least one raised bed for the early veggies to go outdoors in a few weeks. I've got work to do!

Feed the machine

So I've discovered why so many moms have a hard time with their weight and health. You know I have been exercising, and working out pretty hard. While I have gotten much stronger, I wasn't really seeing any significant changes in how I looked. So I had to go ahead and look at my diet again. After Pumpkin was born we had cut out so many things from our diets (he was having some colic and reflux caused by what I was eating) that we essentially removed all processed foods as well as anything considered "junk" even if it was homemade. We were eating clean. Well, that has gone a bit by the wayside, and while we certainly don't eat much processed foods, I do find myself snacking a fair bit and eating whatever the kids don't finish.

The first thing I did in addressing the eating part of my health was to look at when I am hungry. I decided I'd rate my hunger throughout the day on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being super hungry and 1 being not at all hungry. Turns out that I am not ever hungry, and this is the issue. I used to be really good about listening to my body for most everything - I was the one who said no one ever needed to go on a "diet" because if you just fed your body what it wanted you would be fine. Well, yeah, that's true if you listen and respect it's wishes! One of the first things to go though as a mom is your own needs and schedules. I have learned to eat when food is available because if I wait until I am hungry I am likely going to be in the midst of something that I just can't remove myself from. Certainly when the babies are small and you are stuck sitting in a chair nursing (before you learn to nurse walking around while talking on the phone) you hold your pee, listen to your tummy rumble, and desperately sniffle hoping you don't drip snot on the baby since you can't reach the tissues.

So step one. Eat when you are mild to moderately hungry as opposed to eat when food is in view. I can do that, I just have to pay a little more attention.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Photo Montage

I have been super tired and stressed lately so I have a ton to say... but I will share some new photos instead tonight :) Enjoy!

It's pretty tough to create with glitter glue and feathers - oh the pressure!


Ready for the snow!

He loves to snuggle the babies.

After about 6 green smoothies...

They both love to take care of their babies or "girls" as Peanut is sure to correct me.

Fresh Florida oranges - we go through several each day. Thanks Grandma!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Yeah - it's my choice, but boy it can be a pain

One morning last week as I was squeezing fresh orange juice, making eggs and gluten free waffles, and realizing I'd be hustling to get the kids in the car and off to wherever it was we were going on time, I thought "why can't I just be normal?". Really, sometimes I just want to throw in the towel. Go for it - eat Cap'n Crunch and skim milk for breakfast. Have a frozen veggie puff (what is in that?), store bought fried chicken, a Lunchable, orange drink, white bread grilled cheese, granola bars all day, candy, ice cream, milkshakes, and yeah - let's just stop at McDonalds.

This crap is way tiring. We go out most mornings, and I pack snacks and lunch for the kids and myself. I feel like a freaking pack mule with all of these lunch boxes and glass containers with fresh healthy homemade food inside. Lately the kids are eating us out of house and home, so nothing lasts long, which means I carry more stuff. If they don't get and/or eat any protein with breakfast, the requests for snacks or lunch come fast and furious within the hour. Yeah sure, we can eat at a restaurant, but we are usually at people's houses and besides that - I don't have the funds for dining out every day. And yeah, I could wrap everything in tin foil or plastic wrap, but then I'd be tossing so much trash everyday...

Is it worth it? I have to believe it is. But sometimes I secretly wish it made no difference at all.