Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Making Christmas Sugar Cookies

I had been avoiding any holiday baking of those delectable and tempting treats that fall under the "once a year/only at Christmas" category since I seem to have a mental block that justifies-or at least overrules any opposition to- eating massive quantities of such delicacies since they only come around Once A Year. I thought I would do best to just avoid them altogether. But then I decided that Eileigh and I should make a batch of sugar cookies together since A. She loves being in the kitchen and 2. We could give them away along with our Christmas cards to the three neighbors that we have relationships with. Therefore I would be able to bypass any extended consumption of cookies remaining in the house. I further decided to make a double batch since I wasn't entirely sure one batch would be enough. We mixed up the dough one night before bed and then cut, baked and frosted the next day. Eileigh was the sprinkle master- only she called them "sparkles" which sounds like farkles. So we had sugar cookies with lots of farkles. Oh, and my story ends with the sinking realization that I had run out of paper plates and being as Mike was on shift and I never quite got around to getting all three of us presentable enough to go out in public I didn't make it to the store and ended up consuming fairly massive quantities of sugar cookies. But it's only once a year, right? :)


She took a bite off of a candy cane-shaped cookie and exclaimed, "It's a seahorse, Mama!!!"

Seahorse sugar cookie

Selah spent her time scooching around on the floor on her back and sipping water. Couldn't have been happier.

Those are cousin Boone's jammies, which Eileigh loves. (The jammies and the cousin).

Farkle master.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Eat Your Garnishes

Right now I'm attempting to be dairy free. To see if it will make a difference with Selah's eczema on her arms (it's bad). In case you were unsure, Christmas/the Holidays really IS a difficult time to be strictly off dairy... especially if you're new to a food restriction... and especially if prior to said restriction it was a fairly large contributor to your daily diet... and especially if you just plain like it a whole lot. So I would be in mourning for the loss of dairy except that I haven't been so great about actually being strictly off it. Whoops. Must try better tomorrow. Anyhoo, our doc is of the opinion that the dairy industry has done a really great marketing job of convincing us that we need dairy products for our calcium intake when in fact we can just get it (in more readily absorbable form) from dark leafy greens. (slight shudder: the dark leafys). I'd prefer to try to get what I can out of the dairy and avoid the dark leafys altogether but such is not to be the case right now. SO: Kale. That's the really curly stuff restaurants throw on your plate as a garnish. People also grow it as an ornamental plant in flower beds. Apparently it's really good for you; apparently you're supposed to eat it.... apparently I should have been eating it waaaay before this point in my life. But all is not lost- I discovered a fabulous, beyond easy recipe and I am loving it!!! Hooray! My bones may not be riddled with osteoporosis by my next birthday after all. Mike's bones will be good as well since he actually goes back for seconds... on kale. I can hardly believe it. Now I just need to try kale chips... if anyone has a great recipe, please send it my way!!! :) *Buy organic if you can; dark leafys grown in nitrogen fertilized soils tend to concentrate nitrites (i.e., not good for you).

Italian Kale

1 large bunch kale, washed, stems removed and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tblsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tblsp. balsamic vinegar
sea salt and pepper to taste

Cook kale in large covered saucepan (put about 1/8-1/4 c. water in bottom of pan) over medium-high heat until leaves wilt and volume is reduced by half. Uncover and stir in garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Cook while stirring 2 more minutes (make sure you cook about 2 minutes otherwise if too little time it will be a lot more vinegar-y tasting). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pirates, Parlay... Parsnip?

I was supposed to receive 5 lbs. of parsnips but they must have multiplied in transit because the final amount has left me overwhelmed in the parsnip department and scrambling for tasty parsnip-incorporating recipes. Parsnips are interesting little root vegetables. They were ousted by the carrot at some point but medieval doctors used to prescribe parsnip for toothache, stomachache, impotence and dysentery. They contain cartenoids and vitamin C, calcium and potassium and are rich in fiber. My source of this modest info being of course Nourishing Traditions, pg. 393. So we've had them diced and fried in butter, in various casseroles, pot pies and stews and our favorite way: made into Parsnip Patties and drizzled with honey. Their appearance kind of reminds me of hash brown patties/potato pancakes only I don't think you'd want to put ketchup on these. Honey is much better. We've done breakfast for dinner and had fried eggs and Parsnip Patties a few times and I'm sure we'll do it again before the Mother Lode of parsnips runs out!!! :)

Parsnip Patties

3 c. shredded peeled parsnips
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. honey

Combine all ingredients except honey into batter. Drop by 1/2 cupfuls onto lightly greased hot griddle. Fry over medium heat 4-5 minutes per side until veggies tender. Serve with honey.

Bacon-Leek Tart

Absolutely devourable. And I was actually able to share the love with a few family members that blessed us with a surprise visit... so I was very thankful that this turned out to be a treat for the tastebuds. I. Love. Leeks. And off the top of my head I can't really think of anything better to go with them than bacon, cream, eggs, flaky butter crust.... you get the picture.

Bacon-Leek Tart

2 c. flour (I used unbleached)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/2 c. cold butter
9-11 Tblsp. cold water

In bowl combine flour, salt and sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Gradually add cold water, tossing with a fork until a ball forms. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

1 lb. thick sliced bacon, diced
3-1/2 lbs. leeks (white portion only), sliced
2 Tblsp. flour
4 eggs
1 c. half-and-half cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

In large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels, reserving 2 Tblsp. drippings. Saute leeks in drippings until tender; stir in bacon. Stir in flour until blended; set aside.

On floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch. thickness. Transfer to ungreased 10-inch springform pan. Spoon bacon-leek mixture into crust. Trim pastry to 1/4 inch above filling, press pastry against sides of pan (or don't trim crust and just fold over on itself if your husband is a fervent crust-enthusiast). Bake 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl beat eggs, cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour over leek mixture in pan. Bake 20-25 minutes longer until clean knife inserted to center. Serve warm. Yields: 8-12 servings

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Nog, Nog, Noggin' on Heaven's Door....

That is to be sung to the tune of Guns N' Roses because um, yeah... I think this Nog is pert near close to Heaven. Actually, I theologically completely disagree with my own statement but practically speaking, I'm just trying to tell you that this is unbelievably good Eggnog. I forced a few willing participants to imbibe in said Eggnog (one was my mother-in-law who formerly did not care for the libation) and they all came back for more! Success. *I should note for conscience' sake that I did not force the spirited version on anyone. Far be it from me to provide something not everyone can enjoy. Enter: the double batch, divided into near-equal spirited and non-spirited portions. At least, the portions started out nearly equal in size... until someone decided to turn the remaining virginal nog into its slightly more robust counterpart. This was my 3rd year to make Holiday Eggnog- I think I have successfully started a new tradition!!

Holiday Eggnog

6 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups milk, divided (I used whole milk- go big or go home, right?)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I used some of my homemade rum-vanilla extract... mmm)
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Additional whipped cream and ground nutmeg, optional

In a large heavy saucepan, whisk together the eggs, sugar and salt. Gradually add 2 cups milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until a thermometer reads 160°, about 25 minutes. (It usually takes me 35-40 minutes since I go so slow to prevent scrambled eggs! Grab a good book to read while stirring.)

Pour into a large bowl; stir in the vanilla, nutmeg and remaining milk. Place the bowl in an ice-water bath; stir frequently until mixture is cool. If mixture separates, process in a blender until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

When ready to serve, in a small bowl, beat cream on high speed until soft peaks form; whisk gently into cooled mixture. Pour into a chilled punch bowl. If desired, top with dollops of whipped cream and sprinkle with nutmeg. Yield: 6 servings (about 4 cups). *I doubled recipe and then spiked half of it.

Spiked Holiday Eggnog: Reduce milk to 3-1/4 cups. Heat 2 cups milk with eggs, sugar and salt. Add 1-1/4 cups milk with vanilla and nutmeg. After mixture has cooled in ice bath, stir in 3/4 cup rum, brandy or bourbon. Proceed as recipe directs. *I used Captain Morgan's spiced rum since it was on sale. :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Winter's First Snowfall (location: our house)

We were finally able to chalk up First Snow to the scoreboard for Winter 2010. Eileigh waited in eager anticipation for Mike to get home from shift so they could go out and play in it together. She enjoyed every second of it and probably would have played out there until the last of it melted away.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Toasty Pumpkin Waffles with Maple-Cranberry Butter

Recently I've been transforming the last of our garden's pumpkin bounty into pumpkin puree, some of it destined to be Selah's lunch (or dinner or breakfast) and the rest of it headed for the freezer for incorporation into future meals and goodies. This morning Mike left early to head into town to run a few errands while I battened down the hatches at home- our first snow of the season came to visit late last night and stayed throughout the day. I couldn't convince either girl to go back to sleep after a 6:00am wake up and so instead we had an early breakfast. I had put the flour in to soak the night before in preparation for the morning... I just didn't think morning would come quite so soon. Ah well. So this recipe was just a regular ol' recipe that I thought I might try my hand at tweaking for the better and I have to say, I think this first attempt at recipe redo was a success! The difference is in soaking the flour. My mom's response (over the phone this morning): "What? Soaking the flour?" Yep. See, whole wheat flour is good for you- but soaked flour is even better. Soaking the flour (or grains) breaks down the phytic acid (phytic acid: found primarily in grains, legumes, nuts and seeds and prevents absorption of nutrients). Therefore, soaking is a great way to make all of those good reasons for eating whole grains accessible to your body. The usual soaking medium includes using an acidic ingredient such as whey, yogurt, buttermilk or for those with dairy allergies: lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Generally 2 Tblsp. of the acidic medium per cup of grains, covered with equal parts warm filtered water and left to sit on the counter in a warm spot overnight. Clear as mud? For example: oatmeal, that classic morning mash. The night before put 1 c. oats to 1 c. warm filtered water and throw in 2 Tblsp. of whey, yogurt, buttermilk, lemon juice or ACV and let it sit on the counter (covered with towel). The next morning heat up another 1 c. water to boiling and throw in the oat mixture, cover and reduce heat- it'll be done in a couple minutes. Truly a highly nutritious breakfast of fast food. :) So now let me show you how I gave this tasty, toasty recipe a little makeover and then allow me to encourage you to give it a shot- it's really easy and actually makes for a quicker breakfast in the morning!

Toasty Pumpkin Waffles

1 c. whole wheat flour (I used fresh-ground hard white wheat)
1 to 1-1/4 c. plain yogurt or buttermilk

In a small bowl, mix flour and yogurt together and let sit covered with towel on counter at least 7 hours or overnight. *I realize this does not follow the 2 Tblsp. guideline I just mentioned above but the original recipe called for this amount of milk so I substituted the plain yogurt for soaking).

The next morning:

1 Tblsp. Rapadura (or you can use brown sugar)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
2/3 c. canned pumpkin
1-1/2 Tblsp. butter, melted
1/3 c. chopped pecans (I used almonds since I didn't have pecans on hand)

Maple Cranberry Butter
1/2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 c. maple syrup (go with quality, use the real thing here)
1/2- 1c. butter, softened

In large bowl combine the Rapadura, baking powder and salt. In separate bowl whisk egg, pumpkin and melted butter; stir in soaked flour mixture. Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients and stir until blended. Fold in pecans/almonds. Bake in preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions until golden brown.
Meanwhile, in small saucepan combine cranberries and maple syrup. Cook over medium heat until berries pop, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a small mixing bowl; cool slightly. Beat in butter until blended. (Unless, like me, you always forget to let the butter "soften" and in that case throw it in with the still warm cranberry syrup and let the mixture melt and meld together... its consistency will be one of perfect spreadability).
Serve waffles with maple cranberry butter and extra maple syrup if desired. Refrigerate or freeze leftover butter. Makes about 6 waffles and 1/2- 1 c. butter so I will definitely be doubling if not tripling the waffle part of this recipe in the future! Mmm.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Westward Ho!

Mike and I have been wanting to take the girls to the Coast Aquarium and finally we planned to make a day trip of it for our little family. After Selah's morning nap we loaded up and headed west. We hit the coast right about lunchtime and stopped for fish tacos, cod burger and that of which without no trip to the coast is complete: a cup o' clam chowder. Eileigh shared my cup and continues in her love of all things seafood. After lunch we completed the last leg of our journey (Selah dozed briefly) and arrived at the aquarium eager to get the girls' take on the whole experience. It went off swimmingly. :) Selah was content in the Ergo and spent her time happily pointing the occasional finger against the glass at random fish meandering by. Eileigh went excitedly from anacondas to Japanese spider crabs (they're HUGE!) to jellyfish before arriving at the "Please Touch" locale. I think she preferred touching the starfish over the sea anemones and spent awhile just playing in the water. After that we were off to the sea otters, seals and the piece de resistance: sharks. Or as Eileigh pronounces it, "SARKS!!!" (with a little shudder at the end). A little stop at the gift shop on our way out netted us a "lovey" for Selah- a soft little sea otter that she immediately giggled at and tried to chew on and a little "Nemo" fish to add to the bathtub toy collection for Eileigh. We hopped back in the truck for the drive home and stopped at what is surely to be the newly designated stopping point for us: Humble Pie Pizzeria. Tiny little place with only about four tables and what is the most incredible seafood pizza I have ever had. Smoked oysters, smoked salmon, shrimp, loads of cheese, sweet yellow peppers and pineapple... but I had you at smoked oysters, didn't I? :) We drove home, hearts and bellies full from a happy day spent with loved ones at the coast. Hoping for a repeat before too long! So fun.

Piranhas in the Swampland exhibit- yeeeeh.

Eileigh navigating the tunnel under the piranhas

This cracks me up! She was peeking up from the tunnel under the piranhas.

Gorgeous jellies

The petting zoo

By the seals and sea lions

Selah was watching the sharks

Eileigh hesitated before walking over the glass/water, then dipped a cautious toe "in"- then ran full speed ahead over it

Up close and personal

Selah was a little concerned about being eaten by the gigantic shark... just kidding. We loved it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just like Mommy...

This morning as Mike was changing Eileigh out of her diaper (we're down to just overnight diapers now, wahoo!!), Eileigh was quietly rubbing her legs. Suddenly she proudly exclaimed, "I have "scatchy" (scratchy) legs just like Mommy!!!" Ohhh, such a proud moment for this mommy...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fall Harvest

Having been gone (only) 8 days, Mike and the other elk hunters in his group decided to return home 4 days early, much to the surprise and great joy of the womenfolk minding the fires and the babes back home. Both Mike and my Dad punched their tags this year, Mike tagging a hefty cow and Dad bringing home a dandy 5-point bull. They had a great time, some snow, a dire lack of showers and personal hygiene (which is why it remains a men-only event) and decidedly aggressive facial hair growth (my husband in particular). This latter occurrence allows for what is possibly the most treasured tradition of all: that of shaving off the beard in bits and pieces for all manner of facial hair mosaic. Tonight it began for us, Mike hearkening back to the days of old (Senior year of high school), when he sported an oddly severe lamb-chop-type side burn, somewhat massive and yet quite angular. I have spent the evening vacillating between begging him to shave it off, throwing out shameless and largely ignored threats, and dissolving into giggles anytime I gaze straight at him. Eileigh stands by her man and tells me she steadfastly approves of the new facial hair design, "I like it, Mama!" Nothing I say can convince her otherwise- to my chagrin and Mike's elation. But beard (or half-beard or goatee or lambchops) or not, it is wonderful to have him home and to have a freezer full of meat!

Eileigh liked "petting" the elk although she did show some concern for the "owie" at the back of the head. Told her that is one owie that will not be needing a bandaid.

She said, "My shoot a BIG ELK when I get older!!!"

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cornmeal Waffles

This recipe captured my attention when I saw it sitting lazily on my mom's kitchen counter, half-hidden beneath a stack of magazines. I admittedly got a little excited upon perusal of said recipe and declared to Eileigh that we were having waffles for breakfast the next morning. The commitment might as well have been set in stone at that point. No turning back now! My go-to waffle recipe is light and tasty but it does require a little extra effort, what with the separating of the eggs and the scourging of the egg whites until they can't possibly get any stiffer. Happy to announce this is officially my new go-to since it is supremely easy, healthy and delicious (of course). It's different than your typical waffle in that it does have a somewhat grainy texture (which I love) but it's still light- not a heavy, intense lump of bread-brick like whole grains can sometimes be. Eileigh preferred hers with peanut butter and maple syrup while I swooned over the combo of homemade yogurt cheese (like cream cheese only made with yogurt) and blueberry syrup.

Cornmeal Waffles

3 c. buttermilk (I almost always just use 1 Tblsp. vinegar and fill up with milk to equal 1 c.)
2 eggs
6 Tblsp. butter, melted
2 c. yellow cornmeal
1 c. rye flour
1/4 c. evaporated cane juice crystals (I used Rapadura)
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. kosher or sea salt
1 tsp. baking soda

Whisk together buttermilk, eggs and butter. In another bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients. Gently blend wet and dry ingredients together and let dough sit 10 minutes before using. Batter will be thick. Will keep for a week in the refrigerator and can thin with milk or additional buttermilk if desired.

Yogurt Cheese (cream cheese)

Whole plain organic yogurt

Line strainer with cheese cloth or flour sack/dishtowel and set over large bowl. Place yogurt in lined strainer and allow to sit for several hours to let the whey drip out. Don't squeeze the cloth. Yogurt will have texture of cream cheese when finished. Save the whey and use to soak your grains! I use it most often to soak our oats overnight for a fast breakfast in the morning.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Skillet Bread BAT

Hold the lettuce, swap in avocado. Fry up a thick slab of homegrown bacon and generously slice a ripe tomato fresh off the garden vine. Sandwich between two slices of Skillet Bread. Enjoy the Hallelujah Chorus as it plays in your mind while your taste buds sing.

Skillet Bread

1 c. flour (if you have it, freshly ground hard white wheat flour is superb!)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt (sea salt is preferred)

Heat butter in skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile in small bowl blend flour, baking powder and salt. Add enough cold water (about 1/2 c. or so) to make a dough. Working quickly use fingers to shape into a circle and place in heated skillet, handling as little as possible. Cook until browned, flip and cook until done, about 4 minutes per side. Serves 2-3. *I usually double the recipe (at least).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Costume Party

For the last few years we've enjoyed a family night of costumes with minimal trick-or-treating for the kiddos- mainly to a few neighbors that we know. Candy and good food is had in abundance and there is always a bit of good-natured competition for the moniker of Best Costume. This year I think Emi took the lead although I also leaned rather strongly towards the sombrero slinger. Yes, he's all mine ladies.

Group shot: Sanchez, Little Bo Peep, rocker/artist chick, backpacker/hiker/granola girl, two little chickies (Foster Farms or just lookalikes, who can know?...), grannie and gramps, and salt and pepper

Selah in her original costume (before the meltdown). Eileigh said, "Selah is my little man!" Little man: in the same vein as Mary Had A Little Man.

Little Bo Peep loves her daddy... even if she is afraid of that mustache (like the rest of us).

The meltdown begins.

The boys were wondering what in the WORLD was going on with Selah (doesn't phase Eileigh)

I think Boone was telling Finn, "It's just girl drama, Finn. Something about her outfit."

The closest we could get to a happy picture of all four of them.

My beloved sisters and I. Life is so much better when shared!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010


That's what Mike has renamed this fantastic 5-minute hummus. For a recent "Mom's Night Out" my friend Kelsey brought this great tasting dip and graciously shared the recipe when we all swooned over it. We've eaten it for the last two days straight and I made another batch tonight since we were running a little low. :)

5-minute Hummus

1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tblsp. lemon juice
2 Tblsp. tahini (found next to the peanut butter at the store, it's like a sesame seed butter)
1 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp. paprika

Place all ingredients in food processor and puree until smooth and creamy. Add 1-2 Tblsp. water to achieve desired consistency. Transfer to bowl and drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with paprika before serving. Enjoy!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Curried Apple Soup

Speaking of Nourishing Traditions, tonight we tried out a new recipe under the Soups section. The verdict: Success. Even for my non-soup-adoring husband. (He partakes but is not thrilled to the core of his very being at the thought of a steamy warm bowl of liquidy goodness like some of us are). Since I have an overabundance of apples I am still trying to work through, (Overabundance: having so many boxes of apples on your front porch drivers-by stop to ring the doorbell and ask the price of the apples I'm selling... my response being a bright red face and embarrassing stammer that I just need to make applesauce and a subsequent phone call to my husband to move the apples to the back deck out of sight of the general public) I was in the mode to utilize those supplies in desperate need of utilization. Hence, Curried Apple Soup. Perfect for Fall, perfect for slightly denting an exhaustive apple supply and perfect for our (mostly) soup-enjoying family. I had made chicken stock the day prior in preparation for this soup. I reserved some of the cooked chicken and served it along side hearty portions of quinoa to round out the meal.

Curried Apple Soup

6 tart apples, peeled and quartered (or not-so-tart, depending on what you have on hand)
4 Tblsp. butter
2 medium onions, peeled and copped
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. each dry mustard, turmeric, ground cumin and ground coriander
1/4 tsp. each cloves, cinnamon and cayenne
1-1/2 quarts chicken stock
juice of 1 lemon
sea salt
creme fraiche or sour cream (I used plain yogurt)

Saute onions in butter until soft. Stir in spices. Combine onion mixture, apples and stock and simmer until apples are soft. Puree soup with a handheld blender (unless you do not own such a device and then try not to make a mess while you scoop it into a blender and puree in batches). Add lemon juice and season to taste. Ladle into heated bowls and serve with cultured cream. Serves 6.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Life changing? Perhaps.

So over at our household there have been a lot of changes- some gradual, some abrupt, definitely a lot still-in-process. And some changes are just plain ol' being resisted (who, MY husband? Nahhh.) I can recall this journey really getting into the swing of things about a month or so after Selah had been born. I pinpoint this time in particular because right when Selah was 2 months old I spent about 3 days in the hospital with her, in isolation since she had some sort of bronchiolitis, most likely RSV. During this time I did little other than care for her, catnap in the highly-uncomfortable-but-who-cares-at-this-point-I-just-need-sleep chair and read an 800+ page tome of frugality titled The Complete Tightwad Gazette. It's a collection of newsletters that had previously been published over several years and then finally all included in this one book. It has some great ideas, resources and food for thought. One part in it that changed my life? Washing Ziploc bags. Oh yeah. See, growing up I was under the impression that you only reuse such things if you can't afford to just throw them away. Then I kinda realized that is a ridiculously indulgent, wasteful attitude- not just for myself or regarding finances but also resources, the earth- all that green stuff. I know I'm called to be a good steward of what I have been given and not just a massive consumer. So I lathered up and started washing Ziploc bags. And washed. And washed. (I throw ones that have had meat in them out). And now it's kind of a game to see how long one bag will last. I loved how the author/editor wrote that even the richest millionaire/billionaire should wash his Ziplocs (or at least hire someone to do it) because to do otherwise would be wasteful. And I think we have enough of that in our world.

So having just finished that ode to frugality (which aside from Ziploc washing included ideas such as buying in bulk, cooking from scratch- you show me your coupon bargains and I will show you how to make it cheaper by scratch- and various others attitudes for frugal living), Mike and I spent an evening watching the documentary Food, Inc. As a result we were faced with the question: Where does our food really come from? We swore off fast food and felt healthier immediately. :)

As I was mulling over the question of the origin of our food I was pointed in the direction of the book to end all books (insert drum roll, please): Nourishing Traditions. To the enlightened ones this is no great surprise, this being the foundational go-to book for those on their quest towards true health. But to the masses still unaware of the revelations in this book I say: Check it out! You have nothing to lose! (Especially if you just borrow it from the library). :) If I could be so bold as to try to whittle it down to a nutshell of information, NT is basically a cookbook whose premise is that the Western diet as we know it (heavy on refined grains, high sugar/corn syrup, low-fat eating) is what is making us more and more unhealthy, diseased, fat and unhappy. Instead we should imitate the practices of traditional societies and soak our grains (to break down phytic acid that binds up all the healthy enzymes/nutrients in the grains), eat fat (butter, whole milk) and basically try to eat things the way God made them. Not processed. Not into a big cookbook? Pick up the easy read "In Defense of Food, An Eater's Manifesto" by Michael Pollan or his other book, "The Omnivore's Dilemma". I was more than surprised- dare I say shocked?- at some of the things in America's food industry. I will end this part by saying Read It. Any one of them. It just might change your Life.(style). :)

Family pic

We so rarely get a picture of all four of us together (AND one that has actually turned out) but a couple weeks ago we visited my grandparents' farm and had a great time soaking in the crisp Fall colors, complete with warm sunshine and brisk wind. Eileigh picked out a pumpkin for us and then we spent the evening thoroughly enjoying family fellowship around a delicious meal! I love this season.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Lunchtime was upon us and Selah was still sleeping so Eileigh and I headed out for a mother-daughter picnic in the backyard. Eileigh was pretty thrilled to be picnicking, mostly due to the full cup of (only slightly) diluted homemade grape juice she proudly carried out and sipped with greater pleasure than the most intent wine connoisseur. I in turn was happy to discover that the bugs for the most part remained unaware of our lunching and so Eileigh and I were quite the contented pair. Aside from our homemade grape juice (Eileigh polished off the rest of my glass with a big grin) we lunched on leftovers: Ginger, Sesame Seed and Soy Sauce Salmon and sauteed garden zucchini, summer squash and tomatoes with whole wheat spaghetti. Great meal and even better company. This may have been our last picnic of the year... Fall has definitely arrived!

Grape juice 'stache