Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

Oy... I have TOO. MANY. GREEN. THINGS. in my fridge right now. Seriously. I don't really know how this happened, but we will be eating green things all week.

Today we started off with eggs and Daiya pepperjack cheese. Lunch was leftover battered cod with a salad (salad being lettuce and salad dressing) and then dinner we went to Outback because they'll cook around allergies (and because mommy can get a Tropical Relief martini).

Then we came home and I made red lentil chili--which is the first of two batches this weekend since we'll be going to a block party tomorrow and a potluck Sunday. I'll need a batch for each. Husband made this Mabon moon cider. I had bought a case of organic Fuji apples today (40 lbs.) and we'd already had about 15 lbs. of organic white grapes that needed to get used. So he juiced them. Then he threw them in a pot with the appropriate mulling spices and voila... my cup is sitting here too hot to drink.

We are awaiting delivery (on 10/15) of a half-cow of beef. I'm also ordering 5 pasture-raised chickens to try out a new farm. Looking to get some raw dairy to make some yogurt and cheese for the house. And I'm fired up to do some preserving. I'm even going to try to use my pressure canner. :O

But it all the more makes me want to be growing our own. *sigh*

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

State of the Union, September 21, 2011

I'm now going to allow you to follow my weight-loss journey. From November of last year through early August, I lost roughly 25 lbs. through portion control and nothing else. No exercise, no change in WHAT I ate or quality of what I ate. Just eating less. Yup... true story.

Of course, from about mid-August through now, I have gained 7 lbs. thanks to 1) 9 days without husband and boy, which was doubly damning because husband has done ALL of the cooking in the house for at least 8 years and I have NEVER liked to eat alone (and 3yo doesn't really eat solids yet--long story)... so I spent a full-on week eating absolute crap. In true Depression-era style (I was raised by my Depression-era grandmother) I proced to eat everything I bought on the premise that "I paid for it". :/ I had this same problem at Disney in March. *sigh* But hubby came back and another 10 days later we went to the Minnesota State Fair for Labor Day weekend--staying with friends. Well, that's just a food-fest right there.

So I'm up 7 lbs. Actually, I WAS up 9 lbs. and I'm already back down two just for returning to normal for a week. Yeah... just a week. Because you see: when you start eating crap and expanding your stomach, it's a vicious cycle downward. The stuff that you thought tasted like crap at the beginning of it all now starts tasting kind of good, and mildly addicting. It's a scary thing. I finally snapped out of it when my cravings crept back and I thought "Wow--I'm in a bad place."

On Tuesday, September 20, 2011, I weighed in at 177.6 lbs. I had started trying to take a 20-minute walk each day starting on the prior Thursday, but took the weekend off.

Husband and I got a juicer and are studying up to do a few cleanses--the first being a "colon cleanse". It's a lot of work and requires a solid 10-12 days where we know we won't be completely tempted to eat meat (we are SERIOUS carnivores). We have a party on Oct. 1 that will blow us out of the water, but that will be the last of it. After that, we will do a week of "weaning" off of cooked food and animal products before doing a full week of juice-almost-fasting (there is some solid, albeit raw, food in there). Then we'll take a week to get back to what we're changing to. We will not be vegetarians, but we will be trying to change the balance of raw foods to cooked foods. Juicing will definitely help with this. I knew about the enzymatic benefits of raw foods for many years (the result of research about enzyme therapies for children in the autism spectrum) but I had never really been driven to do anything about it. We could TAKE enzymes (and we have on and off for several years). But I'm now looking into some research about how when the balance of raw to cooked is tilted in the "cooked" direction, it causes an immune system response that can ultimately lead to autoimmune disorders. This is something I want to find more information on. My son has an immune deficiency and we have a lot of autoimmune disorders in my family. I'm sure I'm not really articulating it fully enough to make sense to YOU, but the 90+ minute lecture I heard was enough to send me looking for data. I have enough data already to know that raw food gives us enzymes our body desperately needs.

If you look at the "Pottenger's Cats" study, it's disturbing. So the idea of altering the balance of raw food and cooked food in my family's diet isn't really difficult. We're not "going raw". We're not becoming vegetarian. We are just changing the balance of things. That will include continuing to eat more chicken than red meat--something we were really doing more because of cost and availability of antibiotic-free meat; but the information linking red meat to colon cancer is mildly overwhelming. :/ We won't NOT eat it, we're just going to change the balance. I say with a standing order for half a cow from a grassfed, antibiotic-free farm arriving on October 15th... should last us a year under these conditions. :/

So far, I love the juicer. It is VERY easy to use and really easy to clean. Score.

This week, I have re-introduced probiotics to our diets. We slipped off of a number of things for a while and this was one of them. So everyone now takes one daily as of Monday.

The week before this, we started our annual "cold season" regimen of daily Sambucus (black elderberry extract). While in Minnesota, my friend exposed me to these wonderful little tasteless Vitamin D drops where each drop is 2,000 IUs of Vitamin D. Holy. score. I HATE the chewables my kids have (I cringe for what it must do to their teeth) and I doubly hate having to get them to eat 4 of them to get 2,000 IUs of D/day. Now, I just put 1 drop in their Sambucus. YAY! Hubby and I still take pills because we take 5,000 IUs/day.

After the week of introducing probiotics, we will increase Vitamin C (again, dropped off the wagon). All of this time, I am trying to find good "raw" meals. I actually ordered a cookbook and I hope it won't disappoint. I really need this more for the week going into our cleanse and coming out of it; but I could incorporate a dish here and there when I'm changing our balance of things.

The kids WILL eat raw the weeks that we're doing it. There is nothing unhealthy about it in a way I need to worry about them--especially since these are not long-term changes. And really, once hubby and I remove the animal proteins, we are likely to continue making some for the kids if only to get them to eat at all while we transition everyone over to a different way of eating. Thankfully, my kids allergies have fostered a love (by necessity) of salad and broccoli. Well, actually, the little one is inconsistent with what she loves and we bring plenty of foods into the house that nobody else can eat just for the sake of finding something she'll love. So far, black olives are the only consistent "yes".

I think that's all the changin' we're doing right now. I also think that may be ENOUGH.

Oh, and for whatever reason, my 8+ year absolute aversion (bordering on phobia--but it didn't scare me, I just couldn't bring myself to doing it) of cooking appears to be over. I have no idea why. I'm thankful. A few years ago, I almost saw a therapist for it because it was just... WEIRD. Sometimes I didn't even want my husband to cook (although I think that was more because it was a reminder to me that I wasn't cooking). My husband actually never complained about it. In truth, he enjoys cooking and experimenting. I just felt that it was my "job"--especially when I was staying home all day. But, it's over now... Just like that. Equally weird.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Of course, breakfast was the rice pudding, warmed up on the stove with some pureed organic pumpkin stirred in and a shake of pumpkin pie spice on top. Believe it or not, this took some convincing to get the kids to eat. :/

Lunch was leftover red lentil chili over brown rice that I hadn't soaked--so it took easily 45 minutes to cook if not an hour. :/ Easily made minus the peppers but it did have tomatoes so it is NOT Feingold-safe. We're now in "testing" mode to see which veggies we react to strongly. I always make this chili in bulk and stick it in the freezer.

Dinner was home made chicken soup. I made a stock/broth from the prior night's roast chicken, some turnip greens I was going to juice, a bulb of fennel that would've probably gone bad if not used for this, some red onions (with the peels on), crushed cloves of garlic and a few organic carrots that were scrubbed but not peeled. When the broth was done (maybe an hour? two?) I set two coffee mugs full into a freezer container for when we might be sick & in need of straight broth.. Then I took all of that stuff out and threw in the rest of "what was going to go bad if not used" from the fridge. So... tomatoes, beets, celery, a small head of cabbage, some carrots and the rest of the chicken that we hadn't eaten (which was quite a bit). Some oregano, rosemary, basil, salt, pepper and more garlic... voila--soup. Enough for tonight and two or three other nights (or lunches) for the fridge. It was delicious, if not beautiful. :)

And... dessert was more leftover rice pudding. Cold and not really as creamy and delightful as when first made (or when warmed up this morning). But still pretty good. :)

Home made rice pudding

So, both Arborio rice and sweet brown rice were on sale at Whole Foods this week in the bulk section. Needless to say, I'm diving into rice recipes. As it was, I felt like rice was highly underutilized as a breakfast staple in our home. So here I am...

I made some of the sweet brown rice with my red lentil chili tonight and it really worked. It was really sticky and I clearly didn't "do" it right, but it worked.

But in the process of reading about how to make Arborio rice, the article noted that it's starch content made it very creamy and therefore perfect for desserts (in addition to risotto).

Desserts... rice pudding... and one of THOSE articles pointed to rice pudding for breakfast...

Now they're talkin'. I mean, really--how is this different from sweetened oatmeal? Heaven KNOWS it's better than that sugar-only cereal you buy in the store! So I started cooking using the following recipe from : and I doubled the recipe in the hopes of having enough for dessert and breakfast. I used canned coconut milk (which is thicker than whole milk) and because the cans only gave me 3-1/2 cups of coconut milk, I added water to make the 5 cups I needed. Otherwise, I didn't need substitutions. Worked wonderfully, although it would've been helpful for them to tell you to COVER the pot for most of the process (I cooked it uncovered after adding the egg/sugar mixture). Oh, and it presumably freezes well, fyi...


Things You'll Need

  • 2 1/2 cups (600 ml) of whole milk
  • 1/3 cup (66 grams) of uncooked long or short grain white rice
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Whisk
  • Mixing bowl
  • Medium saucepan
  • Serving dish
    • 1

      Combine the rice, salt, and milk in a medium saucepan and heat the mixture on the stove until it comes to a boil.

    • 2

      Reduce the heat to a simmer and mix the contents constantly for 20 minutes, or until the rice becomes tender.

    • 3

      Remove the rice mixture from the heat, but keep the element you used on and at a low heat.

    • 4

      Mix the egg and the brown sugar together with a whisk in a mixing bowl. While you are mixing, slowly add in a half cup of the rice mixture.

    • 5

      Add everything in the bowl to the rest of the rice mixture in the saucepan and place it back on the low heat, cooking it for another ten minutes.

    • 6

      Turn off the heat and remove the saucepan, transferring the rice pudding to a serving dish.

    • 7

      Mix in the vanilla and top the rice pudding with cinnamon.

In the end, nobody ate it for dessert because they didn't move their arses to clean up. It is DELIGHTFULLY creamy and sweet without being TOO sweet. My thought, however, is that tomorrow morning when I reheat it, I'm going to stir in some organic pureed pumpkin from a can of it I opened today in an attempt to make a mock Pumpkin Spice Latte (apparently a Starbucks thing) that required 2 Tbl. of the can. :/ That with some pumpkin pie spice and I say "BREAKFAST!".

Monday, September 19, 2011

We now own a juicer

Yup... that's right: a juicer. "Why?" you ask... I will tell you why.

First, it's a great way for us to use some of our veggies that we don't really love to eat by hiding their flavors in with something else we DO like to eat so that we continue to get the nutrients and vitamins from the food we don't love so much.

Second (and after this, I'm abandoning the ordinal numbering), there are just too many benefits to juicing to eliminate it from the diet. The way the body accesses and absorbs nutrients and the nutrient levels in raw food are just overwhelming. We're not going "raw" and we're not going to juice for 30 days straight, but we are absolutely going to make it a daily part of our eating.

And while we're not going to do a 30-day juicing thing, we ARE going to do a series of juicing "cleanses" and change the way we're eating to include more raw foods than cooked. I am still hunting up data to support a claim I heard that over 50% of your meal being cooked triggers an immune response that can ultimately end in auto-immune disorders (my interest in this partially to do with my own family's auto-immune issues) but the evidence around what is beneficially provided via raw foods isn't really in question. I had already understood the damage done by heating when I was researching enzyme therapy for children in the autism spectrum.

So we're going to try to move to having more raw food in our diets. Juicing will make it easier for us to accomplish this.

For the record, we got a Green Star GS-2000. :) It can make nut butters and juice wheat grass (if we wanted that) without having to change a whole bunch of stuff. You can even run frozen fruit through it to turn out a kind of sorbet. Awesome, since someone on my Facebook friends list just noted that their kids were THRILLED to have "ice cream" for breakfast (which was essentially frozen fruit they had somehow squashed into "ice cream" consistency but I can't remember how... but my juicer will do it!)

My husband says it looks like a little chef when you look at it head-on. :)

Of course, after reading the manual and watching the DVD and thinking I was otherwise fully prepared--I proced to make the maiden voyage be apple juice... using the "wrong" apples. :/

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ode to an olive...

Olives. Or as my nearly 3yo daughter will call them, "aw-yups".

Ooooooh olives--how I love you. How I wish I could grow and cure you on my own. How I long for you to be cheaper. But how I will tolerate all of that for the sake of my nearly 3yo eating some kind of solid food.

Good fats. GREAT snack foods. Tolerant of being toted in a diaper bag for a full day without spoiling (or at least they haven't yet made us sick!). What is better?

Nothing, I think...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

We do not own a microwave

I'm thrilled to say that we are now officially living without a microwave. It marks the point in our life where we have finally stopped eating rushed. Eating has become a part of a bigger picture and bigger part of our lives--one that gets time and attention. It's not an "aside" and it's not something we do on auto-pilot or as an afterthought. That's not to say we don't live chaotically because we totally do. But we are now building into that chaos more time to take care of eating.

Of course, warming up my coffee is done in a stovetop kettle; and reheating leftovers can take 15-40 minutes rather than 5-10. And that's fine.

As much as possible, I'd rather remove sources of radiation from the house. Yes, yes--microwaves are regulated by the government; but there is plenty of evidence of harm of microwaves period. Just because the government has deemed there to be an "acceptable level" doesn't mean it's acceptable or safe. It means "they haven't yet seen the problems", as is the case with countless other things the government deems "safe & acceptable" including drugs that have presumably gone through testing and research--hello? I don't trust what the gov't finds to be "safe and acceptable".

The thing with microwaves is that there are a number of things that just add up to "I don't really need/want this in my life". Dr. Mercola has a decent article on this:

We are also looking at hard-wiring the computers to get rid of the WiFi router. The information on the effect of cell phones on the body are disturbing. Frankly, I don't need the government to do my research for me. I don't find them to be the reviewers of anything objective anyway. If the government did THEIR OWN research, that would be one thing. But by and large, they are reviewing the findings of someone that has a vested interest in what those findings say; and there are too many cases where that person/company has hidden the findings that don't serve them only to have the government approve something without all of the information--ending with illness, injury and occasionally death.

No, thanks.

Oh... and cast iron pots are next. :)