Saturday, April 30, 2011

DF/SF Recipes ~ Coconut Mango Smoothie

We so love those smoothies with lots of yogurt and fruit and even a little soy protein powder thrown in for that added boost.  We will eat smoothies for breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack… heck, we have even had them for dessert.  But the Soy Free/Dairy Free me wasn’t making them anymore and the little ones started to revolt. 

I had to get REALLY creative here though.  Because I couldn’t replace the milk and yogurt with soy, and I wasn’t sure what would taste good or just make the smoothie grainy.  I have tried rice protein and rice milk before and it just does not have that same smooth texture that we all know and love.  It took some doing, but I finally got a great consistency. 

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1 can coconut milk

2 bananas

2 cups mango chunks (frozen)

2 Tbs maple syrup

1 1/2 cups almond milk

*Put in a blender and blend until smooth.*

YUM!!

Now I realize that none (and I mean none) of these things grown within 800 miles of my Pacific NW home.  Sigh… but I can’t win them all.  And man, it’s good!

Friday, April 29, 2011

{this moment}

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{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.

{Inspired by SouleMama}

Dairy free/Soy free recipe ~ Turkey Tacos

Ever been to Qdoba?  Ever had their tiny tacos?  The pulled pork ones are especially good, and that is what I get for lunch when I go there.  No dairy needed.  Just pure goodness. 

Last week I set out to recreate my Qdoba experience at home and I think I hit the mark!  These tacos have all the flavors I love and none of the stuff I can’t eat.  Gotta love that!

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Turkey Tacos

Make ahead – red onion salsa:

1 red onion (minced)

1 cup cilantro (minced)

1/4 cup lime juice

heaping 1/2 tea kosher salt

  • Mix all ingredients and let sit on the counter for an hour to over night.  The longer it sits, the better it is.  I had it fresh and Don had it the next day for lunch and it was WAY better the next day.  I think the flavors need time to incorporate.

Tacos:

1 lb ground turkey

1 cup cilantro leaves (minced)

3 Tbs lime juice

3 garlic cloves (minced)

1 package small corn tortillas

  • Mix ground turkey, lime juice, and minced garlic in a bowl until incorporated. 
  • Brown in a pan on Med heat.  After the turkey starts to brown, add cilantro leaves. 
  • Salt to taste (doesn’t take much). 
  • Put in corn tortillas and enjoy!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Soy free/Dairy free me

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So remember a couple weeks ago when I said I would share my newly revised menu binder?  Well that hasn’t happened yet, and I have felt really terrible about saying I was going to do something and not actually doing it.  But the truth is, we have been going through some pretty huge food changes around here.  Along with some intense reflux, the baby is sensitive to both soy and dairy.   It took me a while to figure it out because every time I gave up dairy I naturally replaced it with a bit of soy.  A bit of soy milk in coffee (which I have now also given up), a bit of soy milk in smoothies, Braggs or soy sauce on my rice instead of butter.  It was really hard to pin the huge amounts of vomiting down to anything… but for now I am off of coffee, soy, dairy, brassicas, and beans.  Between that and a daily dose of medicine for reflux the puking has finally dimmed down to a normal level. 

I cook all the meals (even most of the ones that Don takes to work) so the adjustment has been HUGE.  At first I started to turn to Asian cuisine because that seemed the most naturally dairy free option.  Then I realized about the soy sauce and fish sauce and everything else in Asian foods that have soy flavorings in them.   So I have turned to Hispanic foods.  Many people attribute Hispanic foods with tons of cheese, but actually authentic Hispanic foods have very little dairy.  And they have the added bonus of having TONS of flavor!  So I have been making myself some really wonderful, whole foods recipes!  The only down side I have found so far is that many of these foods are needing to be imported from CA or even farther south this time of year, making my locavore instincts feel a little neglected.  But honestly with how much better it has made Luke feel…  well I am overlooking it until we can start to get these wonderful flavors from our own garden (all of which are planted!!!!  YAY!).

In the process of figuring all of this out, I was going to redo my menu notebook again… but it was SO much work (like hours upon hours of work) to do it the first time and if I removed all the dairy and soy from the notebook I would be starting with less than 2 weeks worth of recipes and side dishes.  So I did a quick Google search for an allergy free menu planner… and guess what?  I found TONS!  In the last two years the menu planning empire has exploded.  There were two that I was seriously impressed with:

Heart of Cooking – It has a whole foods menu planner, a Paleo Diet menu planner and several allergen menu planners to choose from.  We got the free week from them and we loved all but one recipe we made.  We especially loved the Turkey Burgers with the ginger carrots!  That recipe has now made it into our cycle of recipes, and joy!  It’s dairy and soy free.  :)

The Nourished Kitchen – Obviously inspired by a Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions diet, this menu plan has a few things that are close to my heart.  Their ‘waste-not, want-not’ tips at the bottom of some of the recipes make my heart sing!  They give tips like how to use apple peel for jellies and chicken carcass for stock.  A very neat tidbit to add to a menu plan, especially for people just learning to cook.  (I think this menu plan would make a great gift for a newly aspiring healthy foodie.)

We are on the Nourished Kitchen sample menu now, and we have completed the Heart of Cooking sample.  I am already impressed with both sites and excited about the ideas I have gleaned. 

I have been very excited to be able to play with new foods and new tastes.  It has been an adventure, but it is completely worth it now that Luke is feeling better.  So with that said, I will be starting to post some recipes from my new diet.  I hope that you will enjoy them as much as my past recipes!  I can’t wait to show you what I have discovered. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our Easter–Giving and Getting

*Giving*

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Did you know that you can ship an jumbo sized plastic Easter egg?  I learned this from the Giverslog blog.  I have been watching intently her 13 oz or less series (because I think it’s awesome!) and this time I had everything to try out this fun mail treat.  So last week we dropped a few little gifts in the mail for our friends.

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The rule is it has to be 13 oz or less for stamped mail.  On the Giverslog link she has the price of both 1 oz and 2 oz eggs.  She also has the price of a plastic sand shovel, a beach bucket, two things of silly putty and various other super fun in the mail packages.

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I can’t wait to do it more!  I found myself waking up this morning thinking about what I could send for 4th of July. 

*Getting*

Our Easter baskets were modest this year.  With a $6 limit for each kiddo, I made up these:

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Each kid got a $1 bottle of bubbles, a small packet of Star Wars Legos, a box of natural jelly beans and a peanut butter egg.  (Logan got a packet of spill proof cap bubbles which upped his basket to $7.25.)

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The baskets and large paper eggs are a yearly use thing that each kid has had from their first Easter.  Lucas has one too, but I decided not to fill it, as he doesn’t care and it was another $6.  Winking smile

We enjoyed a wonderful potluck lunch with friends and then a fun Easter egg hunt in the back yard. 

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I hope all of you had a beautiful holiday!!

 

Happy Easter!

 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Don’t touch me. (My birthing history and what I have learned.)

With my first pregnancy, I was 18, went into it unknowing, and didn't have much obstetric care at all.  I had my baby in an ER with a dr that did things like come in while I was in hard labor, pat me on the rump and say “we’re gonna have this baby” (what is he delivering, exactly?) and then gave me a HUGE episiotomy which tore into my anal wall and caused me perineum pain for the next 5 years (not to mention nearly made me bleed out) and proceeded to instruct forced pushing which shoved that poor 8lb 1oz baby through the torn-and-broken-me so fast that his lungs collapsed and he needed to be in the NICU for the first 24 hours of life while I took in a pint of someone else’s blood and felt like I had been hit by a bus.

Second baby: although I had a ‘natural’ birth in the sense that I didn’t have any drugs or epidural or anything like that, I had everything else that was 'routine' because I was 'high risk' due to my pervious birth being so ‘damaging’ and two recent miscarriages (one second tri).  My daughter was born perfectly healthy.  She didn’t spend any time away from my side.  I, however, was broken.  The Cytotec they gave me while I was in labor because “I wasn’t progressing” (whatever that means) caused me to bleed internally, and due to my birth plan saying that I didn’t want a blood transfusion, they didn’t give me one when I needed it and in fact never even talked with me about it.  I ended up back in the hospital within days after being sent home and was very sick for months.  I went home from my second hospital stay with a husband who was very certain he would never ever go through that again.

This is why it took me 5 years to convince him to try for another baby.  While I was pregnant with Logan I did TONS of research and started to finally put together some of my birthing history.  I realized that what was going on in the birthing room was probably the deciding factor in whether or not I came out of it damaged.  They were adjusting my body in ways it would not have been adjusted had I just told them not to touch me.  That could possibly mean that everything that went wrong could have been avoided.

I started looking into midwifery care.  In my mind, a midwife was a perfect compromise.  She would be there in case anything happened and to give advice and yet completely respect the fact that I don’t want internal exams (and just for my sanity, I didn’t want to be weighed while pregnant either).  To be allowed to fully trust my body to know what I needed and when.  From start to finish.

While I was convinced that it was the hospital that had caused the issues in the first place and had I been at home I would not have come out of those births as damaged as I was, my husband was sure that I would have died had I not had the hospital at my fingertips.  He was terribly worried that I was going to kick the bucket without warning while in labor with Logan and he was going to be left with 3 kids and no wife. There was no way I could answer all of his questions and fears.  I found a midwife that was in my area and I scheduled an apt with her office.  Don was opposed to the idea.  We fought over it a lot.  Finally I convinced him to come with me and meet with them to pose his questions to them face to face. 

It took some convincing by both me and my midwife team, but Don left our second meeting feeling apprehensive but confident that they could handle an issue should it come up and they would know when I needed medical help.

That pregnancy had some serious downs.  I was sick for months, and terribly uncomfortable after that.  But the hour I spent every month with the midwife always made me feel more confident in my body.  I started to feel really confident in what I needed for a successful, natural birth in the truest sense.  At home.

I called the midwife in hard labor.  She got to my house in time to ask me if I was feeling pushy and even then I didn't let her touch me at all until the baby was literally falling out of my body.  No tearing, no issues whatsoever.  Despite the fact that this baby outweighed my previous babies by almost 2 pounds!

I had a similar experience with Luke’s birth just 2 months ago today. 

I fully believe there is a time and a place for allopathic medicine.  It is NOT in a routine birthing room.  Our bodies are made to do this. No matter weather you believe in God, the Universe, Mother Nature... whatever... there is nothing that says that divine design looked at the human body, and said "holy crap... we screwed up!  That’s not gonna fit."   

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Storybook “Meet the Baby” Shower

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Since the two months before Luke was born were taken up with Christmas and Logan’s superhero party, my friend Sarah waited until after Luke was born to have a baby shower.  We aptly named it a ‘meet the baby’ shower instead and set a light dinner for friends with a storybook theme.

What a fun theme this was to plan!  There were tons of ideas on the internet and I had plenty of my own to share, being a children’s book lover.  At first I scoured my shelves and picked all of our favorite books and scanned them into my computer.  Then I planned a menu around food named books that I knew.  I looked for the books I didn’t already own at the library and scanned them as well.  (It wasn’t until I had scanned at least 20 books into the computer that I realized that I could just look on Google Images for the book covers I wanted!  Silly me.  So if you do  this theme for a party of your own, save yourself the trouble and just use Google Images.)

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I printed all of the book cover images on to cardstock, matted it with a second piece of card stock and Sarah put together block and clothespin place markers for our buffet style meal.

2011_April_babyshower-100-49Our menu for our Storybook themed dinner consisted of:

Main Courses:

  • The Little Red Hen – Bread and butter
  • Eat Your Alphabet A to Z – Vegetable platter
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Fruit bowls
  • Pete’s a Pizza – Pizza bites
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – Meatballs
  • Stinky Cheese Man – Cheese and cracker platter
  • Green Eggs and Ham – Spinach Quiche
  • Three Little Pigs – Pigs in a blanket

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Snacks:

  • Pumpkin Baby – Mini pumpkin muffins
  • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish – Rainbow goldfish
  • Rain Makes Applesauce – Applesauce

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To Drink:

  • Blueberries for Sal – Blueberry punch

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Dessert:

  • Jellybeans for Breakfast – Jellybeans (tis the season, after all.)
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie – Cookie favors to take home
  • Cakepops (not on theme, but a friend of mine made them and they were incredible!  So good!)

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The d├ęcor was simple:

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My favorite children’s books along with some blocks and some storybook characters we had on hand.  Sarah had Pooh Bear, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Curious George. 

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I had the entire cast of Where the Wild Things Are:

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I made a banner that said “Once Upon A Time” printed on simple cardstock that we hung from Sarah’s great room arch.

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Favors were also on theme with two cookies in each bag and a sticker that read “and they lived happily ever after” on the front.

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We played a game of word scramble that I made up with “Natural Mama” words such as doula, waterbirth, breastfeeding, sling, and cloth diaper.

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The rest of the time we hung out and got to know Luke a little bit.  Although he spent much of the party like this:

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We had a lovely time!  Thank you Sarah for everything!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

{this moment} – Cold Spring

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{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.

{Inspired by SouleMama}

Friday, April 15, 2011

Our new favorite song

I have been making a playlist for my kids and I to enjoy while cleaning the house.  :)  Enjoy!

Songs like this make me happy.  Clean, happy, good beat, good message… yes please!

Here’s some others you may enjoy (that I have posted about before):

Coupons and grocery budgeting

Just like everyone else, we have been hit hard with the rise in grocery prices.  I asked my dear friend and neighbor to help me revamp my budget a bit.  She gave me quite a few tips on how to save on my grocery bill with coupons.  At first glance I was giddy with how much I could save.  Even just a simple Google search sent me to articles where housewives everywhere can got their families groceries for less than $100 per month, and how I too can ‘get a years worth of toilet paper for free!’.  Yay!  Sign me up for free stuff!

But as I looked at the coupons that I could get, reality hit.  Couponing is work for those of us who are picky about what we buy and where we buy it.

Not one to give up easily, I started with the things I did buy that coupons were plentiful for.  Granola bars, yogurt, crackers, and other assorted ‘fast foods’ in my house were on sale all over town from every brand you can imagine.

Even with the crazy deals I was getting I asked myself these questions before each purchase: 

  • Is this food mostly whole foods?
  • Is this food free of hormones and pesticides? 
  • Does this food to come from a source that I trust?

I am 100% willing to pay for my food priorities. Even with coupons my food budget is going to be higher than the average and I am completely ok with it staying that way.... So on a search I went. A search for organic, whole foods coupons. What did I find?  Very (very) little.  I have discovered that coupon companies rarely put out coupons for foods that I would buy normally, and I also did my best to remember the top rules in couponing –

  1. “If you wouldn’t normally buy it, you are not saving money”.  
  2. “If you have to drive 10 miles out of your way to get it, you are just spending the money in gas that you would save in groceries”.

I did find some great links to wonderful savings and articles however, and I wanted to share those with you:

The Happy Housewife’s ideas on Extreme Couponing (fabulous!)

Organic Coupons with Money Saving Mom (not many whole foods, but some great deals on here and she updates weekly.)

Organic Valley Coupons

Frugal Living’s page of Organic and Natural coupons

With these ideas in mind, I have spent the last month revamping our whole menu binder.  Coupons help, but the biggest help is planning ahead.  Planning meals means money saved.  It is always easier to make a meal when you have everything on hand.  And when making a meal is easy, eating out (and eating junk) becomes less appealing and less frequent.

To Be Continued…

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What I love about you… Luke, 7 weeks

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  • You always smile first thing in the morning… even if you are covered in puke and the light is in your eyes.
  • You love to be clean.  You grin when you get laid down to change your diaper or your clothes every time.
  • You love being skin to skin with mama.  Especially in the shower. 
  • You watch my face when you fall asleep.  Your eyes start to droop, and every time they pop open you will be focused on my face while bundled in your blanket, huddled against my chest.  That eye to eye connection is something I will always treasure.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Garden Baby (or baby garden)

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Today I got to put my fingers in the dirt for only the second time since Luke was born.  It was wonderful!  My sweet baby has been hanging out with me in the garden wrapped in his blankets and tucked in his swing.  He spent several happy hours there this week.  I was worried about his little face being cold, but he has seemed to enjoy being able to watch what is going on, especially when his big brother is jumping about and doing tricks for him. 

The garden is coming along.  Alex and I have been working hard to get all the beds covered and turned over.  I pulled TONS of Morning Glory from one of my beds today.  Not my favorite thing.  It seems to grow two plants where ever I pull one!  I was really mad and called the weed my ‘Hydra of Gardening’.  That made Alex laugh hysterically (he has been studying Greek Mythology for the past 10 weeks) and so the name has stuck so far. 

We covered the beds with chicken bedding (white wood chips along with their poo and diggings) and have allowed that to compost most of the winter.  The older stuff (from late fall and early winter) has now turned into this beautifully rich dirt that I can’t wait to put plants into!!  Uncomposted chicken poo can be very ‘hot’ as it breaks down.  The concentration of nitrogen can burn young plants, so I am portioning out the newer stuff (from late winter) to places where it can be more of a top dressing as not to stun the tiny seedlings I will be putting into the beds. 

Here is a walk through of my garden from today:

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I am starting to understand why the people who lived here before us kept sticking black plastic on the ground to keep the weeds and grass out.  It takes a LOT of bark to keep this much space mulched so it will be clear of grass.  I have been considering just seeding the pathways in the garden and allowing the grass to have rein, but I am not sure that will not spread to the garden beds themselves…. soft and green pathways is one thing… clearing hundreds of grass tufts out of my garden beds is another.  So we will see what my research tells me to do.

It was so stunningly wonderful to be out today in the semi-sunshine and spend some time doing the things I love. 

HAPPY SPRING everyone! 

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Spontaneous Gratitude for a blustery day

It feels like a spontaneous gratitude day.

Today I am grateful for:

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This amazingly expressive, sweet face!

Proof on my cherry tree that Spring is indeed coming!

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A sweet, new big brother learning how to be gentle with his new sibling.

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For Sunday school days and watching my daughter grow into a beautiful young woman.

Hope you are all having a blessed day! I know I am.

Friday, April 01, 2011

My sweet babe is ‘talking’

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Luke has started ‘talking’ lately.  The baby babble is turning into deliberate chatting with things.  

I haven’t had a baby that liked mobiles before, or a baby that enjoyed swings before, but Luke has changed all of that.  He LOVES his swing… much more than his vibrating chair (which was my other three children’s resting place of choice).  Currently, as he sits in his swing, he has been talking with his hanging critters and seriously enjoying it.  I am trying to get video of this serious cuteness, but so far, these pictures are all I have gotten.

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He’s just so very lovely!  I can’t tell you how taken we all are with him.  <3