Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bad Decision...

I made a terrible decision yesterday.  I decided to eat some chicken.  Never again!!! 

There are a lot of reasons why I don't eat meat anymore.  First and foremost, it makes me sick.  Meat has really disagreed with me for a few years now, especially red meat.  When I was pregnant this past spring, it was clear that meat had to go!  We were already researching raw foods and eliminating dairy and soy from our diets, but I wasn't yet convinced that we had to be completely meat free.  Once I was 'detoxed' from dairy, the meat situation was even worse....and I really didn't eat it that much anyway, so we decided to get rid of it.  It wasn't a big deal for me or my daughter at all, she never liked it from the start.  My husband had a harder time with it and he does still eat flesh products sometimes, though admittedly feels better when he doesn't allow himself to eat it.  The more I researched, the more I came to find that eating this stuff was not at all good for us!  I have PCOS, and meat, especially the way we eat it in this country, is really bad for your hormones.  More than one book suggested that anyone with hormone imbalances should not have meat in their diet.  At the time I was unaware that I also have Celiac Disease so I was trying to take care of the hormones more than anything else.  It also made sense to me the explanation in many a book about how the body processes protein and that meat products actually hinder the body's ability to get this protein as well as assist in leaching calcium from our bones.  I don't need that.  I want adequate protein and calcium and I don't want to feel sick, sluggish and just plain BLAH all the time.  I'd also like to keep my daughter from ever having to deal with PCOS.  Meat free is definitely the best way to go for us!  So, why did I make this terrible decision to eat chicken yesterday???  Well...

I am breastfeeding my 3 month old son, chasing my very active toddler lady around and trying to keep up with the house, the dog and my husband~ nothing out of the ordinary!  However, I have been a bottomless pit when it comes to food!  My son eats all day and still gets up to eat every 2 hours at night (though he did randomly sleep for 6 hours the other night and that was a wonderful blessing!)  The kids rarely take a nap at the same time so I also can't sleep during the day.  Other than being really hungry and pretty exhausted, I feel great! However, I would really, really like to have the energy to exercise beyond my activities of daily living as I have yet to do more than pilates here and there.  So these little thoughts entered my head and kept nagging me!  "Should I be eating chicken or something?"  "Am I missing something in my diet?"  "Is it possible that I really do need meat?"  *sigh*  We are still new to the plant-based style of eating and our society suggests that it is nutritionally inadequate.  I know better, I have done and continue to do my research.....but constantly having to explain and defend our food lifestyle to others leaves me sometimes doing the same to myself!  I find myself always reassuring my choices and going 'back to the books' in order to answer the questions I have already answered a thousand times!  (It's good to be sure, right?)  I always feel even more confident after these reassurances.  It usually becomes a 'duh' moment.  "Oh yeah, I knew we were getting enough calcium...silly me!"  Nonetheless, I found that I still had those pesky little thoughts I mentioned earlier.  I decided to lay them to rest.  I ate the chicken.  It was clear to me from the moment I had it that it was the wrong decision!  I immediately felt sick and wished that I could just get it out of my system!  I spent most of yesterday and all of today feeling just horrible.  In a way I am glad that I did it, I know for certain that I DO NOT need this in my diet.  I was wondering if it was something I needed to add back since ridding our bodies of gluten and healing our intestines but I am actually glad that it's not!!!  Clearly, I just need to get some more sleep!  My diet is fine!  I was very. very excited to come home and drink a giant green juice yesterday!  I felt much better, but I am still paying for this chicken...blech!  Hopefully, tomorrow will be good!

My green juice!!!  Yes, that is the straw from one of my daughter's cups! lol  Kinda looks like a little umbrella! ;-)

I also see LOTS of veggies and carrot juice in my near future! 


Peace out homies!  ( <----  no one knows really?!?! :-) )

Friday, January 28, 2011

Making Changes

Green Smoothie before...


Green Smoothie after!!!

I would be willing to bet that some of you are trying to change your diets for the better and that you are feeling really overwhelmed about it, so much that even the above pictures intimidate you!  I understand, I have been there too!  It can be very challenging to make significant changes to your life, whether those changes be dietary or otherwise!  Everything is new and different.  You're throwing a wrench into your routine and you're worried about lots of things.  Are we doing this right?  Are those ingredients safe?  Is this a good price?  What can I make with this....I've never eaten that before!?  Where do we get our protein?  What about calcium?  Is anything going to taste good?  What do you mean there's gluten in my shampoo?  Can we afford this?  My husband and kids will never go for it!  What's a superfood?  Agave what?  Where do I start???  Oh great, now it's dinner time.......aaaaaaaaaaaaaagh..........(yells to husband) just order a pizza and ask if they sell ice cream too!!!

Sound about right?  Deep breath.....it IS going to be okay!  The best advice I could possibly give you is the same that someone gave me!  Change or eliminate one thing at a time!  You are in no hurry.  This is a lifestyle change, not a diet with a clear end. Any change that you make is a positive one and you can continue to make more when you and your body are ready!  If you want to get rid of dairy ok, get rid of dairy.  If you feel you want to start juicing, then do the juicing.  Need to rid yourself of gluten?  Do that and then move on to other things you may want to change.  Make sense?  Stick with it and don't get discouraged if you eat something that isn't good for you, your day isn't ruined....just eat something healthy at your next meal!  Most importantly, find positive support!  If your husband isn't that support (at least not yet) then find a friend, family member or even a great book or blog that can offer that support to you.  You would be surprised the encouragement you can get from someone you've never met........an author or blogger for instance!  Sometimes re-reading that one inspirational page for the thousandth time is all the pick-me-up you will need! 

I am not a Registered Dietitian or Physician.  Though all of the information here is researched, please do your own research and consult a doctor before making any dietary changes.

Whether your goal is simply to learn more about whole foods or to become the next raw food chef, the easiest way to get started is to increase the fresh produce in your diet~ dramatically!!!  When we first started to change our diet I knew we had to give up dairy and soy because of my daughter's intolerance to those foods.  I had yet to learn much about raw foods, but I knew that increasing our produce was the best way to get the nutrients we needed while I dove into my research!  I thoroughly recommend doing your own research and educating yourself about the changes you want to make.  It will make your life easier if you understand what it is you are trying to do!  Ask tons of questions!  I always ask questions and it has been extremely helpful!  However, you may not know much about the foods you need or want to be eating yet, but everyone needs more produce in their life!  So, while you are reading and learning, why not get a jumpstart on your new health as well!  I will tell you a little bit about the books that I have read and recommend but there are loads of books and other materials that are available.  Most of them can be checked out of your local library!  I also enjoy Amazon for their reviews so I will try to link the books to their Amazon accounts in order for you to have a shortcut to reviews and some basic information if you would like to have it!  Right now, lets talk about how you can increase your produce!

First things first:  Beware the Dirty Dozen!  Familiarize yourself with this list and try to buy organic from it whenever you can!  If the organic option is simply unavailable, be sure to soak your produce in a diluted vinegar solution for up to ten minutes in order to rid your food of as much chemical residue as is possible!  If you are anything like we were, your produce goes bad before you get to eat it!  We don't have that problem now, but I am a firm believer in green bags.  They really do work and even though our greens don't last long, it always seems like they start to wilt as soon as I get them home.  If I put them in green bags, they last longer and stay fresh!  I like that!  One of the best things you can do to ensure you will actually eat the produce you buy is to wash and prep as soon as you get it home!  This is my least favorite job, but if I do it this way I have a lot more time the rest of the week and I eat more of it because it is easy to grab and go!  You are more likely to eat your grapes if all you have to do is reach into a green bag and get them!  If your kids are old enough, you can have them help with this and even turn it into a learning game!  For instance, after soaking your grapes have the kids help you take the good ones off of the stem and count them as they put them in a bag!  Kids love that sort of thing!  You can do the same with apples, celery, etc. 



Our grapes, celery and apples being washed as soon as they get home!  FYI:  You can buy bags of organic apples for 2.99 at Trader Joe's and Kroger!  They don't need to be soaked in a vinegar bath but I still wash them so they are ready for juices and snacks when I need them!


Be sure to wash and dry your greens when you get home as well!  You will be more likely to use them for green smoothies and juices if you don't have to wash them first!  Green Smoothies are a wonderful way to get started eating more fruits and veggies and kids love smoothies!  It is also a good idea to keep some fruits and vegetables readily accessible to have for you and your family as snacks!  That could be in a bowl on the table or in a reachable bin in the fridge!
Lacinato Kale washed and ready to be juiced!

Lemons in a bowl on the counter!  Ready to use for juices and other recipes!

Be creative and try to eat some produce with every meal or snack!  You will find it becomes second nature!  Here are the books I recommend along with some really great blog posts on this subject as well!  First, if you are reading this then you are already on the computer....so let's start with some credible blog information!  This post from 'Choosing Raw' is really great when it comes to plant-based food!  It's informative, easy to read and legitimate!  I recommend you peruse her blog for other information as well.  She also has a great and easy to understand post about food combining!  I also enjoy 'The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen'.  The website has a good story about how they started their gluten free journey and they talk a lot about whole foods.  There are some great, simple recipes and a helpful FAQ section.  They also have a book!  If you are interested in learning more about the healing power of food, you should check out The Hallelujah Diet.  This is a great reference and they also have a book!  More and more people with long term illness and cancer are turning to the foods I believe God designed our bodies to eat in the state they were meant to be eaten!  I recommend this information.....it is quite interesting and has helped me tremendously!  Especially the section about green and carrot juice!  Moving on to books!


Again, I cannot recommend this book enough!  'The Juicing Bible' is a fantastic reference for getting started with juices and has a section for smoothies.  This book also has the most incredible reference for fruit/veggie nutritional and storage information, I use it all the time!  I also like the section in the beginning that lists different ailments, such as allergies and cancer, and what to eat/avoid if you suffer from them.  Again, you can get all of these books at the library if you like to try before you buy!  I also recommend 'The Raw Food Detox Diet'   by Natalia Rose.  I have not read her other books but I hear they are good.  The only trouble I have with a lot of the reading materials on this subject is that I am a Christian and I disagree with a lot of the philisophical views in these books but I just filter through the junk to the nutritional information because it is sound!  This book also has recipes for meat or 'flesh' eaters.  I also love 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Eating Raw' it is a great reference as well!  There is a lot of technique and nutritional information that is easy to understand.  They also have some really great recipes!  I enjoy Sarma Melngailis' books as well, though if you are a beginner...her recipes are intimidating.  Don't worry though, we have only been at this for 8 months ourselves and it gets much easier!  Ani Phyo is a wonderful reference and her recipes are not quite as intimidating!  Whether or not you feel that going gluten free could help you........you MUST read 'The G Free Diet!'  We have only been gluten free for a little over a month so my knowledge in this area is limited but this book is amazing!  It is quite the interesting read and I highly recommend it!  I have yet to read 'In Defense of Food,' but I have friends (both meat eaters and vegans) that have enjoyed it thoroughly!

Well, this is certainly not a comprehensive list of reading material as there is so much information available but it will get you started and I really encourage you to delve into this with an open mind and the attitude that you CAN do this and it will get much easier, much easier! 

Please stay tuned for posts in the near future on how to get your kids and/or spouse to eat this 'stuff,' including lots of yummy recipes and a green smoothie tutorial!  Don't fret, you'll get it...and the 'whole foods' world is here to help!  Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Back In Cloth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am just knocking things off of my 2011 list of goals left and right!!!  One of them was to have my kids back in cloth diapers rather than disposables!  We have accomplished this goal as of Monday!  Hooray!  You have no idea how excited I am about this!  I dislike paying for disposables, they aren't cute or fun, and they aren't good for my babies!  We are baby-stepping to our goal of cloth full time, right now I still use throw-aways for naps and night and my son will be in cloth again this weekend.  We were out of cloth temporarily after my son was born.  I used cloth full time for both of my kids as soon as my son's little butt was big enough at about 2 weeks old.  (He was kinda scrawny!)  Then things went a little crazy!  My daughter was having terrible poops 5 times a day and that gave her an awful rash.  She screamed every time she had to go or needed her diaper changed because she was in so much pain and the poops were very messy!  (She's a toddler btw)  On top of that, I had started to feel sick again and couldn't figure it out until recently ~again with the gluten!  All of this added to the fact that I had a newborn and some serious laundry to do meant that I just could NOT keep up.  I felt defeated and thoroughly annoyed by this realization, but I just couldn't do it.  So I talked to my husband about it and he agreed that we could buy disposables until I felt like I could handle cloth again without being so overwhelmed.  We finally figured out that gluten was the main culprit behind my daughter's messy and painful bowel movements and my feeling sick all the time.  We eliminated gluten from our lives and the world has been a MUCH better place!  The little lady has perfectly normal toddler poop these days and I am feeling ridiculously great so I decided that it was time to get back into cloth!  I didn't want to feel overwhelmed again so I am taking it in doses and backing off if I feel the need.  It's been great so far though!


My cloth cuties!

Silly girl!

This one is much bigger now!  He was only about 8lbs here!

 Now, I know what you're thinking!  I thought cloth was crazy too!  I never thought I'd be able to do it and dealing with the poop ~no thanks!  I had to be 'ready' to try it and once I decided it was time....there was no turning back!  It's actually a lot of fun!  The colors and patterns are so cute!  The price is a winner in my book!  I don't have to run to the store to buy diapers in the middle of the night or get home and realize I bought the wrong size and they are FUN to wash!  I love washing cloth diapers!  I know I sound like a total weirdo, but it's true!  They go in all smelly and gross and they come out all clean and sparkly and fresh!  I just love it!  It was a nice excuse to go outside when the weather was warm too, hanging cloth dipes in the sun gets rid of stains!  I will not lie, the poop grossed me out at first.  It's much easier to throw it away all wrapped up in a disposable and sometimes I still do.  My daughter always has a ginormous poop when she wakes up in the morning and from naps, so I have been using overnight disposables at those times.  Newborn breastfed poop is a breeze though!  You just throw it in the washer, no pre-rinsing required!  I typed up a pretty extensive review of cloth back in August and I am going to attach it to this post!  The information still rings true for us so hopefully it will help some of you on your cloth journey!  The only difference is that I had only one baby then and she was 15 months when we started cloth so there are not any newborn diapers listed in the review!  I will help you with that now!

The most raved about newborn cloth dipes are kissaluvs size zero with thirsties covers in extra small.  They are great diapers so I have to agree with everyone when they suggest these except I like the organic kissaluvs better....but they are not the best for really tiny babies even though they say 5-15 lbs.  Both of my babies were less than 7lbs and the kissas just didn't fit for quite some time.  Truthfully, the GroVia covers (pictured in orange above) size down the smallest as far as covers go and Organic Caboose fitteds are much smaller compared to the other newborn fitteds!  I also really enjoyed Swaddlebees which didn't even need a cover because they were so thick and fluffy!  You can also put any prefold or insert in a newborn cover and be fine!  I would encourage you to start reading this blog if you are interested in cloth diapers.  They really have great stories and helpful tips daily and they list coupons for their buying site, Kelly's Closet!  Here is the review I was telling you about earlier!  It's a long read, but hopefully helpful!

Well, we have finally figured out which cloth diapers and what fabrics we like the best!  After some extensive trial and error research, lots of review reading and many helpful tips from fellow cloth mamas I decided it might be helpful to post a review of our findings for any of those interested in starting with cloth or just interested in general!  I always enjoy reading reviews, it saves me money, time and effort in the long run and I like that!!! SO here it goes!

   Our cloth diaper goals were to save money, be without harsh chemicals, find a perfect fabric for our sensitive skinned baby, and have maximum absorbency without added bulk!  We have thankfully been able to achieve all of these goals!  The cost of cloth is far cheaper than continually buying disposable diapers especially if you plan on using them for multiple children.  Even with extensive coupon and sale searching disposables are just expensive and, at least for us, far less absorbant therefore we use more per day/night.  Even if you buy some cloth diapers you don't particularly like, you have the option of selling them for near the same price you paid!  How awesome is that?!  I can't tell you how many times I have been out money because a particular brand or size of disposables just didn't work for us!
   There are lots of crazy chemicals in disposables and most of them are known carcinogens (scary).  They also have added fragrances and are toxic if ingested.  A lot of kids have rash problems from disposables and the chemicals are most of the problem in that area.  They are also made of unbreathable materials which allow for bacteria and skin irritations to develop.  If your child already has sensitive skin, this is a major problem!  Our child does, in fact, have sensitive skin!  We changed Evie's diaper every 2 hours or less during the day to keep her dry and rash free.  This method worked great but we used more diapers because of frequent changes and that was costing us a bundle, even with coupons.  We also ran into a serious night leakage problem that even the 'overnight' diapers couldn't handle.  This left Evie with a terrible rash all over her belly and had me washing sheets and jammies constantly!  I should also say that it is a good thing to change diapers frequently regardless of what age your baby is or what method of diapering you choose.  I mean, would you want to sit in that? Yuck!  However, we all know that sometimes you need a couple if not a few more hours out of your diaper than 1 or 2, especially while out and about!  Genevieve is also a very heavy wetter even during the day.  She eats lots of fruits and veggies which contain lots of water and she drinks a significant amount of almond milk throughout the day.  Some kids don't wet that often especially as they get older, but she does so this review will reflect that!  So, with all of that in mind I set out to find the perfect diaper for my baby with sensitive skin!  In my extensive research I found that organic cotton, bamboo and hemp are the best fabrics for children with sensitive skin.  They are all natural and generally very soft and cozy!  I also found that these fabrics are the most absorbent, so yay....2 birds, 1 stone!  The diapers made of these fabrics generally cost a bit more up front but are known to last longer and increase (awesome) in absorbency with each wash than the cotton blend and microfleece dipes!  They, according to my review reading research, also stink less!  Bonus!  So even though you are paying a bit more up front, the outcome is a fantastic investment!  The difference between these fabrics and the blends/microfiber/fleece are that they don't wick away the moisture so the baby can still feel the wetness.  If that does not appeal to you, I would suggest the fleece diapers or add your own fleece layer to the natural fabrics.  However, when a child is continually exposed to the diapers that keep the moisture from touching the tush they can become less aware of their elimination processes which could make toilet training a little longer.  Not really a big deal, but I just thought I'd pass on the info!

   The 'less bulk' part was a bit more tricky but we were able to find the diapers that worked best for us in that area as well.  Here are all of the diapers that we have tried, including those that did NOT work for us and why we liked or didn't like them!  I knew I was not interested in prefolds or All-in-One diapers.  The prefolds would never stay put with my active child (and I am assuming the next one will be the same, why be surprised right ;-)  and the AIO dipes take far too long to dry and, according to reviews, get pretty smelly!  Also, if you are new to cloth diapers and their terms check here for a good breakdown, http://www.kellyscloset.com/Cloth-Diaper-Information_ep_34-1.html  I wanted something inbetween so I first looked at the pocket diapers.  These diapers fit just like disposables with either velcro or snaps and can be 'sized to fit' or 'one size fits all'.  They contain a pocket that can hold a cloth insert without it moving around all over the place.  Most of these diapers have microfleece that actually touch the baby's skin and wick moisture away from the baby regardless of what fabric your insert is.  The first diapers we ordered were Fuzzibunz one size (http://www.kellyscloset.com/FuzziBunzreg_bymfg_36-0-1.html)  They received rave reviews and are some of the most popular dipes out there, so I ordered a few.  The inserts are microterry and one diaper usually comes with two inserts, a small one and a larger one.  The inserts were great.  They were very absorbant and not too thick but it was important to me to have the natural fibers, so that was strike one!  Strikes two and three came all at once when no matter what I did, the diaper leaked all over!!!  I think this problem was due to the fact that these diapers are quite narrow.  Evie was never able to have a narrow diaper, even the disposable kind.  She is too wide in the hip area and way too active for them.  I thought I would like the snaps that Fuzzibunz have as opposed to the velcro (it tends to wear faster) but I had a hard time getting the fit right and it took longer than velcro would have.  This was not cool with my 'get up and go' girl!  So I ordered some Bum Genius 3.0 diapers.  They are another one size pocket diaper with a microfleece layer that touches the baby's skin.  (http://www.kellyscloset.com/bumGenius_bymfg_4-0-1.html)  They are a best seller across the board and again, got fantastic reviews!  BumGenius also has an organic cotton pocket diaper but they are very expensive.  The inserts that come with them are microterry.  I did not love these diapers either.  They were wider at the base so that was good, but the velcro is already wearing on our diapers!  I do know some mamas who have had their BG's for a long time without the velcro being a problem, but it was a problem for us!  We do have extremely hard water though, which probably did not help the situation!  The inserts that came with the covers were waaaaayyy wimpy as well.  I found that they were not as absorbent and were more of a pain to use.  You can purchase separate inserts for any of your diapers, but at the time I was just using the ones that came with the BG's.  I did find that I liked the idea of velcro better however, I just needed to find a better velcro!  I was a bit frustrated at this point because 2 of the bestselling brands had not worked for us.  So I called the customer service line at Kelly's Closet ( I thoroughly recommend them btw) and they were very helpful.  They put me in touch with one of their diaper experts and I asked lots of questions, all of them answered, and felt better about what to try next!  I was informed of the diapers with a wider base and those were researched next!
   Happy Heiny's turned out to be our magic brand!  http://www.kellyscloset.com/Happy-Heinys_bymfg_14-0-1.html  I really cannot say enough about them!  I first ordered a one size dipe and it came with 2 microfiber inserts.  I LOVED the wider base of the diaper, it is fantastic and HH are made so that the soft fleece touches the baby's legs instead of the elastic which makes them more cozy!  The one size does have a LOT of extra bulk though, so I did not like that and the inserts are not very absorbent either (at least not the microfiber).  However, we were on our way to the right diaper!  Continuing with Happy Heiny's we ordered some sized pocket diapers and they are fantastic!  The velcro on HH is superior in every way to the BumGenius diapers (also I don't know if I mentioned that BG now has a snap diaper, so if that appeals to you then BG is a great find) and the fit of the sized dipes is right on!  They are actually a bit generous so don't size up!  They even have different inserts made of hemp and cotton if you dislike the regular inserts, as I did.  Happy Heiny's also has a 'fitted' diaper made of hemp.  *A fitted diaper is a diaper that is made to fit the same way a disposable is but the whole thing is made of fabric and therefore can get wet all over(as opposed to the pocket dipes that only allow the insert to get wet).  They require a cover but are great for long trips or night time*  The Happy Hempy as they call it is also a pocket diaper!  We have found it to be fantastic for overnight!  It is pretty bulky if you add an insert to it but it absorbs like crazy!  I don't usually use them for day time because of the bulk and if I do I don't add an insert.  It is just too difficult for Evie to run around with this one on!  So, Happy Heiny's get our vote BIG TIME!
   I also love fitted diapers.  They are the best for overnight and since she is not moving around as much as during the day, can have an insert added regardless of whether or not they have a pocket.  Though the pocket fitted mentioned above is very nice!  In keeping with my search for natural fibers, I ordered some organic cotton/hemp Kissaluvs fitteds (http://www.kellyscloset.com/Kissaluvs-Organic-CottonHemp-Fitted-Diapers_p_3410.html) and some Tots Bots Bamboozles which are a bamboo fitted.  These can be found at Abby's Lane, a website I also recommend for your diapering needs! http://www.abbyslane.com/catalog.php?category=699  The organic cotton/hemp Kissas are wonderful!  Unfortunately they only come in 2 sizes....newborn and 10-40 pounds!  This makes for some bulk, but it is less bulk than the Happy Hempy!  They are very, very absorbent and we do frequently use them overnight with a cover or while we are out and about!  They come with a snap-in insert that is very thin and trim and even doubled adds lots of absorbancy and not a lot of bulk to the diaper, though the bulk is already there somewhat! :-(  Also, I have tried two different brands of wipe clean covers and I prefer Thirsties covers over Bummis!  I do like that all of my pocket diapers can double as covers for fitteds but that does add more fabric!  Anyhow, the bamboozles are sooooooo soft and fuzzy!  I love them.  They are great for day or night, but need an extra insert for night, which makes them quite bulky.  So generally I use them during the day!  I can tell Evie thinks they are soft and likes that about them.  She just learned the meaning of the word fluffy and how to say it, so I expect that will be her word for these dipes before too long! LOL  They are a bit more narrow but not so much that we can't use them, which again makes them great for day!  I like having the options of these three brands of natural fitteds!  They work well! (Happy Hempy's, Organic Kissaluvs, and Tots Bots Bamboozles)
   This next diaper is my favorite for daytime, especially around the house or when the grand-parents are over!  They are extremely easy to use, pretty absorbent, trim (good for running), and the cover is fantastic!  GroVia!  http://www.kellyscloset.com/GroVia-Gro-Baby_bymfg_94-0-1.html  They are seriously a fantastic diaper!!!!!  The inserts are organic cotton and snap in!  You can usually get through 2 or 3 diaper changes with just one cover because they snap in instead of slide in a pocket!  GREAT!  The velcro is absolutely amazing, even better than the Happy Heiny brand!  They also make great covers for fitted dipes during the day because they are not bulky and have a mesh layer that dries very quickly and can be wiped off if it gets wet!  These are the easiest for daddy to use as well!  They also have an organic cotton 'booster' that I use as an insert for every diaper we have!  That little thing can hold so much and is not bulky at all!  They (at least for us) are not good for travel though because they are more narrow than I'd like and I usually don't go more than a couple of hours without changing the snap-in, I am not sure it could handle my heavy wetter otherwise!  They also have some really strong elastic that irritates Evie's legs if we use them too often, probably not a problem for those without sensitive skin though!
   NOW let me get to the inserts!!!  I have expressed previously my distaste for the microterry and microfiber inserts.  I don't like them, not at all!  So I searched and searched and found 2 of the BEST inserts and both are made of natural fibers!  HOORAY!  We love, love the SuperDo from Knickerknappies http://www.kellyscloset.com/Knickernappies-Super-Do-Pre-washed-Inserts_p_3365.html  They are made from hemp, cotton and microfiber (just a small layer for keeping the baby dry purposes so this didn't bother me too much) and last 12 hours at night!  They are very thick and pretty bulky, so unless we are traveling or I know Evie won't be running around much I don't use them during the day.  They are sooooo absorbent though and fit great in all of my pocket diapers.  They have 3 different sizes and we only use the small and medium ones.  Sometimes I add a GroVia booster to them but it isn't always necessary.  My absolute favorite insert is the BabyKicks Hemparoo Joey Bunz!!!!!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!  We use the premium mostly but they are both fantasmic!  http://www.kellyscloset.com/BabyKicks_bymfg_3-0-1.html  They are so very thin and so very absorbent that I can use them when I know we will be out for a while and not have to worry about a leak at all!!!!  They allow Evie to run around like crazy without bulk also, which is great!  They also have 3 sizes and we only use the small and medium.  They fit wonderfully in my Happy Heiny pockets and also stuff into the fitteds well!  They are the main inserts we use and I could even get away with using them at night.  I would have to double or maybe triple them for 12+ hours, but they still wouldn't be that thick!!!  I like the premiums the best because they are designed to dry quickly (which they do) and allow me to add extra absorbency where I need it.  For instance, Evie sleeps on her tummy so any wetness ends up inthe front of the diaper.  I can fold it to add the absorbency just in front if I want which makes the diaper even less bulky and therefore more comfy!
   I have also found a great washing regimen and a way to combat the smellies before washing!  I had lots of questions in this area at first so let me tell you what I have found works best!  Again, we have terribly hard water which gives us problems.  I use a basic trash can with a lid and put a drawstring wet bag in the can.  I use 1 to 2 lemons a day so I save the peels and put them in a bowl which goes on the bottom of the pail.  Then I put the wet bag in and voila....NO STINKIES!  The peels need to be changed at least every other day but that is not a problem since I use so many, and then they aren't wasted!  If you don't use lemons as we do though, you can get any essential oil and put a few drops on some cloth at the bottom of your wetbag and some bags even contain a little fabric swatch for this purpose.  I have also used lemon oil for this!  When it is time to wash the diapers I take out the entire bag (it is best to have 2 so that I can still use cloth on my laundry day) and dump the contents into the washer, then in goes the bag (inside out).  I do one cold rinse with a capful of Calgon to remove gunk, one long hot wash with Calgon and 3Tbs Rockin Green Hard Rock detergent (found at Abby's Lane) and an extra warm rinse!  Works great every time, even for the poops!  Drying is simple also!  I don't dry my covers even though you can.  I find they wear easier if dried.  I always hang them and if it's sunny outside I will hang them out to dry in the sun, which also gets rid of stains like you wouldn't believe!  The inserts go in the drier if the weather is gross and I have never had a problem with them.  If the weather is nice though, I will hang them out to dry as well and again....sunshine is great for stains!
     WHEW!  I believe that's it and though we are still learning we have done some serious research and found what works the best for us!  So if any of you have any questions at all please don't hesitate to ask, I needed lots of help from my cloth mama friends and would love to be able to help other new to cloth moms with their research!  Have a fantabulous day!





Bananas Are Back!!!

Good morning everyone!!!  I am so excited that bananas are back in our lives!  My daughter has always had an intolerance to them.  She throws up if she eats them and gets a rash ~bummer.  Then when I had my son, he seemed to be having the same problem plus constipation from getting the banana through my breastmilk.  Oy!  So we cut them out and then found the real culprit!  Gluten!!!!  When your body doesn't process gluten it actually does damage to your intestines.  This damage can make your body reject other foods as well as decrease nutrient absorption.  After you have been gluten free, sometimes you can reintroduce the foods with which you previously had trouble!  The recommendation is 6 months post-gluten but we have only been G-free for about a month.  However, I wanted to see if I could have bananas again so I tried it and we waited.  There didn't seem to be a problem with my son anymore so that was exciting!  Then we gave my daughter some and she didn't seem to be bothered either, she has successfully eaten about an inch of banana without any problems!!!!!!!!!!!  This is HUGE for us!  Bananas are inexpensive, portable, delicious and a key component in a lot of raw foods!  :-)  In celebration of bananas, I would like to share my favorite banana smoothie recipe!!!  I have done this a thousand different ways and this is my favorite!

Chocolate Banana Shake:
2 frozen bananas
3 cups non-dairy milk (We use almond!  I thought that vanilla coconut milk would be fabulous here because it literally tastes like melted vanilla ice cream, but it wasn't ~so don't use it! )
2-3 Tbs cocoa powder
1 giant spoonful of raw almond butter (you can use pb if you like!)
2 small squares 72% (or more) chocolate bar!
optional ingredients:
small handful of unsulfured, unsweetened shredded coconut
spirulina
spinach or other greens

*assemble ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and creamy!!!  Serves 2! (Though I admittedly drank the entire pitcher when I was pregnant!)

Assemble all ingredients...
2 frozen bananas!


Not all chocolate is created equal!  Make sure you read the ingredients to ensure your chocolate doesn't contain milkfat or other yucky ingredients.  I like Endangered Species Chocolate and Newman's Own.


Blend it all up!


Enjoy!  I use stainless steel straws whenever possible!  I can't afford the glass ones as of yet, but the stainless allow me to have reusable straws which saves us money and it's one less plastic thing in my house and on my food!  I'm good with that!

I normally add spirulina to this shake but I have already had some today in my regular green smoothie so I decided not to add any to this one!  This is a great starter shake for green smoothies too!  With the exception of color, spinach is undetectable!  Check out this post from my favorite blogette for more recipes and ideas on smoothies!  I personally like kale in my smoothies and juices but in smoothies I would use the curly variety and de-stem it first, especially if you are a beginner!

I hope you try this recipe!  It is supremely delicious!  Have a fantabulous day!!!




Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dinner Fail.

Hello again!  It turns out that we ran out of food a day early and had to go to the grocery on Sunday instead of Monday.  Which ended up working out great because it was all snowy (again) yesterday and I have a flat tire!  I normally would not be excited about that but because we went to the grocery on Sunday, it didn't make any difference to me whether my tire was flat on Monday!  My father in-law offered to come over and fix my tire and I feel like that deserves some cookies!  So I will be making him some cookies with a recipe from a friend that I have converted to gluten free!  I will share that recipe with you when I make the cookies later! 

Anyway, since we are trying to save money....this week's menu was planned better so that I can use a lot of the items I already have around the house and we only bought the things we go through every week plus a few extra sale items and ingredients for suppers.  I liked having the meals picked out and choosing which day I wanted those meals in the moment better than having a dinner assigned to a specific day.  I decided to continue this way!  Here are our meals for this week:
Chickpea Burgers and Sweet Potato Chips ~I'll be making those myself
Pumpkin-Tomato Soup
Zucchini Pasta with Sundried Tomato Rawfredo Sauce ~I am taking this recipe and adding the sundrieds to the sauce
Salmon and steamed veggies ~I have two frozen pieces of salmon left and I am going to bake them with the rest of the ginger pear dressing as a glaze
Raw Pizza ~because I still have yet to make it even though it has been on our list for a while now
Breakfast Cookie Dough Cereal ~raw style because it is oh so delicious!  I like mine with cacao nibs and gogi berries!
Giant Salads........I have been craving them so I am excited about this one!

*Sigh*  Today was an interesting day to say the least.  It ended with my daughter having a really yucky skin reaction to some stickers she had been playing with all day.  I researched it a bit and found that most adhesives contain gluten, casein and latex.  Our society frustrates me this way.  I doubt that these things, or at least 2 of the 3 of them, are even necessary to make the adhesive.  It's probably just cheaper that way.  That's just speculation but it really annoyed me and of course made me feel bad because I should have known better.  Now I have to tell her that she can't play with the stickers in the morning when she asks for them and though her sad face will be short lived -she's cool like that- it upsets me that I even have to do it.  She should be able to play with stickers, ya know?  All day long I was stuck to the couch nursing my growing boy so she entertained herself with some Disney Princess stickers her uncle got her for Christmas.  It was so cute.  She kept running to the couch with a different sticker in hand to show me which one she had and tell me what color the dress was.  "Mommy, mommy....Belle!  Yellow!" she would retreat to her sticker stash, "Mommy, mommy.....Cingella (Cinderella) Blue!  Like it!"  On and on all day.  When she woke up from her nap she wanted to play a different game.  I was able to sit on the floor with her at this time since her brother was napping and she thought it was just hilarious to put the stickers on her head and run around all crazy.  Then she would bring some for me to put on my head and she just thought that was great ~mommy had them too!  She kept them on her head through her dinner and we noticed she had splotches all over her little body.  She didn't eat anything out of the norm today.  I haven't used any new soaps or detergents.  The only thing I could think of was...the stickers, adhesive is a common allergen.  We took them off and gave her a bath, sure enough.....the rash started to go away.  Now this little girl is incredibly full of life and energy and will find the fun and excitement in anything so she will be just fine.....but it ripped my heart out a little bit because she just loved them so much.  I know it sounds dumb and I am probably not explaining it properly, I don't know how to explain how I feel about it any better than that.  Maybe you just had to see her little face light up today to get it? I don't know?  There are worse things, believe me I know....but that's how I feel.  Moving on.

Dinner today was the Pumpkin-Tomato Soup.  We decided to have it with the Sesame Green Beans on last week's menu because I had yet to fix them! ;-)  Usually I also fix grilled goat cheese sandwiches with my soup but we have had a lot of goat cheese recently and I didn't want any.  I read one of my favorite blogs today and the post was about Socca.  Socca is sort of like a chickpea flatbread.  I was also intimidated to try it even though I had read about it before from the twins.  Fitnessista made it seem doable by simplifying the recipe even further so I thought I'd give it a shot.  I used 1 cup water and 1 cup chickpea flour, added some chopped chives, sea salt and a dash of chili powder.  FAIL.  The bottom burned and the top was too runny to flip.  It stuck to the pan and was not at all like I had hoped.  I ended up with these hushpuppy looking things that I tore up and put in my soup.  Truthfully, the taste was really good.  It just didn't turn out the way it was meant.  By this time I was too exhausted, frustrated and upset to eat.....so here I sit typing this post! lol  I need to go to bed but I am just so frustrated about a lot of different things that I can't sleep.  I could use some warmth and sunshine for sure!  Anyhow, I will share with you the recipe for the soup which was yummy as usual and call it a night!
Pumpkin-Tomato Soup:
1 can pumpkin
1 can stewed or diced tomatoes, no salt added
1 can tomato paste
1Tbs chives
1 cup water
sea salt and agave nectar to taste

*Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Heat to desired temperature on stove or in microwave, adding water if necessary.  Serves 4.
**I always add raw pumpkin seeds to the top of my soup as well! 
This is pictured with the goat cheese sandwiches which can be done a couple of ways:

Take your favorite multigrain, whole wheat or gluten free bread and spread vegan soy free butter on one side of each of two slices ~just like a regular grilled cheese sandwich.  Put slices of goat cheddar on the unbuttered side and grill in pan until cheese melts.

The other option is to take a spreadable goat cheese and add some spinach then grill to perfection!  Both are delicious!

Have a fantastic evening!

Saving Some Money!

Hello everyone!

We are trying to save money on groceries.  We really hadn't been trying that hard.  We got really excited about all these new recipes we wanted to make and didn't really coordinate things to use the items we already had in the house nor did we limit our expensive ingredients.  Bad.  We recently made the gluten free switch so that was hard on our wallets as well.  We rid our house of all the gluten containing pasta, breads, snacks, flours, sauces, and other random food items as well as things like our knives, toaster and collander.  Thankfully a lot of those items are items you only have to buy once or once in a while!  However, they still made a decent dent in our grocery budget and I am trying to crack down on the bill!  I am not notoriously great at saving money at the grocery.  I have a hard time finding sales and coupons that coordinate and that I can use.  I also don't have the time or desire to go all over the place in order to get a sale and Kroger does not price match, which is annoying!  I am doing better though.  Our weekly bill this week was half of what it had been and that made me really happy because cutting it in half was my goal but I didn't think it would happen so soon.  I thought I would have a more difficult time but we will see whether it was just a fluke when I go to the store next week! ;-)

Again, I am not the go-to gal on coupons and saving money but here are a few tips you can hopefully use for saving money all around as well as at the grocery!  First of all, cut the cable or satellite.  It isn't necessary at all and now that things like Hulu, Netflix and Redbox exist it is easy to save money and still enjoy your movies or shows.  You could also trade movies with friends instead of buying more yourself and then trade back when you are done.  This has worked for us on many occasions!  We have recently traded entire TV show collections!  If you feel you simply must have cable or satellite then stay on the phone until you get a great price!  It works!  If one representative just won't budge then ask to speak to a supervisor or call back.  Usually you don't get the same person twice! 

Make your own laundry detergent!  This is a double money saver for us because we have extremely hard water and this detergent works so well that we don't have to use fabric softener!  It's also gentle enough to use for babies and people with sensitive skin! 

Cut your cell phone service back to the lowest minute plan and try to stick to it.  You may be surprised how well you do with this if you try!  We don't pay for texting either.  We can receive them but we don't pay to send them ourselves.  It is not something that is necessary for us! 

When you go out to eat, get water for your drink.  You will be healthier and save up to 3.99 a person!  That can add up!  My husband and I often share an entree at restaurants where the servings are double huge, Cheesecake Factory for instance!  If we get dessert, we split that as well.  You can also sign up to receive emails and coupons from most major restaurant chains.  They will send coupons for your birthday and anniversary.  We usually get a free appetizer with entree purchase, free dessert, or a percent off coupon.

At the grocery you can save money by taking advantage of sales and using coupons.  I am in awe of the people who seem to come out with extremely low priced or free groceries but I have not been able to get there yet!  You can get coupons online from SmartSource, RedPlum, All You Magazine, and Target.  Search other store websites for coupons before you go shopping and always look at the online ads as well.  You can also get them from the Sunday paper.  When it comes to coupons, I don't find a lot for the foods that we buy anymore.  There just aren't coupons for produce, or at least not that I am finding, and because of this I have actually found the Kroger plus card extremely helpful.  When you use the card, the store sends coupons to your home for the items that you use most or that they think you might use based on the other things that you buy!  This is how I got buy one get one free coconut milk coupons and how I get coupons for other organic and boxed items that we will actually use.  They even send me coupons for produce from time to time which is really helpful!  The other coupon sources listed above may not be helpful for me in terms of food anymore, but I do get household and personal items much cheaper.  If I buy diapers I always get a coupon and there are usually plenty of coupons for things like toilet paper, toothpaste, hair care products, deodorant, razors, soap, dishwashing liquid and other such items.  Some manufacturers have an email list similar to that of the restaurant chains, and they will send you coupons from time to time as well.  If there is an item you really like, check the website to see if they have such a list and if not, consider sending an email to let them know how much you love their product and they might send you samples or a coupon!  One website, Mambo Sprouts, does have coupons for healthier food items.  They will even send you an e-booklet.  Another thing I find helpful for saving money with produce is to take advantage of the sale prices!  If something is on sale.........I stock up and freeze what I won't use before spoiling.  That gives me plenty of fruit for smoothies or baking purposes!  This week at the grocery, bananas and grapes are on sale so I bought more than I would normally use and the rest went in the freezer!  Let's talk about organics!

Organic fruits and vegetables can be more expensive but definitely worth it.  Pesticides and other junk can get through the skin of your fruits and vegetables and even if you wash them, you are still ingesting all that yucky cancer causing stuff.  Blech.  There are some exceptions though!  You can soak your produce in a diluted vinegar mixture which can rid it of most pesticides.  Be careful not to soak too long, I was recently informed that 10 minutes is about all it takes otherwise the vinegar will start leaching things like calcium out of your food.  For example, I can't get organic grapes around here but once in a blue moon so I buy the regular ones and soak them.  This saves me money too because on the occasion organic grapes are available....they are twice the price!  I WILL NOT buy the grapes or other fruits and veggies that are on steroids. I just won't.  You know what I mean.......the grapes that are the size of golf balls and the apples the size of your child's head?  Yeah, those do not enter my house!  They taste terrible and who knows what was added to them to make them that big!?!?  There are some fruits/veggies that are more likely to be contaminated with heavy pesticides and chemicals and they are referred to as the 'dirty dozen!'  You should buy these things organic whenever you can!  If it just isn't possible you need to make sure you soak these in the vinegar mix!  Familiarize yourself with this list!  Write it on an index card and keep it in your purse or diaper bag so that you have it when you go to the store!  Just in case you don't click on the link, here you go:
The Dirty Dozen
Celery
Peaches
Strawberries
Apples
Domestic blueberries
Nectarines
Sweet bell peppers
Spinach, kale and collard greens
Cherries
Potatoes
Imported grapes
Lettuce
Sometimes it just isn't possible to get these foods organic and I understand that completely!  It is still far better to eat fruits and vegetables, organic or not, than to get some boxed junk with artificial colors, flavors and ingredients and *gasp* high fructose corn syrup! ;-)  The good news is that most of these foods are the same price as the inorganic ones!  Some foods that aren't on the dirty dozen list, like avocados, are the same price organic or not.....so I always go with the organic!  If it's the same price then why not?  A garden is a great money saver for the greens especially!  I hope that all of this helps.  I am sure there are lots of things I have forgotten, but I wanted to get this information to you because it has helped us a lot!  This is just a drop in the bucket of money saving tips, but again..........hopefully it helps!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Salsa Al Pomodoro Maccheroni!!!

Hello again!  I wanted to share another recipe with you!  Changing our diet this way has actually inspired me to try and create new things in the kitchen from both my brain and that of others'!  I had previously "lost that lovin' feelin" in the kitchen.  I think it was because everything was old news to us and nothing made me feel spectacular or anything so I had no interest in cooking or uncooking for that matter.  For me it was a pain to think ahead and remember to thaw out meat and prepare it, being very careful not to contaminate anything with the bacteria of raw meat.  It always grossed me out so I was very careful and things took extra long!  I was also sick all the time and it just wasn't something that interested me!  Now, I feel great and have lots of energy as well as interest in making the foods that taste so great and supply that energy!  Win-Win-Win (Hopefully, you watch 'The Office' and understand the whole triple win thing! ;-) )  Anyway, I have been trying to come up with recipes on my own instead of taking those from others and altering them.  It's just something I always wanted the ability to do.  Some of them turn out and....well....others don't!  This recipe turned out great!!!!! 

When I was planning this week's menu I had originally planned to use elbow pasta hence the 'maccheroni' but we ate that earlier this week, haha, so I used spirals instead!  I suppose you could actually call this recipe 'Salsa Al Pomodoro Rotini' then!  It really doesn't matter what style of pasta you use.  Though, spaghetti types will be more difficult to assemble and eat!

Salsa Al Pomodoro Maccheroni!
8oz pasta (If using gluten free pasta this will be the entire box.  Traditional pastas have 16oz so use half!)
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 clove garlic
2 handfuls organic baby spinach
1 can mushrooms pieces and stems (you could also use 1/2-3/4 cup fresh mushrooms)
1/2 cup shredded goat cheddar (optional)

First, boil water for your pasta and partially cook it......don't overcook because the pasta will cook a bit more in the oven.  Preheat oven to 350.



While you are waiting for the water to boil, add the garlic, spinach and mushrooms to a chopper or food processor and chop finely.  You can really use any veggies you want.  This is what I used but peppers, olives or any other veggies you want can be added to your sauce!   
Add the chopped veggies to the jar of pasta sauce and stir together in a bowl!  Tip:  I always and I mean always hide vegetables in my pasta sauce!  It makes any jarred sauce taste great and nobody will even bat an eye.  You will probably get a "Wow, this sauce is amazing! Where did you get it?"  comment as I did the first time!  What they don't know can't hurt em' right!?!?  ;-)

Line a 9x9 baking dish with foil and spread a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of the pan.  I line my pans with foil for two reasons!  One, it's easier to clean up and two, I can't afford to replace every gluten contaminated pan that we have and I'm not taking any chances....so I line it with foil!

The thin layer of pasta sauce.

Next, take your partially boiled pasta and drain it.  Then add it as the next layer in your dish followed by the shredded goat cheddar, if using.  If you don't want the goat cheddar you can add a thin layer of nut cheese or half a thinly sliced zucchini.  The zucc would be great and I would have added that to mine for sure if I had one! Yum  You could also completely omit this step and go to the next if you like!

Add the rest of the sauce to the top and bake for 20-25 minutes in preheated oven.  The idea is just to heat everything through so it should only take about 20 minutes!
After cooking!

There it is, Salsa Al Pomodoro Rotini!  This was so easy and very delicious!

This recipe could very easily be doubled and added to a 13x9 pan with an extra layer OR you could make 2 9x9 pans and FREEZE one for later!  I love recipes that pay you back.....like when you're in a bind and remember that you froze a recipe for just such an occasion! The cooking instructions would be the same on the frozen meal, just thaw before you bake!  Have a fantastic weekend!








Busy, Busy, Busy!

We have been super busy around here lately and I wanted to do a quick post just to let you know that there are a few things I am working on for you!  Stay tuned for posts about how to get started eating healthier, juices/smoothie basics, a special gardening post, saving money and of course lots more yummy recipes!  We don't have much time at the present moment with my baby boy nursing around the clock and chasing my toddler girl around all day! lol  They are definitely worth it though!
Tummy time for the baby!


LOL  She's a firecracker this one!  Love them!

I'm Obsessed!

It turns out the Southwest flavors are still a craving of mine!  We had raw tacos again this week along with this beautiful creation:
and now for the topping:

shredded raw goat cheddar!  This thing came out of Kyle's brain!  It's amazing!  All the raw taco fixins' atop organic blue corn and flax tortilla chips!!!  Perfect for watching a movie with your husband!  (or for getting ready to watch a movie and then being too tired to actually watch said movie so you go to sleep at 7:30!) 

I am also obsessed with artichokes and eggplant of late, in case you haven't noticed! haha  I promise there are tons more recipes that do not contain artichokes or eggplant coming soon!  This however, was the recreation of my Carrabbas Insalata Fiorucci!  Basically it was a salad with artichokes, grilled eggplant, roasted red peppers and a hazelnut encrusted (gross word) goat cheese medallion!  It was so delicious that I had to have more, so I recreated it with great results!!!! 
So tasty!  The eggplant at the restaurant was marinated in something with a slightly sweet flavor, my guess is balsamic vinegar, but I found this dressing on closeout at Kroger and wanted to try it!

Ginger Pear dressing from Maple Grove Farms!  The original salad also had Italian Greens but they wanted a fortune for those at the grocery this week so I used a Romaine blend.  I also found this fabulous Honey Goat Cheese and wanted to try it, though at the restaurant they used regular.
It was a really good addition to the salad though and went really well with the flavors of the ginger pear dressing!  I also used pecans rather than hazelnuts because that is what I had!
I wanted to roll the sliced goat cheese in the ground up pecans but that didn't work out so well!  I ended up toasting them and then adding it to the top of the cheese and the salad!  Here is the recipe!

Marinated A&E Salad:
One bag salad greens (Italian blend is optimal but any will work!)
One red pepper, roasted and chopped
Small eggplant
1/2 bag frozen artichoke hearts (Trader Joe's)
1 cup of your marinade (dressing or balsamic vinegar)
Pecans, crumbed and toasted ( I used about a cup)
Olive oil and sea salt for roasting pepper

*Assemble all ingredients.  Turn broiler on HI and quarter red pepper.  Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt, place on pan and put in oven to roast.  They are done when the skin starts to pucker, about 10 minutes.  While peppers are roasting, slice eggplant and place in shallow bowl with marinade~ toss.  When peppers are done, transfer them to another surface.  Place marinated eggplant on baking sheet previously used for pepper.  Add 1/2 bag frozen artichokes to pan as well, drizzle with leftover marinade.  Place in oven with broiler still on high.  Heat a small pan on stove over medium heat.  While veggies are in oven and pan is heating up, slice goat cheese.  Crumb pecans.  (I always place them in a bag and hit them with a rolling pin!) Then turn stove off and add crumbed pecans to heated pan with a small drizzle of olive oil, toss in pan until toasted.  Don't overcook pecans, it won't take long at all....maybe a minute or two!  Take veggies out of the oven and add to salad greens along with sliced/chopped roasted pepper.  Add goat cheese medallions and pecans to top of salad and FEAST!  The whole thing took about 20 minutes! 

You can add any kind of dressing you wish.  I added the juice of about half a lemon and Kyle used more of the marinade dressing.  Italian would work well.  You may not need anything extra though!  The marinated veggies give plenty of flavor!


Assembled ingredients!


Roasted red pepper!


Toasted pecan crumbs!


Finished product!  Marinated A&E Salad!  YUM!
This served two with some eggplant and peppers left!  If you want to increase to 4 servings just get another package of goat cheese and double the amount of artichoke, salad greens and pecans!  If you end up with extra veggies, they are good to eat just by themselves or with some goat cheese on top! ;-)  I hear that Trader Joe's has prepackaged, individually wrapped goat cheese medallions.....so if you are going there for your artichokes you could check those out as well!  Sounds yummy!  You can also add a side of grilled or baked salmon or chicken to this dish if you are a meat eater.  If you don't eat meat and want more food, you can always have some pasta (GF would be my choice!) on the side!  So, let me know if you try this dish and what you think!








Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

One of my daughter's favorite books is 'Wacky Wednesday' by Dr. Seuss.  I certainly feel like that has been a real life pattern for us lately!  Maybe we should stop reading that book...hmmm.... ;-)  I have been unsuccessful at all attempts to get anything done the last few Wednesdays and today was no exception!  Little lady refused to take her nap and is very overtired and sleepy and cranky.  Early bedtime tonight?  I think so!  The baby man just could not get enough to eat today and also became overtired.  Nothing I could do was stopping him from crying out of exhaustion, so we just cuddled until he calmed down.  My daughter was soooo good at this point, she just played while I helped her brother and came to check on us occasionally!  Great big sister!  Though, I think it was at this time that she missed her 'sleep window' and thus began her nap refusal! Oh well!  There are no 'Terrible Thursday' books right?  Tomorrow is another day!  Days like today I find it hard to focus on the things at hand, like my babies, and instead worry about the dishes or laundry or the fact that I have yet to brush my teeth!  I have said it before, but I really am trying to get better with this.  I don't want to wish away this time because they are only young once.  I am thankful that I was able to have extra cuddles with both of them today!  I am also very thankful for having discovered raw foods!  They give me the most energy and I just happen to have the easiest raw food dinner planned for tonight!  Raw Pancakes!

These are so delicious and we always eat them with blueberries and shaved coconut!  The recipe is from 'Ani's Raw Food Kitchen.'  They are actually called, Coconut Breakfast Cakes.  Yum Yum Yum!  She suggests any type of true syrup could be used.  Maple, berry, agave....whatever you desire!
2 Cups whole flaxseed or 3 Cups flaxseed meal ( I split the difference!)
2 Tbs liquid coconut oil ( I use coconut butter!)
1/2 cup agave or maple syrup (both are good!)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup water

*Mix it all together and form into pancake shape!  Serve with sliced fruit or any of the syrups listed above or in her book!  Batter will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge!  4 servings!

I love this recipe, it's so simple and really filling.  I never feel like I need an extra long nap after these pancakes like I do with traditional pancakes either!  It's pretty versatile as well.  You could mix mashed banana or any type of nut in with the batter and have 'Coconut-Banana Cream Pie Breakfast Cakes!' (tell me that doesn't sound good!!!)  So needless to say, I am looking forward to supper!

Have a great day! 

Are you hoping for snow?  Or Are you hoping the snow doesn't hit?  (pick a team!)