With apologies to Jamie Oliver

I used dried parsley, not fresh.

 

I snipped the chives straight from the garden, however.

 

(IMG_1025http://www.jamieoliver.com/magazine/recipes-view.php?title=chilled-cucumber-soup&home=1)

Advertisements

I Guess I Asked For It

Don’t you just love it when people who don’t even know you or know very much about you give you critical advice that you MUST follow or you’ll regret it?  I’m still stewing over a situation I got myself into today and have moved from kind of hurt to pissed off.

Miles is having some minor health issues and I thought I’d hop onto my local Weston A. Price Foundation listserve to find out what their thoughts were on traditional, nourishing foods to address the problems and help heal him.  After all, I’m  big believer in food being our medicine.

So, silly me, once I explained the current situation, I checked back eagerly throughout the day to see what people might have to say.  And lo and behold what they had to say was this:

I am “allowing” my child to only eat certain foods.

My child is a picky eater.

I need to “nip” his “picky eating habits” in the bud or I’ll “regret it” later.

Definitely don’t allow him to snack during the day, 3 squares and that’s it

and, my personal favorite so far

I should just serve him his dinner and if he doesn’t like it he can eat again at breakfast.  (oh, yes? really?  feel free to come to my house at 1:37 a.m. when he wakes up crying from an empty belly and YOU be the one to get up with him, feed him and then get him back to sleep. or not. because maybe he won’t be ABLE to get back to sleep for another 3 hours. feel free to just come and do that. that’s fine.)

First of all, all I asked for was some dietary advice.  I thought this was the Weston A Price group, NOT the James Dobson group.

Secondly, you have no idea about me as a parent but even more specifically about my son and the type of child he is.

I pick my battles with my son.  They are many. He is persistent. I pick the ones that I have the most chance of winning.  The rest is a non-issue.

My son doesn’t like green beans?  What do I care?  He eats curry!

It’s not that he’s picky, he just could care less about food.  He’d much rather play hungry than sit and eat and not play.   And that’s what he does. Unless I remind him to eat…and remind him..and remind him…and cajole…and sit there…and finally put the food into his mouth….and 45 minutes later he’s eaten a 1/4 cup of oatmeal.

Who has time for that?

I make sure that the things he likes best are of the best quality I can afford and if he won’t eat onions, well, I for one am not going to get my knickers in a twist.

This child is more persistent than 3 kids put together.  Someday I’m sure that will be a good thing.  Right now, as his mother, it seriously drives me to the brink sometimes.  Look, YOU KNOW how he is if you’ve read this blog from a few years back…go refresh your memory if you need to, I’ll wait.

So he has a limited menu of likes?  He can freaking READ and WRITE.  So stuff it, ladies.  Don’t judge me, don’t judge my son. If you don’t have anything actually useful to say, don’t waste my time with your preachy drivel. Go away and ferment something but leave me alone.

 

Random

I’ve been trying to compose a coherent post for about an hour now and I feel like, bleh, not really worth it.

So here’s a brief run-down of the thots in my head right now:

1.I’m considering ingesting my placenta. Not MY placenta, actually, but my baby’s

 T didn’t want to start trying to have a baby until later in the summer because he said things would be too busy at work this time of year for him to get time off.  well. i didn’t want to wait since it took 6 months to get Miles started.  Turns out it took exactly 1/6 of that amount of time for me to get knocked up this time.  Also turns out that T wasn’t kidding about not getting time off.  Head-in-the-sand me thot SURELY he’d be able to get a week off or so but actually, no.  So unless Baby comes about 10 days post-due date, T’s not going to have a chance to be around.  So therefore I messed up big time.  And be it on my own head.  Actually, after a breather in March, he’ll be back to the grind until about May, so in fact there really wasn’t a perfect time for this birth. Unless it was before the beginning of this year. Which its too late to change now.

Along with that, I just remember being terribly depressed with Miles. And the thot of feeling that way again terrifies me, actually.  The PPD lasted the better part of a year and I really do NOT want to go there again, esp with T so busy with work.

So.

Enter the placenta.  APPARENTLY, the hormonal and whatever-else content of the placenta is something that helps both boost energy and alleviate PPD. Even if it doesn’t, what can it hurt to try?  It’s gotta be cheaper than therapy and much less tedious that someone calling Child Protective Services on you.  Every other live-birthing animal eats the placenta so it’s really just biological.

That said, yep, it sounds icky.  Enter encapsulation.  The placenta is steamed, dehydrated, powdered and put into capsule form. Then you take a couple a day as needed along with a healthy helping of chocolate.  Just kidding about the chocolate part. No, wait. I’m not.  BUT, its expensive to have done so it looks like I might actually have an excuse to buy a dehydrator and try to get to it myself, which I didn’t want to do, but money’s been flying out the window right and left lately, so if I want to actually try this, I’ll have to do it myself, I think.

Anyway, there you go. I might eat my placenta.

2. T’s been diagnosed with Celiac disease. If you don’t know what that means, its just basically that his body can’t tolerate gluten, which is found in wheat, rye and barley (and beer).  The gluten actually damages the GI tract and essentially the person with this ends up not being able to absorb nutrients. Kind of like a starvation of a kind.  Lots of celiac people have really severe reactions to gluten but T does not so it wasn’t on our radar. It’s not a terribly big deal but has involved changing over the flours I use in baking.  And, of course, the beer issue.  very, very sad.

3.  I buy good-quality, expensive eggs and it has galled me to have to use them in baking things like cookies or other unhealthy treats when they cost so much.  So I found out that a good egg replacer formula is this:

1 tbsp ground flax seed + 3 tbsp water = 1 egg

So there you go. Save your $4/doz free-range eggs for eating straight up and put flax in your brownies.  It’s a win-win situation.

4. That’s all really.  I know. Very random.  However, 7-layer brownies are calling my name and I must obey.

ttfn~~

Cheap and Wholesome Eats: Crockpot Carrot Soup

I got this recipe off Allrecipes.com at some point and not only is it tasty, it is absolutely doable in the crockpot.

Stuff

1 C. chopped onion
1/4 c. butter, cubed
4 1/2 C. sliced carrots (fyi, with largish carrots, each carrot equals about a cup when chopped so I just throw in about 5 carrots when I crock it)
1 lg potato, chopped (or quartered if crocking)
2 cans chicken broth or equivalent homemade
1 tsp ground ginger or tbsp fresh
2 c. heavy cream, coconut milk or a blend
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp each of salt, pepper, and nutmeg

how to

1. Saute onion in butter till tender. Add carrots, potatoes, broth and ginger. Cook till soft and allow to cool for about 15 mins. 

1a. ALTERNATELY, put your carrots, potato, broth and ginger into the crockpot and let it do its thing.  You don’t even have to chop the veggies this way. Bonus.

2. Blend in small batches till smooth, return to saucepan, stir in cream and seasonings and re-warm but don’t let boil.

2a. OR, chop and saute carrots as in 1 above, add to carrot mixture in crockpot and then follow Step 2.

Serve with whole grain bread or toast. Perfect for winter!

Cheap Eats: Stew Edition. And also a bit about The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

So I got my meat share a couple weeks ago and Woohoo! I’m so excited to have access to 100% grass fed and finished beef.  The farm we bought from also has their own processing plant and they only process a few animals a DAY (compared to the up to 400 animals processed per HOUR at one of the Big Five processers.  Thanks, Ominvore’s Dilemma, for that tidbit!) to keep the final moments of life as stress-free as possible.

This is all very important to me.  Americans have gotten used to and in fact demand cheap food, regardless of whether that food is actually good for them (and the planet. and their children and grandchildren) or not.  Ground beef at 1.99/lb frees up people to have satellite TV and drive their latest model hybrid SUV (isn’t that an oxymoron?). 

 T pointed out the irony to me a few days ago that people will get all up in arms about demanding quality of so many things that they are paying for….except food.  That is the one place they will cut corners and buy poor quality, even if it comes at the risk of cancer, diabetes or obesity.  And not only that, DEMAND that it BE cheap, be incensed if it’s “too expensive”, relatively speaking. 

Perhaps because food is the one area where it’s actually possible to hide poor quality–by manipulating taste and fooling our bodies.  As long as it fills you up and tastes good, it doesn’t matter if it is produced off the backs of animals sweltering in feedlots filled with their own excrement, fed diets that they were never meant to eat, or that the quality of soil on the American farm steadily declines as it has for the past 50 or 60 years since contemporary growing practices became the norm or that the American farmer can’t make ends meet but are caught in the agribusiness web of lies that preys on both producer and consumer…and consumee.

Oh, but I digress.

Can you tell I’ve been reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma?  If you haven’t read it, you ought to.  Everyone who eats food should.

Anyway, because my 100% grass-fed beef did in fact cost more than $1.99/lb, now my goal is to dole it out as slowly as possible.  I’ve actually made dishes that contained meat TWICE this week and it seems so profligate! 

One fabulous way of stretching the meat budget is in soup and stew and casseroles.  Basically, one dish meals that you can toss lots of veggies, beans, grains into as well.

Tonight’s dish was a great winter chili made with sausage. I combined a couple different recipes and it was really good.

Using my 1 pound of ground pastured pork from the farmer’s market, I got 6 servings out of this:

Ingredients:

1 lb pastured pork or sausage
1 c. white beans, soaked overnight in water and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (this is the only thing you have to do ahead for this one) (or use a can of beans, with a side of BPA)
2 c. pumpkin or squash puree (again with the BPA!  Unless you make your own puree, which I did because it’s not hard, it just takes baking time)
2 cups broth (I used veggie broth since I had it)
1 large onion, chopped
5 mushrooms, sliced (or can of mushrooms. or pre-sliced. whatever)
1 large carrots, chopped in large hunks
1/4 c. cream to stir in at end (optional. unless you are me. and then cream is never optional. much like cheese.)

Season with: 2 tsp cocoa powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp garlic

Top with: frizzled sage leaves, fresh cilantro, chopped parsley, feta cheese, etc.

How to:

1. Boil beans, if not using canned, till tender. Fry sausage and remove from pan. Fry onions and mushrooms together and set aside.
2. Add all ingredients, except mushroom and onion (I like to have my onions not be to mushy but you can add them all in together if its easier) to crock pot and simmer on low all day.
3. Stir in cream at end if using, top with whatever you like.
4.  Eat.  Also good with a side of toasted multi-grain bread.

Cheap Eats, Ethnic version: Bibimbap

This is NOT a quick meal but it IS relatively cheap AND delicious AND not quite so time-intensive as the typical Korean style way.

BiBimBap

Ingredients

Carrots, 2-3 matchsticked (or buy them that way)  (ideally, carrots are a good thing to buy organic, as are all root vegetables.  On that, do you know that carrots are SO good at absorbing all the stuff that’s in the ground that it is planted as a throw-away crop for leaching out nasty chemicals/pesticides/etc from the soil?)
1 zucchini, sliced into half circles
1 small bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed (altho, I used beet leaves this time because I had some left-over from my beet kvass and that tasted just as good)
mushrooms, pre-sliced will save you more time but whatever
bean sprouts

Sesame seed oil (yep, you need this or it won’t taste right)
Sesame seeds for sprinkling
GoChuJang (fermented Korean red pepper paste. I SUPPOSE you could do without it but it would REALLY not be the same.  I found some preservative-free, msg-free GoChuJang by Annie Chun’s at Kroger for about $5.  The typical GoChuJang that you’d get at the Korean market has MSG so it was worth paying a bit more for the Annie Chun’s)

Boiled rice, traditionally sticky white rice but do what you like

1 egg per serving, fried sunny-side up

How T0
Take all your sliced veggies and fry them up in sesame oil.  If I am making this dish for company, I fry them all individually which, let me tell you, is a PAIN but makes the presentation nicer.  If it’s just us then, meh.  But I DO fry the mushrooms and spinach together after frying the others because the mushrooms will discolor the bean sprouts and zukes. Not a big deal but there you are.

Dish your rice into bowls, heap the veggies on top and drizzle all with more sesame oil.

Fry 1 egg per person sunny side up in sesame oil and top your bowl with egg.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Viola.

Slather on Add GoChuJang to taste and enjoy.

It’s not hard, not too time consuming if you cook all the things together and buy pre-cut things AND its an awesome way to get your veggies for the day in.

Cheap Eats: Two for One

So since I’m on this recipe kick, I thought I’d keep going on in the same vein ad naseum.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

But everyone can use recipes for cheap (yet real and wholesome!) meals, right?

Part I: Potato Broccoli Cheese Soup

I cheated on this one. I had a Tetra pak of Potato-Leak soup on hand (organic, natch).  I chopped two potatoes, cut up about a cup and a half of broccoli heads, added the potatoes into the soup till they were soft and then added the brocc till it was just tender.

Puree half the soup in a blender and stir in a cup or two of shredded cheese of your choice (just make sure it is at least rBGH-free. Kroger brand cheese is, even if it is from factory farms :S  But raw cheese and cheese from happy pastured cows is expensive…one exception: Tillamook is a decent price and since their cheese is made from cows in OREGON then OF COURSE they are happy.  Seriously, who wouldn’t be? But I digress.)

Final step: serve.  Miles loved this; therefore I will be making this again, but probably from scratch, which takes just a tad longer and involves broth but its not too much more time intensive.

Part II: Chicken Tortilla Soup

So I have this fabulously outrageously delicious recipe for white chili which also happens to be fairly time-intesive…but this is not that recipe. It just TASTES like it.

The original recipe is here.  This is my modification:

1.5 cups chicken from my free-range hen I got at the farm (I haven’t been able to buy bulk meats yet; hence, the parsimonious parcelling out of meat and heavily veggie-based recipes because individual pastured meat is expensive).
Olive oil
1 tsp garlic (or MORE)
1 tsp cumin
29 oz broth (I used veggie)
1 – 1.5 cups white beans (soaked and pre-cooked)
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp lemon juice (oops, I forgot this tonight but it turned out equally fine)
1/2 – 1 cup shredded white cheese

Saute chicken (if not cooked) and onion in oil.  Add garlic and fry a little more. Add spices and mix.  Add broth and beans and let simmer till warmed through.

Add in shredded cheese and heat till cheese is stirred through.

Top with extra cheese, sour cream, guacamole, avocado, broken up corn chips, whatever your little heart desires.

This is super-yum, seriously.

Previous Older Entries