"Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark."

~ Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!

It's All Hallow's Eve!
It's our most favorite holiday of the year!

Or so he is learning...

He is considering liking it...

Pumpkins are carved...compliments of hubby :)

He's a natural :)


Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Just Label It! Campaign

Have you heard about the Just Label It! Campaign?
I just found out about this over at The Mountain Rose Herb Blog. And I think it is a FANTASTIC idea!

Trying to read labels and decipher what the ingredients are anymore is taxing, no? What a nightmare.
And with all the advertising and marketing ploys out there, it just makes things worse! Check out this post from The Healthy Home Economist - what a perfect example.

When I go to purchase meat, I would want to know if it was genetically modified...because I wouldn't buy it! And seeing as the percentage of GMO food in the US is unreal, I assume the FDA doesn't require labeling because profits would tank. Just my thought though!

Check out the Just Label It! website, tell the FDA you want your food labeled and spread the word!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cool Things I've Found [this week]

Check out some of the neat things I have stumbled upon this past week!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Addressing the Mold!

I had a few messages from readers on my Making Sauerkraut post from earlier this week in regards to the 'mold situation'! I thought I would try and shed some light on this disgusting matter since, lets face it, even my husband is not convinced and refuses to eat the Sauerkraut!

I too was skeptical. My first try at naturally fermented foods were a batch of pickles this summer. Initially, the first few days, they smelled AWESOME! Like those wonderful, garlicky deli pickles you love! But, by the time it was time to try them out, I instantly spit them out and pretty much gaged at the same time. Something went oh so wrong and it was clear they weren't ok to eat. It was the complete opposite with the Sauerkraut. After skimming away the mold, it still looked, and tasted, oh so good. I knew it was ok. You know - sometimes you just know these things. And I figured as much with the pickles, but tried them anyways to be sure. Should have went with my hunch on them :)

Here are a few references I have pulled from the Internet that I thought I would share to help alleviate some concerns. I have read up on it enough to know that mold is ok to just be skimmed away and it is only there because air was able to reach those areas. But, the kraut tucked in its nice brine is safe from any nasty-ness! I realize though, that is not enough assurance for most - so check out these references below before you forgo making your own kraut!

This excerpt comes from Sandor Ellix Katz's site, Wild Fermentation. He has a book by the same name. The man is nicknamed 'Sandorkraut' for crying' out loud! -- Check the kraut every day or two. The volume reduces as the fermentation proceeds. Sometimes mold appears on the surface. Many books refer to this mold as “scum,” but I prefer to think of it as a bloom. Skim what you can off of the surface; it will break up and you will probably not be able to remove all of it. Don’t worry about this. It’s just a surface phenomenon, a result of contact with the air. The kraut itself is under the anaerobic protection of the brine. Rinse off the plate and the weight. Taste the kraut. Generally it starts to be tangy after a few days, and the taste gets stronger as time passes. In the cool temperatures of a cellar in winter, kraut can keep improving for months and months. In the summer or in a heated room, its life cycle is more rapid. Eventually it becomes soft and the flavor turns less pleasant. (Wild Fermentation)

This is another excerpt I found from a website that, I think, is pretty cut and dry to help set your mind at ease! -- If you're skittish about leaving food at room temperature for weeks at a time, know that fermentation is one of the oldest and simplest methods of preserving foods. It's safe and reliable, as long as you follow directions. In the case of sauerkraut, salt draws juices out of shredded cabbage and encourages the growth of healthy bacteria already present in the vegetable. While the microbes turn sugars into lactic acid, a natural preservative, the salt and lack of oxygen inhibit spoilage....Problems can develop, but things normally won't go south if you use the proper amount of salt, keep hands and tools clean and the cabbage submerged in the brine. That said, you should check the sauerkraut a few times a week and skim any scum (a harmless white mold) that appears on the brine surface. The sauerkraut itself is protected from the mold as long as it's submerged. (OregonLive)

For Safety's Sake....Pickle and Pickle Product Problems This pdf from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service spells it out pretty clear - cut & dry. And I tend to trust any information that comes from an extension office. They say the 'white scum' that appears when making Sauerkraut is simply a layer of yeast and/or mold that is perfectly safe to just skim off. They then go on to tell you what should make you concerned that the kraut may not be safe. I would definitely check this link out!!

Trust me, I was turned off by the idea at first too of eating something that had mold on it. Naturally, anything with mold we tend to think UGH - BAD! But hey, look at Blue Cheese. Or Gorgonzola. I love those cheeses! The bottom line, there is good mold and bad mold and you just need to learn to identify between the two. Mold on that nasty white, bagged bread from the store - that's bad. Pitch it. And you should probably pitch the loaf before it molds anyways...but that is a whole other topic for a whole different post :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

101 Uses for Vodka

Ok, maybe not 101! But I had received an email from a friend awhile back about uses for Vodka...other than to have a good time! I was intrigued and since I try to be green and do without chemicals whenever possible, I tucked a few of these ideas away. Check it out and see if you do or have heard of any of these.


1. To remove a bandage painlessly, saturate the bandage with vodka - it dissolves the adhesive.

2. To clean the caulking around bathtubs and shower fill aspray bottle with vodka, spray the caulking, let set five minutes and wash clean. The alcohol in the vodka kills mold and mildew.

3. Spray vodka on wine stains, scrub with a brush, and then blot dry.

4. Using a cotton ball, apply vodka to your face as an astringent to cleanse the skin and tighten pores.

5. Fill a spray bottle with vodka and spray bees or wasps to kill them.

6. Fill a clean jar with freshly packed lavender flowers, fill the jar with vodka, seal the lid tightly and set in the sun for three days. Strain liquid through a coffee filter, then apply the tincture to aches and pains.

7. To cure foot odor, wash your feet with vodka.

8. Pour vodka over an area affected with poison ivy to remove the urushiol oil from your skin.

9. Swish a shot of vodka over an aching tooth. Allow your gums to absorb some of the alcohol to numb the pain.

What kind of alternative uses have you used Vodka for?
I have someone looking to purchase some of our Quince because she said she uses her Polish Grandmothers recipe to make Quince Vodka!! That, I would like to try!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another reason to Eat Local

Though this is a Canandian commercial, the same comcept applies here in the US. Another great eye opener.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Asian Noodle Salad

This is so good! I came up with it after having a salad at a restaurant that was similar. It is also great cold, the next day, as leftovers for lunch!


1/2# uncooked spaghetti noodles
1/2 cup mandarin oranges
1/4 cup blue cheese
For Dressing (courtsey of Tyler Florence)
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil


Cook your noodles in salted, boiling water for 7-8 minutes. Mix all the ingredients together for dressing.
When noodles are cooked, drain & rinse, then transfer to a large serving bowl. Pour dressing over top, add mandarin oranges and blue cheese. Mix/Toss all together to combine & enjoy!

The beauty of this recipe too, is that if you don't like blue cheese, leave it out. If you love it, it adds such a nice, unexpected touch to this dish. If you have left over chicken, throw it in. Sprouts, baby corns, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots.....throw it in! Whatever suits your tastes!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Making Sauerkraut

I can finally scratch something off my wanting to try list - making Sauerkraut!

It really was fairly easy and next year I will be sure to make more!
I used 3 heads of cabbage from  my garden. I believe it was the Late Flat Dutch Cabbage.
I chopped it up and then threw it into a crock. I then added about 3tbsp of Kosher Salt.

Then, and this I couldn't comprehend until I did it, you just mix the cabbage and salt with your hands until the salt draws out enough of a brine from the cabbage for it to ferment in. I was skeptical, but it happened! After enough churning with my hands, there was enough brine for it to soak it.

I then filled a gallon ziplock bag with water and laid it on top of the kraut, making sure it was all submerged in the brine, to act as my weight. Then, I placed it in a cool, dark place in our basement, threw a tea towel over the top to prevent dust from getting in, and let it sit....for 8 weeks!

I was told it would get nasty and moldy on top - and it sure did!
YUCK! This is what it looked like when I pulled the tea towel off.

Gross. I think, usually, people let it ferment 4-6 weeks. Mine went 8. Partly because I forgot about it, and partly because I was afraid of this mold!

You can imagine hubby's reaction. He doesn't plan on eating any - to bad for him.
Lacto-fermented cabbage, which ='s Sauerkraut, contains tons of beneficial bacterias to help aid in your digestion (I know, this is the first thing people think of when they hear Sauerkraut - digestion!), and provides a good amount of vitamin C and some vitamin A.

I could go on and on about all the reason why Sauerkraut, made naturally fermented, is good for you. Just google it and you'll be overwhelmed with information.

This photo below is after I cleaned up all the nasty mold ;)

I decided against throwing the jars into a water bath canner because I learned that, being this is lacto-fermented, this Sauerkraut will store in the fridge just fine for up to 6 months. And plus, if I water-bath canned it, the heat would kill off a lot of the bacteria that was created when fermenting it. And that would totally defeat the whole purpose now, wouldn't it!

Have you ever tried your hand at naturally fermented Sauerkraut?

This post has been linked up over at The Nourishing Gourmet
and Whole New Mom

Now click here to further read up on the MOLD that forms on the Kraut!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Shhh, you are in Jesus' house!

Oh boy! My paternal grandmother, she is quite the character!
Today was my niece's christening so naturally, my family was gathered at a church to witness the holy dunking. (Forewarning - if you are deeply religious this post may may offend you)

As the priest was trying to get the hoopla going (there were 2 other families there as well) my 2 yr old niece and almost 3 year old nephew were all wound up. My grandma, who was in the pew in front of us, turned around and told them "Shhhh, you are in Jesus' house and you have to be quite....Jesus wants you to be quiet." Well, you can imagine what this means to kids of this age. If you ain't got no goodies to pay them off with, then the Shhhh just doesn't mean a thing! So again, she turns around and says "Shhhhh, you are in Jesus' house now."

At this point, I was humored, so I respond to her saying "But Grandma, you answer your phone in Jesus' house!" She then 'poo-pooed' me with her hand and a smirk ;) (Grandma's been known to answer her cell phone during her Saturday mass, which, by the way, is never on vibrate or silent mode! And you can imagine how quickly a 70-some year old lady can get to her cell!!)

So, I kid you not, she turns around again to 'Shhhh' the kids, and not 5 minutes later, her cell phone starts ringing....in the middle of a holy dunking! She turns around looking at my grandpa whose was frantically searching her purse for the cell, and I look at my grandma and say "Shhhhh, Grandma! You are in Jesus' house!!!" I am pretty sure the family behind us wasn't amused. Somewhere in there too, my niece yelled out for her dad, whom she decided to call by his first name, rather than Dad!

Once it was my nieces turn for her dunking, a few family members stood up near the alter to snap a picture, and my grandmother yells out to my grandfather (who hopped pews to get up there!), "TAKE A PICTURE!". Again, we had to Shhhh Grandma and remind her she was in Jesus' house.

I am pretty certain we won't be welcomed back as a large group again at that church!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Real Food

It feels like forever since I've posted. I've been busy, what can I say! What's new, right?

Anyways, this may be a rambling of sorts, but I have lots on my mind about Real Food.

What comes to your mind when you hear the term 'Real Food'?
Hippies? Weirdo's? Health Freaks? Progressives? Tell me. I am interested to know.

With the popularity gaining once again in farmers markets and local food, maybe the views on real food are better than what I think. All I know is, when I talk to some people about things I am making or eating, they think I am some dirty hippie that fell off her rocker. And honestly, that is ok. I like hippies! I used to want to be one -- after I used to want to be Amish ;) Way back 20 some years ago......

Over the past 5-ish years I would say, I have slowly embarked on a food journey of sorts. Slowly. And once I had the baby, I dug in head first and have learned SO much. And still have so much to learn. But it is all fascinating. And the health benefits that come with it make it a no brainer. Albeit, you have to change your ways - get out of your comfort zone - go back to a slower way of life. But for me, that's ok.

There is an initiative at my food we do to help support feeding the hungry and donating to local food banks. Yesterday, I attended a 'Hunger Summit' for my county in part with this initiative at work. It already peaked my interest since I am one for local food, real food and slow food. The hunger statistics in our county were horrendous. We do live in a county that is consider more 'affulent' than many others we are surrounded by, but it is just another sign of the times. Something like 1 in every 4 kids goes to bed hungry. Seniors are eating canned dog food because they are to embarrassed and won't ruin their pride by stopping at one of the free food distributions held throughout the month. And, 63% of the people taking advantage of these food distributions are people who would not qualify for government assistance. That means, without the distribution site, they'd go hungry. These are middle class people who've never experienced this type of situation before. (And if it is this bad for people, my heart is most certainly breaking for all the animals out there that YOU KNOW ARE HUNGRY)

Statistics very disgusting. It was something like 90-some % of the canned fruits and veggies you buy come from Asia & Thailand. And domestically produced, shelf stable processed junk is hard to find. REALLY? Why? With the agriculture we have in our country, why are we purchasing outside??

Things have become to convenient but in the long run, we pay. In my state, the 'hunger bill' is $6.97 billion and 78% of that is born from health care costs. In a nut shell, this means that 78% are hungry because they choose to pay for their medical bills before their food, and they poor diets are more than likely to cause of the healthy issues. I know food alone can't guarantee you a clean bill of health, but lets be honest, if it sits out for 2 weeks and doesn't mold, or has a list of ingredients you cannot pronounce, why are you eating it?

I am kinda all over the place with this post, but I was chatting with a friend yesterday (Hi, Jen!) about all this, and there were a few things I wanted to share from our conversation that may be of interest to any of you who are also embarking on a Real Food journey!

She asked why we drink whole milk, versus 2% or skim or whatever. It IS more expensive and she asked also about the fat per serving. My best, non-technical answer was that it is GOOD Fat! And that whole milk is the form of milk closest to it's natural form. Make sense.

All those things out there saying fat free and low fat, well, they really aren't doing you a favor. Sorry. Take yogurt for example. People eat it thinking they are doing good, instead of eating a cinnamon bun or something. This is an excerpt from a farm website whose yogurt I purchase when I can: Until recently, yogurt probably changed little over the centuries. Although the USDA still defines yogurt as milk cultured with Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, modern yogurt manufacturers have been busy "improving" yogurt by adding fillers, thickeners, flavorings, and an ever increasing list of additional bacterial cultures. You are missing out on the good things in yogurt when you buy those processed cups :/ So, next time make your own, or at the grocery store, look at the ingredient label on that yogurt cup. And then opt for the large tub of plain yogurt that ONLY lists 'cultured grade A milk' as the ingredient. Yes, it's tangy and you probably won't like it. Simple solution - dump in some of your own, homemade jam or fruit butter, some homemade granola, and I promise you it will be even better than they strawberry cheesecake flavored yogurt cup you set back on the shelf!

There is a lot more I want to talk about on this subject, but this post is already pretty winded and rambling. So instead, I will leave you for now with one awesome book recommendation - Real Food, by Nina Planck. And share with me your thoughts on Real Food.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Grounding & Dreaming

It's no secret when I need time to destress from the realities of life, I go into my barn :)
Something about burrying yourself in the mane of the horse is so intoxicating.....
Unless you don't care for the smell of a horse, but then, how weird would that be! Who doesn't love the smell of a horse - I digress.....

These horses, I am so lucky to have them in my life. In my backyard.
I am so lucky that they understand the time constraints I am now under, being a new mom.
But when I do have the time to smother myself into them, they soak up every second.
Last night was one of those nights.

The mini's wanted none of it actually - they were more content with their hay. Apollo could have taken it or left it, and as I attempted to spend some QT time with him, this beauty anxiously awaited her turn! She is so obvious - she just LOVES to be loved.

Look at those kind eyes. If you have read Linda Tellington Jone's book, Getting in Touch, you would be able to read so much about Gypsy just by this picture. And if you haven't read it, and you are a horse person, I highly suggest you do!

There is something so grounding about being with my horses, yet so magical.
Horses allow you to pursue your dreams. Reading that just now makes no sense, but in my head, to me, it does.

I love that my nieces & nephews love the horses. I hope my son does too!
My nephew, Benny, he has a special connection with the horses already. I can see this. And I can't wait to help him progress with it!

I had someone ask me the other day how smart a horse really is. They were honestly just wondering as they had no knowledge of them. I laughed to myself. No matter how much I tried to explain how brilliant they really are, you will never understand until you experience it yourself.

These horses are wonderful creatures. Be still and watch, you will see.

Horses can't talk, but they can speak if you listen.
-Author Unknown

Monday, October 17, 2011

Revisiting French Onion

Today is a Monday - so no further explanation is needed!

The weather is chilling down here and it is the perfect reason, as if a reason is ever needed, to make.this.soup!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Sharing

I am winding down my weekend (bringing home a 'new' car and our fall hayride) by chilling in front of the fireplace this morning! I am happening upon all kinds of cool things so I thought I would share!

Interesting things to note about growing Ginseng from Greenish Thumb! I have heard this - local 'lore' says we have it growing in the woods across the street and the local Amish families dig it up.

This is an awesome site for anyone following along with my Homemade Baby Food posts! It is called Spout Right and focuses on natural, real foods for baby!

Mashed Cauliflower, anyone? Yum!

Please note - this photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Baby Food: Mango Puree

This is a Mango.

 It is the National Fruit of India.

And it is packed with tons of Vitamins, one of which, is Vitamin C.
And did you know that fruits and veggies packed with Vitamin C help your baby absorb more Iron?
And since iron intake is such a biggie for young ones, Mango is a great fruit to serve when you are serving an iron rich meal like red meat!

Of course, as the color would suggest, it is high in beta-carotene. So, that means it is a good immune booster and helps to prevent dieases like cancer - in particular, I read somewhere that it helps prevent colon cancer.

Mango's, at least for me, can be a pain to cut up. I think I need to invest in a Mango Dicer :) After all the health benefits I read up on, associated with Mango, I will be serving it more often for all of us!

After I have peeled and diced the Mango, I steam it for 7 minutes or so.

Then, into the mini food processor it goes! I puree it there until it is nice and smooth.

For this particular batch, since it wasn't the first time my Babe had Mango, I mixed it with Banana.
Banana turns a dark, uglish color fairly quickly, so the jars that weren't being used within 24 hours went into the freezer.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Adventures with my Niece

She is currently 7...and she says the darndest things.
Don't they all?

I'll soon find out for myself with my little one. But all I know is, when I have my niece with me, she is sure to say something that inevitably has me laughing if not from anything else, then from sheer horror!!

Let me back up by telling you it was probably 2 years ago when she was 5-ish. We were in Wal-mart. (think 'people of wal-mart' website!!) We were in an aisle and I was looking at something. Just a few feet away from us was a young man who happened to be wearing thick, black eyeliner. So, why wouldn't my unknowingly, sweet and innocent niece ask me, at the top of her lungs, while pointing in his direction, "Auntie, is that a boy, or a girl?"

Fast-forward past my mortification to the check-out line. The lady in front of us was rather heavy-set. Ok, I mean, REALLY heavy set. And, to put it politely, she was wearing spandex pants that were probably purchased in the juniors department - I digress. I said, picture the 'people of wal-mart' website, right? So, of course, again pointing right in this womans direction, in ear shot of the whole store, she asks me, "Auntie, is that her BUTT?" Yes, you are correct. I switched check-out lines faster than Martha Stewart trading in plummeting stocks. (Sorry, I had too)

So, now that you have some background on my sweet & lovely niece, let me share her words of wisdom from the past weekend. We were at a local farmer's market. Two days prior, I got a bee sting on my thigh that was rather bad. I never had a reaction to a bee sting like I did with this one. As we are standing in line for produce, I get stung yet again! This time on my underarm. And again, for whatever reason, the reaction was worse than usual for me. We ran across the street to the CVS so I could wimp out and grab some motrin to go along with the headache I was brewing and I wanted to find one of those 'sting sticks'.

Of course, this CVS is the worst CVS on the face of the planet. They NEVER fail to disappoint when I go in there and this time was no exception. They had NO motrin or sting stick. What kind of 'drug store' doesn't have motrin?? So, as I am grumbling under my breath and scanning all their pills, my niece grabs a box off the shelf, holds it in the air and proclaims, "What about this one, Auntie? It will tell you 'yes or no', Auntie!" And I say, "Um, no honey. That is not what I am looking for" as I grab the prgnancy test and stick it back on the shelf! And the whole group of people congregated around the pharmacy waiting line are starring.

Fast forward and we are now back at home. My niece wants to make her mother a card. She knows were more stuff is located in my house than I do and she comes out of the office with pretty papers and a bag of markers. I used to carry this bag of markers with me, in a larger tote, and so it goes without saying this marker bag was kind of a 'everything' bag. So, I was not shocked when she pulled out a 'stick', held it in the air and said to me "Auntie, REALLY?" while she waved the tampon around like a flag on the Fourth of July. And I will end that conversation there. No need to detail our further discussion on this one :)

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Baby Food: Pumpkin

Tis' the season - so we've been doing lots of Pumpkin over here!
And I am pretty sure, the Babe LOVES.PUMPKIN!

For Pumpkin, you want to purchase small Pumpkins. They usually go by the name of 'Pie' or 'Sugar' Pumpkins.

Cut them in half, scoop out the guts, and then place them inside half down on a baking sheet.
(Save the seeds for roasting Pumpkin seeds as a snack...or to throw in your garden for next year!)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes - time will vary depending on the size of your Pumpkin and your oven. If you press on it, and it gives, it is done.

Let them cool some so you can can handle them, then peel the skin off. I find I can just slip a fork under the skin and peel it off easily in nice, big patches.

Then, place your cooked Pumpkin in your processor of choice. I use my mini food processor.

Pulse it real good until it is nice and smooth.
Then, you are going to want to scoop it out and place it over a tea towel, or something of the like, and let the water drain out. Pumpkins are 90% water you know. I am too impatient to wait 30 minutes or so for it to drain on it's own, so I let it sit while I clean up, then I give it a good 'ring & squeeze'!

Yes, I fully realize what this picture, above, looks like :) But it is SO good.
After it has drained its water, I place it in a canning jar and store it in the fridge. It goes fast so I don't need to worry about freezing it. You can use it from here for all sorts of things.

For baby, I like to add some cinnamon and nutmeg and it tastes just like Pumpkin Pie! HE.LOVES.IT!
I told my husband I was going to make some breastmilk whipped cream for him too - JUST KIDDING! Ok, I said it, but I didn't seriously mean it! I may be weird, but I am not that crazy!

Pumpkins are loaded with antioxident Beta-Carotene, which converts to Vitamin A for baby. Vitamin A is a good thing - it helps his/her immune system. Pumpkin is also high in Fiber.

So, what are you waiting for? Feed your kid some Pumpkin!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apple Harvest Party Week 7

Welcome to Week 7 of the Apple Harvest Party!

Please Join in and share your recipe that includes Apples...or Pears or Quince!
We are now harvesting our Quince so I am going to see if I can come up with something to share, Quince-related, for next week!  In the mean time, this week I am sharing something so simple, it shouldn't really be a 'recipe', but it is SO good!

Join in below by entering your name and the url for your post!

Honey Apple Ricotta Steel Cut Oats
Serves 2
1/2 Cup Steel Cut Oats
2 Cups Water
1-1.5 Tbsp Honey - to taste
2 Tbsp Ricotta
1 Apple, diced - your favorite variety
Bring the water to a boil in a deep pot. Pour in your Steel Cut oats and cook over a slow boil for 15 minutes or so, stirring often. In the mean time, in a bowl, throw in your diced apples and honey. Really, the amount of both depends on your preference. I had a sweeter heirloom variety apple in mine and just shy of a tablespoon of honey.
Once the oats are cooked, divide them between two bowls. Top with Ricotta (again, really the amount depends on your preferance), and mix well. Enjoy!
*Since hubby usually doesn't grab breakfast on weekdays (shame on him), I use a canning jar to store the second serving (sans the Ricotta - add that right before you eat it) for the next morning. Throw it in the microwave to warm it up, then top with your ricotta and mix. Steel Cut Oats store & reheat well :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Can you say, 'Camo'

Look at this cute dumpling!

Poor Kid is NOT amused!

Contrary to what his father says,
Camo might NOT be his favorite color?

Or maybe it's that cute hat :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Sharing & Apples

We are approaching Mid-October and we're over knee high in apples!
More apples than I can sell and more than I know what to do with.

We are also knee deep in car negotiations - ugh - this must be one of my least favorites things to do!!

Anyways, back to the apples. I think I'll try my hand at some homemade [small batch] cider and some homemade apple juice. We'll see how it goes; I will let you know!

In the mean time, I must share this recipe for a Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte - chilled. It is delish -- my new favorite drink! I can't stop making it! I even had to make one for the road when we went car shopping over the weekend! And, it is a great way to use up the leftover coffee from the morning.

Also, so cool, this post on skin care with real food from Real Food Freaks!

And, I must try this Cool Rise Sandwich Bread recipe from Barefeet in the Kitchen. I never have luck with any kind of yeast bread recipe, but maybe I will with this one? I'd love to have a go to bread recipe.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Getting Back to Sustainable Foods

Wow! Check out this video courtsey of Chipotle!
I need not say more.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Baby Food: Pea Puree

Pea Puree

Peas were the first 'solid' food my baby had. I can't say he was the #1 fan for Peas, but he eats them none the less! The first thing my sitter said to me when she saw them was 'WOW, look at how green they are!', and she is right!

This isn't the best photo of Jarred Baby Food, but you can clearly see the dull, drabby [gag me] color of peas in a jar of store bougt baby food. Hardly stands up in comparison to a jar of homemade baby food, huh!

I can't say for sure, but I think if I was a baby, I'd choose the jar on the right. But that's just me ;)

Did you know that one serving of Peas provides the same amount of Vitamin C as 2 Oranges!! And, if you steam frozen peas, you hold on to a lot more of that Vitamin C than you would if you boiled them.

When I make Pea Puree for the baby, I steam them using the least amount of water possible. I throw a bag of frozen baby peas into the steamer, for I believe about 8-10 minutes. Then, they go into the food processor to puree. You have to make sure you puree them really good, otherwise they are a tad rough, which would be good 'roughage' for an older baby, but if you are trying this out for a first food, you want them to be as smooth as possible!

When you buy a bag of frozen peas (if it isn't the season for them to be purchased fresh), make sure you check the ingredients to be sure they are just frozen peas. I was shocked, but believe it or not, some brands still do add in some other 'things' to a simple bag of frozen peas!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Baby Food: The References

In all my reading and research on homemade baby food, there are a few books that I continue to go back to as they were great references and motivators for me.

real food for mother and baby, by Nina Planck, is my absolute favorite. I just enjoyed her outlook as a whole. Actually, she never even made puree's for her baby. It's a great read and I highly recommend it. She very much follows the 'Go with your Gut' philosophy.

Nourishing Traditions is not a 'baby food' book per say, but is an excellent book overall for those looking to move to a more natural, whole foods diet and they have a nice little section regarding feeding babies.

Cooking for Baby is one I kept going back to, to reference their suggestions on ways to cook certain foods, and in general, see what they were suggesting per age range.

Organically Raised is the same as Cooking for Baby - great reference on cooking methods, ideas for what to feed when, and food pairings. This book also helps get you in the right mindset for cooking for your baby - you'll see what I mean if you read it!

And, I guess, with this book, I should note now that I am not 'Organic or Bust'! I grow apples for cryin' outloud - one of the worst foods on the Dirty Dozen list. I understand the bads about pesticides and, on the other hand, the need for them sometimes. My thought process is, if I am not feeding the skin [for produce], then organic isn't really neccessary. At the end of the day, anything homemade from real foods is hands down better than anything I can feed my baby out of a jar sitting on the self at a store.

Website that I have jumped back to frequently are:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Apple Harvest Party Week 6 & Doughnuts

It is Week 5 for the Apple Harvest Party...and amazingly, I have a recipe to share this week :)
So jump in, join in below with your post to share on what you do with Apples!!

Apple Doughnuts
Slightly Adapted from Cookingwithmykid.com

1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
6 oz homemade yogurt
dash of vanilla extract
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp honey
1 medium apple, diced
cinnamon & sugar (for shaking your diced apples up in!)

**Combine your dry ingredients in one bowl and your wet ingredients in another. Then, add your wet ingredients to the dry and fold until just blended together. Grease your doughnut pan, drop some diced apples (coated in cinnamon & sugar) into each doughnut mold, then pour your batter into each mold. Bake at 400* for 10-12 minutes until golden brown, pull out of oven and let cool in pan. Dust with powdered sugar if you would like and enjoy with some hot apple cider!!