Thursday, June 16, 2011

The end justifies the means?

Not very often does the end justify the means...

...but in my opinion, there are times to let messes happen for productivity reasons.

Completely emptying mommy's wallet and diaper bag
2 trays of dehydrated strawberries, 
emptying and refilling the dishwasher, 
washing what wouldn't fit in the dishwasher, 
and making two jars of raw yogurt. 

Added bonuses:
sweet little fingers learning to dig credit cards from their sleeves,
teething gums feeling the sensation of everything from gift cards to panty liners,
and the ease of cleaning out my wallet when the first step has already been done.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Bubbie's Birthday

She has many nicknames, but "bubbie" is one of the most-used...

...throughout the day, I was remembering what it was like last year at this time...

...holding brand new life that didn't even know what she'd just been through.

Those first 24 hours were so special. I hardly left our bed, cuddling our little miracle from the Lord. Our lives were forever changed.

I thought I knew how it was going to be.

We would add this new member of our family to our current lives and keep plugging along as we had been, just with a little one in tow.


The past year hasn't been a bed of roses...
...but there have been so many special moments given by the Lord...and Lord willing there will be many more to come. Becoming a mom is something I have looked forward to ever since I was little. The Lord was gracious and granted my desire with so much blessing...and so much responsibility.

I hope I can emulate my mom in helping my baby discover the world from the safety of loving, nurturing arms...with true Wisdom from above as we face new seasons and stages.

Happy first birthday, cuddle bug.

Fruit of Labor...

It's strawberry season!

I love summer and the fruit "picking seasons" that come with it!
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and apples.

So many berries...

Lil' Bug was on my back in the mai tei for the first bucket (yikes, was that a workout), but got cranky quick since we didn't eat much before leaving home... back to the van to nurse...

...and then picking and eating some more berries..., white, or covered in dirt - they're all yummy!

10.5 lbs from this trip...most went straight to the freezer for smoothies and ice cream. About a pound is dehydrating, and we ate the best-looking ones fresh.

The next trip will be for jelly and pie. :-)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Diaper Duty

It was laundry day after a rainy week...

We were very low on diapers while they hung on the line to dry.

So, enter the "back-ups" (prefolds with diaper covers) - which are unreliable in more ways than one...

...including staying on the designated bum.

But its wearer was more than content to be free of her "baggage"

and quite excited about it.

Birthday Fun

We celebrated Lil' Bug's first birthday early since my family was able to visit for memorial day! I'm not a fan of feeding refined sugar to anyone, and since this was going to be Lil' Bug's first sweetener, I chose to make a grain-free carrot cake sweetened with honey, and cream cheese frosting sweetened with maple syrup. I used this recipe from Grain-Free Foodies, but adapted the frosting since my dad doesn't do well with honey that hasn't been baked.

I have a sister that is avoiding dairy for now, so her piece is the naked one on the corner.

The frosting was a hit...

...and it was a lot more fun to play with the ribbon than open the presents...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Grain Free Food

A couple recent grain-free/dairy free/refined sugar free munchies I've enjoyed...

I haven't baked much with coconut flour since it requires a large amount of eggs, but it was nice to be able to eat pieces of "bread" again for breakfast a few days in a row. It's a heavier pound cake consistency, and I browned it a little much, but it still tasted good! I'll decrease the honey next time I make it (I didn't use Stevia) since it was pretty sweet.

My pic makes these look kinda like logs of poo, but they're really quite tasty! :-) I followed the original recipe and they were a little dry, so next time I'll add more oil as is suggested in the comments.

Friday, May 20, 2011


I've seen a lot of recipes for grain-free pizza using almond meal, but I used most of my almonds in yesterday's apple cookies, so I tried a nut-free version tonight.

Lil' Bug loved it!

My plate with cultured dairy...

...and Micah's with yummy mozzarella.

Food Processor and Rhubarb

Courtesy of UPS, my food processor box arrived bashed and ripped open. I've never seen a delivery guy run so fast to get away after quietly slipping it on our front porch...

KitchenAid always packs their appliances very well, so even though the huge block of styrofoam was cracked through, the processor wasn't I put it right to work!

Apple breakfast cookies were the first thing I used it for - and wow. What would have taken me an hour (to shred, grind, etc) took me 10 mins tops...and that time includes dealing with the wining child clinging to my legs.

Next up was rhubarb dream bars (half white flour/half whole wheat) and rhubarb pie (with a palm shortening crust and sweetened with some honey) - after chopping the rhubarb and realizing I'd done all of it, I felt like running outside to find more things to chop! And you know that "cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs" line? I always dread that part...inevitably I would have 5 interruptions before me and my fork even started to get the mixture resembling peas, much less crumbs. I was super-pleased (and completely floored) when it literally took about 8 seconds and it was done. Done! I should have made a food processor a priority a long time ago! Live and learn...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Settling in...

We moved! Two weeks ago, actually.

And since then I've unpacked several boxes between laundry, cooking, cleaning, fighting the ant invasion, and flying out to Utah for a week to see my new nephew and my once-again tiny sister. :-)

Micah has built me a clothesline and our garden has been planted...
And soon, Lord willing, my counter tops will be overflowing with produce from our garden instead of the farmer's market and health food store...
(all lined up to dry like good little vegetables and fruits after soaking in water and GFSE)

Lil' Bug enjoys the yard...she loves being outside...

Craigslist and eBay have been entertaining me recently...I sold enough to turn around and get a KitchenAid food processor so I no longer have to take all day to make my grain-free foods in a blender that can't handle the load of seeds and nuts.
This baby's gonna hit the shelf whirring when it arrives. :-)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Meal Plan 4.25.11

We had company this weekend, two family Easter gatherings over food, and in anticipation of a busy week of packing, last Friday I sat down to make a meal plan so I could get the shopping done and just focus on getting stuff in boxes this week.

MON - Ground Beef Hash (with carrots and collard greens instead of swt. pot. and kale)
TUES - Chicken and Avocado Salad in Lettuce Wraps
WED - Taco Soup
THURS - Shredded Veggie Bison Meatballs (based on this recipe)
Bean and Bacon Soup

Friday, April 22, 2011

John 19

40So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.
42So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Stew, and More Stew

To incorporate a lot of bone broth into my diet, I've been making stew. LOTS of stew. I can't quite stomach drinking the broth straight, so in order to get it in me and keep it there, it must have a few veggies, meat, and spices.
This Italian Wedding stew was a hit with Micah - I made mini meatballs w/ only onions and italian seasoning mixed in, and added those to a soup base of 1/2 broth, 1/2 tomato paste and water. The last of our summer squash from last year's garden was a yummy addition.

Today I made some brussels sprout chicken stew...all of my soups and stews develop as I'm making them - I decide what meat I want, then go from there, matching veggies and seasonings (*sniffff* this smells like it would taste good *sprinkle, sprinkle*). I wasn't crazy about this one, but more because I used the leftover onions and carrots from the pot of beef broth I made...and they were devoid of flavor.

Grain-Free Granola - GAPS Friendly

I'm very much a cold breakfast cereal person.

When I was a teenager, my favorite kind was the chocolate sugar bombs that turned the milk into chocolately goodness in the bottom of the bowl.
I now know the tremendous downfalls of that cereal, and have switched my love of cold cereal to homemade granola and birdies in a nest...except both are off-limits for a while.

Bowls of steaming hot oatmeal or creamy buckwheat aren't a favorite...and now that oatmeal and buckwheat are on the "no" list I still crave that cold milk in my bowl, bathing crunchy cereal that just screams morning.
Well, my mornings just got a little brighter, thanks to Elana over at Elana's Pantry.

This. recipe. is. amazing.

Grain-free granola. No oats, no flour, no gluten, no sugar...just yummy goodness in my bowl once again. My bowls of cold cereal have returned.
Since I'm off dairy for a bit I enjoy it with coconut milk, and since macadamia nuts must be competing with the price of gold ($17+/lb at the health food store!), I chose to get raw sunflower seeds instead.

It's amazing how sweet this is with no sweetener added - thanks to the raisins.

I made this with my blender...which was quite the process since I could only do about 1/4 cup at a time or it wouldn't I'm adding "food processor" to my garage sale list. :-)

I was also very impatient and wanted the granola for breakfast after soaking it all night, so I baked it fast instead of keeping it live in the dehydrator...maybe next time.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Salmon Stew

We've had chilly, rainy days recently, which makes me crave soups and stews.

At the beginning of the GAPS diet, you are to eat boiled meats and vegetables so they are easily digested. You're also not supposed to eat the fruit I already had today, but like I said earlier, I'm doing a modified diet due to breast feeding.

Last night I steamed some salmon and made a broth-based stew from random vegetables I found at Nature's Grocery. Definitely turned out yummy.

I have some organic chicken legs in the crock pot - for the meat, as well as the broth - and will pick and crush the bones to make some bone broth at the end of the day. I usually get a good amount of broth out of a few pounds of meat, which is encouraging. The crock pot definitely helps a ton with the process!

Long Version

"So how are you doing? Haven't talked to you in a while."
"Pretty good," I reply, trying to decide what to say next...

If it's been even a few weeks since last catching up, there are so many details.
If it's been much longer than that, we should just take a day relaxing at Starbucks over our strawberry frappes...except I can't have a strawberry frappe, or anything else they have to offer for that matter. Which is part of my new adventure (besides the fact that Starbucks and relaxing just don't go together anymore with a baby under 1!).


Rewind to my pregnancy a year and a half ago - I was dealing with - no, more like suffering from - a mind-numbingly itchy rash covering my legs, hands, and various random spots on my body. It peaked and dissipated several times throughout the pregnancy, and I wrote it off as something to do with pregnancy hormones. It went away a few weeks before the birth, and stayed away for three months...until October of last year.

The rash came back with a vengeance, and I knew it wasn't pregnancy related. Then weird health things started happening - such as getting shingles on my face that left me with an unsightly scar in the shape of the state of Illinois on my forehead. I assumed I was sensitized to something during pregnancy, and set out to pursue answers with an integrative medical doctor.

Was it gluten...dairy...or a food issue at all? Perhaps environmental, or systemic/auto-immune? Over the past four months we've done a battery of tests, little by little, seeking answers. And this past month, we got some.


I am allergic to anything I eat...
...because I have a leaky gut.

And why do I have a leaky gut? Parasites!

Nematodes living within me, sucking up nutrition I should be receiving, and creating a compromised gut lining that allows food particles from anything I eat to escape into my blood, which results in allergies.

So I've been off gluten and dairy for weeks now, and am gradually working my way into a grain-free diet. I was already avoiding processed foods for the most part, but have now cut out all forms of sugar (refined, unrefined, and natural) and am seeking to help my gut heal with nourishing foods...which is where the GAPS diet comes in...

There is a lot of info online about the diet, so I won't get into the concept much, other than to say it is a diet limited to foods that help the gut heal instead of working against it. Absolutely no starches (potatoes, most beans, corn, etc) are allowed, as well as any additives or processed foods. A "must" on the diet is incorporating homemade meat or bone broth into every meal, and utilizing the live cultures found in homemade yogurt, kefir, raw milk, lacto-fermented pickles/sauerkraut/carrots/etc., as well as taking a good quality pro-biotic supplement.

I am unable to completely go on the "intro diet" that is supposed to occur before the "full GAPS diet" due to breast feeding - it creates a pretty good detox that I don't want Chloe to have to deal with.

Though my diet options are limited, grocery shopping got whole lot easier since I can only eat fresh items. Just don't ask Micah how our food budget is doing this month. :-)

Oh, and those parasites? They'd better be kissing my bad gut flora goodbye and taking their exit. I took a strong medication last week to get rid of them, and can now focus on rebuilding the gut lining they destroyed. Which means maybe I'll be able to eat like a normal person again someday. That's what we're hoping for.