We’re Expecting!

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James and I are happy to report that we are expecting our third child this winter!

My energy is slowly creeping back in.  There was actually a day this week where I decided to wake up and embrace an early morning before my kids did, instead of dragging my feet into the kitchen to fetch bananas and water while holding one on each hip.

Note to significant others of a pregnant woman:

  • Don’t take it personally
  • Learn to read minds
  • The occasional nap is a not an indulgence, it’s a necessity (we are doubling our blood and building a human!)
  • These Pregnancy Nausea Tips are a G-d send

Nesting mode is starting to kick in.  I’ve been getting rid of clutter, reconfiguring rooms, reorganizing EVERYTHING etc… my mind doesn’t stop.  I’m looking into meditation for that.

All of the craziness, exhaustion and moodiness aside, James and I are beyond elated and feeling so incredibly blessed. Olivia and Joshua are in on the news and seem to be excited about a baby coming into the family.  And James, thank you for being the loving, caring and understanding husband and father that you are.

Happy Labor Day weekend to all of you! And thank you for letting me share a bit of my journey.

School Lunch

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One of my favorite things to do is make a lunch for Olivia.  It’s my way of showing her love while she’s at school.  I’ve found lots of inspiration from Catherine McCords book Weelicious: 140 Fast, Fresh and Easy Meals.  We also happen to use the same FANTASTIC lunch box for our kids meals.  They are from Planet Box and I get mine at Pottery Barn for kids.

Although she ended up having to stay home today, Olivia’s lunch was a bento bear egg (this photo does no justice, I love bento products!), gluten free flax crackers, herb salad mix with flower carrots and cucumbers (cut with vegetable cutters like these), raisins, spiced chickpeas (she didn’t like them, but I’m always trying new things), and leftover Strawberry Almond Meal Cake with added blueberries.

What do you like to make your children?  Do they have food allergens that limit you?

Worm Composting

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For years I’ve had guilt about tossing out my compostable items.  I was too lazy to take this “gardner’s gold” to feed a friends chickens, local farm or… (what else do you do with compost when you don’t live in a town that collects it?  Please do tell).  A few weeks ago I gave up the word lazy and ordered this worm composting bin from Amazon.  I set it up per the included DVD instructions, laying down one sheet of newspaper and then a combination of moist cork and shredded paper.  I mixed in some dirt and a few composting items then put it in a relatively cool corner outside and waited for my worms (these ones on Amazon) to arrive, which happened today!

When the worms arrived they required a drink (half cup of water into their soil) before putting them into the compost.  I then laid a sheet of wet newspaper on top to seal in the moisture.  They seem healthy and have acclimated quickly into their new environment. I’ll report on the progress, in the meantime, please send me your tips!  If you don’t compost yet, perhaps you’ll consider sharing the journey with me.

A Treat on the Table

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It’s always lovely having a nutritious treat on the table, and this Strawberry Almond Meal Cake is extra special.  It has a nice earthy flavor with a heavenly whipped topping and strawberries.  I got the recipe from The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook by Sara Forte.  I HIGHLY recommend this cookbook and am sure to reference it many times.  Also, if you’re a parent, don’t be afraid of getting the kids into the kitchen with you.  Both Joshua and Olivia love putting measured portions into the bowl and stirring it a few times.

Here are a few adjustments I made/tips for this recipe:

BAKING SODA VS. BAKING POWDER

This cake calls for both baking soda and baking powder.  Since I did not have baking powder I used a tiny bit more baking soda (baking soda equals 1/3 of what baking powder typically equals, or you can use 3x the amount of baking powder then baking soda calls for).  Use a little less salt in a recipe that you have to substitute baking soda for baking powder in, because the baking soda has a salty flavor.

ALMOND FLOUR

This recipe also calls for almond flour.  I like to make my own by grinding almonds into a food processor until smooth.  This usually takes just a minute or two.  If you process too long it will start to turn into almond butter.

This recipe also calls for a minor amount of flour.  I used Williams Sonoma Cup4Cup Gluten-Free Flour.  I have this readily available for spontaneous baking desires.

SUGAR VS. COCONUT PALM SUGAR

For the cake (not whipped topping), I substitute  the sugar in this recipe with coconut palm sugar.  This is coconut tree sap that has been crystalized.  It has potassium, iron and other vitamins with an earthy, sweet flavor.  I use it all the time and highly recommend that you keep this stocked in your pantry.

WHIPPED TOPPING

If you are dairy free you can make a coconut whipped topping.  It’s not as thick as the heavy whipping cream version, but it is delicious.  To make, refrigerate a can of full fat coconut milk overnight, scoop out the thick creamy part that rises to the top * and whip it with a little vanilla extract and stevia or sugar.  For both the dairy and coconut topping, I suggest you make more than you think you will need.  My guests and I all wanted an extra dollop when served.

*reserve the coconut water in the bottom of the can for smoothies, curries, etc.

I hope you love it!!

If you come up with an egg free version or add a new flavor that turns out well, I’d love to hear about it!

Cinnamon Ginger Carrots

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These baked carrots are a delicious, easy side dish for lunch or dinner. I have not given measurements on this. It’s so simple and should be tailored to your flavor preference. If you love ginger add more ginger.  Next time I make these I’m going to get smaller carrots from the farmers market and make them whole for an extra beautiful presentation.

What you’ll need:

  • Carrots- I like to have two carrots per person
  • Coconut oil
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Powdered ginger

Wash and cut your carrots into desired size and lightly coat with coconut oil.  If using organic carrots, leave the skin on for extra nutrients and flavor.  Stir your desired portions of spices together.  I typically use equal parts cinnamon and ginger with a few dashes of nutmeg, but everyone’s taste will differ. Sprinkle the spices onto carrots and mix together.  You can add a pinch of salt as well, but I find it unnecessary.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until carrots reach desired tenderness.

I’d love to know what you serve these with. Enjoy!

Traditional Basil Pesto

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Buying basil by the bundle is easy this time of year. However, I recommend everybody spend the same amount of money and just buy the plant for your window or potted garden. It’s the easiest and most convenient way to have fresh springs to add to your Tomato Avocado and Basil salad, garden salads, Italian sauces, summer rolls and more. Before you know it, you’ll have so much basil that you’ll be ready to make some delicious pesto! Pesto is perfect for your eggs, pasta, flavoring soups, corn and pizza!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup pecorino or parmesan (if avoiding dairy you can use 1/3 cup nutritional yeast)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

ABC Shake

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Mommy/son ABC shakes

Almond butter, banana and coconut milk blend together beautifully in this simple shake that my kids also love. If you are a food combiner, leave out the almond butter. However, I find the added protein beneficial in stabilizing my blood sugars while pregnant or nursing. Play around with the ingredients. Some will like more banana and ice to make it thicker, while others prefer more coconut milk or almond butter. Add garnish for extra nutrients and beauty.

ABC Shake:

  • 2-4 tbls almond butter
  • 1-2 frozen bananas*
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • ice (optional)
  • optional garnish: coconut flakes and cacao nibs. I also enjoy a few goji berries with mine

Blend together, garnish and enjoy.

*Freezing bananas: I always like to have frozen bananas on hand for banana ice cream or smoothies. Cut a nicely ripened banana (brown spots are a good sign your banana is at it’s peak ripeness) into chunks. Freeze them separately on a cookie sheet or in a bag. Be mindful of how many chunks one banana equals for you. It will help you know how many to use in recipes.

Robyn O’Brien’s TEDx Talk on Food Allergies and GMO’s

A former financial and food industry analyst, Robyn O’Brien is an author, public speaker, strategist and mother of four. She brings insight and detailed analysis to her research on the health of the American food system as documented in her first book, The Unhealthy Truth, and has been called “food’s Erin Brockovich” by the New York Times.

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