Friday, February 18, 2011

Get Cultured - How to Ferment Anything online class giveaway!

Kelly the Kitchen Kop is holding a giveaway for her friend Jenny's fermentation class at here.  Jenny at Nourished Kitchen class will help you "Learn how to prepare enzyme-rich fermented foods, yogurts, condiments, salsas and chutneys in your kitchen with over 50 video tutorials,  100 recipes and 60  tutorials, plus the free 36-pg e-book Get Cultured: Probiotic Recipe from the Nourished Kitchen."

Class starts March 4th and the contest closes Saturday Feb. 19th!  Good luck!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Exciting Changes...

There are some exciting changes happening in our household...  Those who know me best know that I did not really enjoy my profession all that much.  I worked very hard at it and it took a lot of time & money but at the end of they day I wasn't really happy with it.  Sure I am proud to call myself a CA but I definitely did not enjoy going to work every day.

The reality of the situation was that I did what I was told I was supposed to do when growing up.  I went to University, got a couple degrees and became a "professional" in the hopes to eventually make lots of money.  But I've always felt a little disappointed that I wasn't doing a job that I was passionate about and that I truly enjoyed and really having lots of money isn't really worth that.  I told myself that really no one truly enjoyed their job but I knew that wasn't true as my sister LOVES her job and looks forward to it every day.  I also made excuses that included I've already done too many years of education to do something else, it would be a waste of all that money I've spent, I'm too old to switch now, etc.

Then one day I realized that if I wanted to do something I enjoyed and that would allow me to also be a stay at home mom that I should just do it!  No one is stopping me except for myself. 

I am excited to say that I am now working towards doing things that I am passionate about.  Next month I am attending Hypnobabies training in St. Louis and am also planning on taking Gloria Lemay's doula training in April.  I can't wait to become a Hypnobabies instructor and a doula. I am looking forward to being able to provide a comprehensive prenatal courses to moms that will help empower them and take control of their birthing choices.  I loved my Hypnobabies course when I was pregnant and am still close to my instructor who has been very supportive of me.  I also cannot imagine anyone better to take my doula education with than Gloria, she is very inspirational!

I also recently became an independent Miessence representative so that I could help provide a solution to those who were looking for truly safe, natural and beneficial personal care products for their whole family.  It took me months to find a line of products that I felt good using on us and Kaiden, one that was safe enough that we could eat it, and I wanted to help make this search easier for other families.

As you can see, big changes are happening in our home and I am very excited with where they are going to take me.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Grandma's Lentil Soup

I've always loved my Grandma's lentil soup and since Cody really enjoys it I've wanted to learn how to make it for a while.  I finally had my grandma show me how she makes her soup when we were home for Christmas.  I've tweaked her recipe a bit and made it a few times and it's really tasty, maybe even a little better than hers.

1 1/2 cups lentils (green are best per NT)
2 tbsp whey or lemon juice
4 cups chicken stock (my grandma uses water but I use homemade stock to make it more nutritious)
1/2 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, diced (we like lots of garlic so feel free to use less)
2-3 bay leaves
3-5 dried thyme stems or 1 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp oregano
1 heaping tbsp of tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: some diced carrots

Cover the lentils with warm water and add the whey or lemon juice.  Let it soak for 7 hours and then strain & rinse them.

Put the lentils in a pot and add the chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and then skim off any foam.

Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves and thyme.  Stir the tomato paste with some water until it is dissolved and add as well.  Reduce to a simmer and simmer covered for around an hour.  Uncover and add the oregano, salt and pepper.  Continue to simmer until you like the consistency (I've done anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes depending on how busy I am).

Super simple, tasty and nourishing.  It goes really well with some feta on the side.

Photo credit: Maggie Hoffman from Flickr

Monday, January 24, 2011

My 30 for 30 Challenge

This past year has been one with a lot of transformation in it and it has been a great year as well.  Next month I am turning 30 and decided that to kick it off I would commit to 30 days of eating only real food. 

We’ve been doing pretty well since starting our real food journey but I still have some bad habits and some cravings that I am having a hard time kicking.  Since we are getting closer to introducing solids to Kaiden and he’s becoming more aware, I can no longer indulge in things and think it’s no big deal because he doesn’t know what is going on.  Now I have to make sure that I eat how I want him to eat.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been eating WAY better that we used to.  Things like fast food no longer interest me, in fact I can’t even stomach the thought of Wendy’s or McD’s anymore and we are making most of our meals from scratch.  But we still get caught in our unprepared/lazy ruts and will get pizza from the local Greek place (which is really really tasty) or donairs.  And it is happening a little too frequently for my liking.  I also have a big issue with chips, I eat them too often and find I eat way too many in one sitting even if I am not enjoying them.

So I decided that we needed to get into a habit of being more prepared and increasing our recipe base so that we have ideas to turn to when we are in a rut or unprepared.  I figure that if we commit to 30 days of no cheating that will really help out.  Plus it will have all the other benefits that come with a healthier diet.

For me there will be no cheating at all (although for the record I don’t consider things like homemade ice cream cheating, hehe).  Everything, including snacks and treats, will be made from scratch or a real food version will be used (in the case of bread, we aren’t making it yet so we buy organic sprouted bread).  I am letting Cody cheat though; he can choose to do what he likes at lunches with no bugging from me.

My 30 days starts tomorrow and will end on my birthday.  I think I am going to have to come up with a really good dinner and dessert for that night!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Swimming fun!

Three weeks ago Kaiden started swimming lessons with us and it has been so much fun!  I can't believe how fast these past 6 months have gone.  It feels like just yesterday we decided to start trying to conceive but it also feels like Kaiden has always been here. 

We also knew that once Kaiden was 6 months we would have him in swimming lessons.  We go away for a little bit each summer and spend time with family at a couple of different lakes so we couldn't imagine it any other way.  I was happy to find a local pool that specializes in kids swimming lessons, has small classes, keeps their pool super warm and uses UV filtration, reducing the amount of chlorine in the water.  I also agreed with their teaching philosophy which was important as I wanted swimming to always have a positive association.

The best part is Kaiden loves going every week and he loves water too!  Today he was hungry, wouldn't eat and tired but he still enjoyed every minute of his lesson.  It's a fun family outing, for the first three years you go in the water with them. 

Kaiden loves to kick and splash in the water and is hilarious on his back when he insists on throwing his legs in the air and playing with his feet (I think we'll have to try to get a picture of this).  He is already able to go under water which is awesome!

I suspect that weekly swimming lessons will be a family tradition for us from now on!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup Success

Tonight Cody and I made our first homemade chicken noodle soup and it was fantastic!  I had big plans to freeze a bunch of it, but I suspect it won't make it past tomorrow's lunch.  The best part is how easy and economical it is.

Yesterday we picked up a pastured chicken from a local store and roasted it.  Then put some potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic in the bottom of a pot with a bit of some homemade stock and placed the chicken on top, bottom side up.  Brush the chicken with some melted butter and sprinkle with salt, pepper, basil and thyme (or stuff some fresh basil and thyme inside).  Cook at 375 for about and hour and then take the chicken out and flip it to be breast side up.  Brush this side with butter, sprinkle with spices and then bake approximately another hour.  Let the chicken rest and enjoy!

After you've enjoyed your chicken, take the rest of the meat off the bones and store in the fridge to add to the soup later.  Place all the bones & chicken scraps in a pot, add about 4 liters of water, some carrots, onion, celery and 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (this helps to draw the minerals out of the bones).  We also added two chicken feet and a couple of bay leaves.  Let set for about an hour, bring to a boil, skim of the foam that rises, reduce to a simmer and cover.  Then let it simmer 3-24 hours.  I usually try to go as close to 24 hours as possible.  Sally Fallon recommends adding a bunch of fresh parsley in 10 minutes before you're done, but I didn't do it this time.  Now you have a homemade and nutritious bone broth!  At this point you could freeze it if you just want some broth.  When I freeze broth I do some in jars and some in ice cube trays, then I have small amounts to add things like veggies.

Once your broth is done, strain it with a fine strainer and put it back in a pot.  Add the chicken, some carrots, celery, onions, plenty of good sea salt, pepper and spices (I used oregano, basil and thyme).  At this point I let it simmer for a bit and then added cooked brown rice noodles and some fresh parsley, I really like the freshness the parsley added.

And that's it!  Super easy, tasty and cost effective!  The only problem is that it is so tasty that it may be tricky to freeze some before you eat it all.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Holidays!

 Photo courtesy of

I was planning on getting a post in before Christmas holidays but between being sick and leaving earlier than we expected for our trip home it didn't quite happen...

I want to wish all of you a wonderful Christmas, New Year's and a fantastic 2011!

See you again in the New Year :)