Thursday, February 25, 2010

Andrew at four months

We've had a busy week, so Andrew's "four month birthday" flew by without much fanfare. Here's a few photos from around the four month mark.

I can start to see indents where his two front bottom teeth will be coming in, and he does a lot of gnawing on his fists, blanket, or bear. So I'm keeping my eyes open for when those sharpies break through. I haven't started any solids yet, but I'm monitoring how well he sleeps and nurses to see if I need to start him on soft boiled egg yolk. But that's for another blog post....

Just so you know he's not always happy.... it was bedtime, and had been a looooong day!

These below have the same outfit he was in at his 3 month photos, but I love the outfit, so I like having him wear it often.... :-)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sweet Potato Fries

Here are my sweet potatoes sizzlin'. I made this several weeks ago, and wanted to share. It's so easy, and delicious. We all devoured these fries.

Sweet Potato Fries
  • Sweet potatoes, however many you think you'll need
  • Coconut oil for frying, although beef tallow would probably work better as it has a higher smoke point (tallow is 420 degrees, while coconut oil is 350 degrees)
  • sea salt
  • cookie pan
  • tongs or slotted spoon
  1. Wash, peel and slice potatoes. I have a handy dandy cutter that makes the pieces uniform in size to look like french fries.
  2. Put about an inch of coconut oil in the bottom of a pot and put on medium high. I'll be honest with you. I prefer using stainless steel, but have trouble with the fries sticking to the bottom of the pan when I use coconut oil... maybe I wouldn't have that problem with tallow. Anyway, I use a calphalon pan.
  3. When the oil is nice and hot, CAREFULLY put a couple handfuls of potatoes into the pot. Let them sizzle for about 7-ish minutes until they are golden brown, and have a sort of firm coating on the outside of the fry.
  4. Using a tongs or slotted spoon, transfer the fries to a cookie sheet to put into the oven at about 250 degrees or so. This is to keep the fries nice and hot, and to crisp them up a bit more. You can use a paper towel to blot them, but I prefer to keep as much coconut oil on the fries as I can... I hate wasting coconut oil! :-)
  5. Once you have all the potatoes fried, sprinkle salt over the batch, and mix around on the cookie sheet.
And that's how I make sweet potato fries. There are probably other better ways out there, but hey, it gets the job done. Oh, and I save the oil to reuse again. Saturated fats like coconut oil are very stable and have a long shelf life. Although I think I will keep it in my fridge just to be safe. Like I said, I hate to waste!

You can eat these with ketchup if you want. I usually just snarf them up as is. Yum!

Friday, February 19, 2010

"What's wrong, Little Pookie?"

That's the title of one of my favorite children's books by Sandra Boynton. And you know why? Because I use its wisdom often.

On Wednesday, I took the boys to the library for our weekly visit, and Judah, being so eager to get into the library, thought he'd open the door by himself. I was impressed he was able to open that heavy door a crack... but it was just enough to get his other hand inside the door and squish the fingers. What followed next was a bloody murder scream. It echoed throughout the cavernous stairway.

So, I applied the wisdom of "What's Wrong, Little Pookie?"

For those of you who've never read it, the gist of the story is this: Little Pookie is crying, and his mother is trying to figure out why. She goes through the usual checklist... are you hungry? tired? etc. And Pookie says no. Then the mom gets silly... is a dinosaur wearing your shoes? etc. And by the end of the book, Little Pookie is so distracted that he forgot why he was crying in the first place.

"Did a hippopotamus squish your fingers in the door?" I asked. Judah stopped screaming to sniffle a "Yeah." "Well, which way did he go? Did he go into the library? We'd better find him and tell him he crunched your fingers in the door." And that was the end of that.

It usually works as long as it's not a terrible awful very bad pain.

If you've never read the book, see if you can find it at your local library. It's very cute.

And here's my Little Pookie. :-)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Marmalade update

I opened up the marmalade after the allotted three days and tasted the marmalade. It was very effervescent. Not bad, just different.

Because it is just juice and chunks of orange, I thought I'd try pureeing it in the Magic Bullet. I put some orange pieces with a little of the juice and pureed it, then put it on my sourdough pancake this morning. Not too bad. It just didn't get really smooth, so there were chunks of bitter rind. What I think I may do is puree the whole jar in my food processor so it gets to be like an applesauce consistency and then age it in my fridge for another few weeks to see if it thickens up a little. It will still probably have some bitterness, but I might add a bit of maple syrup with it to try and sweeten it a bit.

I'll keep you posted...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fermented Orange Marmalade

Ever since my husband found a source of organic oranges and grapefruit for this winter, we've been swimming in citrus! And I realized there was an easy recipe for homemade orange marmalade in "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon. So I made it last night! It was easy!

Fermented Orange Marmalade
  • 3-4 organic oranges
  • 1 T. salt (I only used 1/2 T. because of two reasons: I'm low on salt, and because when I used a full T. when making fermented apple cider, it was too salty, so I figured I'd want less in this one, too.)
  • 1/4 c. whey
  • 1/2 c. filtered water
  • 1/4 c. Rapadura (That's unrefined sugar, and since I didn't have any I used maple sugar as the consistency is closer to unrefined granule sugar, although I probably could've used honey or maple syrup.)
  1. Slice oranges very thinly and cut slices into quarters. (I used the entire orange, minus the seeds!)
  2. Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down lightly with a wooden pounder or meat hammer.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over oranges, adding more water if necessary to cover them. Marmalade should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.
  4. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for 3 days before transferring to cold storage. If marmalade gets spots of white mold on top, just skim off with a spoon.
It's noted that this is more of a liquid than thick, like you might think of when you purchase it from the store. The whey is needed to make it a lacto-fermented product. I haven't tasted it yet as it needs to sit for a couple more days, but I imagine it tastes great... it's oranges, sugar, and a touch of salt! I plan to use it as a topping for pancakes and toast. Mmm... I can't wait to try it!

Isn't it pretty?

Monday, February 8, 2010

My favorite breakfast: Baked Oatmeal

This morning, I made one of my most favorite breakfasts: Baked Oatmeal. The original recipe is from Kelly the Kitchen Kop. It's good for you, satisfying, and tasty. The original recipe, which we've made many times, uses raisins and apples or pears. But since I didn't have any apples or pears, this morning I decided to use up some strawberries I had in my freezer. Also tasty, though not as sweet as the apples or pears. But that's just fine by me!

Here's my adaptation of the baked oatmeal.

Strawberry Baked Oatmeal
  • 2-1/2 c. oats (preferably not instant, but if that's what you have, they'll work)
  • 1-3/4 c. kefir (buttermilk, whey or yogurt would work too. Something acidic to break down the phytates in the oatmeal to make it more digestible)
  • ½ c. coconut oil
  • 4 eggs (preferably pastured eggs)
  • ½ c. sugar, maple syrup or honey (I use maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp. Baking powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 c. thawed strawberries
  • Optional: 2 c. chopped nuts (or sprinkle on each individual serving after baking)

  1. Soak oats and kefir covered on kitchen counter overnight. (I actually used the unsweetened juice from the strawberries, of which I had about 3/4 cup, then added 1 c. of kefir. But if there is not a significant amount of juice, just use all kefir.)
  2. In the morning, beat oil, sugar, and eggs until glossy.
  3. Add baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla; beat.
  4. Stir in oats and strawberries.
  5. Pour into 9×13 baking dish and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. (I usually bake for longer, more like 30 minutes, until the top isn't shiny anymore. I prefer more of a dryer consistency.)
  6. Feel free to smother your piece in butter and cream. Yum!

Between my husband, son, and I, we can usually get two breakfasts out of this. We eat about half a pan at a sitting. This is also a very handy treat to have in your cooler when traveling. This past summer, we made this to take along on a trip. And boy was I glad to have it along! I didn't have to worry about finding somewhere to have breakfast in the middle of downtown Kansas City! It can also double as a dessert. :-)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Judah's latest antics

Judah is nearing 2 1/2 years old, and his own little personality is coming out more and more. I wanted to share a few things about what he's been doing lately to make us smile (or furrow our brow!).
  • He loves his bear stuffed animal, and treats it like a baby. He burps it on his shoulder and changes the diaper and puts clothes on it and gives tummy time, like Mommy does with Andrew. He also nurses the bear. I told him that only mommies get to nurse their babies. Daddies and brothers have to give a bottle... but that hasn't stopped him from nursing.
  • He gives "communion" which consists of a frisbee with a bunch of outlet covers on it. He comes up to Mommy (or Daddy or Bear), holds up an outlet cover, and says "This is the true body of Christ"!! Never underestimate what those little children pick up in church. I think it helps that we sit closer to the front, because he can see exactly what his daddy is doing up front. And his daddy usually hands out the body of Christ. We asked Judah if he wanted to be a pastor like Daddy, to which he replied, "Yep."
  • He calls a little jewelry case that looks like a laptop his "computer" and he checks his email on it. He likes to have Mommy check her email too. He also likes a framed picture of himself and Andrew, and he'll call that his computer too. He says he's downloading pictures when he uses the picture frame.
  • We're teaching him the 10 commandments right now. We're up to the 5th. When he first heard it spoken to him "You shall not kill" all he said was "kill". "What is the fifth commandment, Judah?" "Kill!" I tried to hide my laugh as best I could.... He does pretty good with just a little bit of prompting on the first four commandments.
  • We've been teaching him the common table prayer, Martin Luther's morning and evening prayers, the Lord's Prayer, and our bedtime prayer for a while now, and we're trying to get him to say it WITH us, instead of just repeating a line after us. He does pretty well, except when he either refuses to say it (he missed lunch at least once because of that), or when he shouts out the syllables. So it will sound like "Our! Fah! Ther!" through the entire prayer. If it gets too bad, we have to tell him to cool it.
  • We have been singing hymns with him for a while now, as well. Sometimes we leave off the last word or syllable for him to fill in. But I think he really knows the entire songs that we sing the most. I was singing "I am Jesus' little lamb" to Andrew before a nap and Judah whispered the words of almost the entire song with me while he rocked his teddy bear.
  • Judah is resourceful. He will move Andrew's playmat out of the way so he can push a chair up to the bookshelf so he can reach up as far as he can to get something that Mommy intended for him not to have.
  • We're doing potty training now. One day in early January, Mommy suddenly decided to start, and we've been building up momentum, so it's hard to stop now. We've been having quite a few successes, just as long as Mommy and Daddy remember to put him on the potty. He doesn't quite get that you have to tell the parents BEFORE you go in your pants. He isn't always excited to sit on the potty, but when he goes, he gets this twinkle in his eye, and is excited to help dump out the pee and flush it "down the hole" as he puts it. Then we get to wear big boy underwear after he's had a successful potty experience. Which means parents need to be on their guard.
  • Meal times are always like pulling teeth. I think he finds it more convenient to be spoon fed... I think it's just frustrating for him to try and get certain food on the utensil. So I have to step back and just let him fend for himself, otherwise he'll never learn. It takes practice! But as I've discovered, if he's hungry enough, he can figure out fast enough how to use his utensils.
  • He always wants to be in the middle of whatever Mommy is doing. Whether it's washing clothes or dishes, cleaning out dirty diapers, making a cake, sitting at the computer, etc., he wants to be right there by my side. And he gets upset if he can't be a part of it.
  • He will set the table, just not always willingly. But if you ask him if Bear wants to help, then he will help. He helps Bear hold the plates, forks and cups to bring to the table. Very cute. He also helps Bear use the potty.
I could probably go on and on, but those are the highlights for right now. Hope you had a chuckle or two!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup for the Snowed-in Soul

Well, it snowed yesterday on the first of Feb, and I made chicken noodle soup. (Is it spring yet?!)

On Sunday, my husband put a freshly butchered chicken in a crockpot to cook all afternoon, and the leftover meat and bones from supper I added water to on Monday morning about 9am and cooked the bones and meat until about 3pm. I dug out a ll the bones, put the meat back in, added a bunch of cut up carrots, celery, and green onions, added some more water and then simmered in my big stock pot at 3:30pm. I added some sea salt, pepper, sage and parsley. I'll taste it later and see if it needs more salt.

About half hour before supper time, I added some of my homemade sprouted flour noodles. I'll post on those later...

I maybe went a little overboard with the amount of water I added. Didn't need to stretch the soup quite so thin, but I just added some coconut oil to make it more satiating. All in all, a comforting meal. Judah likes to drink the liquid out of the soup with a straw. A handy trick I picked up somewhere along the line...