Monday, December 20, 2010

Camera, Spinach Dip, Hummus, and Wrapping Paper

Fa La La La Laaa La La La Laaa

Christmas came early this year when Chop got us a new camera--Yay! After some research he went with the Nikon D3100. We plan on watching a dvd tonight on exactly how to use the thing, and hopefully take a family photo with it. All big plans.

I am a big proponent of 3 square meals a day for myself. Not everyone runs best this way, though I think more would if they had the time. I love my 3 meals, need my 3 meals, and if I get them on time, I will rarely snack. This weekend I found myself at home on the mainland, in the middle of 3 projects, with an empty refrigerator and no car. I was staaaaarving. I was forced to do something I rarely, or I should say never, do anymore, which is have a snack as a meal. After making a batch of black bean humus in less than five minutes and eating it with some leftover rice crackers, I easy! I am not changing my ways so quickly, but I was happy to see the simpler side of healthy food and would like to encourage y'all to try the same.

Approximate Black Bean Hummus

1 14 oz can black beans strained and rinsed
2 Tbl tahini
3 Tbl lemon juice
2 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp sea salt

Food process till smooth

I didn't measure anything which sped up the process and also helps you to feel like a super hero in the kitchen. If you make this and feel like you want more of one ingredient or another, go ahead! This is a great simple recipe to use as an exercise in tasting the distinct ingredients and determining what you'd like more of. Sour tang? Lemon. Savory? Salt. Bitter or richness? Tahini.

This is also a great example of why a stocked pantry is so important. I would have starved!

Last week I also lead a discussion on The 8 Causes of Cravings at a retail space in Providence. The turnout was great, the people were excited for the information and over all the experience made me feel worthy and generous (isn't that a bizarre thing to say?---it did though, it was such a nice night). For every workshop I do I like to bring food. This time it was Kale chips, raw chocolate truffles, and a raw spinach dip.

What I love about the spinach dip? Its quick, easy, full of nutrients and minerals, and it has those flavors that have you coming back for more more more---a great attribute for a healthy food to have. My suggestion? Bring this to your next holiday gathering. Instead of maowing on the cheese and crackers you can feel good about maowing on this. Serve it with some diced pumpernickel bread and zucchini sticks. Yum yum and yum.

Raw Spinach Dip

4 cups of baby spinach
1/2 cup tahini
1 small tomato chopped
1/4 cup red onion diced
3 Tbl lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend till smooth.

About wrapping paper... I have a love/hate relationship with it. When I was a teenager I worked for a fancy woman's clothing store. There, I was taught how to tie a pretty magnificent bow and make gifts look sparkly and beautiful. We used real ribbon, colored tinsel, cellophane bags, (have you ever seen the scene in the movie Love Actually with Mr.Bean in the department store and the lavender sprig?), and metallic papers. I would bring all my gifts to work and wrap them at our wrapping station. When I started to learn a little more about the environmental impact of non recycled paper, and became a little more aware I actually went in the complete opposite direction and began wrapping my gifts in newspaper. The Sunday funnies are pretty colorful. I see the value in a gift being wrapped and the value in it being beautiful, and so after some time stopped with the newsprint and eventually started saving wrapping paper from birthdays, Christmas, showers, etc. (I look like a crazy lady, thanking people for my gifts and neatly folding their tissue paper into neat little piles).

The past few years I've started to use my paper grocery bags for wrapping. This has been a nice compromise. Some of the bags come with pretty holiday prints on them like snowflakes and ornaments. Each package is a blank page waiting adornment from either markers, stamps, paints (you can make stamps from an old sponge in the shape of a tree or polka dots and use with paint) Ribbons saved from gifts, or I make the exception of using fresh (new and store bought) real cloth ribbon, because it is just so pretty, and hopefully the receiver will save and reuse it. I no longer feel guilt for forgetting my cloth bags at the store, paper please! I figure if I can store my used crinkly tissue paper under my bed and move it with me every 6 months, someone with a bit more room and steady lifestyle and can make it happen. Once the packages are given the special touch, no one is none the wiser (or cares).

(OMG! My friend, TheBellyWoman, just brought this link to my attention
How beautiful does that look? The birch bark gift bags? So delicious--I'm done with paper next year.)

Trader Joe's bags have the cute little snowflakes that you can cut out and decorate the package with. Curling ribbon was left over from my father's birthday party this summer--I don't think anyone will care it's purple and black instead of red and green!

Lastly, my skin is so freakin dry! Lets all vow to drink a little more water this week. Our body is feeling the stress enough between the cookies, family, wrapping, and all that singing!

Love these glass water bottles, buy once and reuse. Water always tastes so much better out of glass.

Gratuitous Wesley picture below...

Baby it's cold outside--let's go for a swing!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Super Chia (cookies, cookies, cookies)

I kept half my promises--a Wednesday deadline was tough this week with a sleepless 1 year old.
We'll get there won't we Wes...

And my formatting is a MESS--sometimes you just have to move forward with the imperfections.

I recently read a personal opinion article posted by a friend on facebook. In the article the gentleman was stating his disappointment with the new "Superfood" Sesame Street characters. Apparently the characters come in the form of a big hunk of cheese, a stalk of broccoli, a whole wheat hamburger bun, and a banana. I'll let you take a gander at the article for yourself--HERE. Much of his anger with the new characters is because they are sponsored by Merck, the drug company. Drug company calls cheese and a bun superfood-- makes a lot of sense if you think about it.

Sad to say but unfortunately a whole wheat bun is not a superfood, nor is a hunk of cheese, broccoli is, and a banana, though a healthy food, is not. My understanding is a superfood is any food that is naturally high in antioxidants, though these days "superfood" is becoming a catch word like "whole grains" (hence the hamburger bun), "organic", "all natural", or "gluten free" (just because something is gluten free does not mean it is healthy). Also there are more and more potent superfoods becoming available.

Personally I don't put a lot of stock in the new trend of superfoods, they aren't accessible enough in my opinion. I think true superfoods are great, help boost our immune systems, help to make up for where our diets lack, but you can find the same nutrition in fresh fruits and vegetables---you just gotta eat em! The problem I have with the more rare, nutritionally dense food, is the cost, accessibility, and the fact that they come from so far away. Although, these new berries and seeds (ie: goji berries, acai berries, chia seeds, hemp seeds, maca, etc.) are tempting to give a try on occasion when you have the extra grocery cash.

Most recently I bought some Chia seeds, I had tried them once before and knew there had to be more uses for them than drinking them down with water (though a quick and easy way to get down with the nutrients) or spreading them on a clay animal figurine to watch it sprout. Chia seeds are high in protein, soluble fiber, and phytochemicals, essential minerals-phosphorus, manganese, and calcium, and trace levels of potassium and sodium. They are a pretty special seed if you can find some uses for them.

Well, how about some chia chocolate chip cookies?

Chia seed cookies- taste just the same with 1/2 the fat and twice the fiber, pretty cool.

First you have to make the chia gel (stay with me here folks)

Chia gel is super easy to make, and it’s the key to the healthy kick these cookies pack. Due to its unique gelling property, it replaces half of the butter in this recipe, without changing the flavor. Chia seeds have no flavor of their own when you make the gel with filtered water. You won’t even know they’re in the cookies.

1 tbsp dry chia seeds
9 tbsp filtered water

In a seal-able container, simply scoop in the chia seeds and add the 9 tbsp filtered water. Stir with a fork to prevent clumping, and let stand for about 10 to 15 minutes. The seeds will each have formed a thick gel around them. This gel can now be used to replace up to half the butter or oil in almost any baked recipe.

Chia Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dry Ingredients
2 cups flour
½ heaping tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Wet Ingredients
8 tbsp butter (works best if melted first)
4 tbsp chia gel
¼ cup apple sauce (unsweetened)
1 tbsp vanilla
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk on

-pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees and grease your cookie sheets
-mix the melted butter, and both sugars until well blended
-add vanilla, apple sauce, egg, and egg yolk
-stir again until thoroughly combined.
-last add in your chia gel and stir again
Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl except for chocolate chips
combine wet and dry ingredients, mix well
add in chocolate chips and mix

I had promised another cookie recipe here as well this week. The Juice and Java famous, make them in a jar and share with your family, unbelievably tasty, Christmas Gift Cookies!

I nabbbed this picture off of google images since I haven't made my jars yet. You can decorate them however you'd like, some people even put little weird hats on the lids. I like this twine and card, nice and simple.

The Juice and Java famous, make them in a jar and share with your family, unbelievably tasty, Christmas Gift Cookies

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • (I use evaporated cane juice found at any health food store)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Layer in a 1 quart jar however you think looks pretties (I use wide mouth mason jars so that the brown sugar and rest of the ingredients come out easily). Press each layer in place before adding next layer. Include a card with the rest of the recipe and instructions:

Preheat oven to 350*
Grease cookie sheets
In a medium bowl mix
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
Stir in entire contents of jar
Place walnut size pieces on cookie sheet
Bake 11-13 minutes

Making many of these jars up at once is great for hostess gifts or stocking stuffers. A very inexpensive, yet nice treat, for a gift.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Promises Promises (brussel sprout 2 ways)

My promise (to myself) is 1 post a week, I'm thinking Wednesdays. Readership is down, my 2 month hiatus hurt the cause-- but it's about the food, tricks in the kitchen, creativity, and life's lessons. So Wednesdays it shall be.

Happy December Yo!

Hope everyone had a warm and cozy Thanksgiving. I saw an actress on Ellen yesterday talking about her family's "pajama Thanksgiving", everyone in her family wears their new Christmas pjs all day. I thought that sounded kind of fun. I also think the era of dressing up... pantyhose, small martini glasses, heals, and coats with belts, sounds pretty darn nice as well. Of course I think most of us find ourselves somewhere in between, but next year I'm thinking themed holidays.

Chop and I got our tree this weekend too! This is kind of a big deal to me, because our family never really bought our trees this early. I felt like I was breaking some kind of rule (an unspoken rule, noone was that strict in my family). We are very spoiled, for this Christmas we have 2 trees! One on the mainland and one on the island. We spend a majority of our time on the island, but the mainland is where our "home" is and where we spend x-mas, so it only makes sense. By Sunday night both trees were up and decorated.... it's on.

Christmas gifts in our family have been paired down over the years, as with most family's I'm sure...with the current economy (I feel like a talking head when I say something like that, but ain't it the truth!?). Last year it was Limoncello, cookies, and pictures of Wesley. Don't tell anyone, but this year too! The Limoncello and cookies aren't cheap, but they are delicious and certainly less expensive than the Wii's or all those ipods I used to buy back before the baby.

I could put my limoncello recipe here and take some pictures for you, but I think I should allow this guy to show you how it's done. Talk about intense, a little obsessive, but thorough and sure to create an outstanding product. There are also a bunch of great cocktail recipes for after the limoncello is made that sound delicious and only a bit dangerous. I used Grain alcohol for mine, and may I suggest not trying the limoncello until you have a finished product with sweetener and all, unless you like that limb numbing, speech slurring feeling on a Sunday afternoon.

My cookie recipe will be shared, but in due time. I make jarred cookies, meaning all the ingredients minus the oil and the egg are in the jar. The cookies I make were a favorite when I baked for the little coffee shop Juice and Java, and the jar version of the cookies were deemed successful. They aren't just any ol' sugar cookie and I think it would be great if you decided these cookies would be a good gift for your family as well. Next Wednesday I will post it---I promise.

Ok lastly, a recipe for this week. I had big plans on Thanksgiving to make a brussel sprout salad. I had never made a dish with raw brussel sprouts before, and when this salad came out so delicious for dinner one night, I decided this new lease on brussel sprouts had to be shared! What I hadn't planned for, was every market on Thanksgiving is closed! On the island, it is to be expected, but I guess I just thought the mainland was a magical place where markets never close and you can buy ice cream and/or brussel sprouts any time, any day. So I wasn't able to share my brussel sprout salad with my family, much to my chagrin, though I am happy to share it here and now.

Sprout Salad
1/2 stalk brussel sprouts
1 avocado
handful of toasted sunflower seeds
handful of dried cranberries
1/2 cup shaved parmesan and/or asiago
1/4 cup olive oil
4 Tbl Lemon juice
s and p to taste

Clean and de-stem the brussel sprouts and then slice them nice and thin. They are like mini cabbages and so slice the same way.

Toss the bs with the olive oil and lemon and let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Toast the seeds.

Shave the cheese.
Slice the avocado.
Toss and eat!

Using half the stalk for the salad allows you to make "brussel sprout two ways". Take the other half of the bunch, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, and some chopped red onion. Put them in the oven for 40-50 minutes on 400* You can make a whole meal all about the sprouts! These blood detoxifying, nutrient rich, cruciferous gems are sure to please this Holiday season.

One more tip: Dried rosemary can be kind of a pain, I actually stopped using it a switched to thyme because it was so frustrating, but I missed the flavor. Using it whole is like seasoning with a bunch of little twigs, not fun to eat. Chopping it leads to a dried rosemary covered kitchen (it flies everywhere). Solution: Create a little puddle of water on your cutting board (just a few drops) and chop your rosemary in the water, problem solved.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Day In Providence (Grandma Reggie's Salad)

A day in Providence.

Wes loves to point (it's kind of his thing). Here we were scoping out a seriously tall tree.

The tree and its foliage.

First Baptist Church of America on the east side is just so pretty.

Lunch at The Garden Grill

A visit to the state house lawn.

Playing with Poppa Choppa,

in the leaves,

leads to a leafy butt (only comes but one time of year),

and a tuckered boy.

The sun was bright that day,

And shone on us, everywhere we went.

It could cast a perfect shadow.

And put a real smile on your face.

The Garden Grill's Grandma Reggie's Raw Heaven Salad

This is my favorite, it is so simple yet SO delicious, colorful, beautiful.
  • baby arugula
  • mango
  • avocado
  • grapefruit
  • beet-infused jicama
  • cashew gomasio
  • lime juice
  • olive oil

Jicama is like the love child of an apple and a potato. Crisp, watery, hint of sweet. They marinate theirs in beet juice to turn it magenta.

Cashew gomasio is ground cashew tossed with sea salt.

Isn't she beautiful?

The dressing for this salad couldn't be simpler. 2 Tbl of Fresh squeezed lime juice and 2 Tbl of olive oil. This is a bright fresh flavored salad to eat between the Holidays, giving yourself a break from all the heavy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bacon Eating Vegetarian (split pea soup)

"I would be a vegetarian except I love bacon" That is the carnivores best joke when introduced to a vegetarian. I've heard it almost as many times as, "I hated it" or "it was terrible" when clearing a licked clean plate from a customer at the restaurant. The irony of the statement is the joke. I hope I don't sound bitter.

Once again, I digress...

I have been conflicted. For 11 years I was a vegetarian. During those 11 years I experimented with a vegan diet, ate fish when fresh and local after moving back to Block Island, added eggs then took them out then added them again, and repeat (my egg eating was a big personal dilemma for many years). Once I decided to eat meat, add it back in for good (for the time being), no longer call myself a vegetarian (pescetarian or what have you), and with no excuse or apology, I have felt clear in that decision. My confliction has come with writing this blog and cooking with meat.

Despite my new-ish understanding that meat in a diet can be a healthy addition (for some people and the right types of meat), it is still difficult for me to see a recipe with the addition of, lets say bacon for example, as a good healthy choice for people. Even though I see it as a good healthy choice for me and my family. I like introducing people to foods that are prepared unlike the way you can find them on any menu or in most recipes. Creativity with food. So making a split pea soup with bacon, and sharing that here has been a difficult choice for me. Weird right?

What it has come down to for me is getting people in the kitchen. Bacon or no bacon, there is nothing like a homemade soup to warm the tummy, soul, and home. Personally, having bacon in my soup was a little weird. It seems like a cheap way (and I don't mean inexpensive) to add flavor. But, Chop loved it--and he ate it with a vigor I don't always see when feeding him my vegetarian version. There is something to be said about that kind of enthusiasm with your customers (wrong word, but what would you call the receiver of your home cooked goodness? taster? taste-ee?).

Handling meat is a whole other thing for me too. I have never cooked with it, being a vegetarian for my whole adult life. It is kind of gross. BUT, if you are going to eat meat that has made the lowest carbon footprint and has been humanely raised and killed (grass fed, local), you are going to have to cook it yourself. Some vegetarians believe we should have to kill the animal ourselves if we are going to be eating it, the least I can do is handle it.

So, with this post behind me-- we can move on. Some meals will have meat, most won't (hard to break old habits and why would I want to). I will put this confliction to rest with a split pea soup recipe Chopper would die for.

Split Pea Soup with Bacon and Rosemary (Bon Appetit)

4 bacon slices, chopped (yeah, not easy to do--I cooked it first and then broke it up in the pan)
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium leek, sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
7-8 cups of low sodium stock (the recipe called for chicken, I used vegetable--old habits die hard)
1 1/4 cups of green split peas, rinsed
2 bay leaves (I used a few pieces of kombu (sea vegetable)instead--increases the mineral content of soups, broths, grains, etc)
1 tsp dried rosemary, chopped (1/2 tsp fresh)

Saute bacon in large pot over med-high heat till crisp and brown.
Add onion, leek, carrot, and garlic and saute until veg soften
Add broth, peas, kombu, and rosemary and bring soup to boil.
Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and simmer till peas are soft--this took a few hours to get it nice and mushy--you could crock pot it.

It is always important to rinse your grains and dry beans. They are stored in large bins and can get pretty dusty as well as whatever else may lurk in the giant bins/bags of grain. When rinsing these peas I notice they got sticky, like whatever sticky protein is in the pea was broken down a little with the addition of water. I don't know if that is exactly what was happening (have not looked into it further) but interesting, if it is.

A nice medley of color pre-broth

Split pea soup with bacon

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Good Things (cauliflower steaks and mushroom gravy)

Oprah does it, Martha does it, they highlight "good things". Food, crafts, products, and projects that they are just crazy about right now. I thought "good things" would be a nice way to creep my way back into the blog-o-sphere.

First, I should let you all know that I did not win the car.

I digress.

Papaya-banana "pudding". 1 papaya and 1 banana in blender. Enjoy

The view out my new "winter housing" kitchen window.

A little dragon and a little lobster.

Adding kale to canned soup. Its the little things.

Cooking with my babe--thanks to the Ergo Carrier

Pea greens! In eggs, salads, soups, and pesto

My new I-phone app- that allows me to take these new "old" photos (Hipstamatic)
And the little red wagon.

Brussel sprouts on the stalk. What fun!

Fall leaves and the cutest little owl hat

OMG! Cauliflower steaks.

Cauliflower is not a vegetable I've experimented with much. I've heard about the ole' cauliflower "mashed potatoes", but thought that was more a Weight Watcher's trick than anything anyone would really want to eat. My naivete in the potential of cauliflower is vast. Considering it is a cruciferous vegetable, much like kale or it's cousin broccoli, I really should have given it a chance sooner. Well this week I did, and I have to say what a treat!

The cauliflower steaks were served over a cauliflower puree with roasted sweet vegetables, roasted kale and a mushroom gravy. This was a prime time vegetarian meal. I may be a meat eater now, but I still find the most delicious and creative foods are those that are strictly vegetarian.

Cauliflower Steaks and Puree

Preheat oven to 350*

Use either 1 big head or 2 small heads cauliflower
olive oil
1 cup milk (I used soy, whatever milk you choose)
1 cup vegetable broth
1 Tbl butter
salt and pepper

Cut a 1 inch piece out of the middle of the cauliflower, cutting straight down and through the stem (cut 2 pieces out of the 1 big head if that's what you use)

Cut up the remaining florets off the cauliflower and put them in a pot with the milk, veg stock, and salt and pepper.

Bring the florets to a boil, then let them simmer while you pan sear the steaks.

Drizzle each side of the steak with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sear each side of the cauliflower steak until golden brown.

Put steaks in oven at 350* till they become tender and browned (about 15 minutes).

Once the florets are soft, drain, saving the liquid, and put the florets on a cookie sheet in the oven for 10 minutes (just to dry them out a little).

Put the florets with a cup of the liquid and butter in the blender till smooth.

Use the remaining cup of liquid in your gravy!

Mushroom Miso Gravy-awesome gravy for any dish-especially when you go meatless.

2 portobella mushrooms
1 Tbl butter
2 Tbl sweet white miso
1 cup soy milk (milk) (or the remaining floret liquid)
3 Tbl flour (your choice)
1/2 onion
1 Tbl thyme
Black pepper

Saute onion and mushroom in butter till soft
Coat the mushroom mixture in the flour, add thyme.
Dissolve the miso in the soy milk, stirring till mixed thoroughly.
Add the soy milk/miso to the onions. Stir till thickens.
Add black pepper to taste.

I still say being able to make a tasty healthy gravy in a flash is a real pleaser. Speaking of pleasers, I hope to not be a teaser, and rather a regular weezer (of words and recipes on this blog) from now on-- I had the summer off, now it's time to get back into the kitchen. See you next week!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love (RI Chowder)

He's still SLEEPING! This is an exclamation for many reasons: 1. this is the longest nap in Wesley history (going on 2 hours), 2. I have exhausted all my chores and phone calls, 3. Today was a day I decided not to nap with him (mistake?).

So I have some time, minutes probably.

This summer has been filled with good food, fun beach time, family, and work. Not sure I like working too much (besides my Health Counseling of course). I do less counseling in the summer, because lets be honest, though we all come out of the spring gates with the best intentions, it is not always easy to focus on health in the summer. (this was all written on July 21st, then he woke up)

Ahem...August 2.

Wes is 10 months today! He is sleeping, again, and I have to pump some milk and ready myself for work shortly, but I thought I may be able to publish something today.

Blah, blah, blah, summer, work, family, friends. Lets talk food, spirituality, relationship--I just spent 15 frustrating minutes watching a choppy trailer for Eat, Pray, Love, my computer doesn't support the technological advances of the last 3 years, but I hung in there. I, as with many women, loved the book. What an easy, fun, and inspiring read and it looks like an easy, fun, and inspiring movie to watch. Easy and fun on the eyes!--James Franco, Billy Crudup, and Javier Bardem- I am conjuring up 16 year old Persephone, who gushes at "on screen" hot men (have a hard time using the term "hotties", though it seemed more appropriate there).

So in honor of Eat, Pray, Love...

Eat--we have had a beautiful food summer. Our friends who supplied us with the gorgeous eggs all winter long, continued to be so generous. On fathers day, she stopped by with 2 dozen eggs and about 6 bunch of ruby chard. I had been threatening to bring Wes to meet their chickens, he is loving animals these days, and I finally made it out to their property to do so. These chickens are pimping! The live in a rotating coup so that they are able to eat fresh grass and grubs, each nesting stall has a privacy curtain, they have "chicken" posters from movies like Chicken Little on the walls of their house, screened windows for fresh air, organic garden scraps for food, and classical music! It is no wonder their yolks are dark orange and the shells are strong...delicious.

The chickens were the original draw, but soon after arriving, I realized the garden was nothing to shake a stick at. Rows of fresh lettuces, leafy greens, carrots, potatoes, onions, and night shades. An entire protected pen of blueberry bushes. Squash and melons growing hillside and a compost system to make your mouth water. Seaweed, worm compost, garden scrap, and chicken manure all aid in making the soil rich and the vegetables grow strong like weeds. How blessed was I to be offered free reign of the garden?! I am a little shy, though when my mother in law was visiting and we wanted to make a chowder, I called ahead and went to pull fresh potatoes, carrots, greens, and onions for the soup.

Chop and I had harvested the clams a few days before. It is so satisfying to grow or forage your own food. Clamming with Wes was a challenge, but a fun one and created a great memory. We had to go very far out to get the clams, so we lathered Wesley in sunblock, grabbed some hats and headed out into the water. We took turns holding Wes and digging for clams. At one point I nursed him standing up out in the open water and thought to myself that I was either crazy or extremely sane (is this how it is supposed to be?). A kayaker passed by and asked what we were doing out there with a baby...if you ask me clamming and swimming is where all babies should be at least once in their life.

The bounty. All fresh and local, now that's eating!

The chowder looks more appetizing with a cute baby suggesting, "come give it a try".

Chowder Rhode Island Style
2 dozen clams
1 onion
1 can sweet corn
5 chopped potatoes
4 chopped carrots
2 chopped summer squash
2 stalks of chard finely chopped (Replaced the celery)
2 sticks of butter
4 cups of clam steaming water
1 Tbl dried thyme
1/2 bunch parsley
1 tsp sage
1 tsp oregano

Steam the clams till they all open up in 4 cups of water. Take most of the clams out of the shell and chop them, in the meantime add the vegetables, butter, and herbs to the clam steaming water. This chowder was really good. To be honest I prefer creamy chowder and wasn't looking forward to something that looked so gray and bland, but it was delicious! Blame it on the butter.

Pray--I have been thinking a lot lately about what my next car will be. I have no plans to get a new car, it is not in our current budget, and my car runs well, so I don't know where these thoughts and fantasies are coming from. I have never been a car person, I don't care what I drive, currently I drive the newest car I've ever owned and it is 17 years old. So when I learned that there is a raffle in town to benefit the Early Learning Center, raffling a new Subaru Outback or $15,000, I figured it must be destiny. If Elizabeth Gilbert can create a magical world tour ending in love and a best selling book, I think I can make a new car happen. So I am writing it here intention is to win that car!

My next car.

Love--There is lots of love in my life. When I find myself explaining to my best friend the benefits of having a child, when I can't go out to dinner with her the one night she's visiting because Wes has a fever and is throwing up, I hear myself saying the words I have heard other's say before and always thought a little confusing. "You can't describe it", "rewarding", "magical", but what I think it all comes down to is Love. In the purest sense of the word. To see him learn how to navigate this world, communicate, face pain, face fear, wave good bye and eat a piece of egg is pretty amazing. I don't think I could fully understand where I came from until witnessing these basic feelings realized and rooting for someone so fully. I am rooting for him with all of my heart, I've never done that for anyone else before.

Boy has a good sense of humor.

Lucky girl.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blog relevance (cold oat cereal)

He's getting much bigger (and cuter) everyday. Must be the milk.

So I am curious what my readers come here for. Is it an update on the family, our life on the island, recipes, food ideas, all of the above? This thought came up for me as I questioned whether or not to update today. I haven't been cooking much, actually that isn't true, but I haven't been experimenting much and I am afraid new ideas in the kitchen seem to be waining, making it difficult to come across as fresh and inspiring.

So what relevance does this blog have to look forward to? Well, we start receiving our CSA shares in 2 weeks. This will hopefully bring some fun fresh vegetables and inspiration in the kitchen. Wesley may or may not start eating a bit more, this could lead to some baby food ideas. So far he is still primarily nursing, and despite a promising start out of the "solid food" gate, he has seemed to have completely lost interest. Spring is passing, summer is almost here, and with that change comes less interest in the restaurants. We have been eating out big time, and we are certain to get bored soon. I am excited to experiment a bit more with raw foods, and I have to admit that after the cleanse I realized dairy and wheat don't sit so well with me. This is a crazy-mad realization.

I have denied having any food sensitivities for years, I pride myself on having a fluid diet that sometimes includes some not so healthy items. It has been the fluidity and balance that sets my food relationship apart. Though after the cleanse I had stomach pain for 2 days as I reintroduced wheat and dairy (together, like an idiot-- which one was it?) I believe it to be high fat dairy (like ice cream..ouch) and white flour products in the worst way, then the rest trickles down from there. I am back on goats milk products only and sticking to whole grain, hoping to kick the habit and find the balanced allowance once again....we'll see.

In the meantime, a great SIMPLE breakfast for y'all, Chopper and I, which does not include wheat, dairy, refined sugar, or a stove.

1 cup of rolled oats
1/2 cup of date pieces
2 cups of almond milk (or milk of your choice)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Combine and let sit in fridge over night. The next morning the sunflower seeds will still hold their crunch, the dates will be softened and sweeten the cereal throughout, and the oatmeal will eat like oatmeal without having to be cooked. Puuuurrrrfect.

How I have been spending my time lately.