Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I've moved!


I've moved! Come join me HERE for more stories, recipes, and tips in the kitchen!

http://persephonebrown.com/blog

feet

Living. Loving. Getting Feet Wet and Dirty. Rockin.


I was taught it is best to write about your experience, life lesson, recipe, tip for health, etc after you had gone through it for yourself. Experience- learn- then teach.

This is such great advice. Wonderful really. It helps you to hone your craft, learn from your life's experience, and teach others to learn from theirs. Listen to your body, listen to what your friends and family teach you about yourself, pay attention to the world around you.

But then I got stuck.

I stopped writing.

Life was looking messy. My 2 year old, my relationship, my business, my self. So many areas to pull from, I was in the middle of SO many of life's lessons. In the middle of it all, life shifting daily, new challenges, new dishes, and new experiences all around. Was it ever going to end? Would I ever make it to the either side…and what would that look like? Perfection? Ha!

I found myself blocked with seemingly nothing mastered. And so I waited…and waited.

Then I received a message from an old friend (an actual message, not a hoodoo voodoo message, though I will take it as such—synchronistic). Apparently something about my half-truthed, half learned, half experienced teachings were of value to her. She was picking up what I was throwing down and a little disappointed that I had stopped throwing down. Her words were not only encouraging, but also so obviously the answer I was looking for…perfection in all of life’s imperfection.

A lesson learned it seems. The value of imperfection. The cycle of life challenge turned lesson learned will continue to shine as imperfect perfection. Confused?

So am I, and apparently that is the gift to us all.

soup_2.jpg

When I am feeling sticky and spacious (I like that better than stuck and spacey) I know I need a little pick me up and not of the caffeine persuasion. A cleansing meal does just that. This soup is my go to. It is warming, grounding, cleansing, and de-li-cious.


Miso/ Dashi Broth (shown here with mushrooms, seaweed, and scallion)

· 1 sm packet of bonito flakes

· 1 sheet kombu (kelp)

· 32 oz water or vegetable broth

· let simmer for 20-30 minutes

· strain

· 1 Tbl sesame oil

· 2 Tbl soy sauce

· add vegetables (carrot, onion, garlic, ginger, mushroom, broccoli, spinach, etc)

· add shrimp (optional)

· Let simmer till soft

· Add 1 Tbl of fresh sweet white miso in bowl pour broth over and mix

I know not everyone has bonito flakes and kelp in their cupboard. Don't let that stop you! Your local health food or chinese grocer will have them for you--you can up the nutritional ante of your dry storage and once you see how easy this soup is to make, you'll be making it again and again.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

She's Not Pregnant, IT'S BLOAT!

bloat

Poor body image is not in our heads! Every one of us has to put aside the Star* magazine critic in our heads (nevermind NOT buy the magazines), and make peace with our unique shape. (And isn't this just disgustingly cruel?!)

This time of year is always a little tough for me, transitioning from our isolated, insular family in the winter, to working opposite schedules, and living in the center of town during the summer. It's like BA-BAAM (!)-- it is on.

This year the seasonal transition is dredging up some old beliefs and feelings about myself, my body, and my life.

Settling into the summer, in the land of tans, bands, and beach parties (I just coined that--a little corny, but I think it works) I start to feel a little out of place.

I am no longer the young college girl I came out to Block Island as, and I work to resist the urge to feel like I must fit in. Fitting in is something from my past. When I was in high school I worked to fit in and be popular-- I dressed up every day, wore tight clothes, lots of make up, and valued myself based on my appearance and how people perceived me.

As the beautiful, young, fresh faces of summer start to arrive, I find myself looking in the mirror a little more. I focus more on the clothes I choose, I judge my body's appearance, I start to doubt the woman I am and revert back to looking more at my physical value.

Something I have learned (somewhere between college girl and woman/mother) is

where there is discomfort or dis-ease, there is an opportunity for growth.


---I am reminded to show my body love--every inch--even the cellulite on my thighs, and my soft breasts from nursing my boy.

---I am reminded to eat well and drink water to feed my brain, my skin, and to teach my young son how to love and nourish himself.

---I remember to surround myself with people who reflect my life as it is now. People who seek to live a life without the fears and beliefs of their past (no matter how often, or what time of year they come creepin'). Those who choose to take time out of the crazy-hazy and care for themselves--drink water, eat fresh healthy foods, and give themselves some space and compassion. And I know that in the fast pace of summer, "my tribe" can get pretty busy and it takes work to seek each other out.

This year, transition into summer has worked one over on me, but I am coming around the bend-- remembering to seek growth from the experience (I forgive you, 17 year old Persephone) and, despite the discomfort, put myself out there again.


Calling all TRIBE MEMBERS----


Together, lets give our bodies some love--thighs and all.

xoxo Persephone
love somach

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Parent of the Year

I would never run out of diapers

I always hear parents mention all the things they do now, they said they'd never do before having kids. From Elmo and macaroni and cheese to pacifiers and co-sleeping. I, admittedly, had no idea what I was getting into when we had Wesley.

The boy took my life by storm and I was taught right away, any plans I had were to be tossed out. I was on a new kind of ride, one where I was not the driver. Well, I was a driver, but not the only one.

Our choice was to have a natural home-birth and we had decided to opt out of all medical intervention unless necessary. This meant no vaccinations at birth (needles seemed like a harsh greeting), no gel in the eyes (again this seemed invasive unless necessary), and we would stay home and rest, nurse, and be alone with our new family for at least the first few days. Within 3 minutes of Wes' birth, there were 12 men (EMT's) in my bedroom and Wes had every medical intervention imaginable. From antibiotic IVs to respiratory intebation, he was poked, prodded, gelled, drilled, and sedated within an hour of birth.

I obviously had some letting go to do.

We weren't sure if we'd choose to use a pacifier (oh the things you ponder pre-baby), but when Wesley spent a week in the NICU due to a possible collapsed lung/infection, and we couldn't hold him for the better part of that week-- a pacifier was the only way to comfort him. Obviously the scales were tipped and it was clear the choice we needed to make.

When we took our healthy (yay!) baby home we worked really hard to start nursing. We had some major set back and were worried that he wouldn't get it. After a week of tears, frustration, and persistence, he finally took to the breast and we felt relief that at least this could be done "our way".

At 4 months, when some doctors suggest, to start feeding your baby rice cereal, we decided to post pone this transition to solid foods. We wanted to give him a little more time solely on breastmilk, giving his digestive system more time to develop healthy flora (antibiotics may have set this back too), and waiting till he could start with a vegetable as opposed to a grain.

At 6 months we fed him sweet potato and avocado and were happy that he seemed to enjoy vegetables and ate with vigor.

Somewhere between 6 months and 17 months, the act of feeding Wes has become a blur, a challenge, and extremely frustrating. It is obviously not me driving this car, and I am doing my best to be the most supportive and patient back sear driver I can be.

I have given Wes puff cereal, something I aimed to avoid. I have played airplane with his spoon, something I read "should not" be necessary. I have hidden vegetables in muffins, something I thought you'd only have to do, had you not taught your child "proper eating habits" by example (what an a-hole).

This list will continue to grow, I imagine, and with this list come my biggest lessons in life. Thank you my little, strong willed, my way or the highway, apple of my eye, puff cereal eatin' boy.

Things I thought I'd NEVER do:

1. Talk in the first person ALL DAY LONG: momma will make you breakfast, come with momma upstairs, momma needs to have some water, momma needs a shower

2. Sleep with my baby: Wes needed the comfort in the beginning (and we did too!), I was nursing through the night and it made sense. I'm still nursing like crazy (the eating thing is so tricky) and now we are in a holding pattern. I am reconciling the fact that despite the interrupted sleep, I love having him so near me, waking up to him, and knowing he is warm and snuggled.

3. Use a baby swing ('good mother's hold their babies'): my arms got tired.

4. Feed him "puffs"(or other baby marketed treats): I held out for a loong time. It turns out it was a crunchy finger food that would get him closer to where we needed him to be eating wise. I realize I say where "we" needed (not he) him to be, and this is true. I needed him to not only nurse for sustenance, I was wasting away and eating more roasts than I would like. Momma needs to take care of herself too.

5. Use sippy cups: Ha! I had this vision of sticky plastic cups under the couch, in the car, and being dragged around by my four year old every where we went. Turns out they are a great way to give independence to a baby, and water isn't so sticky.

6. Feed my baby products off the shelf while grocery shopping: I still have an issue with this one, (though if you do it--NO judgement--some people would say me nursing my baby in the grocery store is bad manners) though I've seen Chopper do it and I resisted to say anything. But--I do thank god for the food samples at Wholefoods, and now plan ahead with snacks from home.

7. Put my baby in front of the TV: sign language videos are a great way for Wes and Chopper to wind down when Chop gets home from work. He has learned so many signs and again, is gaining independence this way. Perhaps with all this independence he'll be out of my bed before I realize(!)

I guess my point with all of this is the practice/message, of balance and moderation. Expectations, disappointments, frustrations, limitations, and rewards are all equal partners in the business of being a parent or a human being. With a little cookie comes a green smoothie, with a little sippy cup comes a moment to wash the dishes and a moment of pride for a 10 month old. For all the mommas and daddas that do all of the above, or anything else they said they'd never do--may acceptance come to you when you check in and ask, is this the best decision I can make for my family? Baby, mommy, daddy included. As no one diet works for every one, no one parenting choice does either. And for those without kids, you have no idea.

Our adventurous journey

I didn't know all that I was getting into and would be getting out of.

When Wesley decided that he would not be eating pureed food by spoon at all--First I had to put away my baby food mill and second throw out the ice cube trays full of puree that had been sitting in my freezer for 3 months. Next came jars (maybe he has bought into all the food marketing too?), but he didn't like those either. Nor the cereals, so after they spent over a year in my cupboards I found a use for them.

Baby Food Muffins

1 ½ cup ww flour

1 cup grain cereal (rice or oat baby cereal

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

3-4 4 oz jars baby food

1 cup pureed raw spinach

¼ cup molasses

1 tsp vanilla

pecans

Mix all ingredients, put in muffin tin. Bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes.

Then I discovered coconut flour. I had always wanted to try it, but Wesley was my motivation. High in fiber and protein, and gluten free. This is a superfood flour for baking.


Wesley's Muffins

1 cup coconut flour

2 bananas

2 Tbl butter melted

2 Tbl coconut oil melted

2 Tbl milk

3 Tbl honey, agave, or maple syrup

1/2 cup berries

1 cup pureed raw spinach

1 tsp b powder

½ tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients, put in muffin tin. Bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes.

You can lead a horse to water... Wes helping me cook at 4 months--he's holding the garlic

First taste of sour...maybe this is what turned him off.

He had a lot of fun at his first birthday--but didn't eat a bite
(of his organic, fruit sweetened, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting)

Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm A Little Bit Raw, A Little Bit Roast Beef


People talk to me about food. With some of them it's a professional relationship and I provide support, feedback, and accountability. With others there is less a formality. People tell me what they eat, what they think they shouldn't eat, what they eat that is good for them, what they eat that is bad for them, ask me what they should order, tell me what they know they should order but what they really want, tell me what they want but order something else and/or apologize for what is on their plates.

The biggest and best lesson I learned during my courses to become a health counselor was everyone is different, every one's nutritional needs are different, and no 1 diet works for everyone. This was revolutionary, I was set free. With a true understanding of this comes NO judgment on anyone at any time for their food choices. This means I no longer regard what people around me are eating unless they have asked for my opinion, guidance, or support around food choices. When someone comes to me and tells me that what they are doing isn't working for them, I am happy to listen. (Admittedly I have at times looked in people's shopping carts in the grocery store, I am curious what people are buying and choosing to feed their families. Research.)

Yesterday I ate the following:

banana walnut bread
soy latte
mini croissant
2 piece sausage links
2 piece bacon
eggs
fruit
1 piece french toast
2 mimosas
1 mini cannoli
1 mini chocolate thing
cup coffee
water
beet salad with shrimp and goat cheese
piece of birthday cake
bread and butter
1 cocktail
1 glass wine
few bites of sardines
few bites of cod fritters
few bites of chicken liver pate
few bites of pig ear terrine (can we give that another name? please?)
2 glasses of wine
bread and butter

I'm a little bit Raw and a little bit Roast beef. What can I say? I challenge you not to judge me on my choices.

I was out with old friends, a bridal shower, a birthday brunch (the same crew that I dove off my master cleanse with..ouch). Last night I had a terrible time sleeping and have had to run to the bathroom more than once today. I am not judging myself for sugaring it up, and diving into some "wine induced" exotic food choices. I had fun.

A little bit Raw

Understanding that yesterday is now past and I look forward to feeling better, I will start to "clean up and clear out" (thats for you C.A.). Food is the best medicine for this. Green smoothie to start the day and lots of water. Miso soup for lunch with lots of veggies (just bring water to a boil then turn off and throw in chopped vegetables till they start to wilt--bok choy and mushrooms are perfect for this) add fresh miso in at the end. Kale-avocado salad and grilled chicken for dinner.


Kale and Spinach Smoothie
Kale, spinach, whole orange, frozen strawberries, frozen mango

Try adding some herbs, too! I LOVE parsley–it’s so healthy, cleansing, and refreshing


Kale avocado salad
Kale torn into small pieces
1 avocado cut into chunks
1/4 red onion chopped
1/2 red bell pepper chopped
drizzle with a little olive oil and lemon juice and massage in (if you're up for it)


A little bit Roast Beef

I felt SO 50's the other night. Chop and I hosted my boss and his wife (they are also our neighbor's, landlords, and friends) for dinner and I made a roast! Ha! Meat is still a relatively new adventure for me and I am always trying something I've never had before. Roast was good, perhaps it was a little over cooked, but that's just perfect for me, as bloody meat has yet to grow its appeal. Of course I always buy and condone buying the highest quality meat you can afford and this means, No antibiotics, No hormones, and grass fed or pasture raised.

After a meal of grounding winter foods like meat and potatoes I feel a little sleepy, but full and satisfied, in a way that I like to feel about once a week (since I started nursing my son).

Roast
(3-4 lbs)

4 cloves garlic mince, dried basil, dried oregano, and nutmeg. Rub into top and sides. cook in oven 500* for 20 minutes--lower temp to 350* cook for 1 hour 15 minutes

I have an awesome RB picture, but my camera connecting wire is not here and I'm afraid I will never get this post up if I wait. Maybe next week when I write about some food that has no relation to roast beef I'll post the picture. wacky stuff


Monday, February 14, 2011

Lovey Dovey Messy Times (shrimp skewers-sides-dessert)

One week later...

Last week I had written this well executed blog post, the idea was fresh and new and I thought the content would mean something to people. The food included was beautiful and it all came together within the hour that Wes was taking his nap. When Wes woke, I heard his cry and picked my computer up off my lap, as I did the cord unplugged and PEEWWM my computer shut off. I lost the whole post. I was sad that day of course, I tried to let it go and took it as a message to invest in a new battery for my computer. However, today as I sit back down a week later and try to recreate it I am finding it can't be done. I have to completely let it go and start over.

Does this ever happen to you?

You go to tell someone a story and get interrupted and then the story circles and circles in your mind until you are able to set it free? This happens to me all the time! I like to talk, I am an extrovert, and I learned recently that this is how I process information. By telling those stories (the nagging circling ones), I am processing how "the scenario" made me feel, what was there for me to learn, how I could make it better or leave it alone the next time. When I sat down at the computer today, I told myself that I would not mention my erased blog post, that what was past was past. That no one wants to read about best intentions. But then found the story circling and realized that I was not going to be able to move on from this one so easily.

The next day...

Another day has passed since I wrote the above sentiments and I am feeling relieved of the lost blog post story. *sigh*

I learned about my extrovert processing while I was in counseling after Wesley was born. It was such an Aha for me (has that been coined as a phrase yet? oh Oprah). When Chop and I were first dating and learning how to navigate a relationship with one another, I would get so frustrated as I voiced whatever concern, love, fear, etc--because he would seemingly just be SITTING there. Not saying or thinking a thing! Time after time I would get all worked into a tizzy, tears and all, and he would shut down..or that was how I was perceiving it. Our conversations would start as this little "hey about that...", you know like a light breeze--and a storm would be raging by the end of it and he would have only said about 2 words. I was tornading out of control, picking up debris, feelings, hidden sentiments, along the way. A few times I swear I saw a cow swirling in the air above my living room (Twister reference--should have warned against that one).

I always felt better after getting it all out, but also always felt a little jaded by not getting through to him and leaving the conversation with some resolve. Without fail Chopper would come to me 2 or 3 days later with a clear perspective on how he saw the situation, and if he saw my view as being an appropriate one he would make the change--right then and there.

Like the time we saw An Inconvenient Truth in the theater and he traded his brand new Ford F250 in for a Toyota Yaris a week later. No long drawn out discussion, no publicly weighing options, no blogging about it or discussion forums, just introspective thought, boom- bam done.

Chopper experiences life as an introvert, as I experience it as an extrovert (you can imagine which appears a little neater in practice). I have to get it all OUT and he has trouble getting it out sometimes, though does well with having things processed within. My way to a conclusion looks like a long and windy road, as his appears to be a straight invisible road, but a road non the less.

So it seems I have come full circle with this new post--- my lost post was about how he's neat and I'm messy and the lessons we learn from living in that experience. And my need to process that story publicly brought me to our other messy reality, lay it all out there or hold it all in...neither is right or wrong, and when you are able to appreciate the other's process it will only bring clarity, light and love to life.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and I think I needed to write a little about the one I love, with this expulsion process I am able to move into full appreciation for him and what he provides for my life. Though today is just another February 15th day, may I remind you that red and pink cards, flowers, and chocolates are all ON SALE today, so as my "depression era" grandparents would do---keep celebrating!

Here is a romantic post Valentine's day meal for you and your intro/extro honey (whatever they may be, cuz it's probably opposite yourself).


Aesthetics matter! When it comes to food, look how beautiful and they taste great too.

Shrimp Marinade
2 Tbl Apple cider vinegar
2 Tbl lime juice
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/3- 1/2 packet of stevia
2 Tbl flax oil
2 Tbl minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Shrimp Skewer
1 Red onion
1 lb med-lg Shrimp
1 mango
1-2 avocado
1 red pepper

Directions
Soak skewer
Put 1/3 marinade aside
Marinate shrimp for 2-3 hours
Cut vegetables in 1-2 inch chunks
Toss red onion in olive oil
put red onion and shrimp on skewer and grill for 10 minutes (until shrimp is done)
toss the remaining vegetables in the remaining marinade and alternate on skewer
serve

The shrimp skewers were served with garlic broccoli raab and carrot beet salad.

Garlic Broccoli Raab
3-4 Tbl minced garlic
2 Tbl olive oil
shake of red chili flakes
sea salt
chop and rinse raab
oil, garlic, chili flake in pan
saute till garlic softens
Add freshly rinsed raab, it should still be nice and wet for self steaming
Toss with the garlic and oil till raab gets bright green



Carrot/Beet salad
In food processor use shred attachment and shred 2 beets and 3 carrots separately
Toss carrots in vinegarette of your choice (I used cranberry)
add to carrots toasted pecans, red grapefruit pieces
to serve lay down nest of plain shredded beets
top with a nest of dressed shredded carrots

No meal or "lover's meal" is complete without dessert. Oh my YUM
Cheesecake in a glass. WOW


4 oz Organic cream cheese
16 oz Ricotta (Narragansett Creamery's for you RI-ers is the BEST)
2 Tbl honey
Process in food processor till smooth
Let sit in fridge for minimum 2 hours, overnight is best
Toss mixed berries with honey and lemon juice
Dish berries over sweet cheese into wine glasses
garnish with shaved dark chocolate

Like Father Like Son

OR

Like Momma Like Son



What does YOUR relationships have to do with FOOD? Same thing your spirituality, exercise, thought patterns, sleep patterns, and career paths do--EVERYTHING. Want to know more of what I'm talking about? Visit www.PersephoneBrown.com