Thursday, October 31, 2013

Incapacitated

I'm currently incapacitated with sudden onset vertigo. I spent most of the day in the emergency department yesterday. I had a brain scan which ruled out stroke or a tumor, which is very good news. But they still don't know the cause. I'm seeing a specialist tomorrow. Until then, I have to stay medicated with anti-nausea medication, anti-vertigo medication and Valium and rest. I'm not safe on my feet nor can I look at a computer/tablet/television screen for any length of time. The best relief is when I'm laying still with my eyes closed.

This is threatening to thwart my semi-annual trip to Boston, which was going to include a very dear friend's wedding. I'm hoping the specialist will have something positive to tell me because I'm scared shitless, and I can barely walk across the room unassisted.

In order to keep a positive outlook on things, here's a little giggle. I will keep you posted and all good thoughts are much appreciated.






Thursday, October 24, 2013

Food Planner App and Ting Review

After three years with an entry level smart phone, I have upgraded! Months of reading reviews, trips to Best Buy to play with all the phones and picking people's brains, I chose the Samsung Galaxy S4. I've been happy with Virgin Mobile since I was only paying $25/month. So when Virgin got in the new iPhones but not the Galaxy S4, I had to look into other options, especially since I refuse to contract and pay upwards of $100/month. 

That's when I found Ting Mobile. They had the phone I wanted along with a fantastic, no contract pricing structure. With Ting, you only pay for what you use. Most months, I may end up paying less than I did with Virgin! Like Virgin, Ting runs off of the Sprint 3G/4G network, so I get plenty of coverage in my area and the customer service is like no other mobile company. You call them, a person answers right away, every time.

I used a referral to get $25 off my phone, and I'm offering the same referral. Click here if you're interested in saving money on your mobile phone. You'll get $25 towards service or a new phone (current Sprint customers can bring their own phone) and I'll get a referral bonus.  Win-win!  Add another win because I freaking love my pretty purple phone!

And now for even more review spam, let me tell you about the Food Planner app. If you like to search for meal ideas and recipes on the Internet, then this app is a must for you. I can look for a recipe online and it will pull the ingredient list plus the link back to the original recipe and add it to my meal plan. Then it will add all the ingredients to the shopping list. I have been using this app like crazy. It's so convenient for food shopping. No more forgetting my list.

What's your favorite food related app?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Vegetable Challenge Update

I challenged myself to a week of eating vegetables with every meal. How did I do? Well, seven days, three meals per day that was 21 opportunities to get veggies in. I worked four days and those four days, I didn't get vegetables in at breakfast but the other 17 meals were a success.

Some of the vegetables that were eaten included three heads of cauliflower, two large beets, a head of lettuce, a yellow squash, a giant cabbage, one large yellow pepper, a bunch of scallions, a couple of red onions, a bag of baby bell peppers and several packages of mushrooms. 

The key to making sure I ate all my vegetables was having them prepared. I just finished a couple of hours of batch cooking for the rest of the week. I made Mushroom and Brie soup, roasted and mashed sweet potato squash, sauteed Brussels sprouts with bacon and balsamic, sauteed rainbow chard with lemon and garlic, honey ginger rainbow carrots and put a batch of chicken bone broth on to simmer.  I'm sure I ate at least a serving or two while prepping and tasting!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Not So Dirty Hippie~Homemade Toothpaste

I love the feeling of a clean mouth and the look of white teeth, doesn't everyone? But I hated the harshness of my regular toothpaste. Sometimes the inside of my mouth would shred after brushing. Have you ever had that happen to you? It was like the top layers of my cheeks would pill up and exfoliate. It was so gross. I also started getting some dental sensitivity from the whitening toothpaste I had been using for years. So when I started transitioning to chemical free products, toothpaste was the one of the first things I tackled.

I did some research on homemade toothpaste and read lots of recipes. Here's a good article about homemade toothpaste and three simple recipes. I decided to go with a mixture of 100% Pure Bentonite Fine Powder (for the mineral content and detoxifying qualities) and baking soda, coconut oil, a few packets of stevia and a dilution of filtered water, hydrogen peroxide, salt, and peppermint essential oil.  I mix equal parts clay and baking soda and then stir in the coconut oil to make a paste. Then I slowly stir in a small amount the minted salt peroxide water, a little at a time until it's just the right texture to spread on my toothbrush.  

I used it for a couple of months and then had my scheduled dental cleaning. After the cleaning my hygienist and my dentist stated that my mouth was in good health, then I told them that I had been using homemade toothpaste. I got the green light on ingredients and the go ahead to keep doing what I'm doing!   

I just made up a fresh batch, it's easy and I love that my mouth feels clean and my teeth look shiny and white with no sensitivity or shredding.




Monday, October 7, 2013

Thoughts on Pumpkin Spice and a Vegetable Challenge

Is Starbucks the reason everyone is so crazy for all things "pumpkin spice?" Since they introduced the now famous Pumpkin Spice Latte a decade ago, pumpkin spice has taken on a life of its own and people go nuts for it starting as early as August. Not just in coffee but everything. 

I'm a big fan of all all things autumn, but junk food jumping on the pumpkin spice bandwagon just doesn't sit right with me. Especially since Pumpkin Spice Pringles and pumpkin spice candy (and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, for that matter,) do not contain any pumpkin. And as this fantastic article posted on the Kitchn so aptly put it "Pumpkin Spice Is Not Actually What Pumpkin Tastes Like."  

Now how about making your coffee taste like real spiced pumpkin instead of a cocktail of lab created flavors and high fructose corn syrup? Try this real food coffee creamer recipe...

Spiced Pumpkin Coffee Creamer

The key to this creamer is cooking the pumpkin and spices together so the pumpkin is infused with all the flavor of the spices and then passing it through a fine mesh strainer to make sure it's very smooth.  It's worth the extra step! 

In a small saucepan, mix 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade) with 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, and a good grating of fresh nutmeg, about half a teaspoon. Whisk mixture over medium high heat until it begins to bubble and the spices are warm and fragrant. Turn off heat and whisk in 8 tablespoons of heavy cream (or full fat coconut milk) and 4 teaspoons grade B maple syrup. Pass through a strainer and store in a mason jar in the fridge up to five days.

I mix about two tablespoons of creamer to 6 ounces of freshly brewed espresso and then top it with a thick head of milk foam. Slurp!

Now about those vegetables...
I got a great variety of veggies in my farm box late last week and spent a bit of time batch cooking them this weekend. I've set myself a challenge for this week to eat at least one serving of vegetables with every meal and/or snack. Including breakfast! I've started with some delicious broccolini with eggs and avocado as my first meal of the day. I'm going to track my meals and share my progress next week. I'm also going to be posting photos of my meals on Instagram when I can, so check them out in the left side bar or follow me on IG.  How many vegetables will you choose to eat in the coming week?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Breakfast

No grains! What do you eat for breakfast?  This is perhaps the most common question I have encountered in my grain-free/Paleo/Primal reading and during interactions with people. Most folks just can't comprehend going without cereal and milk or sugary sweetened yogurt and granola or some other sweetened grain product in the morning. But processed breakfast cereal has a fairly recent history, with the origins dating back about 150 years and the highly commercialized cereals that we know today, about 60 years. What did people in America do before that? What do other cultures eat for breakfast?

Bacon and eggs was a very popular breakfast option before the advent of the commercial cereal. Porridge traditionally prepared with unprocessed grains and served with butter and full fat dairy was also common. Many other cultures do eat some type of grain product with the morning meal, but it's often unprocessed, traditionally prepared and almost always with protein, good fats and vegetables. The Japanese eat grilled fish at breakfast, or miso soup with white rice, raw egg and pickled vegetables. In Croatia they eat pastry but it's served alongside fermented dairy, cold cuts of meat and cheese or fried eggs served with sausage and mayonnaise. In Latvia, salty and sour are the flavors preferred at the morning meal. Traditional Turkish breakfast would include bread with cheese, butter, olives, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, honey and a dairy product similar to clotted cream from the milk of the water buffalo. I think I'd like to go to Turkey for breakfast tomorrow!

That being said, breakfast can be a challenge during the transition to a primarily grain-free lifestyle. I started out with a green breakfast smoothie every day for the first couple of months. My green smoothie was quite tasty and filling containing homemade coconut milk, a couple of soft boiled eggs, a chunk of raw ginger, a few handfuls of Organic Girl Super Greens, a frozen green tipped banana and my collagen gelatin supplement. It was easily transportable to work, too. But as time wore on, my palate changed and so did my morning appetite. Now I eat bacon and eggs with fermented vegetables, dinner leftovers, sardines and leftover vegetables, sometimes full fat plain yogurt with mashed banana or a chopped apple with soaked, dehydrated nuts. I recently made a delicious pork and apple breakfast loaf that I've been enjoying for breakfast.  I wanted something nutrient dense but also flavorful and not too savory for those mornings when I'm just not feeling pickled vegetables.

Slow Cooker Pork and Apple Breakfast Loaf

2 pounds pastured pork bulk breafast sausage or plain ground pastured pork (if you're using plain, add a bit of salt and pepper to the mix.)
1/4 pound chicken livers, ground in food processor
3 medium organic apples, chopped (I left the skin on but be sure to peel them if they are conventional apples.)
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons ground ginger

Mix ingredients well, being careful not to over mix or compress the mixture. Form into a loaf and place in the slow cooker and cook for 3 1/2 hours on low.  Devour!

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Note~you can't taste or smell the chicken livers. It's not that pretty but it's good! The warm spices and the apples gives this filling and nutritious breakfast a sweet, appealing flavor. You could use spiced apple or pumpkin butter as a topping before cooking, like you'd put ketchup or tomato sauce on regular meat loaf, which I'm going to try next time.

Since it's Pit Bull Awareness month, here is your bonus picture of my beautiful girl...

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