Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sleep Talk

After a fun night with the other homeschool moms in our group last night, full of food (I made a sugar-free blueberry pie, recipe below!) and good talk, I came home around eleven and Cory was already in bed. I wasn't surprised since he has to get up quite early for work, but I kind of needed to ask him a question. We'd been having transportation issues with trying to get the car to Walmart at 3 today to get the winter tires put on, and he was supposed to work a different shift so the original  plan was that I was going to have to drive him into work this morning, then go back into town to get the tires put on and pick him up. He was going to try to switch shifts though so I didn't have to do that, and I needed to know.
I came into our room, turned the lamp on so I could get ready for bed and said hello. He rolled over, smiled at me and said hi back. Then proceeded a conversation that I can't remember all of, but sounded something like this...
Me: So do I still need to drive you to work in the morning?
Him: Uh... no.
Me: Oh? Why not?
Him: Why?
Me: Why don't I have to drive you to work?
Him: Oh, I don't have to go to work tomorrow morning.
Me: What? What are you talking about Cory?
Him: I can go in whenever I want to.
Me: I don't think so. Are you awake?
Insert session of me trying to wake Cory up while he tries to convince me alternately that he's already awake or just to leave him alone and let him sleep. I try a different tactic.
Me: Do you need me to take the car in to get the winter tires on tomorrow?
Him: No.
Me: Why not?
Him: Winter tires?
Me: Yes, do you need me to go to Walmart and get the tires put on the car?
Him: No.
Him: They're already on the car.
Me: They are NOT already on the car, they are sitting in the hallway.
Him: They're already on the car.
Me: Wake up!
Him: Walmart.

There was more, but I've forgotten some. At this point I shook him (under protests) until he was awake enough to tell me that he was working his normal shift and could take the car in after work. At least I hope he was awake. He left for work at his normal time this morning anyway. It was a very exasperating conversation.

On to blueberry pie... which I was VERY proud of. I don't think I've ever had a pie turn out that well before so I was pretty pleased, AND it tasted good despite no sugar. Yum.
I generally use Pioneer Woman's recipe for perfect pie crust, and as long as I make it far enough ahead of time that I can freeze it for a day or two before using it it turns out perfectly. The freezing really seems to do something to make it turn out flakier. I also ALWAYS roll out my crust in between sheets of cling wrap. That way no extra flour messes up the consistency of the crust and you don't have dough sticking to your table and your rolling pin, and it's easy to pick up and put in the pie plate.
For the filling, I used:
4 c. frozen blueberries
1/4 cup honey
pinch of stevia
2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp arrowroot (cornstarch would work, arrowroot is just healthier!)
pinch salt
I melted the butter and honey together, added the other ingredients then poured that over the blueberries. Add a top crust, bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and then 350 for about 40. Served with whipped cream sweetened with maple syrup. Very, very pleased with how it turned out. No sugar, and no artificial sweeteners either. All natural, all good.

I might eat some for breakfast. Watch me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pregnant-Lady Breakfast

Thought I would share my current favourite breakfast. Keeps me full (almost) all morning and is chock FULL of good things for the little one.
Starting with shoving a piece of bread in the toaster - ideally I would use my own, homemade bread but that doesn't always happen, so then I just use the healthiest store-bought I can find. Even that isn't that great though, so I really try to have homemade on hand. Once toasted, I pull it out and spread with homemade mayo, which has got enzymes to help your digestion and raw olive oil, which is the healthiest way to consume it. Slice the best quality cheddar I can find at the store (I'm not quite into making my own cheese yet haha), and then top with two scrambled eggs, made with locally bought farm fresh eggs beat with a splash of heavy cream and salt and pepper, scrambled in a generous amount of butter. Serve it up with a small glass of whole, raw milk.
This makes for a delicious, protein-rich breakfast that keeps me full. At least until 11, when I need an apple to hold me over until lunch. Surprisingly, eating this generous, full-of-fat breakfast has actually had me gaining less weight than I did with my first pregnancy, when I would find time for perhaps a bagel or a piece of fruit and a soy protein shake. Plus I have more energy and feel better.
I know the health benefits of soy are lauded all over North America, but I remain dubious. The studies showing what large amounts of soy can do to little boys has scared me off it completely. I used to love soy milk, and even though I didn't really like them I drank soy protein shakes because they are supposed to be good for you, but I've cut off all soy except for the naturally fermented stuff in soy sauce. The hormones in soy closely imitate female hormones like estrogen, and can very much mess with a young boy's development. Might make me feel better, but I'm not willing to take the risk! They're also not really sure of the effects on young girls, but there is a suspicion that it might be one of the reasons for earlier puberty. I just feel better avoiding the stuff.
For now, I'll stick with my filling, fatty, delicious breakfast that's as natural as I can get it, and know that I'm doing good for my body and my baby!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nourishing my Family

I've had a blog update itching to get out for weeks now, but finding the time to sit down and actually write one proves more difficult than typing it up in my head. In the meantime summer and fall have flown by, Eli had his first birthday in September and is almost 14 months old now, I've been dealing with first trimester morning sickness (which praise God is over now!) and trying to get back into the swing of things.
Getting pregnant just as fall began was, while exciting and very welcome, not great for all the fabulous plans for a perfectly clean house and organized Mommy that I had. The first week or two of September our house was spotless, I cooked fantastic meals, did school with Eli every day and worked out five days a week. Then pregnancy hit. I'm still trying to catch up. Ah well, there's lots of time for perfection later in life!
My life lately has still involved cooking good meals, one of my favourite pastimes! Last night we had roast chicken, which we probably have at least ever two weeks or so, but this was I'm sure the best roast chicken dinner I've ever made.
I've been striving to learn more and more about nutrition and healthy eating, and Nourishing Traditions has become my Bible. The subtitle is "The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats," and challenge it does! It throws a lot of our preconceived notions about healthy eating right out the window and really digs into the science, also focuses a lot on looking at the diets of different cultures all over the world and tries to see why people seem to be living so much longer and are so much healthier on much more "primitive" diets than we consume. It strongly encourages the consumption of lots of healthy fats in our diet. Don't be scared of butter! But that "heart-healthy" margarine plastic? Run. Run fast. It also encourages the consumption of lots of full-fat dairy products, as well as a lot of cultured dairy products and other fermented foods. I'm obviously not an expert and can't get into all the details in my little blog, but I would highly recommend the book. Even if you don't agree with everything in it and decide that she's crazy, it's still eye opening and really makes you think about the messages being blasted into us through the media. I now try to AVOID the low-fat options in the grocery store, and am making more and more of an effort to "make my own."
Anyway, back to the chicken dinner I was talking about... my favourite way to roast a chicken is, believe it or not, from frozen. I mostly discovered this because I'm lazy and never remember to take one out to thaw ahead of time, but it works like a dream. Grab a frozen chicken, put it breast side down in a roaster with a little water, cover and stick in a 350 degree oven for 5-6 hours. Tender, juicier, more falling-apart chicken you will never taste. Of course I'm sure it would be even better with onions and herbs and butter and all that, but who has time for that? Not me! We also had brown rice, now this is where I'm trying to get better at planning ahead. Nourishing Traditions strongly recommends soaking all grains before consumption in order to reduce the amount of phytic acid, which is an enzyme inhibitor and makes whole grains harder to digest. That's why a lot of people have digestion issues when they switch from refined grains to whole. Soaking gets rid of the phytic acid and also makes a lot of the other nutrients more readily available for your body to digest. So I soaked one cup of brown rice in two cups of warm water and stirred in a tablespoon of plain yogurt (or whey, or cultured buttermilk, or lemon juice or vinegar although a dairy product is best). Leave it on the counter for at least 7 hours, then cook as usual. The result is a slightly softer, more palatable brown rice with ever such a slight, but yummy, acidic taste. Much easier on the tummy! Now if I can only remember to do this EVERY time. I also instead of boiling my carrots this time (and boiling away valuable nutrients!) just sauteed them in some butter and olive oil. Delicious. Add gravy, some of our friend Chester's homemade bread and butter pickles, and we were eating like kings!
I feel so good when I serve up my family a meal like that. Good and good for you! Unfortunately for me I got hit with a stomach bug a few hours after this deliciousness and none of it stayed down. Sigh. You'll be glad to know I'm feeling much better today. Tonight's dinner was mussels and I thought I had died and gone to heaven, but that's another post for another time. Right now I think it's time to curl up on the couch with a club soda and turn on the mind-melter. Goodnight all.