Friday, July 29, 2011

The Table of Promise Featured on kidHaven and Weekly Greens

I am thrilled to say that my post 'I Thought I Knew How to Wash My Vegetables' was featured on the very cool Connecticut based website Definitely check it out. At you will find all kinds of family friendly activites, community activities and daycare and school information galore for the greater New Haven, CT area and beyond. I am thrilled to be a regular contributer to Kim's amazing site.

Also, via kidHaven, the post was featured in Alicia Sokol's Weekly Greens Summer Favorites ironically right above an article from Mark Bittman. I NEVER thought my writing would be on a list next to his.

Anyhow I am tickled pink with the attention and I suggest that you check out these great sites!!

Friday F*#@ Ups and Triumphs, #2

Welcome to Friday F*#@ Ups and Triumphs at The Table of Promise!

This Non-Processed Food Blog Carnival highlights posts from Practical Real Food bloggers. Not everything I have made has worked out so well, the inedible empanadas that were a waste of both time and delicately flavored pastured pork come to mind. But we either learn something valuable from these experiences or just get a good laugh.

At this blog carnival you are encouraged to link up not only your kitchen successes but also your kitchen failures. True kitchen victories will also be applauded! But tell us what you have learned or what you would do differently next time! Tell us what your kids loved, but don’t forget to share what they ground into the carpet too. Eating real food and experimenting with new ingredients can be both fulfilling and harrowing. Humor and toddler drama are highly encouraged as they make for good reads. Please, when linking up, follow some basic rules:

1- All recipes should include real food ingredients, no processed yuckies. Recipes including premade pie dough, velveeta or spam need not apply.
2- Please provide a back link to this page at the end of your post. Bloggers who include the Blog's name 'The Table of Promise' earn extra special love points.
3- Tell people about this link up! The more people who know about it, the more people will submit which means more readers for you! More people equals more fun!

Every week I will try highlight one or two awesomely inspired or hilarious posts. But…as a working mommy, I promise to be inconsistent at best.

Last week was of course week number one, and I got exactly one link up. But that's okay!! Thank you to hawkeyejlp for submitting a really easy and amazing looking Blue Cheese Potato Salad! Definitely check our her site! And please submit this week. I am really interested in reading all of your amazing blog posts


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

CSA Pics: Week 7

This week at the CSA we got a nice manageable share. We got two enormous zucchinis, two enormous cucumbers, I had a choice of several greens and I chose some collard greens, a bag of salad greens, a bunch of beets, a small fennel bulb and a head of lettuce. We were supposed to get a bunch of fennel fronds, but I couldn't manage.

With the zucchinis I am planning on making muffins because it seems like a good idea. And I knew the kids would like them. The zukes have been tough this year, no one wants to eat them except me. I am kind of obsessed with the possibilities of this collard greens recipe, collards and bacon. I actually chose the collard greens specifically for this recipe. Wish me luck. And I still have the fennel bulb from last week, so I might combine them and try and roast them. Other than that, I am just happy that it is not an overwhelming amount. I haven't made a starch with dinner in two weeks.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

And Just Like That, We Have a Tomato

The conversation went a little something like this...

Me: {Thing 1}, come back to the table and finish you lunch.

Thing 1: Oooh Mommy! One of our tomatoes hatched!

Me: {Thing 1}, I mean it. Get off the radiator and come back and finish your ham.

Thing 1: But there is an itty bitty baby tomato over here. I told you the toothbrush would work.

DH: {THING 1}!!! This is what we have been talking about, you need to listen the first time we ask you something!

Me: Thank you {Thing 1}.

Thing 1: Since we grew that tomato, I am going to eat that tomato. But only because we grew it.

Me: That's great.

Thing 1: I told you the toothbrush would work.

Me (walking up to look at the tomato plant): Oh My God {DH}!! There really is a tomato on this plant! I can't believe it! {Thing 1} wasn't joking! Hahaha!

I did get that spinny twirly toothbrush. It was $7.99 and it seemed foolish not to try it. I don't know if this tomato came from one of the flowers that I just tapped with my fingers or if it was one that got the toothbrush treatment, but either way. We have a bonafide real tomato growing in our house. I now have several shriveled up flowers on both plants, shriveled up flowers that have not dropped off the plant. I feel like that is a good sign that more fruit is coming our way. I spent some time on Saturday pruning the yellowing branches away. And I have noticed quite a few fruit flies that I think came from the compost. The larvae were probably in there when I bought it. I am not sure whether the fruit flies are harmless or not. They haven't spread to other parts of the house and while there are many flies, they seem to like to just sit on the tomato plants. I don't quite know what to make of them. But so far I can find no issues with them.

Now the hard part comes, keeping the Things away from the growing tomato. I don't know how long it will take to grow and possibly one of the Things will touch it or tear it off before it is fully developed. I don't want that to happen. Most of the other flowers are out of reach. But this one is in prime toddler grabbing area. And they are VERY excited. Truth be told, so am I.

I did it!!! My little girls are making babies!!!

For the full tomato growing saga, check out the first post here and the second post here.

The post has been shared with Simple Lives Thursday and Food Renegade's Fight Back Fridays

Monday, July 25, 2011

'Pocahontas' Is a Fairly Decent Movie If You Are a Naturalist, Not a Historian...Or a Feminist

Last Friday I had the pleasure of staying home with my kids. We had nothing special planned, I took Thing 1 to school, made a short run downtown with Thing 2 and managed to still observe our Nanny's beloved 'Pizza Fridays'. You know, a normal weekday.

As a working parent I love being home for these normal days. I don't like the idea of disrupting my kids lives just because I get a day off work. I rather like the idea of coming in and doing exactly what they would expect on a Thursday or a Monday. I often (when needed) stay home when our nanny is sick or when we are snowed in and I don't try to schedule in trips to cool stores or museum visits all the time. Sometimes we do that kind of stuff, but mostly I like to stay around the neighborhood and hang out at the playgrounds and run into the friends that they would have seen anyway. I guess it makes me feel closer to them knowing all the things that are familiar about their day.

Last Friday however it was 103 degrees!!!! Jesus, Mary and Joseph it was the hottest day I can remember not being in air conditioning in all of my adult life. We have AC in our apartment, but I was out running errands, etc. Before around 11 it was still in the nineties and we actually felt okay. But by Noon it had definitely cracked 100 and I said to Thing 2 "We should take the bus to pick up your brother, rather than walk the 10 blocks there and 10 blocks back.' Thing 2 was SO excited. He pratically ran to the bus stop saying 'Dus, dus, dus, dus, dus" the whole way. This kid loves transportation.

The ride there was lovely, 4 minutes long, awesome. Going home was a different matter. We waited for the bus in 103 degree (or more) heat for 25 minutes!! I wish numbers came with capital letters, because I want to be more emphatic than that. TWENTY FIVE MINUTES!!! The kids were freaking (so was I) and by the time I got on the bus we all three of us were red faced, dehydrated and ready for a nap. It is funny how only one of us actually got a nap though.

Since the heat was so harrowing I decided to forgo any trips out of the house in the afternoon and I hatched a plan to watch a movie. Now I know many parents who wouldn't find this such a revolutionary idea. But DH works in the film and TV industry (trust me, it isn't a glamourous job at all, it is more of a 5am to 10pm, dealing with angry teamsters kind of a job) and he would like nothing more than to watch a full length animated feature with his two sons. But after 20 minutes Thing 1 is taking the cushions off the couch and building a trampoline while Thing 2 is screaming nonsensical jibberish at his trains because he cannot hook them up and get them to stay hooked up. While the kids have been successful in watching one 70 minute animated movie (once), it isn't like we just pop in a DVD all the time and let the boob tube babysit them. If my kids would sit still on the couch and drool while watching TV it is likely that I would just keep the idiot box on for like 6 hours in a row. But they don't. They climb the bookshelves and hit each other and scream at us, so we use it for short(ish) intervals only. Though folks I fully admit that they do get more than the 2 recommended hours a day, virtually every day. We just break it up throughout the day.

But given the heat I thought a movie might be in order. Though Thing 1 protested, I selected 'Pochahontas'. I noticed that there was a preview option. I played the 90 second scene amidst many protests. It was some John Smith and Pocahantas scene designed to hook a five year old little girl, and afterwards Thing 1 was begging to watch the movie. And we did. Well, all except for a pivitol scene when the kids got interested in their toys. Thing 1 and I were both very confused about why he returned to London injured as we didn't remember a battle scene. Anyhow, we loved the movie. But the take home for me was different than I had expected.

I had never seen the movie all the way through. I think I was in junior high maybe when Pocahontas came out? I was definitely not young enough to have been motivated to see it in the theatres but that damn Vanessa Williams song still played on all the radio stations. When I was younger the phrase "You can own the earth and still all you own is earth until, you can paint with all the colors of the wind' stirred up images of walking through the woods and being in tune with nature, respecting wilderness, seeing animals. I imagined wild places where humans don't live, as though there was a difference between these preserved places and the streets and suburbs where humanity reigns. Today I hear this phrase and it is clear to me that the Earth all around us, wherever we are, is alive. The dirt is a mix of microscopic animals and bacteria and tiny plants and fungus that all contribute to the life which grows from it, both the plants directly and indirectly the animlas that eat the plants. Even in the completely tamed city and the mostly tamed suburbs, we are so much more a part of the life cycle than we know. Being in tune with nature isn't about cleaning up your campsite and making sure you don't smoke in a forest (though both of those things are good ideas). It is aabout understanding the connection that we all have with the Earth. And I also believe it is about eating plants and animals raised in a natural, ethical way with farming that focuses on zero waste. The health of the land is paramount.

The whole movie just struck me. The White people were painted as such savages, tearing down trees and uprooting the land, not to mention killing first. And while the natives were clearly mroe adapted to the land (for obvious reasons), Disney also made them out to be looking for a battle, so I didn't feel like the story was set up to shame white people while being inaccurate. The dipiction of the conflict seemed fairly accurate. I found it an easy way to start to talk to Thing 1 about race and to introduce the phrase 'white people'. While I have started to talk to him about race, I am admittedly uncomfortable with the color terminology. While in my "enlightened mind" I think he should identify himself as Irish of German or American, really on every form he will ever fill out, Thing 1 is just 'white'. He might as well hear the phrase from me, right?

But what points Pocahontas wins in art style it loses in overall historical accuracy and female objectification. Seriously? Pocahontas is a brick house! She looks like a ridiculously good looking barbie doll and completely and bizarrely mismatched with her more normal looking relatives and friends. Pocahontas's breasts are in fact so large (with cleavage showing out of her one shoulder dress) that I questioned did her look offend the modern day Powhatan Tribe? My guess is yes. And with the terribly short hem to her dress and seams cut up the sides, the effect was much like she was wearing a men's shirt for a dress. She is drawn to be very sexy, but I am uncomfortable by this tiresome image of female sexuality. I beat myself up over weighing 142 pounds yet even our f*#@ing kids movies show us that all the females of value to society are 36-24-36. Our four year olds, both boys and girls, are programmed to think this is what adult women look like. Sorry, most models are freaks of natures. They are beautiful genetic abnormalities that are airbrushed like crazy while the rest of us suck down diet pills and run on treadmills until we pass out to emulate their looks.

And the real story of Pocahontas is completely different. In this article published on the website of the Powhatan tribe, they claim the the story that Pocahontas saved John Smith from being beaten to death by her own people was a complete false hood. In fact she married a different, John Rolfe. And she married him only as a condition of her RELEASE. You see she was being held captive in the Jamestown colony. in 1616 she traveled to London and served as propaganda to support the colony's interests at home. But she became ill on the voyage and died in Gravesend. Her grave was destroyed when the church where she was buried was reconstructed.

So you see, I have some issues with the movie. But I was happy to avoid the heat last week. Maybe next time I will pop on The Secret of NIMH (a personal favorite) or The Wizard of Oz (an ALL TIME personal favorite). I don't think I am going to be pushing Pocahontas as a repeated favorite.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday F*#@ Ups and Triumphs, #1

Welcome to Friday F*#@ Ups and Triumphs at The Table of Promise!

This Non-Processed Food Blog Carnival highlights posts from Practical Real Food bloggers. Not everything I have made has worked out so well, the inedible empanadas that were a waste of both time and delicately flavored pastured pork come to mind. But we either learn something valuable from these experiences or just get a good laugh.

At this blog carnival you are encouraged to link up not only your kitchen successes but also your kitchen failures. True kitchen victories will also be applauded! But tell us what you have learned or what you would do differently next time! Tell us what your kids loved, but don’t forget to share what they ground into the carpet too. Eating real food and experimenting with new ingredients can be both fulfilling and harrowing. Humor and toddler drama are highly encouraged as they make for good reads. Please, when linking up, follow some basic rules:

1- All recipes should include real food ingredients, no processed yuckies. Recipes including premade pie dough, velveeta or spam need not apply.
2- Please provide a back link to this page at the end of your post. Bloggers who include the Blog's name 'The Table of Promise' earn extra special love points.
3- Tell people about this link up! The more people who know about it, the more people will submit which means more readers for you! More people equals more fun!

Every week I will try highlight one or two awesomely inspired or hilarious posts. But…as a working mommy, I promise to be inconsistent at best.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Weigh 142 Pounds

I am guessing that 40% of the people who clicked this link did so because they are in the habit of, or enjoy reading this blog. I am guessing that another 40% clicked the link because they are interested in what I have to say about my weight. And finally I assume that 20% of the people who clicked this link did so because they automatically hate me for weighing 142 pounds and bitching about it. Then again, I am just guessing.

I am 5' 7" and I weigh 142 pounds. That is 42 pounds less than I weighed the day I gave birth to Thing 1. It is 33 pounds less than I weighed the day I gave birth to Thing 2. It is 3 pounds less than what I weighed the day I got married and 13 pounds less than I weighed a month after my mother died when I realized that I needed to stop eating to cope with my loss. It is also 7 pounds more than I weighed when I graduated from college. It is 17 pounds more than my mother always told me that she weighed. It is 21 pounds greater than the weight of my closest colleagues, which I know thanks to a work weight loss challenge. And most importantly it is 9 pounds more than I weighed at this time last year.

Why am I so preoccupied with weight, clothing size and numbers in general? I assume many of those reading are silently struggling too. How much are these emotions a part of my inability to scale the wall this time around?

In all practicality, I want to lose the 9 pounds I have gained since last year because my clothes are tight and I don't want to buy new ones. And because I felt really good about myself last summer and this year I see the difference. I didn't exercise for 10 months and it shows. The changes I have made to my diet in the last year have been good ones, but I admit, I have eaten more fat and food in general than my body probably needs. This summer has been about me playing with the amount of protein and fat in my diet. And I have discovered that I need a nice mix of animal products, meat, cheese and butter but I feel best when I am eating mostly veggies and some fruits and those fats and animal products are a support. (FYI, I am talking VOLUME here, it is likely that since vegetables are so light in calories that animal products are still supplying me with the greatest percentage of my calories. But that is a different post for a different day). I am certain I am addicted to grains, and I have steering away from them overall. I am going completely by how I feel, not what the literature says.

In order to lose the weight I have started running with a friend in the morning three days a week. I am excited to also add some simple weight exercises to support the running. While running alone is hard on the body and can lead to injury if you overdo it, getting out in the fresh air makes me happy as does running with a friend. The running makes me feel fit enough that some simple floor exercises do not seem overwhelming. I am lazy on my own, but having a friend keeps me working hard.

I have also cut back on my daily food intake by 10-15%. That's probably not enough for quick weight loss, but it's enough for me right now. Most experts believe that a reduction in calories of 300-500 calories per day is optimal for weight loss. Anymore and your body is shocked into starvation mode. In this case, more is really less. Progress has been slow, BUT the only structured diets I have ever done have been in the first year postpartum when your body is in prime fat burning mode. Losing weight now, when Thing 2 is almost 2 years old is completely different. It is slower for sure.

Eating less makes me feel lighter and sharper. Sometimes I believe that our misguided attempts to eat the same VOLUME of food while on a diet is missing the point. Just loading up on less nutrient dense foods doesn't help to shrink the stomach or address one's hunger cues, even if you lose weight from consuming less calories. Though right now I would love to switch to low fat dairy product and 'light' dressing just to shed these pounds quickly. But that isn't what's best for my health. I need really to cut back my portion sizes. Overeating is taxing on my digestive system for sure. More food just means know. And I have to assume that mere workload is the reason that I get irregular when I overeat.

Calorie restriction is a good thing when we talk about restriction within reason. The American ideal of going to extremes doesn't much help here. I mentioned that in a recent article. Incidentally, just after I began drafting this essay, Dr. Mercola published a very interesting article all about hunger, dieting and calorie restriction. Thanks for being so timely Dr. Mercola!! Too bad I can't find it to link back to. Oh well, you are going to have to trust me. However even though I am touting the benefits of calorie restriction, don't misread me. This is hard and I am hungry. And the muffins are definitely talking to me.

But I originally promised you an article that was about my struggle with the struggle, not just about losing weight in and of itself. I have known for many months that I needed to cut back, even though I was eating pretty clean. But a great debate brewed in my head. I said many things trying to sort this out. "If I am eating the right foods and I weigh 142 pounds, maybe I am just meant to be 142 pounds?" "142 pounds is still well within a healthy weight zone for a woman my height, shouldn't I just accept my weight and move on?" "But if I was meant to weigh 142 pounds, then how come I easily maintained a weight of 133 for a couple of years? What am I doing differently today?" "Why do I want to weigh 133 pounds?" "Why do I always strive for perfection? Is this drive serving me?" "If I have to give up the foods that I love or foods that are good for me, like coconut oil, is it worth being 133 pounds?" "Do I have to give up anything to lose these pounds or do I just have to eat less?" "If I have to obsessively write down the food that I eat, is it worth it to be 133 pounds?" "Was I healthy at 133 pounds?"

I don't have answers for any of those questions. And I think each of us have different answers leading to find a different ideal weight. I keep coming back to the idea that I felt better when I eat less, not when I eat differently, just less. I own the same oversized dinner plates that most Americans do. I know my sense of portion is skewed. And although it is a drag to measure and write down everything I eat, I know me and that is what I need to do to lose weight. I simply can't justify not putting forth the effort. I know that if I can readjust my portions I don't have to give up everything I love.

But do you know what has made this time around so hard? I have had a really hard time saying no. Take last weekend for example. After a whole week of smaller portions and drinking less wine I let loose Friday night with some girlfriends and ordered barbeque Saturday night with a dear family. By Sunday I ate everything in sight. I couldn't say no to beer, potato chips or additional slices of pizza. All the self control that I had just a year ago has vanished.

To date I have lost one pound. But I am exercising and I definitely feel better. But I have made little to no progress on eating less. I am highly discouraged.

So how is that for a post? I have many questions and no answers. Where I used to feel like weight loss was a simple recipe of eating the right foods and eating less while exercising, now I am experiencing it as a complex web of emotional and health related issues. Maybe Weight Watchers worked for me because it kept me accountable? Maybe WW was like my running partner, who would be sad if I just stopped going downstairs at 5:15am. I don't know. In the mean time I am working toward the goal, and staying focused and picking myself up when I fall off the wagon. Maybe next week I will squeeze off one more pound. Anything would be good. I am in need of some progress to keep me going.

This post is shared with Simple Lives Thursdays and Fight Back Fridays and Traditional Tuesdays

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

CSA Pics: Week 6 and Stockpiling Your Share

This week's CSA share included one bunch of curly kale, a bunch of rainbow chard, a head of amazing looking butter lettuce, one fennel bulb complete with fronds, a beautiful bunch of onions, a bunch of beets (egads), two cucumbers and two yellow squash. Oh! And lovely golden peaches.

This is the height of the season and so we are having some trouble using everything in a week's time. But we are getting through most of it because I am beginning to store some items. I have two batches of super green pesto in the freezer and I am starting to freeze some of the braising greens like the kale. Hearty greens like kale and spinach freeze very well but they do lose their crunchiness. So I will use them in the fall in homemade soup like a sausage and kale soup. The pesto will also make a nice addition to a fall pasta dish.

If you have too much corn this year you can cut it off the cobs and blanch it halfway and freeze the kernels. These homemade 'nibblets' are perfect for corn pudding and just reheating with butter as a side dish. Tomatoes also freeze well, but jeez, I never have any leftover.

I am opting to focus my attention on the fresh items that won't last forever and can't be frozen like cucumbers, lettuce and chard. I bet you could freeze chard but it is so good fresh with eggs. Maybe, just maybe, I will actually eat our CSA share in the winter months. And maybe, just maybe I won't waste anything else.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Am I Naive? Do I Just Not Get It?

First let me say thank you to everyone who commented last week and over the weekend on my post Should Parents Lose Custody of Obese Kids? I always appreciate every comment including those that challenge my beliefs. In fact, usually I learn more from dissenting opinions than ones that agree. So please, keep the comments coming.

Last week I received 4 dissenting comments and no commets in favor of my stance that parents should be at risk of losing their children if their children are super obese and develop medical complications. As I read Facebook conversations from other bloggers I quickly realized that most people in the real food community were squarely against the idea. Yet...the arguments, both on facebook and my blog, against the custody battle centered around nutrition theory, government involvement and personal freedoms. After reading several comments, I believe I have started to understand their position.

A primary tenant of the real food community is freedom. Freedom to eat what one wants, to grow what one wants, to have the access to buy the food that one chooses, etc. The government mandates much of our lives today, how fast we drive, what we can buy and sell, where we can go abroad, what we can eat (or at least what food products make it to market at all, in essence, what we eat) and how we have to act in our community with one another. Some things we all agree on, it should be against the law to kill people. I think we all agree on that one. As we get into the area of personal freedoms, we get more gray, with the government acting more like our mother. They would like to prevent injuries and other maladies from befalling our citizens and so they take away certain personal freedoms, like your ability to purchase raw milk. The Patriot Act is another example where the government had the right to detain anyone that was suspected of terrorism or treason. I am all for such a law IF we can be assured that it will only be used against the bad guys. But, ha ha ha, I am not THAT naive. The problem with The Patriot Act was always, what's to stop police officers to use such a law against anyone, for anything they choose? I was not a supporter of The Patriot Act. I felt our criminal laws and the warrant process was strong enough that it should have supported those suspected of terrorism too.

I also believe that it should be legal to sell raw milk. And that anyone who wants raw milk should be able to buy it. But...people do get sick from raw milk. It is highly perishable, and even in good farms can be contaminated, so how exactly does the government protect those who drink raw milk? And once big business has identified raw milk as a growing business opportunity, what is to stop a huge dairy from producing really risky raw milk from CAFO dairy cows? You might never want to drink such potentially risky milk, but who is to say that other folks out there will always be as educated as you? Even government laws that are a thorn in our side protect some people. Perhaps such a law infuriates you, but someone else might feel differently. (FYI-I am playing the role of devil's advocate, no need to rail against me in some email educating me about raw milk, I do get it.)

In the case of parents losing custody of super obese kids, I think it is important to clarify a few facts. Although around 70% of the US population is overweight or obese, less than 6% is considered super obese, or super morbidly obese, i.e.-having a BMI of more than 45. In the case of adults, we have the right to eat whatever we want and however much we want. But in the case of children, they aren't able to buy their own food because they are legally not allowed to work. So when a child presents at a doctor's office with a BMI thay distinguishes him as being morbidly obese, of course a doctor is going to start asking questions and give medical advice.

And let's say for example that there is such a child who has been advised by their doctor to adopt a more healthy lifestyle, and the child's parents do nothing to help their child. So perhaps the state is called, and a social worker says, "You as a parent need to help your child eat less fast food and become more active." If that same child continues to come back getting heavier and heavier and the parents have done nothing to follow the advice of their social worker and doctor, at what point does it constitute medical neglect? When a parent sends a child to school with jelly beans and a liter of soda for lunch is that neglect? Maybe not if it only happens once, but what about when it happens every day? The parent has provided their child with adequate calories but zero nutrition. And if counseling and intervention aren't working and parents continue to give their limited nutrition in a high calorie package, what do you do as a social worker? Look the other way? And do you continue to look the other way while the child develops Diabetes and begins to lose her ability to interact with children her own age?

In my opinion, no. This argument is not about food plans and USDA recommended nutrition. It is not about ultra-pasteurized milk, low fat fake foods or excessive grains in the diet. This isn't even about the government trying to tell us what to eat. This whole argument isn't about heavy kids, or even those who are classicly considered just obese (i.e.-a BMI of over 30). This is about NEGLECT, plain and simple. Parents don't have the right to neglect their kids. Our laws say that very clearly. There is no additional law needed to take super-obese kids away from theit parents if the state feels that they are being neglected.

However I do think I am getting it. Real Foodies value freedoms and do not appreciate the governments two cents. And we are in a time of less personal freedoms in this country. Perhaps if we could guide our leaders to reform our litigation laws we could return to a time with less government involvement. So I am there with everyone. All I am saying is that this isn't a case of personal freedom. Parents need to take care of their kids. Not every parent needs to be perfect, in fact none of us ever will be. But, as a parent, you need to keep your kids from dying. And I truly believe that this is all that Ludwig was ever trying to say. The state neither wants to, nor does it have the resources to take every obese child away from their families. That was clear to me from the original article. With 70% of the population overweight where would these kids all go??!! And certainly there are cases where a super obese child is clearly not being neglected, that is why social workers review cases before taking action. I would hate for any child to fall through the cracks. So now, I hope you see where I am coming from.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Product Review: Tropical Traditions Gold Label Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Several weeks ago I got the great news that Tropical Traditions wanted to send me a sample of their Gold Label Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil! I follow Tropical Traditions (@Troptraditions) on Twitter and I have referenced their recipes and related content many times here. Not to mention that their website is a great resource for many of the products I use besides coconut oil, like Rapunzel Sugar and the full line of Eden Organics products(they have GREAT apple cider Vinegar). Of course I would accept a gift of some high quality coconut oil!

I have been using coconut oil ever since last fall when I first learned about the dangers of polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Not only is it a great alternative, it contains healthy fatty acids like lauric acid, which is also found in human breastmilk. Read about Lauric Acid here. And although coconut oil is high in saturated fat (it is a solid at around 72 degrees), there is significant evidence that coconut oil does not have a significant effect on cholesterol levels.

Tropical Traditions Gold Label oil is in a class by itself. An unrefined product of the Phillipines, the oil is made with only certified organics coconuts. But it is the traditional processing techniques that really impressed me about this oil. Their website explains in detail,

This Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is a truly unrefined coconut oil. This coconut oil is made on Mt. Banahaw and surrounding areas from organic coconuts. Coconuts are used fresh (within 24-48 hours of harvest) from small family farms on Mt. Banahaw and other rural places in Quezon Province, the coconut capital of the Philippines. Only the highest quality coconuts are hand-picked from each harvest. The volcanic soil of Mt. Banahaw makes these organic coconuts some of the most nutritionally rich coconuts in the world! Testing done in independent labroratories reveals higher levels of phenolic antioxidants than other coconut oils. The fresh coconut meat is shredded (wet milled), and then cold-pressed using the water from inside the coconuts to make coconut milk. The milk is then allowed to sit for about half a day, while the oil naturally separates from the heavier water. The oil is then filtered from the curds (coconut solids). No chemical or high-heat treatment is used, and this oil contains no trans fatty acids. We do NOT mass produce this oil. It is made by families who are coconut farmers using old-fashioned traditional methods that have been used in the Philippines for hundreds of years. Our coconut trees and family producers are certified organic according to strict USDA standards. The families who produce the oil are also trained according to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) standards and re-certified each year. This high-grade Virgin Coconut Oil has a long shelf life due to the high antioxidant properties. The Gold Label Standard is our highest standard for Virgin Coconut Oil.

The oil arrived promptly (packaged in glass unlike my other coconut oils) and I immediately began using it. I have used it in place of the other brands of coconut oil that I have previously used. I use it to pan fry super lean grass fed meats because of its high stability. I have used it in baked goods because it is perfect in muffins and the like, a much healthier replacement to vegetble oils. It is fabulous to use when I make my morning granola. I will even sneak in a spoonful onto our morning oatmeal. It's taste is subtle, but very fresh and coconutty.

But....I have hemmed and hawed over what recipe to include in my review of the product. Many of the applications in which I have used the oil have been basic. They don't really highlight the subtle flavor of the oil. Gold Label coconut oil is a fine product, much like a fine artisan olive oil. I wanted to blog about a recipe where the oil was raw and imperitive to the dish. I finally decided, mayonaise.

Mayo? Yup. Homemade lacto-fermented mayonaise has become one of the most important things I make. It is easy to find mayo that is made without soybean oil in the grocery store. But usually the alternative oils are still polyunsaturated, like canola. and sometimes even the good brands still mix soybean oil in the product. But in trying to avoid polyunsaturated fats in general, I kinda have to make my own. Normal homemade mayo only lasts for a few days, but with lacto-fermentation, by adding whey the mayonnaise is preserved for several months in the fridge.

Mayo made with olive oil or sunflower oil is strong! And it can be runny. But I have found that adding some coconut oil not only softens the flavors, but because coconut oil is a saturated fat it is solid at refrigerator temperatures and it gives your mayo a nice firmness. Using Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil in this recipe adds a wonderful flavor and lots of nutrition.

Lacto Fermented Mayonnaise (Original recipe from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon)
1 Whole Egg, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon whey
2/3 of a cup olive oil
1/3 cup Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil
Generous pinch of salt

In your food processor, place egg, egg yolk, mustard, salt, lemon juice and optional whey. Process until well blended, about 30 seconds. Using the attchment that allows you to add liquids drop by drop, add the olive oil first and then the coconut oil with the motor running. Taste and check seasoning. You may want to add more salt and lemon juice. If you have added whey, let the mayonnaise sit at room temperature well covered, for 7 hours before refrigerating. With whey added, mayonnaise will keep for several months. Without whey, mayonnaise will keep for about 2 weeks.


Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Should Parents Lose Custody of Obese Children?: My Opinion

An interesting article came out yesterday all across the various internet news sites. Apparently, an opinion piece in the American Medical Journal released Wednesday states that in some cases putting an obese child in foster care is more ethical than surgery. Bariatric type surgery on young growing bodies is frought with controversy.

According to Dr David Ludwig, the hope is that state intervention "ideally will support not just the child but the whole family, with the goal of reuniting child and family as soon as possible. That may require instruction on parenting."

The various news reports did not comment on whether they think this is a good idea or not, that isn't their purpose. Fortunately I can. I imagine that the initial reaction to this story will be mixed with some folks coming out squarely against intervention while other brazenly claiming "if you can't take care of your kids..." I don't think that address the issue.

If you consider the current system and laws, a child may be removed from his home if his parents are neglecting him. This includes a parent who does not provide enough food for their child. A parent can also have their children taken away for medical neglect, i.e.-willfully not administering prescribed medication, or not seeking emergency medical care in the event of a serious condition or injury. I am pretty sure we all agree on that. The state reviews all cases before any child is taken away from their family. You may disagree with the quality of investigation that the state puts into these cases (I do not), and you may abhor the cases where kids fall through the cracks (I absolutely do). But, in that case what we are arguing about is the implementation of the law, not the law itself. The point of my post is the law.

I think super obese kids should be evaluated to see if the case warrants intervention. BUT I think this should happen at the point that kids are beginning to experience medical complications. Obesity alone is not enough reason to take a child away from their family. But when a child develops an otherwise preventable medical problem like Diabetes or difficulty breathing, it makes sense to me that some investigation should happen. And just because a social worker gets involved doesn't mean that foster care is the only path. It is logical that parents should be guided toward better nutrition education and parenting. The state taking custody of an obese child should be a last resort.

The article in the journal of the AMA was an opinion piece, not a politician speaking out in favor of writing a law surrounding this. And for what it's worth, it is already happening. The Yahoo Shine version of the story mentions the case of a three year old who was 90 pounds when she first met with Ludwig. By 12 she was 440 pounds and had developed sleep apnea, cholesterol problems, diabetes, etc. She was placed in foster care, given proper nutrition, and lost 130 pounds after one year. She may still be obese, but the articles mention that her medical conditions have abated.

I don't think anyone is suggesting a blanket approach to this problem. We all must remember that the laws are set up to help kids, not vilify parents. But, if your actions as a parent are creating medical problems in your child, the state should absolutely consider if removing the child from his family is neccessary.

Read the ABC News article:
Should Parents Lose Custody of Super Obese Kids?

This post is shared with Simple Lives Thursdays and with Food Renegade's Fight Back Fridays

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

CSA Pics, Mint-alicious Week 5

This week at the CSA we got two heads of kohlrabi, one bunch of rainbow chard, one head of romaine lettuce, a bunch of kale, three garlic scapes, one bunch of scallions, two zucchini and two cukes. It looks like one English cuke and one traditional cuke. And finally a nice sized bunch of mint.

And how could I forget these little gems?????

Perfect red sweet cherries. These beauties were the reason Thing 2 didn't eat dinner last night. Oh well, at least it was cherries and not potato chips at 6pm.

The mint is the item that has me the most excited this week! A couple of years ago I would have smelled this mint and thought only of mojitos...mmm...mojitos. (What a lush!) But now the smell of freshly cut mint transports me back to Morocco where they simply pour boiling water over fresh mint and add sugar. Well, you don't need to add as much sugar as the Moroccans would, but I gotta admit that a little is great. There is something about sweet mint. Mmmm, you know what else would be good? Mint kefir ice cream. Now you're talking.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Recipe: Chiles Rellenos

As you all know, my love of all foods Mexican continues. My dear friend TQ again shows us a beautiful authentic Mexican recipe. With pepper and tomato season almost upon us (or totally upon you depending on where you live), this is a great meatless recipe to try out. Be sure to check out TQ's other post on Authentic Puerco en Adobo. Thank you again to TQ for contributing! Enjoy!

Chiles Rellenos (Poblano peppers stuffed with cheese in an egg batter)
8 Medium to large Poblano peppers
Oaxaca cheese (mozzarella is ok too)
2 or 3 eggs
Flour for dredging
Chicken Stock
2 cloves of Garlic
4 or 5 peppercorns
Oil or lard for frying

Roast the peppers in your broiler or directly on the flame of your burner until skin is charred and peeling. Let them rest, preferably in a paper or plastic bag, but it’s not necessary.

Meanwhile, boil tomatoes until soft and skin is peeling off.

While your peppers are roasting/resting and tomatoes are boiling, separate the cheese into segments about 3 to 4 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide. It doesn’t have to be precise, you want it to fit inside the pepper but you want to fill up the pepper too.

By now your tomatoes are ready. Remove skins and discard. Place tomatoes into a blender with the garlic, peppercorns, salt and enough stock to loosen the blade. Puree.

Add a couple tablespoons of cooking oil to a pot, when it’s good and hot pour the tomato sauce into the pot and add a little more stock so it’s fairly thin and soup like, bring to a boil and then simmer. It should reduce a bit but you want it kind of thin.

Back to the peppers. Peel of the skin. Cut a slit down the side of each pepper and remove as much of the seeds and veins as you can without tearing the flesh. It’s not the end of the world if it tears, but do your best. Stuff cheese into each pepper and set aside.

Heat oil or lard in a deep frying pan, you want it ready for you because once the eggs are beaten you have a narrow window before they start to fall.

Now, separate your eggs and put the whites into a large mixing bowl. Beat with beaters or stand mixer to a firm peak. Then, one by one, add the yolks in and keep beating. It should look like yellow meringue.

One by one, dredge the stuffed peppers in the flour to coat, and then dredge in the whipped eggs carefully coating the entire pepper, your fingers will get battered too, that’s the name of the game! Then place carefully in the hot oil. When it’s good and golden on one side, carefully flip. It helps to spoon oil over the sides and edges if your oil isn’t too deep. Again, this is messy, wear an apron.

When the whole chili is golden, place on a paper towel to drain for a few minutes. When they’re all done, put them directly into the pot with the salsa. The batter does loosen a bit in the salsa but that’s ok.

To serve, place a chili into a bowl and spoon the soupy salsa over it. Serve with warmed corn tortillas.

Then a few minutes later it will look like this…
This post is shared with Healthy 2day Wednesdays

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Kids (and I) Ruin Everything

My weekend sort of unofficially started Thursday evening. DH and I made dinner which NO ONE wanted to eat. The screamed, they fussed. They got up out of their chairs and ran around. Thing 1 had one time out that lasted for at least ten minutes because he insisted on leaving the corner, only to make us start the time out over. Thing 2 didn’t actually eat anything, which I wish I could say was a rarity. I joke now that he eats breakfast, morning snack, afternoon snack and nothing else. I suppose that is three meals, no? Since Thing 1 did eat dinner, so he had some kefir ice cream after dinner. But Thing 2 did not. Thing 2 went ballistic. This loveliness was followed by a bath in which there was hitting and water dumping. I was completely wet, which was enough to make me fly off the handle. Sweet huh?

Then at 8pm, just as the kids are getting settled into their beds, I realize I have forgotten a very important Skype date with my family. Like plum forgotten. I got the kids out of bed and we managed to work in a quick speakerphone phone call. I felt so guilty. Terrible in fact, I cried about it.

Around 3:45am, Thing 1 came into our bed. He was completely naked, holding a fresh set of new clothes. I wasn’t actually surprised. I had run out of overnight diapers and we had had a tremendous battle over a stupid glass of water the night before. His bed was soaked, he had no where else to sleep. He moved into our bed. Thing 1 punched me, he kicked me, he ended up sleeping sideways on our bed with his feet resting in my armpits and his head in DH’s back. He finally fell asleep at 4:50am. Which happened to be 10 minutes before my alarm went off. I never had gone back to sleep. I had made plans to meet a girlfriend early for a run in the park. If I hadn’t made plans to run with her I would have totally scaled exercise that morning.

While the kids were okay Saturday behavior-wise, we were out running errands in the morning when I texted a good friend about her son’s birthday party that day. “Where and when again?” I asked her. I didn’t receive a reply. Around one with the kids either asleep or out with Daddy I brought up the evite to be sure of what time the party was. OMG. The party was at 9am. We missed our friend’s son’s 4th birthday party? What kind of lousy mom misses something like that? It was treasonous.

Sunday started out overnight again, with Thing 1 coming into our bed at 1am, naked but this time holding no clothes. He had an overnight diaper by this point, so I am not sure how this all happened. But there he was again, kicking and punching us. DH and I were not happy. But I think that made it all the more stressful for Thing 1, because with his wet bed he didn’t really have any other place to sleep. I *almost* went and slept on the couch. But I didn’t. I should have, I felt wretched in the morning. And Thing 2 awoke at 5:15am in his crib to see his big brother gone. He assumed that he had overslept and everyone else must be up. He would not go back to sleep.

Sunday morning started well enough, a little sleep deprived, but nothing a little coffee couldn’t fix. But the day really started turning south when at my mother in law’s house Thing 1 tripped on her fan and broke it. He didn’t mean to trip on the fan, but it wasn’t a complete accident either. We went to 4 stores to find one that was suitable to replace it. And finally, Thing 1 refused to go up to my MIL’s apartment and give her the new fan. Let’s just say he didn’t win that fight.
Later in the afternoon we met my brother in law and his kids at the local pool, the Things had a blast. Only Thing 1 started choking on some pool water he swallowed and he threw up in the pool. DH swears that other parents picked up their tots and ran for cover. They closed the pool for 30 minutes.

Then when we came home, a full 5 hours after the original schedule, there were more hysterics, more punch-up drenching baths and maybe a hot dog or two was consumed. Currently I am running 5 loads of wash downstairs in our laundry room, much of which is soaked in toddler urine. So when I sat down to write something for the blog today, I just couldn’t write about finding chamomile at the farmer’s market (you know how to brew a cup of tea). I couldn’t produce a post about how it is sour cherry season or brag that I bought 3.5 pounds of them this weekend, pitted them and froze them. And I couldn’t post about the summer squash, kale and snow peas I sautéed in tomato basil sauce and served with pasta. I am way too tired. I feel completely overwhelmed right now. Overwhelmed by the sleep deprivation, overwhelmed by cramming a work week into three days, overwhelmed by housecleaning, overwhelmed by carrying my kids EVERYWHERE because they refuse to walk. No, writing about sweet, pretty food topics just didn’t seem right. My heart wasn’t in it. It just wasn’t….funny enough.

Friday, July 8, 2011

On Flowering Tomatoes and Daughters

My indoor gardening idea was a 'get tomatoes quick' scheme at best. I have invested about $100 so far, and I guess that you could say that I didn't buy a pair of shoes (or two) this summer to offset the costs, so I am not crying over the loss of $100. But still, $100 is nothing to sniff at and I really want some tomatoes for some return on investment.

Since I started the great indoor gardening project I have watched these plants quadruple in size, bend upward toward the sun and put out several flowers. The red fruited 'Abe Lincoln' has put out a couple dozen flowers so far, with only 7 or 8 actually growing big enough to open. The yellow fruited 'Yellow Oxheart' has also put out a couple dozen flowers too, but they have all stayed small and tight. I think that my little yellow dear may not be getting enough sun since it is further in the corner. I moved the rack to a sunnier patch to oblige the plant.

With all this fertility and flowering I can't help but think of these plants as being female. I like to refer to them as a couple of 'shes' and they remind me of the irregular young girl in the first year of getting her menstrual cycle. Their little plant bodies are struggling to make babies and only producing dying flowers. And since I have no daughters who will one day grow up and need my loving guidance as they become women, maybe I am acting out through these plants a great void in my heart to help a young girl grow up. Remember when Rudy Huxtable got her period on the Cosby Show? I always imagined having a daughter. And when her time came I would keep her out of school for the first day after and we would go have lunch somewhere fancy in midtown, get manicures and go shopping at Sak's to celebrate her crossing over into womanhood. Now all I have to fulfill those dreams is a couple of irregular tomato plants that can't quite make tomatoes.

An astute reader commented in the first post about my indoor gardening that perhaps the plants needed bees? I foolishly believed that I could just BE the BEE. I could tap the flowers and polinate them. I mean, have you SEEN a flower? The stamen sticks out and all these dusty pods float in the breeze just begging to knock the plant up. I had it all worked out in my head. Then the first little flowers opened and I realized the trouble. A tomato flower comes in two parts, the outer flower that looks like a regular flower and then this, rather surprising to me, inner flower that covers the stamen and all the pollen bits.

I looked at the flower and thought, 'Ok, what the hell do I do now?' Before I left on vacation I had 3-4 flowers that were open. I had planned on gently tapping them to pollinate them, but clearly I was going to have to be more...invasive. I pinched them, but I didn't see any pollen fall out. I tapped the flowers from the back. I didn't know what to expect. I left on vacation hoping to come home to little green knobs.

What did I come home to? 4 new flowers and a couple dead flowers on the floor. Boo. So I looked online and found this website on how to pollinate indoor tomatoes. This website recommends getting an electric toothbrush and gently massaging the nearby support stems. Apparently the frequency of the vibrations loosens the pollen in the inner flower helping it to fall down and pollinate. An electric toothbrush? For real? I am starting to feel like I have crossed the line with this project into 'ridiculous territory'. I don't want to spend one more dime, but on the other hand if I don't see it all the way through then my entite initial investment is down the drain. What a conundrum! I decided to gently massage my plants with my fingers. I am making sure to ever so carefully tap the support stems on which the flowers are. I am trying to imitate the movement that the toothbrush would provide. And I am sure that I have now completely lost it.

I guess in a couple days I will know if I have ruined another batch of flowers and I need to buy an electric toothbrush. But I must see this through to the end. After all, I am the only mommy that my little girls have got.

Now don't get me wrong, having boys is awesome. Awesomer than I could have ever imagined. And rather than helping them become women (obviously), I am teaching them what to expect from women and how to have proper inter-gender relationships. I feel that it is my responsibility even at their young age to teach them to develop a healthy marriage by building great external friendships. But we want what we want. I remember the day the ultrasound clinician told me that Thing 2 was a boy. I was laying flat on my back and I truly believed that if I adjusted my head properly my two fat tears might roll back into my tears ducts from where they'd sprung. Since then I have reconciled my feelings. My desire for a daughter does not reflect upon my love for my boys at all. One has nothing to do with the other. And I don't feel guilty at all about my want of a daughter. But a Thing 3 is not looking so likely. So until we hit the lottery or I sell a book idea, I think that I will focus my attention on my tomato plants.

Read the first post here: The Hanging Gardens of Washington Heights

Read the next post here: And Just Like That We Have A Tomato

This post is shared with Food Renegade's Fight Back Fridays and Traditional Tuesdays and Real Food Wednesdays

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Super Green Pesto with Cashews and FINALLY How to Store Basil

If you are anything like me then your fridge is stuffed with beautiful greens that aren't your spouse's favorite and your kids won't touch with a ten foot pole. You also, now that it's July, might be starting to get some small basil bunches in your CSA of farmer's market. But basil here in the northeast isn't out of control yet like it will be in a couple of weeks.

I am completely sick of sauteed greens. And it's too hot for kale soup. In my fridge I had a half a bunch of spinach, some kale leaves and a small bunch of basil. So last weekend I whipped out the food processor and decided to make some Super Green Pesto.

SUPER BASIL NEWS ALERT!!: I think I finally discovered how to store basil. After years of struggling to keep basil from turning black or liquifying, I had just stopped buying it. I assumed basil was meant for people who had green thumbs and back yards full of sun. But in the summer it looks too yummy, I can't resist. Most of the TV chefs recommend cutting the stems and storing on the countertop in a glass of water like a bunch of flowers. For me, this resulted in foul smelling water and slimy inedible basil within 48 hours. Then I tried something different. I took my small bunch home from the farmer's market and soaked it just like my other greens in a sink full of water with some vinegar. I shook off the water and stored it in a plastic bag in the fridge in the crisper drawer. A couple of the leaves turned brown, but 90% of the bunch was happy and healthy a week later when I used it!! Finally. It only took me ten years to figure that one out.

Super Green Pesto with Cashews

1 Small bunch of basil
5-6 large leaves of kale
About 2 hearty handfuls of spinch
One garlic clove
Lemon juice (about 1 tablespoon)
A handful of raw cashews (about 1/3 of a cup)
Olive oil (about 1/2 of a cup)
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop or Chiffonade your kale, place it in your food processor. Add the basil leaves, spinach leaves, garlic clove, lemon juice and a drizzle of oil. Pulse until chopped but not pureed.

Add your raw cashews. Raw nuts are softer and will better attain the consistency you are looking for. Run your processor while you drizzle in the remaining oil. Your pesto may need more or less oil to achieve the consistency you want. I don't like a super oily pesto.

Scrape down the sides and incorporate everything. Add some parmesean cheese if you like. I didn't though. Add you salt and pepper to taste and give it a last run. There you go!

Rather than pouring over pasta, I sauteed some scallions, summer squash and snow peas. Just before they were done I added a healthy amount of the pesto and dropped a couple eggs on top. I covered the pan and let the eggs cook. It was a wonderfully light summer dinner but would make an equally good breakfast.

Pesto made entirely from basil can be too strong and not so high in nutrients. This is a great way to use your CSA greens and kick up the nutritional value of your basil pesto. It also freezes really well. I used half and froze half.


This post is shared with Simple Lives Thursday and Food Renegade's Fight Back Fridays

CSA Pics Week 4 and Some Seasonal Recipe Ideas

While this week's CSA share contained many greens, we started to see more vegetables too. This week we got a bunch of chard, a bunch of lacinato kale (my favorite kind of kale!!), 3 garlic scapes, a bunch of beautiful Japanese turnips, three beautiful bright yellow summer squashes, a head of lettuce (I chose butter lettuce over romaine), a nice bag of the best snow peas ever and a little pot of purple basil mixed with lemongrass.

So far this week I have made that kohlrabi slaw I mentioned Tuesday, beautiful squash and snow peas sauteed in pesto with eggs on top and swiss chard, squash and garlic scape pizza topped with goat cheese and basil. I have been on veggie cloud nine this week and it should only continue! The house is stocked with greens galore. I can't even decide which meal was my favorite. They were all so delicious and fresh.

The kids however, they have not been thrilled with the turn of events. After Block Island I can't say that the kids are eating much of anything except milk and bread. I don't know what it is about traveling that makes my kids go on hunger strikes. But while I have been making slight alterations to the kids' meals to keep the peace, by and large I am just serving them things like swiss chard and summer squash pizza because there is no guarantee that they will eat hot dogs either. Aaaahhh. Both Things picked absolutely everything off the pizza. They ate crusts for dinner. I am such a good mommy, aren't I?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Recipe: Aisan Kohlrabi Slaw

We arrived back at our house Sunday evening from our long week away to find our CSA goodies waiting for us in the fridge (Thank you MS for picking them up!) Since we only had one day to eat them before more were delivered, I figured I had better get cracking. I did alot of cooking, but this was one of the easiest and freshest things I made. And after a week of being "off plan", I was ready for some fresh vegetables big time.

Aisan Kohlrabi Slaw

Start with one head of kohlrabi, green or purple it doesn't matter.

Although I started out with two, I ended up using only one. They get huge when grated. Grate your kohlrabi.

Chop 4-5 scallions.

Add in your grated kohlrabi, and grate 1-2 carrots. I had slightly less carrots than kohlrabi. Add them.

Then add everything else: about a quarter cup of chopped nuts (I used roasted cashews and almomds), a tablespoon of sesame seeds, a fat tablespoon if mayo (please make homemade, it is so extra yummy), 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of rice wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons of honey and one teaspoon of toasted sesame oil. Stir and let sit in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Here is to getting through all these greens by Tuesday night!!

This post is part of Traditional Tuesdays

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Few Things I Have Learned From My Vacation This Year

DH and I agree, this is the best trip to Block Island we have ever taken. We have had great weather and I did enough advance planning with the food that every day has been enjoyable.

Here are just a few things I have learned while on this vacation. They are food related or parenting related, or neither.

1-If you have kids, it is worth it to rent a house.

Actually, we learned that three years ago when we first started renting this house. The kids have a tough enough time falling asleep in a different place, throw them into one big hotel room and all of a sudden Mom and Dad have to go to sleep at the same time as the kids. Boo. Renting a small two bedroom house means that we can stay up and enjoy our evening while the kidlets sleep. Plus, the house offers some private down time when the sun is hot. We can go in and play with toys we brought or read books or watch movies.

Now MY favorite thing about renting a house has got to be the yard. Not having a yard of our very own, running in circles in the grass or playing in a baby pool is a great joy for our kids. DH and I can crack a beer while the kids entertain themselves. Nice. But YOUR favorite thing about my renting a house is not getting stuck in a hotel room next to my crazy Things. They go nuts a couple times a day, usually as we are trying to leave the house for an outing. And we are the loudest family you will ever meet. So renting a private house is also a way to sure that others have a great vaca too.

2-Better to plan ahead and bring "approved" junk food rather than wait and get stuck buying whatever you can find.

We have eliminated junk foods, and so last year we didn't pack any treats. In fact I just didn't pack enough food period. So when we were hungry we reached for foods that we weren't buying at home, bagels and fishy crackers and muffins. Our options on the island are limited and there are virtually no organics. I was literally sick from overeating wheat. This year I thought ahead. Instead of buying whatever crossed our path, I packed "better junk food".

I stocked up on organic tater tots and Annie's Cheddar Bunnies and Applegate Farms' Turkey Bologna and Kettle Chips. And even juice boxes!!!! Everyone feels like they are getting super spoiled while I know that there are no bad preservatives, food dyes or excess refined sugar. Plus much of the junk I bought was organic, So I know it is non-GMO. I don't want my kids to be completely devoid of treats. I just wish they would get more excited about kale and kefier smoothies. But until that day comes, it won't hurt to plan ahead and fill up on better treats.

You should have seen how excited the Things were when they saw juice boxes in my shopping cart. They were like Christmas excited. I feel good knowing that we still are having pastured meat and eggs as a focus. DH and I are having lots of fresh veggies (still modeling the behavior, no payoff in sight...). So a little junk might be just what these kiddos need.

3-I am pretty sure that turkey bologna still has triptaphanes in it.

Thing 2 decided that he would eschew all other lunch foods for the turkey bologna. He then proceeded to take a three hour nap. I could get used to this. Perhaps I need to figure out how to MAKE turkey bologna. Maybe...

4-I am pretty sure that these shorts were never intended for me.

Yet somehow they ended up in my bag. I am fairly certain that these shorts were meant for some precocious 12 year-old Lolita and not some 32 year-old mother of 2. The woman behind the counter looked at me like she truly hoped I was buying them as a gift for some neice somewhere. But I made sure I slipped in a 'Can I return these if I need a different size?' I am sure that she was horrified. Though DH was pretty psyched. I might not be wearing these into town, but I think they'll get some use. Haha! Gross.

5-There are many things about our modern lifestyle that are unecessary, but clothes dryers aren't one of them.

I don't remember what fabric softener it was that advertised its product as having the scent of line dried clothes. There are few places on earth where the air smells better than Block Island. The scent here at the end of June is a mix of roses, honeysuckle and sea salt. Yet all the clothes I have line dried here are stiff and wrinkely. I hate line drying clothes. Dryers are awesome.

6-If you rent a house across the street from a cemetary, prepare for questions from your almost four year old.

Our down time in Block Island has been spent having some very frank conversations about growing up, getting sick and dying. Thanks to my exemplary parenting skills, Thing 1 is now totally convinced that a) one goes to a cemetary to be buried when one gets sick and b) one can leave a cemetary once one gets better and c) it is possible for time to move backwards and, my favorite, d) staying a little boy forever is a viable life option. It doesn't matter that I told Thing 1 all about hospitals, where you actually go when you are sick and you can come home when you get better. Or that I also told him about Peter Pan, who lived on Neverland way before Jake and his baby pirates. Thing 1 just doesn't care. He believes what he believes. God bless him.

7-You can't just decide one day to stop using sunblock. You must also, that same day, buy your kids hats and start wearing beach coverups, etc.

DH and I have had some disagreements over the sunblock thing. He thinks I am crazy and any increase in melanoma cancer rates in the last 30 years is completely attributable to better medical care and early detection. I just want to get the kids to not get a sunburn. We settled on using sunblock on their faces, ears and heads. And we bought Thing 2 a hat and DH is resisting the urge to take it off him when he fusses. We have also, without verbally discussing it, kept shirts on the kids most of the time while they are at the beach or in the back yard during hot hot hours. I admit it, it took a few days to get the hang of. We are very toasty from those first couple days. We have always run around half naked relying on sunblock. We have had to really change our behavior to avoid both sunblock and sunburns. I have turned to DH's wonderfully light snap front shirts. They make great beach coverups. DH is just really crispy. But even he has (silently) agreed to not wear sunblock. I think we have the hang of this now. But it has taken a little bit of trial and error. After all, parks and barbeues are one thing, week long vacations are another. We aren't used to the sun out here in the middle of the ocean, so we are working on this one day at a time.

8-Brothers need vacation time.

The same can of course be said of sisters and any sibling gender combo. But for me and my personal experience, my boys have solidifed their best-friendship on this trip. To see Thing 1 coaching Thing 2 on how to perform Slip and Slide tricks while Thing 2 blathers on in his unitelligible baby language has been awesome. I catch them having conversations together where they think no one is listening. I see them holding hands when I haven't asked them to. I see them building their relationship. It is beautiful.

9-There is a kid's channel called Qubo. And on said channel there is a show called The Magic School Bus.

We are Nick Jr parents. I love the shows, the lessons and the no commercials. Here, Qubo is the only kid's channel available. And there are tons of commercials for things like debt reduction and Life Style Lifts. Thing 1 is kind of confused. I am not sure he knows where the show ends and the commercials begin.

Forgive any copyright infringement, but this Magic School Bus show is kinda cute and kinda kooky. I mean look at the lady in the picture!! She is wearing pickle earrings. It stars Lilly Tomlin and it highlights kid science topics. Well last night the Magic School Bus episode was all about microbes. And what was the example? PICKLES!! The class actually shrunk themselves and swam in the pickle jar while long chains of lactobacillius bacteria preserved a cucumber. I was actually kind proud. The show was talking about fermented foods as an example of microbiotic activity, as opposed to just some produce drowned in vinegar. I was thrilled. And Thing 1 watched eagerly. I might not be a huge Qubo fan, but they got
me with a show centered around fermented foods. Ha!

10-I really love beer.

No explanation needed. I just really love good beer. I know all the caveats about beer and health and weight. But....I am on vaca and is just really good.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Fourth of July! May you be blesses with a beautiful vacation (or several) this summer!