Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (on Tuesday)

Ok so one of my March goals was to make a menu plan each Monday. Didn't happen. Oh well. Moving on. We have one this week!

I've decided to make 6 dinner concepts, one for each night of the week (minus Friday when we have a get-together with friends and I will be spontaneous!). That way I can know, way ahead of time, approximately what I'll be making. Also, I will be needing to send Will with lunch every weekday, so that means I need consistent leftovers. I feel good about it so far.

B: soaked oats and yogurt, raw milk
L: leftover pasta
D: rice & refried beans (NT p. 496), asparagus with butter

B: cottage cheese and oranges, toast
L: leftover beans and rice
D: Chicken, Potato and Leek soup (NT p. 228) and bread (rye bread from Portland bakery)
To Do: start sourdough starter, start pizza dough, cut up veggies for omelet and pizza

B: omelet with veggies, toast with butter
L: leftover soup and toast with butter
D: Veggie and Hamburger Yogurt Dough pizza (NT p. 485) with flour that I made. and salad
To Do: Soak flour for pancakes/waffles, feed sourdough mother

B: soaked pancakes/waffles and grapefruit
L: leftover pizza and salad
D: pasta with red sauce and salad
To Do: soak oats, feed sourdough mother, make Friday dinner

B: soaked baked oats (this recipe from The Nourished Kitchen), raw milk
L: leftover pasta
D: Breakfast Club with friends
To Do: feed sourdough mother, soak and cook beans for Sun soup

B: eggs and yogurt, raw milk
L: any misc. leftovers
D: (still working on this) some sort of meat with roasted acorn squash
To Do: feed sourdough mother, make Sunday soup, get milk from farm, cut up fruit

B: fruit salad, dutch baby pancakes (NT p.479) , raw milk
L: curried tuna salad sandwiches (modified NT p. 414), salad
D: Sauerkraut & Bean soup (NT p. 210 with homemade sauerkraut) and bread
To Do: soak oats, beans, and rice, feed sourdough mother

We are also daily drinking home-brewed kombucha and water kefir (I usually add some lemon juice or vanilla extract to flavor it).

Friday, March 26, 2010

Confessions of a New Parent

Man, being a parent is rough. I think there are about as many philosophies for raising children as there are children. For someone who readily admits their inability to do things unless they do it well, a baby without instructions is not the quickest fit. I was an overachiever before Mabel came along, although I'd made a lot of progress since I moved to Eugene. Some days I feel like I'm regressing toward my pre-Eugene self. There are moments I catch a glimpse of my subconscious and, to my chagrin, I realize that I am expecting my child to fit into my life easily and without much crying. To my credit, she doesn't cry much, so its not as if I'm expecting the impossible. But I caught myself thinking that today, and I felt embarrassed. Embarrassed to admit that I wish a six month old could wear a watch; that I am sometimes caught off guard when she wakes up from a long nap (is that MY baby??); that in so many ways I still expect my life to continue the same as it has always been; embarrassed that sometimes I think she cries intentionally to tick me off. These are, of course, perfectly normal and experienced by thousands of parents, I'm sure. And so I point back to my first confession: I hate to be wrong. I hate not knowing or not being confident about my decisions. Either I do something, or I don't. Vaccines linked to autism? Accumulated sleep deficiency leading to depressed learning ability? 1 out of 3 kids her age to develop diabetes based on food choices? Hormones in meat to lead to early puberty? I feel terribly ill equipped to deal with the responsibility of making these decisions for another human.

I wanted to post about another topic entirely (embracing routine and the mundane), but this is what came out. I guess it was on my heart. Hopefully I'll sleep a little easier tonight.

In any case, waking up to the cutest baby in the world does help.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fermented Cod Liver Oil

I have a few other posts in the makings (salmon head soup... with photos!), but I wanted to do a quick note on the fermented cod liver oil giveaway that Kelly the Kitchen Kop is doing here. I have just started taking cod liver oil (not the fermented kind), but all the fabulous benefits are here. I don't mind the flavor much, and I usually drink some water after I take it. My housemate plugs her nose when she takes it :D

Also, I ordered some water kefir grains from Cultures for Health. I'm super excited! Water kefir is really good for you. You can make A LOT with minimal effort, and who doesn't love that? Anyhow, I'll keep you updated. Marianne also gave me a kombucha baby, so that will be in the works too!

Menu Plan Monday coming soon.....

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fresh Asparagus Soup

Well, I suppose that's what you get when you combine pre-finals, finals, post-finals, a lovely mother-in-law visit followed by a good old friend visit. Who can blame me for not finding the time to post? :)

Here's a soup I made a few weeks ago (twice) and enjoyed. Asparagus is just coming into season, and the gorgeous stalks called to me at Market of Choice.

I altered this recipe. I omitted the onion (I'm a nursing mama), used homemade chicken stock, substituted fresh raw milk for the suggested soy, and doubled the Parmesan cheese allotment. Soups are an easy send to school for the boy.

Here's some info on the dangers of soy in our diet and some benefits of making your own stock. I'm trying to make chicken stock once a week. I'd like to branch out and make beef broth, as one chicken a week is a lot for two people to eat!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Salmon Head Soup

Some times it is fun to just try something new. I have made homemade chicken broth now several times, and I thought, impulsively, that I would try to make some fish broth. So I stopped by the Eugene Fisherman's Market and asked for some fish carcasses. I'd hoped I'd get them for free, but I guess they use everything they can and then give the rest to local farms for fishmeal. Bravo to them. Anyhow, I ended up feeling very victorious bringing home two fabulous salmon head with which to make my fish broth. Turns out salmon is one of those oily fish you very specifically don't make fish broth with. Right. On to Plan B!

I cruised around the web and ended on this recipe. It was enjoyable to make, if only for the novelty aspect. It did require a special trip to the Asian store in town, but that was also a lovely cultural experience. I was thrilled to find young coconuts there that I chopped up for the delicious juice inside. Will and I used to get these when we lived in the LA area. This is the salmon with the gills removed.

The simmering soup did leave a interesting, very fishy smell in the whole house. And picking the meat from the head was... interesting. Actually, it was more enjoyable than picking chicken meat from a chicken carcass.

With some spring rolls, we had a fabulous meal. I find that I more thoroughly enjoy my food when I put spend time and love preparing it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Something with Salmon

So in my menu plan for the week, tonight's dinner included "something with salmon." I have some wild-caught Alaska salmon cans that I've been wanting to use. So with a little help from housemate Kelley, I brainstormed some ideas, including salmon balls with breadcrumbs deep-fried in lard. Then I remembered that I still had some curry mayo from the Curried Chicken Salad from Nourishing Traditions (it has developed a lovely smooth consistency). Ah ha! With leftover corn tortillas, I would make Curried Salmon Tacos. Lovely.

I started out with some coconut oil in the pan (Marianne says it helps keep the sickies at bay? and husband said he's starting to feel as though he's fighting off something), added my curried mayo, opened my salmon can, and was assaulted by a salmon spine. Literally, it jumped out at me. So smooth and bone-like. Ewww. I guess I should mention that I used to be a vegetarian in highschool. I didn't much know or care to know about the animal rights part of it, or even what was in the actual meat, but I dissected a cat from Mexico in my Anatomy and Physiology class. I hate to spoil the fun if you ever plan to dissect one, but it looks just like chicken. Yep. Didn't eat meat for a year (until my mom asked me, so very nicely, if I would please just eat meat. As her birthday present. How could I say no? Also, my dad accused me of trying to break our family apart at Thanksgiving. Long story.) Anyhow, meat is a big part of the WAPF nutritional wisdom, and so I tend to jump right in. Greasy chicken carcass falling apart in my hands after simmering for 24 hours to make broth? No problem. (Mostly. I did feel a little nauseous). Boiling down pig fat shavings to make gorgeous lard? Count me in!

The salmon spine, however, almost didn't make the cut. Housemate Kelley came running as she heard me calling her name, panickylike. She stood next to me as a ever so carefully picked out soft small bones and a crumbling spine. I only lasted about 1 minute after she left, though, and I didn't have the stomach to finish the whole can (to be left for another, more daring day).

Here's the spine, left side of plate.

I know. Gross, right?
Anyhow, somehow it came together, along with some yellow heirloom tomatoes (from Mexico: sad I know). The finished product was quite nice, even if I did eat it alone.

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As a side note, I am planning on grinding my dried sprouted buckwheat tomorrow! Expect a post soon.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March Kitchen Goals

I'm participating in Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Kitchen Goal of the Month, and I have three:

1. Make water kefir
2. Make a meal plan every Monday
3. Make my own flour (soaked, sprouted, and ground!)

We'll see how it goes! I should post soon about all the other changes I've made too. Soon. Very soon.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Menu Planning for the Week

So this will be my first official "Food" post. I'm excited! I was first introduced to the idea of weekly menu planning by Marianne who blogs her food journey at PrepareToEat, and she inspired me that it is possible to think about what one eats in advance! (elementary, I know). Just a bit more ado: I waited a month to get Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon through our local library, and I had to return my copy last week. I ordered my very own copy, but alas, it will be several days in getting here. So I haven't had time/energy to get actual recipes from other bloggers down yet, but I do have main ingredients down. Mostly I'm just posting this to get my foot in the door, so I can build from here and not be intimidated about starting. (note: mornings labeled "Will" are mornings I'm at work (coffee shop) and I let Will do his own breakfast)

B: eggs and toast, raw milk
L: leftover pasta and zucchini,
D: kale/potato frittata (with pork lard I rendered!), salad

B: Will
L: winter root soup (NT), salad
D: yumm burritos

B: soaked oatmeal, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
L: leftover yumm burritos, quinoa salad
D: something with salmon, salad

B: Will
L: asparagus soup, leftover quinoa salad
D: leftover winter soup, acorn squash side

B: cream of wheat, eggs
L: leftover asparagus soup, toast
D: Out: Breakfast Club

B: ground buckwheat pancakes, raw milk
L: falafel, fried in lamb lard!
D: something with lamb, something potato

B: Will
L: leftover salmon, leftover soup, salad
D: pasta, salad

Well, this is a big step for me in thinking ahead about what we're going to be eating this week, even if it isn't very specific. Part of my challenge is thinking ahead about what to send with Will to school to eat, as he is often gone for lunch and dinner. We can't afford to have him getting ready made food at school (plus who knows what is in it!), so it's quite the work to make something the day before that can be stored, transported, and reheated easily. It's both exhausting and exhilarating!

I'm also soaking and sprouting some buckwheat, so I'll have to post about how the dehydrating and grinding goes. Bottoms up!

To New Beginnings

When I think back to who I was in high school, I realize I am no longer that person. Almost at all. My interests, hobbies, friendships, relationships, status (read: mother!) have all drastically changed. And so who am I now? I struggle to answer that everyday. Mostly, right now, I am Mabel's mother, day in and day out. Sometimes this still shocks me, when I truly think about it. What happened to all my "me" plans? Who knows. Right now, I am just trying to keep this child fed, diapered, and happy. After that, I am trying to keep Will and I fed well. Both of these things = full time jobs in their own. And I work part-time outside the house. Woohoo! Life is a whirlwind, it feels like.

As I have moved to Eugene and entered the realm of "foodies," I have taken a hard look at what goes into my body. What I found was not good, to say the least. Since then (summer 2008), both my philosophies about food and what I actually eat has changed dramatically. Recently, this change has led me to discover the vast blogosphere of people who follow the nutrition information presented through the Weston A. Price Foundation. Most of these women are stay at home moms (although a lot make a good amount of money through blogging... which I find kind of thought-provoking), trying to feed their families well and, thankfully, sharing the experience with the rest of the world.

So I've decided to join this world, as a very busy graduate student husband doesn't make for much of an audience with my changing food ideas. Onward ho!