Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The latest happenings

Basically my kids have been sick in some form or fashion since the middle of October...so that's been....awesome.

stomach flu
runny nose


I've been sick twice (I started the stomach bug in early October and had a cold or the flu over Thanksgiving), and my husband once. The kids just can't seem to get out from under it. We've had brief periods of health, and I use that term lightly, but 85% of this winter has been confined to our home with snot rags, sick juice, and TV. Ugh.

I know that it's "good" for the immune system to be boosted, and we are "due" because last winter there was one round of colds after the birthday party / baptism weekend, but that was all since we were homebound. I tried to be relatively homebound this year, but I guess you either are or you aren't because going to target doesn't count as being homebound and clorox wipe or not, there's millions of germs floating around that store and anywhere else we went....even if it wasn't some indoor play center. Heck, maybe those woulda been cleaner.

My life looks like this;
Run. Cook. Wipe noses and butts. Breastfeed. Watch TV. Work (I worked 50+ hours this month! money FTW!!!!). Attempt to visit friends, but generally lose on that due to illness. Attempt to go on a date but that hasn't happened due to illness. Go grocery shopping. Go to church when we aren't sick. Attend a few meetings. Go to the doctor. Oh, and I went to the dentist once. Woooooo!

Since I last updated you we celebrated my husband's birthday. That was nice, though it was supposed to be nicer with the date night attempt I mentioned above that still hasn't happened. Such is the life of a parent. He also kind of got hurt running and trying to be a general badass by beating my on our 9 mile training run. It's been almost 2 weeks since he last ran and I'm starting to worry he won't be prepared for the marathon. I really don't want to run alone...

G has gone through periods of awesome behavior and then crappy behavior. I'd like to think I'm doing a rockstar job of rolling with the punches, and have only really yelled once in MONTHS, so that's cool. I credit Daniel Tiger, The Orange Rhino Blog post I read, internal motivation that I don't want to model bad behavior and GOD above through prayer and intervention. Sometimes you just have to kill 'em with kindness and that's what I've been trying to do. We do discipline, but try to do all things with love. We are Christians, ya' know.
I also read St. Gianna's book (seen here Saint Gianna Molla: Wife, Mother, Doctor). Even if you aren't Catholic, it has a great message of being a better wife, mother, human....My husband has been reading it too, very motivating.
So back to G. Well, she's working on handwriting, because I feel like once she can write, at least a little bit, official homeschooling will begin. I'm beginning to feel more and more out of place with 'preschool' conversations because she's not going anywhere and won't be. I wish people wouldn't judge me for that. She'll be socialized just fine, thanks. I'm not crazy. I asked her today if she wanted me to be or teacher or someone else and she said me, so there's that :-)
She does want to go to a "school" / "somewhere else" for school, so I guess I'll have to work on that one.

She didn't used to get confused with "b" and "d" but out of no where she has started to. And also "6" and "9"
celebrating her besties birthday
She totally used to know those apart....maybe she's got dyslexia, or has too much swimming around her brain nowadays. I don't want to diagnose her since I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure she has sensory issues and may even be on the ASD, but not nearly enough for treatment. Especially since it is such a broad spectrum (I think nearly any kid could fall on it KWIM?). She's definitely not a truly typical kid though, but we've known that since she was a baby. Even my mom pointed out how quirky she is when G was only like 8 months old or something. Basically I am her mom, and I see her all the time. I also see a lot of other kids her age, and I know she's not like them in weird ways. Not that I think that's bad, and I'm certainly not seeking out treatment, because I think she has to develop her own personality and learn to manage her quirks. If there was something debilitative, sure, but in my opinion, there's not. What quirks you might ask.... well she's just extreme on so many things. OCD like, emotional overload like, extremely amazing memory....IDK I can't explain it, she's generally a sweet preschooler just weird, in an okay way. I love her to the end of the universe and back though. She is beautiful and makes me feel so happy.
Wow...got on a tangent there.
sick faces:-(
So J... he's doing really well despite his sicknesses. He's walking a lot at home these days, but not 100% of the time, and not when we are out and about for me to go get him some stride right shoes. That is on my to do list though. I can't wait for spring to get here so we can all go play in the yard together. Last spring was kind of a wash, because he had to be held when we were outside, and that's not as fun!
He has some "words." He'll say (in his own baby speak way) "bite"(which my husband unfortunately started him on as meaning "more food") "all done" "bath" "bed" "momma" "dadda" "ahh" (maybe G's name??) "bye" and "yeah"
He's getting a bit of an attention span FINALLY. He will read books for a little bit, and even has a few favorites (Sesame Street Nighty Night and a Colors slide-the-door book). He's not too interested in G's shows yet aside from the songs, and easily gets bored with toys (and moves between them quickly). He loves musical things and kid songs. He tries to write/color, but still tries to put them in his mouth, so it's a supervised activity only. He likes turning light switches, pushing buttons (like on the food processor), and being as "helpful" as I'll let him. He is OBSESSED with the dishwasher. He has sat on the potty a few times, but never gone (it was just because it's sitting right there next to the tub). He LOVES his blankey but doesn't have a lovey other than that. He's much more of a climber than G ever was, and he's much more curious (Whereas she was more likely to size things up from afar, he must try it to find out). He's still sitting rear facing, still nursing over night, and still my baby boy. I wouldn't change that for the world. XOXO.

Chickpea Bake Fest

I had a bag of chickpeas (other wise known as garbanzo beans...it's kind of complicated, apparently) sitting in the pantry last week. I also happened to be crazing snack foods, so I figured I could roast some up and boom, snacky craving satisfied. Except to take dry beans to roasted snack food takes a while. It's not like you just tear into a bag of chips, awesome as that may sound.
That's the thing about truly eating clean...it is a labor of love sometimes. Sure, there are ways to make things less time consuming, and I'm all for that. But when you put a lot of time and effort into preparing healthy foods, you A) burn more calories through all the work and B) you appreciate your food more and then C) over eat less.
So back to the story. I soaked the beans overnight sometime last week, then cooked them the next day, ran out of time and just threw them in the fridge once they cooled.
Then my kids got sick. I had a lot of work events. #Lifehappens
So last night I got tired of looking at them in the fridge and put "roast chick peas" on my to-do list, because that's how things actually get done around here. Except dusting...dusting takes an Act of God.

So I set about to roast my chick peas and realized I didn't want/need to roast the whole lot of them. So I googled around and found a few recipes I wanted to clean up/personalize and voila! They are below.

Roasted Chickpea Snack bites

2 splashes olive oil
heap of cumin powder (about a tablespoon)
heap of garlic powder (or if you don't like garlic flavor, less)
a few shakes of chili powder (About .5 tsp)
a few shakes of sea salt
dash of ground pepper
dash of red pepper flakes
2 cups of prepared chickpeas

In a small mixing bowl, combine oil and spices. Toss in chickpeas and stir to coat. Place onto parchment paper covered (or just greased) cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

Chocolate Chickpea Bread (or cake, whatever)

2 cups prepared chickpeas
2 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder (dutch or special dark preferred)
1 tsp baking powder
several dashes sea salt
2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour (need a bit more if using agave vs. sugar)
.25 cup brown sugar (or agave)
.25 cup honey
4 eggs
.5 tbsp vanilla
1 tablespoon melted (grassfed) butter
.33 cup dark chocolate chips (about a handful)

In a smallish bowl, combine melted butter, vanilla, honey, eggs, and agave if using. In medium mixing bowl blend baking powder, cocoa, salt, flour, and sugar if using instead of agave. Combine the wet mixture into the dry mix bowl. Using sturdy food processor, grind the chickpeas until they are ground into a flour like substance. Blend into batter. Stir in chocolate chips. Line a bread pan with parchment paper and pour batter in. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes until set and toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Chickpea Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I just used remaining chickpeas from that bag I had prepared, I think it should equal about 1.5 c or a bit less
2 tsp vanilla
.5 cup pure almond butter
.25 cup honey (I also squeezed in a dollop of agave just for flavor balancing, so if you have it, do it)
1 tsp baking powder
a few dashes of salt
.33 cup dark chocolate chips (about a handful)

Process the chickpeas until finely ground. Dump in the rest of the ingredients (except chocolate), process for about 2 minutes or until a lump starts to form and make its way around the bowl, kind of creating a ball of dough. Take out the blade and mix in chocolate chips. Place 12 mounds onto a lined or greased cookie sheet. Flatten down a bit. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 (with about 5 minutes left, I reached in a smashed them down into cookie form, since they don't really do that on their own).

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Thanks dad!

For Christmas my dad got me this necklace that coincidentally has both j and G's birthstones.
Wore it today to MOPS (a moms group)

Love you dad! I know you check the blog occasionally :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Meal Plan Monday - eat clean -

Sunday; Shepard's Pie Loaded Baked Potato (I added mushrooms, kale, and spinach to the mix)
Monday; Ginger Cranberry Pork Roast in the slow cooker
Tuesday; leftovers
Wednesday; Sausage Kale Soup and cheese biscuits found here
Thursday; leftovers
Friday; Pasta and meatballs
Saturday; grilled fish, squash, and sweet potatoes

lunches are salads with all the veggies, no nitrate lunch meat, fruits and almond butter or plain almonds
breakfasts are leftover pancakes, oatmeal, eggs and veggie scrambles
snacks? yogurt and dark chocolate

linked up at meal plan monday at orgjunkie.com - if you're stopping by, thanks! we eat clean about 90% of the time here...and sometimes I share recipes and sometimes I'm busy living life with my two kiddos and wonderful husband plus training for our first full marathon in April. :-)

Copycat cleaned up Panera Sonoma Chicken Stew recipe (with cheesebiscuit)

Two years ago Panera came out with the greatest soup they've ever had, in my humble opinion anyways.

Sonoma Chicken Stew may not be that great for some online reviews, but I think it is amazing. There is a cheesy biscuit in the middle of a creamy mixture of chicken and vegetables and it screams comfy sweaters, annoying but oh-so-warm furry boots, fireplaces, dreary days, and rain on the window. You know, Autumn at it's finest. Or winter, whatever season you want it to be, just gimme some o' that soup.

Panera, or the St. Louis Bread Co (re; "Bread Co") in the part of the world I'm from, is fast food, but tastier and less greasy than your typical joint. There's tons of calories, sodium, and carbs that leach onto your body just for walking in the place. Is it still one of my cravings? You bet your bippy. I ate it the day J was born because it's the only thing that sounded good, and my first full meal after I was on the road to recovery? Panera. When I was in high school I would get the chicken noodle soup in a bread bowl, with bread for a side. That's like 1300 calories......eeeeek. And I'm eternally grateful that my husband shared the greatest sandwich of all; the bacon turkey bravo. My.mouth.is.watering. I try to make better choices these days, and it's a rare occasion to eat there (twice a year maybe). I search them out if we are on the road and need to stop for fast food. I love you Panera, non-eat-clean meals and all.

But when I googled for a recipe like the sonoma chicken stew....no where to be found! If you too have googled this amazingly warm and satisfying comfort dish, look no more.

Although I must warn you, mine is cleaned up a bit and not as thick, though I have a solution for you on that front.

For me, the cheese biscuit makes the dish, and so that's included here.
Panera on top, this recipe on bottom

Copycat Sonoma Chicken Stew with Cheese Biscuit Recipe

1 quart chicken broth, homemade preferred
4-5 cups water depending on how far you want to stretch it
1 cup cream or half and half, grassfed preferred
as much celery, carrots, peas, green beans as you want
(I eyeballed it, you can say 3 stalks celery, chopped. 1 lb of carrots sliced, 1 cup of frozen peas, 1 cup of frozen, cut green beans)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp cold water and your thickening agent of choice (about 4 tbsp)
1-2 lbs chicken breasts, boiled or pan fried in grassfed butter, chopped up into bite size pieces after cooking
**To make it thicker and more of a copycat recipe, add 1.5 cups worth of chopped potatoes. This will add to the creamy texture and Panera's version has potatoes. I didn't have any on hand, so I left them out**
cheese biscuit recipe follows

Boil the broth in a large stock pot, add in water and bring to boil again. Add in celery and carrots (and potatoes if you have them), simmer until they are starting to soften then add in peas and green beans. Blend in cream and salt and pepper to taste, simmer. In a small bowl, combine flour or corn starch with cold water. In a steady stream, pour into soup and stir constantly while you do. If you'd still like yours to be thicker, repeat the process. I did so about 3 times. Simmer.
While the soup had been simmering, I pan fried some chicken breasts in grassfed butter, which is like my favorite thing to do because it tastes so dang good. A little fat doesn't make you fat, sugar does. Don't worry if it gets a little crispy on the outside, the soup will soften it up some too. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and add it into the soup. Let the soup stew while you make the biscuits. Once the biscuits are done, place one in a large soup bowl and ladle stew over it. Salt and pepper may be added for taste once again, but remember to watch your sodium intake if trying to eat clean.

'eat clean' Cheese Biscuits

2 cups white whole wheat flour
4 tsp (aluminum free baking) powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (grassfed) butter
1 (cage free) egg
2/3 (unsweetened original almond) milk
1 tbsp honey
4-6 oz freshly grated Colby Jack or cheddar cheese

Combine the dry ingredients and then cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or two knives or a food processor. Make a well in the center of the mixture and put in the egg, honey, and milk. Whisk the wet ingredients within the well and then start to incorporate the dry ingredients. Once combined, toss in the cheese and gentle blend. Knead the dough briefly to make sure cheese is well distributed avoid over-handling though. Pat out to 3/4 inch thick rectangle on a well floured surface or silicone pastry mat. You want these to look artisan, so I used a knife to create chunky triangles or square shapes. Bake at 435 degrees on silpat lined sheet (or grease your sheets if no silpat) for about 9 minutes or until golden.

Eat Clean Whole Wheat Pancakes - optional bananas - recipe

I love breakfast foods. Like, a lot. And almost all of them.
Load me up on some cinnamon rolls, biscuits, pancakes, french toast, quiche, scrambled eggs, strata, and especially waffles...and I am one happy but carb-loaded girl!

When we transitioned to eating clean, it really wasn't that hard to make clean breakfast foods. I've been baking for years, and from-scratch breakfast isn't hard at all.

I really need to do an update on our eating clean, because it's still going pretty well. I'd say about 90/10 is the ratio we typically hit, and we incorporate some paleo ideas but for the record we will NEVER be paleo.

When my parents were here around Halloween, I found this recipe for whole wheat pancakes that I thought my dad would like. I have since adapted it in various ways and today I'm sharing my eat clean version with bananas added in and strawberry "syrup" on top.

Eat Clean Pancakes

adapted from Fifteen Spatulas

1.33 cup (Kalona) buttermilk
1 egg
2 tbsp melted (grassfed) butter
1.25 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp (aluminum free) baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 mashed banana

In a small bowl, blend the buttermilk, egg, and melted butter. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Incorporate the wet mixture into the dry and then add the mashed banana. If the mixture looks too dry, add buttermilk or regular milk until it's a bit runnier than brownie batter (but not watery or overly runny). Pour about a third of a cup of the batter onto a hot griddle (as long as it's "non-stick" no greasing is needed. Flip once bubbles pop up.

For the strawberry syrup I put some home-frozen (you can use store bought) frozen strawberry slices into a sauce pan with agave nectar and heated over medium. Then I blended some organic corn starch with some cold water and mixed into the strawberry 'syrup' to thicken it up some. Served with chicken sausages.

Monday, January 06, 2014


Today I am thankful for;

Last night my husband was complaining about how much the heater was running because of how high our gas bill will be. I gently said, "well...I'm just thankful we even have a heater on a night like tonight."

My kids love for each other.
They are so sweet together and the best thing we ever did for G was have J. They are so fun to watch & I'm very grateful they are getting old enough to entertain themselves together.

Downton Abbey.
So I know season 4 started last night but my husband and I just signed up for our free amazon prime trial so we could watch season 3...two episodes in one night because it's just that good. We both really like the show so it's nice to have that together time :)

And now just a PSA for myself and all you out there who made resolutions. You are not a number on a scale or item of clothing. I caught myself thinking negative things today, looked up to see my daughter looking at me and smiling while we played on the floor. I instantly told myself I'm better than negative body image and kept on playing with her.