Friday, April 17, 2015

Strawberry Jam - Paleo, Whole 30

I got a bunch of strawberries on sale the other day, it's barely their season in California, but I guess my local awesome produce grocer got some in bulk and marked them down. Regardless, I bought 3 2 pound packages! I ate some of them with the family and 2 of them I wanted to make jam with.

When I was younger, my nana made awesome peach jam and for our wedding she gave me many jars as part of our present. It was really the only kind of homemade jam I was exposed to as a kid that I liked.

After meeting my husband I decided to make some jam for us from scratch, but didn't (still don't) have canning supplies, so we made freezer jam. And it became my jam. In both ways.

Freezer strawberry jam is so easy and super delicious, but it's often full of sugar and pectin. Those two ingredients do not mix with paleo or whole 30. And honestly, I don't know if whole 30 allows jam, regardless of how it's made. I'm of the mind set that it is the same concept as a nut butter. Tread lightly and don't make it a staple of your diet. Although almond butter and macadamia nut butters do get eaten more than once a week around here....sooooooo. rules. :-S

Moving on, here is how I made some BOMB jam without pectin or added sugars (not even honey, it's not cool on a whole 30)

Strawberry Jam

Whole 30 Compliant, Paleo

4 pounds strawberries
2 tbsp water
1.5 apples, peeling on but cored
1 cup washed white grapes, taste them before using and get super sweet ones for the natural sweetness
1/4 cup washed frozen cranberries (although I used about 1/3 cup but you'd probably find it pretty tart) 
juice of one lemon

Wash, hull, quarter the strawberries -removing major bad spots. Place into large sauce pot with the water, turn on medium low heat. Grate the apple into the pot directly, stir. Using a blender or food processor, puree the grapes and cranberries until as smooth as can be. Pour into the pot, stir. Bring to boil, then let simmer, stiring often. Mash berries with potato masher as they start to burst, be sure to scrape down the sides of pot. Cook on low for about an hour or so, the longer it cooks, the thicker it will be. Once you've reached a still runny, but pretty gel-ing state, pour into the prepared (aka cleaned and dries) jars or containers. Let cool, then freeze for up to 6 months, refridgerator for up to a month.

mine batch made "this" much
Serve over paleo baked goods (not on whole 30), use as a dip (I dip bananas in it!), mix with nut butters as a dip, eat plain, or use in sauces. I think the whole 30-ness of it depends on how you use it. Even cocao is allowed on whole 30 in the proper context.....

Paleo ABBC muffins

Have you heard of ABC bread (or muffins?)
I first saw a recipe for it from my bradley birth instructor 4.5 years ago when she was giving us suggestions on how to increase protein content (including through whole grains). I don't think I ever made that recipe but during our clean eating years I was a big fan of veggie muffins (see recipe on this blog and also this one on another blog that I cleaned up for us). Now that we are pretty paleo (like 90%), my favorite muffin had been one made with coconut flour, a ton of eggs, bananas, and dark chocolate chips.
Craving muffins this morning, but only having one banana.... I revisited this ABC bread idea. But added blueberries in as well for some sweetness and also because  had G was asking to make 'wheat berry muffins' as seen in a library book this week, Little Red Riding Hood - A Newfangled Prairie Tale by Lisa Campbell Ernst.

Paleo ABBC Muffins

makes 12, takes about 30 minutes total

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • dash vanilla
  • .25 tsp baking soda
  • .5 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/3 coconut oil, in between soft and melted (feel free to try another fat of your choice)
  • dash salt
  • 1 large carrot (or 2 smaller ones), grated
  • 1 apple, grated (I cored mine but left the peel on)
  • 3/4 - 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • I did not use any added sweetners, but you're welcome to add some honey or maple or etc if you want them sweeter and don't mind adding them
Place ingredients EXCEPT the blueberries (I added the carrot and apple to mince them even smaller, but you can choose to add them in afterwards with the blueberries) in a mixing bowl and use immersion blender to mix ingredients well. Gently stir in blueberries. Divide between muffins cups (I use silicon ones and they didn't need any extra greasing). Bake at 400 degree for about 20 minutes, keep an eye on them in your own oven though.

They were a big hit over here, so enjoy and feel free to sub in and out ingredients as you like.

note; if you don't have an immersion blender. I recomend using a blender to get the base batter mixed and then you can stir in apple, carrots, and blueberries seperately.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Life Lately!

As per usual, I have done a poor job of keeping the blog updated. So prepare for some rambles.
easter morning
We've been super busy. A major factor was the wreck I was in about 6 weeks ago. The long story short of it is that I went through a yellow light, t-boned a car that was turning, and it totaled my car. Her insurance has accepted liability for the wreck but I haven't gotten money yet. We had to buy a new car because it was the only vehicle we had that the kids could ride in. We were not prepared for that kind of expense. We financed all of it. It's an 07 toyota with over 100000 miles on it, so the rates, regardless of my 800 credit score were terrible. So I started tutoring 4 nights a week to make some fast cash. It's helping, but it sucks to have to be away during the dinner hour. I know it's tough on my husband to have to come straight home from work and be thrown into only caretaker at home role (also making his work day much tougher because he literally can't stay late even if he wanted to because he has to get home to watch our kids). I know this is a middle class, stay at home mom problem, so I don't expect any pity. I am still working for Happy Family about 30 hours a month, and trying to make other cash as I can. My mom suggested I advertise that I would do other family's ironing....but ironically I'm like the only one that still irons. My friends joke about it.

If I could keep G this age forever, I would. She's pretty much perfect and I am super lucky. She's respectful, funny, sweet, caring, and smart. But she still does get selfish sometimes, and does throw some diva fits but it's really totally manageable.
She is doing great at her sight words and working on adding. I'm trying to help her practice saying the hard g and k sounds. She's not able to do it--she always sticks her tongue up like for a duh and tuh sound. If she hasn't figured it out by fall, I guess we'll do speech through the public school. We are going to start her in official kindergarten this fall (homeschool). I also taught her how to play the card game "war" this weekend. That's a subject in homeschool right? Part of socialization, right next to paper rock scissors. That's another thing we've taught both the kids. Life with a 4 and 2 year old is pretty fun.

J is a little less difficult than he was a month ago, so that's positive. He sometimes (versus rarely) stays in his bed--but naps are still tough initially. His vocabulary has exploded but his pronunciation and others' ability to understand him are still bad. He knows his colors about 90% of the time, and a few letters. They are proving to be challenging because he's less interested and I have less time to just sit around with him and casually play. Second child probs. I've considered putting him in 'gym school' like G goes to now in the fall, and using that time to hit some serious home school lessons with her. She'd be pretty jealous, I bet though, so obviously I'm looking for some enrichment program for her. Right now my top choice is a nature school once a week. J is also very sweet. Yesterday he shared the elmo snack cup with G, even though I gave it to him. She was having a diva moment about not getting it, and after he realized that she was sad, he handed it over to her. I melted. He also gives the best hugs and kisses. Sometimes if I snuggle him to tightly he says, "mush! mush!" (smushed!! smushed!) and it's really the most adorable thing ever. He is super bright (even if not interested in learning letters), and I caught him 'reading' brown bear brown bear to himself before nap today. He understands patterns, routines, and is getting quite good at puzzles. He plays pretend so well and takes turns better than any other 2 years old I've seen (aside from G).

After all of the baby shower sweets and foods in early March, we decided to do another Whole 30 to bounce back from the yucky feelings physically and mentally from so much junk. It's been a lot easier this time around, but we are both pretty much done with being so strict. Yesterday was Easter and I made us a paleo fudgy brownie for our 'treat.' It was made with whole 30 compliant foods, but the presentation of it as a brownie is really not allowed on the whole 30 program. I'm not sad about it, because it means we didn't eat like crap or have tons of Easter candy, as in years past. So if nothing else, the sweetened with dates treat gave us a sense of some kind of tradition.

The husband's job is keeping him quite stressed, but he's managing it well. I think not drinking (due to whole 30), has really helped him figure out that he doesn't need it to manage stress. I'm sure there are times when he really just wants a drink, but he deals with it and is stronger for it. So I'm proud of him there :-) We thought we might be moving back to California, but that doesn't look like it'll be happening anymore.

I'm feeling stronger than ever, and happy with myself (not really my abs, but I know that's vain so trying to ignore the nagging mental hang up about them). My faith is at an all time high, and there's no going back there. Far from perfect, it's a life long journey toward holiness.

Speaking of.. How crazy do you think we'd be if we went to Philadelphia in September for the Pope's visit?? I mean. He's so awesome, truly radiates God's good news, and we both would love to go see him in person and experience all of the faithful people there too. And we'd want to take the kids, because....how awesome is that for them!? But A) money and B) that's crazy.

Other things we've been up to;
home improvements
gym time
park time
bike rides
planning our future

see more easter photos below!

opening easter presents that grandma and grandpa sent

throwing easter grass while wearing tiara grandma sent