Archive for March, 2012

It’s swimsuit time here in Arkansas!  Well, maybe not quite…but it’s definitely shorts season.  That means these hairy monsters most people think are legs are confronting me on a daily basis.  I’m blessed with rather fine hair on my limbs, but those fine hairs are really a booger to try to shave.  They just aren’t easy to grab with my razor, and I always sigh when I head outside after shaving and realize that I am as furry as ever.  I’ve always wondered if waxing would be a good option for me – but waxing is not cheap, and I am.  We would not get along.

I heard a friend discuss “sugaring” last week, and it made me curious.  I did some online searching and discovered that this technique has been used to control hair growth for centuries.  I had obviously missed out on this beauty secret for decades myself and found my skepticism melting away as I read testimonial after testimonial praising the ease of the technique and the smooth, silky results.  Was it possible that I could bend (or should I say, yank) these fuzzy renegades into submission?  My kids were gone this morning so I thought it would be the perfect time to try out this sweet novelty.  Out of about a dozen online recipes for homemade sugaring paste, I came up with a workable recipe for me.

  • juice of one lemon (exactly 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey

I brought the sugar and lemon juice to a slight boil and simmered for exactly 10 minutes.

Then I took this picture.

Then I set my camera down.

And in the time it took me to walk Imageto the table and back, the sugar syrup changed from this color to very dark amber and the sample on my spoon became very hard and brittle when cooled.


So, before the rest of the syrup cooled, I decided to add 1/4 cup of honey to try to save the paste.  There are probably a hundred reasons why I shouldn’t have done that, but I’m not going to listen to any of them because it worked.  :)  The cooled paste now acted like a thick taffy and that’s exactly what I wanted.

So!  Success!  I had made my sugaring paste and now all I had to do was smear it on the hairy parts and yank away.  I decided that I would do my legs outside in the sun so I could make sure I got all those fair blondies, but it was still too shady in the backyard.  Hmm.  Well, I suppose I could do my underarms in the bathroom…

I waltzed to the bathroom, stuck my fingers into the warm goop and spread it in my left pit, where I discovered that “warm” to my fingers actually felt like “hot” to my pits.  Oops.  Luckily, it wasn’t too uncomfortable and it did cool very quickly.  But for future reference, I made note that the paste should be cool to the touch before I spread it on sensitive parts.


Next, I peeled off the paste.  Kind of.  After making a slimy mess of myself, I realized that the paste was still too warm to work the way it was intended.  So I re-smeared and stood with my left arm up while I waited for the sugaring paste to harden enough to pull off in one piece.  Then I got bored and decided to try smearing the other pit so it could be drying while I worked on the first pit.  This was not a smart decision.  I ended up with a sticky mess in pit #2 while I worked on pit #1.

Ok.  Lesson learned.  Patience pays dividends in cleanliness.  Back to pit #1.  I finally got a good yank and am surprised the neighbors did not call 911.  I had been expecting pain.  I am not a wuss.  I gave birth without any help from pain medication, hello!  And yet, the agony of yanking out underarm hairs made me yell almost as loud as I yelled when my daughter tore her way from my womb.

I plowed on, through the pain, gritting my teeth and muttering things like no beauty is worth this much suffering! and $&!^!!  At this point I began sweating, which isn’t good if you are trying to make a sugar paste stick to your skin.  I managed to finish my left underarm after 30 minutes.  I stood with my arm up, looking at my pink pit in the mirror and thinking I can’t believe I’m going to have to go through the same thing on the other side.  Then I looked south and shuddered.

I’ll spare you the rest of the details.  Let’s just say that what I had expected to be finished with in 30 minutes stretched out into 2 hours of insanity, finished with a long shower and shaving of legs.  I successfully waxed my left underarm.  I was halfway successful with my right underarm.  My bikini line looks fab (although I could hardly see what I was doing since my eyes were watering so much).  But I just don’t think I can do a better job with this technique than I can do with a razor, at least on my legs.  After my pits stop throbbing, I may decide that it is worth it not to have little stubblies in there making me itch all summer…and I do have to admit that no stubblies in the bikini area might also be worth a little extra trouble.  But for legs…nope.  Not gonna do it.

And that’s all I have to say about that.  Thbbbbpt.


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Freud and Ferments

A few nights ago, I dreamed I was being followed.  In fact, I was being followed so obviously that a bystander commented on it – “Someone is following you in that blue STI*”.  I looked, but could not see who was driving the car.  I tried a few evasive maneuvers, but I still could not shake the feeling that someone (or something) was following my every move.  Determined not to be intimidated, I went indoors to an unfamiliar kitchen and began to prepare lunch.  As I worked at the counter, I heard something move behind me and I instinctively swung my fist around to keep distance between me and my attacker.  As I did so, a jar of something fermented fell from the counter and onto the floor.  The glass jar bounced many times but did not break.  The ferment groaned (heehee) and then began fermenting again in earnest.  At this point, I realized I had been followed by this very lively jar of probiotic goodness.  I proceeded to help myself to almost all of the contents of the jar, and while I munched away the remaining bits began to replicate again.  At this point, I began laughing at myself in my dream because I knew the scenario was utterly ridiculous.  Of course the jar would have broken after a fall like that!!  Then I woke up.

I don’t even want to begin psychoanalysis on the contents of that dream.  I’m sure there is enough neuroses there to fill a dissertation, so if you feel inclined, it’s all yours.  heehee :)  I think it is safe to say that I view ferments as powerful living organisms and that I might feel a little overwhelmed by them sometimes.  And now is the part where I vow to actually start my kombucha tomorrow…just like I’ve promised myself about 100 times over the last 6 months.  heehee

*This part of the dream will impress my son.  Not only did I dream about a car (and see it!  It was electric blue!) but I knew what model it was.  Of course, once I woke up I had to google “STI” to see if it really was a car.  Sure enough, images of blue Subaru STIs were right there on page one.  I still giggle every time I think of this.

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I served Turnip and Squash Gratin tonight to guests, with my brisket, green beans, and roasted potatoes.  I prepared the recipe as written except I left out the parsley because I didn’t have any on hand.  I doubled the recipe because I wanted leftovers.

As I mixed up the milk and eggs, I thought that the mixture looked a little eggy and I debated whether I should add extra milk or not.  I decided not to add any after all, mainly because I wanted to see how the original recipe would taste before I started tinkering.

The finished product was indeed a bit eggier than I cared for.  I thought it resembled a frittata rather than a gratin, which would not have bothered me if I had actually planned to make a frittata.  :)  But since I was making a gratin, I expected something cheesier and with a creamier texture.  The parmesan cheese on top did brown beautifully and made the dish very enticing, and since I used a 3:1 ratio of squash to turnips, I think the balance of the vegetables worked fairly well.

My guests said dinner was delicious, but no one asked for seconds of the gratin.  It was certainly edible, but I would consider it more of a Monday-night-at-home dish rather than something to serve to guests.  I think the main benefit to this dish is that it can be assembled ahead of time and then finished quickly another day.  I don’t think it would be something I would ever serve as a main dish, though it was filling.  I think I would still need something meaty with it.  Some ham or bacon would jazz this up quite a bit – but neither of those meats are easily found in a GAPS-legal form.

Verdict: Meh.  My expectations were high and the dish was mediocre, in my opinion.  I actually like the turnips & squash hash that I’ve been making lately much better than this dish.  I might make this again; I might not.

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Brisket prep is done.  Tomorrow I’ll plop it in the slow cooker and let it go all day.  My parents are probably coming for dinner so maybe I’ll get their opinions!

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  • pumpkin custard with fresh cream and kefir; broth
  • chili from freezer
  • leftover chicken & veggies (prep brisket)



  • banana bread from freezer with almond butter; broth
  • leftover brisket and gratin
  • brown bag – tuna salad; pickles; apples


  • leftover banana bread and almond butter; broth
  • leftover tuna salad
  • burgers with fresh guacamole and lacto-fermented salsa; cauliflower


  • fried eggs; oranges; broth
  • mystery meal ?? thinking cabbage okazu or making a hamburger gravy with pureed squash to serve over potatoes???  POTATOES??? hmm.
  • chicken, carrots, and cauliflower

Saturday & Sunday

  • leftovers (just me)


For snacks, we will have oranges, kefir and pineapple.  If I’m up to it I’d like to try some peach crisp later this week to help get our carb count up.  Plus I need the freezer space.  :)  And I’m toying with starting a sourdough to make bread for the kids.  I think my son can definitely handle it.  Not sure about my daughter.

I did not buy any food for this week – it’s all going to be from the pantry.  Our Azure order is set to arrive tomorrow so we’ll have some extra produce and honey, but sadly no coconuts.  :(  I’m also getting worried since I haven’t heard back from my chicken supplier lately – I hope he hasn’t sold the last of his stock!!

Budget-wise, I estimate our food costs for this menu to run about $50.  That leaves $25 for me to sock away for our bulk beef purchase this summer.  And not having any out-of-pocket food expenses feels pretty nice this week, since I spent all my tax refund on new flooring and a new camera.  :)

Goal for next week: locate some of the organ meat that is hiding in my freezer!!!!

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My kids have been gone for ten days.  That means I’ve cooked…twice, I think?  And I did exactly one load of laundry.  And forgot to take my medicine.  And lots of other bad stuff.  This week will undoubtedly be rough for all of us, as we will be decompressing from their time away and prepping the kids for another weekend with their dad.  I am hoping that my son is doing better; he had a bad cough earlier in the week and wanted to come home.  When his dad said no, he got so upset he couldn’t breathe.  I’m not sure who took him to the doctor, but they said he had no infection.  I think he was just really, really upset and probably has a mild cold.  It was really difficult not to be able to give him our usual remedies to knock that sucker out before it got out of control like that.  :(  So this week will be dedicated to strengthening the kids’ immune systems and helping them de-stress.  I’ve got some pastured chicken, butternut squash, onions, garlic, and broccoli baking right now so they can have a healthy dinner (and I admit that I need it too!!).  Then we are going to watch Puss in Boots and go to bed!

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I fiddled around with my usual meatball recipe tonight to make them GAPS-legal.

  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I cut the crusts off our last loaf and reserved them specifically for this recipe)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup kefir
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tblsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • other spices (optional: try rosemary, sage, parsley…)
  • extra fat (optional)

The original recipe called for 8 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon as well.  I don’t have any GAPS-legal bacon on hand, but trust me…if you do…you’ll like it.  Continuing on…

Mix all ingredients thoroughly.  (If I add extra fat, I usually drizzle it over the meatballs when they are halfway cooked.  It should be fine to add a tablespoon or two of extra fat to the raw meat mixture if you’d rather do that.)  Use a melon baller or cookie scoop to make uniform meatballs about 1″ or 1.5″ diameter.  Bake at 350 degrees until juices run clear (about 45 minutes in my oven).  Makes about 4 dozen meatballs.  We each eat 5 or 6 meatballs per meal, depending on what side dishes I make so this recipe is enough for one meal straight from the oven and two meals to freeze for my family of 3.

You can serve these with tomato sauce,  spaghetti squash, and steamed broccoli with butter or try them with turnip & squash gratin and sauteed kale.  Or make bbq sauce and fauxtatoes.  Or just eat them straight from the pan.  At any rate, they freeze well and it’s nice to be able to pull out a bag of pre-cooked meatballs when you are crunched for time.  Fast real food, anyone?

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