Archive for July, 2012

Good news: my grocery bills are next to nothing right now!  Bad news: I’ve spent the extra on fabric prints.  Good news: that means I can make really cute stuff and pick up a few extra dollars to make up for it!  Bad news: that means I have to carve out time to sew, and school is just around the corner…which is good news!  But I am not ready for it, which is bad news.  Yeah, that’s pretty much how my life is going right now.

I’m working a lot extra this week, which is good news because I should get a nice fat check for it but bad news because my mad GAPS skillz are suffering and I think I’ve eaten rice and/or some form of sucrose every day this week.  And pasteurized dairy.  And probably a tone of other stuff I shouldn’t.  So much for Intro Redux while my kids are gone…

And speaking of that, the kids will be home this weekend!  They were back for a brief overnight visit earlier this week, and my son came home with a terrible cough and diarrhea.  My daughter didn’t feel well either but that seems to be nervous tummy and not actual sickness.  I made them broth and fed them stuffed peppers for dinner Tuesday night and we supplemented with vitamin D and cherry bark syrup for my son.  My daughter got vitamin D and Standard Process’s stomach supplement, which is what her naturopath had previously recommended.  Then I got them both in bed by 9pm, which is a full 2 hours earlier than their dad was getting them to bed.  They both were very upset when they left in the morning but I am hoping that they got enough sleep and extra nutrients to help them make it to the weekend.

I’ve got some beef soup bones in the slow cooker and I’ll be making a stew with pureed pumpkin, zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and maybe broccoli for supper tomorrow night.  My daughter has consistently asked for soup when questioned about her meal requests and I know she needs some comfort food.  Saturday I plan to make chili and we’ll probably have a meal at my parents’ house as well.  Sunday we should be able to do leftovers and then the kids will most likely have to go back to their dad’s Monday morning.  I’ll breathe a sigh of relief when they don’t have to go back to that daycare anymore!


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I thought I’d clear some frozen bananas out of my freezer, so I decided to make my banana bread for breakfasts over the weekend.  The only problem was that I only had 1/4 cup of coconut flour instead of the 2 cups I needed for a double batch.  —> insert panic here <—  I did a quick search and decided to try the Banana Cake recipe at Elana’s Pantry in lieu of my normal recipe.

I doubled the recipe, but other than that the only change I made was to add cinnamon.  Then I put the batter in a round 2-qt baking dish and set it in the Sun Oven.  The oven was hovering at around 275 degrees when I checked it after about an hour, and the middle was not set yet.  I needed to leave for the afternoon so I decided to just let the cake sit and continue to cook at that low heat.  The position of the sun would be changing and the interior of the oven would slowly cool, so I was not worried about burning.  I didn’t think about overflowing, though!  And apparently that is what happened.  I didn’t get home until after dark so I couldn’t see what happened, but when I pulled the cake out, I felt a lump of…muffin-like material…all over the shelf and down at the bottom of the oven.  I’ll have to clean it out in the morning, but in the meantime I know that just because my 2-qt dish looked like two 9″pans stacked does not mean it holds the same amount as two 9″pans stacked.  I popped a bite of the overflow into my mouth on the way back into the house, and it tasted okay but I’ll wait for a full review until I get a good taste.

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I don’t feel like posting.  I feel like…eating ice cream and chocolate.  Yep.  That’s what I feel like.  And I’ve probably got another month of feeling like that.  Going a full week without seeing your kids and then turning around and doing it again sucks majorly.  It tends to suck more when your kids don’t want to go and when you don’t know how long they’ll be going for.  August 9 can not come too soon.

In the meantime, I’m going to try not to kill my kefir grains.  I’m going to make at least one big pot of healthy something to eat once a week.  I’m going to watch as many kung fu movies as I can stomach (probably 2).  And I’m going to try to make some money.   (Yay for extra work and eBay!!)

I guess I’ll try to post more often, too…but only if I can say something nice.

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Yesterday was a tough day.  I hadn’t heard from my kids since a very brief call 3 days before, and I was on edge.  I finally called and left a message saying I wanted to talk to the kids even if it was late.  At about 10:30pm they called and we got to talk for about 20 minutes, which went by way too quickly and left my daughter teary during our goodbyes.  That 20 minutes made such a difference for me!  I was able to focus as I taught today, and when a student had a breakdown during a lesson I managed not to join her in the breakdown.  :)  In fact, I managed not to die when she and her mother slipped INTO MY LAUNDRY ROOM so she could pull herself together…that is pretty huge.  Of course, I am now ready to kill myself for not cleaning the laundry room earlier this week when I had opportunity, but that is beside the point.

During our phone conversation the kids complained about the restaurant food they were eating for every meal and noted that my son had diarrhea and my daughter was barely eating (low appetite caused by erratic meal schedules, I think).   When asked them what they wanted me to cook when they got home this weekend, my daughter promptly put in an order for potato soup and my son requested beef ribs: comfort foods for both of them.  If that isn’t enough to kick this mama out of an I-don’t-feel-like-cooking slump, I don’t know what is.

Come home soon, babies.

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Cayenne peppers are about the only thing doing well in my hot, dry garden right now.  Even at that, I only had three ripe ones today.  But after my spicy misadventure with lamb stew recently, I wasn’t in the mood to put the ripe beauties in any food I could think of.  That left three options: refrigerate and hope I’d get in the mood to eat them soon; dehydrate for the future; or ferment.  I know myself pretty well, and I think it’s safe to say that as long as I still have lamb stew left I won’t get a hankering for more spice…so refrigerating was out.  I didn’t want to turn on the dehydrator for three peppers, so that was out too.  That left fermenting!  And luckily I found this recipe and decided to make a go of it.

Now, the first thing I noticed was that the recipe called for 3 pounds of peppers, and I had only 3 ounces.  But, thought I, that will be easy because I’ll just make 1/16 of the recipe.  I found that 1/16 of two tablespoons was not so easy to eyeball; and not only that, but 1/16 of the recipe barely swished around in my blender.  I ended up adding some water and extra salt just to get the peppers to puree.  Here’s what I did:

  • 3 oz fresh cayenne peppers
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon sucanat (next time I might try honey)
  • 3/8 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh whey
  • 1/8 cup filtered water

I blended as well as possible, avoided touching any of the mixture, and transferred to a very small jar.  I’ll let it ferment for about a week and then follow the rest of the instructions to strain out the solids.

We aren’t big hot sauce fans around here; in fact, I was an adult before I had ever tried Tabasco sauce (and could probably live the rest of my life happily without it).  My kids hate it when their dad puts hot sauce on their food, so I doubt they’ll be eager to try mine.  So why did I make the stuff??!  I think I’d like to use it in this Zesty Shrimp Creole, although we don’t eat shrimp so I’ll have to sub another protein.  Review to come after fermentation is complete!

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I’ve had “Blog” on my to-do list all week and have successfully avoided it until now.  This week has been a little dumpy with my kids being gone and it being so hot and dry (although we got a teeny tiny sprinkle today!! hooray!!).  I’ve really not felt like doing anything except A) feel sorry for myself or B) try not to feel sorry for myself by jumping into one of ten million projects I’ve had on hold.  Option B has produced two skirts, a blouse, an almost-finished dress, an almost-finished beanbag pouf, and 7 other projects being cut out in preparation for sewing.  I’ve also begun a reacquaintance with Chopin’s Prelude No. 26.  Lovely.  In addition, I made a huge pot of lamb stew that included a cayenne pepper from my garden.  Interestingly enough, while one pepper was a nice addition to a meatloaf, it is overpowering in a pot of stew.  I have had to force myself to down my daily bowl (and yes, there is enough to last through Friday), causing me to dread mealtime and return to Option A.  Then I open the freezer and pull out some Belgian Chocolate ice cream that I talked myself into when I was shopping while suffering from Option A.  Then I think to myself, “How have I sunk so low?  I need to get busy!”  And I do.  A vicious circle, this.

My kids are coming home Friday evening.  I need to plan meals through the weekend but don’t know if they’ll be home after that.  Since I already know what I’ll be eating all week (oh lamb stew…we meet again…and again…) I’ll wait to post a weekend plan until I create something grand.  Before then, I hope to do my anniversary post.  Of course, I had hoped to do that a couple of weeks ago…

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My internet was down last night and I didn’t get to post this week’s menu.  My kids are leaving Thursday so it’s not much to plan for, and I probably won’t post menus while they are gone so I don’t get too depressed about eating leftovers and not cooking for myself.  ;)


  • apple cobbler and kefir; broth
  • tuna salad with lacto-fermented pickles
  • slow-cooked roast with cabbage, carrots, onions, and a couple of potatoes


  • eggs and fresh pork side; oranges; broth
  • leftover tuna salad
  • beef liver and I don’t know what.  I have a little broccoli and some cauliflower I’d like to finish up, as well as garden squash…


  • pancakes?; broth
  • leftover beef roast
  • holiday meal w/my parents (probably brisket & veggies)


  • ? peach shortcakes? leftover pancakes?  We’ll probably be too sad to have much of an appetite this morning.

Beef delivery is tomorrow.  I freaked out about them coming a couple of weeks earlier than I had planned, but they say I can pay my balance after delivery.  Whew!  We only have a couple of steaks, 2 lbs hamburger, a tongue, some jerky meat, and a pack of liver left.  I can’t believe it!  I think our last half-beef lasted us about 18 months, so here’s hoping we can stretch this one as long.  With a pre-teen boy, I’m not sure we can do it.  heehee  The good thing about cleaning the freezer to make room for the load of beef is that I discovered I had a lot more chicken on hand than I thought.  We shouldn’t need to purchase meat for quite some time.  The bad news is I still had a ton of grains on hand and I need to decide what to do with them – save them and begin using them again or give them away?  Such a huge investment…

On another note, I missed my GAPS anniversary!  Anniversary post coming up after the kids leave, I promise.


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