Sunday, August 30, 2009

food

food has been one of the biggest changes (aka challenges) in my life since will. (and that says a lot as there have been a lot of changes!)

those of you who knew me circa boulder knew my cooking and baking skills to be a bit sketchy to say the least. no real sense for what substitutes with what, no great attention to detail when measuring, pouring, or for that matter reading recipes. i could make a mean pot of spaghetti (with jar sauce), but that was my limit.
i advanced a bit from my days in undergrad through chapel hill, but it wasn't really until i moved to boulder that i started pushing myself to learn about food. i developed a few staples after a self-implied program of making a new meal a week (really it was more like every three weeks, but it worked). i thought i was doing pretty darn well. friends commented that i was a "good cook" (chad still laughs remembering my pre-boulder days well), and i had a few staple meals down pat. then will came along...
on top of all of the food sensitivities (dairy and gluten to mention the big ones-- & soy is in there too), i started to really focus on food nutrition---thinking about his little system and how much more sensitive he would be to the nutrition value (e.g. one study showed organic food has tested with 50-60% more antioxidants than conventionally grown food, not to mention it doesn't have any pesticides and antibiotics in it). i read 'super baby food' and took to heart the importance of using higher quality ingredients given how little our little people eat, and how much that little bit can effect their little systems. then my book club (and I) read barbara kingsolver's book 'animal, veg table, miracle' and it hit home that much more my desire to eat things that are local (when possible), in season, and organic. to try to be more intimately connected with the food i eat. (sounds great in theory, but has addeded to my food craziness)
so, in addition to getting our veggies from the csa, we put in the time to put in and tend the garden this year. i learned about pruning tomato plants, continually seeding lettuce, and keeping basil and cilantro cut back. i learned that lambsquarters has 4x the calcium as spinach and thus into our garden it went. i've been totally overwhelmed at times with all of the produce, and what to do with it. not to mention cutting out gluten (and most dairy) myself, as well as for will. trying to make sure will is getting enough calcium and protein (given no dairy, and his finiky toddler state of not wanting to eat most meat). sink or swim, or do both on a routine basis is more like what i've been doing. food has become an obsession. i spend hours thinking about, reading about, planning, prepping food...and stressed that i really have no time for all of this; let alone the learning curve has been huge for me. i despise throwing out food, but at times i've dispised seeing it all in my fridgerator without an idea of what to do with it all. chad's had nites where he gets shaky after dinner because he's gone on a long run, and we've had no protein (oops, i forgot to get the meat). not to mention if feels like our grocery bills are paramount to our mortgage some months. i've all but made myself crazy about food. food, this thing that i have such a love hate relationship with. chad says to simplify...i honestly dont know how.
how to use up the local, fresh, in-season food we have, without adding dairy or gluten, and then to make sure we have enough protein, despite will's toddler pickiness....and try to do this for 3 meals and 2 snacks a day...argh!

we'll it's not all that bad. i also love food, and i love what i've been learning about food. knowing what is in season, knowing about foods like quinoa, and fennel (which is in my favorite dish of the moment). i feel sometimes like i've just gotten another degree in family nutrition. i now know the difference between protein content in goats, sheep, coconut, and soy yogurt, and know that hemp milk is the best protein source of non-animal/ soy based milk. things id never have cared about before. i never would have thought much about using white rice vs. quinoa and the difference in nutritional value. never would i have known that soy sauce has wheat flour, but there is soy sauce without wheat flour, you just have to read all of the labels.

never before would i have made bread-pancakes (they are a mix between indian naan bread and a pancake) out of lentils and brown rice, but here they are:
(killer protein and fiber content, and a kid-friendly treat--great with a little butter, honey or nut butter, and would be good with a fruit spread too)

1 cup lentils
1 cup sweet brown rice
(soak these in water over nite, 4x the water for each, and put them in separate bowls). in the morning, blend the rice and lentils (with some of the water) in a food processor until they are pancake batter like. i added agave (but you could use honey too). put them in a skillet on med-med/hi that is coated with oil (i used walnut oil). flip half way through. eat as is, or add fruit, nut butter or hummus.


i'm at a point where the craziness has subside. the learning curve that has taken place over the past year has slowed. ive got several staples down. i'm taking a new lease on things and again trying to embrace and enjoy food. im also trying to 'simplify' as chad says and let go. aka...i just broke down and bought will hot dogs (they were the chicken kind that were 'all natural' as natural as hot dogs can be---but killer protein, and easy as easy can be!- and he loved them)

here's one more recipe that i thought i'd share, as it was one that i had fun making. it's my mid-year resolution...begin to enjoy food again.

Zucchini Boats (is it sac-religious to convert a moosewood veggie recipe into a meat lovers delight?!)


2 Zucchini
Tomatoes
Mushrooms
Sausage
Basil
Scallions or onion
Garlic

Shredded Cheese (i used hard goat cheese)

Scoop out the insides of the Zucchini. Blend these in the food processor with the other ingredients (except cheese). Stuff the zucchini boats (if you have enough left over you can add it to a separate baking dish). Sprinkle the tops with cheese. Bake zucchini on a baking sheet coated with a little olive oil. (i covered them with tin foil for the first 20 min, and then took it off when they got soft). i cooked it around 350 for about 40 min total (though i set my watch alarm every 10 min and check on things---this has been part of my new anti-burning campaign and seems to be improving my cooking in a big way!).

evergreen

we had a family weekend away in evergreen co (just the three of us) and it was super fun to get away...
some highlights:
-will's 3 hour nap on sat that allowed chad and i to cook a big pot of curry (together!), sit! and relax, and read our books (i mean more than just a few pages at a time)
-three sisters--- a hiking/ mt. biking area (chad and will hiked and juli got to bike, with only one flesh wound noted, to will's dismay (he's very sensitive about bo'bo's)
-gluten free pizza on the deck at beajo's (over looking the creek full of ducks and a river otter)
-a drive up to the summit of mt. evans
-fishing (chad caught 5 fish in 20 minutes---i guess it was more like "power fishing")
-and the best part was that chad and i got to talk...talk about life and goals, and struggles; the kind of talk we don't make time for much these days. im kind of a beave, and got us a 'love and logic' for marriages book and dvd (for our anniversary- sorry honey), thus i roped chad into watching the dvd (though i have to admit i feel asleep part way through- jeeze). anyway...at the end of it (once i woke back up), we had a chance to talk. talked a lot about ways to embrace the day to day logistics (which often take over), and ways to set goals for ourselves, our marriage and our family for the next 5-10 years. what a way to put perspective on the day to day. how does the present right now apply to what i am moving toward next? what really matters, and what should i focus energy on? just some things i'm thinking about....for now.
here are a few pics from our trip...


Saturday, August 22, 2009

watermelon

what a better way to celebrate summer (the end of summer :(...) than with watermelon. it's probably will's favorite food at the moment (though this changes quickly). in general he's been quite the fruitarian, and i worry about the nearing change in seasons and the effect it will have on his fruit availability...but for the moment, we're eating lots of watermelon---and enjoying it. i found this great recipe on my new favorite food site for watermelon sorbet. i decided to prep it by cubing 4 cups of watermelon and putting it in the freezer; however, we have yet to actually make the sorbet as will can't keep his hands out of the watermelon. he knows exactly where it is in the freezer and makes his way there many times a day. oh well, here's the recipe, we'll let you know how it turns out, if we can manage to save up enough watermelon to actually let it freeze.

Watermelon Sorbet

The trick to making this recipe at a moment's notice is to have your freezer already stocked with chopped watermelon (the part we can do quite yet). Then all you need to do is toss everything into the food processor and you can have a healthy, refreshing dessert in minutes!

4 to 5 cups frozen (seedless) watermelon chunks
the juice of one lime
1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
1/8 teaspoon guar gum or xantham gum

Place all ingredients into a food processor fitted with the "s" blade and pulse. Continue to process then pulse until all of the chunks have become a smooth sorbet. The pulsing is really the trick here, so if the watermelon chunks just are not breaking down, turn off your machine, then pulse. Taste and add more sweetener if necessary. Pulse again. You can serve it right away or scoop it out and freeze for a few hours in a container. Use an ice cream scoop to serve. Source: www.glutenfreewholefoods.blogspot.com
video

Monday, August 17, 2009

latest obsessions

obsessions are such a funny thing. why we love what we love. this weekend i reconnected with some passions, some pre-being-a-mama passions. chad and i went on a mt. bike ride together on sat nite. the sun was setting, there was a warm breeze in the air, and we were riding, rolling hills, beautiful single track. i giggled. i felt alive. i remember i used to take rides weekly where i'd feel that feeling. i don't know if it was an obsession, but regardless, i loved it. i wanted to do it again and again. it energized me. it still does, i just dont do it as often. the other thing this weekend that made me feel that way was folks fest. i love live music, and even more so the atmosphere of live music. it's so nice to share that with will now, and to share it as a family. as chad, will and i swayed to gillian welch and david rawlings belt out wayside , under a starry night, with dirt inbetween our toes from a days worth of playing and relaxing, i present. there was no where else i wanted to be. i could have swayed there forever (or at least until my back gave out from holding will in the ergo). so this brings me to will's obsessions. right now he has three. although i'd wish for them to be mountain biking (or maybe watching it in admiration), dancing to folk music (though he does enjoy this, and even clogs a step or two), and running around naked (what's better than a naked toddler). he does enjoy these things, but what he is really obsessed about....(drum roll please)... 3. Motorcycles. He is obsessed. He points them out wherever we go. He can hear them from a mile away and once they pass by all he can do is sign "more" and point in their direction. He sat on a friends motorcycle toy for about 30 minutes the other day. he was naked, as the plan was initially running through the sprinkler, but he abandoned this for the motorcycle. naked on the motorcycle---just sitting there, making some reeving sounds and pushing buttons. occupied for a half hour, until i insisted we wave bye-bye to the motorcycle. (ps...motorcycles are NOT my favorite things-- i think his dad had a motorcycle obsession as a kid, and may still have a little one---argh.) 2. Basketball. He is also obsessed. He can find a hoop from a block away, and knows where all of the hoops are in our neighboorhood. One of his first 'signs' was basketball. He pretends to play by throwing a ball up (way up) in the air towards our invisable hoop. i can't pretend to lower it for him as he's never seen a low hoop. he now knows how to turn on sports center, and will come and find me in the kitchen if basketball is on. i just hope he's a carolina fan. i think we may have watched too much march maddness during a very impressionable age (is there such a thing as too much basketball?!) #1. Tape Dispenser. He cannot get enough of our tape dispenser. yes, you're reading this right...our scotch tape dispenser. He's made up a game where he will load the dispenser and then shoot the circular tape piece into the air...giggle...and then run after it. he'll come to find chad or i as he knows we can shoot it the furtherest. is it normal for a tape dispenser to occupy a toddler for up to 60 minutes at a stretch?! we have to hide it at times to get a break from the tape dispenser game. i almost brought our tape dispenser to folks festival over the weekend, but i didn't know if the other kids would appreciate the game. not to mention what if we lost one of the pieces??!
video

Thursday, August 6, 2009

horray says the speech therapist

so having an 18 mo old who only said 3 words was a bit disappointing...particularly for being the speech thearpist that i am.
well i'm proud to report that since surgery (ear surgery to get the fluid out and allow him to actually hear things better) i'd like to count his words...(not yet perfected, but i think they count):

dada !!! (he hasn't said that since he was 11 mos old)
up (one of his favorites that means- "mom hold me....I'm not whining, i'm using my words")
high
eyes
mama
bubbles
jet (erin's son)
bye bye
hi
't' sounds (he almost said 'cat')
'g' sounds (though no words yet---sorry grammy and grandpa)
and lots of other babbling attempts.

i guess maybe we should be careful for what we wish for...

thanks grammy and gramps





we had such a nice visit with family. grandparents are pretty great.

the surgery

as a health care provider, hospitals don't freak me out at all...as a mama, the thought of surgery kind-of-sort-of-really does. after hearing horror stories from a mama who recently went through surgery with her 18 mo old, and reading some of the books my m-i-l gave me on surgical trauma, i was preparing for the worst. now that it's all over, i can say...will did fine (and is now hearing and seeing so much better with all the de-gooping that went on), and i didn't even shed a tear (though i did get choked up once). i was prepping to be emotional and (perhaps inappropriately) assertive (to make sure i could be with him at every possible moment!!), but alas, it all went smoothly--the staff were great, will was great (he even cracked a smile with the 'laughing gas' when he was going under), and was blissfully covered in orange popsicle once he woke up in the recovery room.

my husband on the other hand, was a bit more worried. there he was pacing back and forth, checking for surgery updates, feeling like the 20 seconds we were with will in the OR as he went under, 'felt like eternity.' not even able to read his scientific papers (aka leisure reading) he brought with him to the hospital (in other words, he was REALLY preoccupied :)). although he spends lots and lots of time in a science lab, he's rarely in a hospital, and to be honest i think he has some hospital phobia. he probably used the hand sanitizer about 15 times, in the matter of 30 minutes, and kept steering will away from touching anything. when will's slipper sock kept coming off in the hospital play room, it was chad who'd jump up to get it back on to insure his foot didn't touch the hospital floor or anything for that matter. he was very serious about the gowns we were given to suit up with, before entering the operating room. the gowns were white porus paper gowns. i do have to say that i have seen and used these gowns (OVER my clothes) for my own patients who have immune compromise or what not, but i must also say that at a quick glace, it's not that subtle to notice that these are very see-through gowns. chad was so preoccupied with worry and with being 'steril' and clean in the hospital room, that when he got his gown, he closed the curtains, and began to strip down...to put his gown on....his SEE-THROUGH gown. maybe it was my giggling that eased my worry about will's surgery...imagnining my cute husband....nude...in his see-through hospital gown walking down the hallway and into the OR...pumping the hand-sanitizer along the way, and making sure that will's slipper socks stayed right where they needed to.