Friday, March 29, 2013

Something Delicious

Blueberry in breakfast food...

I made these and LOVED them. Doug liked them ok but thought they needed more sugar. I would agree if you are making muffins for snacks or treats or whatever. For a hearty breakfast carb to go with your eggs and bacon, however, I think these are great. The whole grains and such keep it from giving me my usual hypoglycemic sugar ride.

Anyway, here's the recipe- I decided to be a jerk and use decimals instead of fractions (no reason, I'm just in a persnickety mood:)

1.25 cups whole rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour ( I used white whole wheat)
0.33 cups sugar
1 tbsp baking powder ( buy aluminum-free- alzheimer's is a bitch)
1 egg
0.25 cup melted butter (or coconut oil for the milk-free)
1 cup blueberries (I am trying some cranberries this time, though.. more sugar should balance them out.)

You can either soak the flour and oats in 1 cup of water with some lemon juice for a while (an hour, a day, whatever) or you can cut the baking powder by half and go straight to work.

Bake for 20 minutes at 425. Freeze or eat immediately- for some reason, soaked (in the refrigerator) recipes will go bad sitting on the counter after being baked. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

By the way- the ginger ale was HORRIBLE. It might have cleaned the drain out, though....

Everyone's Crazy About Raw Milk....and Organic...

I've been reading quite a bit about Paleo/Primal eating and some of it seems to make sense. Other things are just completely wacky. For example, raw milk people and their detractors. On the one hand, you've got these people who are terrified of life and convinced you will die if you drink raw milk, which, as someone who has inadvertently eaten a good bit of horse sh*t can tell you is unlikely... not that it can't happen, but if you're worried about dying of food poisoning, I would be WAY more afraid of KFC than raw milk.

On the other hand, a lot of the stuff the raw milk people say just doesn't make sense. For example, what do they think happens when you make muffins with raw milk? Does the milk undergo a miraculous insulation that prevents it from cooking? Or does that raw milk become the very thing they are preaching against? Being afraid of using ultra-pasteurized (heated to 250 degrees for 2 seconds) organic milk to make brownies that you will cook at 350 degrees for half an hour is silly.

Now, here's what I think... unless you love to drink pus, steer clear of conventional milk (at least in the US- I've seen some pretty clean Canadian dairies.) A lot of organic milk isn't pastured, and therefore I would steer clear of that too. Since I seem to have gotten over the allergy I had to milk before I had my little one, I drink local, pastured milk that is low-temp-pasteurized and un-homogenized. It isn't prohibitively expensive, it doesn't require a contract, it is as healthy as milk gets, and I don't have to worry about E. coli or Virginia's silly ban on raw milk.

Here are my rules for buying milk (and most food, really):
1. Buy as close to the natural state as possible. I don't know if homogenization does any harm, but I can shake my milk and have my food just a little less processed.
2. Which is related to one- buy pastured animal products when possible. Notice I say "pastured" not "grass-fed"? I believe in primarily grass-feeding and pasturing, but I see no harm in animals that are being raised in appropriate, healthy, traditional conditions (not feed-lots) having some grain. We've been graining milking animals and animals to be slaughtered since the domestication of animals and the rise of agriculture. That said, primarily grass-fed meat is definitely superior, since it contains CLA and higher levels of other nutrients than feed-lot meat. It has even been theorized that the "bad fat" in beef is actually a by-product of the corn-based diet most cattle are raised on.
3. Screw "organic". It's a fancy, expensive label that often means very little. It is very easy for a big factory farm to change a few practices, or the type of feed they give their animals without really doing anything that benefits the consumer. It is ridiculously hard and expensive for a small farmer to get an organic label when they are following practices that the average organic consumer would approve of. Not only that, to get an organic label, some farmers follow policies that I would consider inhumane- for example, not using insecticide ear tags that keep flies out of the faces of grazing cattle, or restricting anti-biotic use in an infected animal.

Let me make this perfectly clear- your "organic" chicken probably never saw the sun. The only difference between it and the chicken next door is probably just the food they ate. In the case of chickens and pigs, "vegetarian-fed" is unnatural, though I'm not sure which is worse- soy protein or slaughter-house refuse. If it was "free-range," it probably never dared to venture out into the tiny outside pen because by the time it was moved to "free-range" quarters it was acclimated to the chicken barn and terrified of the outdoors. The only way to get quality meat is to buy from someone you know and trust. Same with eggs.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Making my own ginger ale

I am trying an experiment- seeing if I can make my own actually decent for you ginger ale. I have a ginger bug starting on my counter. I foresee this being really good (delicious soda alternative) or truly horrible. Ah, well, nothing ventured nothing gained.

My Pad Thai

There is one good thing to say about city living- you can get good Asian food. When you live out in the country, the Asian food sucks. So I decided to make my own Pad Thai. After a little trial and error, it actually turned into a good and pretty healthy recipe.  I was surprised at how good it came out, and it is actually kind of good for you. It has eggs and shrimp (both healthy protein), carbohydrate (can be whole grain) and vegetables- bean sprouts and chives. It is also milk and gluten free.

 My main source for the recipe was here It goes through all your options and how to make it. In basic terms, though (so you don't have to read her ten page recipe) it starts with your sauce. You need tamarind, sugar and fish sauce (if you never want to look at Asian food the same way again, look up how fish sauce is traditionally made). I would not buy the tamarind bricks in the Asian section of the store- I can't seem to get them to un-brick and mix with the other ingredients. That and I think they have a funky flavor. I would get the un-shelled tamarindo from the Mexican market. You mix equal parts fish sauce and tamarind pulp with a little less sugar (half cup of tamarind and fish sauce and a third cup sugar). Mix that up- it will keep in the fridge.

Then boil your noodles- I use brown rice penne from Hodgeson's Mill or Tinkyada brown rice fettucine but I'm trying to maximize my B vitamin intake. Most people will like plain old white rice noodles just fine and they are cheaper. If you do go for the good stuff be warned- the package directions will have you cook it down into rice glue. I cook for about 75% of the recommended time and then taste test every few minutes from there. BTW, you want your noodles a little underdone.

While the noodles boil, start your wok or frying pan. Use medium high heat. I use about two tablespoons grease and fry the shrimp or chicken in that. Then I add the noodles tot he meat and put in about a tablespoon of sauce and stir. Don't try to make more than a plateful at a time or the noodles will get all sticky and gluey. As soon as your sauce is mixed in, push your stuff to one side of the pan and crack an egg in the other half. While the egg fries, put a handful of bean sprouts (mung beans are best and super easy to sprout for yourself in a few days) and some chives on top of the pile to take the chill out of them. Then chop your egg up with the spatula and mix it all together. It's ready to eat!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Brown Rice

So here is a new recipe I invented. I am a huge fan of Asian food, but I don't want to go out to eat every night or eat loads of MSG. Besides, there is no good Asian food around here. So here is my recipe for healthy fried rice. This recipe works best if you start a day or two ahead.

You need:
2 cups long grain brown rice
live yogurt
a jar or tub about 1 or 2 quarts*
chicken broth (I used homemade bone broth)

fish sauce ( you could probably use soy sauce for this)
teriyaki sauce
1/2 an onion
I like to put in a cup of mung bean sprouts, but it probably isn't necessary*
butter/ olive oil/ whatever grease you like to use.

Put your rice in the jug with the water and a tablespoon or two of yogurt. Put this in a warm place and let sit for 24 hours. You can put it in the fridge after this for a couple of days if you aren't going to use it right away. Then drain it, but save the water to soak your next batch in. (This removes phytates and anti-nutrients, according to Sally Fallon.) Put the rice in a pot of boiling chicken broth and/or water (1.25 to 2 cups, depending on how firm or mushy you like your rice.) Turn your burner down to the lowest heat, cover, and cook for 20-40 minutes, depending on your taste. After this, your rice is done. During the latter part of the rice simmering, heat 1TBSP of butter and 1 TBSP olive oil in a frying pan. Chop the onion and cook it soft but not mushy. Add frozen shrimp and thaw. Add rice, then pepper and about 1 TBSP fish sauce and about half that amount of teriyaki sauce. Cook while mixing until everything is hot, then add bean sprouts and cook until they just begin to wilt (about a minute). There it is: fried rice. My husband loves this recipe, and it is very nutritious. (You could make it even better by adding other vegetables.)

*My money saving tips:
This is a pretty easy and cheap meal, but to make it even cheaper you can do a couple of things.
1. I use empty yogurt containers for soaking and storing leftovers. They are convenient and free, and you don't have to feel bad about it if something inside turns into a science experiment and you want to just throw it away.
2. Wal-Mart (boo/ hiss from the Perfects who only shop at Whole Foods here :) sells 2-lb bags of tiny, wild-caught shrimp for $10. They are pre-cooked and pre-peeled. They have a stronger flavor than the big shrimp, but I like them (especially in pasta or rice or anything that benefits from a shrimpy taste to the sauce) and they are the ultimate healthy convenience food- just open the bag, throw a couple of handfuls into a recipe and reseal the resealable bag.  I find about a handful and a half to be a serving for me, but I like them a LOT.
3.Mung beans- you can sprout your own or buy them from and Asian market. It's worth a trip if you have an Asian market around- I paid $3.50 for you tiny bottle of fish sauce at Martin's and then went to the market and found three times the amount for $2.50. The stuff from the market is probably better, though I haven't tried in. It's covered in Asian lettering. The international market around here also has wild-caught fish at great prices. An international market will have other good stuff cheaper, like produce and sproutable grains. Though if you have a Sharp Shopper of other bulk/ discount store around, you can get good deals there too, and they may have organic grains cheaper than you can imagine.


Hello and Welcome to my rant! I have created this blog to share my experiences as a new stay-at-home mom and homemaker (and student, but that is beside the point.) I love surfing the net, but I get tired of reading blogs by all those perfect people- you know, the people whose kid never cries because she's being worn in a sling while mother perfect whips up a low-fat meal with a salad. Father Perfect comes home from his office job and does the housework so Mother Perfect can stare adoringly into her baby's eyes. (GAG, PUKE, GREEN WITH JEALOUSY) So if you want to hear Mother Perfect talk about life witht he Perects, now would be the time to hit your BACK button.

I'm blogging about a real family. My family is me, the returning to college SAHM with a bad horse addiction, my hubby, the over-worked and working out construction worker, and the Bear, who is ten weeks old and a wonderful smiley snuggly who is still trying to figure out her world (can you imagine what a headache that must be? I'd want to scream, too!) I can't imagine how angry it must make her to be so helpless. She latches onto every chance to do things like a big person. She want's to sit up and play video games with her Daddy, and she grabs for that orange that Mommy is eating but just won't share (mean Mommy, not even a taste for the Bear!) My "other kid" is my horse, Sunday. He is the sweetest appendix QH gelding in the world. He's got a pretty good life other than being a highly trained and talented horse who is near bomb-proof saddled with a neurotically under confident owner who really likes the quest to fix his hoof problems more than riding him. (Success draws near.) We also have two dogs, the sweet and silly Grimmauldus (named after a Black Templar captain out of Warhammer 40K) and the Roka, my spitz-mutt. Their best friend is POY, a cat whose stripes spell P-O-Y and who likes to eat dog food and try to bark at stink bugs.

On top of starting college again, and probably re-opening the horseshoeing business, we have decided to embark on a plan of healthy eating, so I am going through a good bit of the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, by Sally Fallon. Again though, I lack the pseudo-religious devotion that so many have towards their food. I make bone broth and soak grains, but I also try to cut down on costs. A $250 a week grocery budget? Even with the husband making the big bucks, that's just excessive. So I don't buy everything organic. I buy meat from the local slaughter-house which is owned by a friend. He gives me liver and bones and heart for free. Most of his stuff is local, and to be honest, I think it is better than most "organic" stuff. My horse lives with his cattle, which are turned out to pasture 24/7. They get a little grain to fatten up for slaughter, but that's all. His suppliers are the farms in the area that I can't drive by and see cattle grazing or sleeping in the sun.

My eggs come from the woman across the street. Her chickens and ducks run around and pick bugs out of her Appaloosa horse poop and eat the grain that drips out of their mouths. Her eggs are delicious, better than the "organic" eggs at the store.

In the summer, I buy produce from the farmstand. In the spring I plan to start a garden, though it will be a bit of work because I have to go with raised beds. Veggies don't grow so well on hard-pan on the side of a mountain.

Well, that is what I will be writing about- my boring life. And my rants.