Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rebuilding

Thanks to everyone who sent us lovely notes. It was nice to know that our friends out in cyberspace were thinking of us. My father passed away in the beginning of April. I miss him terribly.

 My husband and I decided that it would be best to move to Phoenix, AZ to spend some time with my mom. This was our second big move in the first year of our daughter's life, and we are still not settled. New York City to Boston to Phoenix, a baby, and two deaths in the family... it takes a while.

We are working to find a way to live sustainably in this desert metropolis. Stay tuned for our efforts.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Family Time

City Share will be taking a break for some family time. My father is very ill, and we are out in AZ to spend time with him. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Making Liquid Gold (aka Delicious, Clear Chicken Stock)

We have been trying to incorporate more and more chicken stock into our diet, but it can be hard to keep up our supply. I came across a post by Jenny over at Nourished Kitchen in which she talked about her method for perpetual bone broth. She actually cooks the same set of bones for a week in her slow cooker removing broth each day and adding more water. She is able to get a half gallon of broth from one set of bones from a roasted chicken. That was amazing to me! We only have a small slow cooker and it seems to cook pretty hot even on the low setting, so I didn't think we could get a week out of it, but decided to try a couple of days.

Our slow cooker is so small that I couldn't fit the chicken carcass in at first (it was frozen). I put it on the stove for a few hours and then transferred it to the slow cooker. I cooked the first batch for 24 hours, removed most of the broth and  then added more water. I cooked the second batch another 24 hours. After the second batch, the bones easily crumbled when I pinched them, so I decided to call it quits. I was pleased that we were able to double our normal supply of chicken broth from one set of bones.



Another tip from Jenny that I thought was genius- straining the broth through a reusable coffee filter to create clear broth.  I first poured the broth through a colander to remove the large pieces of bones and cartilage. Then I used our travel drip coffee maker and a circle of cotton fabric (our reusable coffee filter) to filter out the fine particles. The results were a beautiful, clear chicken stock. By using the portable drip coffee maker, I was able to filter it right into glass jars to freeze.

How do you make chicken stock or bone broth? What tips do you have to pass along?

This post is part of Pennywise Platter Thursday, Frugal Food Thursday, Alphabe-Thursday, and Simple Lives Thursday.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Indian Style Kale

We spent last weekend in New York City. We moved from New York City to Boston in December, and have been feeling homesick. It was amazing how we just fell right back into our old neighborhood. It almost felt like we had never left. This was a much needed break from other things going on, plus a trip to celebrate our upcoming wedding anniversary and my birthday at the end of the month.


Now, back at our new home we are continuing our efforts to eat lots of greens. We are trying to get at least one big serving of greens at dinner each night, but this can quickly become boring . So I have been keeping an eye out for different way to prepare collard greens, kale, chard and spinach. I was pleased to find a recipe for Kale Saag over at Not Eating Out in New York. It looked like a great new way to make kale. We simplified her recipe just a little bit because we are all about easy these days. It has great flavor. Kale can be tough and chewy, but this recipe blends it into a smooth texture. (I was toying with the idea of calling it Kale Mush for Grown-Ups, but decided that might not be a hit.) This recipe is vegan, but it would be good made with some chicken stock added instead of the cooking water, or some cream at the end.

Indian Style Kale inspired by Not Eating Out in NY
2 large bunches of kale, chopped with the stems removed
3 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 t dry ginger
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t coriander
1/2 t cumin
1/4 t cayenne
1/4 t mustard

Simmer kale for 20 minutes. While the kale is simmering, heat oil over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until the onions are softened and add the spices. Cook for 2 minutes and then turn off the heat. Drain the kale and reserve 2 cups of cooking water. Place the greens in the food processor with 1 cup of water. Blend until smooth adding more water if necessary. Add the blended kale into the pot with the onions and spices. Bring everything to a boil. Serve hot.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Gluten-free Meatloaf

Gluten-free Meatloaf with Roasted Cauliflower and Sauteed Spinach

We try to have ground beef once a week because it is an affordable way to incorporate some grass-fed beef into our diet. I have a couple of recipes in regular rotation that are always good - burgers with mushroom sauce and meatloaf. When I have looked up recipes for gluten-free meatloaf most of the recipes seem to use gluten-free breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs. That seems like cheating to me. I guess what I really want is a grain-free meatloaf, and they can be hard to find. Here is our solution- just meat, vegetables, spices and an egg. It works whether you are low-carb, Paleo, Primal or most other special diets (just not vegetarian ;).

What is your favorite ground beef recipe? We are always looking for new inspiration.

Combine the meat, vegetables, spices and egg.

Shape the mixture into a loaf and top with the sauce. I like to use as few pans as possible
so I roasted the cauliflower on the same sheet pan.


Meatloaf 
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
2 ribs of celery, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 t salt
1 t thyme
1 t pepper flakes
1/2 t oregano
1 egg
1/4 c mustard (we like spicy brown)
1/4 c ketchup


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the garlic, onion, carrot and celery in a food processor. Pulse until everything is finely chopped (but stop before it becomes puree).* Add the vegetable mixture to a large mixing bowl along with the beef, spices and egg. Combine thoroughly with your hands. In a separate bowl, combine the mustard and ketchup. Shape into a loaf shape on a baking sheet. Slather the meatloaf with the sauce (there will be some leftover).** Bake for 1 hour. Let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and enjoy.

*The meatloaf holds together pretty well. It is key to put the veggies through the food processor. When I have chopped them by hand, it has made the texture too course and the meatloaf falls apart when I slice it.


**I'm someone who likes a lot of sauce, so I make enough to coat the meatloaf and have some extra at the table. If you only want enough to coat the meatloaf, 2 T of mustard and ketchup should be enough.


This post is part of Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Works for Me Wednesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, and Real Food Wednesdays.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chicken with Mushrooms and Zucchini

We are going to be visiting New York City this weekend. It's our first visit since we moved. All of the plans just fell into place last night, so now we can let ourselves get excited. We have been having ongoing car problems with our 1985 diesel Mercedes (it seems to have air in the system and doesn't like to start). We didn't want to get stuck somewhere along the way, so we decided to rent a car. Now that we have transportation and a place to stay, it's time to start figuring out what and where we want to eat.

When you visit a former home town, where do you like to eat? Is there a place that just calls out to you that you must visit each time you are there?


Last night we enjoyed some chicken with mushroom and zucchini and a side of kale. The dish is very flexible-it would taste nice with some Italian seasonings and tomatoes, herbes de Provence would work well, but we went with some soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic.

Chicken with Mushroom and Zucchini serves 2
1 T butter
10 oz of mushrooms, sliced
2 medium zucchini, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
1 chicken breast. sliced

Melt the butter over medium heat, and add the mushrooms. Cook until browned and remove from pan. Add the zucchini and cook until tender, and then set aside. Add the sesame oil and chicken and cook until browned on all sides. Add the garlic, zucchini and mushrooms back into the pan. Sprinkle with soy sauce and cook for a couple of minutes for the flavors to combine and to ensure the chicken is cooked through.


This post is part of Traditional Tuesdays, Tuesday Glam Party,  Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, and Hearth and Soul  Blog Hop

Monday, March 5, 2012

Greek Dinner of Lamb Chops and Artichoke Rice Pilaf

We have been avoiding grains and sugar for a while now, but we fell off the wagon this weekend. My husband made dinner last night and it was worthy of our break. Marinated lamb shoulder chops with an artichoke, lemon rice pilaf and sauteed spinach with garlic. It was a great flavor palate with a bold mix of lemon and garlic. My husband doesn't do anything halfway, so when he makes sauteed spinach he adds eight cloves of garlic. Check below for his big flavors for the lamb and rice.



This week we will be picking ourselves up, brushing ourselves off and getting back on track. As part of this, we picked up enough greens to have some each day.

Menu Plan
Monday - Chicken breasts with butternut squash and kale
Tuesday - Meatloaf and spinach
Wednesday- Chicken with kale and cauliflower
Thursday- London Broil with spinach and broccoli
Friday - Out of town

Lamb Shoulder Chops serves 4
1 1/2 lb lamb shoulder chops
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1/2 C olive oil
1 T garlic powder
1/2 T oregano
1 T Dijon mustard
8 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 lemon, juiced
pepper and salt

Combine all of the ingredients and place in a plastic bag. Let marinate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the chops and garlic from the marinade. Place the chops in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Brown for 3 minutes per side. Add the garlic, and bake for 10 minutes.

Artichoke, Lemon Rice Pilaf 
2 T butter
1 T oil
1/4 C almonds
1 C brown rice
1 C chicken stock
1 C water
1/2 C artichoke hearts (we used marinated hearts from a jar)
1/2 lemon, juiced

Place 1 T of butter and 1 T oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and rice. Cook for a couple of minutes to brown. Add the the stock, water, butter and artichoke hearts and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice. Let sit covered for 10 minutes and then fluff with a fork.

This post is part of Menu Plan MondayMonday Mania, Homemaker Monday, Made by you Monday and Delicious Recipes.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Getting your Greens


Are you trying to eat more vegetables? That's something that we are always working on. I realized that we have lots of recipes for greens that we have enjoyed through our various CSA (community supported agriculture) shares, and it was time to compile them. So we pulled together our favorite greens recipes in one spot: Getting Your Greens.

What is your favorite way to get your greens?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Baby Talk: Feeding Babies (part 2)

This is a new series called Baby Talk to share our experiences with Baby Girl. I know this could get us into some dicey territory because babies and child rearing bring up all sorts of hot button issues. But this non-confrontational mama is not trying to start an argument, just share our experiences and observations. Please join us for a discussion of alternatives.


Baby Girl the day she turned one month old


Feeding Babies (part 1)


Do you have a baby at home? If yes, congratulations! Were you able to breastfeed your baby for a few days? a few weeks? a few months? Congratulations! No matter how long you were able to breastfeed, your baby reaped some great rewards.

I had heard while I was pregnant that breastfeeding can be tough. I didn't listen to these gentle warnings. I thought it would be easy for me.  I guess I was pretty full of myself  because I felt like I was doing everything "right" and it would pay off. I walked for at least 40 minutes per day, I took prenatal yoga once per week, I ate well, and had natural child birth. That confidence came back to bite me. I had the hardest time breastfeeding! When I was struggling, I looked on the internet to find accounts of people with similar experiences and I couldn't find one. So I thought I would share my experiences with you. If you are having trouble breastfeeding, you are not alone. If you decided to give it up, I understand. No judgement.

When pregnant women tell me that they are nervous about labor, I jump right in to give them a pep talk. I tell them that I had 34 hours of labor, and delivered a 9.5 pound baby without any drugs. They can do it! It hurts, but the pain is manageable. I highly endorse staying active, taking a birthing class and prenatal yoga class. If you stay calm, work on breathing, and doing your pain coping techniques - you can do it!

If a pregnant woman tells me that she is nervous about breastfeeding (this is much more rare), I hem and haw and try to decide what to say. Usually I land on something like - it was really hard for me, but I'm glad I stuck with it.

Baby Girl had a strong personality from the start. When she was only 12 hours old, I could look ahead and see the battles we would have when she became a teenager. She woke up starving, screaming and upset, but she wouldn't open her mouth wide enough to latch on and she locked her arms to keep her distance from me. By the time I got home from the hospital, both of my nipples were infected and I dreaded each time I had to feed her. When she was four days old, we called in an expert. Freda Rosenfeld is famous in Brooklyn. (I discovered later that she had even been written up in the NY Times.) I told Freda that she was really strong willed and described all of our issues.  Freda didn't like the term strong willed, but she did admit that Baby Girl was stubborn. Freda said that she was one of the most stubborn babies she had ever seen, but reassured me that "stubborn people get things done." (that phrase has become a joke in our family) I was both reassured and disappointed by this. I was glad that it wasn't my imagination, but I was hoping Freda would be able to instantly make things better.

There was no quick fix (like so many things in life). My body took its mission of making food for Baby Girl very seriously - it seemed to think it needed to produce milk for a whole village. My nipples took a long time to heal, I developed mastitis, had blocked ducts, and was engorged from over milk production.  Luckily through  it all Baby Girl was healthy and growing like a weed.

The biggest problem of all for me was that it hurt each time she latched on. Really hurt! I had to do the breathing exercises I used in labor to help me work through the pain! I think it was partly due to the engorgement and partly due to me being very sensitive. I read that it would get better somewhere between 3 and 12 weeks. My pain and engorgement started to subside after 13 weeks. Right when things started getting better thrush set in (read about our saga with thrush here). By six months it was finally easy and problem free. Am I glad I stuck with it? Yes. I think it is best for her health. But it was hard! For me it was worse than 34 hours of labor.

What about you? Did you breastfeed your baby? How did it go? Did your baby latch right on? Was it smooth sailing right from the start? or was it worse than labor for you too?

This post is part of Fight Back FridayMonday Mania., Gratituesday, and Real Food Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Vegetables alla Carbonara

Vegetables alla Carbonara
Sometimes I get something on the brain, and have trouble adjusting the plan. For example, I planned on making Spaghetti Squash alla Carbonara inspired by Paleo Parents tonight. When I got to the store I couldn't find any spaghetti squash.... Hmmm? What to do? I could have prepared an entirely different dish, but I wasn't up for thinking on my feet. So I substituted some butternut squash and broccoli and proceeded. I was worried that it would be kind of weird, but it was actually delicious. I would make it exactly the same way again. Vegetables alla Carbonara was born.

The eggs, cheese, vegetables and bacon ready to be combined.
Vegetables alla Carbonara inspired by Paleo Parents
4 T olive oil
1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped
2 crowns of broccoli, chopped
12 oz bacon
6 eggs
1/2 C whole milk
1/4 t oregano
1/4 t basil
1/4 t garlic powder
1 C Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat two large cookie sheets with olive oil. Place the squash and broccoli each on a cookie sheet and toss to coat in oil. Bake for 45 minutes, or until tender. Cook the bacon until crispy. Reserve the fat. Beat the eggs, and mix with milk, oregano, basil and garlic powder. Heat the bacon fat and use it to cook the eggs until they start to firm up. Combine with the roasted squash, broccoli, eggs and cheese. Enjoy!

This post is part of Alphabe-Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Frugal Food Thursday,


Versatile Mushroom Sauce

Mushroom Sauce (dairy-free)
The best thing about our apartment in Massachusetts is our kitchen. Let me give you a little history. When we lived in Manhattan, we had a 350 square foot "1 bedroom" apartment. Apartments that size don't even exist outside of major cities. Our "kitchen" was along the wall at the end of our L shaped main room. We bought an island and a pot rack and we made it work. We actually could work together in that kitchen on opposite sides of the island. We prepared some real feasts in that tiny space.

Next we moved to Brooklyn for more space. Our apartment was a whopping 750 square feet. It had real size rooms. We even bought a queen size sleeper sofa, but the kitchen was tiny. I loved that apartment, but I hated the kitchen. Because it was a small separate room and it had a poor layout, only one person could work in that kitchen at a time. We tried to find a creative solution, but it didn't exist. While I was pregnant, I would sit in the doorway on a stool and watch my husband cook. That was the only way the two of could fit in the room together.

Our apartment in MA is about 1,100 square feet and feels more like a house than an apartment. It even has a hallway! But the kitchen is the real gem. It's as ugly as can be and looks like the "before" photos on a home show, but it has space. It is U shaped and has 3 separate counters. It has full size appliances and even a dishwasher. There is enough floor space for us to fit Baby Girl's high chair and for my husband and I to work together. We can actually cook while she is awake and playing with some toys on her high chair tray for short periods of time (by playing I mean dropping things overboard).

What's your kitchen like? What do you love about it? What do you hate about it?

Now that we have a user friendly kitchen, we really should start taking full advantage of it and start preparing some more impressive meals. Here is our little baby step in that direction. Are you looking for something to take your average dinner up a notch? We have a mushroom sauce that does just that. It's very versatile. It can be gluten free, dairy free, have a little spice - or not. My husband said last night, "I would eat this mushroom sauce on anything!" How's that for an endorsement?




First I took a photo of the mushroom sauce over hamburgers with a side of kale

But let's be honest. We smothered everything with the sauce before we ate it.

Mushroom Sauce
2 T butter
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 t thyme
1/4 t cayenne (optional - for a little spice)
1/4 t nutmeg
1 C chicken stock
2 T flour or arrowroot
Splash of sherry (optional)
1 C sour cream or yogurt (optional)
1/2 C cream or whole milk (optional)

Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned. Add the garlic and spices and cook one more minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add your thickener and cook until the desired consistency. If you are looking for a dairy free sauce, stop right here. Your sauce is finished.

For a creamy sauce: Add the splash of sherry and cook one more minute. Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream or yogurt. Thin the sauce with cream or milk until it reaches the desired texture.

This post is part of Works for me Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Welcome Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesdays, and Allergy free Wednesdays.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Paprika Pork Chops from Pinterest

Do you use Pinterest? I have just started using it, and I have found it a very useful way to save recipes I find on-line. Today I'm writing about the first recipe that I prepared from my Pinterest albums. (I think it is only the first of many.)



We tend to make pork chops with sauerkraut, so this called to me as a way to mix things up.  When I started dinner, I realized that we didn't have any chili powder or white wine, so we substituted chipotle powder and a dark beer (Brooklyn Brown to be exact). I loved this flavor palate, but I want to try it again in the future following the original recipe too. The flavors were pretty subtle. I might think of doubling the rub next time around, but my husband liked it just as it was. We served our paprika pork chops with celeriac and potato mash and green beans. Tip: The juice from the onions and pork chops was great over the mash.

Paprika Pork Chops inspired by Food 52

2 pork chops, center cut about 1 inch thick
1/4 t ground cumin
1 t garlic powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 t chipotle powder
1 t paprika
1/2 t dried oregano
1/4 c dark beer
1 t extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, sliced

Rinse the pork chops and pat dry. Mix together the spices and rub into the pork chops. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. Heat the oil over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook the onions until they are translucent. Add the beer and cook one more minute. Push the onions to the side of the pan, and add the pork chops. Cook the pork chops for 10 minutes* each side. Turn off the heat, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.

* The original recipe called for cooking them only 5 minutes each side, but we found that to be insufficient.

This post is part of Hearth and Soul HopTraditional Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, and Tasty Tuesdays.



Monday, February 27, 2012

Celeriac and Potato Mash


Last week at the farmers market, we spotted some celeriac and decided to give it a try. I have read about it before, but never tasted it. We assumed that it would taste like celery, but the person at the farm stand also said that it tasted a little spicy. I looked up a bunch of recipes and we decided to prepare it as a puree. We mixed it with potatoes, butter and cream.

It took some effort to cut and peel the celeriac because it has a tough woody texture (and our knives need some serious sharpening). I cut it into small pieces and and boiled it with the potato chunks. Recipes suggested using a food mill, but we don't have one, so I resorted to the food processor. The food processor worked well. The result was a creamy, flavorful puree.  I don't think it is our new favorite, but we were pleased with results, and we would get celeriac again. I think I like the flavor diluted with potatoes.

What new ingredient have you tried for the first time recently?

Meal Plan Monday
(We only have broad brush strokes because we still have to do our major food shopping for the week.)
Monday - Hamburgers and salad
Tuesday - Soup made with chicken broth
Wednesday - Chicken with seasonal vegetables
Thursday - Spaghetti squash alla carbonara
Friday - Fish with seasonable vegetables

Celeriac and Potato mash
1 head of celeriac, pealed and diced
4 small potatoes, pealed and diced
3 T butter
1/2 C cream
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the celeriac and potatoes. Cook until they are both tender (about 10-15 minutes). Place in the food processor and mix with the butter and cream. Blend until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.


This post is part of Meal Plan Monday, My Meatless Mondays, Homemaker Mondays, Mouthwatering Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday and Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays,.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Baby Talk: Feeding Babies (part 1)

We are going to start a new series called Baby Talk to share our experiences with Baby Girl.  I know this could get us into some dicey territory because babies and child rearing bring up all sorts of hot button issues. But this non-confrontational mama is not trying to start an argument, just share our experiences and observations. Please join us for a discussion of alternatives.

Baby Girl - one day old

Our daughter was jaundice after she was born, and had to spend a couple of days in the nursery under the lights to help normalize her bilirubin levels. Because of this, we spent a lot of time in the nursery. We saw family after family getting checked out and sent home with their new little bundle of joy. By the time it was our turn to be discharged we knew the routine well. The nurse checked the car seat, she showed the family how to give the baby a bath, she helped change the babies into their going home outfits and she gave the family a big care package to take home. Well our nurse went through the whole routine, and was ready to send us on our way, but she didn't even offer us a care package. I sheepishly mentioned that I had seen other families receive care packages when they were discharged. She said that she knew I wanted to breastfeed (and that I was struggling) and she didn't want to tempt me with formula. I said that I would take a care package without formula. She said that the formula companies pay for the care packages, so it wasn't possible to give them out without formula. I must have looked crushed (in my hormonal state I thought the care package would somehow fortify me for the challenge of taking our little one home).  The nurse said that she probably could give me something and rustled up a La Leche League brochure, a few samples of Lasinoh and the rest of the package of diapers that we had been using. She apologized and said that there just isn't as much money in nursing as there is in formula. The formula companies want to build brand loyalty, so they offer the care packages with the diapers, pacifiers, wipes, and all the other goodies plus formula. This was shocking to me!

I had never really considered until that moment how much money was involved in feeding babies. I had gotten multiple free boxes of formula while I was pregnant (which I stored away just in case - don't tell the nurse). But it wasn't until that day in the hospital that I really realized that feeding babies is big business.

Formula ads put on the hard sell. The ads are everywhere you turn as an expectant or new parent. They make it sound like formula might be a better choice than breastfeeding. They talk about how they have mimicked all of the great things about breast milk, but formula even has vitamin D and iron, so no additional supplementation is necessary. Unfortunately big business doesn't always have our best interest foremost in their minds (it's true - I'm cynical).

In the 7.5 months of baby girl's life, there has been more than one recall on formula because babies have gotten sick or worse. My heart goes out to those families. I can't even imagine their heartbreak. I have been lucky and been able to breast feed my baby all along (although it has been a rocky road and there will be more in a future post), but if it didn't work out I planned on making my own baby formula. I had read the Weston A Price website and thought that would be a good solution for our family.

If you are expecting or have a new baby, I would encourage you to go here to check out some alternatives to commercial formula. I still believe that breast milk is best (in spite of those formula ads trying to convince me otherwise), but homemade formula seems like a good back-up plan.

What did you feed your baby?

This post is part of Fight Back FridayMonday ManiaGratituesday and Real Food Wednesday.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Knockwurst with Sauerkraut, Potato Hash and Red Chard


Sometimes a dinner is tasty because of fancy sauces or special cooking techniques, but sometimes a good meal just lets the flavors of quality ingredients shine through. This meal falls into the latter category (also known as an easy meal). We found some beef knockwurst at the farmers market last weekend and thought it would be a perfect mid-week meal. It was delicious served with some Bubbies lacto-fermented sauerkraut and mustard. I am partial to Kosciusko Spicy Brown Mustard. We first found it at a Polish market in the East Village of New York City, but then we came to realize that it is available everywhere. We served our knockwurst with a potato and onion hash and sauteed red chard.

It's so simple that no recipes are needed. But I will give you a couple of tips:
  • Boil the knockwurst for 10 minutes and just cook it in a pan for a few minutes to brown it up. It stayed incredibly moist and juicy. We will always be using this technique in the future.
  • Cook the potatoes and onions separately to help the potatoes to stay crispy. My husband fried up the potatoes and got them nice and crisp, and then added the onions. The onions released so much liquid that the potatoes became mushy. I think cooking them separately would solve this problem (unless you would like them mushy).

What's a simple meal that you love to make that let's the ingredients shine through?


This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Frugal Food Thursday, Alphabe-Thursday, and URS: Potato Recipes.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blog Carnivals, Hops and Links...Oh My!


Ferris Wheel by Jeanette ONeil

I'll admit that I didn't really start reading blogs until I started my own (more on that here). When I would read "This post is part of XYZ blog hop" at the bottom of the page, I thought it was something the blogger had been invited to join. I finally learned that these blog hops were available to me too, and I'm so glad I did. I have loved learning about all sorts of new and interesting blogs out there by visiting blog hops.

A while back Alex at A Moderate Life did a post on all the the blog hops and carnivals that she participates in. I found this to be a great resource and bookmarked it and referred to it on a regular basis. But now some time has gone by, and many of the blog hops have changed. So I decided to create an updated list, and thought I would share it with all of you too. Many of these are cooking related, but not all. (* indicates general hop) Are there other blog hops that you participate in or host? Please add them in the comments and I will add them to the list.

Monday
Menu Planning Monday at I am an Organizing Junkie
My Meatless Mondays at My Sweet and Savory
Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist
Homemaker Monday at 11th Heaven's Homemakers Haven
Made by You Monday at Skip to My Lou*
Delicious Recipes at A Southern Fairytale
Just Another Meatless Monday at Hey What's for Dinner Mom?
Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays
Just Something I Whipped Up at The Girl Creative*

Tuesday
Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers
Traditional Tuesday at Cooking Traditional Food
Tuesday Glam Party at Giggles, Glitz and Glam
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace
Tasty Tuesdays at 33 Shades of Green
Tasty Tuesday at IBlog4Me
Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff
Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
Hearth and Soul Hop at Premeditated Leftovers

Wednesday
Gluten Free Wednesdays at The Gluten-Free Homemaker
Works-for-me-Wednesday at We Are That Family*
Welcome Wednesdays at Take It From Me*
Real Food Wednesdays at Kelly the Kitchen Kop
Allergy Free Wednesdays at Tessa the Domestic Diva

Thursday
Simple Lives Thursday at A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa*
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Pennywise Platter Thursday at The Nourishing Gourmet
Frugal Food Thursday at Frugal Follies
Alpabe-Thursdays at Jenny Matlock*
Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom
Catch as Catch Can at My Repurposed Life*

Friday
Foodie Friday Cafe at Rattlebridge Farm
Friday Food and Recipe Linky at Mom Trends
I'm Lovin' It at Tidy Mom*
Recipe Link Party at Remodelaholic
Food on Fridays at Ann Kroeker
Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food and Whole Health

Saturday
Sweets for Saturday at Sweet as Sugar Cookies

Sunday
Cookbook Sundays at Couscous and Consciousness
Sunday Night Soup Night at Easy Natural Food
Best of the Web at Nighlon*

This post is part of Works for Me Wednesday and Welcome Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Downton Abbey Dinner of Roast and Root Vegetables

Have you been watching Downton Abbey? We have become totally addicted. I had never heard of it until it got so many Golden Globe nominations. We decided to check it out on Netflix, and we were immediately hooked. We finished season 1 just in time to watch season 2 on PBS. The only problem is that it's 9:00-11:00 airtime doesn't really jive with my new mother sleep schedule (for me that means a 9:30 bedtime). So the last few episodes we watched on-line on Monday nights from 7:30-9:30 - perfect for my schedule.



When we think of British food, one dish that comes to mind is a roast and root vegetables all smothered in gravy (this perception is at least partly shaped by our trip to England last year). So each week for Sunday supper (sometimes on Monday) we have been having some type of roast and vegetables.

This week we enjoyed a bottom round roast with onions, potatoes, turnips and parsnips and onion gravy. Mmm, mmm good. I love gravy (it's my second post on it in two days), but what sets this gravy apart is that it is pretty sweet. The onions become very sweet after roasting for so long and impart their flavor on the rest of the dish.Now that Downton Abbey has come to an end, I guess we are on the hunt for a new show (and some new dinner inspiration). Any Suggestions?

Bottom Round Roast with Root Vegetables
2 T olive
2.5 lb bottom round roast
3 large onions, cut into thick slices
2 T apple cider vinegar
6 potatoes, chopped
6 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 turnips, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped

Method
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a roasting pan over medium high heat, and add some oil. Brown the roast on all sides (about 4 minutes per side). Add the onions and vinegar, and put in the oven. Bake for 2 hours. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for 2 more hours, or until the meat and vegetables and tender. Let meat rest for 10 minutes before carving. Slice into thin slices and enjoy.

Onion Gravy
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 C of juice released from the onions, meat and vegetables

Method
Heat the butter in a skillet and slowly stir in the flour. Cook the butter and flour for 5 minutes over medium heat. Slowly add the liquid and stir constantly. Cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency.

We have been avoiding grains, but I still use flour in the gravy (it's my little cheat). I like the thickness from the flour, and it reheats nicely.

This post is part of Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Tuesdays at the Table, Beauty and Bedlam, Allergy Free Wednesday, and Real Food Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday.

Monday, February 20, 2012

For the love of gravy



We had planned a basic dinner of baked chicken breasts, squash and broccoli. I wasn't too thrilled about the bland and basic meal, but then I remembered something special waiting in the freezer. We had baked a couple of lemon, garlic chickens for company a month or so ago, and for that dinner it didn't really make sense to make gravy (the side dishes all had sauces of their own), so I just stuck the dripping in the freezer to save for another day. The other day had arrived! I defrosted them, and made gravy. Yum! Gravy can really change the whole meal. We slathered it over everything and it was fabulous. My tip: keep the fat - it adds so much flavor. See below for gravy prepared three different ways.

The car still isn't up and running because we are still waiting for parts, but this week we were able to make it to the Cambridge farmers market via the bus. Looking forward to a week full of farmers market finds.

Meal Plan

Monday - Bottom Round Roast with onion gravy and roasted root vegetables
Tuesday - Knockwurst with sauerkraut and sauteed red chard
Wednesday - Lentils with cauliflower and acorn squash
Thursday - Paprika pork chops with celriac and green beans
Friday - Fish (whatever looks good at the fish market)
Saturday - Hamburgers and salad


1 - Pan Gravy

Drippings

Method - Bring the drippings to a simmer and cook until they thicken.


2 - Gravy thickened with flour

2 T fat skimmed off the drippings (supplement with butter if necessary)
2 T flour
1 C drippings (supplement with broth if necessary)

Method - Place the fat in a skillet over medium heat, and add the flour. Cook for at least 5 minutes. Slowly add in the drippings while stirring constantly. Keep stirring and bring to a simmer. Cook until it reaches the desired thickness.


3 - Gravy thickened with Cornstarch or Arrowroot

1 C drippings (supplement with broth if necessary)
2 T cornstarch or arrowroot
2 T warm water

Method - Bring the drippings to a simmer over medium heat. Mix the cornstarch or arrowroot with warm water. Slowly add the mixture to the hot drippings while constantly stirring. Serve right away.*

*It is possible to overcook, so remove from heat as soon as it thickens, and serve right away.

This post is part of Monday Mania and Menu Plan Monday.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Back before we had a baby, we used to love to go out for happy hour. We always liked being out in the early evening, and getting home before people started flooding into New York City for their big night out. (we both got "staying out all night" out of our systems back in our single days) We liked to order some buffalo wings with blue cheese dressing, and sometimes we'd get enough to make those our dinner.

These days we aren't making it to happy hour, so we brought the happy hour to us... or at least the buffalo sauce. Tonight we enjoyed a Buffalo Chicken Salad - if I add the word salad to it, it makes me feel like it is a reasonable dinner.

We used chicken legs and thighs to make it more substantial. We accompanied the chicken with the traditional celery and carrot sticks, plus some salad with a generous dollop of blue cheese dressing.

Baked Buffalo Chicken Legs and Thighs
Coconut oil
Chicken Legs
Chicken Thighs
1/2 C Hot Sauce (we used Frank's Red Hot)
1/3 C Butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with coconut oil. Place the chicken on the baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes (or until the chicken is done). Melt the butter and combine with the hot sauce. Toss the chicken in the sauce. Reserve the extra sauce for dipping.

Blue Cheese Dressing
1/4 C Mayonnaise
1/4 C Yogurt
1/4 C Blue Cheese
generous squeeze of lemon (1 T)
dash of cayenne

Mix all of the ingredients and chill.

This post is part of Fight Back Friday, The Foodie Friday Cafe, Friday Food, I'm Lovin' It, Food on Fridays, and Frugal Friday.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

One Smoked Pork Shoulder and Six Meals

A bowl of split pea soup garnished with crispy bacon.

Last Saturday, we bought a smoked pork shoulder. We were told that a great way to prepare it was to boil it for 2.5 - 3 hours to draw out the excess salt. So we gave it a go, and boiled it all afternoon. We have proceeded to eat off that one piece of meat ever since. It has inspired us to look for other cuts of meats that we can stretch just as far in future weeks. Do you have any suggestions?

Something we noticed shopping at the grocery store was that it was really hard to tell what season it was. They had artichokes and plantains on sale in February! We decided to go for it since all of the vegetables came from somewhere else anyways. Hopefully this week, we will be able to make it to the farmers market and get back on track with our seasonal foods.

Meal 1 - We were inspired by our trip to England to have some ham and eggs for dinner with a side of plantains and a big salad (it didn't make the photo).


Meal 2 - Ham with artichoke and salad. I know it looks more like an Easter dinner than one in February, but all the vegetables came from another quadrant of the world, and the artichokes were on sale...


Meal 3 - Breakfast of eggs, ham and plantains. I had never had plantains before living in NYC and this week was my first time making them at home. They are pretty low on the glycemic index and inexpensive.


Meal 4 and 5 - Split pea soup is such a satisfying winter meal. Please see below for the recipe.

Meal 6 - Some ham and swiss sandwiches with salad. I didn't take a photo.


Split Pea Soup Inspired by Burnt Offerings' on Food 52

Ingredients
1/2 lb bacon, sliced into lardons
4 carrots, diced
4 ribs of celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
1/2 t sage
1/2 t thyme
1 t rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 lb dried split peas
2 lb smoked ham hock (or this time I used the shoulder joint and the remaining meat)
8 C water or chicken stock

Method
Place a Dutch oven over medium low heat, and add the bacon. Once the bacon is crispy, remove from the pan and set aside for garnish. Add the carrots, celery and onion to the pan and cook for 15 minutes (or until tender). Add the sage, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves and stir to combine. Spread the peas out on a cookie sheet and check for stones. Remove any stones and add to the pot. Nestle the ham hock or pork shoulder into the peas and vegetables, and add the water or chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and lower heat. Cook for about 2.5 hours. Remove the ham hock or pork shoulder, let cool, remove the meat and chop into bite size pieces. Add the meat back into the pot. It is ready to enjoy. Dish up and garnish with the bacon.

* I only have 1 cup glass measuring cups and I didn't want to have to measure out 8 cups of water with them, so I thought of using our coffee pot carafe. Each "cup" on the coffee maker is 6 ounces, so just under 11 cups= 64 ounces, or 8 cups. Thought I'd pass my tip along.



This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Frugal Food Thursday, Alphabe-Thursday, and Sunday Night Soup Night.

Quick Roasted Cauliflower

I hope everyone had a nice Valentine's Day. I am one of those cynics that thinks Valentine's Day is a "holiday" invented by Hallmark, but I still had fun giving treats to family and friends this year. I mailed some chocolates to mommy friends in Brooklyn, my husband and I each picked out a small toy for Baby Girl, my husband got me flowers (all I ever ask for - I love to have something blooming in the middle of winter), and I got my husband a Kombucha starter (more on that in future posts).


We realized last night that we have unknowingly created an annual tradition of a homemade steak dinner on Valentines Day. Last night the menu was rib steak, Indian style roasted cauliflower, green beans with herb butter and Caesar salad plus we cheated and had dessert.

We recently have discovered a way to make quick roasted cauliflower. I have always prepared cauliflower by cutting it up into florets (the little trees). I don't know why it never occurred to me to cut it into slices until a few weeks ago. I was looking up some ideas online (can't remember where I got the idea - sorry I that can't give credit), and saw someone just sliced the cauliflower. Brilliant! It was one of those aha moments. It is quicker to cut up and it cooks so much faster too!

Slice the cauliflower in half, place the flat edge down on the cutting board, and cut the cauliflower into 1/4 inch slices. Generously oil the pan, and place the slices on the pan.(my husband broke up the slices, but I have kept them as large slices before too)

Sprinkle your seasonings over the cauliflower. We used turmeric, cumin, red pepper flakes, and garlic to imitate our favorite Indian style roasted cauliflower.
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Enjoy!

Quick Roasted Cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower
oil
Seasonings (we used turmeric, cumin, red pepper flakes and garlic)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the head of cauliflower in half. Place the cut edge flat on the cutting board, and cut the cauliflower into 1/4 inch think slices. Generously oil a sheet pan, and place the slices on the pan. We liberally sprinkled turmeric and lightly sprinkled cumin and red pepper flakes, and added 8 chopped cloves of garlic. Bake until browned 10-15 minutes.

*Traditionally we have toasted a whole variety of Indian spices in oil in a hot skillet, added the cauliflower, and then placed in the oven for 45 minutes. We will still do that technique on occasion for a more complex flavor, but this is a great substitute for a quick dinner.

This post is part of Works for me Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Welcome Wednesday, and Real Food Wednesdays.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Revised Menu Plan and Falafel

Have you ever seen the show Portlandia? (the first season is available on Netflix instant) I'm not always a huge fan of sketch comedy, but some of the pieces really had us laughing. In the first episode, there is a couple that goes to great lengths to make sure their chicken was ethically raised. That sketch hit close to home for us...

Yesterday, I wrote about how I was so excited about going to the farmers' market and dairy farm... Well, that plan didn't pan out. It turns out that while Mother Nature was cooperative, our car was not. When we moved to Massachusetts, we made an unorthodox choice of vehicle. We decided to purchase a 1985 diesel Mercedes. It's a great car - they run forever, they're safe and you never have to worry about finding it in a parking lot. The one downside is that they can have trouble in the cold. Under 20 degrees the diesel fuel tends to gel up and requires some special treatment. We thought we had covered all of our bases by using a cold weather fuel additive and plugging in the engine block, but it still didn't start. So our food shopping will all take place at the neighborhood grocery stores and the fish mart.

Menu Plan

Monday - Ham and Eggs, Plantains and Salad
Tuesday - Rib Steak, Cauliflower, Green beans and Salad
Wednesday - Split Pea Soup
Thursday - Buffalo Chicken Salad
Friday - Fish (whatever looks best at the fish market that day), kale salad and mashed butternut squash



The other night we made some falafel that turned out really well. I realized that I had never made it from scratch, and I don't know why not. It is so easy! And it tastes so much better than falafel from a boxed mix! We served it over spinach salad, with avocado and tzatziki sauce.

Falafel inspired by Moosewood Cookbook and The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook

4 C chickpeas
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/3 C onion, chopped
1 t cumin
1 t turmeric
1 t coriander
1/4 t cayenne
1 1/2 t salt
2 eggs
3 T tahini
2 T flour (I used chickpea flour)
olive oil

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Chill for 1 hour. Form small balls or patties.*

Stove Top: Gently heat 1/4 inch of oil in a cast iron pan, and add the falafel in small batches. Cook until crispy (about 5 minutes), and flip to the other side. Remove and cool on a wire rack or paper towels.

Oven: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Generously coat a large sheet pan with the oil, and arrange the falafel. Cook until crispy on the first side (about 30 minutes), and flip to the second side (cook an additional 15 minutes). Remove and cool on a wire rack or paper towels.

*I made them too big and it made it difficult to flip them and preserve the crunchy crust. You want the crust!

Tzatziki Sauce
1 C yogurt
1/2 cucumber, finely chopped
1/4 C onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 t salt

Place the yogurt, cucumber and onion in a bowl. Sprinkle the salt on the minced garlic on a cutting board. Use the side of a knife to smear the salt and garlic to create a paste. Add the garlic paste to the rest of the dressing. Let sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.

This post is part of My Meatless Mondays, Delicious Dishes, Made by You Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, and Midnight Madness Meatless Monday, and Menu Plan Monday.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sausage, Bean and Vegetable Soup

All week I have been looking forward to going to the Wayland Winter Farmers' Market and the raw milk dairy today. On our trip to the dairy last weekend, we realized that there is a farmers' market along the way on Saturdays (perfect!). But my hopes were dashed on Thursday when the weather man started predicting that we were going to get a major snow storm today. I was so disappointed. It was definitely not worth the risk of travelling 40 miles in a snow storm, so I thought I might have to find another way to do our food shopping for the week. Luckily, I woke up this morning to learn that the storm is going to miss us, and it looks like our field trip is back on. (It's the little things in life that make us happy, right?)

Soups and stews are such satisfying meals during the winter. I love the flavors in this soup so much that I have made a version of this three times in the last month. The recipe started with just spicy sausage, white beans and kale in chicken broth, but I have kept adding vegetables each time. This time around it was not a looker. We had purple cabbage that I wanted to eat up, so I added it in, and it definitely turned the whole soup a crazy color. I think I will stick with green cabbage in the future (unless it's Halloween). Some soups require lots of time for the flavors to develop, but the spicy sausage and chicken stock immediately give this soup a shot of flavor, so it is pretty quick to make.



Sausage, Bean and Vegetable Soup

2 T olive oil
1 lb spicy sausage
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
1/2 cabbage, thinly sliced
1 bunch of kale, torn into bite size pieces
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups of white beans

Heat up oil in a Dutch oven and brown the sausage. Remove the sausage, and add the carrot, onion, celery and cabbage to the pot. Cook until tender (about 30 minutes). Add the kale, chicken stock and white beans. Cook until the kale is tender (15-30 minutes).

This post is part of Sunday Night Soup Night.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Haddock with Herb, Lemon and Butter Sauce

Something we have noticed upon moving to the Boston area is that there is a bounty of locally caught fish. There are fish CSAs advertising at the various farmers' markets and Whole Foods has fish out of Gloucester, MA. All these fresh, local options are making us enjoy fish a little more frequently. This week we had some haddock. We both like the firm, meaty texture. In the past we have prepared it with panko bread crumbs, but now that we are avoiding grains we decided to just pan fry it and serve it with an herb, lemon and butter sauce. It was superb! The only downside was that there weren't any leftovers and I actually had to make our lunches the next morning.

We enjoyed our haddock with spinach salad and mashed butternut squash. Please notice the lovely gray plates...we thought we'd give the ugly yellow ones a night off.

Haddock with Herb, Lemon and Butter Sauce
4 T butter
1 lb haddock (or other firm fish)
2 T olive oil
1/4 C chicken broth (or fish or vegetable broth)
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 t lemon zest
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4 T fresh herbs, finely chopped (we used chervil, dill, parsley and tarragon)

Melt 2 T of butter in a skillet, and add the fish fillets. Cook for about 3 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the fish). Place the cooked fish on a serving platter. In the same pan, add the chicken broth. Deglaze the pan and cook until the broth slightly reduces. Add the rest of the ingredients and turn off the heat. Let sit for a couple of minutes and then drizzle over the fish.

Enjoy!

This post is part of Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday, Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday, Frugal Food Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, and Friday Food Flicks.

Curry Chicken Salad

We have been making lots of chicken stock lately, and that has been leaving us with a fair bit of leftover boiled chicken. Something I have been making on a regular basis is chicken salad. Curry Chicken Salad is my new favorite lunch. It's quick and easy, but it's far from boring. I made some for a lunch gathering last weekend and everyone was excited about it. Homemade mayonnaise really takes it over the top. I have used this recipe from A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa.

Curry Chicken Salad
2 1/2 C Chicken, chopped
3/4 C Mayonnaise
1 1/2 T Curry Powder
2 ribs of Celery, chopped
Dried Fruit - optional (golden raisins or dried cranberries)
Nuts - optional (sliced almonds, walnuts or pecans)

Combine all ingredients. I use about a handful of the fruit and nuts. Serve over salad greens, or on a bread of your choice.

What's your favorite use for leftover chicken?

This post is part of Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, Works for Me Wednesday, Ultimate Recipe Swap.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ditching the Sugar and Grain (at least for now)

Our cake and cupcake pans all have a new use...holding water on top of the radiators to help humidify the air.

I have mentioned in previous posts that we are taking a break from sugar and grains. Here is a little background info to explain why:

We have a 7 month baby girl. I was very determined to breast feed her, but it was not an easy road. We had problem after problem.* Just when things were starting to get a little bit more tolerable, white patches appeared in baby girl's mouth. It was the dreaded thrush! (For the uninitiated, it is a yeast overgrowth in the baby's mouth and it is passed between baby and the nursing mother.) We first tried some home remedies, but they didn't work, so we went to the pediatrician and started our first round of Nystatin. I cut out sugar and most starchy foods, took probiotics and ate fermented food. The thrush seemed to clear up, but as soon as we stopped the medicine it came right back. After our third round of medicine, I promised myself we weren't going to use the medicine again. There had to be another way...

Right about that time we moved to the Boston area, and I met a naturopathic nutritionist. I described our ongoing saga with thrush and asked if she had any advice. She suggested we both continue our courses of probiotics and that I go "Paleo" and cut out grains and sugars entirely. I already knew that would be a good idea, but she gave me the extra push to really commit. She also suggested that I take one tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar before each meal (to make the system more basic and less conducive to the yeast) and to eat two tablespoons of freshly ground flax seed each day (this would help sweep out the yeast and provide a base for the good bacteria). She also approved of my plan to start giving baby girl some homemade chicken stock every day to start helping heal her digestive track (more on feeding babies in a future post). After 3 weeks on this plan, the thrush disappeared and stayed gone. This was over Christmas, so it was hard to avoid all the seasonal treats, but totally worth the sacrifice after 3 months of battling thrush.

Well, the story doesn't end there. After the thrush had been gone for a month or so, I started to slip. Sometimes I would forget to take the vinegar, probiotics or flax seed. I stayed pretty true to the food at meal time, but I started to sneak an illicit snack in the afternoons. I started a little ritual of a pastry and a decaf coffee in the late afternoon. It gave me something to look forward to, and seemed to help ground me in this new, unfamiliar landscape. It was my secret little treat. To top it all off, I devoured a box of homemade peppermint bark sent to us by NYC friends in just two days. Of course, my body was on to my secret. I started to develop dry, itchy red patches of skin at my hairline and behind my ears (I'm sure a doctor would diagnose it as either eczema or psoriasis). I have had a lifelong battle with dandruff and itchy scalp, but this was much worse. I knew the pastries had to go, and I had to become more serious about ditching the sugar and the grain. A couple of weeks back on the wagon, and the patches are gone.

I'm not exactly sure what the long term solution is. I'm still nursing and my first priority is to provide excellent nutrition to baby girl. I need to do more research into GAPS and other diets focused on eliminating candida that will not be too harsh for nursing mothers. I have read of issues with yeast die-off and the potential for toxins released into the mother's milk with some diets.

Have you had experiences with thrush or yeast overgrowth? How did you deal with it? Have you been pleased with the results?



*If you are a new mom, and having trouble nursing please feel free to contact me. I am not an official expert, but have felt your pain and can commiserate and offer our experiences. Although, when I was having trouble nursing, I was not reading food blogs because I was consumed with looking for solutions to my breastfeeding issues in books and on-line, so I'm not expecting my inbox to start overflowing with breastfeeding related messages. Just in case, I found Mothering and La Leche League to be helpful.

This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade and Monday Mania at Healthy Home Economis.
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