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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cosleeping and onions in your sock

Ha...bet that's a title you never thought you'd read.

Destructo-boy is sick.  And, when Destructo-boy gets sick..he get's SICK.  Days of misery.  Social-butterfly and Fairy-princess...well they get sick for a little bit, plug on and recover quickly. Destructo-boy drags it out..and out...and out.

Social-butterfly seemed to get it first.  She woke up this morning with a low-grade fever, but within an hour of waking up, was totally fine.  Weird..but we didn't think too much of it.  She was fine all day, but tonight she wasn't feeling well again.

Anyway, those of you who know me, know that I LOVE home remedies.  The weirder the better, I say.  So, when Destructo-boy got sick, I searched through my archives of home remedies to find something that would work for a 2-year old.  A 2-year who refuses to eat or drink anything other than breastmilk when sick that is.   And, voila..I came across the perfect home remedy.  Onions in your sock.  Yes..that's right...placing cut up onions in your sock helps a fever.

It's actually scientific in a weird sorta of way.  Onions are well known for having antimicrobial actions.  The soles of the feet are well known for being highly absorbent (surely you mom must have warned about the perils of getting worms from walking around barefoot outside).    So, the onion is absorbed through the feet and into the blood stream where it fights the infection.

Raw garlic would actually also work except for the fact that raw garlic is so strong, that it can actually burn the skin.  So, we'll stick with onions.

Anyway, Destructo-boy is now sleeping in MY room with cut-up onions in his socks.  Yes...he sleeps in my room every night.  So, I just entered my bedroom to check on him and well...the entire room smells like a burger joint. Ah..the joys of co-sleeping.  Can't wait to go sleep in my oniony smelling room.  Ha...at least we'll probably get the whole pew to ourselves tomorrow at Mass.  No one's going to want to sit next to us!

Sugarless Cookies

I have finally perfected my recipe for a healthy, mostly sugar-free cookie.  This recipe is my own invention, and with the exception of the chocolate chips (hey you gotta have a little fun!) contains no refined sugar at all.


1/2 cup coconut oil
1 egg
3/4 cup honey
2 cups whole wheat flour (I use white-whole-wheat flour)
2 cups oats
1/2  natural peanut butter
1 cup instant non-fat dry milk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips (or if you want to be really healthy...nuts or dried raisins)

Beat coconut oil, eggs, honey, peanut butter and vanilla until smooth.  Stir in flour, instant milk, baking soda and salt.  Add chocolate chips. Dough should be fairly stiff, if it's not, add more flour.

Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 375 for 10 minutes or until done.  Be careful, since honey burns easily.  The cookies will be slightly brown on the bottom but still look a little "undone".  That's okay.  They'll finish cooking on cookie sheet.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My little urban garden.

My parents got me some garden boxes for an early birthday present so I could try my hand at urban container gardening.  We used to have free access to their huge, organic vegetable garden and I really miss it.

Here in the sub-tropics you can grow fruits and vegetables all winter...so I'm trying my hand at container gardening.   I planted strawberries, kale, chard, red lettuce and basil in the one little section of our drive-way that gets full sun.
 Can't wait to see how they do!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Biggest Loser and Weight Loss

Up until 3 weeks ago, I have never watched The Biggest Loser.  Actually, I never watch regular TV at all, however we know live on a law school campus....a law school with LOTS of married students with families.  Some of other other wives started a  Biggest Loser challenge.  We all meet at my neighbor's house on Tuesday nights, weigh-in and then watch The Biggest Loser.   Actually, like any group of women that get together, we do way more talking than watching...but that's all part of the fun. 

Anyway, I must say that watching this show was a bit shocking to me.  I can't believe these people actually let themselves be yelled at by trainers and submit to really, really public (as in on National TV) weigh-ins (not fully dressed either I might add).  It all seems rather disrespectful and shaming, but then I guess we probably only see the "dramatic" parts on TV and not all the nice, supportive parts.

Anyway, since starting a few weeks ago, I've managed to lose around 7 pounds...all in all I would like to lose around 20-25 lbs total..putting me back at my pre- (first kid) weight.  Kids have this really annoying habit of making one gain weight....really annoying. 

Anyways, in other ways of exploring weight loss with the Pater Familias, we have been exposed to Dr. Fuhrmann's Eat to Live  program.   Personally, I'm not a huge fan of it.   It should be called Starve to Live since it basically has you eating nothing but vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and legumes. Supposedly people who eat this type of diet live longer.   Now, I don't know about you, but personally I don't want to live to 110 if it means eating nothing but vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and legumes.   Not that those aren't all fine foods...but  life has a lot better food to offer than spinach and black beans.

However, one part of Dr. Fuhrmann's diet is rather good.  He suggests eating 1 lb of raw vegetables a day, 1 lb. of cooked vegetables a day and 5 fruits.   I'm not eating that many servings of fruit a day...probably between 1-3, but I am aiming to get that many veggies in.  Unfortunately, we can't afford to eat them all raw, since frozen vegetables are so much cheaper.  So, many days I have been eating 2 lbs of cooked veggies a day...and therein lies the key to weight loss, I have found.   When eating that many vegetables, there's not as much room for other foods. 

The other key to weight loss I have found is nutrient density. I've found that eating very nutrient dense foods really decreases all the cravings for the bad stuff.   We've been eating lots of lentils and other dried beans lately...not only are they very inexpensive (a MUST for us right now)..they are really nutrient dense...especially lentils.   I've found some excellent recipes lately..that I'll have to share in later installments.

On that same note, we've been trying to eliminate caloric dense foods that don't offer much nutrition (like cheese) and stick with caloric-dense foods that do (ie. avocado, nuts, seeds) which are great. 

However, the vast amounts of veggies is key, I think.  My kids have been eating more veggies..it's great.  I get lots of comments from cashiers when they see my grocery cart is 1/2 full with vegetables, but that's okay...I'm used to being a bit weird.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lentil/Rice Tacos

I apologize for not posting in awhile.  We've recently moved 1500 miles away and the Pater Familias is now in law school!.  Plus, I've been quite busy on http://www.my-home-remedies.com, but I'm ready to start blogging again.

I wanted to share my most recent, new favorite food recipe.  It's quite tasty, nutritious and super easy!

Lentil/Rice Tacos     (The Pater Familias likes these better than regular taco meat, and so do the rest of us).

1 cup lentils
1 cup brown or wild rice
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt (I use "real salt")
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. cumin

 Shredded cheddar cheese
Corn tortillas
Tomatoes/Lettuce, etc.

Throw the lentils and rice in a pot with enough water to cook them (follow the specific amounts for your rice and lentils).  Add onion, garlic, salt and spices. Let simmer for 45 minutes or so until done. 

Cut the corn tortillas into quarters and gently pan fry the "chips" in a small amount of oil (I use olive or coconut oil) until they get slightly crisp, but not burnt.

Serve with shredded cheese, lettuce and tomato.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Happy National Sugar Cookie Today

Today, July 9th,  is National Sugar Cookies Day, a little known holiday which I find a bit strange plopped into the middle of summer.   After all, cold winter days and rainy days cry out for cookie baking....sweltering hot days in July cry out for ice cream!   Nonetheless, today is National Sugar Cookie Day, and if you've followed my blog at all, you will know that we are rather fond of cookies around here.  Most of our cookies involve chocolate chips, but every once in awhile we detour from that.   And, no I actually didn't make these today.  Hot July days, without central air conditioning don't make me inclined to want to spend my time in the kitchen baking cookies.

However, I just couldn't let the day pass by, without at least  mentioning it.   So, in honor of National Sugar Cookie Day, I thought I would share my favorite, "healthier" sugar cookie recipe.  But, before we talk about the cookies, let's discuss frosting.  After all, what's a sugar cookie without frosting, or at least colored sugar?  We greatly prefer frosting in our household.  With the exception of the Pater Familias who is a bit weird in the fact that he doesn't like frosting (nor chocolate for that manner!!??)...the rest of us merely view cakes as a conduit to hold the frosting,  

Frosting is actually quite easy to make yourself.   We try to stay away from artificial colors, so we just keep it white (or brown for chocolate) unless it happens to be fall and we have lots of red beets and can use red beet juice to color the frosting pink.   Try it, the next time you have beets.  It really does work, and doesn't change the taste at all.

Cookie Frosting (works for cakes too!)

4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
5 tablespoons milk  (decrease this slightly if using red beet juice for coloring)
1 teaspoon vanilla.

Cream the butter and sugar together.  Beat in the vanilla, milk and beet juice (if coloring pink) until smooth and thick.

"Healthier" Sugar Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups white-whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Cream butter and sugar.   Add egg, vanilla and milk.   Stir in baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour.   Shape into 1 inch ball and place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Flatten each cookie slighltly with a fork.   Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake!  Frost when cool!  Enjoy!

Monday, July 5, 2010

New Year

Well we've started our school year.  Our first official day was June 29th.....Social-Butterfly is now 3rd grade (or so...homeschoolers don't really have grades) while the Fairy-Princess is kindergarten(ish).  Yes, we start in the summer and go year-round!  I like being able to be more relaxed all year....there is no pressure to fit school in 4-5 days a week, and if we don't finish one day, we just finish the next.

So far, things have gone just swimmingly.  I am LOVING our phonics program...Alpha-Phonics Primer and Phonics Pathways for the Fairy-Princess.  It is SO MUCH easier than what we had been using before (Teach your child to read in 100 Easy Lessons).  Fairy-Princess seems to be picking things up well!

Lesson Pathways is working out find too.  The kids love it, since it is so much more fun and interactive than just a textbook.  Social-Butterfly is loving learning about time lines and helping dogs.  She had a lot of fun making a family timeline, and  it helped her visualize the passage of time easier and realize that mommy and daddy actually lived lots of life before she was born!

All About Spelling seems to be working very well too!  The Social-Butterfly likes it better than just plain lists of spelling words anyway.

We'll see what the rest of the year brings!