Friday, January 4, 2013

raw fudge

The year started off with a bang, and then a whimper, as we were laid low with food poisoning, a stomach bug, or simply incredible indigestion (perhaps all three), but as soon as I began feeling better I got to work on this treat. I found the recipe via pinterest, and the result was amazing. Unlike the original recipe I did not make the ganache (although based on the results I highly recommend it) and I also pulled the set fudge from the fridge after I realised I had forgotten to incorporate half the dry ingredients. I smooshed them in and put the fudge in to set again. It mixes up very quickly if you have a food processor, and follow the directions. If you are like me and have a vitamix and sort of follow directions it gets done as well, but it takes longer. Two tips for this one: make sure you actually have all the ingredients on hand, so you don't reach for dates and come up with prunes, and make sure you actually combine all the ingredients once assembled and at the correct time. The results are delicious, if somewhat textured (my fault), and I will definitely make this again, although not any time soon. Why not? Raw cacao powder, my friends, is pricey. Spendy. Ex. Pen. Sive. Although if you've got the funds, it is definitely worth it. I am doling these out very carefully, although the boys did get a piece each in their bentos. Best part? I really do think these are healthy. So good.

Have fun!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Breakfast

The boys got pancakes (we used Pamela's mix) in various shapes with dollops of strawberry jam and coconut milk 'whipped cream' (just refrigerated the coconut milk until it got thick). They decorated with trail mix, and, in Adin's case, a whole lot of jam. I had a couple regular pancakes, and everyone else got waffle sticks. The adults preferred butter and maple syrup.

Have a Happy 2013! -nava

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Almost 4 years ago, we realised that something was not right with our oldest son, then our only son, who was just over a year old. He was sleeping more and more, had dark under-eye circles, open sores in his diaper area, an increasingly bad attitude, had stopped reaching verbal milestones, and had dropped from the 95th percentile to the 13th. We discovered that he has Celiac disease, and by keeping him on a gluten-free diet his symptoms reversed and today he is a (generally) happy, healthy, intelligent young boy. When his brother came along we kept a close eye and discovered, to our dismay, that whenever I ate wheat and nursed him that he developed symptoms as well, so he also has been on a gluten-free diet 99% of his life (he has had the occasional accidental gluten item, and paid the price.) Now, it seems that something else just is. not. right. This little guy has chronic diarrhea, and while he is very bright and very strong, he seems clumsier than ever, and his attitude is chaotic, to put it mildly. He has dark circles under his eyes and that slightly peaked appearance his older brother developed, and when he gets sick, which is frequently, he stays ill for weeks rather than the 3-4 days the rest of us suffer. Other than keeping him off of gluten, I have not been sure what else to do. I came across the SCD diet a year or so after learning about Celiac. Starting tomorrow I am going to implement it with him and keep careful record of how it goes. Already he has improved a bit by the addition of cod liver oil and butter/coconut oil to his diet, but his symptoms have only lessened slightly and something needs to change. So tonight I'm cooking up a batch of soup for him and tomorrow morning is Day 1. With pictures! We'll take this one week at a time; the major selling point for this diet has been that it is a gradual reintroduction to food and not a permanent diet; I do not have the heart to entirely deprive him of the joy of fresh-baked bread, especially now that we have such a fantastic GF version. Looking forward to tomorrow and a new (again) adjustment to the way we use and understand our food.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Shana Tova

A new year, and not a minute too soon! I realised once it arrived that I have been ready for the change of seasons, and definitely a change of foods. Throughout this pregnancy I had been trying (unsuccessfully) to avoid gluten and dairy. Well, Malachi does not do well at all when I eat gluten, so suddenly turning these foods down is a lot easier. I just look into his sweet little face and remember the crying and discomfort and I know that slice of cake is not worth my or little dude's health. Not that I am 100% with this yet, but I am getting better. I also came to the conclusion that something is up with Adin, food-wise. Kiddo is just not quite right, has dark circles, and acts the way Asher used to when he was a wheat eating fiend. So I've been researching GAPS and SCD and I made up a list and I was READY to go to the store and reboot the diet, Warp Factor 5, YES. Then I looked in our fridge, and our pantry, and our chest freezer, which are all (thankfully) full of good food, just not the right kind of good food. So I decided that a slow approach is going to have to be the way of it, this time. We are eating through the food, buying only SCD approved foods and not replacing the non-SCD foods once we run out. By the end of the holidays we should be good to go. At least we will be closer. In the meantime I have been giving the boys (and myself) a spoonful of coconut oil every day. It may just be wishful thinking, it may be the kiddo adjusting to the new pace of life around here, but he has seemed better lately. Today I added in cod liver oil (strawberry scented, but flavorless. Why do people complain about this stuff?) and ghee (aka butter oil). This is based on many testimonials, so we shall see if things improve as we go. Today was our first day with all three. Speaking of today, here is our food diary: Breakfast: fried potatoes with ketchup Lunch: an AMAZing salad: salmon, figs and spinach sauteed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar over butter lettuce, carrots, and tomatoes (homegrown); dressed with the remaining oil and vinegar. It was amazing. Dinner: Quesadillas (with brown rice & teff tortillas), black bean and corn salad, shredded kale and carrot salad (both salads from New Seasons). I also had a slice of cheese pizza, because I was impatient and tired and hungry and overwhelmed and really need more willpower. Ugh. Drinks: water, apple cider at the farmer's market, and I had santa cruz cherry lemonade. The boys had more apple cider at home. At least, I think they did, but I'm not sure how much they actually drank since they spilled so much on the floor ($8 a gallon holy moly only water for them forever and ever.)(yeah right, who am I kidding.) Snack: blackberries and blueberries from the farmer's market. Only 1 month left! I realise I did not cook a single thing today. Thank you Milt! (and New Seasons) We also did and will be doing some holiday food celebrating, so recipes and less boring entries to come, possibly even with pictures!

Friday, June 3, 2011

'free' food time

My plan to track eating expenses crashed and burned, between illness, miscommunication and touches of financial desperation (my own, and only slightly out of proportion) my tracking plan just did not stand a chance. We did eat all that food. In fact, we eat all the food we buy, unless it ends up on the floor, and sometimes even then. (I spent an hour picking up sunflower seeds. Thanks Adin.) I am also not tracking the vitamix really. It has not paid for itself yet, but it will. I've made hummus, almond butter, gf flours, juice, almond milk, and countless smoothies. I use it almost every day, and it is awesome.

This month, out of neccesity and also because we've done it before, we are eating 'freegan'. Meaning, we are not paying for food. Usually freegan means not buying food, but we have food vouchers and ebt, so we are using those and trying not to buy anything beyond those. Can we do it? I would say yes! Since we already have done that before, back in Santa Cruz, but now I'm not so sure, In SC we had a food pantry that provided lots of produce, so it was actually pretty easy. Here the vouchers only give $12 of produce, and fruits and veggies eat through our ebt funds pretty quick, but we are going to try. I currently have black beans soaking, so sometime tomorrow we are looking at rice, beans, fried bananas, and mixed greens. Sounds tasty so far, right? Today it's cereal with almond milk, then veggie wraps and later brown rice sauteed with tomatoes, sunflower seeds and spinach. Oh, and a smoothie. Can't forget that. :)

The challenge begins!

happily, -nava

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


A little over 2 weeks ago I bought a nice kombucha, brewed some tea, poured it all into a big jar with some sugar, wrapped it all in a towel and stuck it in the cabinet above my fridge, hoping for the best. Well, it worked! I know have a thin, lovely scoby of my very own, even though my house is cold cold cold. Yay! Now I'm going to start brewing some more :)



We applied for WIC today, and got vouchers for the boys. For information's sake, let's break this down!

Voucher #1&2: $6 worth of produce. ($12 total)
Yes: whole, pre-cut, shredded, packaged; yams and sweet potatoes; bagged greens; organics ok
No: salad bar, deli or party trays; dressing or dip; nuts, dried fruit, croutons; canned or jarred; herbs or spices; other potatoes (white, red, gold, russet).
So far so good. These vouchers basically cover the banana habit in this house.

Voucher #3: 1 lb. cheese. 2 gallons whole milk. (Adin)
Voucher #4: 1 lb. cheese. 2 gallons low-fat milk. (Asher)
Voucher #5: 1 gallon whole milk. 1 quart whole milk. (Adin)
Voucher #6: 1 gallon low-fat milk. 1 quart low-fat milk. (Asher)
Yes: cheese: any brand mild/medium cheddar, colby, colby-jack, cheddar-jack, monterey jack, mozzarella. Milk: any brand, pasteurized, vitamins added; fat-free, low-fat, reduced fat; skim deluxe, ultra, supreme; *whole; *acidophilus milk; *lactose-free; *Meyenberg goat milk (evaporated, fresh, powdered); *soy (8th continent plain or Pacific Ultra plain/vanilla)
No: cheese: sharp, extra sharp or white cheddar; sliced, deli, string or shredded; organic, soy, goat or raw; cheese foods or spreads; smoked or flavored; fresh mozzarella. Milk: rice milk, buttermilk, flavored or raw; organic; added Omega-3 or Vitamin E

Here's where my brain went: What?! No organic? Excuse me? Ok, it's pricier. Um, and? I don't know about you, but that is a lot of milk to drink. Couldn't you offer a lower volume of good milk, instead of a higher volume of bleached pus and vitamin-deficient gluk? Just a thought. No added Omega 3 or vitamin E? Which the majority of these kids are deficient in? No raw? The best possible choice for milk drinkers? Whaaaaa? Now, the starred milks are available, but only if they are specifically listed in the voucher. Also, they have to be in that size. The store only sells quart sizes? Well, too bad. You have to buy it in gallon sizes or no voucher! (This was fun. Yeah.)
As far as the cheese, come on, no organic, no goat, no raw? I get that those are pricier, but they are also the best way to get nutrition from these products. How does filling kids with nutrient-deficient foods save money, even in the short run?
Also, why is Asher in low-fat milk? He's 3! He's little! He does not need low-fat anything. Weird. Ok, moving on.

Vouchers #7& 8: 1 dozen eggs, 36 oz. cereal(12oz. or larger sizes); 2 juices (64 oz. plastic bottle or 11.5-12oz. frozen); 32 oz. 100% whole wheat bread, corn tortillas or brown rice; 18 oz peanut butter (16-18 oz size) or 16 oz dried beans/peas. Ok these will be fun.
Eggs: yes: white, large, chicken eggs. No: brown; specialty (naturally nested, eggland's best, cage free, higher Omega-3/Vitamin E); organic. Again, no organic? What's wrong with brown? And what's with the war on vitamins?
Juice: This time we got pictures of the allowed juices. Let's just say, no organics were involved in the creation of these choices. Again. At least they are all 100% juice! Nice job!
Carbs: Bread: Yes: 100% whole wheat. No: light; organic. I'm sensing a theme.
Tortillas: yes: soft only; yellow or white corn; bulk is ok. No: fried or chips; flour; organic.
Brown rice: yes: jasmine/basmati ok; any brand; bulk ok. No: white, wild, instant; added seasonings: sugar, fat or oil; organic. Except for the organic part, I'd say this one is spot-on.
Cereal: Yes: General Mills cheerios, chex, kix; crispy rice (malt-o-meal/store brand); Post banana nut crunch, honey bunches of oats, grape nuts; Kellogg's corn flakes, frosted mini wheats, rice krispies, all-bran complete; Quaker oatmeal squares, life, instant grits; cream of wheat; store brand oatmeal. No: Anything else. (The store brand was too big, so we tried to get Quaker oats. Nope.)
Peanut butter: Yes: any brand, any style; bulk/grind your own ok. No: low-fat/reduced-fat; jelly/honey/Omega-3 added; honey roasted; spread; organic.
peas/beans/lentils: Yes: any brand/type, dry; bulk ok. No: added seasonings; organic. My voucher did not say lentils, so I bet it would have caused issues at the register had I tried.

We did not get the following, but hnere are the guidelines:
Infant foods: fruits and veggies:
Yes: mixed fruits & veggies ok; 4 oz. jars. No: 'dinners' or desserts; toddler food; added cereal or yogurt; meat or noodles; sugars or starches; added DHA; organic.
Meat: Yes: meat may contain broth or gravy. 2.5 oz. No: 'dinners' or 'casseroles'; fruit, vegetables or noodles; toddler food; added DHA; organic.
Cereal: Yes: 8 oz. or larger. No: added formula, milk, yogurt or fruit; added DHA; jars, cans, single serving packets; organic.

So, these vouchers give a really good array of foods, my only issue, really, is the anti-organics and anti-vitamins stipulations. Which are nuts. Also the sheer volume of milk they expect my kids to consume. Do people really drink that much milk? When I was little I drank milk, but I would be given a glass or so a day, so I guess I can see it. I just haven't had milk in so long that I can't even picture drinking that much myself. Anyhow, it's an interesting system, and it does a lot of good to a lot of people, so we are very thankful for it. :)

* I took my vouchers back to get them changed to goat's milk. They are now:
Voucher #3: 1 lb. cheese. 7 quarts whole goat milk. (Adin)
Voucher #4: 1 lb. cheese. 7 quarts low-fat milk. (Asher)
Voucher #5: 6 quarts whole goat milk. (Adin)
Voucher #6: 6 quarts low-fat goat milk. (Asher)

That is a lot of cheese and yogurt! Maybe even some butter! I think I'll ask in June if I can switch Asher's to whole as well, we'll see!