Posted in musings on March 14, 2012 by askthesky

That bark I made yesterday?  The coconut bark?  Turned out amazingly delicious.  Just thought I’d let you know.  

Linky love…

Posted in gfcf diet, life in general, primal cooking with tags , on March 13, 2012 by askthesky

Um, I have been bad about taking photos lately.  But!  I have lots of things to recommend to you today, that others have been posting, and that I have been trying.

First!  My nephew had his b-day party last Saturday, and although my sweet sister went to the trouble of baking Cherrybrook Kitchen cupcakes and making icing from scratch that was safe for the kids (thank you, sissy!), I wanted something for husband and me that was festive and birthday-ish without being so very full of refined sugar and junk.  I ended up making this cookie dough dip, but I changed it up a bit.  I’ve been having a serious craving for truffles lately, for some reason, so I rolled the “dip” into balls (I think I added a little more almond flour to facilitate this), stuck them in the deep-freezer for a couple hours, then dipped them in melted 80% dark chocolate.  They weren’t really hard (the coating was, but not the inside), even after a night time rest in the freezer, but I sort of loved that, b/c it made the coating sort of crunchy and hard, but the filling stayed nice and soft, like… a TRUFFLE.  Which is what I was going for.  I’m really excited to get my pre-ordered copy of Eat Like A Dinosaur, written by the Paleo Parents who came up with this brilliant recipe.

Tonight, I decided it was time to use up the rest of my Coconut Cream Concentrate.  I made chocolate fudge with it at Christmas, which was Very Very Good, but I still had about half the jar left (I got the big one), and it’s been taunting me up there in the cabinet.  I decided to try this recipe, which looks so pretty in the photos over there (go, I’ll wait… weren’t they nice?), but I wanted to dull the coconutty-ness a little.  The fudge was really good, but there’s something very science-experiment about the consistency of the cream concentrate.  It’s like that substance I used to have my students make with cornstarch and water- just when you think it’s a solid, it’s not.  Anyway.  I melted the coconut cream concentrate, melted some super dark chocolate, and chopped up some dried cherries and blueberries (Trader Joe’s).  I poured out the coconut first, then scattered the fruit and some sliced almonds over the top.  Then I topped it with the chocolate and spread it over the top so that it completely covered  the coconut.  It’s setting in the fridge now, I’ll let you know what we all thought of it.

Thanks, internet, for the great ideas!  Next post, I need to outline my family’s new favorite side dish- Spaghetti Squash Lasagna.  With pictures, for crying out loud…

So, I have this new business…

Posted in charm city craft mafia, crafting, musings, super fun for little one with tags , , , , , , , on March 5, 2012 by askthesky

…with my friend Julia!  It’s called Meep!Craft, and we make things for babies and mamas and all kinds of other happy people out of “upcycled” clothing.  This is a fancy way of saying that we take donated clothing, shirts and pants and skirts that are sad and forgotten, and give them new life!  It’s pretty fun, and good for the earth, too!  There’s a line of lunchbox products that are perfect for Primal/Paleo snacks! If you’re in need of a baby gift, a pretty pick-me-up for yourself, or some eco-friendly housewares, check it out!



Does it have to be so hard?

Posted in musings on March 5, 2012 by askthesky

First things first: I had an incredibly good lunch today. Wanna see?

<insert obligatory iphone photo apologies here>

It’s chicken pot pie casserole (I use the filling recipe from Paleo Comfort Foods, plus one tablespoon of arrowroot starch mixed with cold water), and top it with my own biscuit topping (almond flour +salt, cut in grassfed butter, add one egg, mix with hands until smooth), and very spicy chorizo and greens, loosely based on this recipe over here.  Except my chorizo is crazy spicy, so I don’t use the hot sauce or vinegar, and I added half a shredded purple cabbage, too.  YUM.  I have found that I feel much healthier, generally, when I have at least one serving of cooked greens a day.  This time, I made a whole bag of trader joe’s “greens for cooking”, plus the cabbage, so I’m pretty much set for the week on that.  Score.

You know, internets?  I’ve been thinking a lot today about this whole eating thing.  I got a lovely note via Facebook this morning from my friend Katie (Hiya, Katie!  Don’t be a lurker!) about my food posts and how she’s inspired by my attitude- I think she said (maybe misquoting you here, K, but I’m too lazy to go over and look to be sure) that I make it seem like a super fun adventure rather than a big, splinter-like chore.  I was so tickled, and most of the time, I do feel as though it’s an adventure.  Sometimes, a splinter, but usually, a fun fun partycook time.  I love to cook, though, so there’s that.

Lately, I’ve been having some pushback from someone in our lives (HINT: someone who used to be married to me).  Now, when the kids are with this person, they do not eat gluten or dairy.  They do eat loads of corn, rice, beans, and a whole host of other non-primal/non-paleo compliant foods.  Foods that Mark Sisson would call ‘cheap calorie sources’.  Now, this makes sense, as this person needs to save all the money possible.  But I’m not here to talk about this other person, not really.  I’m here to say this: when my family is with me, they will eat primally.  When they are not, I hope that they will not be given gluten- that much is very important to me, especially given Z’s autism.  But beyond that, I have let go of my expectations.  They will encounter things outside of this house that are not “clean” foods, that much is certain.  What’s important to me is that they (and I’m including my current, super-husband in this list) GET IT.  They know why we don’t eat the things we don’t eat, and they know why we do eat the things we do eat.  Just this afternoon, my daughter had the chance to have some of her (gluten-free) Valentine’s Day candy for an afternoon snack, but she chose to have some grapes instead.  When I asked her why, she said, “I just feel like grapes would be better for right before I do my homework.”  Brilliant, this one.

So, all this to say: no, I don’t want to take over the world with my primal mind power.  Well, I sort of do, but… (did you hear that they’re launching a certification program soon?  So tempting!)  My point here is, I am realistic about this way of living.  I know that my kids will eat things that aren’t healthy, and I know that sometimes, I really want a gluten-free cupcake, so I make one.  And I eat it.  And life as we know it, does in fact, go on.

I’m trying to remember that when dealing with the folks who have such a hard time understanding our choices.  To see their fear, or their lack of understanding, as something to approach with compassionate love, just like I try to approach every other situation.  Then, I think of all the many people who have asked me for food help recently, or the people like Katie, who have been quietly inspired, or the people who commented on the photo I posted of my husband on Facebook this morning that shows how much weight he’s lost in the past few months.  Those who want or need me, find me.  Those who are threatened by my choices, are threatened.  Que sera sera.

Planning with my helpful partner

Posted in musings on February 25, 2012 by askthesky

The haps, as of late…

Posted in gfcf diet, life in general, musings, primal cooking with tags , , on February 23, 2012 by askthesky

So!  We got some new windows in our house!  I realize this is likely only exciting to me and my husband, but I’m going to show you some photos anywho:

Old windows = Crudsville, USA

Nice packing tape screen patch, eh?  We’re all class over here.


Here's the surprisingly unsettling empty window hole

New wondrous window goodness!

Of course, I had to buy new curtains.  The old wood blinds just weren’t cutting it with these new, sexy windows.  I got the kids plain black (above), because I don’t care what their wants and needs might be.  Mother of the year!  Seriously, though, the Target had NO cute curtains that weren’t ridiculously gender specific.  In fact, they only had girly ones, and one “manly” print for a boy’s room that was inexplicably covered in frogs.  Like, anatomically correct, from a biology textbook frogs.  Maybe for the boy’s bedroom in a… hunting lodge?  In the wilds of Canada?  I don’t know, people.  I got the black ones.  I actually like them a lot, cause they block out a lot more of the light than the wood blinds did, therefore facilitating the possibility of the children sleeping in past 7 on a Saturday morning.  And truly, it’s the little things.  I got new curtains for our room, too, wheeee!

They are purple with a white paisley-esque print on them.  Not too girly, though.  They really give the room a “someone gave a crap” kind of a feeling.  I dig it.

Ok, enough about the windows, woman!  On to some cooking… things have been really doused in homemade chicken stock the past couple of days (weeks), since we’ve all been sick in one way or another recently.  I’ve managed to make a few other things, though, including fake Larabars (using this fantastic recipe).  They are approximately 1/16th of the cost of actual, real-life, non-imposter Larabars, which are now dead to me.  Also!  Meatballs!

Here’s how I make meatballs, which I tend to make once a week if not once an hour.  We love the meatballs.

Ground meat (I usually use 2 pounds of ground beef and 2 pounds of ground pork)

eggs (if you’re using 4 pounds, 3 eggs- one pound, 1 egg)

seasonings of your fancy (these had greek seasoning, and dear LORD were they amazing- if I’m doing Italian ones, I’d add a little worcestershire, some garlic powder, basil, and lots of oregano)

Mix the above ingredients together until everything is happily mingling and making small talk.  Then, dust over the top some almond flour.  I can’t give you a measurement here, because it really depends on how moist your meat was (sorry, I hate that word, too, but ‘wet’ seemed even more gross).  You want the mixture to hold together well without crumbling.  Add almond flour a little at a time, mixing as you go, until you can pinch a little bit of meat together in a ball and it holds its shape.

Use a teeny tiny scoop to scoop out meatballs onto a lined (parchment or silpat) cookie sheet.  My scoop is 2 tablespoons, which I think is a great size for soups or appetizers.  I like them smaller because they cook quicker, and hold together better.  Bake them at 375 for about 15 minutes.  Rotate your pan(s) and bake for another 10 or so, if they aren’t browning yet.  Take them out when they’ve got a nice color, and try in vain to hide them from your ravenous family.

There have also been some lovely brussels sprouts:



AND, I bought myself an apron for Valentine’s Day, because the kitchen was my Valentine.  I couldn’t resist it.

Cook covered in hearts, signing off!

Discipline reminder

Posted in gfcf diet, life in general, primal cooking with tags , , on February 6, 2012 by askthesky

I am sick as a skunk today, home from work and everything- all because I couldn’t tell the difference this weekend between eating out and giving myself a much-deserved break from cooking, and eating out CLEAN and giving myself a much-deserved break from cooking.  Saturday, I had a carnitas burrito bowl from Chipotle, sans rice and beans. Totally and completely “clean” (meaning, compliant with the eating plan that doesn’t turn my body into a trash dump), right?  Right!  BUT NOT IF YOU DOWN TWO GIANT CUPS OF HFCS SODA.


Sunday, we went out again (twice in one weekend!), to one of our fav little burger places, and had burgers without buns, with veggies.  Great meal!  One I often make at home!  Here’s the thing, though.  I have a lot of trouble resisting french fries.  And then dipping the non-resisted french fries in HFCS ketchup.  The waitress goofed this time and left the potato chips on the plates too, instead of subbing the fries, so of course I decided to eat a few of those, too.  I didn’t want them to feel left out.

For dinner last night, I made chili for the superbowl in the slow cooker all day, then whipped up some guacamole when we got home to top it.  I also made a sort of frozen yogurt type dessert for husband and me with coconut milk and berries, whizzed in the food processor with a little bit of honey and vanilla.

I went to bed around 10:30, and slept for probably half an hour or so before I was hit with the most intense stomach cramping I have had to date.  It was nearly unbearable, and I couldn’t really lie still or sleep for the rest of the night.  I felt so bad to wake my husband at 4am to let him know I needed him not to go to his early morning swim, because I needed him to rouse the kids and make breakfasts and lunches.  I had a fever, chills, still the stomach cramping, and now a raging headache to boot, along with hardly any sleep.  And now, several hours of sleep later, I still have the headache and a low-grade fever.  Do I think it’s the flu?  Nope.  I think it’s the crap I couldn’t resist eating this weekend.

Now it’s a prescription of lots of tea and water, homemade bone broth, and clean foods when I feel like my body can take them.  There’s some braised kale in the fridge that’s sounding mighty good right now, alongside some scrambled eggs.

In happier news, here’s some things I’ve been cooking lately:

Cauliflower Soup, Veggie Bacon Egg Pie, Pulled Pork

Aforementioned Egg Pie with roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli

Z's fav new snack: Celery filled with apple butter and coconut flakes

Laptop lunches- the breads are spinach garlic almond flour rolls

Canning Adventure!

This last one- Z and I decided to get some little persian cukes at the trader joe’s last week, so we made one little jar of pickles together.  I had leftover brine, so I thought I’d try some giardiniera– Italian pickled veggies, but I only had carrots and cauliflower, so I tossed in some garlic, and we’ll see how it turned out in a couple of weeks.