Entrees, Organics, Primal, Recipes

Primal Mustard and Dill Salmon

Day two of the Primal Blueprint 21 Day Challenge and my son wanted salmon. He LOVES salmon and sweet potatoes, so that’s exactly what he got.

Luckily this was another meal that was super simple to prepare, so it didn’t take up much of the time I needed to spend with the kids. Earlier in the day I was able to make a great broccoli salad with Primal Kitchen mayo (another dish that my son can’t get enough of). Potatoes went in the oven and stayed there until after bedtime for Rowan and bath time was over for Griffin.

I served the salmon with broccoli salad and baked sweet potatoes covered in butter.

Mustard and Dill Salmon

Mustard and Dill Salmon

Ingredients

  • 1 – 1.5 lb. Salmon
  • 3 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. dried dill weed
  • 1 tbsp. Coconut Flour
  • 2 tbsp. Avocado Oil

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425. Mix all dry ingredients together, then add in avocado oil. Spread evenly over salmon and place on a baking pan with a non-stick rack (not necessary, but allows the excess fat on salmon to drip down instead of congealing and looking all white and slimy). Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on how done and flaky you prefer your salmon.

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Entrees, Organics, Primal, Recipes

Primal Enchilada Chicken

When my husband really likes a meal I’ve made (and let’s be honest, I’m a great cook so he loves them all, right?) he tells me to remember the recipe so we can keep in on regular rotation. Which I ultimately fail to do. The recipe gets lost among the other thousand I’ve pinned to Pinterest, and never gets placed upon our table again.

But with the Primal Blueprint 21 day challenge in full swing at our house, combined with my need to simplify and spend less on everything including our grocery bill, I’ve had to get creative and attempt simple, tasty meals that don’t cost an arm and a leg, and are super healthy to boot. A task many would say might be near impossible.

But I was up for the challenge!

This week I’ve made three winners that are going to be on regular rotation not only because they fulfilled the above requirements, but because they were so easy that I wasn’t spending all afternoon cooking – which is pretty much a requirement when two small children are in the house.

First up was a recipe a friend of mine had texted me Monday morning, as I was on my way to the grocery store frantic that I didn’t have a meal plan. She said they cook it all the time in her household, and that the end result tastes just like enchiladas without the tortillas.

CheddarIt was so simple I was almost worried it couldn’t possibly taste good, but it did! It’s one of those recipes that doesn’t have precise ingredients, because it’s all about doing what’s simple and to your taste.

We ate this with roasted broccoli covered in butter. Mmmmmmmm.

Enchilada Chicken

Primal Enchilada Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1-1.5 pounds chicken thighs or breasts (whichever is your preference – we chose thighs because of cost)
  • Salsa of Choice (We used Trader Joe’s Organic version)
  • Organic Tomato Slices
  • Grassfed Cheese (Dubliner or Trader Joe’s Grassfed New Zealand Cheddar works well)
  • Scallions (Optional)
  • Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper as desired.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Slice tomatoes to about 1/2 inch thickness. Season chicken to your liking and place in an 8×8 casserole dish. Arrange tomato slices on top, then pour your choice of salsa over this. Cover with as much cheese as you like; I sliced up about 10 strips from the block of Grassfed New Zealand cheddar I had and simply arranged that way. Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken, and when cheese is very golden and starting to brown. Enjoy!

Organics, Primal, Recipes, Snacks, Treats, Uncategorized

The Only Paleo Bread that Works for Me

I was thrown into the world of preschool parenting this week. There was no gentle nudge, but a well-meaning push sent me into the grocery stores to gather snack items for the children. I think I’ve mentioned that our school alternates families to purchase the week’s snack items. Well, I signed up for the first week, in order to get it over with (and control what my child was putting into his mouth). I’m neurotic, what can I say?

The list was long, and included many things my son wouldn’t be eating. Among those things were crackers, pita bread, and bagels. This was mostly for the lower elementary students, but I know some of it makes it’s way into our toddler class. However, there was one itemswith an asterick beside it – homemade bread. Griffin’s teacher knew we were on a special diet, and was also aware that I liked to cook. So she suggested my bringing in some Paleo bread for the class.

Wonderful, right?!

Except that it’s one thing to make something in the safety and seclusion of your own kitchen, knowing that no matter how it turns out your family will love you. It’s quite another thing to supply grain free bread to strangers and cross your fingers in hopes they don’t think you feed your children nothing but rabbit food and cardboard.

photoSo I spent yesterday baking.

And EVERY SINGLE recipe I tried was a failure. It didn’t matter how good the reviews were or how much the blogger raved about her perfected Paleo bread recipe. It either tasted exactly like scrambled eggs or it refused to rise. One managed to do both. Did I mention the recipe also had to be nut free, as well? With small children devouring my cooking, there was no way I was going to chance an allergic reaction. My own son has never even had nuts.

However, there is one recipe that has never failed me. It takes a bit more effort (which is why I was attempted new recipes in the first place), but it tastes just like homemade bread! Both my husband and my father give this a thumb’s up, which is a testament to just how delicious this stuff really is.

It comes from Sarah over at The Paleo Mom. She remains to be the only source I’ve found for a grain free bread machine recipe that actually rises and tastes like true, homemade bread. Sarah, Thank You, Thank You! The children at my son’s preschool will be thanking you tomorrow, as well!

You can find the Nut-Free Yeast-Based Paleo Bread here,  and check below to see my notes!

Grain-Free, Nut-Free Paleo Bread

  • For the Flaxseed, I have used pre-ground regular flaxseed before, but found it very easy to grind my own golden flaxseed with a coffee grinder.
  • For the Arrowroot Flour, I have had success also using potato flour, or simply doubling up on the Tapioca
  • Raw Pepitas are pumpkin seeds! Measure, then grind in either a coffee grinder or food processor.
  • It can be a little disconcerting not to mix everything together before putting it in the bread machine, but the machine knows what it’s doing! I do generally mix the dry ingredients together before putting them in, because I just can’t put 100% faith in my mom’s 25 year old bread machine.
  • Make sure to follow Sarah’s advice and use a spatula to help kneed the dough!! I did this about once every 5 minutes during the initial kneed cycle.
  • The top of this bread isn’t going to be pretty. Just cut the loaf on it’s side and use the crust to keep the bread fresh.

 

Do you have a bread recipe that actually works? Sometimes Pinterest is great, but I find that I spend more time sifting through the recipes than I do cooking!

Baby, Books, Eating, Health, Organics, Parenthood

They Gave My Son…Cheerios

CheeriosGoing to church has been a challenge for us since Griffin was born. He is a child who loves his schedule, and that schedule includes a nap from 10am-11am. Since church starts at 11, that leaves me driving separately and lugging baby to his Sunday school class almost an hour after the other children have arrived. Which means we haven’t gone that often.

When we do go, it seems there’s always some type of challenge, but the main problem I’ve been having is in terms of food. I know I’m in the teeny, tiny minority when it comes to feeding my baby. He doesn’t get sugar, grains, or anything inorganic. And although I used to allow the nursery volunteers to feed Griffin food I brought from home, I quickly stopped that after hearing one discussing another baby in the class.

“He seemed hungry after I fed him everything his mother brought, so I gave him some cheerios.”

After my moment of panic, I relaxed. I would just tell them not to feed him anything, and I could do it myself after church. Problem solved. I also wrote it down on the sign-in sheet and underlined it for good measure.

But even after all that, when Jeremy went to the nursery after church to pick Griffin up today, he asked the volunteer how he handled everything.

“Oh, he was fussy at the beginning, but I just gave him a few cheerios and he seemed better.”

This is the point in which my husband freaks out and eventually goes in search of the Children’s Ministry director. Luckily, the volunteer (frantically) assured him that she only offered a few Cheerios, and Griffin would only take the first one. After that, he wasn’t interested. That’s right, he knew it wasn’t real food and wanted no part of it! I was a proud momma.

Unfortunately, even though the director assured Jeremy that this wouldn’t happen again, I’m sure everyone involved was thinking that we were simply Nazi parents. They’re just Cheerios, after all. Practically a right of childhood.

But that’s where I want to sit them down and share my viewpoint. It’s not JUST a Cheerio. It’s a genetically modified, ultra-processed grain. My son has never had anything remotely like that in his life. Not only would he not know what to do with something that texture and could potentially choke on it, but he might have an allergic reaction. It’s my job as his mother to introduce new foods to him.

Why is it that parents follow certain “rules” to the letter? Whattoexpect.com gives a long list of foods to never give babies under 12 months. Can you imagine if some stranger offered your kid honey or peanuts? Wouldn’t you have a minor heart attack and be looking for signs of an allergic reaction the rest of the day?

This is how I feel about grains. And for good reason, although as I’ve already stated, I’m in the minority where this is concerned.

Babies are functionally grain intolerant – their small bodies aren’t ready to digest grains. This is because until about three years of age, they don’t have a complete set of carbohydrate enzymes that can break them down. Especially where GMO, processed foods are concerned, grains at that age can lead to allergies, asthma ADHD, and even autism. Experts from the National Institute of Environmental Health also report that even very low toxic exposure in early life is a factor in a variety of behavioral problems and autoimmune conditions.

From Super Nutrition for Babies:

Cereals (like Cheerios) are

Chemical – Due to the processing they endure, cereals are sources of toxins, created via a high-heat process called extrusion, which denatures proteins, turning them into neurotoxins. Whole grains are even worse, as they contain more protein. Due to high heat during processing, cereals also contain more than 500 times the safe limit of a class 2A toxin: acrylamides. This toxin causes cancer and has a variety of other toxic effects in human and animal studies.

Sugar Loaded

Grains

    • Hard to Digest – At this age, your baby is barely making starch-digesting enzymes. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, oats, and most cereals, is particularly hard to digest. Undigested proteins increase your child’s risk of developing gluten intolerance and allergies. (Considering I am gluten intolerant, this increases Griffin’s odds even more).
    • Lead to Autoimmune Disease – Early gluten introduction has been shown to play a role in the development of Celiac disease, as well as other autoimmune disorders. As the incidence of Celiac disease (and other autoimmune disorders) is on a steep rise, some experts postulate that this increase might be directly related to early and excessive gluten-containing diets, including an increasing reliance on grain foods for babies.

Addictive – A special enzyme (called DPP-4) is needed to digest gluten. Since babies don’t yet have this gluten-busting enzyme, the gluten can get “stuck” in a partially digested form. Called gluteomorphin, this partially digested protein acts similar to other opiates – opium, morphine, and heroin – clouding and fogging the brain, hindering development and perception, and altering behavior. Since gluteomorphins are just as addicting as other opiate drugs, your baby can get physically hooked on cereal and wheat.

Processed

So, with all that said, do I think all these issues are going to happen to Griffin because of ONE Cheerio? No, of course not. He didn’t have a reaction to the tiny amount he had (and you can bet I was looking closely).

But I don’t know that I can trust that he won’t be given more in the future, either. And that’s a shame. In our culture, babies are given food for everything – celebrations, boredom, and in Griffin’s case, when they are upset. Kids usually get 2-3 snacks a day, not to mention constant grazing. But I don’t carry around snacks for him, and I don’t want strangers feeding him, either. It really makes me sad that as a parent, my requests aren’t listened to. Having childcare at church is a huge blessing, but if I don’t feel safe (or feel that my child is safe in any way), I have difficulty bringing him again and again.

What would you do in my situation? I’m really torn right now. Any comments at all are welcome!!

Baby Food, Eating, Organics

First Foods: Sweet Potato Bisque

I thought I would start a regular feature on the blog featuring recipes for the foods we’re giving Griffin, with success (and failure) stories thrown in, as well.

Up first is something we tried for the first time yesterday. Although he’s had sweet potatoes many times now, this was Griffin’s first introduction to soup.

Soup is a relative term though, because it’s primarily puréed sweet potatoes, with bone broth added to thin it slightly. This results in a very creamy, rich bisque. It was so good, Jeremy and I could have easily eaten it for dinner!

Sweet PotatoThe bone broth adds tons of nutrients that babies need, such as calcium, collagen, and especially iron. This last is very important for us, since I’ve chosen not to feed Griffin grains, which are generally fortified with iron (as a side note, this type of iron isn’t well digested and most just goes to waste).

It’s actually been difficult to find good baby food recipes. I’ve recently found some cookbooks based on the foods that French families serve their children. This has been really helpful, but I’m still making things up as I go. The cookbook that goes with my Beaba Babycook hasn’t yet come in, but I’m excited to look through it. I really adore my babyfood maker – it makes things so simple! Unless I can serve the foods raw, this is the primary way I’ve cooked his food. But anyone can easily make the same recipes using a food processor, as well.

BeabaIsn’t the Beaba a beautiful piece of equipment? The Latte Mint version matches my kitchen very well, so I don’t feel bad if it sits out on the counter all day.

Griffin was a HUGE fan of the bisque! It will now be in regular rotation.

Sweet Potato Bisque

For this recipe, I had previously pureed a batch of sweet potatoes with my Beaba. I did this by cutting up 3 small sweet potatoes, steaming them, then pureeing and dividing into 1 oz. portions (the Beaba food trays are 2 oz. portions, so I filled each only halfway).

For the bone broth, I expanded on my previous recipe by adding carrots, celery, and a small amount of parsley into the crockpot. I also added 3 chicken feet for extra collagen.

In a sauce pan, combine 1 oz. of sweet potatoes with the broth, stirring until combined and hot. Pour into your baby bowl of choice, allowing to cool slightly.

Serve warm to baby. Watch your little one gobble it up!

Baby Products, Organics, Pregnancy

One Week in the Life of a Pregnant Grad Student

What a week this has been! After getting back from the beach Tuesday night, it was a whirlwind of reading and finalizing a paper before class Wednesday night. When the time rolled around to head to school, it took everything within me not to email the teacher a sick note. I was exhausted!

But thoughts our Baby Moon ran through my head, and I knew I couldn’t spare an absence for such a silly reason as exhaustion. With that in mind, I made my way first to Whole Foods to pick up an early dinner, and then straight to class to sit out the next 2.5 hours of lecture.

Somehow within the next month, I’m going to have to write two short papers and have a presentation ready to be presented the day we return from Disney. Who knows how that will get done, when I have fun things to distract me such as planning a nursery!

Speaking of nursery plans, a designer came out on Thursday and helped me choose new wall colors for the house, as well as picking out some beautiful blues to deck the walls of the nursery. We settled on everything from the living and dining rooms, to the ceilings and even some Marie Antionette-inspired wallpaper for the master bath.

I love shades of white!

That brainstorm of home decor really got me in planning mood, so Jeremy and I went and completed the Baby registry yesterday!

Registering, by the way, is perhaps the most daunting task imaginable. You thought your wedding registry seemed difficult when picking between one china pattern and another? Try looking at bottles and nipples that have very little difference at all!! Speaking of bottles, we chose to do glass, so that at least cut out some of the guess work. Target only carries Evenflo, and Babies R Us no longer carries any at all!

That seemed to be a trend with us, actually. We weren’t able to add some things weren’t able to the registry at all. Jeremy and I both want to use very natural products, so we’ve opted to purchase our own baby care products such as shampoos and diaper creams, as well as the diapers themselves. For this, Jessica Alba has an amazing line of products called The Honest Company, and we’ll be stocking up very shortly! Her baby care line seems top notch, but I also really love Mambino. I currently use their Body Toning Oil and Belly Butter, so I would really love to try the baby line of products, as well.

I can’t get over the pirate booty my child will have with the skull and crossbones diapers!

I absolutely adore the skull and crossbones design of some of The Honest Company’s diapers!

Oh, and speaking of purchases, the refrigerator died while I was in Florida, leaving us with a freezer filled to the brim with bad meat. Although cleaning that out was a nightmare, we purchased a brand new fridge yesterday, which I am in love with! I feel so grown up just saying that, but this appliance really is beautiful, and even has LED lights to brighten your day when you open up the French doors. The price was its own version of a bad dream, but luckily we knew we wanted to begin replacing all the ugly black kitchen appliances at some point anyway.

Gotta start somewhere, right?

Organics, Pregnancy Diet

Fall Veggies From the Farm

The loot I picked up at the farm today!

After a summer of more cucumbers, summer squash, and potatoes than I can ever remember eating, the fall vegetables are finally being harvested on the farm where we have a CSA. Community Supported Agriculture is a great way to get in plenty of vegetables, and a fantastic method of saving money when eating real, quality food. CSAs are available on most farms, from small town mom and pop operations, to larger city farms that supply many local restaurants.

Our farm provides sturdy wooden boxes for carting your harvest home.

Real Food Farms is fairly new to the Nashville CSA scene, and because of this they yield a small crop each season. I’ve really loved all of the zucchini (for making noodles), cucumbers (to dip in sour cream), and even potatoes (for the occasional stuffed baked potato dinner splurge).

But what I have little use for are all the spring lettuces that transfer into the summer months. I don’t know what to do with any of it!! Sure, I find recipes for Swiss Chard and Kale all the time, but when it’s not frozen or pre-washed, my mind draws a blank. Once again, this could be the city girl in me that can’t figure out how to handle farm-fresh veggies. Or it’s simply a matter of laziness, of which I have no excuse.

But Fall is coming! Today, after traveling down the long, bumpy dirt road that led to the farm, I hopped out of my car to discover a barn filled to the brim with all new vegetables. Well, the lettuce and potatoes were still in abundance, but I steered away from those in favor of the new stuff.

Oh how I love Winter Squash!! Spaghetti and Acorn varieties were piled one on top of another, and I quickly filled my arms with them. Not only that, but gone were the plain tomatoes, to be replaced by beautifully ugly Heirloom varieties. And Watermelon! Piles of this large fruit sat waiting to be tasted, but I turned away at the last minute if favor of the Okra. I felt that Baby White could get more use out of the vegetables.

The very cow my yogurt came from.

Lastly I picked up a pint of raw, grass fed yogurt that comes from the farm’s cows. I’ve seen these animals – they are beautiful, not at all like some of the mass-market cows I’ve witnessed. The yogurt they produce is top-notch, as well! Judging from the containers of yogurt I’ve been putting away lately, I’d say that Dairy is something my body likes right now, and I’m excited to continue giving it the very best kind.

Want to know a little more about CSAs? Here’s a video that explains!

Check out other CSA blogs at In Her Chucks!