Wednesday, 29 June 2011

My Favourite Eggs

My veg box arrived today.  I am using Riverford Organic these days.  It kind of takes the fun out of it because they tell you ahead of time what is in each box.  My son helped me choose our box this week, which he said had to have spinach, which is part of his favourite meal (fish, sakumawiki and ugali--see recipes for these on the blog). 
But when the spinach arrived today, I just couldn't resist using a few leaves for my lunch!  It is so simple.  Who says healthy has to be complicated?  And I used our new bowl for the first time.  My son painted the inside, my baby's footprints are on the outside, and I did a few spots for fun.

You will need:

Butter or olive oil for frying
half of a spring onion or salad onion (or some regular onion), chopped
handful of fresh spinach, washed
2 eggs, beaten

1.  Fry the onion in some butter until soft.
2.  Add the spinach and stir until wilted.
3.  Add the beaten egg and cook thoroughly.
4.  Serve with salt and pepper to taste.

This may not be glamorous, but it is quick, easy, and full of nutrients. 

Clearing Out

While I was pregnant I really wanted to organise my home in preparation for the new arrival and the change of routine she would bring to our household.  But since I was often quite ill, and usually unrealistic, I did not accomplish nearly as much as I would have liked.  Funnily enough, since she has been born I have really been clearing out tons of stuff.  In my efforts I have found loads of boxes and bags I have stuffed into cupboards, attics, and closets over the years.  I found a huge bag of clothes which I had packed up to give to charity which had been placed in my son's closet.  The plastic bags they were in was starting to decay. 

Since I am housesitting (technically), I actually live in a house with a mixture of our stuff and the owner's (my cousin) stuff. And most of my cousin's stuff is actually stuff which has been here for many, many years.  Like war rations, army tents, dusty books, binoculars in leather cases, and the like.  And I have used this selection of clutter as an excuse not to clear out.  Sure, I got rid of most things which were actually rotten, mouldy, broken, or wouldn't be missed if I donated them the the Village Fete.  And that left a rather large amount of objects still.  And over the last ten years I have managed to accumulate so many of my own things which I have added to the mess (to be frank). 

But now I am having a purge.  I would love to sell some of my stuff, and I might get around to it.  But for the most part I just want it out.  Give everything to charity, the rubbish tip, or the recycling centre.  I can't believe the things I am finding again, and really wondering why I kept some of it.  Especially when someone else could use it.  (And then I will have room to get more stuff!)


Well, after studying information from the Weston A. Price Foundation, I am trying to review our fats.  I think this is an area where we are not doing too badly but that we need to make a few changes still.  I have long been an advocate of eating real food.  For example, I have always chosen to eat butter, preferably organic, rather than manufactured margarine.  Even these new fangled "heart healthy" spreads do not tempt me.  Firstly because my cholesterol is really quite low, secondly because they do not taste nice, and thirdly because I don't go out of my way to buy overly processed things when something natural will do.  (I do buy processed foods of many kinds, but that is for another day). 

According to the Foundation, however, I "should" be eating lots MORE butter, preferably raw from grass fed cows.  Well, we will see.  I don't have access to raw dairy products at all.  Or I should say that I choose not to buy a pint of milk and have to spend £10, (yes, it is true) to have it delivered.  Weekly.  So until I move or I buy a cow, the raw thing just isn't going to happen.  I do however have a source of dairy products which are not homogenized.  This is a good thing because it is less processing as well as being healthier according to my Nourishing Traditions Cookbook.  This is because homogenizing milk means that after heating through pasteurisation (and killing off helpful enzymes), the milk has the fat removed, then added back in in precise quantities.  The process itself isn't helpful or healthful. 

I have taken the bold step of ordering once again from Riverford Organic once again.  I wrote in another post about my misgivings about their veg and meat box schemes, as well as their dairy products which are not local to me at all.  But in the interests of health I would really like to try out their "healthier" milk products for a while to see if we like them.  I have ordered milk, butter and cream to make our own butter and buttermilk.

A few months ago I started buying whole cow and goats milk products.  Most of these are organic.  But this change to Riverford will ensure everything is organic and I am choosing their whole milk products.  Not sure what to do about goats milk, which we seem to digest more easily though...but I was trying to write about fats....

Nourishing Traditions Cookbook

I have finally got my hands on a copy of this book after months of reading blogs and websites about it.  I am devouring the pages as I breastfeed and I am shocked by much of the information within.  Some of it flies in the face of current healthy guidelines provided by government agencies and nutritionists.  I think that you can't believe everything that you read, and this is no exception, but I also think there is something to this. 

The research and recipes are inspired by traditional diets throughout the world.  The premise is that whole foods are healthier---no surprise there, but that we thrive on fermented foods, animals fats, and raw milk products.  These products, being unrefined still contain natural enzymes and nutrients which are vital for good health and digestion.  The book also suggests that grains, beans, and nuts need to be soaked or sprouted for us to get the benefit--and to remove "toxic" substances. 

If you want a taster of some of the recipes or theories you can find several blogs out there where people have been trying the recipes out.  Two are found below in my favourite websites list---the is really informative.

I find that the information can be quite overwhelming at times, but I would like to try to implement some of the practices into our family life.  At this point I would probably say that I won't subscribe to this way of eating 100%.  I can't imagine giving up chocolate for instance.  Or going to somebody's house for dinner and refusing the food because the wheat wasn't ground in their kitchen the day before to be soaked overnight.... We need to live in this world with other people in it.  But I am hoping that even making some small changes might improve our health.

Cod Liver Oil Tastes Awful!

I have been reading a lot about cod liver oil lately.  Especially High Quality Fermented Cod Liver Oil.  There are so many benefits to this supplement, especially its high levels of vitamins A, D as well as DHA and EPA.  The Weston A. Price Foundation recommend that pregnant and nursing mothers consume both liver and cod liver oil.  This is against what experts in both the USA and UK recommend---for pregnant women anyway.  Look at their Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers to find out why Weston A. Price thinks differently.

I did not follow this diet during my two pregnancies or while nursing my son.  But it isn't too late to improve my diet with my daughter who is currently two months old.  And so I thought one easy step to improve my diet would be to add some cod liver oil.  I chose a highly rated brand called Blue Ice Fermented Oil with a Cinnamon Tingle Flavour.  I chose the liquid over capsules in the hopes that I could convince my four year old to have some too.  It is sold in many countries and I purchased mine from who sell a wide variety of foods and supplements.

But it tastes awful!!!  And when you burp (which happens on occasion) it has an aftertaste.  I was sorely tempted to wash it down with a chocolate bar, a big one, which will do little for my healthy diet efforts. Still this is the best thing for my breastmilk according to the experts, and the bottle was amazingly expensive, so I need to stick with it.  Having said that I just placed an order with to try their less expensive capsules and their St. Clements (lemon and orange) flavour oil.  It has some really good reviews from customers who claim it doesn't have an aftertaste.  Wish me luck.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Bento Accessories

Here are a few Bento Accessories.  There are food picks, sauce pots, small utensils, and reusable baran (which are used to divide different foods).  I had to order these items from the USA because I cannot find a source within the UK.  So far my collection fits nicely into a Lock-n-Lock with a label.  My father just informed me that I get my organising genes from his father.  (I am wondering where I get my procrastinating/messy house genes from!)

Kittens and more Kittens!

So when I last wrote about my kittens I did not mention that I actually had two pregnant cats.  The week before the birth of Ellie's kittens, I noticed that my other cat, Millie was no longer pregnant.  She was roaming around the house and the farm as normal and we could not find kittens anywhere.  After several days of searching I concluded that perhaps she miscarried as she was under a year old.

Well, four weeks later my four year old came running to me complaining that he wanted to pet one of the kittens under the couch.  This was a couch in a room we don't use much.  And sure enough there were four kittens under there!  We just couldn't believe that we never heard them and that we missed out on their growing up. 

Now the kittens are 10 and 11 weeks old.  Four have gone to their new homes.  One will be going soon, and I need to find homes for the other three. 

It has been a pleasure and a bit of a pain taking care of so many kittens.  Everyone told me that the mothers litter train them,  which is not necessarily true.  So there is a lot of cleanup every day.  But they are cute and have provided a good distraction for my son while I am paying attention to the new baby.

Bento Boxes

I have been experimenting with making some Bento style lunches for my four year old.  In the morning rush I have forgotten to take pictures.  I have finally started, but with admittedly boring looking bentos!  Though he ate them, so they are a success in my book!  I have used a box from Lock-n-Lock, which has four individual boxes inside.  They can be removed for cleaning or to change the configuration.

Homemade meatballs, Mini Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, strawberries, Multi-Grain O's, Apple

Actually, he does not like sandwiches.  I know this, but occasionally I try.  I even stumped for some organic ham.  He ate a bit of the bread.  I make the meatballs about once a month and pop them in the freezer.  Then I can take out a few each day to put in his lunchbox or eat in flatbread.

Meatballs, Strawberries, Bread and Butter Sandwiches, Carrots, Ketchup in Mini Sauce Pot
This meal was a success.  He left some of the carrots, but he isn't fond of raw ones anyway.  The Playgroup provides water.  And they have snacks with water or milk twice a day.

I have a selection of boxes, ice packs, lunchboxes, and bento accessories.  These include sauce pots, food picks, mini utensils, and the like.  I am not sure how the Playgroup will react to the food picks and things.  I have placed meat and fruit on straws used as skewers.  Threading meatballs or chunks of sausage with cucumber chunks works well.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Marshmallow Smash

These are like Rice Krsipie Treats with an added kick.  I came up with them a few years ago and they have become a real treat.  The best thing about them is that you can always find something in the cupboard to whip up a batch when you feel like it.  I give guidelines rather than strict amounts.  You can make a small bowl for yourself using a few marshmallows or a whole tray using a bag of marshmallows.


Something crunchy like fresh popcorn and/or cereal (rice krispies, cornflakes, cheerios, or similar)
Special Additions:  chocolate chips, broken pretzels, broken cookies, nuts, small sweets (like M&Ms), dried fruit......broken chocolate bars.....

1.  Heat your marshmallows in a large glass bowl in the microwave for 1-2 minutes depending on the power of your microwave.  The marshmallows will puff up.  Remove from the microwave and stir immediately. 
2.  Quickly begin adding the rest of your ingredients stirring rapidly to combine before the marshmallows cool down and begin to set.  Any chocolate you add will melt in the hot mixture.
3.  When you have added as many dry ingredients as you can, you are ready to either serve clumps of the mixture in bowls, or press into a glass rectangular dish to set.  If setting for later, place in a dish, cover, then refrigerate for at least half an hour.  Cut into squares as you would rice krispie treats.

***I believe that you can include this recipe in a Nourishing Traditions style diet if you make your own marshmallows and use the mix before it sets.  And then adding whole foods such as popcorn, carob chips, nuts, and dried fruit.
****You can add a bit of butter to the mix and butter the rectangular baking dish if you like.