Thursday, April 12, 2012

10 Things to Remember during Pregnancy

 (Back when the babe was itty bitty)
I'm nearing the end of my 6th pregnancy (I'm 38 weeks today, so not too much longer!) and am feeling reflective. This is nothing new; just good reminders!

Ten Things to Remember during Pregnancy

  1. Growing a life is a miracle. A wonder. An amazing gift from God. Don't forget it.
  2. You are not getting fatter. Your body is making room for your baby to grow.
  3. Very few women look like the pregnancy models. Pregnant women are all beautiful because of what's going on inside of them; not what they look like on the outside.
  4. I repeat: you are not fat. You're gonna need to remember this one.
  5. Not every one gets to do this. Lots of women long for the opportunity that you have. Don't forget that.
  6. Pregnancy doesn't last forever.
  7. Pregnancy is a not a condition. It is not a problem to be treated (unless, of course, you're having a problem).
  8. Nurturing a child in your womb is a wonderful thing. But you're certainly not the first one. Don't be a demanding pregnant diva. Please.
  9. Everyone has a theory/desire/soapbox about laboring and giving birth. Do what feels right for you and your family. And don't feel guilty.
  10. Babies are a blessing!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Never Fear! Kelp is on the Way!

Kelp is a miracle herb, in my humble opinion.  It is most renowned for its high iodine content. You might think you get enough iodine in your multivitamin, or perhaps in your salt, if you use refined salt.  However, unfortunately, these sources are not enough for most people.  

Iodine is most important for the healthy function of your thyroid.  Many of us overlook the significance of this little gland, located at the base of your throat, but if you don't take good care of her, she will let you know. You see, I like to think of the thyroid as the "depot" for the busy, busy circulating of hormones that takes place in your complex body around the clock. If you have had more than one or two kids, been on any type of steroid, or other hormone-based drug, and/or consume caffeine regularly, your thyroid needs some love and attention. A blood test is not a good read of your thyroid, as it will give a "normal" reading, when, in fact you may be suffering from low-thyroid, or hypothyroidism.  I'm not a fan of diagnosing here and there and everywhere, but rather, giving the proper care to the parts of the body that need it most.  Some of the most common symptoms of a weak thyroid are low body temperature, tingling in extremities, poor circulation, fatigue, trouble losing weight, hormone imbalance issues and hair loss.  There are, of course, a zillion more, but these are the most common.  Now, I have recommended a raw thyroid glandular for years as a way to boost your thyroid. I believe this has helped me immensely, to stay strong and active and healthy through the past 12+ years of 9 pregnancies and nursing. However, I have still not felt like my thyroid and adrenals were what they should be.  Why I waited so long to give kelp a shot, I'll never know.  Anyhow, it's mostly the iodine in kelp that's helping, but it should not be overlooked that kelp is also praised for its abundance of other minerals, of which we are all in need, its ability to normalize hormone levels, its antibiotic properties and many other functions.  

You may be bored by now, so I'll let you do your own research on kelp, but let me cut more to the chase. I bought some kelp from the most trusted and wholesome site for bulk herbs,  I bought the powder, and I stir a half teaspoon into a glass of water 3x, daily.  I hold my nose while I drink, as it smells like what I imagine the bottom of the ocean floor to smell like.  This could be because I'm in the middle of a first trimester. If you are not someone who can drink weird stuff, I recommend ordering empty gelatin capsules from the same folks, and fill the capsules yourself.  This is not a big chore at all.  It is quite simple.  Before I ordered their capsule-filler, I would put the powder in a bowl or cup and hold the big end of the gel cap with tweezers and dip it into the powder until it was full.  Then, I'd stick the other end of the gel cap on.  Done! Make some up while you're watching a movie or chatting with a friend. Nevertheless, you won't regret it! We're just a click away from now, by clicking the icon on the top of our blog.  Hey, as an added bonus, if you are nice to your thyroid and and she has all the iodine she needs, if there is ever a nuclear fallout of some sort, a well-iodine saturated thyroid will block a good deal of that radiation, not to mention the barrage of radiation to which we submit ourselves daily.  : )

And, finally...You know I'm not a doctor and that nothing I say or recommend has been evaluated by the FDA. I can't treat or diagnose you.  K? 


Thursday, September 8, 2011

End-of-Summer Desserts

Ahhh....end of summer has left me with a sweet tooth.  My husband and I got to get away for a night recently and we found ourselves at a u-pick farm, munching on berries, peaches, etc.  We brought the blackberries and peaches home and the rest is history.  Hope you enjoy some of these dessert recipes.  There is life (and more of it) after refined sugar!

Graham Cracker Cake

This recipe is my husband's favorite that his mom used to make for him.  We now make it without sugar...

-1 box graham crackers (Whole Foods has a healthy version - no canola oil and no sugar.  Become a professional label reader!)
-6 cups rich chocolate pudding (see recipe below)
-3 cups whipping cream

Assemble this dessert the night before serving in a 9x13 pan.  Start with graham crackers and layer chocolate pudding on top - usually 3 layers, but there's no law on how many.  Finally, layer whipped cream on top, 1-2 hours before serving.

Chocolate Pudding

Mix in a sauce pan:

-2/3 cup plus 2tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
-1/4tsp. sea salt

Gradually stir in, making a smooth paste:

-2/3 cup warm water
-2/3 cup honey/agave nectar

Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from the heat. 

Stir in:

-3 1/2 cups half and half ( I highly recommend using organic dairy!!!)

Place in a bowl:

-8tbsp. organic cornstarch or arrowroot
-1/2cup half and half

Thoroughly stir into the cornstarch paste into the chocolate mixture.  Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken.  Reduce heat to low; stirring briskly, bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute.  Remove from heat, stir in:

3 tsp vanilla or brandy or rum or ???

Blackberry Peach Bourbon Pie

2 pie crusts (I use a pat in the pan butter crust, made with whole wheat or spelt. I roll it out and cut it into 4ths for         the top crust.)
4 cups peaches, sliced, or chopped
1 cup blackberries
1/4 cup bourbon
1tbsp cinnamon
1 very heaping tbsp. organic cornstarch or arrowroot
1/3 cup honey/agave nectar/maple syrup

Toss the peaches, blackberries, bourbon, cinnamon, cornstarch and honey together.  Set aside. Place the filling into the bottom crust and place the top crust over the filling.  Ventilate the top crust a bit. Brush with a little cream or an egg yolk. For baking, I place the pie into a 400 degree oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Then, I turn the heat down to 375 for another 10 minutes.  Then, I turn the heat down again to 350 degrees and lay a piece of foil over the top if it's browning too fast and the juices aren't bubbling thick and dripping yet.  After another 5-10 minutes, it's usually done.  We serve with vanilla ice cream.  For the ice cream, use your favorite recipe and replace the sugar with honey, sugar or agave with 2/3 the amount of sugar called for.

Mango Agave Sorbet with Tequila

(I think I stole this from Cooking Light...)

4 cups cubed peeled ripe mango (about 3 pounds)  (I used 2 bags of the Trader Joe's frozen mango - defrosted)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 3 oranges)
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/3 cup tequila
3/4 cup light agave nectar
1/3 cup water

1. Combine cubed mango, orange juice, lime juice, and tequila in a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl, and stir in the agave nectar and 1/3 cup water. Cover and chill for 2 hours.
2. Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Spoon sorbet into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 8 hours or until firm.

by Danneca

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tips for a Healthy Summer

As I write, I'm looking down the barrel of a tough track workout this evening.  We're waiting until the heat pulls back a bit before heading out to the track.  You've heard of the importance of replacing the electrolytes your body loses in the heat.  As you might imagine, I'm not a proponent of Gatorade or other "sports drinks."  Can anyone say, "gut-rotting sugars and food coloring?"  Okay, I'll settle down.  My point is this, there are MUCH healthier ways to replace those electrolytes.  Electrolytes are pretty much sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium.  One thing we like to do to replenish is this:  1.) Eat half a banana. 2.) Mix a pinch of salt in with a half cup of milk. 3. Drink a half cup of water mixed with a tsp. of Peter Gillham's Calm (a splendid magnesium supplement).  I KNOW you can come up with creative ways to mix up this routine.  Another VERY simple way to replenish is coconut water.  There are  a zillion brands out there and a zillion different prices, so get what's on sale.  We actually like coconut juice with the pulp.  Yummy!  Amazingly, this drink provides all of the electrolytes without the chemical sweeteners and other additives.  Staying hydrated is important, but tons of water is actually not the best option, so mix it up a bit on hot days with iced herbal teas and honey and/or some coconut juice.  You'll be surprised how rejuvenated you feel compared to drinking chemicals. 

On a different note, here's an idea for a cool summer treat! 


Ingredients: paper cups of your choice, popsicle sticks, other ingredients of your choice!

What I like to do is basically make a smoothie, pour it into paper cups, stick the popsicle stick in the middle of the smoothie and set it in the freezer to freeze.  After it's frozen, you just tear off the paper and you have a yummy frozen smoothie pop!  Today I put some goat yogurt, a banana and maple syrup in the blender, then added a bag of frozen blue berries.  That was it.  On other days, I'd be more creative, but that was all I could muster for today.  We'll enjoy these after our track workout tonight!  I like to do smoothie pops over frozen juice, as juice is pretty much just sugar.  I was thinking that herbal tea pops would be pretty refreshing too, though!  If your mixture is too liquid-y to hold a stick, let it freeze a bit before placing the stick.  Enjoy!!!!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Couple of Tasty Fall Recipes

A few days ago, we had beautiful, chilly fall weather here in Northern California.  Baking yummy fall treats was just the distraction I needed to take my mind off of my 41-week pregnant belly.  Now, on this night, the windows are open at 8:30pm and it was 80+ today.  Go figure.  Nevertheless, several folks have asked for some recipes lately, so when there are recipes I haven't posted before, I like to make them available to all....enjoy!

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal (This from my friend Kori Hurley, via The Ungourmet.)

3C. old fashioned oats
1C. pure maple syrup (Kori said she used half this with success.  I used 1C. honey and loved it too.)
2tsp. cinnamon
1tsp. nutmeg
1/2tsp. ground ginger
1/2tsp. salt (I always use sea salt)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4C. dried cranberries (I might use a touch more next time.  Raisins would also be tasty.)
1C. diced apple.  (I had a Granny Smith.  Loved this addition.)
1 & 1/2 C. milk
1C. pumpkin puree
4tbsp. melted butter (I actually doubled this.)
2 large eggs

Whisk milk, butter, maple syrup, pumpkin and eggs.  In a separate bowl, combine oats, spices, baking powder, cranberries and apples.  Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix just until combined.  Pour  into greased round casserole dish (I assume a square 8x8 would do as well).  Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Serve immediately, topping with milk.  I happened to have some leftover whipped cream.  We topped the hot oatmeal with this and it was divine.  MMMMM!!!!!

Peanut Butter and Carob Chip Cookies

I'm not a huge carob fan.  At all.  However, they go perfectly in this recipe, toning down the peanut butter and yet not taking away from it too much.  Of course, you could always do chocolate chips, but I want to avoid the sugar and really, there is no compromise in taste here.

1/2C. butter
1/2C. unsweetened peanut butter
2/3C honey
1 egg
1 & 1/2C. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2tsp. (heaping-ish) baking powder
1/2tsp. (heaping-ish) baking soda
1/4tsp. salt
1C. carob chips

Cream the peanut butter, honey and butter until light.  Add egg to this mix and mix until almost fluffy (2-3min., occasionally scraping bottom and sides of bowl).  Blend flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt - the reason we do "heaping-ish" tsp. of the baking agents, is because of a little extra flour added when using honey, thus you need just a touch more of the baking powder and soda, to make the cookie texture just right.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and combine.  Add the carob chips.  Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Cool on pan for 2 minutes, then transfer cookies to a cooling rack.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

a great Christmas gift if you like to plan ahead

Every year we like to give gifts to several different friends, coworkers, etc...  Last year, I made homemade vanilla extract and it was a success!  The extract was wonderful and it could not be any easier.  You just have to have time - - eight weeks, to be exact.  So if you like to plan ahead for your gifts, this is a great one.  You can make them all now, let them sit, and pull them out close to Christmas and have a fabulous gift to give away.

Here's what to do:
-Acquire all the necessary supplies: vanilla beans; rum (or vodka); pretty, sterilized bottles; fun labels
-Sterilize the bottles
-Split three vanilla beans lengthwise and put them in the bottle (I used an 8 oz. bottle with 3 vanilla beans)
-Pour in the alcohol
-Close tightly
-Put in a dark spot to sit for the next 8 weeks, shaking once a week or so

That's it!  So easy, so yummy, and useful.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Saturday Morning Breakfast

Breakfast at our house on Saturday morning . . . nothing fancy - 
just eggs, toast, juice & coffee but it was a beautiful morning so I wanted to share!