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Showing posts from March, 2014

Vegan Chili

We love chili at our house. In this recipe I used fresh vegetables as well as an organic vegetable soup base and vegetable juice to create a rich combination of flavors. This recipe is vegan, gluten free, and free of refined sugars.

4 tbsp. olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 medium red onion, diced 6 stalks celery, chopped 1 large fresh tomato, chopped 2 c. chopped carrots 1 c. red wine 2 tsp. mushroom stock base 6 c. vegetable juice 1 c. water 2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. oregano 1 tsp. coriander ½ tsp. cayenne pepper 1 tsp. black pepper 1 tsp. honey 3 cans red beans, rinsed and drained 3 cans white beans, rinsed and drained 1 can pumpkin puree 1 package frozen corn salt to taste

In a large saucepan sauté the onion, garlic, celery, tomato, and carrot in the olive oil, over medium heat, for five minutes, stirring often. Add the wine, vegetable juice, stock, water, chili powder, oregano, black pepper, cayenne, coriander, honey, beans, pumpkin, and corn. Continue cooking the mixture ov…

Thank You For Your Sacrifice

The polar bear is one of the animals that often have a difficult time living in captivity despite the attempts that are made to keep them happy. I remember learning about how when they are unhappy, they exhibit the repetitive behaviors of pacing, or making circular journeys throughout their habitat, and rubbing. A polar bear that is truly having a hard time will often rub many parts of its coat bald. From my understanding, the difficulty in keeping the bears content is because their native habitats are so astonishingly vast, that they are almost impossible to simulate in any way. So, I feel sad when I think of these unhappy animals, but I need to keep in mind that even though it was not their choice, they are helping other animals. The polar bear is a big draw at the zoo. Would I go if he weren’t there? Yes, of course, but I know that there are many people who would not want to go to the zoo if not for the big attractions. The tigers, and lions, and bears…and yes Shamu. Without all o…

Ugh…Cyrus. Bahhhhh!

I just said to my husband: “Do you remember reading those family situation comics in the funny paper when you were a kid? Remember how we had no idea really how funny they were because we had never been parents, but they made us laugh anyways? Now I understand them.” I think that if we gave young people even a fractional understanding of just how preposterously difficult it is to keep a child alive and healthy, without allowing them to completely decimate the environment in which they live, it would go a long way in preventing a lot of pregnancies…seriously!
I was talking with my mother yesterday. She is in a situation where my grandmother just passed away, and my mother inherited her home, which is on the same property. My oldest cousin is going to be renting my grandmother’s home form her, which is wonderful, although my mother does have some concerns about what his girlfriend’s children may do to the property. They are very young, I think five and sevenish, and they are children o…

Sugar-Free Gluten Free Breakfast Cookies

This recipe contains no refined sugar. Of course, agave has naturally occurring sugars. These cookies are easy to make, and easy to store away in an airtight container for weekday breakfasts on the go.

2 c. gluten free flour 2 c. gluten free oats 2 c. almonds 1 tbsp. baking powder 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. cinnamon 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 tsp. almond extract 2 eggs ½ c. butter, softened 1 c. unsweetened applesauce ½ c. agave syrup

In the food processor, grind the almonds and the oats until they are of a flour consistency. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl until the mixture is smooth. Place the dough by the teaspoonful on foil lined baking sheets. Bake the cookies in the oven at three hundred and fifty degrees for ten minutes. The cookies can be eaten on their own or dipped in peanut butter or honey-butter.

Resident Bullies

Sometimes it is really difficult to figure out what to do about a problem. Being a really good parent does not mean that we always have the answers. My children have been walking to the park on their own lately. They have just recently started doing this. The park is located right down the street from our section of the neighborhood, a five-minute walk I would say. We allow them to go for thirty-minute trips, they are constantly reminded that they must stay in a group, and they carry a cell phone so that they can call me if they need me. At ten and ten and nine, I believe that this is an age appropriate activity.
Unfortunately for my kiddos and their sense of freedom and self-reliance, our neighborhood park has just been re-furbished which means that everyone wants to be there. And sadly, after three incidents now, we seem to have our own set of bullies. These two boys are older than my kids. They have grabbed their phone away from them (my daughter managed to snag it back), and they…

Spicy Braised Chicken With Spinach And White Beans

Spicy Braised Chicken With Spinach And White Beans

All three of my kids were crazy about this dish and none of them tried to pick out the spinach. It is spicy and lemony and we were all left wanting seconds.

4 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on 2 tbsp. olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 medium yellow onion, sliced 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. black pepper 1 tsp. coriander 1 tsp. cayenne pepper 2 tsp. chicken broth base + 4 c. water (or 2 cans chicken broth) 2 c. white wine 1 tbsp. lemon juice 2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained 4 c. fresh spinach, well rinsed

In a large saucepan cook the chicken thighs in the oil, over medium heat, for three minutes on each side. Sprinkle the chicken with the salt, pepper, coriander, and cayenne, and then add the garlic and onion to the pan. Continue cooking for three more minutes, then add the water and base (or the broth), the wine, and the lemon juice. Add the drained beans and continue cooking the mixture for fifteen to twenty minutes, or until the li…

Keeping Up With The Times

My parents recently got I-Phones. My father and my stepmother own their own business, and they have always been heavily involved in the marketing and operations of their company. My father explained to me that it was less a matter of them needing the phones, but that the I-Phones were an important thing that they needed to learn how to use, and that it was time. It has taken a bit of adjustment on their part, I know. I have not taken the plunge yet, but simply having to adjust to using my Mac last year was quite an endeavor.
Rewind to about eighteen years ago…I was working for my parents back then, and we had just gotten company cell phones. I remember my stepmother and I trying to locate each other in a Seattle airport with the help of our phones and her saying to me, “Can you see me yet? Can you see me?” It was hilarious. The reason that I still have a “dumb phone” now is two-fold. For one, I can’t justify the cost of myself having wireless internet access in a phone, when I spend …

Tomato Radish and Turkey Salad with Parsley Gorgonzola Dressing

Parsley is an incredibly healthy food that many people do not know how to incorporate easily into meals. The dressing for this salad uses two full cups of fresh parsley, and is delicious beyond words.
For the Dressing:
8 oz. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese 3 cloves garlic, chopped 2 c. fresh parsley, rinsed well and removed from stems 2 c. heavy cream ½ tsp. cayenne pepper 1 tsp. black pepper 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. coriander 1 c. mayonnaise

In a blender or food processor, combine all of the ingredients except the mayonnaise. When the mixture is well combined, transfer it to a medium sized bowl and fold in the mayonnaise until the mixture is smooth. Chill for one hour before serving.

For the Salad:
Add equal portions of each, depending on how many are being served, and the desired portion size:
fresh red tomato, thickly sliced fresh red radish, thinly sliced cold cooked turkey breast, cut into bite sized pieces a sprinkle of salt to taste parsley gorgonzola dressing

Slice the tomato thickly fo…

Earning Media Hours

A couple of months ago we finally made the decision to limit the time that the kids could spend watching TV and playing video games to an hour a day. They were supposed to get one hour of each. It had been working out pretty well, with a little bit of stretching and squeezing in time going on every now and again. Then it finally dawned on my husband that it might be a better plan to encourage the kids to earn the time that they got to spend watching television or playing video games. I agreed with him, but I wasn’t really sure exactly how we were going to work it out, and then it all came to me…
There are two major issues that we have been facing in our house lately. One of them is the children fulfilling their responsibilities when it comes to the maintenance of our home environment. Because the three of them make the majority of the messes, eat the majority of the food, and cause the majority of the destruction; I feel that it is only fair that they have obligations to fill when it…

A Short Inspirational Rant That Contains Some Very Bad Words

Do you ever question whether you could be president? It is something that we encourage in children in a placating way. Then we pat them on their heads and we send them along thinking inwardly that it’s never, ever, going to happen, but we have done our good parenting job for the day. Why in the hell couldn’t one of my kids be president, and for that matter why couldn’t I? There is an easy answer to that. Right off the top of my head there are lots of them.
1.I have never been to college, never even stepped foot inside of a university. And additionally, I don’t really have any desire to. (Not today anyways, I reserve the option of changing my mind.) 2.I often change my mind…that is a good one. Completely unacceptable in politics. 3.I have used illegal drugs. I have done it many times and there are a crap-load of witnesses. I would not dissuade my children or anyone else from doing the same. Those experiences have taught me a lot. 4.I haven’t held a “job” in over ten years…yep lazy me. 5.I …

Easy Sugar-Free Creamy Red-Sauce

After having kids, I had picked up the habit of stocking cans of Ragu in the pantry because they go on sale, buy-one-get-one, at our grocery all of the time. Now that we have gone off of refined sugar, we have gotten rid of it all. It is so easy to fall into bad habits. Red sauce is really easy to make at home, and there is no reason that I should not have been doing it all along. This recipe only takes about fifteen minutes to make. My kids like to eat the sauce over gluten free pasta. I simply eat it over a serving of blanched broccoli with feta cheese for a low-carb and delicious meal.

2 tbsp. olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 small yellow onion, diced 1 small bell pepper, diced 1 large can tomato puree 1 large can crushed tomatoes 1 c. sweet red wine 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp. honey 1 tbsp. oregano 1 tbsp. basil 1 tsp. coriander 1 tsp. black pepper ½ tsp. cayenne pepper 1 c. heavy cream salt to taste

In a large saucepan sauté the garlic, onion, and bell pepper in the oliv…

The Movie Theater Effect

So, I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but I have realized that every time I look at myself in a movie theater bathroom mirror my reflection looks particularly fabulous. I mean, absolutely every single time, different theaters, different points in my life, but it seems to be the magic location for my reflection. I wonder why that is? I started thinking about it after all of the reading that I have been doing about television and electronics lately. I think that I know why this happens.
So, if one little fifty inch television in my living room has the ability to hypnotize me into a more accepting state where I am more willing to believe information that is presented to me, then what kind of killer capacity does a movie screen have? They are like…well I have no idea how big the actually are, but they are really, really, big. There is also the super loud special surround sound system, (which is actually one of the reasons that I have become a lot less fond of going to the movi…

The Big Difference

Today was our shopping day, I guess. We took our regular trip to the Saturday market, and then we went over to one of the local shopping malls because the girls needed to get their gear for soccer this season, and I needed a couple of other things. On the second leg of our journey, I could not help but marvel at the vast difference between the two shopping experiences. Ironically, the two venues are in the exact same city. One is the old part of town and one is the new.
The downtown area in the old part of the city is experiencing an exciting new revitalization. They are currently working on building a new town history museum there. The area is filled with progressive merchants, and restaurants that are more health conscious than the norm. The city is working to promote all of its small businesses. Cyclists love the place. There are more than a couple of bike shops, and there is a beautiful communal area with a fountain that children can play in on the edge of the market. The market …

Vegan Sesame Brown Rice Noodles With Broccoli

(This recipe is vegan and gluten free. The only refined sugar it contains can be found in small quantities, in some brands of saracha sauce.)
Believe it or not, despite the long healthy-sounding name, my kids scarfed this dish right down; I didn’t even get a full portion myself.

1 package brown rice pad-Thai noodles 1 lb. broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces and blanched 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 tbsp. sesame oil 2 tbsp. olive oil 1/2c. gluten free soy sauce, or liquid aminos ½ cup sesame tahini 1 tsp. saracha

In a large sauté pan, cook the garlic in the olive and sesame oils for three minutes over medium heat. Add the tahini, soy, and saracha, and continue cooking for two more minutes.
Boil the noodles according to their directions, then add the noodles and one cup of their cooking water to the pan with the sauce. Add the broccoli and continue cooking the entire mixture, stirring constantly, over medium heat, until all of the liquid is absorbed, and the sauce has thickened; this wil…