Sunday, December 20, 2009

Two new MUST READ books!

A great friend of mine recently gave me a book called "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life" by Camille Kingsolver.  Mike grabbed it immediately after I opened it to read the back.  He read the first chapter while I fed Kaelyn dinner and he never gave it back!  He's almost done with it and I've started reading through the first few chapters.  It's an amazing read about a family who moved from their home in AZ to a farm in southern Appalachia and ate off of their farm. An eye-opener, it is truly educational about food and how we've come to eat in America.  I highly recommend it - it's hard to put down.

I also picked up another of Victoria Boutenko's books called "Green for Life."  I read her "Raw Family" book earlier this year and it was very inspiring and motivating.  Since I feel like I've gone a little backwards these days, this "Green for Life" book was just what I needed.  It focuses on how we need to eat more green leafy vegetables and how to easily do that through smoothies (i.e. 8 leaves red leaf lettuce, 2 cups blueberries, 1 banana, 2 cups water...viola!).  Again, it's very educational, a super easy and fast read, and I feel re-inspired and hopeful once again.  It is our New Year's resolution to go 50% raw in the New Year...and we're already doing 2-3 smoothies a day.  


As Kaelyn says - mmm mmmm good!


P.s. Both books are now in the "Enlightening Health Resources" on the right side of the blog.

Vitamin C



Tis the Season of Citrus!

This is the first year that I've actually paid much attention to seasons and food.  I do think it is quite amazing that during the winter (flu season) the citrus and most vitamin C-laden fruits and vegetables are in their full glory.  We now have no less than 9 citrus-producing trees/bushes in our yard, although only the two meyer lemons were planted prior to this year.  Just celebrating their 5th birthday, they are producing in miraculous numbers and we are so excited to be able to actually share the bounty of our garden with others, rather than selfishly relishing the few fruits of our labor!

I will share some yummy recipes we have recently tried that were winners in our home and hope they find their way to your tables as well!

E-C Fruit Salad
From Dec issue of Sunset Magazine
2 Kiwi (Trader Joes is currently selling Organic CALIFORNIA Kiwi that didn't sail a ship from around the world)
2 Oranges (CA oranges are also SUPER yummy right now, esp. from the farmer's market)
1/2 pineapple (yes, in season and on sale at Trader Joes)
1 Banana (okay, not so local...)

Slice it all up and put it in a pretty bowl. Also good for parties! YUM.

E-C Smoothie
From Dec issue of Sunset Magazine
3 T meyer lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
1/4 cup juice from a fresh orange
2 t honey
1/2 cup greek yogurt
(haven't tried this yet but I think it might be nice to add a sprig of mint)

Blend and enjoy!



CREAMY RICOTTA COOKIES
SheKnows Food & Recipe Editors
Better than sugar cookies (but not necessarily healthy)
Cookies
        1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
        2 cups organic evaporated cane juice
        2 large eggs
        15 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
        1/2 tsp. lemon extract or 1 tsp. lemon
        3 Tbsp. Meyer lemon zest, freshly grated*
        1 Tbsp. Meyer lemon juice
        2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
        1 tsp. baking powder
        1 tsp. salt
Glaze
        6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
        3 cups confectioners’ sugar
        3 to 4 Tbsp. Meyer lemon juice
        Decorating sugar, silver dragees (small silver balls), optional
* Meyer lemons are available mid-November through early spring in specialty food stores. You will need 2 to 3 medium-sized lemons. Regular lemons can be substituted.

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine butter and sugar in bowl; cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, Ricotta, lemon extract (or baking oil), zest and juice; blend well.
3. Add 1 cup flour, baking powder and salt; blend to combine. Add remaining flour in two parts, blending to combine between each, until a dough forms.
4. Drop by rounded Tbsp. 2 in. apart onto baking sheets. Bake until cookie edges are very light golden, about 12 to 15 min. Let cookies rest on baking sheet for a few min. and transfer to wire cooling rack.
5. While cookies cool, prepare glaze by creaming together butter and sugar. Continue to mix, gradually adding juice until desired consistency.
6. Decorate cooled cookies adding dragees or decorating sugar, if desired, before icing sets.

Makes approx. 4 dozen glazed cookies


Shrimp Pasta with Meyer Lemon
(My Personal Favorite!)
1 pound shrimp
1 package whole wheat pasta
1/2 meyer lemon (will provide about 1/4 cup of lemon juice)
white pepper
olive oil (the greener the better)
2 cloves of garlic
Dash of sea salt 


Boil whole wheat pasta of any type (al dente).
Defrost one pound of shrimp, any size.
In pan, warm olive oil and garlic, add pasta, shrimp, and lemon juice and toss.  Add white pepper, olive oil and sea salt to your liking (The magic is in the white pepper.  I like a lot and use 1t to 1T worth). If you like zest, feel free to zest the lemon and add that too.  I'm not a big zest person!


Mike's Meyer Lemon Pancakes (found on www.myhusbandcooks.wordpress.com)

Yield: Ten to twelve 4-inch pancakes

Prep time: 15 min.

Cook time: 20 min.

Ingredients

2 meyer lemons (juice and zest)

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup ricotta cheese


1/4 cup melted unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

1 tsp. vanilla


1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

1. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
2. Pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry. Using a rubber spatula or large spoon, mix until all of the dry stuff is wet and there are no large lumps. Tons of little lumps are great and expected; they should be viewed as a sign of not overmixing. Don’t stir this until it’s smooth; this will result in a chewier, bread-like pancake. Let the batter rest for about 5 min before cooking. Add more milk a tablespoon at a time if the batter becomes too thick.
3. Place a non-stick griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Grease with butter or non-stick spray. Once the surface is hot, pour about a quarter cup of mixture onto the pan.
NOTE: You can tell how hot the griddle is by throwing a few drops of water on the surface. If the water dances — it shimmers and shakes — then it is hot enough. If the water sizzles fast and evaporates quickly, the griddle is too hot. Turn it down and let it cool. If you use butter, it should bubble and then leave a shean on the surface.
4. Cook pancakes about 4 minutes on one side. There are two visual cues to look for when the pancake is ready to flip. First, the amount of darkness on the side facing down. If it is starting to turn to a dark brown, go ahead and flip it. Second, check for bubbles on the side facing up. If you have the right temperature, bubbles will form. When they begin to set and are slow to disappear, the pancake is ready for turning. They should cook about 75% on the first side. Once flipped, cook them for another minute until both sides are brown.
5. Serve them right away, or cover with a towel and place in a warm oven until ready. Top with powdered sugar and pecans and eat with or without syrup.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Finally, some really great news!

Kaelyn has a new job. Selling Juice Plus+!!  Just kidding.  But she loves her "vities" as we call them.
You all know how much work Mike and I have done with changing our eating habits and our lifestyle. We take these changes very seriously and know they are saving our lives. I don't ever want to be a preacher, but it is amazing to me how many people now ask us for our advice, our opinions, and our healthy resources. That said, we do consider ourselves somewhat "advocates" of better health and last week, I got the confirmation that we are in fact on the right track. Let me recap our story.

April 1: changed our diet to 70% fruits/vegetables, and very little packaged goods - our focus became what is known as "whole food nutrition"...eating things in their pure form, not their refined or "packaged" form.

May 15: I had a nutrition test (www.spectracell.com) and was found to be deficient in serine, choline, vitamin a, zinc, and borderline on quite a few other nutrients. So I started taking Juice Plus+ (www.miglioreliving-juiceplus.com) and supplementing the nutrients I was deficient in.

Mike and Kaelyn also started taking Juice Plus+.

Oct 1: I had a re-test on the nutrition test and all of my deficiencies are not just normal, but above normal. Through WHOLE foods, my nutrients were restored!

Why is this such a big deal? We can be walking around with deficiences and not even know it. In the end, they cause chronic illness. By restoring our nutrients, we can avoid disease and illness. But we can fix this just by eating more fruits and vegetables. We should be eating 9-13 servings of fruits and veggies a day.

In my case, each of my specific deficiencies is linked to miscarriage and later term-baby loss. They are all involved in the processes of RNA/DNA and cellular growth. We will never have a direct link between these nutrients and my miscarriages, but it's a definite indicator. I could also have had later life implications by not fixing these deficiencies.

I do feel grateful for this opportunity to look at my body's chemistry and I realize that most people do not have the ability or the impetus to do so. That said, we have found Juice Plus+ to be such an great option for supplementing our vegetable needs. Since they provide nutrition from 17 different fruits, vegetables, and grains in a convenient and inexpensive capsule form, on the days when you don't eat enough of your fruits and veggies at least you know they've got you covered.

Needless to say, I decided to become a Juice Plus+ distributor since I believe so strongly in the product.  Stop by my website and check it out www.miglioreliving-juiceplus.com.

And I, for the first time in a while, have a glimpse of

hope...


Two Pumpkins

We should have had a new little pumpkin in our family this year and we do not.  Sunday, October 4th, was our second unfulfilled due date this year.  I guess I'm getting kind of used to the passing of these dates - I wasn't even planning to do anything for this one.  But once again, I was struck with the idea of  how best to recognize the day at the very last minute...a visit to the pumpkin patch.  I decided that forevermore, our pumpkin picking day will be on October 4th.  Of course, who wants to pay pumpkin patch prices, right?  So we just picked out a small pumpkin each for Maya and Liliana.  Luckily these pumpkins will double as our pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving since they are the special "sugar" pumpkins just for that.  And our BIG pumpkins will come from the cheaper Trader Joes market!
Here is Kaelyn with her sisters' pumpkins...


And I would like a tshirt that says "I wanted a baby and all I got was this stupid pumpkin".... 
That's the sarcastic side of me.  But don't worry, there is the other side that looks at Kaelyn and sees how lucky we were to get this little miracle.  She is so much fun.  I've tried to concentrate on enjoying her as much as I can.  It is sure fun to have her birthday so close to Halloween and in the fall.  It would have been nice to have two fall birthdays.  In general, October is a sucky month now - a birthday that never got to be and an upcoming 1 year anniversary of our first miscarriage.  Last year on October 4th we were having Kaelyn's 1st birthday party and I was still pregnant.   The first few weeks of the month is tough, but it has a nice closing with Kaelyn's birthday - and that is where we will focus our energy. 

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Fall Meal!


The chill is in the air, the rain has been spitting at us...finally we're in the mood for fall.  The decorations are coming out, pumpkins are all around...and it's time to eat...SQUASH!!  I used to love Squash growing up but I rarely make it for us.  I am going to make it all fall long this year. This meal was a giant hit.  Kaelyn AND Mikey liked it!  Kaelyn practically ate all the asparagus too. And let me tell you, you "knew" when her diaper was wet instantly.  When we went in to get her the next morning...phew what a smell in that bedroom! 

Recipes
This whole meal took me a total of 5 minutes to get into the oven.
Salmon:  sprinkle with thyme, garlic pepper, and celery salt and bake for 15 minutes
Squash:  half, put open side down in dish with 1/2 inch of water and bake for 45 mins.  Throw in a pat of butter, a tablespoon of RAW maple syrup, and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Asparagus:  place on a cookie sheet, spray or rub down with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and myzithra or parmesan cheese and bake for 15-20 mins

Miscarriage Humor



I'm not sure if everyone who reads this blog will get the humor in this "joke" of a Hallmark card. My friend Bree (who I met thru a support group) sent it to me from another blog (http://www.lifeandloveinthepetridish.blogspot.com/) and we thought it was HILARIOUS. The main point being that it did make us laugh - so that is a good thing. It is probably humor that only those who've lost babies can understand...but I think there could actually be a business in making these cards. The trouble is, it's a card you'd only want to get from those who have also lost a baby. It just wouldn't be funny to come from someone who has not lost a baby - especially because they are the ones who seem to think that yes, the fact that we can now drink again will make us feel any better for losing a baby. Sorry guys, but wine is not a good trade for a baby. Turns out nothing is.
It is hard that our life has changed so much in the last year.  It's always hard to want something you can't have, but it's even harder when you thought you had it and then it was taken away from you. It makes it especially hard to see everyone around you getting what they want and not having to go through the same pain. It's also difficult to lose the sense of happiness of pregnancy. I'm not looking forward to being pregnant again. I actually told my doctor I want to keep my head at home and send my body for the ultrasounds. But generally, I just don't want anything to do with the entire process. I find that sad - to have lost the joy of the experience.
So don't be looking for any "news" from us anytime soon. Even when we do decide to cross that bridge again, we certainly won't be sharing the news. It will be hard enough to try not to stress about it all every moment of every day - knowing others are thinking about it too would just be too much. Especially when no one else is thinking about what we don't have in our arms right now.  That's the other sad piece - how completely isolating this experience is.  Friends and family stop reaching out after the first month or two - and then they think you should be over it and back to your old self.  It's never over...it just takes different shapes and forms.  You always lost a baby. You've always had more pregnancies than children.  And you are NEVER the same as you were before this experience.  So the only people who can even be a part of your new life are the ones who can recognize that you "need" to be different.  That you're going to have some shi**y moments and times and they'll accept you for that.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Buona Sera Supper Club

I wanted to quickly announce a new idea and ongoing event I will be hosting in honor of good health: the Buona Sera Supper Club.
I even launched a new blog to support it: www.buonaserasupperclub.blogspot.com

I know this will mainly be for my local area blog readers, but maybe it's something you could start in your own area if we find it successful. For those of you who ARE local, the first event is coming quickly - Sunday September 27th from 2:30-4:30pm. Please let me know if you are interested in coming!

I'm really excited and hope it will be a great way to socially connect with other moms and friends who struggle with creating perfectly balanced and healthy meals for our WHOLE families.

In light of this new event, I will not be doing anything on October 4th as I had originally planned.

Let me know what you think of this idea. So far I've had a lot of positive reactions!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Breakfast


Just thought I'd post a quick photo of the breakfast we eat at least 3-5 days a week. I owe full appreciation to Mike b/c he's usually the one who puts it together. 2 eggs and about 5 servings of veggies - plus a little goat cheese and of course garlic.

On another note, got my last tests back and the findings are slim (which is generally a good thing, it just means there is no real big problem that we can solve and move on from). I basically have no good bacteria in my gut which is solved by taking acidophilus, and I apparently have an allergy to something so we're trying to figure that out now.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Raw Milk

I received some questions about the safety of Raw Milk due to my post a few days ago. I know it's a little freaky. I did some research before adding raw milk to our diets, and I've mainly been operating on the knowledge that it does more good than harm. But I've found some excellent resources and thought I should share in an effort to educate. Thank you for asking me about this issue - it made me prioritize getting more answers!

My own grandfather was deathly and irreversibly ill from salmonella (supposedly from some bad chicken) just prior to the big salmonella issue in Illinios from bad milk...so I do not take this issue lightly.

Organic Pastures is the brand we actually buy. We are having an a "health" event on Oct 4th (save the date - I'm still working on the details) and this guy Mark is going to attend. I'm excited to have him here in person ;-)
http://www.realmilk.com/safety-raw-milk.html

http://www.raw-milk-facts.com/raw_milk_safety.html

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2008/03/23/got_raw_milk/?page=1

Once again - it all boils down to (forgive the unintentional pun) the care and procedures used in bringing the food to the table.

Whole foods are better.
Organic is safer.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Garden Update

I spent some time gardening yesterday (and sweating profusely!). It sure is directly in the hot sun. I guess that's why some of the plants are really struggling now. I pulled out all the kale, collard greens, lettuce that went to seed, cleaned up the dead tomato plant leaves, removed the dead snap peas, cantalope (so sad it died, it had 3 baseball-sized melons that died with it) and bush beans. Also took out one yellow squash and one zucchini to see if that helps the singletons grow better. Turns out gardening is a lot of work! We have one tomato plant that is doing well, one that is sad, and three that are pretty much dead. Agh. Cabbage is doing well but seems to be getting bugs now. Cukes have that nice white fungus. Strawberries are booming and I think next year will be even better.
Here are the tomato plants...not too pretty...


Major lessons:

1. Definitley shoved too much in there this year, next time will be much less and

2. I need to fertilize more frequently- my new theory is that a well nourished plant won't succumb to diseases.

We also planted the new garden on the right with 5... yes F.I.V.E new tomato plants (I'm determined to get to the point of canning leftover tomatoes!), and more strawberries. I already had planted broccoli, chard, bush beans, artichokes, peppers, arugula, and carrots like 2 months ago. I gave up on any of it growing but in the last two weeks it has all sprouted up. Hmm. It's still a little sad looking - I think it is just super hot in that spot. I am so excited the two artichokes I planted have sprouted - my goal is to have one on the end of each row b/c they last for years and get pretty big. We may not see any actual artichokes this season but they say they get more prolific each year. Big hopes for those guys! They are a very pretty plant to so we may just plant a bunch around the whole yard. Wouldn't that be fun? Even Kaelyn loves artichokes!

Here are the broccoli. Or as I call them, HOLY BROCCOLI! Kaelyn LOVES her brocci. So does daddy. I really hoped to grow our own but was warned against the aphid infestations. I noticed whenever we get fresh organic broccoli it is always infested (beware - they just look like some innocent pepper before you realize you didn't put any pepper on your broccoli). I am not so hopeful that these will make it to our dinner plates...

And finally, I have a shout out to two fellow mom's. Our new garden has special permanent residents, two butterflies, to commemorate two little babies who didn't make it. The yellow one (first photo) is for baby Ella, my friend Bre's baby. The green one (second photo) is for a good friend who recently suffered a miscarriage - she knows who she is. I am wishing, for both of you, a successful addition to your families very soon - and an end to this difficult journey.
Thank you both for all of your support.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Plan for this blog

First, I would like to thank all of you who have been so supportive of me and our journey over this past year. Hard to believe that it was a year ago in two weeks that we received our positive home pregnancy test for Maya. Ugh. Time has gone too fast and yet too slow, all at the same time. It's been a journey, to say the least. It's been a tough choice to decide to share it so openly. It was my instinct to do so, even though it is not all that comfortable to be so exposed. I also haven't been completely supported by those who've known me well. I think it's hard for anyone who has not gone through this to realize that those who face challenges in growing their families (fertility, loss, etc) have to think about these issues every day of their lives. So although I do not feel I am actively grieving anymore, I still have to think about my health, wonder about what will happen next time, and go through all the ins and outs of each step of the way. It is still a part of my every day, even though I no longer miss my growing belly or ache for the baby I was getting to know.
I am glad to hear so frequently how often this blog has helped people. I didn't know if anyone would continue to read it or not. It's been helpful for me, more than I thought it would be. Something to put my mind into and keep me busy - so thanks for allowing me to share.
The health aspects obviously apply to everyone and my original hope was to chronicle my learnings, keep track of the knowledge I gain, and try to be organized about it all. I want to do more of this and find a way to make this site even more helpful for those who just feel overwhelmed by the lifestyle changes we face if we really want to live more healthfully.
The miscarriage aspects of this site obviously only apply to a smaller, and very unfortunate, group of people. It is my hope that we can be "in this together" even if it is only through this blog. And it is your support I cherish the most as no one but you know what it's like to be "on this side of the fence."

So for the most part, I will continue to use the blog as I have been. You'll sometimes get tidbits about me and my journey. And I'll continue to give recipes and food tips as I find them. But I'm going to challenge myself to continue to work on the "being organized" part a little more. And here is where the new plan comes in:
Each week I will post something that will "help" myself and others get organized about living healthfully. This may be a list of rules, a list of "must haves," a list of priorities, resources for where to get things, or other easy "cheat sheets" that are created based on a culmination of various research I've done.

For today, you get two:

Easy, healthier brownies:
  • 1 package No Pudge Brownie Mix (Trader Joes, Henry's, and I've seen them at Ralph's) - they aren't as healthy as making your own healthy brownies, but they do use wheat flour and cane sugar so they aren't as bad as Duncan Hines!
  • 1 cup canned ORGANIC pumpkin
  • 1 t vanilla
Mix the ingredients together - they will be very gooey
Bake according to the package.

Yum ;-) Can't even taste the pumpkin (which I actually like so I wish you did!).


And an easy list:
How to make Dairy Choices
  • First and foremost, any dairy product you buy should have no RBST/growth hormones (Trader Joes)
  • Second, organic is better than non-organic.
  • Third, raw milk is best b/c it actually has all the health benefits that you are SUPPOSED to get from milk whereas the pasturized milk does not.
There ya go - next week I will focus on making SUGAR choices!

If there is anything you want me to cover, let me know ;-) Even better, if there is something you already have researched, send it my way and I'll feature you in a post!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

A True M.O.G.

This is our beloved Kingston. We call him a MOG - because he is truly part man, part dog. We love him just as much as we love Kaelyn. He is a real member of our family and we cannot imagine life with out him. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful spirit around us all the time - who can put perspective around things by taking it all back to such a simple level - it's all about love and fun!!
Kingston turned 3 this past May (May 3rd - it was his "golden" birthday!). About a month ago, as I was putting his daily kibble in his bowl for dinner, I started to think about how odd it was that we give our dogs this same dry kibble every single day of their lives. When we lost our kitty Fremont earlier this year (11 years old) to kidney failure, I started to blame the food we gave him and the water he drank out of the faucet every single day of his life. So why do we never question what we give our dogs? I mean, arguably, kibble is not a natural thing for the dog to eat. So what did I do???
I went to the library and took out all the holistic dog food books they had. I could not believe what I was reading about the horrors of processed dog food. It really all comes down to the same science as for us humans. We aren't meant to eat processed foods and neither are dogs. They are carnivores (and eat some vegetables) and should eat accordingly. I'm not going to go into details on what I learned, but I will just say that dog food causes tremendous health issues for dogs. Especially the cheaper dog foods (even most of the expensive ones, quite honestly). But it all comes down to this - our dogs/pets would live twice as long if we kept them on a raw, more natural diet. On average, dogs live 10-11 years. If on raw food, they would live an average of 27. Of course, that varies based on breed - but you get the point. The question became clear: How could I make such huge changes to our own eating and leave our dear MOG on kibble?

We've had Kingston on very high-end holistic dog kibble (not cheap) for a very long time because he has always had some intestinal issues (diarrhea). He was currently taking Wellness brand - and doing better than on anything else, but still had the occasional bout of explosive stuff (weekly). And forget it if you tried to give him pretty much any treats that were not completely holistic.
Long story short, for week one I started making his own food. I look back and Samantha (our summer visitor) must have thought I was nuts. It was quite intense as far as the amount of ground meat, the rice, the veggies, the supplements, etc. I never did get it completely down...but Iwas determined. Right away on the cooked "real" food diet, his poop changed for the better. He also had less gas. We also started making his own treats which was super easy.
Week two I got a different book and it focused on Raw food. I know people who've done this and I was NEVER interested in this approach. But after a week of cooking a meal for another "adult who eats for 3 adults," I realized that not only was the raw food diet better for him, but SOOOOOOOO much easier on me!
So week two I started giving him raw meat that I was buying myself. I wasn't feeling great about this option b/c I don't trust our meat packers to be very sanitary...so I went over to our holistic pet store where we were getting his kibble. Low and behold they sell pre-packaged, large-volume, raw meet with everything included so you don't have to supplement. And it was way cheaper than what I was doing by doing it all myself.
So there you have it. He's a raw food doggie. His demeanor has changed, he's much calmer, much more satisfied with his meals, and his poop speaks for itself! I don't think I'll ever go back!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Angels on Earth


This is the photo of earthly angels we have recently encountered (and their two adorable kids Liam and James). When I posted about our hard drive failure, my friend Marianna's sister Josephine came to the rescue. Her husband Jim deals with technology for a living and she volunteered him to help us out. Low and behold - he got ALL our data back. So I'm sharing this poem for Liliana with you because our angels here on earth were able to retrieve it. Thank you Jim and Jo - I am forever grateful.

Liliana
How will I know who you are
When I’ve never seen your face?
When I finally get to heaven,
Will you still need my warm embrace?

It’s nice to know you’ll be waiting for me
Your sister will keep you company through time
But two separate lives, that’s not what I wanted
You should be here with us, you should have been mine

These are the things I think about
Now that you are not here
I wish instead I could feel you growing inside
And not have to deal with the fears

I think of you in my days, in my nights
I try to honor you in all that I do
I want you to bring meaning to our life
Our purpose has changed because of you

We will try our best to do what we can
To appreciate all that we have
Our baby, our Liliana, will be in our hearts
As we live our lives as full as we can

I have a job as a mom here on earth
But one in another place too
In heaven you need me, in a different way maybe
But you’re always my baby, our spirit, our soul
Waiting patiently for us to come home to you.

You will always be a little sister,
To two girls who are just like you
But you are a special little girl in your own right
When we come home, come find us, we love you

April 14, 2009

Recent Journeys


Wow what a busy summer we have had. Above is a photo of a boquet I made out of our garden and backyard flowers. Many of the garden plants are going to seed now which adds some pretty flowers. The Dill plants have very large yellow flowers, the Cilantro has small white ones, the sunflowers have disappointedly pointed away from the house, so I cut one to bring it "inside" so we can enjoy it, and our colorful calalilies are a fun summer addition! The purple is a garlic plant - that doesn't produce edible garlic - which smells like garlic!

On a recent trip to Paso Robles, we drove by some road-side wild turkeys. Going to this part of the country reminds me of what a country bumpkin I really am. I just love driving around the countryside and Paso reminds me of driving through Tuscany. It was a great feeling to be connected to the earth for the weekend and away from all the usual hubbub. These turkeys serve as a reminder of how unnatural our gigantoid Thanksgiving turkeys are. And I made a promise that if we do celebrate Thanksgiving this year, it will be with a genuine wild turkey - no matter what the cost. But secretly, I am considering boycotting the holiday and all of the marketing and "norm" induced buying it stimulates and celebrating our own traditional turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, etc., Thanksgiving at a different time of the year (did you ever stop to think of how "un-natural" it is for 170 million people to eat a turkey on the same exact day - and all the behaviors this drives in the food industry?).

I also had the extreme thrill of riding in a hot air balloon yesterday with my good friend, colleague, and mentor, Robin (this was a belated birthday gift). I have always wanted to go up in a balloon and I really enjoyed it. We had a ride that lasted more than an hour and my only complaint was that the silence was broken with so many other "passengers" along for the ride (I thought it would be more comparable to my paragliding experinece years ago where you were able to enjoy the silent joy of flight...much like a bird). But all in all, I'd do it again and in the very same place. Riding over the vineyards in Temecula was just beautiful.


But again I was reminded of the challenges of "organic" farming. Flying over an agricultural community provided a "birdseye" view of the sizeable nature of providing mass communities with produce. Oranges, avocados, walnuts, grapes, and more - all the different crops, each in their own beauty in such a large scale, provides an enormous challenge in keeping away pests, using our scarce water resources, soil treatment, etc. I now have a very appreciative and realistic view on organic farming, as most of our own backyard crop is now dying away due to the pests and fungi. Not to mention, in our 120 square feet of garden space, we have yet to generate enough food to do much more than supplement our normal food bill, let alone have enough to share with others.
Here you can see the tractor spraying pesticides on the grapes that will someday be on our table in the form of a wine bottle...

Peach Pie

Peaches are my favorite fruit (sans the furry skin) and peach pie is my favorite pie. It's hard to come by and peach season always seems so short to me, but our farmer's market has been carrying some LARGE and beautiful peaches so Samantha and I decided to make a cobbler - a healthy version, of course!
The story starts with my first issue of "Cooks Illustrated" magazine. I'm not sure if someone sent this to me as a gift or if it is just a one-time thing. But the magazine looks old fashioned, thin, and frankly, un-inspiring. But alas, I opened it up to take a look and by the time I finished it, I felt like I took a cooking class. Wow is it educational. It takes you back to the basics and it is written almost in blog style. I love it.
There was an article called "Improving Peach Cobbler" and while it is not a "healthy" recipe, it was inspiring enough to decide to embark on a better version. I think the recipes in here are a good place to start - since they have taken a lot of time to get the "chemistry" of the dish down - you can make slight alterations and learn on your own how to do them in a more healthy way.
So Samantha and I went out and bought our batch of juicy peaches. They recommended 6-7 of their "large" peaches - which amounted to just over 4 lbs of fruit. I know this because they were $2 a pound and the whole tab was $9. WOW. Okay - so healthy peach pie is already breaking the bank.
Then Samantha went to work. She peeled and sliced (thank you thank you!) all the fruit and it was a perfect amount for a shallow glass pie dish. Then followed the following recipe:
Samantha's Peach Cobbler
Slice peaches (not too thin, not to thick....the thinner you slice, the more juicy the cobbler is)
1/4 cup maple syrup (the real raw stuff...not Log Cabin!)
1 T corn starch
(Let this sit while you prepare the cobbler, or even longer. If any juices collect, drain them out.)
Topping:
1 C oats (best to go with non quick cooking oats b/c you want the texture to remain in tact as much as possible)
1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 C honey
1 t cinnamon
1/3 C butter (softenend, not melted)
1/3 C yogurt (I recommend the whole fat greek strained yogurt - it keeps it thicker, but any non-sweetened yogurt is fine)
Directions
Prepare oven at 400 degrees
Stir topping together and spread it over the peaches to create a top-layer crust.
Bake for 20-25 minutes
Let cool for 20-30 mins and eat!
We enjoyed it with a dollop of soy ice cream. Yum!

Even Samantha's mom and brother (Marlene and Aaron) liked this pie so it is a SURE winner. We tried it a couple different ways and the above recipe seems to work best. It is tricky to keep the peaches from getting too runny. I think what we found was that the less ripe peaches get less runny/mushy but are a little more tart. You can cut them a little thinner just to make sure they aren't too cruncy. But if you use soft/ripe peaches, cut them thicker to avoid the overwhelming juice syrup. Also - stick with the yellow peaches, the white ones don't look as pretty in a pie!

Banana Bread

Here is a yummy banana bread. I got the recipe from my neighbor Erin, and modified it a little. It was fine in it's original condition, but you can always make it better, right?
Samantha had fun making it a few times while she was here. If the 15 year old likes it, you know it's okay ;-) And I don't feel guilty giving it to Kaelyn at all!

Banana Bread
3 mashed ripe bananas
4 egg whites (I tried 2 whole eggs and the egg whites were DEF better, so stick with these!)
3 T almond milk
3 T canola oil
1/2 cup honey
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 c oats (orig recipe says 1/4 c wheat germ)
3/4 c oat flour (orig recipe says 3/4 c oat bran)
1 c whole wheat pastry flour
dash salt
2 t cinnamon (could do even more cinnamon)
1 t nutmeg

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Grease a loaf pan
Mix mashed bananas with egg whites, honey, almond milk and canola oil until blended. Fold in dry ingredients until combined well. Bake for 40-45 mins.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Canning Experiment


So Mike brought home about 100 lemons and 100 oranges from his mom's house a couple weeks ago. They were gorgeous fruit but they were starting to go bad quickly. I thought it was a good opportunity to try canning before our own garden gets that prolific. So with my visiting niece Samantha's patient assistance - we did get some gorgeous cans of fruit to last for a while.

We did oranges with honey and preserved lemons. We did a total of 9 cans but one did not seal correctly.
Sterilizing...

Forcing the lemons into the jars (recommend wide mouth jars...)...

Before we did the cans, we squeezed the fresh juice of about 15 lemons and made little freezer cubes out of them. We also made a complete meal with lemon juice sauce/topping. Green beans with lemon juice, potato salad with lemon juice, fish with lemon juice, salad with lemon dressing and lemon raspberry tiramisu. Yum!

I forgot to save the grated rinds so I'll have to do that next time...

The perfect lemon raspberry tiramisu for Aunty Nancy's Birthday!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Garden update

I've had 4 weeks of technical difficulties so updates with photos have been lagging. Finally, here is the garden. It's growing by leaps and bounds and really starting to produce. We have snap peas, radishes, carrots, bush beans, squash, tomatoes, cilantro, dill, lettuce, spinach and more. I even got a cucumber a couple days ago! So we are finally able to have a few completely homegrown salads, tho usually we supplement what we buy at the store....





We also added a whole new section (on the right) and just planted seeds. So grow grow grow!!! We even got a little misty rain - magic ;-)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Grocery List

People who are aware of this "healthful living journey" we are now on have so many questions for us. I'm still finding ways of making this all easier on us and I plan to share my tricks to hopefully make things easier on others as well. One of the reasons we are all so unhealthy these days is because it is so much EASIER! And CHEAPER!!
We have finally put ourself on an official budget. I'm going to share our food budget and hope you don't judge but rather appreciate that I'm giving you a point of reference. I'm sure many of you spend much less, but I'm sure that many of you don't add all that you truly spend all week either. For example, this budget does not include eating out - but we really only eat out one day a week at the most - and it's usually lunch. Most people eat out quite frequently!!

So our budget is officially $125 per week. We tried $100 but it seemed that $125 was really doable whereas $100 was stretching it a bit. It's only been 2 weeks so I'll update you in another month as to our progress.

I went to Trader Joes today and here's what I got for $76.

Organic
-Grapes
-Strawberries
-Greek Yogurt (super yummy, a new friend just turned me on to this b/c it apparently naturally increases progesterone)
-Flax/raisin bran cereal
-1/2 gallon soy milk
-raisins
-canned black beans
-brown rice
-whole wheat penne pasta
-oatmeal
-sprouted wheat bread
-fuji apples (four)
-salad mix
-Dark Chocolate (my one vice, I eat it each night)
-mango vanilla soy ice cream (Mike's vice!)

Non-organic
-bananas
-slivered almonds
-canned artichokes
-capers
-"green" juice
-crumbled goat cheese
-veggie burgers
-shredded carrots
-celery
-almond butter

Oh - and organic blueberries. SOMEONE literally stole them off the counter while I was taking the first photo. Without my knowing, she walked over to her high chair, got in it, put the tray on and started saying "peash, peash"...which means, please can I have some blueberries? How cute ;-)
Obviously this list doesn't account for alot of other things we eat each week including eggs, tofu, any meat, and most of our veggies which I already had in the house. This is where that other $50 will come in handy. We usually spend around $20-30 at the farmer's market on Sunday so I'll post our goods on that day too.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sauteed Swiss Chard and Chickpeas

I feel like a trademark of any vegetarian/vegan is that they eat strange things like swiss chard, collard greens, and kale. And you most definitely see all of these thinks weekly, throughout the year, at the farmer's market. I know they have wonderful nutritional value, so we have incorporated them into our own diets now on a weekly basis. You can eat them like spinach which is easy (I usually add garlic, salt, and vinegar) but it gets a little boring. I'm still perfecting my ability to cook them all to the perfect texture, and I'm still exploring recipes. Here is one that is so much of a winner even Kaelyn begged for more!
This came from my Weight Watchers Versatile Vegetarian cookbook

Sauteed Swiss Chard and Chickpeas
2 t olive/canola oil
1/2 t ground cumin
2 t butter (optional)
1 T chopped green chiles
1 garlic clove
1 bunch swiss chard, cleaned and chopped (separate the stems and leaves but include both)
One 19-ounce can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained (can also use dried beans and cook them first)
1/2 t ground ginger
3/4 t garam masala

Okay - I'll be honest and I didn't have the masala, so I used MARSALA and it actually was quite good.


Heat the oil and butter until bubbling nearly subsides and butter is melted. Add cumin, cook just until fragrant (10-15 seconds). Add chiles and garlic, cook, stirring constantly until garlic is lightly browned (30-45 seconds).

Add chard stems, chick peas, and 1/4 cup of water, cook stirring gently until stems are softened and most of the liquid is evaporated (3-4 minutes). Stirn in chard leaves, ginger, and another 1/4 cup of water. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring as needed, until the greens are just tender, 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle with garam masala; cook uncovered, stirring gently, until the remaining liquid is absorbed, 1-2 minutes.

166 calories, 6 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 157 mg sodium, 7 g fiber 8 g protien, 20 g carbohydrate, 97 mg calcium.

Weight watchers points per serving: 3
Yum!!

Just in time for the 4th of July!

My friend and colleague Marjorie brought this super yummy potato salad to a gathering we had last weekend. I was so impressed with it I begged her for the recipe (apparently it's from Sunset Magazine's website). I had a sneaky suspicion that it was pretty healthy so now I don't feel guilty for eating the leftovers. I even added some blanched broccoli the next day and mixed it in which was delicious. I think the dressing could be used on many things, including a general salad. Of course, whenever possible...use organic ingredients.

Fingerling Potato Salad with Gremolata Dressing
Great for salads because they hold their shape once cooked, these fingerlings are steamed, which enables them to retain more nutrients than boiled. The gremolata-inspired dressing (with parsley, lemon, and garlic) adds a twist to this side.

Yield
4 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup)

Ingredients
1/2 pound white fingerling potatoes
1/2 pound red fingerling potatoes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon capers, drained

Preparation
1. Steam potatoes, covered, 12 minutes or until tender. Cover and chill.

2. Combine juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; slowly add oil, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in rind and garlic; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in parsley and capers.

3. Cut potatoes into quarters; add potatoes to juice mixture, tossing to coat.

Nutritional Information
Calories:125 (26% from fat)
Fat:3.6g (sat 0.5g,mono 2.5g,poly 0.4g)
Protein:2.6g
Carbohydrate:21.4g
Fiber:2.2g
Cholesterol:0.0mg
Iron:1mg
Sodium:370mg
Calcium:16mg

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A MUST SEE

If there is ONE thing you do for yourself this year - please go see Food, Inc. It's at theaters now. Do it for yourself, do it for your family, do it for your kids, heck - if nothing else, please do it for me.

See a trailer here:
http://www.foodincmovie.com/

Also - for more information on the food you eat, go to: www.whatsinmyfood.org

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lentil Soup

This is one of my old time favorites. You'll notice a theme in my upcoming recipe positings. Not only are the recipes going to be healthy but they will also be relatively inexpensive (at least for healthy food). I will be the first to admit, eating this way has increased our budget. But I'm trying to cut back on the amount that we eat, rather than the quality. Poor Mikey can't stop losing weight. He's going to disappear soon if I don't get him a cheeseburger. Of course, my scale stopped going down - go figure.

Anyway - I've made this soup since I was in college and I still love it. Shared it with friends last weekend and they loved it.

Ingredients:
Bag/pound of dried lentils
3 bay leafs
1 chicken or veggie bouillon (you can use stock instead of water if you prefer)
3-4 celery stalks
1 cup chopped or shredded carrots
1/2 chopped onion (optional - you get a lot of flavor from the celery)
3 garlic cloves
Big dash of sea salt and pepper
1 T olive oil (you can also just use water for sauteing if you prefer)

Saute all the vegetables in olive oil for about 5 minutes.
Add the lentils
Add 6-8 cups of water. The water level should be twice as high as the lentils. Then you bring to boil and then simmer for 1-2 hours. I like my soup to be more like "bean mash" (as Mike calls it) rather than watery. But you can edit the consistency by not cooking the beans till they are mushy or adding water as they soak it up. Just note that if you refridgerate leftovers (this recipe makes soup for about 6-8 servings) the juice gets soaked up so you'd need to add water during reheating.
Here I added stewed tomatoes which was really a great addition...

If you feel like being naughty, you can add a dollop of sour cream and/or shredded cheese on top, or some people like salsa. I've also seen a recipe for adding a can of stewed tomatoes as you cook the soup. That would be good but I haven't tried it.

Oh - and Kaelyn loves this soup too ;-)

Enjoy...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hummus Recipe

So I'm having more requests for garden updates and recipe postings. Since I'm having technical difficulties, the garden pics will have to wait (though the garden is officially going CRAZY! - I love it!).

In the meantime, here's a recipe for super yummy and easy to make Hummus.

Buy dried Chick Peas (garbanzo beans)- I bought a pound and used 4 cups

Soak overnight in water that more than covers the chickpeas

Boil for about 3 hours (test the chickpeas and when they are soft enough to eat you can stop boiling them)

Cool for 15 mins so they are not super hot.

Put in blender with the following ingredients:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
3-4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon - 1 tablespoon Cumin (depending on your preference)

Blend until smooth, adding the broth you boiled the lentils in to moisten and make smooth.

You can add other ingredients for flavor. I haven't tried it yet but plan to try red peppers, other spices, etc.

You can freeze this also - since it makes quite a bit. You can also freeze the cooked garbanzo beans and use for different things - on salads, in hummus that you make later, in other recipes (I'll post a good chickpea and swiss chard recipe later).

Have fun! Kaelyn just loves hummus. She dips her own crackers in them and also eats it by the fingerfull (or spoonfull!)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rough week

I'm having a really rough week. I felt the need to come here and write. I feel that the only people I can really talk to are people who have lost their own babies so I will write instead of reaching out to anyone right now. I don't know what happened, but the loss of this last year is hitting me really hard right now. Our computer crashed this week and we've lost everything. We may be able to get it back after spending lots of money but I'm not sure if we'll do that or not. I feel like I keep getting kicked around while I'm down and I've tried to just put on a brave face and keep moving forward, but right now I don't feel like doing that. Of course, as usual, I don't have much time to just sit in sorrow. All day is spent with Kaelyn (we're working on potty training right now so it's quite time consuming) and we are going away with friends this weekend. So maybe that's why I'm writing - to try to get this all out.

I keep realizing all of the things that are on our computer and now gone. One of the big ones is a poem I wrote for Liliana. I wanted to post it to this blog but wasn't ready. I never shared it with anyone and therefore I will not be able to get it back. When we lost Maya, I wrote a poem and shared it. But after Liliana, I felt like everyone had already had enough of the strange and unfamiliar grief of losing a baby to a miscarriage. Heck, some people don't think it should be a big deal - it's not like you ever knew the child. But I tell ya what, I have YET to meet anyone who's had a miscarriage or lost a child at any point who does not have the same feelings that I do. So I know I'm not odd - only unfamiliar to those who have not had to walk in these shoes. If only they really knew how lucky they were. I feel like I'm trapped in a sort of hell. And with two losses behind us, I feel like I'm just in a hampster wheel going around and around.

Anyway, I wanted to include this poem I wrote for Maya on the day before I let her go. It is killing me that I don't have the poem I wrote for Liliana. I'm so mad that I didn't feel that I could share it with anyone, even her own father.

Dear Baby

Dear baby, who were you?
Who would you have been?

Would you have been like daddy?
Big brown eyes, the funny guy
A loving man with so much to give?

Or would you have been like mommy?
Baby blues, a strong attitude
A warm heart and a big life to live?

We’ll always wonder and never know
Who you would have grown up to be
But we’ll always have one extra seat at our table
And it’s you there we’ll always see.

As we grow our family number,
We imagine the good and the fun,
But losing you put a halt on our journey
And made us remember to not always run.

You’ll always be our baby
Though we never knew you well
There will be one more number than what people can see
But our love for you we will tell

In our yard you’ll always be seen
In the form of an olive tree
We’ll remember our dream of a little bean
Our baby Maya, our angel, who’ll always be so free

We love you, we miss you,
Keep us safe from high above
You are a special baby
Because you will only know our love

Love mommy, daddy, and your big sister Kaelyn

Monday, May 18, 2009

New findings

Now harvesting: Radishes!

Well I finally got the results of my nutrition study. This was the Spectracell Test (link is on right). I went to a holistic MD for this, but my regular doctor (not OB) also does these tests. You have to find a doctor in your area who will do it (you can find the docs on the Spectracell website)...and most insurances don't cover it since it's considered "preventative." As usual, with PPO's you can submit a "superbill" afterwords and try to get some reimbursment. The time with the doc is also not covered. Anyway - the test itself is $300. It's really an amazing test and finding out any deficiencies you may have will not only vastly improve your health, but could prevent some more long term issues you don't even know you have brewing at this point in time.

Anway - it tests many nutrients but I will only cover the ones I was found to be deficient in:
1. Serine - Used to manufacture proteins, energy, cell membrane structure and synthesis of ofhter cell components (DNA and RNA. There may be a conditional need for serine during periods of cell growth or physiological stress.
2. Vitamin A - Eyes, immune function, skin, essential cell growth and development
3. Choline - essential for human cell growth, connected to weightloss (it helps to move fats around) and memory
4. Zinc - Supports enzymes, immune system, wound healing, taste/smell, DNA sysnthesis, normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood and adolescence

I was also borderline on B12 - Healthy nerve cells, DNA/RNA, red blood cell production, iron function

Do you notice a trend? Every one of these has to do with cell growth, fertility, DNA/RNA, etc. Without going into too much detail, I've found that some of these have been found to be low in many women who have miscarried. I'm still getting to the bottom of this research, and I didn't even get to talk to my holistic MD on this connection yet, but not only is there a connection to miscarriage but also the thrombophilia and antiphospholipid risk factors (my gene mutations for MTHFR and Prothrombin Fac2). Obviously, I have a lot more research to do, but for the first time, I feel like some of the pieces of the puzzle are actually in front of me. Now if only someone out there was actually connecting the dots.

I've often thought doing this nutrition test was going overboard - even though it makes sense to do one of these tests every few years to make sure our "internal" bodies are in good shape. And since sharing this blog with so many others I've had some interesting conversations with others who have miscarried or suffered from infertility/reproductive issues. Most people, the vast vast majority, simply go with what the doctor recommends. I don't know why I have fought so hard against this, especially when I've talked with 4 professionals who all say to just take another chance, there are no answers. But this is how I can explain my maddness. There is ALWAYS a reason. There is a reason for each of my losses, and there is a reason someone may struggle to get pregnant. It's just a lot of work to figure it out. Sure, you can take a pill and things may be fine from here on. Sure, you could just try again and everything could go swell. But you also have an opportunity to ask the question WHY. Why did this/is this happening to me? When a doctor says, "oh, you have low progesterone, or you have high estrogen", ask them WHY. What is causing my levels to be high or low? Is there something I need to fix. Because all of the problems we have in getting pregnant/maintaining a pregnancy stand a pretty good chance of being passed along to our kiddos. And guess what? I'd give ANYTHING to prevent Kaelyn from experiencing what I have experienced. If I don't take the opportunity to learn about myself now, I won't be able to live with myself if she has issues when she is older. It will kill me.

Easy-to-make, healthy snack


I've been trying lots of new recipes. Well, not lots, but some. It's so hard to cook with a toddler. But after 3 attempts at a good yet healthy baked good, I finally found one and it is ALSO easy to make!! I made it while Kaelyn ate an afternoon snack in her high chair - so you know that's easy!!

You won't believe this either, I found the recipe in none other than Family Fun magazine. Impressive!

Energy Boost Bars (they provide 20 grams of carbs for slow-release, sustained energy)
Ingredients;
1 8oz bag of raw almonds (I used one cup of almonds since I buy mine in bulk)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 1/2 cup oats, quick-cooking (I replaced 1/2 cup with rolled oats since they're yummy)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I subbed with raisins since I couldn't find non-sweetened cranberries - the sugar in most dried cranberries is BAD)
1 cup dried blueberries (unsweeted found at Trader Joes)
2/3 cup maple syrup (always use Grade B RAW - found at Trader Joes. DO NO USE REGULAR MAPLE SYRUP - you know, Log Cabin? The first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup - very BAD)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Heat the oven to 275 and lightly grase a 9 inch baking pan with olive oil. Grind the almonds in a food processor until they resemble a coarse meal. Combine the ground almonds and the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and stir well. Using wet fingers, press the mixture into the prepared pan and bake it for 1 hour. Allow the bars to cool thoroughly while they are still inthe pan, then slice them. Makes 20.
(151 cals, 4g protein, 20g carbs, 7g fat, 0 cholesterol, 2mg sodium)

Mike, Kaelyn and myself all like them. And Mike doesn't even like Raisins. Try the recipe as is first, and then feel free to modify with any dried fruit. This is a pretty versatile recipe that I think you could make many substitutions and only improve them for your preferences.

Have fun!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Official "Healthful Living Day"

Well, as some of you may recall, today is a very big date for us. It should have been Maya's birthday. I've been thinking about, dreading, and waiting for this day for a very long time. I couldn't imagine what I would do - the only thought that came to mind was to go to the hospital and sit in the parking lot all day. Somehow today has come and miraculously that is the last thing I want to do. I went to accupuncture this morning and followed that with yoga. I didn't even cry which was very surprising.
In preparation for today, I went to a support group last week and mentioned this to them - that I didn't know what I wanted to do for this significant day. Many who have lost later-term pregnancies celebrate the birthdays of their lost little ones with cakes and singing, others release butterflies. They told me that it would come to me and I would know what to do.
Up until last night, nothing had "come to me." But suddenly, it was clear as day. There is nothing good that can come from losing a child - a child of any age. But there has been one very positive thing for us. Without our losses, we never would have embarked on this journey of more healthful living. All of this research, all of the books on raw food, beating disease through food, etc - I would never have spent a moment on any of it if we hadn't lost both babies. So what we've decided is that forever more, May 13th and October 4th (Liliana's due date) will be our family "Healthful Living Day." Much like the world celebrates "Earth Day" on April 21st, we will make sure that each year we do something on these special days to either educate ourselves or educate others on how we can continue to live more healthfully.
When I started this blog, I did now know if I would ever share it with anyone. I still have only shared it with a couple of people who I wanted to share the research with for their own personal health journey. But now I know that today is the day to share this with everyone. I don't know if it will ever impact anyone who reads it, but I know that the efforts that we record here and make in our lives will impact one special girl for the rest of her life. Miss Kaelyn. I am so grateful for our little angels for giving me the opportunity to take a step back and evaluate all of the choices we make so that their sister Kaelyn will have a better chance at motherhood as well as all the other potential health struggles she may face in her life.
So welcome to this site. I hope you had a happy "Healthful Living Day." I welcome all questions, comments, suggestions, and most of all, your curiosity. If there is ever anything I can do to help you on your own Healthful Journey, let me know. And feel free to share this blog with others. It's not easy to be open about all of this, but the reason I am is because hearing other's stories was the ONLY thing I've found helpful during these difficult months.
If you want to keep track of this blog - sign up to follow it on the right side of the site at the bottom of the page. And stay tuned for more.