Do You Love Ron Swanson So Much You Have His Portrait On Your Dining Room Wall?

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We do.  If you don’t watch Parks and Rec. you should start.  It is probably the most amazing show ever.  Not that we have time to watch anything ever anymore, but still…I have memories.  Also, I was recently reminded of a favorite quote of his:

“Never half-ass two things, whole ass one thing.”

Which is exactly what I have done this week.  I am whole-assing failure like it’s going out of style, and loving it.  Apparently one should never have the thought “I’m going to NOT EAT BREAD” because it leads to exactly the opposite.  Sure, I haven’t tried very hard, except to not buy bread.  It’s hilarious that I would think that would stop me because instead of thinking “Hm…I didn’t buy bread so I need to make food with some other substance” every morning I think “Oh!  We’re out of bread I need to make bread alternatives like sourdough english muffins and quick breads like coconut flour-flax-muffins for breakfast!”

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Never made english muffins before.  Guess what?  They are super easy and of course they taste amazing.  I used my starter so the dough proofed overnight but it took very little time.  I flattened the dough out the next morning with my hands because I don’t have a rolling-pin and it was as simple as using a drinking glass to cut them out and then grill them on the griddle.

Oh and yet another reason you should be cooking with cast iron.  Nothing sticks when you use and season them properly and they are perfect for cooking tortillas and english muffins!

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I’m going to perfect this recipe and post it soon.  I added the honey in the morning after the initial proof and I think maybe I will heat it before mixing it in so it spreads more evenly next time.  They tasted perfect, but I could actually see the honey inside the muffins so I know I need to tweak something.

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So this morning when I realized once again “We are out of bread!” I thought well we should make healthy bread today.  These muffins are actually quite genius.  Not joking.  Since we are going to Mexico soon I need to start clearing the fridge of items that may go bad so these muffins have:

Coconut flour, flaxseed meal, honey yogurt, sour cream, homemade applesauce, butter and lots of eggs.  (Of course they also have baking soda and powder, coconut sugar, and salt and other items that won’t go bad.)  They are kind of totally amazing.  I know very little about baking with coconut flour but I do know that it is very dry so I added three times the eggs I normally would, and some sour cream!

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I took some time to paint my toes and get ma hairs did yesterday which felt amazing.

Almost as amazing as eating these muffins.

I don’t do New Years Resolutions, but maybe I’ll try a post-Mexico resolution regarding bread this year.

Or not.

-Bee

You Don’t Have To Know How To Cook To Eat Well.

Inspired by a vlog that Mama Natural posted recently (which I cannot seem to locate at the moment) I decided to take some totally unplanned pictures of a super fast meal I cooked to show you that eating healthily is not only easy, it’s pretty speedy too.  You have to know a few things, of course, but other than what I will share with you here, you really don’t need to know much about cooking to make a delicious and nutritious meal for your family.

Here we go.

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6:01pm is not exactly planning ahead when your man gets home at 6:30pm.  Not to fear!  I have thawed meat and random veggies that I can make into something.  After a cursory look, I am saddened to find no potatoes, as they are always acceptable as a side with steak (at least for my cowboy of a husband), but I did find some polenta in the pantry, (which leads me to my next point which is that I have some tricks for stocking a pretty useful pantry that I will post in the near future) and that is totally cool because toddlers love them some crispy polenta.

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If you are wondering why this sirloin says not for sale it is because we save money on our grass-fed meat by buying 1/4 to a full cow at a time and keeping it in our huge freezer.  It’s actually pretty bad-ass in terms of convenience to do it that way.  (Btw if you have never read my previous posts on cussing, ASS is not cuss-they say it on the radio.)

I like to bring a steak to room temp before grilling.  I take it out, pat it dry, season generously with salt and pepper and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

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Next I prep my vegetables.  I learned from Mr. H. the order in which to cook foods.  I literally knew NOTHING when we first met, and honestly don’t know how I survived so long in this world.  But anyway, there is an order to things as far as the density of vegetables goes and I shall enlighten you here.

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If you are using potatoes or polenta, heat a pan with oil and butter and get those going first.  They need to cook the whole time you do other stuff.

As you can see I’m working with the end of week supplies so what I make is entirely contingent upon what I have leftover.

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Chop chop chop.

Heat a cast iron skillet (more and more I am exclusively using cast iron.  They are beautifully seasoned and nothing ever sticks.  I LOVE them), because the non-stick kind is bad-bad.

A few tablespoons of sunflower oil (not canola folks; if you don’t know why it’s because canola is literally Canada Oil and due to an agreement with the FDA some years ago they have successfully worked a rancid oil not fit for human consumption into almost every recipe book and food blog in this country under the guise of “flavorless” and “healthy” when it is anything BUT…all because it is a super cheap and a genetically altered crop), and of course a couple of tablespoons of grass-fed butter until melted, on medium.

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Onions and carrots first until soft and translucent.  Then I make a little well and add the garlic.  Spread it around and wait until you just smell it’s loveliness.  Wait maybe 20 more seconds to “sweat” it and then add your other ingredients.

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For me this was kale, which gets added before the spinach as it is thicker and needs a bit more time.  Sally Fallon says that thicker greens such as kale need to be cooked so as to help the digestive system break them down.  I get that.  I used to eat kale raw a lot-and although I still do at times, I now make sure to massage salt and oil into it first.  Helps the gut.

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Add the spinach.

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A peak over at the polenta.  I mostly keep a splash guard over this pan.

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Once the veggies are finished add more oil if needed and throw on that steak.  Nice and hot is the name of the game with steak so don’t fear the smoke.  Also, I find that the lovely crust comes from the drying/peppering/and oiling of the nice and hot pan.  As far as steakhouse steaks go, this oiling and heating idea comes from there.  Very often they will finish the steak in the oven, but I just cook the whole thing on the stove, as we like ours med-rare.

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The polenta draining on some paper towels.

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Dinner on the table. (The steak is cut because Dub and I just eat the end off of Mr. H’s steak; I find that is plenty for us.)

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The husband arriving home at…

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A little late, and good thing when you consider that I took about a 10-15 minute break to change a diaper and take some pics of this babe:

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I didn’t consider dinner until way too late, I used what I had on hand, and this is what I got in return:

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I am way too blessed for the way I’ve lived my life, but I’ll take it.

Now go make some real food.

Love,

Bee

p.s.

We wanted dessert so I made molasses spice cookies while dada gave dub a bath and bam: happiness.

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You can find the recipe HERE.  The only changes I made were that I used sprouted flour, and fresh ginger instead of dried.

Happy eating y’all.

 

Hi Baby. And a Toddler Room Tour.

“Hi baby.”  Dub has now spoken a sentence and it was “hi baby.”  Apparently we say that a lot around here.

I will try to make this next portion brief.

Sometimes I don’t remember I’m pregnant until I witness myself responding (reacting) in a-how do I say-rather intense way.  I feel sometimes like people really suck.  Most of the time I know that, and I go about my business unaffected by any of it.  Sometimes though it touches me and I can’t shake it off.  Yesterday I was at Costco (which, if you are like me is a serious experience since I pretty much shop at co-ops, farmers markets and Trader Joes) and I stopped in the entrance to put Dub in the cart, very much in the way of people trying to pass by.  It was dumb, I get that, but I was overwhelmed by the sheer mass of the place and the people (and the carts!  Whisky-Tango-Foxtrot).   Anyway, this woman (my age, maybe a little older) walked past with her child already in the cart and said “You’re blocking the entire entrance so people can’t get by” which was simply untrue due to the fact that she had just passed me while vomiting all over me, but regardless it was the way she said it and the look she delivered AFTER.  Granted, I was already having a day, and it was followed by way worse, but it got me thinking…

How often is our first reaction something like the Costco she-devil and not one of offering assistance or even just quiet judgement.  Joking, but not really.  I mean, I think what got my goat the most about the whole thing is that she wasn’t old and crotchety, she was young and with a young child herself!  How did she not identify in any way with my human-ness?

I’ve been seeing a couple of things on instagram and pinterest lately that I feel I can apply to both she-devil and to myself in this situation.

For her:

BE A NICE HUMAN.

For me:

LOVE PEOPLE ANYWAY.

Which leads me to my next point.  In thinking about all of this it occurred to me (suddenly and out of the blue at a stoplight) that today is Good Friday.  Today is the day Jesus died for us.  Today is THE DAY that a faultless man took all of the sin in the world to ever have existed-that will ever exist-upon himself to save us.  I guess the least I can do is not take she-devil’s puke so hard.  I suppose I can love her anyway; dust myself off and take time to consider just how incredible it is that a man like Jesus would love us anyway.

Okay, now for some pictures.  I can’t say I have styled Weston’s room, but I have tidied and pared it down a bit and I’m feeling great about the overall arrangement of things.  I will work on it more through the summer and since we are turning the hubby’s office into a nursery I will have more space to keep baby things there too.

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First, Dub is now in a toddler bed.  I put a pool noodle (the $1 one from target) under his sheet so he doesn’t roll out and it has worked like a dream.

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I have found that the more organized I keep his shelves the more he plays with his toys.  The cleaner I keep his room the more likely he is to be in there using his imagination.  I found old metal baskets in the garden that I use to keep shoes organized.  He loves to get his little animals down and he really loves to read books to himself.  The jute rug is new from Target and I love it for so many reasons, but mostly because the cats don’t care to scratch it.  I swear, I vacuumed twice a day with the last rug and it never stayed looking clean for more than an hour.  I felt like I sucked at housewife.  Also, the fan.  I don’t know if your toddler has the fan obsession, but mine sure does and it doesn’t seem to be going away.  It’s the first thing we say hi to and the last thing we put to bed each night.

As far as food goes, I am still digging Mexican but more than that, it’s just easy.

If you happen to have a little extra time (I mean maybe 30 minutes longer than your allotted dinner prep time) then you should make this.  The chicken itself cooks for an hour, but hands-on is about 30.

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Yes, that is the husband’s plate.  I don’t really like the chicken neck.

This recipe involves roasting a chicken, stewing the meat in Mexican seasonings, frying up tortillas and assembling tacos.  Sounds arduous but is totally fun.  I  mean it.  Throw on some embarrassing 90’s hits and go. to. town.

You can use my recipe for roasted chicken from here:

Perfect Roasted Chicken

I just used Mexican spices with the butter and shoved that under the skin since I knew exactly what I was making this chicken for.  (Basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, cumin, salt, garlic.)

While your chicken is roasting combine stewing ingredients:

On medium heat: sunflower oil and butter melted, then add 1/2 onion and cook until translucent.  Add a clove or two of minced garlic and cook 30 seconds or until you smell it.  Add oregano, basil, cumin, red pepper flakes, chilli powder, salt and pepper.  cook another minute or so and then add 2 cups of chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and cover, simmering on medium/low heat until your chicken is done.

Once your chicken is roasted let it cool 5 minutes and then pull its legs and wings off and slice all the meat from them.  Slice the meat into strips and add to the stock mixture.

–you can slice the breasts off and put them in the fridge for a few days of sandwiches, as I did—

–put the chicken carcass in a plastic bag and stick it in the freezer so you can save up a few carcasses and make chicken stock!—

Cover stew mixture once more and let simmer while you prep your tacos.  Overall I like mine to stew about 45 minutes to an hour.

What you like in your tacos is totally up to you but we like:

refried beans

grass-fed cheddar

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cilantro

green salsa

fresh tomatoes

avocado

sour cream

chicken (of course)

and corn tortillas freshly fried in sunflower oil

We had leftover chicken and it was perfect for making taco salad the next night!  I just added blue corn chips to the rest of the ingredients, lots of romaine, replaced the refried beans with canned black beans, and voila!  The chicken juices and sour cream make a perfect dressing.  I don’t like a drenched salad, but if you do, a little sunflower oil and lime would be great as well.

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I do this so much better than the local Mexican restaurants.  Sometimes it sucks to live so far north.

Happy day and happy cooking, and don’t forget to be a nice human!

-Bee

 

 

 

The Three Month Belly Shot. And The Lotion That Saves You From Stretch Marks.

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Well there it is.  The belly.  And check this out, I was lying on my back waking up slowly the other morning when I felt something in my belly that was different from a gas bubble.  It actually caused me to put my hand on my lower abdomen to see what it was.  Oh man.  It was the rounded spine of my little tiny baby!  Later on in pregnancy a rounded spine is very apparent and so since I’ve experienced it before I knew it when I felt it!  My little egg sized baby was moving around in there and I could actually feel it in my belly and with my fingers!  So cool.  I can honestly say that until that moment the pregnancy (even with all the sickness and fatigue) wasn’t real to me yet.

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And let me introduce to you the lotion that may actually save you from stretch marks.  Weleda Skin Food (I buy it at Super Supplements).  It is AH-MAZING.  I began using it a couple of times a day starting around 5 or 6 months into my pregnancy with Weston and let me tell you, this stuff is oily.  It doesn’t go away.  It soaks in but there is still so much oil you know it is doing its job.  It ain’t cheap, but it’s natural and it’s pure and it works.  Of course diet plays a very important role in the moisture content of your skin so don’t just avoid that aspect of pregnancy health and try to band-aid a problem.  Drink tons of water and make sure you are eating real food, sans pesticides.  And just as a little tip, if you want a skin-super-food get some pasture-fed gelatin and eat it every single day.  I put it in my shakes, but yesterday I made real juice jello with it and now I will never need to get botox.  It’s collagen.  It’s straight-up collagen.  Here is where to get it from a company that humanely raises their pastured cows: Great Lakes Gelatin.  If you do not yet know why it is important to eat beef and dairy products from grass-fed cows please read THIS.

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For a while there when Weston was younger he had some pretty bad eczema.  Nothing I did seemed to relieve it.  I was nervous to try the Weleda because I thought it may be too much for his little baby skin.  I took him to his pediatrician and he said to use Eucerin and several other name brand lotions.  I tried.  Nothing.  Days of applying what the doctor ordered and things just seemed to get worse.  I know enough to know that Lubriderm and lotions like that are not good and that they hardly moisturize because-how could they with all the added scents and chemicals? but I thought maybe the doc knew something I didn’t.  Then I just decided to try the Weleda.  It took two days of applying twice a day and what had been about 5 months of dry and flaky and beginning to crack skin was restored to perfect baby skin condition.

I am a believer.  Regarding stretch marks however, sometimes they just happen and the most important thing to do if you get them is to tone your abs.  I saw a picture of this super sexy abdomen with stretch marks and it said something about a tiger earning her stripes.  I thought that was rad.  How true is that?  Anyway, as my mama always said “Moisturize moisturize moisturize!”

Warning: This Post Is About Jesus.

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This post is not going to be for everyone.  I’m not secretive about my love for God, but the name Jesus really tends to ruffle feathers.  Why is Dub crying in this picture?  Because this morning was one of those mornings.  Nothing I did could please him.  No food, no boob, no love, no playing, comfort, reading, or anything at all.  Except of course, anything he wasn’t suppose to have, such as dada’s empty beer cans, dog food, and electrical outlets.  It’s this time of the month that I tend to get migraines and so I have been feeling one come on with all Dub’s crying this morning.  At one point I held him while he tantrumed out and I just cried and prayed out loud “God, please help me out here, pllllleeeeeaaaaassssseeee.”  I gave Weston a bowl of yogurt, poured myself a cup of coffee and walked away.  To my amazement, somehow, yogurt was the answer.  Or was it the yogurt?

Regardless of your view on the power of prayer (or the validity of faith), I have been thinking heavily on God’s Grace lately.  I come from a very, very different world pre-baby.  For all intents and purposes I should be at minimum, addicted to something, and penniless.  At a very young age I was using drugs and making decisions that should have affected my entire life.  Through no fault of my parents, I confirm to me that we are born with a certain soul and certain proclivities.  I was born HELL-BENT.  My twenties are a blur for the most part.  Yeah, I held multiple jobs and was functioning, but I was dramatic, lost, and always searching for something that would fill a void in me.  A void I could not understand, much less find the answer for.  So I drank a lot, I smoked a ton, I was careless with others and thoughtless and reckless, and all the other less’ you can name.  This isn’t me being a martyr, this is me just being honest.  It is truly amazing I am where I am considering everything I did trying to ruin me.

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What is amazing about this is that I am loved by a wonderful man, blessed with a healthy and beautiful son, and I have no addictions to speak of.  I have no temptations that haunt me, and I am blissed-out just to spend my days caring for my boy and taking care of my husband by cooking and cleaning (take that feminists).  Considering where I’ve come from, this shouldn’t be the case, yet it is.  Only now am I beginning to understand what, or rather who, has allowed all of this to be.  It has been given to me without me asking, and without my understanding.  I think that is called Grace.

I’ve loved people who I thought were beyond helping before.  I’ve prayed for them for so long that eventually I came to believe they were gone forever.  Then, they come back.  They return from whatever crazy town/addiction planet they had been on for a decade and they are whole and clean and better than ever.  I catch Weston mid-fall multiple times a day.  He is unaware of my intervention, and carries on like nothing was about to severely maim him.  In a similar way I have spent my entire life being “caught” and spared, clueless to the forces that surrounded me.  I’ve seen people beyond saving come to themselves for no reason other than Grace.  I have experienced Grace in my own life that I still have yet to fully comprehend.  I witness my child hell-bent on hurting himself simply through his own ignorance and I see just a glimpse into God’s world.  I see how He can love us through our horrible choices and sin (sin, another trigger-word).  We are like children who just don’t know.  We don’t see.

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After Weston finished his yogurt he had another good cry and then took a bath.  By this point the coffee had kicked in and I was feeling better.  Bath time=best time for Dub, so he was happy, I was happy, and even though I looked away for a second and turned back to find him tasting his poo, it was cool.  We filled the bath back up and enjoyed the time.

I’ve not always been a believer.  I’ve also spent some time believing in God, but not really being comfortable with the “Jesus” part.  Lately, I’m starting to understand why Jesus is the key to the whole thing.  Without Him, without His sacrifice, we would all be lost forever.  The concept that there is a King of everything, a King higher than all other Kings; that that King would die for those that serve him?  It’s completely backwards and the most beautiful story ever told.  I am finally starting to understand how ever-present Jesus has been in my life.  I need him in every second of my day.  Prayer is a real thing, and I honestly don’t know how people get by without it.  Yes, it is comforting, but it’s more than that.  It is real, and I’m so grateful I have the chance to know Him.

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Are you puking a little in your mouth right now?  I get it, I’ve been there, and no I don’t mean I’ve been there as in I know more than you.  I just get it.  It took me forever to warm to the idea of looking like a complete fool.  Of being made fun of by most intellectuals.  Of being mistaken for those totally screwy Christians that gave the rest of us a bad name by passing judgement, by being hypocrites, by misrepresenting, and by being dumb.  I’m not a typical Christian.

I knew a priest once who was an alcoholic.  He spent years on the street, homeless and addicted to drowning his sorrows.  He had lost everything.  I don’t know what brought him to the priesthood exactly, but I know that he was one of the most REAL people I had ever met.  His humility was humbling.  His honesty dumbfounding, and his entire life seemed a contradiction.  This man passed no judgement on anyone, and was truly, truly kind.  It is a man like that, that brings people into the fold.  He was just one person in my long journey toward God that drove me to and not from.  That man’s life was similar to the life of Jesus.  Jesus, who was perfect, obviously didn’t have a life like the first-half of that priest’s life.  What he did have was the contradiction of the second-half.  He accepted without judgement those who were the lowest and the most despicable.  He loved and welcomed those who all others considered trash.  Where on this earth, other than The Bible, is there a story like this?  Nowhere.

I know I’m late to this game.  I grew up in church, rebelled from it completely, tried on every other faith and approach, and now I am here understanding (or beginning to) just how incredible it is that we are saved.  I’m okay with whatever negativity I will face for believing what I do.  I pray that my life can be an example to even one person that Grace is real, and God is real, and no one is beyond redemption.

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Now go forth, or whatever.

-Bee