"Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table." -William Shakespeare

Showing posts with label vacation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vacation. Show all posts

Monday, June 10, 2013

Soaked Muesli

"Never look back unless you are planning to go that way. "

No big deal.  It only took 3 hours of trial and failure on the bedtime routine to buy myself 30 minutes for a post here... compliments of
See the tear on her little cheek?

Anyway, sorry for the no-explanation-of-where-I've-been-for-six-months, but food is much more interesting than my 2013 has been, so here's the skinny on Soaked Muesli instead.

I've noticed the 'Refrigerator Oatmeal' trend in foodie cyberspace and I'm here to set the record straight: 

1) Eating raw grains for breakfast is called muesliNot oatmeal.

2) Rolled oats are not  raw.  They've been steam rolled. 

3) Refrigerating uncooked oatmeal is convenient and delicious but it could be so much *more* if folks would do it *right.*

Soaking grains for the neophyte healthy eater seems odd, daunting, and downright frustrating.  I know when I had freshly weaned my husband off white flour that the addition of soaking our whole grains was enough to make me hyperventilate so I just hit my mental *delete* button and went on with life.

 However, the concept and the 'why' behind it kept popping up every now and then.  Over the course of several years, I wrapped my mind around the why, then the how, and slowly incorporated soaking into my preparation of grains (and nuts), while refusing to let myself become a perfectionist or paranoid crazy person over it.

Enough for a couple breakfasts and snacks for us- but for my friend with 11 kids, this
countertop full of oats will be a single meal!!!
Long story short: soaking grains properly before cooking or consuming them raw makes them more digestible, increases their nutrition, and *may* prevent or mitigate allergic reactions, depending on the person.
Husband-friendly Muesli: add raw coconut sugar and mini chocolate chips, plus (shudder) a dash of organic half-and-half
To soak oatmeal is simple, since it is partly cooked.  But it must be done at room temperature.  Refrigerating the oats after mixing cuts short the process.  So *try* to make this up in the morning.  Then let it sit till bedtime and pop your jars or covered bowls in the fridge then. 
 Soaked Muesli
per serving:
1/2 c oats
1-2 t chia seeds (or ground flaxseed, or both)
1-2T almond flour (for protein, or sub any combo of nuts and other seeds)
1/2 sliced banana
1-2T raisins (or mini chocolate chips)
1/4t cinnamon (skip this if you go chocolate-y)
1T yogurt or water kefir
8- 12 oz. milk of your choice (I use half milk/ half water if I'm low)
1-2t extra sugar, if you must
ch-ch-ch-chia! (Remember?)
Place oats in bottom of a 16 oz jar or bowl.  (This makes a lot but we eat big breakfasts.)  Dump everything on top and stir with a chopstick.  If you need more milk, go ahead.  The ingredients really gel up, so make this pretty watery.  If you really want to increase the enzyme activity going on during the soak, you can warm up your milk/ water-and-milk before adding it.
Almond flour (just finely ground almonds): protein you don't need to chew!  Great for 3-year-olds.

Top with a lid and let sit at room temperature for about 12 hours.  Then refrigerate and enjoy cold on a hot summer morning.

You can technically let this sit out for 24 hours, but if the room is warm-ish, and you've added fruit or sugar, your muesli might get pretty sour and ZING-y.  I like to let it sit out during cold weather and then warm the muesli really gently before eating it.
 So, other than being delish, what's the best thing about Soaked Muesli?  It uses up extra kefir:
A jar of the home-made probiotic 'water kefir' that is taking over my life kitchen.
 I've been making water kefir, which is a non-dairy version of the liquid-y yogurt-y probiotic drink that more and more people are drinking and more and more regular stores are carrying.  Unfortunately, like yogurt, most of the kefir you get commercially is straight-up junk.  You can add small amounts to soaking grains to break down the phytase. 

More than you wanted to know:

Phytase is an anti-nutrient that is, traditionally, broken down before grains are consumed.  Before modern man invented commercial yeast, quick-cooking rice, and other strange things, grains could only be consumed after breaking them down, a la sourdough bread (for wheat) or traditional Mexican nixtamal (for corn) or traditional Middle Eastern salt-soaking (for rice). 

 Really picky foodies will probably balk at the way I soak rolled oats, but since rolled oats are not truly raw, it breaks down faster than most other grains (i.e. it does not need to soak a full 24 hours like rice or several days like wheat or spelt). 

I've heard internet rumors that you can do this muesli with steel-cut oats and simply increase both soaking times, but I probably won't try that till my rolled oats run out and I feel too cheap to replace them before using up my steel-cut.
Ridiculously delicious coconut kefir makes this recipe out-of-this-world scrumptious.
You can learn more about kefir and how to make it at www.culturesforlife.com, if your interest has been piqued.

And, to close, an unedited version of my 8 pm kitchen, to prove that I am absolutely no super-mom:

"Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty." 
~Sicilian Proverb

"But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end."
~William Shakespeare

"Never look back unless you are planning to go that way. "

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

"New Year's Day:  Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.  Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual." 
 ~Mark Twain
                        "May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions." 
                                                                       ~Joey Adams

He who breaks a resolution is a weakling;
He who makes one is a fool.
~F.M. Knowles
                    “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I really do have an April theme and giveaway!!! But I forgot this week is Holy Week, so I am taking the week off for prayer, fasting, and celebration.

Have a blessed week and I'll be back- finally- with the details on Monday.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Natural 1st Aid Kit

With warm weather approaching... um, it is approaching isn't it???- my thoughts turn to my neglected daypack. (Not, at the moment doing double duty as a diaper bag.) In addition to the usual stuff a mom needs for a day away from home, I always carry a 1st Aid Kit. Always. You never know with a gaggle of kids in tow!

It's easy and inexpensive to put together your own kit full of all-natural remedies. The key is to use versatile remedies to avoid lugging the whole medicine cabinet with you.

Here is what I carry:

Tiny pair of sharp scissors
Tiny pair of tweezers
Needle (in case those tweezers don't cut it)
Safety pins, just 2 or 3
Lavender oil- the heart of any minimalist, all-natural 1st Aid Kit for on the go- see below
Arnica salve or pastilles- see below
Rescue Remedy- see below
Alcohol or iodine swabs (not strictly necessary if you carry lavender oil)
Anti-itch cream or spray for mosquito bites, etc.

Lavender oil: this little miracle replaces lots of other junk. Take several deep whiffs for headache relief. Drop one drop on any type of sting for immediate analgesic relief. Use instead of an anti-biotic cream or gel; it's a very powerful antiseptic. Dab on skin rashes, too. Lavender oil is one of the ONLY essential oils that can be used "neat," that is, straight, even on kids. Most every other eo needs to be diluted in a carrier oil or in water, making other oils rather cumbersome for on-the-go usage.

Arnica gel/ salve/ pastilles: water-based preparations of arnica are considered homeopathic; oil-based are considered herbal. If that's Greek to you, just know that strong herbs, such as lavender, can diminish the effectiveness of homeopathics if stored together. I like to use an oil-based salve of arnica to avoid this issue. Arnica is for bruises, sprains, bumps, etc, WHEN THERE IS NO BROKEN SKIN. Arnica should absolutely never be used on open wounds.

Rescue Remedy: technically a homeopathic remedy for stress, anxiety, and violent emotions in general (think temper tantrum from over-tiredness, hunger, etc). This is a ready-made remedy made by a company called Bach. You can buy this as an alcohol preparation, a spray, or in pill form. I like to keep this separate from my main kit in my bag, as the lavender can deactivate its awesome powers :). Pastilles (pills) are nice for kids, but so is the spray- spray in the mouth, on this skin and rub in, etc. I find the original alcohol tincture impractical for on-the-go. (Sometimes Amazon puts these remedies on sale: Rescue Remedy.)

Well, I hope that gets you dreaming about warm days in the woods.

"We seem to be going through a period of nostalgia, and everyone seems to think yesterday was better than today. I don't think it was, and I would advise you not to wait ten years before admitting today was great. If you're hung up on nostalgia, pretend today is yesterday and just go out and have one hell of a time."
-Art Buchwald

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Vegetables in the Snow

It snowed.
It is snowing.
It will snow again.

A lot.

So much for all the locals predicting a dry winter!

I like snow on Christmas and on ski slopes. That's about it.

So nice to come home, just so... snowy.

I trekked back out in the snow to the grocery store. I can't handle it when my vegetable shelf is empty.

I went a bit nuts:

7 avocados
10 jewelled yams
3 heads of brocolli
2 pounds of carrots
3 enormous heads of garlic
2 extra large onions
3 heads of lettuce
a head of cabbage
a cucumber
a zucchini
a red bell pepper
and a huge butternut squash

And thank goodness mandarin oranges are in season!

Tomorrow we will eat a large portion of those veggies raw, with hummus.

I'm doing something with cabbage and jewelled yams for dinner.

What, that doesn't sound good to you?

You'll see!

And Tuesday I'm going to make something stew-ish or chicken pot pie-ish, depending on how I feel and how much time I spend unpacking.

"When the bold branches
Bid farewell to rainbow leaves -
Welcome wool sweaters."
~B. Cybrill

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cold Turkey

I've had this cold for 39 days now. Yuck. All my herbs and remedies barely keep up with the collosal mucus production. No one else has this yuck hanging on, just me.

Anyway, I will confess I resorted to coffee somewhere in there. There was a time of some of us waking frequently at night, while everyone else was up as usual by seven. So, as it were, I told myself it was a survival mechanism.

But now, weeks later, I'm sure it's running me down more and more. And I have another reason; I may have another reason, a very small one, to be extra careful about it.

We'll see.

In any case, my head is not only quite congested, but also throbbing with caffeine-withdrawal for going on 48 hours. So forgive the poor writing and the extra-boring posts this week. I'm trying to rest. Snuggled up in my 3 dollar cashmere sweater (sure do miss good thrift stores!). Hoping that by the time I have to drive home from Kansas that I'll be able to stay awake for the nine-hour drive naturally.

We'll see.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Well, I've enjoyed a completely unplugged week to celebrate the holiday.

We celebrated Thankgiving (multiple times).

We celebreated Isaiah's First Communion.

We ran in a Trail Stomp. What is a Trail Stomp? Weeeeell, it involves lots of mud, biting wind, poorly marked paths, and me- with a 30 pound toddler strapped to my chest, getting lost and ending up on the "Extreme Trail." To top it all off, I lost my camera and couldn't photograph the evidence- several pounds of mud caked on my butt.


And I've gained 2 pounds.

Now I am sitting on my 2nd favorite chair, in our 'old house,' trying to decide exactly how much I miss Kansas. I'm glad the house hasn't sold so I could come back and feel it again.

If I pretend we never left, it feels suffocating. If I pretend we never come back here again, it aches. If I pretend we come back here for good once we're done wandering, it feels just a bit restless.

And I'm reminded of the words of St. Therese in Story of a Soul, 'This life is nothing but endless aching and sorrow; so many chains of bittersweet goodbyes.'

Er, she wrote something like that. My library is a thousand miles away at the moment, so I can't look up the exact quote.

I suppose it's a special privelege for a Christian, to feel oneself as never-quite-at-home. It keeps one hyper-aware of the fact that this world never will be our True Home.

Good for the soul, but kinda hard on the psyche...

"How hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you - you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences - like rags and shreds of your very life."
~Katherine Mansfield

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

(Favorite trip photo: Desert sunset)

Well, after 2 long, hot, and sometimes wet weeks in Arizona, we're back home in the mountains of northern New Mexico. I'm dealing with the mammoth pile of vacation detritus clogging my kitchen and while I was at it, I emptied my whole pantry and desk area to reorganize.

Why not? It's chaos anyway!

And 2 months after the move, I have ideas of how to make my miniscule kitchen storage work better.

I've got photos and stories galore.

(John Paul turned 2!)

I've got 4 ounces of tea for which I paid $18.00- don't get me started on that story!

But most exciting of all, I've got a big order on the way from Mountain Rose Herbs because it's that time of year!

Over the next couple weeks, barring unforseen children emergencies, here are the recipes, how-to's, and reviews I'm planning:

1) Elderberry Syrup- making your own is very inexpensive and quite simple. I'll be making a batch big enough to see us through to April. I hope.

2) Iron Syrup- Isaiah's blood work showed low-iron in July and due to the move, I just grabbed some Floradix (the natural iron supplement) from the health food store. But the stuff is nasty. Turns even my tough stomach. I promised him I'd make a sweet and delicious brew after he finished the bottle.

3) Echinacea Tincture and Glycerite- a natural medicine cupboard staple. Save about 80% by making your own. Tincture is alcohol based and quite strong. Glycerite is alcohol-free and tasty, safe and easy for kids to take right out of the bottle.

4) Rosehip Jam- Sugarless, raw, and very high in Vitamin C. A perfect topping for winter porridge.

5) Winter Teas- Mix your own teas to chase away the winter cold, without caffeine. Loose tea saves money and waste, and maximizes the nutritional benefits of the herbs.

6) Adrenal fatigue- information and a book review that I hope you'll find helpful.

I feel like a proper hypocrite, though, sitting here on a park bench, having just finished a cocnut milk latte. Ya, Nescafe I found in the back of the cabinet. I should do a true confessions post about all the rules I broke on vacation. Caffeine, sugar in all its forms, more screen time than my little people have had in the last 6 months put together.

It was a great time.

I'll start my detox today. Right after 1 more (weak!) cup of crappy instant coffee.

"If we would only give, just once, the same amount of reflection to what we want to get out of life that we give to the question of what to do with a two weeks' vacation, we would be startled at our false standards and the aimless procession of our busy days."
-Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Little Updates

Well, friends, my following is hardly creeping up in numbers. It may be a looooong time till I get to give away those sweet glass straws... so please, if you're lurking about here, do become a follower, won't you?

(View from our current hangout.)

We are hanging out down here in sunny rainy Arizona! My new sister-in-law was a great sport when her gorgeous wedding reception got drowned in 5 inches of water. But the food was great and the cake was delicious, honestly the best wedding cake I've ever tasted. And I actually detest wedding cake.

John Paul turned 2 with more good food and lots of balloons.

My sister threatened to do a guest post where she reveals what my kids and I actually eat on vacation. It wouldn't be pretty, I'll admit. I'm a foodie, darn it, and I really can't say no to tasty food if I know someone worked hard to make it. Well, and I get hungry. And fasting? Not really the best option for a nursing hypoglycemic.

Anyway, can't wait to get back to my own computer (I forgot it) and play with pictures of coyotes, lizards, and such. Oh, and all the cute kids, too.

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person."
~Mignon McLaughlin

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Bread with Honey is going on vacation!

We'll be going to Uncle John's wedding,

exploring the Sonoran desert,

and learning all the time.

"Woman at grocery store to group of sisters: Don't you go to school?
Oldest girl, brightly: We sure do, and you're in our classroom!"
-The Tennebrog sisters, told by their mother

"Oh, why can't we break away from all this, just you and I, and lodge with my fleas in the hills? I mean, flee to my lodge in the hills."
-S.J. Perelman, Will B. Johnstone, and Arthur Sheekman, Monkey Business

Monday, July 18, 2011

Travel, Unplugged

How does a family travel without a dvd player or any of the host of other doo-hickeys and gizmos that seem to be "necessary" for children these days?

Well, here's how we do it. It's called a surprise bag. For a lesser trip, the surprises are less exciting, but this was a Big Trip and I wanted the children to have a delightful experience through and through.

One key to the surprise bag is that EACH SURPRISE MUST BE WRAPPED! To figure the number of surprises you'll need for your trip, take your number of hours of travel and multiply by 2. Voila, your number of surprises.

There's playdough (not the best idea), 3 sheets of bubble wrap wrapped separately, paper with stickers, paper with mini markers, a mini slinky, a mini kaleidescope, a mini tape measure, a rainbow crayon, a lollipop, some tiny wooden colored blocks, pipe cleaners, and a couple books (those went into the bags unwrapped).

Why wrap each surprise? Because it adds a layer of fun and it allows you to keep the interest much longer. Every half hour the children get to open 1 surprise. The packages are numbered so they unwrap the same number at the same time, but they don't have to go in order. Deciding which little package to open next takes about 5 minutes, unwrapping takes maybe 2 because I use really strong tape, and then by the time the little trinket gets boring, another half hour marker approaches.

My grandma did these bags for my 5 siblings and I on our summer trips to Colorado, and I remember the eagerness with which we unwrapped those little things. My grandma was the one who wrapped up sheets of bubble wrap. Genius, really. Kids love to pop bubble wrap! (The big bubbles are more fun than the tiny ones.)

Several hours into our trip my husband walkie-talkie'd me just to say how great the trip was going, how much he loved me, and how wonderful the surprise bags were! (The older 2 were in the UHaul with him.)

For John Paul, I wrapped a plastic magnifying glass, a makeup brush, an old cell phone, a wind-up dinosaur, and some other odds and ends from around the house. Here he is after tickling himself silly with the make-up brush:

So, yes, I purchased all these trinkets BEFORE the Made-in-the-USA challenge, if you were wondering. I spent about $25, which was money well spent. If you bought 2 new dvd's for a trip, you'd spend about the same, but you wouldn't build the same memories or the same imaginations.

And by the way, that UHaul was only thirteen feet long. Thirt. Teen. Feet.

Happy travels!

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."
~Albert Einstein