Sunday, February 27, 2011

A simple baby-step

If you've begun the process of your own personal evolution, you've recognized change doesn't happen overnight.   Every lasting and effective change is usually just one simple baby step at a time that you can keep up and build on.
Gratitude didn't change my life immediately.  After filling an entire journal one thankful line item at a time, I realized my outlook had a definite slant up.  In the same way, we haven't become gluten-free, omelet-loving, Kombucha drinking alternative eaters overnight.  It's been a process, a weeding out of the undesirables like high fructose corn syrup, white sugar and white flour with better ingredients.  

So the weeding out of smelly, chemical-filled cleansers started with replacing my kitchen counter spray.  I realized I gotten incredibly careful about what food we put into our bodies, but was not paying enough attention to how I was cleaning up after the breakfast/lunch/dinner.  I was just overwhelmed by the though of doing one.more.thing, and it was honestly easier to buy whatever "green-ish" cleaner was on sale.

Thumbing through a magazine about a year and a half ago I found a recipe (which I've tweaked a bit) for all purpose kitchen cleanser.   I already had 2 of the three ingredients, so I knew this was the baby step I'd been looking for.  

You'll probably have to buy one box of washing soda, but it will last you more than a year and a half - even if you occasionally use it for the original purpose of laundry booster.

::All Purpose Cleaner::
makes one spray bottle
2 t washing soda - made by same people who make baking soda
3-5 drops of dish detergent
hot tap water to fill the bottle
peppermint or lavender essential oil (optional)

I re-purposed an empty spray bottle for this - one headed for the garbage.  Fill the bottle with the hottest tap water you've got - not quite to the top. Add the washing soda and jiggle to dissolve.  Then add a few drops of dish washing liquid and 1-2 drops of essential oil.  This whole process will take you about 1 minute. 

I told you it was a simple baby step.  

Lib 
Linked here, there and yon: Jen, Frugal Rachel, Kristin, Laura, Alli Sara the saved quarter and Kelly Photobucket

Friday, February 25, 2011

5 minute Friday: 5 years ago

A little more that 5 years ago I lay on an ultrasound table surrounded by 3 excited little boys, one anticipatory husband,  with tears streaming from the corners of my eyes.  I knew I should just be thankful.  The 3 oldest bains were present, so I white-knuckled it and held my sobs in.  Thankful the baby inside my belly was growing and ten fingers and ten toes healthy.

My audience left, and the flood of salty tears and uncontrollable snot came.  A nurse came in the exam room to ask if I was okay, and I sobbed on her shoulder trying to explain: I knew this baby was to be our last, and I was crushed that we were having another boy.   We'd prayed, read books, prayed more, timed things and according to my plan this baby was supposed to be a girl.  A precious, cute girl with curly brown hair and a smile like a flash of lightening.  I knew her, I'd seeing her in MY dreams, vividly, for years.

My situation became clear a few days later. I realized I was mourning more than the fact I would never be a smocked dress-black patent-shoes-braiding-hair-planning-a-wedding-girl-mama.  I was carried away in a raging torrent of grief over my dream dying. 

A wise friend called about a week later and told me, "Maybe God's making room for something else.  Something you couldn't dream.  Something better than YOUR dream..."

So five years ago, we had another boy.  The one my precious yoga teacher promised in her thick Spanish accent would be a lover.  The one my daddy prophesied I would love more than I could imagine. 

But what I really got 5 years ago was fresh little pink toed perspective. Beginning to believe His plan is more magnificent than any dream I could ever conjure up. 

Lib

linked to the most fabulous girl-mama to be, Lisa-jo

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I See Your Teenager and Raise You a 3 Year Old

I doubt anyone reading this has been pushed to the point of removing the door to a 3 year old's room.  I have.  30 minutes ago.

I do not lose my temper often.  Rarely.  Other than the three times in the last 3 months that Number 4 has, for no apparent reason, locked himself in his room, I cannot remember ever being as blindingly furious.

Each time, my temper flares from 0 to 100 in 10 seconds flat. My mind goes to him trapped as the house burns down around him or him choking on a Star Wars Galactic Hero or jumping off his bed to a certain broken neck. I remember locked doors being a particular pet peeve of my mother.  Now I understand.  I truly understand.

I beat on the door.  I yelled.  I negotiated.  I played good cop.  I threatened to call the cops.  I yelled.  I beat on the door harder.  Crickets.  Nothing.  Silence.  I beat on the door more.  I yelled louder.  I negotiated harder.  I played bad cop.  I threatened to call the cops.  Nothing...

Finally (total of 10 minutes, tops), I got the door open with the awkward metal key-like thing kept above the door facing.  And there he was, just sitting there.  Doing nothing. 

Now, there is no door on his room.  What about all the other doors in our house with locks?  I wasn't really thinking about that during my fearful anger-induced adrenaline rush.

Another day, another story,
Em 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cool (breakfast cupcake) Beans!

The baintrain uses the exclamation cool beans all the time - alternating with their other ubiquitous word, awesome.  I couldn't think of a better title for a post that contains a recipe for chocolate cupcakes primarily made out of beans.  

I made cupcakes for breakfast a few weeks ago, and was itching to turn the basic vanilla bean cake into other tasty treats.  I adapted it last weekend, and turned it into carrot cake.   Complete and total success.  Because there's so much protein from beans and eggs, plus so little sweetener, you can have cupcakes for breakfast anytime minus that pesky sugar rush.  


 ::Chocolate Bean Cupcakes::
makes 12 mini and 12 regular

Preheat your oven to 325.  
Add to the bowl of food processor:

2 cups cooked and cooled white beans
6 eggs
1 T cinnamon
3/4 t liquid stevia
1/3 c honey, xylitol or sugar
1 1/2 t Vanilla and or same amount ground vanilla beans

Puree well, then add:

1/4 c melted coconut oil or butter
1/3 c coconut flour
2/3 c cocoa
1/2 t sea salt
1 t baking soda
1 1/2 t baking powder

Bake in greased, lined muffin tins about 20 minutes.  You know how to check cake, and these are done when puffed and slightly cracked on top.  I iced them with the leftover honey cream cheese frosting I used on the carrot cake last weekend - which was 1 brick of cream cheese, 1/2 stick softened butter 1 1/2 c powdered sugar, 1/2 c honey and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.

This is the kind of recipe you cannot believe unless you try it.  I call them downright healthy; the baintrain just calls them delicious!

Lib
Linked here there and yon: Jen, Frugal Rachel, Kristin, Laura, Alli Sara and Kelli

Thou Shalt Not

During the sermon at church this morning, Number 3 was apparently listening WHILE being a distraction to everyone around us, "Mom, why did you send in my information?"

"Shhhhh....What are you talking about?" I whispered.

"She just said not to lie and not to take stuff and I lie to Number 2 and take his stuff."

Another day, another story,
Em

Friday, February 18, 2011

5 minute Friday: Friendship


I met her the day I interviewed for a job at my Uncle's firm. Big smile, short dark hair, darling clothes, and an attitude of spunky, fun confidence.  She was helpful and a little loud.  Outspoken and funny enough to feel like I knew her immediately.   After getting to know each other a bit better, I said we were kindred spirits.  She said we were separated at birth.  

Now our friendship looks like blow by blow emails and texts, but it used to be daily lunches complete with plans for mimosa brunches when are old and gray. It used to be her picking me up and dropping me off after work because I was car-less.   It's been hilarious people watching, how-to recipes and light conversation. 

Our ride together has included the squeals of delight of getting engaged, planning weddings, having boys, giving nicknames.  It's been emergency calls from hospitals and texts begging for prayer.  It's been cancer, strokes, heart problems and death.  It's her constant availability, the comfort of knowing she's there.  Filling the gap, helping me figure life out.

Of course it's all the talk in between the big stuff:  what we're wearing to the big party, can I borrow the magic jacket, when the baby got his teeth, how we can't get out of Target for less than $100, and the latest most disgusting/unbelievable act our boys have managed.  Husband's jobs, Dr. visits and how to be grown-up when we are both kinda waiting for their real mom to show up and take over. 

I got the job, but 16 years on other side of it, I'm convinced it was just a catalyst.  God's way of providing a friendship that was destined to become one of my strongest and most dependable. 


Lib
Joining the Gypsy Mama's 5 minute Friday writing exercise today.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

At least he didn't say...

"Oh, Johnny was a good boy during story time."

"Mary really knows her letters."

"Billy took a nice nap today."

Nope, I don't get preschool reports like that.  I get "Number 4 said the most interesting thing at the lunch table today."

"My brother is crazy.  He hits me in the penis."

Bonus points for using 'penis' correctly in a sentence, right?

Another day, another story,
Em


Monday, February 14, 2011

A Grapefruit to {love}

An unusual breakfast everyone I love loves.  You haven't enjoyed an alternative breakfast til you've tried a broiled grapefruit.  I fell in love with them at first bite, but since the baintrain prefers cold, sliced grapefruit with a sprinkle of sea salt, I'd never actually broiled one myself.  While researching a recipe, I read that a properly a broiled grapefruit is as much of a delicacy as creme brulee.

Try it out and let me know what your loves think:
::BROILED GRAPEFRUIT::
makes six

 3 grapefruits halved and sectioned
1/2 c + 2 T sugar, honey or xylitol
3 T softened butter
dash cinnamon

This is so easy, you're gonna love it.  Preheat your broiler.   Mix together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Put grapefruit in a broiler safe pan with sides.  Spread butter mixture over each grapefruit half...stick under the broiler for about 3 minutes until the butter sugar mixture is all bubbly.  Do not over cook, or your grapefruit will be mushy, which is not too delish.  Serve it up and listen to the ahhhs of delight. 

It makes a great breakfast with a smoothie, and I served it for dessert after all of our toasting last Tuesday.  Whichever end of the day you serve this easy treat, I hope it's love at first bite for you too. 

Lib
LInked here there and yon: Jen, Rachel, Kristin, Laura, Ann, Alli and Kelly, 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

ditto


I feel exactly the same way this year about celebrating Valentine's Day as I did last year.  And I am juggling the same things this February as I was last year.


Another day, another story,
Em

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Toasting Tuesday

Just a ho-hum, meatloaf-and-mashed-potatoes kind of  Tuesday night.  I was running late making dinner,  simultaneously fighting hurrying with being grateful for the time I did have.  While I cut up potatoes (small, so they'd cook quicker), Mainbain was utilizing a wind free night to burn all of the boxes we'd accumulated in the last month.   Just as I cranked up the stove to high, mexicanjumpinbain came running through the kitchen, arms laden with fireworks.    I could hear everybody else calling me to come outside to enjoy watch the crackles and pops of a burning Christmas tree. 

It wasn't a big fire, the boxes already turned to ash.  But something about the bright flames lighting the darkness, and the sounds of that burning tree reminded me of everything we'd anticipated during Advent and celebrated during Christmas.  And for a moment standing around a fir smelling fire, with the hum of low conversation and mexicanjumpingbain's occasional watch this one! I had an Epiphany.  Perfectly timed, of course. 

We would make space on this non-remarkable Tuesday to celebrate life, health and happy-togetherness.   A random Tuesday in February IS a reason to shoot fireworks and eat in the dining room.  And let everyone use wine glasses to toast being the only family in Tennessee this time of year with a pile of ready-to-use pyrotechnics. To toast the sound of burning Christmas trees, to the anticipations of friends coming to visit, to learning to sing a new song together, to healthy grandparents, and to just loving each other.   To laugh when the 13 year old comments on using a robust January '11 vintage Kombucha for all our toasting. 

C.S. Lewis said:  We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God.  The world is crowded with Him.  He walks everywhere incognito.  And the incognito is not always easy to penetrate.  The real labor is to attend.  In fact to come awake.  Still more to remain awake.  



I was fully awake on Tuesday with my Epiphany that it was a day worth celebrating and toasting. Doesn't every day hold the potential of some never before seen grace? If I can only remain awake...

Lib  
linked to the Ann  and  Lisa-jo, because it's my favorite thing that happened this week!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stand Up

Number 4, "Penis."


Me, "What?"

Number 4,  "Knock Knock."


Me, "Who's there?"

Number 4, "Penis."

Me, "What!?!?"

Number 4, "You're a'post to say 'Who Penis?' "


Me, "Who penis?"

Number 4, "Penis."



Another day, another story,
Em

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Winter Treat

I feel the same way every year.  It's February.  Gray, wet, windy and cold.  Spring feels too far away, and twinkly, festive lights are a faint memory.  We are way past Birthday Season and Christmas and have experienced more than our fair share of Southern Snow Days.  Those are the ones where entire towns shut down because it snows and inch and a half.  Banks close early, and if you live off the paved road, chances are there is no mail coming your way.  

In my quest to be grateful for even in the least exciting doldrums of winter, I've chosen something simple.  Something that guarantees smiles and "I'll helps" whenever the announcement is made.  Something seemingly small and easily overlooked as a cause for thankfulness.  

::Homemade Hot Chocolate::
makes about 4 cups
8 t organic cocoa
4 t xylitol or sugar or honey
dash of sea salt
1 t cinnamon
1/3 c water
3 c (or so) milk
marshmallows/whipped cream - optional topping 
Add milk once cocoa and sweetner are dissolved in water
Mix together dry ingredients and add water.  Whisk together til well combined.  Over med heat add milk - since we like a darker hot chocolate wee add a bit less milk. you might like your more milk chocolate-y, in that case just add more milk.  It's up to you and very versatile.  Continue whisking until it's all steamy.  Pour it up and enjoy a round of smiles...

I heartily recommend an ounce or two of this added to your morning coffee for a nice flavor boost - you know, to even out the parent /child gratitude ratio. 

Sometimes the easiest, smallest treats are the ones that can transform an entire day...
Lib 
Jen, Rachel, Kristin, Laura, Ann, Alli and Kelly, 


Friday, February 4, 2011

Fair and Balanced

The Kindergartener...


...may wish for unconventional things.


...may have an unusual world view.


But then there's this report from school today.



Another day, another story,
Em

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cupcakes for breakfast {or dessert}

Being a celiac you learn to live without certain things.  I could be perfectly satisfied with a cheesecake-only regime, but my most wheat sensitive bain, mexicanjumpingbain, doesn't like cheesecake.  So, I constantly scour the internet for innovative gluten-free recipes.  I toil over batches of brownies, cakes and cookies adapting and using flours ranging from garbanzo bean to white rice.  I share the recipes that turn out; the ones that don't make it past the taste test get recycled to our farm pigs.

Shortly before mexicanjumpingbain's birthday, I found an intriguing recipe over at the Spunky Coconut.  Being the kind of person who will try anything once, making cake from white beans seemed a perfect fit for a birthday.  I didn't get a chance to make the cake for his birthday, so decided to take Tuesday up a notch and make them tonight.  You know I changed a few things around to accomodate what I had on hand and made my own frosting.



::Breakfast Cupcakes::
Makes 1 dozen
Preheat oven to 325

In the bowl of your food processor add:

2 cups cooked and cooled white beans
6 eggs
3/4 t. stevia
1/3 c sugar or xylitol
1/2 t sea salt
1 t Vanilla bean powder (I found mine at TJmaxx)
1 1/2 t vanilla extract

Puree well then add:
1/4 cup melted coconut oil (I'm sure butter would work fine)
1/3 cup coconut flour
1 t baking soda
1 1/2 t baking powder
Keep blending until it has a cake batter consistency. 
Bake about 20 minutes in greased muffin pan.  
I used melted chocolate chips and heavy cream for a simple ganache frosting. The baintrain went dance-party crazy when I said we could have them for breakfast too!

Perfect and gluten free are not usually side by side words in most sentences.  These cupcakes are the exception to that drool rule. So good, I almost at the entire batch - as batter. 

They smell astoundingly good, taste like regular cake and have the most amazing texture I've ever experienced in any gluten free treat! I cannot wait to adapt this recipe: carrot cake, chocolate cake, orange marmalade cake....the best part is that with such low sugar and high protein, I can just make my adaptation into cupcakes and be a breakfast hero!

Worth getting out of your cooking comfort zone and trying for a magnificent surprise!

Lib
Jen, Rachel, Kristin, Laura, Maggie, and Kelly,

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