Flower shop vs. My Garden. Who wins? Tonight, YOU DECIDE.
About two weeks ago I got myself some kefir grains, after being intimidated by the idea of ‘rotten milk drink’ for the past couple of years. I’d never tried kefir before, never had any fancy flavored store-bought kefir, just dove right in to the craziness of ‘home brew’ as my dad calls it. And let me tell you, so far I’m much happier with it than the sad results of trying to make kombucha a year and a half ago. It never ever got fizzy no matter how many tricks I tried, and un-fizzy kombucha just seemed wrong to me. I ended up dumping it and watching my scoby die a long drawn-out death. Kefir on the other hand, I can handle. Every night after dinner I simply strain it into a jar and set it out for an over-night second ferment which I pop in the fridge in the morning, and pour fresh raw milk over the grains for the next batch… so I basically have two jars going at the same time to keep myself and my family supplied. Right now I just use kefir in green/fruit smoothies which are DELICIOUS, and I honestly like it better than I ever liked yogurt in smothies. Someday I’ll be brave and try kefir straight, but for now I’m happy with what I’m doing.
THEN, we had a couple of really hot days, and while I was at work my kefir over-fermented and separated into basically a floating island of what looks like ricotta cheese, and perfectly pure whey.
I have the book ‘Cultured Food For Life‘ and I knew there were recipes for home-made sodas started with whey, and there are some great-looking recipes, but I didn’t have the right ingredients for any of them just now. (It’s still a great book, and she’s also got pretty much all of the information on her website, go look!) Then I remembered seeing ‘Lacto-Fermented lemonade’ on The Healthy Home Economist’s facebook – and when I first saw it, it sounded bizarre and actually slightly gross, as I associate lacto with milk, and milk and lemon anything means curdled lumpy mess. But here I was with a bunch of lemons and limes and a jar of whey, so what was I to do? So I did.
And the results? YUM. So much yum. There’s nutmeg in there, I never would have thought to add nutmeg with lemon/lime, but it’s seriously delicious. Tangy. Zippy. I added just a couple of drops of stevia to replace the sugar that was eaten up in the fermentation process. I almost can’t wait for another scorching hot day just to see how refreshing this fermented lemonade will be then.
You probably need to click the image and enlarge it in order to read it, but it’s worth the couple of extra seconds. There are a number of young pre/early teen girls in my acquaintance, and every time I hear them talking and criticizing their bodies I want to do something, probably violent, so it wouldn’t be too effective, but just get them to STOP. It’s a generational cycle; Grandma did it, mom did it, so I do it. But it needs to end. I am one of those who wonders how different my life would be today if I had had more confidence, or not even necessarily confidence, just lack of consciousness about my body not being the social norm. Girls need to be allowed to be who they are without worrying that it’s wrong or undesirable or disgusting. (Guys, too, btw. It’s a much more prevalent problem in the female world, since most guys can toss on jeans and a t-shirt and eat whatever they want without thinking about it – but I know from my own family history that not all guys can do that. Young buys with weight problems etc. need to be taught their value is not in perceived attractiveness just as much as girls.)
So, that broccoli salad I was going to make last night? It took me an HOUR AND A HALF to make. There was a time when I considered myself to be efficient in the kitchen. I could whip up anything, no recipe could possibly intimidate me. But then this thing happened where I started reading a lot of nutritional discoveries, and decided it would be a Good Idea to avoid soy products as much as possible. So I make our mayonnaise now. No more Hellmann’s, which is sad because it’s delicious. But for some reason I can’t explain, I have had the WORST time getting my mayo to emulsify the last several times I’ve made it. It used to be a cinch; I had the recipe memorized and in a matter of two minutes I’d have a fresh batch whipped up. But last night was one of those nights where the mayo gods were against me and I was afraid for my hair (I might pull it out, you see,). Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiinally I figured out that the egg yolks left over from making angel food cake for Easter dinner were Not Happy Yolks, and started with a fresh yolk and that made all the difference. Fortunately with mayo, once you get it started properly, all the eggs and oil you’ve messed up earlier will incorporate, no problem, so the whole lot was saved. At 10 pm I staggered to bed in disbelief that I had JUST finished making the salad. And then I went and shared it with my co-workers today – what was I THINKING? I’m pretty sure I should have horded it all to myself after the trouble I went through.
I’m not going to put up a recipe for mayonnaise… there are oodles all over the internet, just google it. Besides, I’m apparently not an expert at making it. I do, however, stick to it until I get good results. And don’t let anyone tell you home-made mayo will end up runny, they are WRONG. See?The yellowish color is because I used farm-fresh eggs from a guy up the road, and the yolks are practically orange.
If you do decide to try homemade mayo (It really is easy… I don’t mean to scare you off. Just small things can make it go wrong, but once that’s ironed out it’s easy and worth it.) don’t expect the flavor to be the same as Hallmann’s. It’s made with soybean oil. I assume yours would not be. And what I’ve come to realize is that a great part of the flavor is soybean oil flavor. I don’t know why that came as a surprise to me, but it did. So if you make it with light olive oil, as I do, it will taste mostly like light olive oil. Or you can use grapeseed oil, or avocado oil… and it will, well, taste like those oils. Go figure.
Let’s see, where was I? Well, to catch up very briefly, since my last post, my younger sister got married, leaving me the last ‘child’ at home, my elder sister gave birth to my niece who is precious beyond words, I wrecked my old Civic and bought another very like it but the color is Tardis Blue, my brother and SIL found that they are expecting in September, I found out that my best friend is moving 1/2 hour closer to me so I can see her on a MUCH more regular basis, I’ve read a number of marvelous books and watched some good TV shows/movies, started exercising with kettlebells, which I love, crocheted a red-riding-hood cape for my niece which is TOTES ADORBS, and recently found that our favorite meat-market has closed permanently! Aaaaa!
And other things, but I won’t overwhelm you. I’m here again because I’ve found myself in the work/blank stare at the tv screen/sleep/repeat rut. I need to do something beside collapse in a brain-dead heap when I come home from work, so I’m going to try exercising it a bit here of an evening. It’s likely that a whopping 2 people will read it, but I don’t really care about numbers… if you do read it and enjoy it, I’m glad. If you don’t, I’ll be here typing anyway, adding to the vast abyss of unread internet content.
Right now, actually, I think I hear my mother returning from grocery shopping… which means I can go make broccoli salad for my lunch tomorrow! Yay for tasty vegetables! Five years ago I wouldn’t have eaten broccoli if you paid me…
My day so far:
Woke early because a spider was crawling up the side of my torso. Flicked him off and rolled over, but the birds were singing, so I didn’t get back to sleep. In case this anecdote hasn’t informed you already, spiders don’t freak me out… which explains my affinity for the Wizard Howl.
Baked these grain-free vanilla cup-cakes.
Frosted them with this home-made nutella.
But first I blanched a bunch of hazelnuts… which is ridiculous. Spend a little more and buy them blanched. I tell you what.
Ate two cupcakes. I justify it that by the time everything was done it was nearly noon.
Then I mowed the lawn and puttered a bit in my garden.
Spent some time petting and crooning love songs into the ear of my beloved Oliver. (He’s a cat, btw.)
Picked great mounds of plantain leaves (yes, the yard weed), washed, chopped and covered it in olive oil in a jar. After several weeks, it’s supposed to be useable for an amazing skin salve for bug bites and i know not what. We shall see.
And the day’s not over yet. ;) I have great plans for more gardening and working on a painting later this evening. My aunt has commissioned two paintings from me, the cost of which almost exactly covers the amount I still owe her on my car loan. Perfect! I love that even though I am not waking up to an alarm and groaning my way out of bed to head to work every morning, I am still able to earn my keep while I’m home. I’m not growing rich by any means, but my time is my own and I love it.
On a similar topic, but not exclusively Whole30, I have been toying with the idea (yet again) of getting trained as a health coach. I have helped a number of people to change their eating habits and loose weight (and quite frankly, they do a better job of keeping it off than I do… the curse of being a snacker who can’t figure out how to break the habit…) and I love being a part of that and seeing people’s lives changed for the better. There’s an online course that I would love to take, it looks marvelous and has a good reputation compared to other online schools I’ve looked at… but alas, the ever-present problem of I-don’t-have-money-right-now keeps me from even applying. Maybe in a could of years, after my car is paid off. We’ll see. In the meantime, I read books (a new one on balancing hormones is currently in the mail heading my way – so excited!) and blogs and try methods out on myself, and cringe and squirm when I read conventional health magazines. Uuuggghhh. I used to get a couple of health magazines when my interest was budding, but I ended up cancelling them, because they are seriously full of lies. I’m a first-hand witness to the effectiveness of many things they call quack solutions, and I’ve seen the damage done by the ‘healthy’ eating habits they promote. Continue reading
My Whole 30 was finished nearly a week ago. There was no huge burst of relief, because my eating habits haven’t changed much since then. I still haven’t touched a bit of dairy, and I don’t intend to for a long time. It’s just not worth it! I did, however, try a couple of different grain-based foods one two different occasions, just because they sounded good and I wanted to test my reaction, even though I had a preeeeetty good idea of what would happen. I was a little surprised.
Sunday, I went out to lunch with a friend, and we had ‘breakfast’ for lunch. I got eggs, ham, and two pancakes. Here I was imagining two moderate sized pancakes, but nooooo, they came on a separate platter, yes, PLATTER, and were each the size of a dinner plate and nearly and inch thick. I laughed outright and made exclamations that amused the waitress. I managed to eat one. Allllll the rest of the day, I felt like there was a weight in my brain, and I so desperately wanted to take a nap. At church that night I had small-group, and during the discussions I didn’t say a word. I just kept yawning and rubbing my eyes and really wishing I could go find a place to lay down and sleep. Anywhere. Cement floors wouldn’t have bothered me too much.
Then, Tuesday my church streamed the debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye (which you can still watch here, and I highly recommend that you do.) , and I chose to eat some of the whole grain tortilla chips that someone had brought. Yum. They were really good. And my stomach then felt like it was full of nails and sharp, pointy rocks for the rest of the night.
So, I’ve had enough of ‘reintroducing’ foods that make me less healthy. They might taste good, but not THAT good. And there are other foods that taste just as good that don’t harm me, so… it doesn’t make sense.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated life-in-general things. My last update was right after my sister’s wedding, so I go to my picture files to find out what I’ve been up to since then… it’s all a blur to me, so thank the Good Lord for digital cameras.
Lots of pictures ahead… Continue reading
21 days in, no grains, no refined sugar/sweeteners, no dairy, no legumes.
It’s actually not hard. Easier than I was expecting. I thought for sure my cheese cravings would come crashing down and turn me into a crazy person, but I find most ‘cravings’ for anything pass in a matter of minutes and I’m fine. The hardest part is STILL vegetables. I started out well, but I’m finding if I don’t take time to prepare a meal, I’ll just grab protein and fruit and skip the vegetables, which is a no-no.
What I miss the most, surprisingly, is Continue reading