Angel Boy 2.0 had a cold so he stayed home from preschool.
“I’m a little snotty today, Grandma!” He was feeling much better after a long morning nap. We were in the living room looking at the windy day while he enjoyed a protein smoothie popsicle (see recipe below).
For the past couple of days, we had noticed a big truck parked in front of his house, taking up more than its fair share of the street. No one knew who it belonged to but we speculated that it possibly was a contractor’s vehicle working at a neighbor’s house.
Recently, Theo has been noticing different cars and trucks and asking for them to be identified. “I said, that’s a Dodge Ram truck. He is so rude to park there every day. He needs to park somewhere else.”
Theo repeated, “Yeah, he needs to park somewhere else. He’s so RUDE.”
All day long we would check to see if the truck was still there and it was, so it became an ongoing joke about how RUDE it was to park in front of Theo’s house so there wasn’t enough room for HIS car.
At dinnertime, we were sharing interesting stories about our day and in a moment of silence, Theo said, “Mommy and Daddy, that Dodge Ram truck is so RUDE!”
There was such a shocked expression on Mom and Dad’s faces, I really wish I had a photo to capture it because this is what it SOUNDED like Theo said…
“That goddamn fuck is so RUDE!”
Dodge Ram truck = goddam fuck —a very expressive three-year-old with a mouth stuffed full of lasagna and a stuffy nose.
For a brief moment, I had a feeling they thought I had taught him how to swear like a merchant mariner. However, when I hastened to translate, we couldn’t stop laughing.
Until the mysterious man drove away, Theo kept saying, “He’s so RUDE with his Dodge Ram truck!”
Just another brilliant slice of conversation with this always enchanting human.
Cherries (any frozen or fresh fruit) Banana – one 100% fruit juice — 8oz Kale and/or spinach — handful Vegan Protein Powder–one scoop Cinnamon to taste
Combine kale and juice. Blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend to desired thickness. Pour into popsicle freezer containers, the ones with the little sticks. Freeze until firm.They are so healthy and delicious!
And they are DELICIOUS, much to even my surprise, haha.
I was playing around in the kitchen this morning and thought I’d challenge myself to experiment baking with only the ingredients I have in my pantry.
There’s not much food here, but that’s a sad story for another day. (I can pinpoint the exact date and time that my love for cooking and baking was destroyed like an atom bomb.)
I thought these cookies were going to be making the short journey from oven to compost BUT they surprised me, so I thought I should share the recipe before I forget. If you try them, let me know what you think.
Vegan Lentil Kale Cookies
Lentils (cooked)-one cup
Kale-1/2 cup raw (freshly picked from the garden.)
1/3 cup agave plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Chia seeds-2 tablespoons
Oats-1//2 cup (oat flour, I make my own, so easy. 1/2 cup oats in the blender or Bullet or food processor, takes just a few seconds.)
Whole wheat flour-1 cup
Baking powder-1/2 teaspoon
If you don’t already have some leftover cooked lentils like I did, cook 1 cup of lentils with 2 cups of water until soft, about 20-30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.)
Place one cup cooked lentils in bowl.
Combine the kale and the oil in a blender/Bullet/food processor. Blend until a smooth slurry.
Add to lentils.
Add agave/maple syrup, vanilla, raisins, chia, and all other ingredients.
Mix until flours are well incorporated.
Let chill in refrigerator a few minutes until the oven is heated to 375 degrees.
Using a teaspoon, place about two inches apart on baking sheet. Flatten with a fork coated in flour so it won’t stick.
Bake for about 17 minutes until bottom is golden brown and the top is firm.
Let cool on wire rack.
***Options: Of course if your pantry is more well stocked than mine, you can def add grated apples, coconut, and other dried fruit and nuts.
Upon my return from a week-long visit with Angel Boy 2.0, I arrived to an empty refrigerator and pantry. (Don’t worry, there was wine waiting for me, so it wasn’t a complete disaster.)
I was JONESIN’ for ANYTHING chocolate and simply didn’t feel like going to the store.
Instead, I scoured the cabinets to see what ingredients might jump out to create something at least halfway edible.
Whew! I found cocoa which was a MAJOR score, because obvs without it there could be no joy . Next, I scrounged together about a scant cup of flour. Cool. And brown sugar.
Here’s what I did:
In a bowl, I combined 1.2 cup cocoa, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup flour, 1.2 cup veg oil, 2 tablespoons black coffee since I had no vanilla and coffee complements the flavor of chocolate, 1.2 teaspoon baking powder. I didn’t want to dirty a mixer, so I used a fork to whisk it all together. It was a bit dry, so I added another tablespoon of black coffee.
I placed paper inserts in muffin tins, filled them 2/3 of the way, sprinkled the top with a little Himalyan sea salt, and baked for 20 minutes @ 350 degrees.
When I took them out, they were still soft on the inside like a molten lava cake.
BUT EFFING DELICOUS. OMG.
I’M NOT KIDDING.
I ate two of them in a very self-congratulatory mood, and stored the rest in the refrigerator.
Now here’s where the magic must have happened.
As they set, they transformed themselves into the CHEWIEST, most intensely CHOCOLATY, FUDGEY, yummy bites of JOY that you’ve ever tasted. If I were making them for an event, I’d frost them, but on their own, they were amazing. The little bit of sea salt adds a sophisticated touch on the palate.
You. Must. Try. This. Recipe.
I’m salivating for more! Surrounded by some of my very own rock art.
#vegan #chcolate #brownies #pleaseshare
The Accidental Brownie
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup veg oil
Mix well with a fork.
Add 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Vanilla if you have it, or 2-3 tablespoons cold black coffee
Mix well. Spoon into lined muffin tins.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Let cool in pan and then finish in the refrigerator.
Since I now focus most of my baking to please Angel Boy 2.0 (the new and improved version), this was the winner of all the chocolate cakes I ever created, so I thought I’d share it again for those of you who do still currently turn on the oven and combine ingredients to conjure up lovely confections (not confessions).
At 15 months, AB 2.0 can’t have chocolate; for now he’ll have to be happy with sugarless teething biscuits and kale smoothies.
No eggs and no dairy, yet this cake is super moist, fluffy, and fudge-tastic — with a hint of French roast coffee and almond-y Amaretto.
I was inspired by a recipe I found in my mom’s old cookbook — as always, I transformed it into my own version.
I know I use Amaretto a lot, but I ran out of vanilla and it’s a great flavor enhancer with chocolate and coffee.
1 cup cold coffee or water (coffee is better with chocolate) or you could always use soy/almond/cashew/coconut milk.
Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 1. Mix the first five dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Make three shallow depressions in the dry ingredients.
3. Pour vinegar in one, vanilla/amaretto in the other, and vegetable oil in the third.
4. Pour coffee/water over all.
5. Mix well until smooth.
Grease a nine-inch pan. Bake on middle rack of oven for approximately twenty-five to thirty-five minutes. Check with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Don’t over bake or it’ll dry out. Cool and frost.
Amaretto Coffee Frosting
Three tablespoons softened vegan butter substitute (I use Earth Balance)
Three or four tablespoons cocoa
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Amaretto or Grand Marnier or vanilla
In a medium bowl, sift sugar and cocoa. Blend with vegan butter. Add 2 teaspoons Amaretto or other flavoring, and 3 tablespoons cold coffee, Blend until desired consistency. If too dry, add more coffee or Amaretto. If too wet, add more powdered sugar.
Frost cake and dust with sifted cocoa.
The epic rains that soaked SoCal this year gave birth to a springtime of lush floral beauty and emerald lawns, something I don’t think I’ve experienced in the thirty-two years I’ve lived at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.
Before that, I lived in the area and there were definitely some heavy rains, but I didn’t notice nor did I appreciate the luxuriant plant life like I do now.
Flowers that previously lay dormant for seasons now burst forth in riotous color and perfume, like the lovely freesias, stock, Jupiter’s Beard, and borage.
Most exciting for me is the herb garden.
Just look at the abundance of this patch of lemon balm. Planted directly under a bedroom window, the lemony fragrance wafts up and in with even the slightest breeze.
Lemon balm was traditionally used to uplift the spirits and to enhance memory. Some of its healing properties were spiritual in nature. This herb was used in spells to heal broken hearts and also to attract romantic love. It was believed that a lemon balm bag put under the pillow could help promote sleep and put in the bath would promote relaxation. (https://www.mountainroseherbs.com)
Easy to grow Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), a member of the mint family, is considered a calming herb. It was used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion (including gas and bloating, as well as colic). help heal wounds, and treat venomous insect bites and stings. Today, lemon balm is often combined with other calming, soothing herbs, such as valerian, chamomile, and hops, to promote relaxation. It is also used in creams to treat cold sores. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lemon-balm
Lemon Balm is useful for nursing mothers that want to reduce overproduction of breast milk or when in the process of weaning and drying up milk supply. DIL added it to her sage tea when she weaned Angel Boy 2.0 and it worked!
Add it to any dish that might benefit from a little lemony flavor, including cookies. I’m going to experiment on a vegan Lemon Balm & Lavender cookie, and will let you know how it turns out.
Seven Ways to Use Lemon Balm
1. Chop a couple tablespoons of lemon balm and add to your favorite salsa.
2. Chop together with cilantro in guacamole.
3. Lemon balm salad dressing is yummy and so easy! Combine your favorite oil with white balsamic or champagne vinegar, 2 TBS chopped lemon balm, pepper, Pink Himalayan sea salt, and whisk!
4. Pour hot water over lemon balm leaves. Let steep and enjoy!
5. I add a few sprigs to a pitcher of water with ice cubes and sliced lemon.
6. Lemon Balm Pesto:
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup almonds or pine nuts (or both)
2 cups fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh lemon balm
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (don’t add if vegan)
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
In food processor, add all ingredients except oil and pulse. Pour oil in steady but thin stream while pulsing until very smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with dried red peppers if you like it spicy.
If you Google it, there are loads of DIY recipes on the internet and Pinterest using lemon balm, but I chose this one to share with you ‘cos it’s cool and seems fairly easy:
7. Lemon Balm Extract Combine your favorite carrier oil (sweet almond oil or sunflower or grapeseed with chopped lemon balm leaves in a small jar. Make sure the leaves are submerged in the oil.Cover and place in a sunny spot for two weeks, turning/shaking every so often while still making sure the leaves are submerged. Strain out the leaves and the oil is now ready to use.
**While it’s generally considered safe for most people, lemon balm might inhibit thyroid function. If you’re on thyroid medication, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using internally. As always, if you’re pregnant, nursing, or have any other questions, talk with your doctor.“Melissa Officinalis produced a significant inhibition of TSH binding to its receptor and of antibody binding to TSH”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14759065
Let me first say that the one and only time I weaned my one and only child was in 1982, so what am I doing writing about weaning, you might ask?
My thirty-six year old son weaned himself on his first birthday with no warning, and my poor body suffered while he loved the autonomy of his burgeoning independent nature.
This is a guest post written by my DIL, who is now the mother of my one and only amazing and brilliant grandson.
My son turned one at the beginning of March.
I had been toying with the idea of weaning him for a couple of months.
Initially, I had tried the “only when he asks” approach, but babies are creatures of habit, so he continued to ask and I continued to feed on demand.
As soon as my son had his twelve-month wellness check and his pediatrician said he was physically and emotionally ready, I was eager to start the process of weaning.
The thought of dragging this out for six-plus weeks was too much for me, but the risks of going cold turkey are very real (infection, blocked duct, emotional trauma) so I proceeded with caution. If you do need to wean quickly for whatever reason, or your baby just suddenly rejects the breast, here are some tips to get through it more quickly.
As a disclaimer, my son was already eating three meals a day plus snacks, so it wasn’t like I was still producing a massive amount of milk. He was clearly obtaining his nutrition from other sources.
Where to start… Start with the easiest feeds. For me, those were the ones when he woke up. I first eliminated those after naps, then morning, then before day naps, before bed, and then the dreaded night feeds…
Tips for baby… I have been a RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) mom since day one, otherwise known as respectful parenting. The philosophy centers around honest and authentic communication as soon as baby is hours old. Even though I was tempted to put band aids on my nipples and say “mommy is sick”, or apply garlic so it would taste gross, my son and I faced the challenge together.
Make it positive — I bought my little guy a special cup for homemade smoothies to replace the nursing experience from his wake up feeds. My son loves rabbits, so I got him the biggest rabbit cup I could find; since he has no problem with a straw, that’s what we use, but a sippy cup would be equally successful.
Do not place yourself in familiar nursing situations — I love to read books in bed with my son in the morning, but during weaning I would get up, shower and dress, so that as soon as he woke up I took him out of the bedroom for banana and almond milk smoothie in “Rab Rab”.
(Smoothie recipes below.)
Sport the high-necks — I wore three layers to minimize the odor of milk, as well as high neck shirts that he could not pull down.
Stay busy — As we eliminated the day feeds, I made those days extra busy. We were barely ever at home so as not to place ourselves in situations where he would even think to ask.
Mr. Mousie — I bought a special blanket that I sprayed with Chanel Mademoiselle (my familiar scent), which I use to cuddle him with during Rab Rab smoothie time. (Smoothie recipes below.) This was a blanket that I could also use to place in the crib for naptime. Extra cuddles and love during weaning will help to bridge the emotional loss of breast feeding.
Change of scenery — I chose to do it while visiting Grandma. There were so many exciting things for little one to do and experience, and I got the support I needed as my body and emotions went through the change and the challenge.
Watch out for hunger — As I worked on eliminating the night feeds, I needed to make sure that he was not waking up because he was hungry. Toddlers burn through so much energy! When they have been asleep from 6.30pm, it is reasonable that at 4:00 am it might be that they need a little something in their tummy. I was focused on eliminating the breast so my milk would fully dry up, and I decided to replace those feeds with a bottle of warm milk. Try what works for you; regular organic milk, almond milk, or coconut milk.
Boundless love — I got lots of advice to let Dad go in at night so he cannot ask for milk. As part of the RIE I mentioned earlier, I faced this head on. I went in and there were moments that were heart-breakingly sad. But in my heart I knew it was time, and so I told him — I know this is hard for you. I love you so much. And found lots of ways to be close, tight cuddles, cheek to cheek.
Success! After two weeks, my little guy is completely weaned, sleeping through the night, and started walking. What a great first year!
(If your little one is also teething, try the teething biscuit recipe below. My son LOVES them!)
Tips for mom…
Sage — I drank fresh sage tea and infused sage water pretty much constantly. I also included fresh mint and lemon balm, but sage was my primary fluid. I was advised that you should drink it every six hours, but I had a cuppa going all day.
Cabbage Leaves — These have been used for centuries and I can see why!! I was a little skeptical at first, but they work amazingly well. For the first few days, I used them continuously during waking hours. I kept them in the fridge so they were nice and cold, which feels wonderful if you start to feel engorged. Place the stems out, and change every 30–90 mins depending upon flow.
Antihistamine — This is also meant to dry up milk. I took a non-drowsy type every 24 hours.
Warm showers — The first day I took three warm showers. I would massage my breasts and hand express just enough to make sure the ducts still had an outlet, but not too much to stimulate production.
Heating pad — I read varying accounts of this, but I did use a heating pad at times when the engorgement made my breasts feel hard and lumpy.
Ice-pack — I used this in-between the heating pad to cool down swelling. I was also using cold cabbage leaves, so the icepack was used when I was taking a break from the cabbage leaves.
Topless Sunbathing — Luckily I was weaning at Grandma’s house in Southern California, so while my little one was napping, I could enjoy some au naturale topless sage tea!
Rocky Road ice-cream — It’s important to remember that if you’re eaning fast, you’ll go through a pretty big hormone crash. Be prepared and have supplies. Pamper yourself with whatever you need to do for self care to get through PMS — ice-cream, movies, cuddles. I kept laser focused on the end-game — no more night feeds, no more gross nursing bras, and no more sanitary pads in your BRA!!! (and all over the bathroom floor).
Sleep — sleep when you can because you may need extra energy at night. If you’ve been used to nursing, dousing, and then crashing out, remember that getting a baby to sleep without popping them on the breast takes more energy and perseverance.
WAB WAB Smoothie I
Waking up in the morning and after nap
1/2 cup milk or almond milk
1 TBS organic almond butter
1/4 small banana
Wab Wab Smoothie II
1/4 cup 100% organic fruit juice
½ cup purified water
Leftover kale, spinach, chard, or other leafy veg, well blended!
1/4 cup Organic whole milk Greek yogurt
Chopped/grated apple or pear or organic blueberries/strawberries
1 cup almond milk or coconut water or a combination
Blend 1/2 cup dates and 1/2 cup raisins with the liquid until well chopped.
Pour into bowl
2 TBS organic agave
2–3 TBS vegetable or coconut oil
Add 1/2 cup flax meal
1 cup organic whole wheat flour (or any flour)
Oat flour is easy to make in a blender
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
Mix all. Add a little more flour and knead briefly to make dough pliable.
Roll into 12×14
Cut into 1inch x 6 inch slices
Roll into finger sized shapes, easy for little hands to grasp.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes and then 300 degrees for another 15 minutes turn off oven and let them cool in oven.
In the summer of 1981 when my Angel Boy was about four months old and just starting solid foods (in addition to breast milk), I thought seriously about imitating animals who pre-digest their food.
Premastication, pre-chewing, or kiss feeding is the act of chewing food for the purpose of physically breaking it down in order to feed another that is incapable of masticating the food by themselves. This is often done by the mother to produce baby food capable of being consumed by the child during the weaning process.
The behaviour was common throughout human history and societies and observed in non-human animals. While premastication is less common in present-day Western societies it was commonly practiced, and is still done in more traditional cultures.Although the health benefits of premastication is still being actively studied the practice appears to confer certain nutritional and immunological benefits to the infant.
I didn’t actually go to those lengths, but I did make all of his baby food from scratch. I don’t think I bought those little Gerber jars except when I had a sick kitty that needed to be nursed back to health.
Now that I’m going to be a first-time grandma, I’ve learned just how much things have changed in thirty-plus years.
I was sent this amazing book to read and review by Ruth Yaron, Super Baby Food Cookbook.
When Ruth Yaron’s twin boys were born premature and very sick, she knew the most important thing she could do for them was to feed them the healthiest diet possible.
Unhappy with the information that was available to her, Ruth decided to do her own exhaustive research on nutrition and health food.
Although she was a whiz at programming satellites for NASA, Ruth was an inexperienced cook. She utilized her skills, developed writing technical manuals, to diligently record her research of homemade, mostly organic, whole grain cereals, fruits, and vegetables, as well as the best storing and freezing methods.
The results of her phenomenal efforts are found in her remarkable first book, Super Baby Food, which has sold over half a million copies and is now in its 3rd edition. Fans have asked Ruth for a cookbook with pictures of their favorite recipes and in the Super Baby Food Cookbook she has delivered.
The Super Baby Food Cookbook is fully illustrated in color and includes Ruth’s easy and complete system of baby and toddler food preparation.
The “Super Baby Food Diet” is an extremely healthy diet composed of only whole, natural foods.
It is based on these major components: whole grain cereals, vegetables and fruits, yogurt and other dairy products, eggs, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Pediatricians and nutritionists agree that a semi-vegetarian diet (a lacto-ovo diet containing milk products and eggs) fulfills all of a growing baby’s nutritional requirements.
While I’m a vegan, I understand the need for calcium and really like how these recipes include breast milk as an ingredient.
As an aside, if anyone has ever made cheese from breast milk, I’d be interested in chatting.
Yaron provides the essentials for preparing all sorts of foods for babies and young children.
The book includes baby favorites such as avocado, carrots, peaches, and pears.
Discover a bonus of “healthy extra” tips and how to use them in recipes, including chia seeds, wheat germ sprinkles, hemp seeds, flax seeds, and more so that every bite counts.
Here’s a small sampling of the dozens of kid-pleasing recipes contained in the Super Baby Food Cookbook:
2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup water
Put water in a pan and bring to boil. Add blueberries and reduce heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes; blueberries should be soft and tender.Remove blueberries from pan using a slotted spoon and transfer directly to a blender or processor. Purée away.Freeze any leftovers.
Apple Smiley Face
1 apple (peeled and cored)
1 tablespoon peanut or other butter
1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup or blackstrap molasses (optional)
1 pinch ground cinnamon or nutmeg
Grate the apple in a food processor.
Mix with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or other nut butter.
Add 1 teaspoon honey, maple syrup or blackstrap molasses and a pinch of cinnamon and/or nutmeg, if desired.
Add Healthy Extras —grated carrots are good.
Place on small plate and form into pancake-shaped face. Use berries or other fruit for your own decorative touches to create eyes, nose, hair, etc.
Saw this last night on Funny or Die and had to share.
I’ve been so busy working on the campaign to #savecarlsbad #nolagoonmall #notincarlsbad that I haven’t been paying enough attention to blogging. All the info is at http://www.citizensfornorthcounty.org if you’re interested in how a group of concerned neighbors are fighting to save our lagoon from bad city leaders and their outside billionaire developer friend.
Angel Boy and preggy DIL are here and I prepared a delicious Vegan Veggie Pot Pie for dinner last night; took pics and was gonna share the recipe, but it’ll have to wait until there’s a lull in the action around here.
A quote about the real meaning of Thanksgiving from my secret crush…Jon Stewart
“I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”
Now I have to go, cos my famous Kugel noodle/fruit dish has been requested and it’s time to roll my sleeves up and get to work.
Not Kegel, But a KUGEL-icuos Recipe for Thanksgiving