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!
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.
We have a bounty of zucchini here at the Casa de Enchanted Seashell garden, and the dilemma becomes what the heck does one do with all of this summer squash?
I made a few loaves of zucchini bread because they freeze well and tugboat man can enjoy them when he returns.
Did I forget to mention that he’s gone again?
Yup, he left a couple days ago, but I’m happy that he got some good surf so he wasn’t all moody and depressed, and we were able to go camping and commune with nature.
But what about all the zucchini?
I’ll pickle a few jars like I’ve done with cucumbers and then I got the brilliant idea to add shredded zucchini to my favorite chocolate cake to boost the nutritional value and keep it super moist, not that it lasts more than a day or two, ‘cos it’s the best chocolate cake EVER, vegan or not.
Best of all, the zucchini magically disappears during baking, so if you have children who are recalcitrant and don’t like veggies (how is that even possible?) this is a great way to TRICK them, although I don’t really approve of deceit as a parenting technique.
Son and DIL are coming down for a brief visit so that’s the perfect excuse reason to experiment PLUS they’re bringing a friend that Angel Boy was in graduate school with at Yale (bad sentence structure, I know), so it’s just like the “old days” when the house was filled with kids for me to stuff with food.
I old-school shredded the zucchini…
All dry ingredients go into the mixing bowl.
Add the liquids…
And the zucchini. So simple, now beat for a couple of minutes to incorporate all the goodness.
When it’s out of the oven and still hot, place about 1/2 cup of vegan chocolate chips on top. When they melt… Take an offset spatula and spread to make a delicious and easy topping.
See how shiny?
It’s always nice to garnish with garden blooms. I plucked a nasturtium, mint, and lemon verbena.
It’s as yummy as it is GORGEOUS!
Dark Chocolate and Zucchini Vegan Cake
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
1 cup shredded zucchini (squeeze out any excess liquid)
1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose, I use King Arthur, not because they pay me, but because it’s U.S. grown and an employee-owned company)
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, vegetable oil and zucchini 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.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen a huge increase in the numbers of vegan blogs and vegan recipes (YAY!) but it seems that they’re getting more and more elaborate, as if it’s a sort of competition to create the most difficult-to-prepare meals.
I’m sending a more simple back-to-basics message.
If we agree that one of the reasons for not eating meat advocates for a cruelty-free life to protect animals from a hellish existence on earth, we need to also communicate that it doesn’t always have to be a herculean task to do the right thing.
I’ve been a veg since 1970 and in those 40+ years have seen a lot of people make a similar decision to go meat-free and then, for one reason or another, fall off the wagon.
One of the reasons I’ve heard time and time again is that it’s “too hard”.
Some of my most enjoyable and satisfying meals are the most simple.
Here’s an example of a basic, easy-to-prepare dinner.
1. You can either sauté the jalapeños and garlic for a few minutes or leave them raw; it’s your choice. I used pickled lalapenos and garlic ‘cos I had them in the pantry.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, salt, water. If you have a mixer with a dough hook, mix until it comes together in a wet ball. Add a bit more flour if it looks too wet, but you don’t want an overly dry dough.
3. If you’re doing it all by hand, old-school style, use a wooden spoon and put some muscle into it.
4. When it comes together, flour a cutting board and knead for a bit; this is a rustic bread so it doesn’t have to be perfect.
5. Oil a bowl with the reserved olive oil, place the dough in bowl, cover with a plastic bag, and set aside in a warm place to rise for a couple of hours. It helps to blanket the bowl with a towel, too.
6. After you can see the dough has doubled in size, turn the dough onto a floured wooden board. With your hands, roughly press the dough into a circle.
7. Add half the olives/jalapenos/garlic.
8. Fold the dough in half and gently press again to a rough circle.
9. Add the rest of the ingredients and form the dough into a ball shape.
11. Dust the baking sheet with a teaspoon or so of cornmeal or flour.
12. Let rise again for about thirty minutes.
13. Toward the end of this second rising, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
14. Using a sharp knife, cut an X-shaped slit across the top of the dough.
15. Bake about forty minutes until the top is golden brown.
16. What I like to do toward the end of baking time is to take the bread off the baking pan and place directly on the rack to bake for another five-seven minutes. This ensures a completely even crunchy crust.
17. Take out of the oven, place on cooling rack.
It’s very important not to cut into it too soon! I know it’s hard to wait, but sometimes it’s a good idea.
Serve with homemade lentil soup and a fresh garden salad; this is truly bread heaven.
I’d like to hear from you if you try it. I taught tugboat man how and he didn’t think it was too difficult.
Don’t throw away those odds and ends! Instead, get creative.
Whether you call it Müllsuppe, Soup de Legumes Restes (Soup of Leftovers) Ordures Soupe, Garbage or Compost Soup — in any language, this healthy soup is a delightful melange of everything the refrigerator and pantry has to offer.
I love nothing more than the game of conjuring up a delicious concoction from available ingredients and not always running to the store. Being frugal means more shopping for me — that’s my logic!
My son made a spur-of-the-moment decision to visit for just one day (to celebrate his bio-dad’s birthday) before he leaves the west coast for a teaching position at Rutgers.
This meant that I had to spring into action; baking and cooking a day’s worth of meals.
When my tugboat man is gone, I don’t do very much grocery shopping; the cupboards were mostly bare.
I opened the refrigerator door and peered inside where I found a few carrots, celery, half an onion, a few mushrooms, a few heads of broccoli, a bit of fennel, a block of tofu, and most of a can of chopped tomatoes.
As soon as I looked in the pantry and found pearl barley and lentils, I knew exactly what to do.
Springing into action, I sautéed the vegetables in a bit of olive oil until they were tender. I added the tomatoes, about six cups of water, and the lentils.
Pearl barley takes a lot longer than anything else; cooking in a separate pot would make sure that it was completely soft before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.
While everything was bubbling away, I cubed the tofu and tossed it in with a few tablespoons of chopped cilantro, a bay leaf, pepper, and a sprinkle of freshly ground pink Hawaiian salt.
A couple hours later, the barley was ready to be incorporated into the big pot of soup.
With a salad of mixed greens dressed in my favorite lime vinaigrette, freshly baked foccacia, and a dessert of Banana-Blueberry Walnut Bread, my son was well-fed, and I was so pleased with myself for making something out of nothing.
(And it saved me from having to throw all the veggies in the compost bin!)
What successful dish have you created out of nothing?
Facebook Update: I’m sorry to report that I still have no access to any of my Facebook pages; Since it’s understandable that I’m unwilling to provide a birth certificate to prove that my name is Princess Rosebud, if you’d like to share my posts on your timelines or mine, I’d appreciate it. Otherwise, Twitter and Pinterest will be my only forums for socializing. It’s really unfair to be singled out, since there are many others who don’t use their real names on Facebook and they are allowed to continue.
Crowdsourcing is an awesome method to gather fresh ideas and to spark creativity.
I needed to prepare a couple of dishes for a party and my Facebook friends didn’t let me down. Jen from Driftwood Gardens and Lizzi from Considerings (I reblogged her yesterday) and Becky Bell came to my rescue.
Veggie Hummus Pinwheels were the perfect choice. I added the “Zesty” part, not only because a few squeezes of lime juice adds a fresh and sexy pop to almost anything, but because — well, I can’t explain. You’d have to be there, or at least you need to read my post from yesterday, which was reblogged from Lizzi Rogers. She said it far better than I could paraphrase.
There’s a method to my madness; always bringing vegan eats to any gathering so I can watch their faces when they tell me how tasty it is whilst I use any and all opportunity to climb up on my little soapbox and ruin any party atmosphere by ranting on and on about becoming vegan and cruelty-free living. Hmm…maybe that’s why I don’t get invited to many parties.
Back to the recipe…
Hummus is so easy to prepare from scratch that it’s a staple here at Casa de Enchanted Seashells. (Recipe below.)
It’s mostly all prep work. Organizing your ingredients makes it easy. Because I was bringing this to a party, I didn’t include onions, but the addition of a thinly sliced red onion would be a wonderful crunchy flavor enhancer.
I used a handheld mandolin to thinly slice the veggies. Carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms, cucumber, and freshly steamed, chopped spinach. Make sure you squeeze out all of the cooking juice and save for soup stock later in the week. SEE THE LIME…
I had some leftover guacamole and used that too. Organic pea shoots and cilantro (coriander to you all from across the pond) rounded out the healthy deliciousness.
**For a really low calorie option, use a large lettuce leaf instead of a carb-filled tortilla.Simply spread, layer, roll, and cut.
Spread with hummus, guacamole, spinach (this one doesn’t have spinach, but I used a slice of veggie cheddar cheese. The important part is to layer all the veggies on the side of the wrap or tortilla closest to you. Sometimes I heat the tortilla to make it a little more pliable.
Start rolling, keeping it tight. That’s the secret to a successful roll up. If you’ve ever made sushi, it’s the same principle, without using a bamboo mat. Tah dah! A fat little cigar shaped roll of yumminess.Cut in half with a sharp knife. At this point, you can stop. If I was making a wrap for me and my tugboat man, this is how I’d serve it, along with a lovely fruit salad and a wheat grass smoothie.
But we’re going fancy schmancy for party eats, so keep cutting…eating the ends as you go. Well, at least that’s what I did. Turn them up so they’re smiling pinwheels, choose a special serving platter, add a little garnish: here I used cilantro, pea shoots, and thinly sliced LIME.
Beautiful, festive, healthy!
One 15 oz. can unsalted garbanzo beans (or your own from scratch)
Four garlic cloves
Six tablespoons lemon juice
One-third cup tahini
Salt, pepper, hot pepper sauce
Drain beans, but save juice. Toss it all into a food processor and blend until desired consistency. Add a little juice from the beans as needed. Season to taste.
That’s it! Couldn’t be any easier, right?
Options: Add chopped, drained spinach, jalapeños, roasted red peppers, etc. Use your imagination and experiment. It’s all tasty. Especially if you add a squeeze of lime…
1/3 cup soft butter (this is not vegan but you can use Earth Balance)
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
4 tablespoons Nocciolata
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon cold coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon (or more) Amaretto
Cream butter, add Nocciolata. Sift powdered sugar with cocoa. Add and mix slowly until it’s completely incorporated (or your kitchen will end up covered in sugar haha.) Add coffee, vanilla, Amaretto. Whip until creamy and smooth. Try not to eat it all before your cake is frosted!
Add a ring of ground almonds. Simple. Elegant. Scrumptious.
It tastes very similar to Nutella, with a well-balanced chocolate and toasted hazelnut flavor, but when it comes to texture, Nocciolata stands alone.
Would you like to win a jar? All you have to do is visit their website here.
Rah Rah Raspberry Chocolate Layered Oat Bars Tugboat man and I stopped at a Boudin Bakery located in South Coast Plaza ‘cos he was famished — he doesn’t have the same kind of stamina that I’m blessed with — to keep going until that holy grail has been attained.
Of course I’m speaking of shopping.
We took a five minute break so the whingy one could have some sustenance – a little snack, a boost of energy — just enough to walk around the mall one more time.
Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Hermes, Chanel.
(Poor guy. He’s so sweet, He suffers for me, he really does.)
We shared a Raspberry Chocolate Bar that was SO unexpectedly mouthwatering I couldn’t wait to attempt a recreation.
It’s in the oven now. Tugboat man and I’ll have a taste comparison to see if it measures up.
OK, we patiently waited and enjoyed a square of my version of their Raspberry Chocolate Bar along with a cup of ginger tea.
The verdict? DELICIOUS, but not EXACTLY the same, yet so good, it doesn’t really matter.
In every bite there’s creamy rich chocolate along with the crunch of oats and zesty raspberry. SO GOOD.
(Next time I’ll use fresh raspberries or pure unsweetened jam to control the amount of sugar. We felt this recipe was a bit TOO sweet but that only meant we couldn’t have as large a piece as we wanted.)
After firmly pressing bottom dough, spread with jam.
Add the chocolate chips, yum! Carefully press top dough over jam. Golden brown, it takes a long time to cool and firm up before cutting and eating. Be patient! Tip: Refrigerate to hasten setting up.
Chocolate Raspberry Layered Oat Bars
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 375°
In a medium bowl, combine sugar, butter, oil. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add flour, oats, salt, baking powder and stir until well blended (mixture will be slightly crumbly.).
Remove 3/4 cup of dough; toss with chocolate chips. Set aside.
Press the remaining dough firmly into an 8-inch square baking pan, and spread evenly with jam. Sprinkle with chocolate chip mixture and again press firmly.
Bake at 375° for thirty minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.
Don’t say YUCK.
Don’t roll your eyes at me.
I’ve been torturing my family for years, forcing them to drink the sometimes often dreadful concoctions that I formulate from a deranged aggregate of ingredients — adding a little of this and a little of that — sometimes palatable, sometimes not.
While the raw Cauliflower-Brussel Sprouts Smoothie was NOT a winner, I think I’ve finally developed the perfectly Ultimate Smoothie.
Helps with digestive/gall bladder issues (me)
Provides lots of energy
Garden of Life Raw Protein Powder in Vanilla, Vanilla Chai, Chocolate, or Marley Coffee
Slippery Elm powder, great for digestion
Flaxseed Meal, full of healthy fiber
EmergenC, one or two packets
Beets, canned/unsalted or from my garden (good for gall bladder)
Garden of Life Perfect Food Raw Organic Wheat Grass Juice Powder
Garden of Life Perfect Food Raw Organic Powder
Juices: A combo of Rio Red Grapefruit, Apple, Mango, Cranberry
Banana (one or two)
Any other fresh fruit, this time I used blueberries and pears, but anything you have is yummy — from peaches to watermelon
Nonfat yogurt, regular or Greek for more protein or soy/hemp/almond milk for vegan.
Additions: I usually add a handful of kale, chard, spinach, parsley, mint…just about any greens, even dark leafy lettuce
I throw it all in the blender and process until very smooth. You’ll never taste the greens or the beets, but they add a bright undertone to the fruit.
If you have a lime or a lemon, add a squeeze or two. I have a friend who tosses in a whole orange, peel and all, from her own organically grown tree. I’ve never done that, but it’s certainly an option.
Whether you try my smoothie as a meal replacement (like I do) or as a healthy between-meal snack, my Ultimate Smoothie will provide added energy and lots of nutrition for your busy day.
P.S. Yes, I use a lot of ingredients, but it’s still easy to do and can be made anywhere if you have a blender or even an immersion blender.
I hate swallowing vitamins and supplements but the smooth and creamy texture of my ultimate smoothie helps them go down without gagging.
Since I’ve been taking Garden of Life Kind Organics supplements, I feel so good and it’s really helped with my digestive issues (and my son is a fan, too!) I’m a big believer in pre and pro-biotics, balancing intestinal flora and fauna, and you remember I’m a junkie for wheat grass!