Today as I pulled out some paint and paper Elijah yelled, “Yay! This is what we get to do at friend’s houses!”
He couldn’t have said it better. It’s a special occasion for me to be crafty. I have never been the type of mom that planned out activities or had supplies on hand. Our craft box contains markers and crayons. No glitter. No glue. Those 2 are way to messy for a house I already can’t keep clean.
Typically, this is the extent of our arts and crafts.
We did paint today, and Elijah did have fun. But it got me thinking.
I’m a good boy mom. We don’t do crafts. We barely bake together.
But we do have fun…
We jump on the bed.
We play at the park.
We wrestle. A lot.
We laugh at the word stinky.
We play trains.
We play shark and lion.
We do boy things.
Who knows… maybe one day I’ll get to experience the joy of having a little girl. But for now, I have 2 boys and that suits me just fine.
So … in case we haven’t spoken in a while, you might not know we’ve had a crazy few months.
We sold our house (a 1940-something in-town cottage).
Started negotiating on a new home (111 acre homestead about 30 miles from town).
Got married (yes … we did it a little backwards, having the family first … but the Cowboy and I have done little in our lives that most would consider “conventional” … so it’s just one more thing).
The Cowboy’s mom broke her back (which is intense at any age … but at 80-something? Nuts).
The deal we were negotiating for our new homestead fell apart.
And we weren’t having much luck in the real estate market finding our forever home.
And I’m just going to go ahead and say it … things were getting tense.
At around noon.
When we got the call (actually, my new sister-in-law stopped by with the news on her way home from dropping her son off at school) that the prospective buyers of the cottage had decided to pull out of the deal.
So we took a collective breath.
Then we took a collective exhale.
And I got to take out one of my favorite fuzzy red hats.
My faith in the Universe is restored.
And I am thankful.
A few days ago, I wrote here about how I feed my kids.
I felt like I needed to follow up that post and let y’all know that I don’t want to be an uptight foodie.
I don’t want to be so mentally consumed with organic food or grass-fed meats or cutting out grains that me or my kids miss out on life. I am so thankful to be passionate about whole foods, but I don’t want to be consumed!
Yesterday, we took a 2 hour drive to West Yellowstone to see a Grizzly Preserve.
It was a last minute trip so I didn’t have much time to prepare food to bring. I made some popcorn and cut up some grapes, which lasted all of 20 minutes on the way there. After we saw the bears we were all hungry and landed at a honky-tonk cafe with all fried food. I had already had it I’m my head to be flexible. And guess what? We all survived! The food was nothing memorable, but the time with my family was priceless.
Here’s to spontaneous future family road trips.
Here’s to my little ones making cookies with grandparents.
Here’s to eating at an greasy old diner that my husband has been itching to try.
Here’s to pizza and a movie.
Here’s to being passionate about real food but, but being even more passionate about living life!
Here’s a re-cap of a conversation I had with a girlfriend (not Abby) a few days ago that made me remember not to judge … just to accept … because accepting leads to appreciating and appreciating makes us happy (I’m paraphrasing):
Why is your daughter’s hair so short?
Um. It just is.
But she’s such a pretty girl.
But … did you cut it?
I, uh … I cut her bangs a few weeks ago.
What about the back.
Have you ever cut it?
Nope … just the bangs.
How old is she?
And that’s it?
But she’s so cute! Like a Fairy.
Here’s what I hope is the takeaway from the conversation … my little one doesn’t have a ton of hair … not because I cut it … but because that’s just how much hair she has .. and regardless of how much hair she has … she’s still beautiful. She just doesn’t have long hair. She might even be a fairy. At the very least, that’s her plan for Halloween.
Since sweet potatoes are in season, I have been making them daily for my kids. My 3 year old asks for “orange potatoes” with almost every meal.
The main 2 ingredients (sweet potatoes and coconut oil) are nutritional powerhouses, which makes me love them even more.
What you need:
- 1 large sweet potato
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (melted)
- salt & pepper or cinnamon & nutmeg or chili powder & cumin (the sky is the limit)
What to do:
Chop the sweet potato into bite size chunks
Next, douse sweet potatoes with coconut oil, salt and pepper. Just leave a smidge of coconut oil aside to grease the pan.
Spread them out on a baking sheet and place in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. About half way through give them a flip. Since I am usually baking just one sweet potato, they fit nicely on a baking sheet in my toaster oven.
Keep an eye on them while baking, because every oven is different. Enjoy!
Those 2 boys: they are my world.
I spend a lot of time and energy thinking about and planning the food my little guys (ages 1 & 3) eat. I strive to fill their bodies with clean proteins, raw vegetables and good fats every single day. I’m not implying it is always perfect or that we have never just called it a day and ordered pizza. What I am saying is most every day I cram lots and lots of good things in their growing bodies. My passion for this has at times seemed a little overboard to some family and friends, but for me it is a strong conviction and something I know will pay off now and in their future!
Sometimes while we are out and my kids are hungry, I think about how easy it would be to just run through a fast food place and grab them lunch. Luckily, we have a co-op in town where we can run to and grab lunch when we are in a bind. It’s not a drive-through and it still requires sitting down and eating, but it is a good option for us. Feeding my kids the way I want to feed them takes time. It takes effort. It takes being really inconvenienced at times.
But to me its worth it.
One post does not do this topic justice. I could write an entire book about this. And not because anyone would want to read it, but just because I care about it that much.
Over the next few days I am going to share some of my go to foods that my kids love. Things that most kids love and and things that mamas can feel really good about feeding them. Here are some of the things I make my kids. Expect this list to keep growing!
roasted sweet potatoes
smoothies, smoothies and more smoothies
I’m a big fan of fresh salsa and while there are some delicious ones you can buy, you will pay for it. At the rate I go through this stuff it only makese since to make it myself. And as with all home cooking, you get the benefit of complete ingredient control! It also doesn’t hurt that I pulled the majority of the ingredients straight out of my greenhouse.
What you need:
5 cups of tomatoes
1 large bunch of cilantro
1 onion (any color will do)
2 cloves of garlic
2 jalapeno (de-seeded or not)
juice of 1-2 limes
dash of salt
food processor (or just a good knife)
Before I go any further I should say every element of this recipe can vary. Don’t have garlic on hand? Use a dash of garlic powder. Prefer an extra kick? Add another jalapeno, ect. I have made this recipe many different ways and haven’t found one I don’t like.
- Put cilantro, onion(roughly chopped), garlic, and jalapeno into food processor and use the pulse setting to chop. Note: If you don’t have a food processor, just finely chop these everything by hand. Even though this takes longer, sometimes I prefer this method because you end up with a much more chunky salsa.
- Take each tomato and juice it by squeezing it over a bowl. Set juice aside. While this step may not seem necessary, I find the salsa to have too much liquid if I don’t. I tend to put this juice into the fridge or freezer and save for sneaking into smoothies for my kids.
- If using a food processor, add tomatoes, lime and salt and pulse until you get the desired consistency. If you are chopping by hand just chop finely and add them (as well as lime and salt) to the rest of the ingredients.
Enjoy with chips, veggies or just on a spoon 🙂
Note: Normal people might think this makes a lot of salsa. It’s a good amount to serve at a party as an appetizer or to be able to freeze some for later. For people like me.. I will be lucky if this lasts through tomorrow!
We’re linked up on The Nourishing Gourmet and This Chick Cooks.
If you’re anything like me … every once in a while, you happen upon a recipe in a cookbook that becomes part of your repertoire. You change the amounts of each ingredient. You make minor shifts to the focus of the dish to match your own tastes. But the basics stay the same. And everyone who tries it asks for the recipe. And you want to take credit for it … for real … but then … your conscience gets the best of you and you tell everyone that your inspiration is from John Besh’s My Family Table cookbook (which you’ve given to many of your friends and family because of your love for it). And you appreciate it all over again.
So here’s my take on his 5-minute Cherry Tomato Sauce (page 26):
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
- 5-6 Cloves of Garlic (chopped)
- 1 ½ tsp Crushed Red Pepper (we use ½ tsp when we’re making pizza sauce … or if it’s for the kiddos)
- 4 cups Heirloom Tomatoes (chopped into about 1-2 inch chunks or halved if you’re using cherry tomatoes … the point is … use whatever tasty tomato you have on hand)
- Leaves from 4-5 big sprigs of Basil
- Sea Salt to taste
- Large (10-12”) saucepan
- Wooden spoon
- Vita-Mix (or blender or food processor)
Heat the Olive Oil in saucepan.
Sautee the Garlic and Crushed Red Pepper until the garlic becomes translucent.
Add Tomatoes (seeds, skin and all) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the membranes in the tomatoes get soft (about 8-10 minutes).
Add the Basil and let the leaves wilt.
CAREFULLY (because it’s REALLY HOT) pour (or ladle) the contents of your saucepan into the Vita-Mix (or blender or food processor) and puree until it’s all combined.
Lastly, add Sea Salt … I start with ½ a teaspoon and add more until it’s tasty goodness.
And one more thing … We use this sauce for pasta. We use it on polenta with a poached egg. We use it on pizza. We use it on breakfast tacos. We just use it. And I bet you will, too 🙂
We’re linked up on The Nourishing Gourmet.
It’s Jeanne again … still obsessing over garlic.
So I’m going to share with you a secret recipe for toasted garlic chips and broccoli that my 3 year old eats like it’s going out of style. Seriously. Green veggies … no melted butter … no cheese sauce dousing them to hide their goodness … no mashing and hiding what they really are … and she devours them. And so do I. And so does my husband (who I affectionately call The Cowboy, because in his 20s and early 30s he wrestled steer for a living! … and he’s one of the most talented wrangler-guys I know … but that’s another story that I’m sure I’ll share another time)
And it takes all of 5 minutes (the garlic chips … not the story).
- olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of your sauté pan … about a ¼ cup)
- 5-6 cloves of garlic (peeled and sliced SUPER thin)
- broccoli (3 stalks … washed)
- sea salt (to taste)
- very sharp knife
- sauté pan
- paper towel
Peel and slice the garlic cloves VERY THIN.
It’s key here that your knife is sharp. A dull knife won’t let you slice super thin garlic and you’ll wind up with a mash instead of a chip. And while there’s nothing wrong with garlic mash, that’s for a different recipe … so … sharp knife … garlic chip. Dull knife … mash.
Pour olive oil into a still-cold-sauté pan. Add the garlic slices.
It’s like when you’re making popcorn and you add the kernels to cold oil so the oil and the kernels heat at the same time, ensuring you’re not going to burn the kernels and have a mess of burnt popcorn all over the bottom of the pot, right? So. Olive oil and garlic go into the pan at the same time.
Turn the burner on medium. Let them heat up together. And move the chips around a bit with your spatula. When the chips start to sizzle and barely turn brown on the edges (it only takes a few minutes), take them out of the pan and put on your paper towel to cool … leaving the olive oil (which is now infused with garlic) in your pan.
Add your washed broccoli to the pan of hot garlic-infused-olive oil and sauté until bright bright green. Broccoli goes onto a serving plate, topped with the garlic chips, and enjoy the clean plate when dinner’s done.
By the way … I’m using broccoli because it’s what we have on hand … this works with most green veggies. Broccolini. Spinach. Haricot Vert. Baby Asparagus. Brussell Sprouts. Etc., etc., … I also like it with Cauliflower (which is only green sometimes). Basically … you can use this method with nearly any veggie you might just sauté and serve quickly.
I have a problem. A good problem in which my greenhouse is in full bloom and it may snow tomorrow and there is a ton of harvesting to do! I dread it. Not really, but kind of. Finding the time to get out there with two kids who want to “help” is hard. If someone would just come watch my kids for an afternoon and leave me be out there… I would really appreciate it! 🙂
Don’t be fooled by those beautiful cabbage leaves pictured above. Aphids and cabbage moths moved in overnight and completely ruined my dreams of fermenting my own grown cabbage… URGG! That being said, there are ALOT of tomatoes and basil and parsley and peppers and potatoes out there, and those babies need to be picked!
Which leads me these tomatoes.
Tons of beautiful, organically grown, non-GMO ripe-red tomatoes. We have cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes and several heirloom varieties. Last year our tomatoes decided it would be nice to all turn red at the exact same time. When we harvested them they got boiled, peeled and frozen. While I am was thankful for a deep freezer packed with tomatoes, I found myself uninspired and not really knowing or wanting to use the tomatoes.
So I knew I wanted things to be different this year. I have decided to go ahead and make the things I will use the tomatoes for and then freeze that. I think this will make it much more convenient to use my tomatoes this winter.I love salsa and my family loves tomato sauce. You can search the internet for thousands of ways to make scrumptious versions of both. When is comes to recipes, here at o’mamas we like to keep cooking simple. Simple and good. Jeanne harvested her tomatoes and made 10 quarts of her favorite tomato sauce
and I’m thinking about freezing buckets of my homemade salsa
So what about you? What do you do with all your tomatoes??