Thursday, October 18, 2012

Another Organization Post and a Remodeled Closet!


So we managed to remodel the closet this week, finally!  Chris was off Monday and we (mostly him) put it all up.  It looks sooo super awesome, and now our clothes are all in the same place, previously the hang up clothes were in the closet, and all the pants, socks, underwear, were on shelves over in the bathroom area.  It's so much more light and accesible now, I just wish I'd painted the walls before I hung the shelves... But if I'd waited on painting it would have never gotten done.

After culling clothes I ended up with probably 60 extra coat hangers, I just got done switching out all the colored ones for white, I don't really care, but I had enough white so I figured why not!   Anyone need 40 or so colored coat hangers?


I'd slacked off on the organizing/cleaning the last week or two, I needed some more inspiration so I picked up a couple more organization books at the library.  One was a big book full of amazing pictures of amazing houses with amazing (and expensive) cabinets/shelves/cool gadgets/etc.  I did get some idea's from it and it was fun to look through and dream.  The other one turned me off at first, when I picked it up after flipping through the picture one, it didn't have any pictures :(
But after flipping through a few pages I was hooked, it's full of inspiration and great ideas, and you can go to the authors blog at, she also has Simple Homeschool, Simple Kids, Simple Mom and a few more, tons of great info for us mommies that need help.  She's also got some downloadable/printable charts for home management, cleaning, etc.  I've been using them the last couple days and it does help.  Though my problem is starting something, doing it for a couple days, then quitting.  We'll see if I can stick with it, probably not, but if it gets me a few weeks of a clean house I'll be thankful for that!

One of my projects for today was to put up a shelf above my fabric cutting table.  I had an extra board from my laundry room shelf project, I didn't have any other plans for it so I figure I might as well use it.  When I went out to the shop to get it I came across a piece of plywood that was salvaged from another project so I grabbed it as well.  I have a ridiculous amount of fabric for my baby diaper sewing business, way way way too much fabric.  Most of it is shoved into Rubbermaid tubs and then stuck under the table, which makes it hard to get to, and find, at times.  So the shelves help but cutting down on the amount that's under the table.  It's a work still in progress but it already looks much better.  At least I actually have room to cut fabric now.

The other project I'd really like to get done today is to clean out my refrigerator, I'm pretty much completely out of bowls and storage containers and I figure they are probably full of nasty old things in the back of the frig.  I keep procrastinating and not getting it done, but it's on my "must do today" list so it had better get done today!

Oh, and the stack of meat I took a pic of last post is all gone now...  We ate the last bit yesterday, it lasted a week, so I guess not too bad, I wish I'd have weighed it, that would be interesting.  And now for a recipe, can't post without telling you what deliciousness we've been eating lately :)  It was late last night and I hadn't gotten supper done and all I had was some ham from our piggies. I've not really done much with ham other than just feed it to my family, but I thought it'd be fun to do something different, so I heated up some coconut oil, chopped the ham up into chunks, sauteed the ham in the oil, mixed up a bit of honey, vinegar, and mustard, and added that to the ham.  Then I dumped a can of pineapple chunks into the mix, took toothpicks and made tiny kebobs with the pineapple and the ham.  That went over so well it was crazy, it got eaten like candy, probably because it tasted like candy.  Next time I think I'm going to skip the honey, the pineapple makes it sweet enough.  I didn't get to eat any because I'm not doing sweeteners, though a good thing because there wasn't enough for me anyway.  I also made a spaghetti squash dish that wasn't very good... How depressing...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pork Carnitas, Yum!

I'm getting tired of eating only 3-4 eggs for breakfast, it doesn't last long enough and I'm hungry again in a few hours.  And of course I know that I should be eating vegetables with every meal, so I sauteed up some onions and spinach, and made an omelet!  It was super yummy, and massive, and did a good job of keeping me full for longer, the chunk of ghee I cooked the veggies and then the omelet in probably helped, yay for fat!
I finally managed to find a pork roast in the deep freeze, we have a million chops but it seems only a few roasts, though there are probably more hiding down in the bottom.  I came across a recipe that sounded good on one of my favorite recipe sites Well Fed's Pork Carnitas.  So now my house smells like burning pork as it carmelizes, but it looks great, I just got done with lunch and am stuffed so I'll have to wait til dinner to try it out.  I made The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat again for lunch, that stuff is addicting, I just can't believe how good it is.  In the interest of saving time I didn't drag out the rotisserie but just cooked the chicken in some ghee in my iron skillet, still delicious!  Between the kids and I we ate a whole package of chicken breasts, I really got to get around to raising my own meat chickens, that was a goal for this year and just never happened.  No excuses next year, I will do it, I have to!!!
Picture stolen from
Well, the Carnitas were amazing, full of flavor and tender and good.  I couldn't think of anything to eat them with, so we just ate them, I made a cauliflower dish for veggies that wasn't very good :(  For some reason my cauliflower hasn't been turning out lately, I need to keep searching for a good dairy free recipe, since my old super delicious one involved Parmesan.  I also made another pumpkin pie for a "vegetable", I figure, one whole pie pumpkin, most of a can of coconut milk, 5 eggs, and 12 dates makes for a pretty darn healthy "dessert".   Though it actually got eaten well before dinner, the kids got ahold of it and almost polished it off before I could grab some back for my poor husband, I did eat my fair share as well.  I think I'm going to buy a few more pumpkins, actually I should probably buy a bunch more, they store pretty well I think, actually, if I was smart I'd cook up a bunch and freeze it....  Hmm, am I smart?  I might just do that to prove I am :)

On another note, the Whole 30 is going very well, I'm still not over wanting sweets... But I think I'm sabotaging myself by eating too much fruit, dates, etc...  Gotta stop that!  But I use the pregnancy excuse, I need more calories, need more carbs, etc.  I just need to cook and eat more real food instead of snacking.  But my face is clear for the first time since I got pregnant, no more acne!  That's awesome, since I always have pretty bad acne when pregnant, and even somewhat when not.  And I have lots of energy, well, most of the time, I was kinda draggy today but I think that was all in my head, I didn't want to clean house and I wanted to read my book.  But I did end up cleaning house along with reading, so it wasn't too bad of a day :)  Yesterday I got out a bunch of meat from the freezer, I'm tired of pulling out frozen meat when it's time to cook and then having to wait for dethaw, preparation is not one of my strong points.  So I took a picture as I'm curious to see how long it lasts, three packages of pork cutlets are on the botttom, a package of ham, sausage, and the roast are on top.  I forgot to add into the pic the two packages of chicken breast.  Today we used up one chicken and the roast... Wow, it goes so fast, my carnivorousness kids eat too much, what am I going to do when they are bigger?  I'll be out in the woods killing things just to eat... Well, I'm probably exaggerating just a little bit :)  I should take a veggie picture as well, that'd be fun, and make a prettier picture, maybe after I go shopping, right now I'm totally out of fresh veggies, thankfully tomorrow is a town day.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat and Heavenly Eggs

The sad last remaining eggs...
So today I made "The Best Chicken You Will Ever Eat. Ever."   Since everything I've ever made off of this blog has been delicious, I imagine this might just be the best chicken ever, I sure hope so!  I also made another batch of Mayo, from the same blog, as the previous batch was turned into Ranch dip and mostly consumed.  Then I made Heavenly Eggs (Deviled Eggs to the unenlightened) with it, oh how super yummy!  They are even better than normal Heavenly Eggs made with conventional mayo.  I made 8 eggs worth, because I'm running low on eggs, but all but 3 eggs worth were eating in a matter of minutes, mostly by Ender and me,
I love my rotisserie so much, it's fast and turns out delicious meat!
then I had to hide the rest to save for supper.  Actually, I wanted enough to take to homeschool meeting tomorrow to have for lunch, but I don't think that's going to happen...   The chicken truly was the best chicken ever, the Morocan dip was exquisite, I licked my plate, then went back for 2nds, then licked my plate again.  It was only when I was on my 2nd plate I realized that I completely forgot to make the veggie dish I had planned, which was just going to be some sort of broccoli and cauliflower something...  Shame on me, at least I ate soup with tons of veggies for lunch, but still I should have had something, oh well, I don't think its the end of the world, I hope :)
Not so pretty, but it's sure yummy!
On another note, I went to the Crossfit gym on Friday and I'm still sore!  Well, I'm not really to sore anymore, just a teeny bit, but I hurt like heck for two days, pretty sad since the workout was stuff I did all the time at my gym, just a bit more intense and numerous.  And it was me and 4 guys there so of course I probably did more than I should have, since I'm ridiculously competitive, pretty stupid for my first day and being 26 weeks pregnant.  Oh well, it was awesome, I had a blast and soreness just means I actually accomplished something.  I did lift more on Clean and Jerk than I have before, lifting #95 over your head really feels awesome, especially when you do it about 20 times, maybe why I'm sore...  But I only squatted #115 as that seems much harder than before pregnancy, it makes me laugh to think that conventional Dr's say pregnant women shouldn't lift over #45.   Oh well, enough bragging :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Making Ghee, and Mayonnaise, and a Quick Lunch!

Ghee is so much better than butter, and it's super simple to make.  I love to cook with butter, anything fried in butter is better, but the problem with butter is that it burns too easily, the milk solids in it is what burns.  When you make ghee, you cook out all the milk solids and the water, leaving just the oil with tons of flavor.  Another plus is that with the milk solids removed, ghee is fine for people allergic to dairy.  I recommend doing at least a pound or two of butter, the ghee stores great at room temperature and if your like me you'll use it fast.  Melt your butter in a saucepan, and let it boil for 20-30 minutes, keeping a close eye on it, depending on how much water is in it sometimes the foam will boil up pretty high, use a larger than you need saucepan just in case.  The batch I made today didn't boil up much at all, it was my own butter so I guess I did a good job squeezing out the water when I made it.  After 20 minutes or so the foam will be mostly gone,  watch closely at this point, you don't want to burn it.  Once the foam is gone and the oil is a beautiful golden color, it will also smell amazing at this point, you can remove it from the heat and let it cool a bit while you prepare a jar and straining cloth, I use a piece of birds-eye fabric, you could use linen or any other fine woven cloth.  Strain the ghee into your jar, make sure your jar is heatproof, an exploding jar and hot oil all over the place would be awful   The bottom of the pan is going to be covered in a brown sticky substance that is your milk solids, if you are okay with dairy they are delicious with a bit of honey mixed in, or there are several Indian recipes that use it.  Then find a recipe that calls for frying something in butter and try it out, it's amazing to watch it heat up smoothly without smoking or burning, it's perfect for me who tends to put something on the stove then walk off and return to find it burnt and smoking like crazy.  The smoke point of butter is 250-300F, ghee's is 485F, one of the highest out there for cooking oils.

Then I decided to make some mayo, store bought mayonnaise is made with soybean oil, there's a whole list of problems with soy products and soybean oil is very high in Omega 6's, which is a major cause of inflammation which then leads to chronic disease.  I'd tried to make mayo before with extra virgin olive oil... I had to throw it out, it was way to strong, then I found a recipe that everyone said was heavenly, using "light" olive oil.  So when I was in town a couple days ago I grabbed a bottle at the grocery store.  The secret to getting the oil, egg, and lemon juice to emulsify and turn into thick smooth mayo instead of separating is to add the oil ridiculously slow.  I used my little food processor which for some reason has a scooped lid with two little holes in it.  It was perfect for letting the oil slow drip while blending.  In about 4 minutes, I had fresh mayonnaise, and it tasted great as well!  I'm planning on making Ranch dip with it, as the main ingredient in Ranch is soybean oil as well, plus a bunch of other nasty things.  Did you know Ranch has MSG in it?  If you are not aware of the issues with MSG please read this .

Now after all of that, it's lunch time and I've no lunch prepared, pretty typical for me.  So I give the starving kids and myself a handful of almonds to pacify our stomachs for a bit and go to work.  I just got done reading "It Starts With Food", the book by the Whole 30 guys, and it has a few quick recipes, so I figured I'd try one.  One recipe is chicken with sun dried tomatoes, I bought a jar of them forever ago for a recipe then forgot what recipe it was.  So I quick thaw some chicken breasts in hot water, then chop it up, salt and pepper it, and fry in hot ghee until done.  Then scoop it onto a plate, throw in some garlic for a minute, then add balsamic vinegar and chicken broth and deglaze the pan.  Then finally, dump in a couple spoonfuls of the sun dried tomatoes and put the chicken back in and let it all mix together.  I was also supposed to add fresh chopped basil but I was in too much of a hurry to run up to the garden and pick some so I just skipped it, shame on me...  Meanwhile I chopped some broccoli and steamed it up real fast with some ghee and herbs de provence.  It turned out great, like everything I've made lately, I've been really lucky, or I'm just good at picking recipes, haven't had a bad recipe yet thankfully!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Best Pork Chops Ever and Breakfast Apple Pie

 Had another good day here, Ari is doing so much better at school.  I don't know if it's because we're sitting at  the new desk instead of on the couch, more formal maybe, but she's really starting to get the hang of sounding out words and getting better at sight words.   We had a pretty relaxing day other than that, got to stay home, clean house, cook bunches of yummy food...  I made what we call "Apple Pie" for breakfast, I don't really know what else to call it and that sounds good to the kids.  I fried up 3 apples in ghee until they were tender, then sprinkled cinnamon liberally over them.

While they were cooking I cracked 8 eggs into the blender, added 1/2 cup or so coconut milk, about 1 tsp cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg, blended it all up and dumped it over the hot apples then put it in the preheated oven at 375 for 20 minutes.  This was so good, I usually overeat it like crazy, but since it's super healthy it's not a problem, I have issues not getting enough calories, especially doing the Whole 30, so indulging is a good thing.   I've lost 4 pounds in 4 days, while eating all I wanted, I don't want to loose any more since I'm pregnant,
but I'd gained enough extra fat the first few months I think it's okay to loose a bit.  Thankfully I've had no other side effects of eating clean, probably because I ate rather clean before starting Whole 30, just had to cut sweeteners and dairy.  It seems most people go through horrible headaches, exhaustion, and other withdrawal symptoms, I had to deal with that for about two weeks when I first went Paleo two years ago, no fun at all but after you get through it you feel awesome so it's completely worth it!  Anyways, I ate leftover Sausage and Cabbage for lunch, I think it was even better than the first time, though in keeping with my new belief that everything is better with coconut milk I mixed in a couple tablespoons while heating it up.  And a few bites of Pumpkin Pie which I made from 3 butternut squash, 1 cup coconut milk, 5 eggs, spices, and 12 ground up soaked dates for sweetener.  It was excellent!

Finally, for supper I grabbed some pork cutlets out of the fridge, mainly because it was 4 something by the time I got around to it and the package was thinnish and I figured they'd thaw out quickly.  Putting them in a sink full of hot water does the trick so well and quickly, I don't know why this is a no-no according to the USDA, I've been doing it for years and haven't died yet.  Haven't given anyone food poisoning  either.  And then a quick search for a recipe didn't find me anything great looking, it was either the same ol same ol recipes, or took hours to cook.  So I kinda improvised on one recipe I found, again, wanting to do something with coconut milk, I salted and peppered the cutlets, browned them in skillet, then added pineapple juice and let them cook for a few minutes, then removed them and dumped in half a can of coconut milk and let that cook down a bit, then put the meat back in and added a can of mushrooms.  It would have been nice if I'd had fresh mushrooms or more than one can, but that's all I had.  This ended up being the best pork chop dish I've made so far, they were ridiculously flavorful and tender.  I quick steamed up some broccoli to go with it, and the sauce went with the broccoli very well, made boring ol broccoli into something delish!

Breakfast Apple Pie
3 large apples
2 tbs ghee or butter or coconut oil
8-10 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375.  Fry sliced apples in oil.  Meanwhile put the other ingredients into blender and blend until frothy.  Dump egg mixture over hot apples and place into oven for 20 minutes or until done.

Butternut Squash Pie
2-3 Butternut squashes, cooked
1 cup coconut milk
5 eggs, or just the yolks if you have something to do with the whites
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
12 or so dates, soaked in hot water for a few minutes
Preheat oven to 350.  Throw everything into a blender and blend until smooth, taste it and add more dates if you think it needs it, or stevia, or honey.  Dump into pie dish and put in oven and bake for 45 minutes or until done, depending on how deep your pie dish is, mine was too deep and it took about an hour.

Pork Chops with Mushrooms and Coconut Milk
4 boneless pork chops
salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup pineapple juice
3/4 cup coconut milk
3 tablespoons ghee, butter, or coconut oil
8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms, or canned
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Season pork chops with salt and pepper, and arrange in a single layer in pan. Pan-fry for 2 minutes on each side to brown. Pour in pineapple juice, and continue cooking for 6 minutes. Remove chops from pan.
Pour coconut milk into the skillet, and then add mushrooms. Increase heat to high; cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Return chops to pan to warm.  Chow down!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Fun Day and Yummiest Lunch Ever

While having absolutely nothing to do with this post, my kid is adorable,
even when he's trying to shoot me :)  And no, I haven't been sending my
kids to fight club, he climbed up on a box and fell off and smacked his eye.

We had a fun day today, the kids decided that we needed to have a picnic, but I hadn't had time to make any "picnic" foods, so we went through the frig and grabbed some leftovers and a few bananas.  But first we had to sell milk and go to the gym and do some shopping.  So I worked out, the kids watched TV in the kids area, they have a great play area, but my silly TV deprived kids just think that stupid screen is the best thing in the world...  Oh well, they'll grow out of it, they had better :)  Then we did some running, by the health food store to pick up some Sea Snax, since I use sea salt I've been thinking I needed to eat some sort of sea vegetable to get iodine, and I noticed these were Whole 30 legal, so I grabbed a couple packs of the Toasty Onion.  And they are actually super yummy!  My kids even liked them, surprise, surprise.
While they were kinda pricy at 2.29 for .65oz, they're super nutritious and I figure since we don't spend any money on snacks and junk food, this is okay.  Then we ran by the grocery store to pick up some "light" olive oil.  I'd like to make some healthy mayonnaise and tried once before with extra virgin olive oil and I had to throw it out...  I hear this recipe is super delicious and it'd be nice to have on hand to make my own Ranch, something that's hard to live without in my house.  And then finally, to the park!!!  My kids beg to go to the park constantly, but we rarely do, I'm always ready to go home after being in town and don't want to be away any longer than necessary.  But since they brought a picnic I really didn't have a choice.  Our picnic consisted of leftover Faux Pumpkin Pie made out of butternut squash, leftover fried apples, 3 boiled eggs, bananas, and our new Sea Snax.  All it all it was a pretty good picnic, the kids got to play in the river, well, the puddles in the river bed, and had a blast exploring among all the weeds that have grown up 6 feet tall in the river bed.  There hasn't been a river there all year because of the drought, pretty sad.  Ender had fallen asleep on the way there and slept through it all, poor boy.  I had the kindle book Public Schools, Public Menace on my Iphone as it was free a while ago, so I sat in the grass and read it while they played.  I only got a bit into it but he has some good points, not that he has to convince me about the horror that is public school, but it definitely has some convincing arguments.   I'd recommend reading it, though not for 18.00 as it is now.  So then we headed home, of course by now I was starving as it was 2:00 and I'm always hungry after working out, I didn't end up with much of the "picnic" as the kids consumed most of it.

So I looked for a quick and healthy lunch, there was a bunch of green beans in the refrigerator that had been there a while and needed to be eaten, plus a chicken breast with the same story.  I have never liked green beans as I have never found a great recipe for them.  Mom can make good green beans, but I fail every time.  So I googled "whole 30 green beans" in hopes of finding an awesome recipe.  And I did!!!    I think I'm in love with this blog as well as Everyday Paleo, they both just have such amazing delicious recipes.  These were so good, incredibly good, like I ate three times what I was planning to eat.  I knew I needed protein as well, but didn't have much time as I forgot to get around to cooking the chicken until the green beans were done, so I took the chicken breast, ripped the bones out, slapped it between two of those sweet thin plastic cutting boards, and beat it to death with my meat tenderizer hammer.  Then I sprinkled it with salt and pepper and threw it in an iron skillet with a couple tablespoons coconut oil, as thin as it was it only took about 5-6 minutes to cook, and was perfect to go along with the beans.  I think I'm going to make everything with a coconut milk sauce from now on, the last two days I've cooked with coconut milk and it's just absolutely to die for.   I almost licked the plate, now I have another quick and easy and delicious recipe to fall back on when I'm pulling my hair out trying to find something to cook...  Well, I guess it will only work if I have chicken dethawed and green beans available.  Hmm, maybe I need to run back up to the farm and buy a bunch more green beans and freeze them.  Previously I was like green beans, meh, who needs them, now I'm like green beans, I need my green beans, gimme some green beans, can't run out of green beans.  Okay, maybe not quite that bad, but it'd sure be nice to have some on hand.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Building projects and a couple recipes

Well, I've been busy lately and not been posting...  I'm still stuck in the organizing and decluttering mood, which is great, I'm getting so much done, and my sweet husband hasn't complained a bit about all the new things I want him to build and the money I've been spending.  He got the school desk and shelves finished and it's amazing!

Look at that bench, I just think it's the coolest ever, if I had been the designer it wouldn't have been near so attractive.  We didn't have a decent paint brush to stain it with so that'll have to happen some other time.  We had some extra 1x8's from some shelves I took down, we figured that'd make a good bench without having to spend more money on lumber.

And today he put up my new laundry room shelves, previously there was an incredibly nasty old cabinet with only one shelf, now I have two and they are shiny and bright.  I just wish I'd had the time and energy and paint to get the room painted, oh well, task for another day, or never (more likely).  I went to Lowes a few days ago and bought wire shelves to redo our closet, I can't wait!  It's going to be like living in a new house, I'm going from basically no storage space to more storage space than I know what to do with.  And, considering all the throwing away I've done, I actually don't have that much to store anymore!  Yay!!!

I've also decided to clean up my life in addition to my house, I started a Whole 30 three days ago, not long I know, but considering that I've thought about doing one for years and never had the guts to try, even three days is pretty awesome.  My diet has been pretty good for the last couple months, but no where near perfect, and in the last few weeks it had disintegrated further and the scale was showing it.  I really, really, really do not want to gain #60 again this pregnancy, I refuse to!  But the good thing is that means I get to find lots of delicious new recipes, which I love to do, and then I get to share them with you.  Today I made Sausage and Cabbage with Fried Apples for lunch. Okay, that sounds weird, the fried apples are separate from the sausage and cabbage, I don't think they wouldn't be quite so good mixed.  They were good though, and the fried apples were a nice treat.  Then I made Zucchini Spaghetti in Creamy Tomato Sauce for supper, and it was awesome!!!  I highly recommend trying out the recipe sooner than later, Chris said it needed to go on my "regular" cooking menu.  Not that I have a cooking menu plan, something I need to remedy.  I of course forgot to take pictures, dang it!  I need to strap that camera around my neck whenever I start cooking, I don't know why I can't remember it...  Oh well, there are of course gorgeous pictures on the blog I linked to, oh, and I highly recommend buying her cookbook, or at least bookmarking the page Everyday Paleo, she has amazing recipes that are always easy and delicious.  My sister bought her first recipe book and I kinda wish I would buy her other one, but it'll never happen, the internet is so much easier and cookbooks take up precious cupboard space.

Oh, speaking of cupboards, I almost forgot, I did a little project today as well.  Previously the bowls just sat on top of the plates, kind of a pain.  This is so much better!  I've read about 10 different organization books in the past month and each one gives me new ideas, most of which are costly and unfeasible, but every once in a while I get a good one that I can use immediately.