End-of-Summer Marinara Sauce

All of the hot weather we had  up until this week in the mid-Atlantic has given our Summer gardens a few extra weeks to flourish. A friend and I did a little picking yesterday and this was our incredible harvest! (Minus the apples, which will became an apple crisp )

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What else could we possibly do but make up a couple of batches of sauce?

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This is a VERY simple marinara, using about 18 fresh tomatoes, a chopped onion, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, 3 cloves of chopped garlic, a bay leaf, a handful of chopped fresh parsley, and sea salt to taste. The trick is to let it simmer for hours and hours and to saute the garlic and onion for several minuted before adding the remaining ingredients. We decided that we wanted a less “chunky” sauce, so we put the peeled tomatoes in a blender to puree before cooking. Incredibly yummy!

Planting My Fall Garden

I am pretty pleased with my first spring and summer garden. We had more kale, leeks, red and white onions, carrots, tomatoes, chard, collards, and cucumbers than we could eat ourselves. Sadly, I am still waiting for the red and yellow peppers and eggplants. I did not have the greatest luck with those this year, I think, because I did not get them in the ground early enough. I will be freezing a lot of things that will warm us up in homemade soups and sauces this winter!

I am getting ready to transition to my fall plantings, which will include more carrots, red and white onions, green onions, two types of spinach, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, garlic, kale, and radicchio. As always, I used seeds from SeedsNow.com, and so far they are sprouting nicely!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     I hope to get these in the ground within the next week and look forward to all of the wonderful dishes and salads we will make from them!

 

 

 

Picky Eaters

One of the biggest challenges I face as a mom trying to promote a curative lifestyle is getting the picky eater(s) in my house to eat healthfully. My middle son, Alex, has been a very picky eater since infancy. He is one of those kids that picks one or two things that he likes, and will ONLY eat those things for weeks at a time. His favorite thing last year was Honey Nut Cheerios (Yikes!  I now know that they are loaded with GMOs and other yucky stuff!). Now, I only stock my pantry and kitchen with organic, non-GMO snack choices and lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Despite my best efforts, Alex still does not eat a very well-balanced diet. He has started eating some fruits and veggies, like strawberries, bananas, and broccoli, but that’s about it. I have relied on a multivitamin to give Alex that extra boost of nutrition that he does not regularly get from diet. Recently, I read that some of the popular kids’ multis have some rather undesirable things in them, like aspartame,  Blue #2, Red #40, Yellow #6, GMO corn starch, hydrogenated oil, and other toxic substances. So, I set out to find some that were safe, healthful, and non-toxic. These are a couple that I am trying, and in the meantime, we will keep encouraging Alex to get his nutrients from whole, organic foods!

and

All-in-One Gummy Vitamins for Kids: Multivitamin + Omega 3s + Vitamin D3

Lunch Can Be Yummy AND Healthy – Part 2

I received a lot of feedback and questions about yesterday’s post, so I thought I’d follow up today with another lunch post. This time, I am using the Sistema Salad Cube.

Today Miss Sophie will be taking tuna salad, sunflower seeds, fresh strawberries, whole wheat crackers, raw carrots and broccoli, an apple, and organic chocolate milk.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     This box is really cool because it comes with it’s own knife and fork set, which clips neatly under the top compartment. It also has a small dressing container, which I am using to hold sunflower seeds. Here are links for the two cubes I have shown (just click the images):

                         

Lunch Can Be Yummy AND Healthy!

I love this new lunch cube (and more importantly, my daughter does, too)! She loves choosing how to fill up the compartments. Once at school, she loves to show her friends what healthy things she has!

Today’s lunch: (My daughter’s class eats at 10:30am, so we have to provide lots of goodies that will sustain her until 3:00.)

Crazy Richard’s Natural Peanut Butter and Nutella Sandwich on Flax Bread, Pomegranate Seeds, Almonds, Pretzels, an Apple, and Organic Chocolate Milk. Yummy!

For some cool ideas on healthy lunch options, check out the Paleo Lunch Roundup and 100 Days of Real Food.

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Sometimes It’s Good to Be Bad

There’s nothing more curative for the spirit than relaxing and spending time with family. But while I spent the last week restoring my spirit, I did just the opposite for my body. I spent my vacation week indulging my every food whim. Although this might seem like a bad idea, this was just what I needed to reinforce the fact that what I put in my body completely impacts how I feel.

I read once (I forget where) that you should not even be aware that you have a digestive or gastrointestinal system. You should not feel bloated, gassy, crampy. I got so used to feeling this way before I began my curative journey that it became normal to me. When I started eliminating certain things from my diet and adding others, I found out what that was supposed to mean. I ate and I felt nothing. Digestion just happened, below my awareness, and my body felt good. It was operating like a well-fed machine, easily, smoothly, happily.

So, on vacation, I ate steak, lobster, cheese, ice cream, french fries, shrimp, cheeseburgers, chicken and everything else an indulgent vacationer comes across. I ate virtually no raw food and boy did I start to feel gross. Although I gained three pounds and my stomach and intestines screamed to me in pain and agony, I am appreciative for the experience. It reminded me why I want to change. It reminded me what I need to do to feel strong and healthy.

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“Cleaner,” Safer Deodorants

There is some evidence that certain ingredients in popular antiperspirants/deodorants may lead to breast cancer. After all, they are applied very near breast tissue and have been shown to accumulate there. At the very least, the research is mixed, with some studies showing no risk and others showing higher risk among women who use antiperspirants/deodorants that contain aluminum and parabens. Check out what the data says about the deodorants you are currently using on The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database.

So, on my quest to live a more curative life, I am making the choice to err on the side of caution and eliminate aluminum (which temporarily blocks the sweat ducts) and parabens (which are used as preservatives) in my deodorant. As a Lady Mitchum user for years and years, I was incredibly skeptical that any of the “safer” alternatives would actually work. Well, I was pleasantly surprised that I found a winner on my first try!

 

I have been using Kiss My Face Liquid Rock for about a month now and I can’t believe how well it works, even after a work out! I have noticed a smidgen of wetness after working out (I suppose this is because there is no aluminum), but no odor.

A friend tried several other brands out and she enthusiastically recommends this one:

Image of Tea Tree Deodorant Bar

I will update this post as I get recommendations from friends or try others out myself…

 

 

Get the Kids Involved!

Getting my kids to give up some of their favorite foods and to eat healthier has been a bit of a challenge, to say the least. One thing that gets them excited about a meal is being a part of the preparation. My daughter loves helping me make tortillas. She likes to refer to herself as the “Fry Master” because she is so good at frying the tortillas to a perfect golden brown. She also loves rolling them out. Here she is happily helping out!

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And here is our homemade batch of salsa that she helped me chop, made with tomatoes from our garden as well as the local market, green onions, fresh cilantro, and lime juice. (See the recipe section for tips on how to make homemade tortillas and guacamole)

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Becoming Adventurous in the Kitchen

Every week I like to go through my favorite plant-based cookbooks and choose several recipes before I do the grocery shopping. (This shopping template from 100 Days of Real Food is a very helpful tool!)

Tonight I made Koshari (An Egyptian dish of Lentils with Rice and Whole Grain Macaroni in a tomato, garlic, and onion sauce) from the Forks Over Knives Cookbook. It was so delicious and exotic – even my one-year-old loved it!

When we began this curative journey, I was never really a “cook”  and I certainly wasn’t adventurous in the kitchen. We ate a lot of  “meat and potato” kind of dishes and it became rather monotonous. Eating was more of requirement than a pleasureful experience. Now, it is so exciting to pick a recipe, follow it, and discover what new tastes we created. When you cook using plant-based ingredients, the vibrant colors, textures, smells, and tastes are amazing!

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What’s Going in Your Fall Garden?

I feel like my summer garden is just starting to flourish, and it’s time to start planting and sprouting my fall garden already! I am still operating on a learning curve here, so my planning is by no means perfected. Hopefully by next year I will have this gardening thing all figured out :)! Right now, I have lemon cucumbers beginning to fruit, tons and tons of tomatoes (I plan on making homemade sauce to freeze for the winter), carrots, celery, some lettuces, baby eggplants, red and yellow sweet peppers beginning to fruit, rainbow chard, and of course tons of kale.

Choose plants based on where you live (check out the USDA hardiness zones ). We live in Zone 6b, so we will have to choose plants that can tolerate a chill into the late fall and early winter months.  This will include lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, garlic, carrots, chard, mustard, collards, and kale.  These all freeze well, too, so you can store what you can’t eat to save for the months when you can’t garden (if you live in a northern climate like us). I can just taste all of the yummy soups and stews we will be eating all winter!

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