Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkins, pumpkins!

Yesterday we had our second annual pumpkin party! This year I had four sweet friends help host and it was even better than last year! The weather was lovely (a little warmish, but no rain!) and lots of our friends got to come. It's always special to have a house and backyard full of so many of our favorite people!

All ready to party...
We had LOTS of yummy food. Taco soup...
...and all this good stuff:
There was pumpkin decorating...
...a candy corn relay...
...and pumpkin seed spitting!
We also spent last Friday celebrating fall with friends at Danville Farms. They had this huge pillow to jump on...
this spider web to climb on...
...a corn box...
a tractor ride...couldn't get a smile here
...a corn maze, goats to feed, a barrel train (which Frazier wouldn't ride even if I rode with him) and several adorable photo ops with some pumpkins and gourds...but my camera battery died so, alas, no more pictures! :(

Happy happy Autumn!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy Food Day!

To learn more about Food Day go to foodday.org.
(poster available here)

In observance of Food Day and as a follow up to my Food For Thought post I wanted to post some food ideas. I took some pictures of really easy stuff we've eaten recently so I could share them. :)

The rule at our house is that if it's raw and a fruit or veggie eaten alone (like without dip or spread or something) it's unlimited. You can eat as much of it as you want anytime. And I challenge you to find a snack or side dish easier to make than washing an apple or peeling a banana or throwing some baby carrot sticks in a bowl.
Next up? AB&J oatmeal. I just make plain oatmeal and stir in a little raw almond butter (which contains nothing but raw ground up almonds...period) and spreadable fruit. It's seriously yummy.
Kashi Roasted Vegetable Pizza is my favorite and if we're going to have pizza- this is it...or sometimes I use sprouted grain pitas with tomato sauce and cheese. Either way, it only takes ten minutes in the oven. The plate below plus some Greek yogurt was lunch for Frazier the other day. I had pretty much the same thing...minus the raspberries because they're expensive. The things we sacrifice for our kids...;)

When Frazier was a baby I made most of his food, but since a wide variety of organic produce isn't easy to come by in these here parts, I used store-bought organic versions of fruits and veggies I couldn't get fresh. At the time it wasn't always easy to come by. Now Wal-Mart carries Sprout babyfood (co-founded by chef Tyler Florence). Frazier would actually still eat it right out of the pouch...and does sometimes, but fruit and veggie purees are still super handy for lots of things. I slip them in all sorts of recipes from muffins (think: roasted apple) to pasta dishes (think: butternut squash). They're especially good for smoothies. Beats making your own purees and you can easily get ones now that only contain the fruit or veggie...no additives; no preservatives.
One of my favorite ways to use them is as pie filling. First I make my recipe for pie crust:

1 1/3 c whole grain flour (I usually use a combination of spelt and graham)
pinch sea salt
1/4 c coconut oil
1/4 c coconut butter (or 1/2 c of either)
2 egg yolks
2-3 T cold water
Mix just until combined. Chill before rolling out.
Then I roll it out and use my ravioli maker to cut an even number of circles (one batch of pie dough and one pouch of Sprout puree makes me 8 little pies so I cut sixteen circles.) I stir a teaspoon of pie spice or cinnamon into a pouch of puree...this particular day I used sweet baby carrots, apples and mango, but apricot, just apples or sweet potato are also good. My ravioli maker crimps, too so once I put a dollop of "filling" on eight circles, I top and crimp them. Then into the oven at 425 for about 10-12 minutes. They're perfect little snacks, breakfasts or desserts!
If you've not tried spaghetti squash you need to go get one. I've used it as a replacement for noodles in several dishes including this spaghetti bake...literally spaghetti squash (cut in half, seeds removed, microwaved 12 minutes, scraped free of skin) topped with spaghetti sauce and cheese. Done.

In honor of fall we've been having pumpkin smoothies. This:
plus this:
= delicioso.
This is a chicken I basted with no-sugar added homemade apricot jam and grilled. Easy peasy. I have always been of the opinion that anything served with a side salad, fruit and yogurt or cottage cheese more or less constitutes a meal. This chicken was no exception.
I make big batches of pancakes sometimes on weekends and freeze them for easy breakfasts. I like this recipe (adapted from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon):

2 c whole grain flour (I usually use spelt for these)
2 c buttermilk, kefir or yogurt
2 eggs
1/2t sea salt
1 t baking soda
2 T melted butter
Soak flour in buttermilk, kefir or yogurt in a warm place 12-24 hours (optional in my opinion- it makes the grain more easily digestible and accessible to your body, but won't affect the turn out of your pancakes). Stir in other ingredients and thin to desired consistency with water. Cook on hot oiled griddle or cast iron skillet.

I've said it before, but it's not about eating all raw or all organic or all vegan or like a dinosaur. For me it's just about eating REAL food...not the artificial stuff. It's about fueling your body- not weighing it down and sludging it up. It's about getting what your body needs in a form it can use it best.

Food. It's what's for dinner. :)

Keepin' it real,

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Big Reveal

Last year, Frazier was Charlie Brown for Halloween which was cute and super cheap and easy. The year before that he was a pumpkin...because he was a baby and that was the most I wanted to do. This year, I started thinking about his Halloween costume really early. Like end of August early. I began to fear it was the last year I could choose his costume and as I envisioned the potential years of superhero costumes ahead I realized this year had to be something different. I had several ideas- none original enough. And then one day as I walked through my house...
... it hit me. I was inspired. So I sketched out a plan and realized I'd need help...so I employed the assistance of my Aunt Becky who was gracious enough to complete phase 1 of the costume for me...a pair of white twill longalls. Then I painted them with fabric paint to be...
And presto! Fraz as pop art. :)
Tres adorable, no?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

One For The Road

Tonight we went out to our favorite Mexican restaurant (which is usually a Friday affair, but that's another story). Since there was hardly anyone there the hostess paid particular attention to Frazier, and as we were getting close to leaving, she was refilling the basket of individually wrapped after dinner mints they offer for pick-up as you walk out. She brought one over to Frazier who already knows you get a mint when you leave El Sombrero, but has never been brought one table-side. He wanted it opened right away and then, once he'd finished his, turned back to her and asked if his Dad could have one, too. Sweet kid. Soon after as we were paying she got out another mint and asked Frazier if he'd like "one for the road". He took it, thanked her, but didn't ask us to open it. Instead he stood at the door looking out and saying "Road?" until we walked out. Just outside the door he stopped, bent down, carefully set the mint on the sidewalk outside the restaurant and said softly, "road" then headed on for the car.

One, literally, for the road.

That's what she'd said it was for, afterall. So that's just where he'd left it. I laughed so hard I had to sit down. And then we explained that he could, in fact, take it with him...to eat while we were in the car...on the road. :)