Drop The Beet- Coming Soon!

So because we don’t have enough going on (!) we’re going to start a food blog/vlog soon. We’ve always talked about doing it, and now people are bugging us to do it, so we shall try 🙂 While we’re waiting for it to get fully up and running, here’s a preview of things to come:

Some of these are entrees and some are just sides. We’ll post recipes for each of them soon. And hopefully in the future you’ll see videos too!

Salsa Fresca:

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The ingredients for salsa fresca are staples in our kitchen at this point. Once you’ve had it, you’ll never go back to store bought jarred salsa (ick).

 

French Toast:

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The key to great french toast is thick, crusty bread. Bacon and strawberries are added bonuses!

 

Sauteed Bell Pepper and Zucchini :

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Love sauteed fresh vegetables. We almost always have bell peppers on hand- makes a great, quick side dish for almost any entree. You can throw them in salsa fresca, or eat them raw with a good dip

 

Stuffed Acorn Squash:

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This was such a great fall/winter dish. Savory, comforting and satisfying. We used Alton Brown’s recipe as a guideline but switched up the protein.

 

Spaghetti Squash w/Tomato Sauce:

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Another great squash dish! Here the squash replaces regular pasta, with a fresh tomato sauce and shaved Parmesan.

 

A Chocolate Taco w/Bananas (my special after dinner treat the other night!):

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My husband knows that almost every night, after dinner, I want chocolate. So he looked to see what we had in the kitchen and came up with this. A tortilla, bananas, chocolate chips, and rum: a chocolate taco is born.

 

And my other favorite thing to snack on, Cheese, Crackers and Fruit (there won’t be a “recipe” for this obviously, just wanted to share a nice healthy snack after that chocolate taco):

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Ok, now the ball is in my husband’s court. I took and posted the photos (and enjoyed all the food). Now it’s his turn to get you the recipes!

Cloth Diapering Update

I think it’s time for another post about cloth diapering and how it’s working for us. We’ve entered a new phase, what with solid foods and all. Solids…change things. With the risk of giving TMI, ah whatever…you chose to read a post about diapering so you should expect poop talk. If not, you’re welcome to leave at any time 🙂

For those of you still with me, solid foods obviously change the consistency of the poo. So sometimes the poo is solid enough that I can just plop it in the toilet, ya know…where everyone else’s waste goes. It just seem right. Natural. Then we wash the diapers like we usually do. For the poos that aren’t quite solid enough, we’ve considered getting a diaper sprayer. However, we’ve been managing without it successfully so far. If there’s A LOT of poo, I’ll grab a tissue or piece of toilet paper and remove the majority of it and flush it. This seems to be just fine. The washing machine does just as good a job cleaning them as they did before. No stains, no odors.

We did encounter some leaking issues in the past month or so. Especially overnight. She would soak right through the diaper and her pj’s. So first I tried double-stuffing (putting a 2nd insert in). Didn’t work. Then I tried the stripping thing. I used these instructions. I definitely saw a small difference during the daytime, but it still didn’t quite work for overnight. So I did some more research and heard that hemp inserts are a great solution for overnight heavy wetters. We bought these.  And so far, they are working great!! The nights we’ve used them, no leaks. Last night I forgot to use one, leak. So that indicates to me that the hemp inserts are working. Horray!

She’s also getting bigger so we’ve adjusted the size of the diaper and put in the larger inserts to replace the newborn size. This has seemed to help too. The larger inserts snap adjust so right now part of it is folded over, sort of doubling the absorbency. You can sort of see what I mean in the picture here. The larger inserts of course make the diaper more bulky, but I think it’s adorable. And her clothes still fit over them so it’s really not an issue.

All of that said, I recently found out about an infant potty training class at a local baby boutique. INFANT potty training, people. I am all over that. I’m not sure if there’s another class open in 2013, but I’ll definitely be checking it out as soon as there is one. I’ll be sure to post about it.

In the meantime, check out this new print from bumgenius!! I may have to pick this one up….

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Gazpacho

Posted by Ivor:

Looking for a way to beat the heat and enjoy the best produce July has to offer?  We can help!  In our house, July is gazpacho month.  Almost all of the ingredients we use are available fresh this month!

Here’s a step-by-step “photo-blog” of our gazpacho process:

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First, the ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (we use heirloom, but use anything that’s ripe!), peeled, seeded and chopped

Watermelon juice or tomato juice

1 cup cucumber + Julienne/Brunoise for garnish

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper + Julienne/Bruniose for garnish

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 lime, juiced

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Dried, ground chipotle pepper (to taste)

Smoked paprika (to taste)

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, for garnish

 

Time:

Active (time spent peeling, chopping, etc) <30 minutes

Passive (time letting the gazpacho refrigerate) optional (but it’s better!) 2 hours – overnight

 

The Procedure:

There’s not a lot of cooking involved here, as this is mostly a dish comprised of raw vegetables.  That said, the first step is to peel the tomatoes, and the best way to do that is by first scoring the bottoms with an X (with a very sharp knife)

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Then placing them in boiling water for 15-20 seconds, and then plunging them into an ice bath to cool them down.  You don’t want to cook the tomatoes, you’re just trying to get the skin to peel easily.

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Once the tomatoes are peeled, core and chop them, squeezing out the seeds (and accompanying juice) into a ceive.  You’ll want to harvest as much of the juice as you can (without any of the seeds). You want 2 cups of liquid.  I prefer ½ tomato juice and ½ watermelon juice (or sometimes all watermelon juice).  So if you’ve got 1 cup of fresh squeezed tomato juice, add another cup of either tomato or watermelon juice.

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Add the chopped tomatoes to a large mixing bowl (preferably glass, definitely not aluminum). Before you move on to the rest of the procedure, if you’re going to eat this right away, now is a good time to prepare your garnish (this part is totally optional).  For my garnish, I like to julienne or brunoise some cucumber and red pepper, and then sprinkle on top of the finished product, along with a chiffonade of basil.  Don’t worry, we’ll be doing a knife skills episode soon if the pictures don’t cut it (no pun intended).  Even if you’re not going to eat the gazpacho immediately, it’s a good idea to reserve enough of the cucumber and pepper for a garnish later!

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Once your garnish is prepared, it’s time to finish up the soup.  Peel and seed the cucumber, and remove the seeds and membranes from the red pepper and jalapeno.  Chop the onion, cucumber, and red pepper into bite size pieces and add the to the mixing bowl.  Dice up the jalapeno pepper as finely as you can, and add that to the mixing bowl.

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Next, add lime juice, salt, pepper, cumin, worcestershire sauce, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar to the bowl of chopped veggies

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Take half of the mixture (bowl of veggies), and add it to a food processor or blender.  Add the peeled garlic to the food processor/blender, and puree. As it’s pureeing, add half of the juice as well (if you have a food processor, otherwise just add the juice in with everything else before you blend).

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This next step is very important…TASTE it.  This is where I add the chipotle and smoked paprika.  I like a lot of kick, and smoke flavor, so I add quite a bit of each.  Perhaps yours needs salt, more pepper, etc.  Experiment!

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Once you think it tastes good, you’ve got a choice. If you want a really chunky gazpacho, pour the mixture over top of the remaining veggie chunks in your mixing bowl.  If you prefer the soup to be a uniform consistency, transfer what’s currently in your blender/processor into another bowl, and repeat the process (including tasting!) for the other half of the veggies.  Once it’s combined, it’s technically ready to eat; but it will taste better if you refrigerate it for at least 2 hours (or even overnight!).  If the gazpacho is an appetizer, I like to have it a uniform consistency, and serve it in a martini glass.  If it’s the entree, I prefer a chunkier dish and I’ll serve it in a big bowl!  You worked hard on this dish, so make it look pretty (with your garnishes) and enjoy it!

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If you have any questions about this recipe or if there’s something I didn’t explain clearly, please leave a comment and let me know!

Coming Soon to a Mom Blog Near You

We will soon be adding a new section to this blog for all things FOOD related 🙂 I have been blessed with a husband who cooks, but what’s more, he cooks ridiculously tasty (and healthy!) food. Over the past few months we’ve been cutting out as much processed foods as possible and cutting down on our meat consumption. This has been beneficial to both our bank account and our bodies. Don’t misunderstand…our kitchen still has, and will always have a jar of nutella and a package of bacon. Our goal isn’t necessarily to eliminate all “bad” things…but rather, eat a lot more “good” things. And by doing that, our desire for the “bad” things gradually goes away. We’ve already noticed that change.

So what we’re currently doing is eating “vegetarian” during the week (I put that in quotes because we do eat fish), saving red meat/poultry for the weekend. Now if we go over to a friend’s house for dinner during the week, by no means will we refuse a good steak. This is just for our at-home weekly routine when it’s just the two of us (plus Gwen of course).

So stay tuned for more info from Ivor, including meal plan ideas, recipes, kitchen gadget reviews and more!

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The Bum Post (Part 2)

I told you there would be more posts coming 🙂 I feel the need to write even more about it because I’m discovering that a lot of people are just uninformed about modern day cloth diapering. Which is why they look at me like I’m crazy for taking on such a “difficult” and “time consuming” task such as this. I understand it though. Before I met a girl at church a few years ago who cloth diapered, I was also uninformed. And looked at her like she was crazy. Then she explained the process, showed me her diapers, and I was no longer uninformed and no longer looked at her like she was crazy. Information is a good thing.

So first of all- modern day cloth diapering does not involve pins (or, it doesn’t have to anyway..I’m sure they still exist somewhere). We’ve come a long way since the first cloth diapers. Cloth diapers now, are pretty much as easy to use as disposables.

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They go on the same way as disposables. But instead of the sticky tabs, you have snaps or velcro. You also don’t get anymore poop on your hands than you would if you were changing a disposable diaper. We all wash our hands after a change anyway, right?

Secondly, the diaper pail is dry. It’s not filled with water. There is no hand washing of the diapers. No soaking necessary. You simply open the can (with your foot if you have that kind of trash can, which I recommend), and drop the diaper in until laundry day. Since we have pocket diapers with inserts, we remove the insert first before dropping them in the pail, but again…we wash our hands anyway so I don’t really mind. I’d rather remove the insert now (with each change), than have to do it one by one before putting them in the washer.

Here is our set up:

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The big can on the left is of course where the dirty diapers go, lined with a wet bag. The mini can was a bonus that came with the big can. It worked perfectly for disposable wipes, but since we’ve switched to cloth wipes, it’s just a regular trash can now. And Gwen’s clothing hamper is on the right.

It doesn’t take any longer to change a cloth diaper than it does a disposable (especially once you get really good at snapping…I’m a pro snapper now). Instead of dropping a disposable diaper in a diaper genie, you drop the cloth diaper in the diaper pail w/wet bag. Instead of emptying the diaper genie and taking it to your trash can, you remove the bag of cloth diapers and dump it in the washing machine. The only extra time it takes is going through the washing/drying/stuffing process- stuffing if you have those kind of diapers. And it’s really not that time consuming. Really, it’s not. The washing takes all of 5 seconds to turn the dial a few times and add detergent. Sure, if you line dry you spend a few mins setting that up, but I find it refreshing to go outside on the balcony, get some sun along with the diapers. The stuffing is probably the longest part of the process. But you can do that sitting down in your living room while watching TV. It’s not all that bad. And maybe it’s just me and my weirdness, but I find it rewarding while I’m stuffing the diapers to admire their cleanliness. I look at them and think “this diaper was once filled with mustardy-yellow poop…and now look at them, all white and fluffy like nothing ever happened !” It’s a good feeling. But I can’t speak for everyone 🙂

That’s all for now…I’m sure there will be more. Eventually. Like when Gwen starts solid foods. There’s an accessory called a diaper sprayer that may become a necessity. In the meantime though, we’re enjoying the spray free days 🙂

 

 

 

The Bum Post

At long last, I shall post about cloth diapers! Specifically, our cloth diapers, why we use them, how we use them, etc. But not why YOU should be doing it. That’s not my style.

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Why we use them: to save money. When you’re on a budget and kids come into the picture, you have to decide where you’re going to cut corners. For us, diapering is one of those areas. We weighed the pros and cons, looked at the numbers, and decided it was worth it to us. Sure, you pay a good chunk of money at the beginning to get your initial stash. But then you never have to buy diapers again. Ever. That appeals to me. A lot. For anyone completely new to the CD idea (from here on out *CD stands for Cloth Diapering, or Cloth Diapers), if you buy “one size” diapers that adjust, they last from the time they’re newborns until they’re potty trained. And then you can reuse them for any future children. We spent just under $400 for our stash. That’s $400 on diapers. For the rest of our child-bearing years. If you can get other people to contribute to your stash (baby shower gifts, gift cards, etc.) or you’re okay with the idea of buying used diapers, you can spend even less money.

What we use: there are many different brands and types of cloth diapers. I won’t even begin to go through them all. You can look it up if you’re really interested. After researching and talking to other CD moms, we decided to go with the one size, Bumgenius 4.0 diapers. Specifically, the ones with snaps. We decided to go with snaps instead of “hook and loop” (aka velcro), because they’re more durable, and Gwen will have a harder time trying to unsnap her diaper when she goes through the “screw diapers, I want to be naked all the time” phase 🙂 As far as quantity, we have 24 diapers in our stash. That’s just enough to have to launder every other day. For some, that’s too often. So they buy more to last a little longer. For others who might want to save even more money, that’s about double their stash (which would mean laundering every day). I decided I was okay with laundering every other day. And now over 1 month into it, I’m still okay with it.

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So let’s talk accessories and process: There’s a little more to CDing than just the diaper. You  need to have a “system”. Where will the diapers go until laundry day? How will you launder them? This involves a few accessories. So here’s what we have and here’s what we do:

Steps to CDing in the Griffiths home:

1. Change diaper. It’s not that much different than changing a disposable diaper. Unless you’ve never changed a diaper before in your life, there’s nothing you need to learn here. Just make sure it’s fitted properly otherwise you might have some leakage.

1.2. We used disposable wipes at first, but have now switched to cloth. We use these. If you’re using disposable wipes, you’ll need a separate trash can. If you use cloth, it all goes in the diaper pail (more below). There’s no need to create a “wipe solution” if you don’t want to. Regular water works just fine. We use a spray bottle on a dry wipe and so far it’s working well. Also, we only go through about 1 wipe per diaper change….2 wipes for the big poo’s. I tended to go through WAY more disposable wipes per diaper change.

2. Dirty diaper goes into a diaper pail lined with a wet bag. We use this one (and we bought 2 of them so while one is being washed, one is in the pail). The pail itself is just a round, lidded trash can that we already had for a few years (it was used in our kitchen but then we decided the shape didn’t work well in the kitchen and we replaced it). Anyway, it’s now perfect for CDs.

3. When it’s laundry day, we remove the entire wet bag and dump it in the washer along with the diapers/wipes. I don’t even have to touch the diapers. I just use the wet bag to push them all down into the washer. Of course, I still wash my hands anyway. But I feel better about not having poop on them in the first place. We follow the Bumgenius washing instructions: wash cold without detergent, wash hot w/detergent (we use Charlie’s Soap), wash cold once more without detergent. Then line dry the covers and tumble dry the inserts and wet bag. I’ve heard it might be okay to tumble dry everything, but I can’t speak from experience. I personally like line drying because the sun gets out any stains (which you will have, and it’s no big deal…seriously). Once the sun does its job, they look like new again 🙂

4. When everything is dry, we stuff the inserts back into the covers and put them back in the drawer of her changing table/dresser so they’re all ready for the next change.

For CDing on the go, we have a travel wet bag that we keep in our diaper bag, so the dirties have somewhere to go until we get them home.

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So that’s our process. I don’t think it’s gross. And I don’t think it’s all that inconvenient. Yes, it’s a little more work and time. But not as much as you might think. Especially once you have your system down, it gets easier. Knowing that I’ll never have to buy diapers (or wipes) again makes that extra work worth it (to us). Also…they’re so ridiculously soft and cute. If I had to wear diapers, I’d choose cloth 🙂

Back to the “gross” factor. It’s my personal opinion that it’s something you just kind of have to get over. Kids are gross. Let’s be honest. When you become a parent, you have to deal with poop, pee, snot, spit up, blood, etc. on a somewhat daily basis. It just comes with the job. The only gross part of CDing is the 1.5 seconds I have to smell the inside of the diaper pail when I put a dirty diaper in. And the 5-10 seconds I have to smell it while putting it in the washing machine. I can deal. I’ve smelled worse things.

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