Friday, June 26, 2015

CSA Week Two

Chicken and barley soup with rainbow chard, garlic scapes, parsley, and kholrabi leaves

Grilled chicken with sorrel sauce, zucchini chips, steamed cabbage plus grapes and tomatoes

Roast beef wraps with Spring lettuce and tomatoes, spring and dandelion salad

Steak salad with baked zucchini

Shrimp basil pesto pasta with salad

In the bag:




Kholrabi leaves

6 zucchini squash

Rainbow chard


Spring lettuce mix


Butter lettuce

Dandelion leaves


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

CSA Week One

After one week, all we have left are some garlic scapes, green onions, and mint, which will all be easy to use. Looking forward to receiving today's share.

In the bag:

Garlic scapes
1 bunch rainbow chard
1 bunch kale
1 kohlrabi
2 heads butter lettuce
Spring salad mix
4 small beets
6 white radishes
bunch green onions
1/2 head of Napa cabbage
1 bunch mint

What we made:
Mint sparkling water

Chicken and barley soup with chard and cabbage

Chard, kale, cabbage, garlic scape stir fry with marinated chicken and brown rice

Pasta with last year's CSA tomato sauce from the freezer, and salad with lettuce, beet greens, and radishes

Nachos salad - big plate of lettuce topped with broiled tortilla chips with bbq pork, tomatoes, and cheese, plus guacamole

Spring salad with strawberries, green onions, avocado, homemade vinegrette; flounder, roasted kohlrabi, and beets

Homemade vinegrette:
1/4 red wine vinegar
1/4 balsamic vinegar
1/2 olive oil
a lot of Italian seasonings

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken and Chicken Stock

We've been making a lot of whole chickens recently. I've cooked them in the oven but particularly enjoy them out of the slow cooker. They're great as a first meal with veggies, then in other meals like fried rice, pastas, quesadillas as leftovers. I like to have a whole chicken ready at the start of a weekend so we don't have to do much cooking after a long week.

Every chicken I make is a little different, but they all follow the same general process. First, I grab whatever herbs catch my attention. This last time I mixed together some oregano, basil, paprika, rosemary, pepper, and a good amount of kosher salt. Then I added olive oil and stirred it all together. After pulling the gizzards out of the chicken cavity, I used my hands to pull the skin away from the meat. Then I rubbed my herb blend all around the meat underneath the skin to make sure the chicken got good flavor. I rubbed the last bits of the blend on the outside of the skin so it's also well flavored (making it ready for making stock after the chicken's done). Then I put the chicken in my slow cooker and cooked it on low for about 5 hours. I do check the temperature with an instant read thermometer as I get to the end to make sure it doesn't cook too long.

After pulling off all the meat from the bones, I put all the bones and skin back in the slow cooker and fill it a little past 3/4 full with water. Then I let this cook on low overnight. In the morning, I strain it and have my chicken stock ready to make soup or freeze for recipes later on.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Road to a VBAC

This post is about my pregnancy and birth of my second son, so a bit off topic from my normal posts. But it is truly one of my delights.

I’ve had several people ask me about some of the things I did to prepare for the birth of our second child. I had an unplanned c-section after 37 hours of labor with my first and wanted to do everything possible to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) this time around. One of the best things that helped me achieve this was finding the WISDOM Midwifery Practice at George Washington University hospital, with Whitney Pinger, Laura Emmons, Nora Fisher, and Marsha Stalcup. They supported me throughout my pregnancy both mentally and physically and told me the whole time that I should trust my body since it knows what to do. Some specific recommendations they gave me to maintain optimal health throughout my pregnancy and prepare for labor and delivery include the following:

  1. I was on a very strict diet to achieve optimal nutrition and as Whitney says, “to grow an appropriately sized baby.” My first son was 8 lbs 4 oz when he was born, and usually second children are bigger than the first. Though not everything was in my control, the goal was to have a baby in the 7-7.5 lb range. My second son was 7 lbs 1 oz. Here are the WISDOM dietary guidelines. The hardest part for me was converting to all whole grains (no white bread, white flour, or white rice) and eliminating all refined sugars. I loved being able to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. I felt great during this pregnancy compared to my first (essentially no heartburn, no cravings, and wasn’t feeling ravenous all the time), and I give a lot of credit to the diet.
    Whitney also kept emphasizing to drink lots and lots of water, and eat red grapes, the pith of oranges, and the membrane from the inside of hard boiled eggs (I didn’t eat eggs because of my oldest son’s allergies). If I remember correctly, these last recommendations help build a strong umbilical cord which should help decrease chances of heart rate decelerations during labor and contractions (I experienced decelerations a lot with my first labor).
  2. I was told to exercise in fresh air for 30-60 minutes every day. This meant getting my heart rate up and breathing hard, not just strolling around the neighborhood. In addition to keeping me healthy, exercising was preparing me for labor.
  3. I was told to rest when I was tired. This was sometimes hard to achieve, especially in the first trimester when I was tired all the time and was chasing after my then 18 month old. I made napping a priority and started tried to sleep most days when my son went down. Luckily, he’s a good napper and would usually sleep 3 hours a day, giving me a chance to also rest.
  4. I was told to drink two glasses a day of red raspberry leaf tea from the beginning of my pregnancy to help tone my uterus and make the contractions more effective when they began and I think they mentioned it helps the uterus return to its original size more quickly postpartum (and prevent hemorrhaging). This is also something that’s recommended by other practices later in pregnancy as a natural induction method, so it could be contributing in that respect, as well. I bought organic red raspberry leaves off Amazon in bulk and had plenty for my entire pregnancy (and more still to go!). I was told to boil water and let the tea steep for 6 hours.
  5. From my 36th week on, I was told to take 2 evening primrose oil pills 3 times each day to help soften the cervix. This is another frequently recommended method for helping induce labor naturally.
  6. It was recommended that I take a childbirth class and have a doula for the birth. I had taken a Bradley Childbirth class with my first pregnancy, so I used that knowledge again for this pregnancy and birth. And we loved our doula, Mary Beth Harris, from the first birth, and luckily she was available for us to use again.

Beyond those things, I was told to trust that labor would begin, expect it to begin after my due date (meaning not to get anxious when I saw my due date pass), and trust that my body would do what it was intended to do. My first son was born at 41 weeks and 1 day. My second son was born at 38 weeks and 4 days. After being induced the first time, I had such a hard time believing that my body would go into labor, so much so that as we were driving to the hospital, I told my husband I couldn’t believe I was actually in labor (and my son was born less than 3 hours later).

I am thankful that Whitney Pinger began her practice at GWU hospital when she did and that she was accepting VBACs by the time I was pregnant. Without her, I believe it would have been an uphill battle to have a VBAC, but instead it was an amazing experience where I felt supported the entire 9 months of pregnancy, through and after the moment when Nora placed my son on my chest. After my delivery, when I saw or spoke to each of the midwives, they all congratulated me on the VBAC, and I could tell from their faces and voices that they were genuinely thrilled that I was able to achieve it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Baby Doll Sling

I've been thinking about making the little boy a sling of his own. Last week when he put his buddy in his shirt the whole way to the library and kept calling it his "shirt sack," I thought it was about time to follow through with my intentions. Here's a picture of the doll sling I made and the doll that will be a gift when the baby arrives. I used the pattern for a baby sling from Amanda Soule's Handmade Home, with the modified directions for making it kid sized. I didn't worry about reinforcing the seems the way the original directions stated since the doll's life won't be relying on them. With my serger, this came together in just about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Homemade Baby Wrap

I used my new serger and followed this tutorial to make a baby wrap. I serged together old t-shirts to make the long length of jersey fabric, which is why there are multiple colors. Now I just need to see if I'm doing the wrap part correctly. Here's the best picture I got on my own.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Cacio e Pepe Spaghetti

This pasta dish from America's Test Kitchen was quick, easy, and tasted wonderful! You should definitely try it. It doesn't look like much in the picture, but it was fantastic. We followed the directions to get the nice creamy sauce that's intended, so make sure to get the right ingredients. Oh, we did use our regular H.T. Traders (Harris Teeter) brand whole wheat pasta since it is safe for egg allergies, and that didn't affect the recipe from what we could tell. Enjoy!