Monday, September 23, 2013
Greetings from the deep, dark depths of the nasty cold/cough household, which we shall be called henceforth until we are all healed. Three days back into the school year and Jeremiah caught it. Then a few days later on my Mom's fiftieth birthday over Moscow Mules, I caught it. The next day Olivia caught it. Three days later Isabella succumbed. My sister was visiting and both her and my niece came down with it. And it finally caught up to Jeremy a few days ago. You know it's a strong one when every single person goes down one by one.
It's been a blast and half up in here for the past 16 days. What with all the not sleeping at night due to having a newborn and not being able to take cold medicine because of the nursing, and trying desperately not to infect Ellie. At least the weather has been cooperating. It's been raining and thundering for days and days. Perfect curl-up-in-a-blanket-and-drink-tea-and-eat-soup-weather. I had it the worst - I'm still coughing and on day 12- and not being able to take anything to relieve symptoms was really sad until I remembered this raw honey and lemon cold syrup I had made last Spring for such a time as this. Yes, last Spring. It keeps a long time in the door of the refrigerator which is super convenient. Take five minutes, make this now, and you'll have it whenever you need it.
Raw honey is excellent for sore throats and coughs because it contains anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. If a sore throat is caused by a virus, the honey will actually help rid any bacteria that may be lurking making it truly healing in and of itself. Raw honey is actually nutritious! Just make sure you buy real raw honey. That processed stuff you buy in most grocery stores won't have the same healing properties because it's heated to such a degree in processing that it kills off many of the beneficial components. Raw buckwheat honey is especially healing if you can find it. It's also gloriously dark and molasses looking. Honey also calms a cough by coating the throat and acting as a suppressant. Lemon and its juice contain vitamin C and help to boost the immune system. Together, this team can't be beat.
Make sure to use organic lemons since we use the skin in this recipe as well. You don't want toxic chemicals on the lemons because that would defeat our purpose, now wouldn't it?
I make the basic syrup and leave it in a glass mason jar in my refrigerator until I'm ready to make tea with it. Just add about a tablespoon of the lemon and liquid in the bottom of a mug and pour piping hot water over. Inhale the steam and drink the tea! Voila!
There's lots of ways to adapt this too. Try adding to your cup:
+a few shavings of fresh ginger root, or a few shakes from your spice shelf.
+a shot of Crown Royale or whiskey for your own version of NyQuil- this is old timey.
+a tablespoon of raw coconut oil - it's immune boosting, anti-viral and especially comforting to a sore throat.
+A teeny tiny pinch of cayenne pepper to help open nasal passages
You may also take this by the spoonful instead, although hot liquids are super beneficial for colds so you may prefer to make the tea.
This tea helped me out tremendously while taking care of my little honey baby, Eleanor:
I love the way my mason jar looks filled with thick golden honey and lemon slices. It makes me want to dive in and use right away, but I know I need to be patient. It'll be a couple of days before the honey and lemon juice get acquainted, thin out, and turn into a pulpy, rich marmalade of sorts. It should keep well in the refrigerator for 3 months.
Raw Honey + Lemon Cold Syrup
1 mason jar (Any size, although I used a smaller one)
organic lemons, cut into small slices
Raw honey- buckwheat honey if you can find it
Fill your jar to the top with lemon slices. Pour honey into the jar until it reaches the top and covers lemons. Seal tightly and store in the refrigerator. Let it sit for a few days before using. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Posted by Krysta at 1:22 PM
Thursday, September 12, 2013
So, I watch the E! show "Total Divas" now. I decided to just say it and get it out there since this is...how shall I put it? Oh yeah, very, very embarrassing. Last week I made the mistake of telling my sister that I liked this show. She laughed at me. My own sister, who watches "16 and Pregnant" and "Teen Mom" actually laughed at me upon learning this news. Then, she started referring to it as "my show"
As in: Krysta, your show is on.
I'll admit, it's strange that I like this show. I'm not a WWE fan, but I admit I've succumbed to watching The Bachelor in recent years, and I do occasionally keep up with the Kardashians - although mostly because it comes on before E News and my exposure to that little five minutes towards the end was enough to eventually get me to watch a full episode without shame. Or maybe we watched a whole episode because Jeremy had so many questions about Bruce Jenner. Like, has he had a stroke? Or what happened to his face? Had he been burned in a fire? I promise these were legitimate questions we had. My sister laughed when I asked her those things too. Hard. Mostly because I was serious and concerned. When I learned the truth, that he had done this to himself, I googled what Bruce used to look like before plastic surgery. And then I got sad which involved me even more. And then I watched another episode. Hook, line and sinker.
I don't watch every episode of these reality shows because I don't like to be addicted to such things. I like to keep my distance if you will. Trash in - Trash out, you know? Up till now it's never really been a problem. But I'll be damned if I am not jonesing to watch this Divas show every single time it's on. It's so strange. I almost missed out on it too. I had been nursing the baby to sleep and unable to reach the remote control for three nights in a row when "Total Divas" aired. I was forced to watch and was so bummed the first two times it happened. I rolled my eyes and pouted in my head but had no choice. I was not going to jeopardize the baby waking up just to change the channel. After I got to know the characters by the third viewing, it was all over. I was hooked. I told Jeremy and guess what? He laughed at me too! It so doesn't seem like a show I would watch. Now he makes fun of me, calling it my "favorite show"
As in: Krysta, your favorite show is on
I'm sort of mortified.
If watching Total Divas is a guilty pleasure, this Ranch Style Chicken is definitely one of them too. Every so often, we eat meat in this house. Organic, grass-fed meat, that is. This chicken is top notch, the bacon is nitrate free, and when it's marinated and grilled in a honey mustard-esque sauce and topped with melty good quality cheddar it's awesomesauce. I used an aged cheddar and loved the tangy flavor. If you use mild cheddar the cheese might get lost to the robust, sweet chicken which would be a shame. If you're going to eat this way make sure the food you are using is top quality, that's my advice anyway. I mean, how could you go wrong? It may not qualify as health food but it sure is good. Everything in moderation, right?
Ranch Style Chicken
adapted by The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond
1/2 cup Dijon or county/grainy mustard
1/2 cup honey
The juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
Crushed red pepper
6 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 pound thick cut bacon
Sharp cheddar cheese, to taste
To begin, make the marinade. In a large bowl mix together the Dijon with the honey, juice of half a lemon, paprika and salt and whisk until smooth. Sprinkle in some crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne if you like things a little spicy. Set aside.
Next, rinse the chicken breasts, place between two sheets of wax paper (or in a clear ziplock bag) and pound to around 1/2 inch thick with a mallet. Next, add the chicken to the bowl with the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 hours.
While the chicken marinates, fry up some bacon. When finished cooking, reserve 1/4 cup pf the bacon grease and clean out the skillet.
When chicken is done marinating, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the chicken from the fridge and pour off excess marinade. heat half the reserved bacon grease with an equal quantity of olive oil in the clean skillet over medium-high heat. (I only needed the bacon grease for this. It cooked nicely and didn't burn). When the grease is nice and hot add two or three pieces of chicken to it. Cook until brownish/blackish, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side. Remove chicken to a large baking sheet.
Lay a few pieces of bacon over each chicken breast. Sprinkle shredded sharp cheddar cheese over the top of the chicken as generously as you like. Place pan in the oven for five minutes until cheese is melted and bacon is sizzling. Serve immediately.
Posted by Krysta at 2:51 PM
Friday, September 6, 2013
Equals the BEST most HEALTHY Chocolate shake around. Guaranteed.
The thing about having a new baby is it makes you question EVERYTHING. Is my baby getting enough milk? Should I pump? How can I keep up my milk supply when she'll only eat for five minutes before konking out for another hour at which point she'll wake up hungry but...you can't feed her because your trying to keep her on a 2 1/2 to 3 hour schedule so she'll actually eat a decent amount when it's time, thus keeping your milk supply in check, thus ensuring she's getting enough, thus ensuring she is satisfied for another three hours. Did that even makes sense? Can I google that? Is the sky blue? etc, etc. The problem is the baby doesn't ever cooperate with keeping a schedule even if it's for their own good and the doctor wants them up to her original birth weight by the next time you see them and the pressure is on. Babies don't yield to pressure. It was all on me. Thanks a lot, Eleanor. Luckily, she did get up to her birth weight and then some by the time she needed to. She is very advanced, you see. And also, very plump.
You can tell these two are my daughters. The baby because she looks like me (glory be!) And the one on the left because of her pose. Sheesh.
I read an article on DadSpin that made me laugh out loud. Concerning newborns, the new dad writes about how a baby's life consists of only sleeping and eating, but they can be shockingly inefficient at both. It's worth the read, if only to laugh out loud. By yourself. And then read the entire thing again to your spouse, because like I said, it's that funny.
Now that we've almost reached the two month mark, these questions, as annoying as they were to ponder seven times a day with each feeding, was less stressful this time around. I knew there would be a learning curve and it might be frustrating at times as I get to know my babys needs the first few weeks. But at the end of the day? I feel more chill about it. The baby is fed and happy. I am not stressed about a to-the-minute schedule, yet I'm willing to sacrifice the comforts of snack feeding for now to keep her on track since it will be mutually benefitting for both of us in the end. I've found all my babies and myself have thrived with some kind of scheduleing. Now to tackle the nap schedule...
Ellie is a sweet little thing with a great disposition. Still, girl likes to eat, and regardless of my easygoing attitude towards feeding, I do have to make sure I keep my milk supply up since it's been a bit of a struggle in the past. So, I've been mindful to drink plenty of water and eat nutrient dense food (and the blueberry muffins that my neighbor bought me because, obviously). One of the things I'm mindful of is my trace minerals. Cacao is an awesome source of trace minerals plus one of the best sources of antioxidants there is, so I've been making our Mayan Black Thunder Chocolate Shake as often as possible since I've been home. It's an awful name, but it's become a bit of a joke in our family so we keep calling it that. In all reality, it's the healthiest chocolate drink I know, packed with healthy fats, including coconut oil (which makes your metabolism burn extra hot), antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, with no added sugar. Plus, it's delicious. It even sneaks in some roughage from kale leaves which you cannot taste at all- so yeah, I guess you could say this shake is utterly amazing. A rockstar in the health department, if you will. I'd call it a smoothie because every single ingredient is stellar for your body and makes you feel amazing, but it really is more of a shake. Icy, chocolatey, milky goodness in a glass. Sometimes I add fresh mint or mint extract for a twist. We've been smitten with this drink for over a year. I have no idea why I haven't blogged about it until now. I love it for breakfast or lunch. I avoid it as an after dinner dessert even though it's a shake because the cacao tends to keep me up at night.
One thing? You'll probably notice as you look through the list of ingredients that this drink packs quite a few calories, but hark! Every calorie does your body good, and keeps you full and focused throughout the day. If it's still concerning, you can always split one recipe between two people. It's a BIG shake. Me? I like the whole thing, baby. I feel like I could take on the world after drinking this thing. So yeah, If I can do that, I can certainly handle three kids, a baby, and endless milk supply questions. Cake, I tell you. Do you think If I keep saying it, it'll be true?
Mayan Black Thunder Shake
adapted from Jai Seed Cookbook, by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt
1 large kale leaf
1 tablespoon black chia seeds
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
3/4 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
3/4 cup coconut water
2 cups ice
Blend all ingredients EXCEPT ICE in a powerful blender such as the vita mix on high until blended. Add ice and blend until just incorporated. (If you add ice right away it won't blend up right).
If you are using a regular blender instead of a vita-mix, you'll need to add less ice. Add 1 cup at first and more as needed to get the slush you want.
Posted by Krysta at 2:10 PM