Tuesday, March 29, 2011

...on paleo recipes

As promised, here are a few recipes that have quickly become staples in the Baca house.  

First is the salmon cakes.  These are so good and pretty easy.  I usually serve them on a bed of shredded cabbage.  Don't skip out on the mayo-it kinda tops it all off!
Salmon Cakes
3 cans of wild caught Alaskan Salmon
3 omega 3 enriched eggs
4 diced green onions
1 tbsp dried dill
1/2 tsp ground ginger
a few shakes of red pepper flakes
about 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
a pinch of sea salt
about 1/4 cup grape seed oil
3 tbsps of fresh squeezed lemon juice
Shredded green and purple cabbage
Drain the water from the canned salmon and dump into a large mixing bowl.  Add the eggs, green onions, dill, ginger, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and salt and mix well.  In a large skillet heat the grape seed oil over medium to medium high heat – make sure there is more than enough to cover the bottom of the pan.  You’ll know the oil is hot enough when it crackles after flicking some water into the pan – but do not get the oil so hot that is smokes.  Form the salmon mixture one at a time into patties or “cakes” and place gently into the oil.  Fry for 3 minutes on each side.  IMPORTANT – do not mess with the patties once they are in the pan.  Let them go for the full 3 minutes before you touch them or flip them or they will stick or fall apart.  Serve the patties over a bed of the shredded green and purple cabbage with a lemon wedge and the ginger mayo.
Ginger Mayo
2 omega 3 enriched eggs
2 tbsps apple cider vinegar
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
2 cups grape seed oil
In a blender or food processor place all ingrediants except for the oil.  Cover and blend on low while you count to 5.  Continue to blend while you slowly add the grape seed oil.  Once all the oil is in continue to blend while you again count to 5.  Shut the blender or processor down at this point, and ta-da: home made ginger mayo for your best salmon cakes ever!! 
NEXT...Thai green curry.  This one we have made several times.  The great thing about this recipe is you can pretty much throw in anything that you have on hand and it makes a very tasty meal.  Also, it is extremely simple to make.  One note about this recipe-I didn't use the fish sauce or the coconut aminos simply because I didn't have them.  Also, I have use beef in this one before and it turned out great.  

Thai Green Curry
1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into bite size pieces
2 carrots, diced
1/2 a large head of green cabbage, shredded
3 cups crimini mushrooms
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon Thai curry paste (if you are using red paste, start with 1/2 a tablespoon and add more later if you want it spicier – this stuff has a kick!  If you use the green paste, I actually use 3 to 3 1/2 tablespoons because it’s much milder and we like the extra kick – experiment and find the amount that works for you!)
1-2 splashes of fish sauce or more to taste
1-2 splashes of coconut aminos or more to taste
In a large soup pot add the coconut milk and curry paste, mix until blended and bring to a boil.  Turn down to low and simmer for 5 minutes.  While the coconut milk and curry are simmering, dice up your chicken and chop your veggies.  Add the chicken, carrots, chicken broth, fish sauce, and coconut aminos to the coconut milk curry – mix well and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Add the cabbage and mushrooms and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the cabbage is tender.  Top with diced cilantro.Both of these recipes are courtesy of Everyday Paleo.  She has many, many fantastic recipes that are all incredibly easy.  She is also getting ready to release a cook book which I am very excited about.  I would highly recommend checking out her website.

Ok, One more recipe.  
Mexican Mole My Way
1 red onion diced
6-8 garlic cloves, smashed with flat side of your knife blade
7 raw almonds, soaked in water for 30 minutes
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
The juice from 1 orange
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons dried oregano
A big pinch of saffron threads
A small pinch of ground cloves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon raw organic honey (optional)
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, diced into bite size chunks
In a soup pot, saute the onion and garlic in coconut oil for 5-7 or until the onions start to caramelize.  Add the tomatoes, chicken broth and orange juice and bring to a simmer.   Add all the dry spices and the honey, mix well and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the sauce to a blender or food processor along with the almonds and blend until smooth.  Add the chicken pieces to the pot, pour the mole sauce over and cook for 20 minutes.  We ate ours with shredded cabbage, avocado chunks, lime wedges and some hot sauce along with a side of kale sauteed in grass fed butter.  Serves 5.
Happy Cooking!  

Saturday, March 26, 2011

...on our trip to Phoenix

Another trip to Phoenix under my belt.  This time I put on my big girl pants and made the drive out by myself.  I mentally prepared to be on the road for a little longer than usual due to the fact that I had a baby in tow.  Our first stop was the longest and most frustrating due to a poo explosion and a gas pump that made me go inside to pay after I had Jack all loaded up in the car.  The rest of the drive was pretty much smooth sailing!  Little dude did awesome and it only took us about an hour and a half longer than usual.

Hangin' out with Auntie

Uncle Danny aka the baby whisperer

Jack's first spring training game

Why do we have a bat, you might ask.  Well, that is an excellent question.  You see, Auntie and Uncle Tom (who I didn't get any pictures of!) have season tickets to spring training that are located right off of first base.  Before we left for the game Auntie kept on warning us to watch for foul balls.  I'm assuming you see where this is headed.  Instead of a foul ball we got a foul bat.  The player swung for the ball, released the bat, it cleared the net and headed straight for us!  Thankfully, thankfully Dad was holding Jack and reacted!  He leaned forward and the bat hit directly behind him then bounced forward right behind me and Sharon before Danny caught it.  NO ONE WAS HURT.  Had I been holding Jack, it probably would have hit us because I have NO reflexes when it comes to panicky situations.  You know how they say you either have a fight or flight reaction?  I don't have either.  I freeze.  Everyone was so concerned and extremely kind.  The only meanie was me who had to break a little kid's heart because I wouldn't give him the bat!  I felt so bad-he even asked if he could buy it!  I really wanted to keep the bat for Jack because 1.  I think it's kinda neat for him to have it and 2.  The name "Jack" is carved into the bat. That is the name of the player who released it.  At the time I kind of laughed off the whole thing but looking back I am realizing how potentially devastating that situation could have been.  Praise God that no one was hurt.  Here are some pictures from the rest of the game.  

About to have a melt down but holding it together for a picture with Hammy

I don't know if you can tell from the picture but that is Annie and Jack on the screen.  Jack is sound asleep with his mouth wide open.  He gets that from his dad.

Hangin' out with Grandpa and Grandma

Test run with the new hat.  I'd say it's just a tad too big.  

We had a great time and I just have to add one more thing-I did not step foot into fashion square once on this trip.  I know, I can hardly believe it myself.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

...on funny things

Two funny things happened yesterday.

First:  I went to the store wearing two completely different earrings.  One was silver, one was gold.  Seriously?  How do these things happen?

Second:  This...

Adam and I had just sat down to eat and something about Adam was just HILARIOUS to Jackson.  The best part-this was the first time Jack really laughed and we both got to be there!

Monday, March 14, 2011

...on all things paleo

Some of you saw my post from a little while ago on the Paleo Challenge that Adam and I did. You may have realized that I never followed up with the results of our challenge and here is why. We finished out the month...well wait. Before I get into that let me explain a little more about what the paleo diet or the "caveman" diet is. More or less it is a way of eating that includes lean meats and tons of veggies with no gluten, grains, legumes, and little to no dairy. Before you start to judge, and I know some of you are, let me just start by saying it really wasn't all that hard to cut these things out of our diet. I can not give you the science behind all of this without copying it out of a book but I have been doing a little bit of research on why this is a healthy way to eat. One great resource is Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution. He goes into a lot of the science of it all and at the end has a practical plan for applying it to your lifestyle. Here is a little video blurb of Robb Wolf discussing his book.

Ok, so back to the challenge. The reason why I haven't followed up with the challenge is that we have pretty much decided to turn it from a challenge into a lifestyle. Are we crazy? No, far from it. We found after eating this way for a month that we both felt better and had both lost a bit of weight. Also, we were able to eat until satisfied and never felt guilty for eating. You know how when you have a huge bowl of spaghetti and then ten minutes later you think, "oh, I feel stuffed, I shouldn't have eaten that much?" Well, we never really felt that way but we still go to eat, you follow? Because our food was good for us it actually made eating a little more enjoyable. Another thing that it has done for us is take the comfort out of food. Adam and I are both comfort/stress eaters and this diet did not allow us to be that way. Sure, we will still eat pasta, bread, and milk, every now and then but over all I think we are going to try to stick with this way of eating. We really want to live a healthy lifestyle and food is the main thing that keeps us from doing that. As Jack gets older we want him to have a healthy view of food and we feel like it starts with us. So that brings me to a different topic which, to some, I know is pretty controversial. Do babies really need grains and rice? Hmm...I'd love to know what you think. I'm going to ask our pediatrician on Tuesday when we go for Jack's four month check up.

I have a lot more to say on this issue and will post more later with some recipes for you all to try. If you want more info you can check out Robb Wolf's website HERE.

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

...on four months

WHAT?! I'm four months old today!?  Neat!

I mean, yeah, that's right.  I'm four months old..no big deal.

Friday, March 11, 2011

...on pants and perseverance

So remember the fabrics that I posted on my last blog entry?  Well......TA DA!  It turned into more tiny little pants!  

Kinda blurry but he was just so excited about his new pants I couldn't get him to stay still.  At least that's what I tell myself.  

Again, they are not perfect.  Somehow one pant leg ended up a tiny bit longer than the other which is really quite frustrating because I spent at least 30 minutes making sure they were even.  Oh well!  I bought a pattern to use for these pants but it was the most complicated pattern I had ever seen!  I finally gave up on the pattern and used a pair of Jack's pants as a template.  I found this to be much easier until I accidentally sewed the pants upside down.  SO ANNOYING!  But, I am very proud because instead of scrapping the project I persevered and ripped out every single stitch in order to make it right.  All in all this was a really easy project!  I really want to do an applique of a gnome on a onesie to go with these but I can't find a template and I am no artist so I dare not try to draw it myself!  

On a different note, it is BEAUTIFUL here today!  Jack and I went for a walk to the park and now we are sitting in the back yard hanging out.  

No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you.  Jack is most definitely sporting his onesie outside of his pants.  I forgot to snap it before I pulled up his pants earlier and just went with it.  Don't worry, he's due for another diaper change here pretty soon so I'll fix it then.  Mommy fail or baby fashionista?  You be the judge.  My vote is for fail!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

...on cutie little shorts

I finally got around to a little sewing project this weekend that I have been wanting to do for a while.  Converting an old t-shirt into shorts.  I wanted to start out with something simple and boy, was this simple! There are several tutorials online on how to make these including this one.  I started with a t-shirt that didn't fit me quite right and used a pair of Jack's shorts as a template.  In the future, I'll buy a pattern but for this project his shorts worked just fine.  I'll let you look at the tutorial for more on the "how to" but here is my finished product.  

I wanted to take a better picture of just the shorts but one of us had a poo explosion in them and i'll give you a hint, it wasn't me.  The JH patch that is on the butt was on the back of the t-shirt so I cut it out and stuck it on the little tush part of the shorts.  This project probably would have taken me about 30 minutes if it weren't for the full on battle with my sewing machine-that took about 30 minutes, as well.  Here's a little sneak peak at more sewing projects to come...

I am very excited!  I'll leave you with this incredibly awesome picture.....

What's a girl gotta do to get a little smile?!  

Friday, March 4, 2011

...on photos and mommy juice

The other evening, while googling something about parenting (probably about how to get your baby to nap) I stumbled across this really cute blog called rookiemoms.  They had a post about things you can and should do with a newborn at home.  One of their suggestions was to have a photo shoot with your baby.  If any of you know Adam you know that there is no shortage of photos of Jack.  I, on the other hand, rarely ever take pictures of him so today, I did!  Here is what we came up with.  It's pretty easy when you have a subject as handsome as our little Jack-pot.

I tried to get one of his pretty blue eyes.  That's right, I said blue!  I know it is still kind of early but he is almost four months old and the blue seems to be sticking!  I suppose we can thank Grandma and Hammy for those.  

Another thing that I saw on their blog was this wine called....wait for it.....

Mommy Juice!  LOVE IT!  

mommy juice red wine

Thursday, March 3, 2011

...on things I'm diggin'

Most days I do try to look at least presentable and not like a person who gets spit up on about ten times a day but I don't always succeed.  I tend to gravitate toward frumpy mom-type clothing that either doesn't fit me very well or is just downright ugly.  I love shopping with my sister because she will always tell me the truth.  Ex: "Annie, is this frumpy?" to which she replies with a scrunched up face of disapproval and sometimes a laugh, "yes."  This last trip to phoenix I had very specific things in mind that I was looking for which leads me to two things that I am really liking right now.  I have no idea if they are "trendy" or not but here it goes...

#1:  Cardigans!

Now, this was a very tricky thing to pick out as my sister informed me.  There is a fine line in the cardigan world of mom/granny frump cardigan and cute/hip young person cardigan.  Finding this balance was a bit of a challenge but thanks to Banana Republic I was able to succeed!  Here's what I ended up with.

I am in love with this!  It is so soft and is a little more fitted and hip than the "mom" cardigan.  I think.  Ok, this cardigan leads me to...

#2:  Flouncy Tops

Almost all of my tops are cotton casual t-shirts which make me feel and look like a young kid.  No joke-I got asked if I was home for Christmas break in December.  When I get comments like that I think, "do I really look that young or does the way I dress make me look that young?"  Which leads me to wanting to dress a little cuter/older but again, not mommy-frump.  Enough rambling.  Here...

...is one top that I ended up with.  On sale now at the gap.  Add these two together and you get my outfit from a few posts ago!  

The cardigan with the flouncy top plus maybe some skinny jeans or "Jeggings", if you will are my new favorite.  I know that I am about five seasons behind the current fashion trend but I am deciding that I just really don't care.  I found something that is comfy and practical and (I think) also a little bit cute!  

I'll leave you with some final thoughts on "jeggings"

When T was in town, She and I went to old navy and I wanted to see what this jegging trend was all about.  We found some on sale for about six dollars so, of course, we each bought a pair.  I came home and told Adam about our find to which he responded, "So, let me get this straight.  Hundreds of other people who have much worse taste than you passed up these things and you bought them for six dollars?  Maybe there is a reason why they were so cheap."  Point taken, Adam, point taken.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

...on crying babies

One of my favorite things is my new found morning routine.  Adam is at the gym, Jack (and chloe) are sleeping, and the entire house is quiet.  After yesterday, I am so thankful for this quiet moment.  Now, ever since Jack arrived, I have tried my absolute hardest not to get frustrated when he cries or screams.  I always check myself and think, he is crying because he needs something and I am so thankful that I have a baby who is healthy and can cry.  I think I have done a pretty good job maintaining this attitude so far but yesterday, I hit a wall.  For some reason I was extremely tired yesterday morning when I got up which, looking back, I think was most of the problem.  Jack didn't have an especially bad day yesterday but the kid needs to nap and mama knows it!  Jackson prefers to take 20-30 minute naps a couple times a day which makes for a very sleepy and kinda cranky baby which, as it turns out, leads to a very cranky/emotional mom.  Not a good combination.  Yesterday I was listening to Family Life Radio (does that make me old?) and they played a blurb from Beth Moore.  She was talking about coping and one of the examples was pretty much my day yesterday.  She talked about moms who have babies that won't sleep or are sick/teething, etc.  Then she said something like, how do you do it?  You just do, you just deal with it, you learn to cope.  It is what it is and it is only for a time or "season" as so many people like to say.  My prayer for today is that I never, ever forget how blessed we are that we have a healthy baby who can scream and cry.  Lord, don't let me wish away this time that Jack really needs me then look back when he is older regretting that I didn't enjoy every second of it.  I raise my cup o'coffee and toast to a better day today!  

Crossfit Mom update:  On the plus side:  I went to the gym yesterday.  On the negative side:  I hit myself in the chin with a bar.  It hurt.  Slowly, slowly, slowly, I am beginning to get some strength back.  Paleo update coming soon!  To post before and after pictures or not?  I suppose I'll wait to see how the after pictures look before I decide...that's the spirit!