Almond (Nursing, or Not) Cookies
September 30, 2011 at 6:00 am
There was a time, not so very long ago, when I was absolutely completely terrified of babies.
I thought they were fragile and easily upset and potentially explosive.
I recall being 35 weeks pregnant when a co-worker brought her two-week old daughter in for a visit.
The experienced mamas in the newsroom passed her around as if she was a really adorable loaf of bread.
When it was my turn, I froze.
“Don’t you want to hold her?” the mother asked, looking at my bulging belly.
And the truth was, I just didn’t. I didn’t want to hurt the baby, and I didn’t want to do something to upset the mother who by all the recent accounts I had read of childbirth, had just been through an experience not unlike having her beating heart ripped out.
But five weeks later, when my own tiny baby came into the world, all that changed.
I was still terrified of doing something wrong, but through my own experience I came to see babies as far less breakable.
I also came to see the process of having a baby, and becoming a mother, much differently.
So often, when someone I care about has a baby, I not only want to give a little something to the newborn, but the new mama as well.
And because most of the new parents are often exhausted and hungry, I often like to bring a meal or food for the busy family.
These Almond Cardamom Cookies are not only tasty, but they are full of good things for the postpartum days.
Almonds are an ancient galactagogue (something that helps support lactation) and cardamom, passed through the mama’s milk supply, helps comfort a newborn’s tummy.
We recently made a batch for a family who welcomed a new son.
And I was even lucky enough to get the chance to hold him.
Almond Cardamom Cookies
1 cup almond flour (I like to grind my own almonds, but almond flour is available at health food stores)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp cardamom
2 eggs, lightly beaten
a handful of raw, shelled pistachios
Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly. Add eggs and almond extract. Mix well (you may need to use your hands at this point to get the wet ingredients fully incorporated). Wet hands and form small balls. Flatten slightly and top with a pistachio. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Deliver to a mama who just delivered!
The No-Plan (Superfoods) Meal Plan
September 29, 2011 at 6:00 am
A few weeks ago, I wrote about meal planning and how much having a meal calendar helps.
BUT, sometimes there are those weeks when there just isn’t time for meal planning. Recently, we spent a weekend away, and returning home, we just needed food.
And so, I went with a no-plan, superfoods meal plan.
You probably know your superfoods, right?
When there isn’t time to sit down with cookbooks and think about an entire week of healthy eating, into my cart go sweet potatoes; good, whole grain bread; blueberries; spinach; salmon; tomatoes; canned black beans; nuts (like walnuts, or even almond butter); avocadoes; honey, organic eggs and whole oats.
From those ingredients and basic pantry staples we can make oatmeal with berries, nuts and honey; sweet potato/black bean burritos with guacamole and tomatoes; salmon with honey marinade; French toast; spinach salad with tomatoes and avocadoes or blueberries and walnuts; huevos rancheros; almond butter and honey sandwiches; eggs florentine; smashed black bean tacos, fried egg sandwiches, and lots of other quick and crazy combos.
Add a few bananas, and I can make a smoothie or awesome sweet potato-banana-nut dessert.
It isn’t a perfect meal plan, but it is packed with delicious nutrient-dense foods, and will easily get us through a few days until we have time to plan again.
What is your favorite superfood combo?
Easy Beginner Sewing: Bean Bags
September 28, 2011 at 6:00 am
My kids have been requesting sewing lately. Just about every day, they ask to sit at the machine and practice. So I have been on the look-out for some quick and simple projects.
We whipped up these Star and Moon beanbags this week to go along with the astronomy unit we are doing for school right now.
Then we took a little break and played a few bean bag games. What kind of games, you ask? A few creative beanbag tosses; hot potato; and a new favorite game we like to play here called “Hide the fill-in-the blank.” (In this case, a beanbag.)
All three games are very simple and basic, but my kids love them. Kind of like how they love making these quick and easy beanbags.
To make your own, you will need:
- A pencil or marker
- A funnel
Begin by tracing a shape onto your fabric. If you don’t want to draw free-hand, you can get a silhouette of your shape from Google Images and trace around it.
You want to trace or draw your shape onto the wrong side of the fabric and make the lines fairly dark, but not so dark you can see them on the other side.
(This is imporant — you’ll see why in a minute!). Cut around the outside of the lines leaving a little room extra fabric around the edges.
Place right sides together and help your child sew up using the pencil or marker lines as a guide.
Sew almost all the way around, leaving a small hole. Flip the fabric right-side-out and use the pencil or marker to poke-out any corners.
Use the funnel to fill the bag with beans. Tuck the edges of the hole over to create a seam.
Sew up the seam and top stitch all the way around. (You may need to stop a few times to push beans out of the way.)
Make sure the beanbag is all sewn up. And then, PLAY!
The Banana Shake
September 27, 2011 at 6:00 am
I can’t believe I have been posting here for a year and I haven’t told you about The Banana Shake yet.
I should have shared this a long time ago. It is one of the keeper recipes from the dairy-free days, when I found myself experimenting a lot and looking for new recipes that made living dairy-free a little more fun.
But whether you use dairy or not, this shake is so good, you are going to wonder why I have been holding out on you.
The truth is, it is a nice shake to drink this time of year, because it isn’t super cold. You can make it cold and frosty for summertime by adding chopped frozen bananas instead of regular room temperture ones. But those regular old bananas from the countertop make a mighty tasty shake too.
This is a great recipe for kids because the measurements are approximate. The most important measurement, of course, being the “small handful of chocolate chips.”
The Banana Shake
1 large banana
About 1/2 cup milk (we use unsweetened almond milk)
2 tbsp peanut butter (or any nutbutter or seedbutter will do)
1 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
a sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
a small handful of chocolate chips
Place ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth and frothy.
This is pretty much the perfect afternoon snack!
Try it and let us know if you love The Banana Shake as much as we do!!
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Monday Morning Organic Journal
September 26, 2011 at 6:00 am
This Monday morning we are …
- Mixing up some fall colors
- Baking apples
- Sorting and donating — books and clothes
- Collecting leaves for lots of projects and crafts
What are you up to this fine Monday morning?
A Simple Sunday
September 25, 2011 at 6:00 am
“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
A Very Good Week
September 24, 2011 at 6:00 am
An assortment of recipes, books, blog posts, or other things that inspired me this week.
Sewing 101: Electronics Sleeve
Today is National Public Lands Day!
8 Reasons to Eat Eggs for Breakfast
The Crinkleroot series of books
Happy Aumtumn Equinox (just a little late)!
I love this time of year — how about you?
What is inspiring you this week? Please tell us about it in the comments below!
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Warm and Cozy Oatmeal Bread for Friday Tea
September 23, 2011 at 6:00 am
There’s something so warm and cozy about baking bread — the way it warms the kitchen; the way it makes your house smell like no candle or spray freshener ever could.
And the ingredients in this Maple, Oatmeal and Wheat Bread from Mixing Bowl Kids are all so wholesome and delicious, they give you something else to feel good about.
We substituted white spelt for the all-purpose flour and whole spelt for the whole wheat flour to make this bread wheat-free.
It was perfect paired with yesterday’s homemade nut butter!
Making your own nutbutter
September 22, 2011 at 6:00 am
We have been mixing up a lot of trouble this week, including making nutbutter.
I want to be sure to clarify that normally, I just buy a jar of almond butter, or peanut butter or sometimes cashew butter. Because this is a bit of a process. But once in a while (especially if you are studying squirrels!) it’s a lot of fun, and my kids love it.
The end product is pretty tasty too … if you are patient.
The process is pretty much the same for making any type of nutbutter, but you may have to adjust the roastng time and oil and honey amounts a little. We made almond butter and roasted the nuts for about 6 minutes.
2 cups of nuts
2-3 tablespoons of light oil
1 tablespoon honey
Roast nuts in a 35–degree oven until they are brown and fragrant.
In a blender or food processor mix nuts and oil and pulse until combined, stopping often to wipe down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. This might take a while, but eventually the mix will turn into a chunky butter. If it is just not mixing, try adding another small drizzle of oil.
When mixture looks like a smooth consistency, transfer to a bowl, add honey and stir well.
Serve with apple slices and crackers or oatmeal bread (recipe tomorrow!). Keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for just a day or two.
September 21, 2011 at 6:00 am
There have been a lot of puppet plays going on around here lately.
Like the one where a witch named Ted stole a parrot’s voice. It had 9 acts. But eventually, Ted redeemed himself.
The plays began with a few baskets, and a simple stage. We are having a lot of fun getting the whole family involved, and creating lots of silly stories.
Here’s what you need to start your own very mini production company:
- A stage curtain. Pretty quick to make with a wooden dowel rod and a couple of pieces of fabric. Non-sewers can use fabric glue to create the curtains.
- More fabric. The kids used their small table to create their stage, and use the tablecloth as part of the production. Some play silks are very handy as well.
- Puppets. These can be full-size puppets, finger puppets, small stuffed animals or dolls or even homemade puppets, if you are up for repurposing some solo socks.
- Props. This is where you can go bananas. We are finding blocks, small wooden pieces and parts of various playsets helpful. We also have some dollhouse type furniture that has been handy.
- A whole bunch of imagination and improv theater-like support. There are no bad ideas, every can participate, and if something goes wrong, just go with it. It will probably work out just fine!