Another post about my baby getting over a cold

I know I just posted about how this homeopathic (some of you probably refer to these as “sugar pills”) made a big difference in my baby’s well being. 

That isn’t all that is helping her. I’m also REALLY fond of my Essential Oil diffuser. I’ve used many diffusers, and I like this one the best because the output is higher and it lasts all night. Typically I want the oils diffused during the night, and if it peters out after a couple hours that’s just not good enough. I do sometimes think the oils have all been diffused so I add more, but it’s hard to tell when I’m in the same room all night. I bet if I came in after being outside I would have a different experience. 

Which oils am I diffusing? I’m glad you asked. Mostly eucalyptus oil. I do sometimes add lavender but it hasn’t helped nearly as much as the eucalyptus. 

The first cold she had (this is only the third) lavender worked well. I also didn’t want to try much else. The last 2 have required eucalyptus for opening her sinuses. 

I use about 15-20 shakes of the oil bottle into about 400-500 mL of  water. I do not use the light function. 
The other day when she was more stuffed up I did have to wave the open bottle in front of her. But that gets tricky as she wants to grab everything. No EO on baby hands, too easy to get it in baby mouths or baby eyes. That would be bad. 

Warning: this post may be about sugar pills

Sugar is highly addictive, but you knew that already. That is not the reason I avoid it. 

I have cavities.

But that’s a better intro to a different post. Right now I want to talk about sugar pills. Specifically, homeopathic remedies, which are often in a sugar pill form. 

For the record I would prefer a different form, to avoid the sugar, because I over complicate my response but again, this is for a different post. 

Homeopathic remedies have a bad reputation, I have come to learn. Many people disregard them as worthless, or “no better than placebo.” Placebo does work 1/3 of the time though, right? I’d prefer better efficacy than that, but it’s not bad. And I don’t think the placebo effect works if you do not believe in the remedy whatsoever. 

I have also learned enough about homeopathics to know that I know very little about their use. I can adequately recommend 2 remedies: arnica for soft tissue injury/bruising, and phytolacca for mastitis. I’m able to research more about any particular remedy, just as I would an unfamiliar herb but I often go to others who are more educated about homeopathy and then read extensively before using it.

My baby had a fever up and down for 3 days. Babies, by the way, respond very well to homeopathic remedies. So I looked up the fever remedies, determined which of the 10 patterns fit best and called an experienced homeopath who echoed my recommendation. 

Within about 20 minutes of taking one little sugar pill homeopathic remedy, her mood brightened, her fever dropped and stayed normal the rest of the day. 

Hard to argue with success. Why bother?

Lemon flavored something or other (just don’t call them lemon bars).

My child had a birthday party and I wanted to make a dessert. I decided lemon bars would be just right, but of course nobody uses the ingredients I would use, so I substituted sprouted wheat flour for white flour and xylitol for sugar. 

They’re not bad, unless you think it’s going to be a lemon bar, because then you’ll have this outrageous expectation. It’s a healthy lemon flavored bar, ideologically correct, you might even say. 

It’s very very lemony. My 1 year old tried it and spit it out. 

Steak and mashed roots

I don’t like potatoes. So I mashed turnips and rutabagas instead. Have you ever eaten turnips and rutabagas? I think they get bad raps. They taste great. 

I like to multi-task, but not in the kitchen. This is probably a pretty quick meal to whip up but it took me a while because I prepared one thing at a time. 

Salad: mixed greens, sliced cherry tomatoes, avocado, and bleu cheese dressing. Easy. 

Mashed roots: for 2 adults I selected 8 roots, each was a little smaller than my fist. Cut off the ends, peel them, and chop them into  cubes. Then boil them with some smashed garlic cloves until they’re soft. I used 10, but it was still a very gentle garlic flavor because of the boiling. Drain the liquid, but keep it all in the pot, and smash it with a potato masher. Liquid will emerge! Turn the heat on low, and add some butter, salt, and thyme. Let the liquid cook off a bit, but don’t worry much about it. 


The steaks I chose were Grass-fed NY strip steaks. They were about an inch or so thick. I let them stay out of the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to get up to room temp, and then I dried them with a paper towel. Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Season with salt and pepper, and don’t be shy! I under seasoned them this time. Drizzle them with oil, and place them into a HOT cast iron pan, and then don’t touch them. I like my steaks medium rare so I let them cook on the stove for 5 minutes and then turned off the flame. I topped them with chopped thyme and 1 Tbsp of Kerrygold butter each, and put the pan into the oven for another 5 minutes. 

After plating the steaks, let them rest a few minutes so they stay juicy. Pour a little of the pan drippings from the meat onto the mashed roots. 

Now I’m hungry!

Make your own coconut milk

It’s labor intensive and you’ll need some equipment:

Vitamix

Nut Milk Bag

Wide Mouth 1.5 Pint Ball® Mason Jar is my favorite

Tongs and a gas stove really help.

I’m sure you know how to open a coconut but just in case: hold it over a large bowl, and hit it with the back of a cleaver or large chef’s knife. Turn the coconut so that you are hitting it in a line along the circumference. After a few whacks it will start to break open and fluid (coconut water!) will leak out into the bowl. Keep whacking if necessary to get the halves to split, or pull them apart of you can.

Empty the rest of the coconut water into the bowl. Smell it. It should smell good, and so should the coconut meat. Look at the coconut meat: is it firm? Are there any colors besides white? If it is soft and mushy, but not smelly , was it a young coconut? If it has pink on it, it might be ok to eat. Use your judgment. I had the tiniest bit of pink on mine and I chose to cut that piece off. Some people say colors are ok as long as the odor is good.

Now you have to get the meat out of the shell it’s daunting task. The following method may not be suitable for everyone, but it is what I did. Try it at your own risk, and take precautions! I used my gas stove and set the coconut half on the burner directly. I adjusted the flame to be high enough to hit the coconut but not lick up the sides all the way.


After a few minutes I could hear a hissing sound, which I believe was the coconut oil coming into the coconut bowl. I turned off the heat, held the coconut with tongs and placed an oyster knife in between the meat and shell. The bowl of meat slipped out easily.


I repeated the process with the other half. Then I trimmed the small amount of inner shell off the coconut meat.



Place the 2 coconut halves into a vitamix after cutting them into smaller pieces. Add all of the coconut water. Blend it until it’s smooth. Depending on how much coconut water there was you may need to add a little water.


Pour some into the milk bag, place the milk bag corner over the ball jar, and squeeze. You’ll be left with these two components: a container of dry coconut shreds and a lot of beautiful coconut milk.


It is best immediately. If you save it, refrigerate it. It won’t be as smooth cold because the oil gives it more texture when cold. But it is delicious, and additive free.

The best diapers on the planet, and other related things.

imageI used to envy cloth diapering moms just a little bit. But I have found a diaper I love so much that I no longer feel guilty for not using cloth: Poofs. True to their name, they’re downright magical. They are excellent absorbers, they’re antibacterial and biodegradable and they don’t have the nasty stuff most other disposables have – none of those icky gel/plasticky beads, among other things…

Biodegradable and compostable diapers. Let that sink in.

Also, with Poofs we have had no diaper rashes, no blow outs (except when someone forgot to flare out the edges), and we have a very happy baby. She doesn’t like wearing diapers, or shoes, or clothes for that matter, because she’s a baby and who the heck wants to wear stuff? But in my very scientific comparison of diaper brands, I found she was far more likely to remove other brands of diapers, leading me to believe she liked them less.

I also use compressed dehydrated wipes (also compostable!) by Wysi. They’re about the size of a few stacked nickels, made of vegetable cellulose, and I wet them and unroll them before use. When she was an infant I used Thayer’s witch hazel (rose), and at some point I switched to plain water. I usually only need one or two Wysi wipes, although lately she refuses to lay down for changes, so it’s challenging, but hey doesn’t every baby do that?

Have I mentioned I avoid preservatives? I love the Wysi wipes for that feature. Try finding another wipe out there without preservatives (Spoiler: there isn’t one!)

Picadillo again

Of course you know that’s not picadillo. It’s blue pigment. 

Sometimes I forget to take pictures of the food, because often there are screaming children at my feet wanting to eat the food immediately and not at all understanding why I would take a photo before feeding them. So use your imagination. Also, I make this weekly so I can post pictures another time. 

Picadillo is my favorite in what I call the “what we’ve got” series of recipes – which is just in my head. I don’t like to take very long in the kitchen, for practical reasons like children, but also because in an ideal world I like to do other things outside the kitchen. Plenty of time is spent in there for the 3 meals per day deal, I don’t need to prolong it. 

That said, here’s today’s picadillo recipe which fed 3 hungry adults and 1 pretty hungry kid. 

1lb grass fed ground beef 

1 large carrot, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

Bionaturae strained tomatoes (about 1 cup)

Green olives 

Raisins (the young one doesn’t like them so I added them when serving)

Wine (I forgot the wine this time. It didn’t matter)

Salt, pepper, chili powder –I didn’t measure them. I tasted it near the end and the few big pinches of salt I had put in wasn’t sufficient, so I added a few more big pinches. I count while I turn the pepper grinder, but only to get to an arbitrary number where I decide I’m done. And I shook in some chili powder until I thought it looked about right – which was probably about 1tsp. 

I used a horrible pan for it this time and the bottom of the pan was blackened by the cooking. I thought maybe it would mess up the food but it was delicious. 

Sauté the veggies in olive oil first, on medium or medium high depending on your comfort level with the speed of browning and ability to stay focused on the stirring to prevent burning – until they’re brown. The more you sauté them (to a point, nobody wants to eat charcoal onions) the yummier they are. Then clear a section in the center of the pan and put the meat there. Break it up with your tool of choice, and brown the meat. Again, the more brown you make it, the tastier it is. Add the strained tomato sand the olives, stir, keep cooking a bit longer. Add the wine and raisins – you can also soak the raisins in wine prior to cooking and add it all during the cooking. 

I like to serve it with garlic rice, a quarter of an avocado, and a dollop of (grass-fed) sour cream. 

I fixed a horrible notes app glitch, here’s how:

The most recent 11 notes were showing up normally. I looked at an older note, where the title/first line appeared normal on the list of notes, and instead of seeing the rest of the note I expected, once opened, the note was full of content from a recent note. The note previous to that held content to another recent note, etc. in order, repeating the content of 10 recent notes. 
This is possibly the weirdest glitch I’ve seen. 
But I fixed it.
It still seems kind of unclear, especially given the glitch I know you’re talking about. Here’s an example:

Note 1: ABC

Note 2: DEF

Note 3: GHI

(Etc)

The list of notes accurately represented the m, in other words, Note 12 in the list had what I expected it to have, but when I OPENED note 12, it said: ABC (like Note 1). And note 13, similarly, had the right first line as its title on the list but when opened said DEF like note 2, and so on. For ALL 256 notes. I use the notes app often. 

Here’s the fix.

Since the title/first line was still intact I thought it was likely that the notes were not lost. I couldn’t find any info on this glitch online. But it is associated with an email on my phone, which means the “notes” switch is toggled on in that email’s settings. So I switched it to off, (settings > mail, contacts, calendars > (email associated with the notes in question). First I confirmed that it *should* make a notes folder in that email account, populated with all the notes, and not delete all notes from existence. All the notes on the phone in that folder were deleted, which the phone asked for confirmation that I wanted to do (hence the double checking) and a notes folder appeared in that email account when I went to the mail app. All the notes had the original accurate content in the mail folder. I can’t get those back on the notes app, as I understand it, but that is ok by me. They’re safe. 

RICE, but better.

This is an owl in my tree. Unrelated to the rice. 

Someone very dear to me who also cooks delicious things for me often recently said they had read recipes where the ratio of rice to water was 1:1.5. THIS IS WRONG. 

Rice to water should be 1:2 unless you’re making congee, also known as rice porridge and which deserves its own blog post. 

Do you say ratio: <Ray-show> or <Ray-she-yo>?  

I get bored by plain rice. It’s fine. I can add Kerrygold butter to anything, and rice is as good a butter delivery system as any, but I have enjoyed a recent experiment, particularly because it is so easy. (Tiny tangent: I used to make cardamom rice, also delicious, which would require opening the pretty little green pods of cardamom and emptying the little black seeds into the hot butter. This was tedious and not very easy with a babe in arms, as most of my cooking currently requires. Also, I ran out of cardamom pods and haven’t bought more yet.)

I almost always use garlic when I cook. I chop extra when I make rice, so maybe 6 or so cloves depending on what I’m making and what part of the bulb and how many peels I feel like pulling off the garlic meat. I mean 6 big outside cloves. Those are my favorite. 

Fresh turmeric has been readily available in my local grocery store (I ❤ New Seasons Market) so I buy a bunch of nubs of it. This was a happy accident. I had no idea what I would use it for but couldn’t resist buying it and then I started putting it in nearly everything.  I don’t know if they are usually called “nubs” but it sounds like the right word for them. 

About equal parts chopped fresh turmeric (no I do not peel it, that would take too long but I do wash it) and chopped garlic go into a big tbsp or so of KG butter, which has melted in a pot on medium to medium high heat. I quickly measure rice with whatever I’ve got handy, and rinse it briefly, I think because of arsenic? I should look that up, because I could really skip that step if it doesn’t do any good anyway. I toss that into the hot seasoned butter usually just in time to avoid burning the garlic, and then stir it up, maybe fry the rice a little, if I feel patient. Add water, use the same measuring cup but even a coffee cup is a fine measuring cup here because all you need is the right RATIO which again is 1 part rice to 2 parts water. I use berkey filtered water because I like to filter out chlorine, chloramine, arsenic, etc (I’ll have to check on whether it filters out BPAs…)

SALT it with a few big pinches of good salt if you’re only using about a cup/mug of rice. 

The rest is pretty easy. There is less chance of overboiling if you uncover it on high until it boils, then cover it on low for about 20 minutes. When on low make sure it’s still simmering lightly, not completely still, so “low” might mean slightly higher than the lowest setting, depending on your stove. 

I thought this post would be 1 paragraph long. 

Rice, the individual grains, should open up when they’re fully cooked. Also, all the water should have been absorbed. So when you test it with a fork, push aside a bit to see the bottom of the pot has no more water. 

Feel free to sub half (or all) the water with bone broth. 

I still made dinner.

Lots of things are happening. You know about most of them because you’re on social media too, or because you aren’t a hermit and you have spoken to another adult human recently. So I won’t talk about all that here. I’ll just tell you about what I made for dinner, because we are still eating food a few times a day every day.

Here is a beautiful photograph of tomato sauce: image

I didn’t really measure but it was about half the bottle. I used the bionaturae brand tomato sauce because I like it.

So that’s probably about 2 cups of tomato sauce.  I bet you’re wondering what I’m making! It’s an off the cuff chicken tikka masala with what I already had at home. Here it is with the spices:

image

That has turmeric, paprika, salt, cumin, pepper, and I couldn’t find the garam masala until it was almost done but it made a world of difference, so if you have that, add it. No measurements. Probably about a teaspoon or so each.

I cooked it over medium heat for a while, until it all blended nicely, and then I added a lot of heavy cream – about a cup and a half I would estimate, and let it cook more over low heat. I used enough heat that it would bubble on the sides but not so much that it would splatter. I don’t like splattery food.

Then I had a nice sauce.

I used it as a dipping sauce for roasted chicken legs. (ok the truth is there’s this awesome Thai place that opened up recently and they have a really delicious dipping sauce that’s very much like tikka masala sauce so I thought I’d try my hand at it, and it turned out pretty good!)

That was not the best use of this sauce.

 

So later, I chopped carrot (2), onion (1/2), red pepper (1/2), garlic (3), and fresh turmeric (1 nub), and sautéed them well in olive oil and butter. To that I added the pulled apart chicken breasts, about 3/4 of the remaining sauce, and another round of heavy cream until I liked both the color and consistency. I let that simmer a few minutes, and served it over white rice — I have been making my white rice with garlic and turmeric lately, I’ll get that out in a post soon too and update this one with a link.

This was one of the best dishes I’ve ever made – better than following any of the many chicken tikka masala recipes I have followed by far.

Check it out and please give me feedback! No pics of my final dish, it wasn’t photogenic. Just delicious.