Monday, February 29, 2016

Eating (Not) by the (Cook)Book

I am not a big planner when it comes to dinner. I am currently going through a big purge of things in my life and I was pretty brutal on the cookbook front. I donated hundreds of books to local non-profits and many of the books were cookbooks. I just don't use them anymore. I rarely even look online either, I just wing it. For me, being able to put together a delicious nutritious meal within a matter of minutes takes a well-stocked pantry and freezer.

Many meals go like this...

Oh look, we have a red onion. I put my favorite pot on to heat with a bit of organic extra virgin olive oil and I start chopping the onion. 

Usually, while I'm chopping, I think of G-BOMBS* I have on hand.
I love this picture from Dr. Fuhrman's site.

I have the onion covered pretty early on since that is often my inspiration. The greens will vary, but I try to have frozen peas, broccoli, and kale at all times. I try to make a couple types of beans a week, but I also keep canned beans around for convenience. We like mushrooms, but it is one food I need to be better about having around all the time. Thinking of GBOMBS as I shop really helps.
This is a pretty typical lunch or dinner. Brown rice, red lentils, mushrooms, kale, peas, onions, chickpeas, quinoa, turmeric, black pepper, za'atar, and the other spices vary depending on what I feel like that day.
Spices are not an afterthought, they are one of the reasons I'm cooking. My family loves full flavors and I appreciate the health benefits of many of our favorite spices. Turmeric and black pepper has been a winning combo in my kitchen for a long time, but now you many want to add them to your diet as well.
For years, I have made "yellow sprinkle" which is a mix I grind up and we sprinkle  on almost everything savory.
This week the yellow sprinkles is a mixture of raw organic pumpkin seeds, raw organic sunflower seeds, raw organic cashew pieces, za'atar, dried hot peppers from our garden, organic turmeric, organic black/red/white pepper mix, organic nutritional yeast, and a dash of iodized sea salt. I mix it together in a bowl and then grind it in an old coffee grinder we bought to grind flax seeds and spices almost 20 years ago. Rob put sprinkles on toast, Josie eats sprinkles with whole wheat pasta, I add it to almost all soups, curries, marinara sauce, bean dishes, mac and cheeze, get the idea.
I bought a glass container with a shaker lid at my local food co-op and we keep the yellow sprinkles on the table like other people might keep salt. This week, I made a large batch and it might last us two weeks. I change up the ingredients depending on what seeds and nuts I have available.
Meals have to be quick and nutritious around here. I have three very active kids going in different directions every day. Combined, they spend 16 hours at the gymnastics gym per week, one hour at dance, 4-10 hours at theater rehearsals, private school for one child, homeschooling co-op for another, my eldest babysits several times a week (today alone he sat for six kids in three different families at three different times), and this doesn't even add in the playing with friends, school events/clubs, etc. We also have a dog daycare business so we often have an extra dog or two or four. I like being able to start a meal and then let it cook itself for a bit so I can run to pick a child up, walk a dog, or do a child's hair. Dinner also needs to be able to warm up easily for the child who isn't super hungry before gymnastics at six, but is starving when she gets done at eight. We do get a chance to all sit down and eat together more often than you would think, but there is a lot of grabbing leftovers as snacks or eating more after rehearsals.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Baby Weight - 48 Hour Film Project

Our local filmmakers participate in the 48 Hour Film Project annually. It is like a "hack day" for filmmakers. They are given a prop, a character, and a line they have to include in their film and 48 hours in which to make their short flick. 

Parker was contacted the evening the filmmakers were given their instructions and a filmmaker we haven't worked with before asked if he would be available the next day for a short shoot. They ended up not needing him, but Josie was called in by another director just a couple hours before they needed her. Number one rule for acting (or being a parent of children who act), be flexible. Number two rule, always have clothes on hand that don't have logos, big prints, bright colors, stripes or black/white. Rule number three, shooting will always take longer than they anticipate so return to rule number one.

Please take the film as humor and some language may not be acceptable in all households or workplaces. No babies or children were harmed in the making of this film. (All the films were viewed last night and the audience overwhelmingly voted for Baby Weight. Congratulations to the director and producers!)

It was a beautiful spring day in February, which really made shooting outside quite enjoyable. (Today, just a few days later, the town is shut down for a blizzard.)
 It was a bit windy though.

Josie pretending to be a zombie in between takes.
Josie had a great time working with the actresses and the director and his parents. Everyone was fun to work with, I got to take care of a six week old baby, Josie got to experience film fighting complete with bruise and cut makeup, and they happened to have almond milk available and cookies. 
Josie hugging our weekend boarder, Romeo, after a full day of work.
I've decided to take some of what I learned from this project and apply it to homeschooling. It is easy sometimes to start projects and not finish them or have an interest, but never completely follow your interests because of all the excuses humans use. I love the idea of a time limit and a few prompts to get creative juices flowing.

Friday, February 19, 2016

An Apple a Day

My crew eats a lot of apples, like a crazy amount of apples. Several apples a day multiplied by three kids means we are buying organic apples each time we go to a store. This usually just barely keeps us in apples, but this week the kids were going through a berry kick and we overbought on apples. This morning I noticed some of the apples were starting to look a little sad so I made applesauce.
Applesauce is such an easy, fragrant (cook up some apples and see everyone come running to the kitchen), and tasty way to go through apples. I just peel (sometimes I don't even peel) and slice (usually Josie is my apple slicer), heat them up with a little lemon juice and molasses. This time I added dried organic barberries* to the pot and ground flax seeds sprinkled on top before eating.