7/27/15 Kitchen Essentials

Yesterday I did not cook much. I ended up making leftovers and fried pork chops for dinner that were very ordinary and average and I did not even have time to snap a picture of them. Since I made a commitment to blog each day for 90 days, and I did not cook much, I have been trying to figure out what to post about since yesterday. I tried to think of other recipes to share for the day, but I think that actually deviates from the point of having a blog a day challenge. My blog a day challenge was to prove to myself that I always had something to blog about each day, and of course now I have come across a day where I have to be very creative with what I choose to write about, because I did not cook much. I could skip a day, but that would also defeat the point of having and doing a blog a day challenge.

After much thinking and a few Facebook news feed inspirations I have decided to write about my kitchen inventory of food and where I am at on the 27th of the month. It may be the end of the month, but technically we have 14 more days till we get our food stamps again, so I call it the end of the second week of food. We will have our 3rd week which gets hard in the beginning of the month, then our really hard week that leads up to the 10th. Usually we cave a bit and spend our hard earned money on food by that week, and can’t bare to just not have the essentials.

I read an article yesterday on my news feed, about what essentials you worry about always having in the house, and it inspired me to make a inventory-kitchen essentials post for yesterday.

Some of our basic essentials that I worry about every month is the following:

  • Fresh Bread and or Bread Flour: I have just recently figured out how to make our own loafs of bread by scratch with some awesome bread flour. I have been trying to budget more than 5 pounds of it into the month, but this month we only had a 5 pound bag and I just ran out of it a few days ago. Don’t you know those gluten exo-toxins are addictive. I did however recently make sure with my sons doctor, to see if gluten is OK, and she said its fine.
  • Eggs: I buy a 60 count of eggs each month, a double flat, and my price is climbing at our local Safeway. If we had a house, or friends that had chickens or I could afford 6$ or more a dozen for organic at the farmers market I would certainly do it. But I do get on occasion food bank eggs that are donated locally from our local farmers, in fact right now I am going through a local multicolored dozen from the food bank. I have been debating for months on buying 120 eggs instead of 60, but I never seem to save enough food stamps or room in the fridge for 4 flats instead of 2.
  • Dairy: I do not buy a whole lot of milk, but I do buy it on occasion for my husband’s cereal bowls. I tend to purchase a ½ gallon at the beginning of the month, and unless we have an abundance of cereal I do not buy much more after that. My ex-landlord lives by a Hopper Dairy facility and also drops off milk products that they cannot deliver, and they put out for people to take for free. Yesterday I just got a drop off of half and half, for coffee, and I few weeks ago she delivered some milk, butter and homemade butter that she makes from the heavy cream that she gets for free. At the beginning of this month, we had 3 pounds of regular salted butter, and 5 pounds of homemade sweet cream butter in the fridge. Now I am down to a pound and a half of salted and 2 pounds of homemade. We also get a whole lot of dairy free milk from the food bank, last time I went I got oat milk, rice drink and even some more almond milk. I really like having dairy free stuff to cook with in the house, so I can save the milk for my husband.
  • Pantry Carbs and Pantry Protein: Another thing that I have less anxiety when I have more of it in the house is pantry essentials, mainly carbs and Protein when I need it. Essentially our family rotates carbs all the time between jasmine rice, potatoes any way, angel hair pasta, and pizza dough. I make my pizza dough from scratch now, but the rest of these carbs I need to have stocked in the pantry to feel better. I get the rice on food stamps, pasta on food stamps and potatoes from the food bank. I also like to have a supply of pantry proteins, like canned and dry beans, and lentils. I rely on these when I run out of fresh proteins from the fridge or freezer. Most of the time, I do not have to use these proteins except for foodie emergencies, like running out of my bulk freezer meat.
  • Meat: My family needs meat. I not sure if I were all alone, if I still would have meat every night like I do with my family, but I spoil them. I stock my freezer up with fresh butchered meat from our local store here called “Purity”. I buy about 75-100$ worth of bulk meat on food stamps every month. Sometimes we run out before we get our food stamps, but then I rely on my pantry proteins from the last section.
  • Fresh and Frozen Veggies and Fruit: My 5 year old son loves snacking on fresh fruit. I do not ever buy any, I get it fresh from the food bank each week. I am extremely lucky to get enough fruit and veggies fresh each week that I do not have to spend food stamps on them at all. They can get really expensive when they are not in season. Getting produce from the food bank, actually keeps us with the local seasonal fruit and its completely free. I get so much that listing the abundance would take up too many words, again I am blessed. I also try and stock up through my monthly Schwans frozen food delivery on frozen veggies and fruit. We just ran out of the veggie medley that I buy each month and we still have frozen strawberries and cherries from my last delivery.
  • COFFEE: I do not get the best sleep ever, I am trying to find a holistic remedy to treat my insomnia but I have not found one yet. All I know is no matter what kind of night I had before having my 4 pound bulk supply of “Double French Roast”, gets me through each and every morning of the month.

Having these basic essentials gets me through each month, of course I buy a few specialty items on food stamps, like raw sugar for coffee and waffle mix for our waffle maker. But the essentials of my ‘Kitchen mommy anxiety’ lies with the bulk items above. I will try and find the article I based this off of and I will share it if I can find it. * could not find it* Most of the above items are on it, I just expanded it to fit my needs in my kitchen. Again I will remind ya’ll that I survive on only 350$ of food stamps per month, and manage to shop and budget all in the same day that I receive them to eliminate monthly shopping. I do not plan meals every night, that would be a nightmare.

I may not plan meals for every night but I do plan for the month. I get meat to fit the month of the year, like seasonal things. In the winter you can find me buying more stew meats and making soups and such. In the summer like now I bought more larger cuts of meat to make, like more short rib stacks to BBQ. I essentially plan meat for the month, and just as easy as 1,2,3; I pair a carb and a veggie with the meat that I choose for the day. Sometimes I even ask the boys for help, mostly on the first week of food will I ask them what they want first.

This month we have already gone through all my Schwans supply of meat, just from making them out of convenience. And we already made one of the short ribs BBQ in the oven. We still have an alright supply of meat right now, but I wish I would have bought more chicken from Schwans. I changed up my cut this month, and it ended up being less portion size so we went through it faster. Its so easy to defrost and make their frozen breasts or fillets into anything, from baked chicken, enchiladas, and even chicken pot pie. So I am disappointed to be stuck with pork and beef for the rest of the month. We do have a variety of pork and beef, but I like to have all three meats in the freezer.

So there ya go, another food stamp post, and food bank fabulous essay. Thanks for reading and I hope this may help you budget your kitchen essentials better.

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Meringue troubleshooting and Macaroon help

Meringue Troubleshooting and Macaroon help;

How I Fail at baking everything and learn from my mistakes.

I slowly have learned how to make meringue. Yesterday I tried to make macaroons and the result was definitely not a macaroon, but I learned so much from my mistakes that I want to share what I learned.

I learned so much from researching the ins and outs of french meringue and how to make macaroons. I have yet to have a successful macaroon test in my kitchen, but my fail yesterday taught me a whole lot. First thing that I learned is, you cannot substitute any ingredient with macaroons. I also learned that macaroons are celiac friendly aka gluten free. I learned that using parchment paper is best for baking them, not a silpat. Which I tried to use, and the middles did fall out. I also tried to make it with oat flour instead of almond, a sort of corn flake macaroon recipe but without the corn flakes.. bare with me. I adapted the recipe from my old 1950’s baking book, so I am even surprised I did well enough to fill and eat it. But I admit, they are not traditional macaroons. I can’t wait to buy almond flour and try making them correctly. When I do I will edit and add pictures of my success.

oat flour
oat flour “macaroons” with cranberry cream cheese filling
rosehip and hibiscus lemon meringue pie
rosehip and hibiscus lemon meringue pie

I learned that making meringue also needs a great deal of finesse. And I sometimes have that patience to create it correctly, its essentially blowing egg whites up like a balloon,but with its own set of rules. Last night I somehow managed to break them all and came up with the most horrible tasting meringue in the world, wasted 4 eggs and HEAVILY learned from my mistakes. All of them.

mini meringue tartlets
mini meringue tartlets
lemon meringue pie
lemon meringue pie
black forest (cherry chocolate) meringue pie
black forest (cherry chocolate) meringue pie

So let me help you to not make the same mistakes,

  1. Never use too much cream of tarter, in fact you can probably leave it out. I learned this the hard way and after sprinkling it into something without measuring resulting in the most tart, deflated meringue possible. Yes, its supposed to help inflate meringue. But too much will do the opposite. Its a high citric ph ingredient, so any citric juice will work better then this will and you can control how much you put into it better. I read about what cream of tarter is and its function in the following links. Instead rub a lemon on the bowl or use a copper bowl.    http://www.cakespy.com/blog/2013/7/8/what-is-cream-of-tartar-and-what-does-it-do.html
  2. Age your eggs?!, so 9/10 macaroon and meringue recipes troubleshooting tips I went through said to age your whites. Simply separate your eggs and leave the whites in the fridge for an hr to 24 hrs to “age” them, before you whip them into meringue.
  3. Use confectioners sugar only! It has corn starch and is already broke down so much that making a reaction with the egg whites is much easier then if you use regular sugar. If you are out of confectioners sugar and have a high speed blender or food processor, blend your granulated sugar into powder and add a tad bit of corn starch while blending. Use this powder as confectioners sugar aka powdered sugar.
  4. Add your sugar to the sides and start slow. Adding it in fast and in the middle will cause your meringue to deflate and not bind well with the sugar. Add on the sides while blending on low and start slow, then go to high when the sugar is all added in.
  5. Use your meringue right away: You can make a pavlova, or add it to a tart and bake it. But meringue does not sit well overnight and will weep after a day. Meaning, it will have liquid coming out of the sides after a day or two of sitting so eat your creations right away.

    weeping meringue
    weeping meringue
  6. Practice makes perfect. =) so never give up, so no matter how many fails you can muster, just remember its only sugar and eggs.

Here are some basic meringue recipes to use:

References:

http://thebakingpan.com/making-meringue/

http://whatscookingamerica.net/Eggs/perfectmeringue.htm

http://www.craftybaking.com/howto/eggs-beating-techniques-egg-whites

http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_21460342/10-tricks-foolproof-meringues

http://www.marthastewart.com/266449/meringue-guaranteeing-success

http://lowfatcooking.about.com/od/dessert/a/meringuemistake.htm

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-03-28/features/sc-food-0323-meringue-20120328_1_perfect-meringue-whites-cream-of-tartar-works

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2010/aug/19/how-to-make-perfect-meringue

My favorite Dried herbs and How to clean Rose hips

I totally rely on herbs. I am beginning to realize that comfort in my life has to do with the fact that I have herbs, readily available whenever I happen to need any. I try and stock up on a few of my favorites, just so I never do without.

I am a little addicted to a few roots. And I honestly think that I cannot sleep without the aid of some kind of herbal tea. I have come to know and love a few dried herbs that are staples in our house for my homemade teas.

For today’s post I am going to write about my favorite Dried Herbs. I am sure that my list may not include all your favorites, or it could even include some things you are not aware of, but these are my personal favorites, and to each its own preference when it comes to personal herbal preparation and consumption. As each herb as its own function and reason for use, I recommend only trying them after thorough research into if your symptoms even qualify to use them, and also do thorough talk with a doctor, if you have one.

If you are taking any medications, I highly recommend consulting with your primary care before trying any strong herbs, mild herbs here can be less of a worry. I am not a nutritionist, nor certified in herbology, but I am aware of what works for me, and am just sharing my experience for educational purposes.

I am not a Doctor, nor wish to answer any herb questions or whether or not it would interact with what you are taking. I personally don’t take any big Pharma medication unless its absolutely needed, like say child birth, otherwise, I try to rely on herbs.

My favorite dried herbs;

  • Chamomile Flower: easy going herb Chamomile is a relaxing herb. I use chamomile as a base flavor when making other blends of herbs, as it has a very easy palatable taste. I use the flower in bath soaks for a more relaxing bath. Chamomile is very easy to grow at home and harvest yourself, but drying and collecting enough can be hard unless you have a lot harvested. Chamomile is also a mild anti-inflammatory and can be used in a poultice to bring down bruises and can be used in a salve to help ease inflammation. http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-chamomile.html
herbal salves with calendula
herbal salves with calendula
herbal salves with chamomile, turmeric and more
herbal salves with chamomile, turmeric and more
  • Valerian Root: Strong affecting Valerian is the sleep root. I use Valerian tincture in the daytime for anxiety and a heavy strong dose of it at bedtime to sleep. I recommend starting slow to see how it affects you, before you use any amounts of Valerian.http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-valerian.html
  • Rose hip ground buds: easy going herb I love rose hips. I will include a special section of how to harvest rose hips and clean them with pictures after this list. I love harvesting them. De-seeding them and drying for further use. I use rose hips for a flavoring for baking, its very fruity and high in vitamin C. I use rose hips to flavor my tea. When mixed with hibiscus flower, you can achieve a very tart, fruit, red taste in teas and in baked goods.http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-rose-hip.html
  • Hibiscus ground flower: common and easy going herb Hibiscus makes a very dark red. Most herbal teas that you buy in the stores always have hibiscus in them so the tea brews a dark color. You can use hibiscus by itself and make a lovely tasting iced tea or hot tea and or include it with other flavors such as rose hips.http://www.gaiaherbs.com/articles/detail/42/The-Surprising-Health-Benefits-of-Hibiscus
  • Kava Kava Root: Very strong affecting Very strong sedative herb. I use Kava Kava on occasion with Valerian for my fibromalgia and insomnia and even depression. I am very educated on kava and would never recommend trying anything narcotic or sedative unless you are educated. That being said I use my kava blended into a tea or a drink either traditionally with milk and fat,but most of the time without. It really helps my pain, and relaxes me when I need it. I try and only use kava after my son is asleep at nights or on the weekends to limit use, as it is a very strong herb. I buy Raw Roots, that I personally process into powder each time I want to use it, and my Roots have an indefinite shelf life. As opposed to buying the fresh powder that expires after a while even in the fridge.http://www.kava.com/kava-information/kava-kava-benefits-and-side-effects/     https://www.1hourbreak.com/learn-about-kava/kava-kava/health-benefits/

    kava kava
    kava kava
  • Yerba Mate: Somewhat mild going herb This is stronger then coffee in caffeine, so It may be mild taste, but it will definitely wake you up in the morning, or if you need a pick me up in the afternoon. I love yerba mate dark roast, now with chicory and carob, it tastes just like coffee and it brews very dark. http://guayaki.com/mate/2931/Health-Benefits.html
  • Skullcap: Mild to strong affecting Skullcap can help anxiety and sleep. I use it in combination a with my Valerian and kava for a very strong sleepy time tea.http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail257.php

    skullcap and kava tea
    skullcap and kava tea
  • Passion Flower: Mild to moderate affecting Sleepy flower, blends well with Valerian and chamomile. Its mildly sedative but not as bad as skullcap. http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail293.php

How to clean Rose hips:

First you have to harvest them when they get the most red in the season, I believe its late fall after the roses have died. You will pick them, wash them, and cut in half. Scoop out the hair and seeds and wash again, chopping off the brown ends. Dehydrate or sundry or slow roast your rose hips until the moisture is out of them and process in the blender dry for a powder or keep whole for tea.

cut in half
cut in half
cut them in half
start to take the seeds out
take out the seeds
take out the seeds
scoop the seeds out
scoop the seeds out
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take the hair out with the seeds
clean them out good
clean them out good
washed rose hips de seeded
washed rose hips de seeded

How to cook like a pro– without recipes!

I do not like following orders. I have always been one to do my own thing and not go by the rules. That goes the same for cooking, I do not like recipes. I may not make a whole lot of recipes, but my kitchen always has good food for everyone.

I am just now beginning to realize that my skill in the kitchen isn’t due to great recipes. Its due to me learning as I go, and more importantly recognizing my cooking and baking mistakes. I am becoming a great foodie scientist, not a good home chef. But I will take the latter label any time.

To be a great foodie scientist, you learn from your hypothesis..or ie recipe research.

You may change a variable or two, but really each time we bake and cook its really a big science experiment and hopefully results in great food.

I am going to share with you how to cook great, without using recipes in the kitchen. Granted I do read a WHOLE lot of recipes, as anyone on Facebook knows, I do a whole lot of research into my hypothesis of what I want to make. And my cookbook collection mostly from 1970 is starting to be a bit impressive. I love looking at the pictures and getting ideas for foodie experiments, and pinterest recipes and Google are well abused also.

But I rarely am sitting in the kitchen, recipe in hand, measuring each ingredient trying to make something perfect, cause its no fun for me to follow directions. So here are a few tips to help you not have to look at recipes in the kitchen either.

How to cook without recipes.

  1. Know who your feeding: For one know what your family likes to eat and what they do not enjoy, if no one wants to even eat it, don’t try to make it. If you want to try your own foodie experiments, try them whilst making everyone their normal food so that no one is mad that you tried making something different. Usually when I try something new, I make sure I have the extra ingredients to spare, (in case it doesn’t work)and that at least one person in the house will eat it, even if its only me. 
  2. Know what you have: Going to the store for one ingredient, that you don’t have is never fun. So build your meals around what you have. Look in your pantry and fridge for meals before ever going to the store. Start with a protein, pair a veggie and add a carb, its as simple as 1,2,3.
  3. Know your ingredients: Getting to know the basics of food, your favorite grain, your favorite flour to bake with, your favorite fruit to bake with, your favorite spices for meats and desserts, even your favorite veggie to make, makes cooking a lot easier. Getting to know what each ingredient is for and its function, can help you dissect recipes better. You will eventually be able to look at a recipe and realize what you can substitute easily and what is necessary and what isn’t.
  4. Know your spices: This is really important and also goes with the number 1 rule. Know what spices your family likes and what they do not. My family cannot take anything too spicy, so we use mostly garlic, paprika and salt and pepper. My family also doesn’t like ginger, or curry, so we are very limited to our spice rack. I am lucky to have memorized a few spice charts and I will try and include some in this post. The most best thing you can memorize isn’t recipes, its spice charts. You will thank me.   http://www.cooksmarts.com/cs-blog/2014/09/ultimate-infographic-guide-spices/
  5. Know what you can substitute: This is also very important. If you have anyone in your house with food allergies as I do, you will be substituting ingredients all the time. So the more you get to know your ingredients and how they function, the better you can know what to substitute. I will also include some amazing substitution lists in this post. I have learned a whole lot from reading vegan and paleo recipes for how to substitute things for food allergies also. Vegans are very creative when it comes to substitutes.   http://greatist.com/health/83-healthy-recipe-substitutions
  6. Know whats in season: This is more of a shopping tip. But if your a busy mom like me, you need to know whats in season so that you can get deals on produce. Get to know your local farmers and even try gardening some veggies at home. You really get to know produce well, when you grow it yourself and learn to use the whole plant and not just the parts you buy in the store. Knowing whats in season can help you have a well stocked fridge and freezer. When you buy fruit and veggies on sale in season, freeze for later use.
  7. Know your mistakes are not the end of the world, your learning. Have fun, be creative and never have a closed mind. When we keep our mind open and test our foodie hypothesis’s after thorough research, most of the time, we regurgitate what we learned and our subconscious cooking hands come up with great food.

CSA WTF #2

CSA WTF #2 -Root Veggies

I have learned a whole lot simply from hanging out at the farmers market. Granted it did get me a job, I ended up selling artwork for 3 years, but the best part of being a part of the market, was learning about new food. I got to know the most amazing farmers and people. Who would show me new fruits and veggies and even tell me how to prepare and cook them properly. I was blessed to say the least. I want to share some of that knowledge with you. I learned so much that its actually nice to think about all the crazy things that I tried making and remember how I cooked and liked them. For I will start another garden soon and most of these are easy to grow at home, even from seed.

I am going to focus on one kind of new vegetable to me that I got all my knowledge from at the market. Those would be Root veggies. Now we all know about Carrots and potato, they grow underground and you harvest them from the dirt. Now Did you know about burdock, parsnip, Daikon and Salsify? Or even Celeriac and Leek?

Well even if you do know a thing or two, I am going to share what I know about these odd Root Veggies and some pictures and recipes to go with it, cause this couldn’t be a great blog without those.

  • Burdock Root- I love Burdock. It has high Iron, which is great for anemia. It apparently can be cooked like a noodle, I have never tried this, but I included some recipes.
chopped burdock ready for tea
chopped burdock ready for tea

http://darjapan.blogspot.com/2012/05/anti-aging-tea-burdock-root-tea-gobo.html?m=1

http://happyhomemaker88.com/2013/03/09/dried-roasted-burdock-root-tea-for-looking-feeling-younger-anti-cancer-healing-liver-anti-aging-body-strengthening-blood-purifying-easing-pmsmenopausal-symptoms-lowering-blood-suga/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/52018-make-burdock-tea/#page=2

http://www.thekitchn.com/ingredient-spotlight-burdock-r-157529

https://cookpad.com/en/categories/burdock-root

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctium_tomentosum

http://www.drugs.com/npc/burdock.html

I personally have made the most amazing tea out of it, add a little vanilla and sugar and it resembles root beer taste, but without some ingredients. I include some recipes for root beer next.

  • Root Beer Recipes:

http://learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/root-beer-recipe/

http://nourishedkitchen.com/homemade-root-beer-recipe/

http://www.herbco.com/t-root-beer.aspx

  • Salsify Root- Although I have tried salsify once, I have not had the pleasure of getting any again. I was told to saute with garlic and olive oil and I put it into a baked fall casserole. I included some recipes to follow.
salsify root squash cassorole
salsify root squash cassorole

http://communitytable.com/250649/linzlowe/what-the-heck-is-salsify-and-how-do-you-cook-it/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home-garden/salsify-a-root-vegetable-that-does-double-duty/2011/12/20/gIQAxL6GaP_story.html

http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Salsify_Root_495.php

  • Celeriac/Celery Root: I love celery root. I personally found a celery growing in my yard once and it accidentally got mowed over, the result was finding the hugest celery root. We made the most amazing soup out of it and I love to cook it with potato as the taste of celery and potato mesh well. You can use it in an Au gratin. You can use it in a soup. You can shave it on top of salad. You can do a lot with it and it is quite yummy. Prep it by peeling the outer layer of skin and then cutting the greens off. Save your greens for celery stock/veggie stock. And use your celery root insides that are nice and white. Try steaming it and adding it to a stir fry even. I include some recipes for celery root here.

http://sixburnersue.com/cooking-fresh-eating-green/2010/02/ten-yes-10-things-to-do-with-celery-root/

http://localfoods.about.com/od/fall/tp/aboutceleryroot.htm

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celeriac

  • Jerusalem Artichoke/Sun-choke- Another one of my favorites. Resembles a small potato but different. I love to shave them into an au gratin. Or include in any potato dish along side celery root. Here are some sunchoke recipes.

http://www.chatelaine.com/health/diet/five-health-benefits-of-jerusalem-artichokes-sunchokes/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/374796-health-benefits-of-jerusalem-artichokes/#page=1

http://www.thekitchn.com/tasty-tubers-5-recipes-with-su-129533

http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/231247/roasted-jerusalem-artichokes-or-sunchokes/

  • Daikon/White Radish– I have tried daikon greens.. very tart. I have also used daikon in juices but its a tough root to juice and very unique taste. Very much like a radish. If you like white radish, you could enjoy japanese daikon which is longer. Here are some recipes for daikon.
daikon above salmon
daikon above salmon

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daikon

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/top-10-ways-to-enjoy-daikon-radish

  • Leek- Leek soup is great! Leeks and potato go hand and hand. Try leek in place of onion in any recipe. Try fried leek in stir fry. I have included some leek recipes here.

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_clean_leeks/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leek

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1676/buttered-leeks

http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/lovely-leeks

  • Fennel-fennel is sweet. But tart. I have used fennel but it’s more of a licorice taste so use sparingly unless you are familiar with how it tastes. It can be cooked. Or eaten raw. I have included some fennel recipes here.
fennel, orange, grapefruit kiwi salad
fennel, orange, grapefruit kiwi salad

http://www.cookinglight.com/m/food/in-season/discovering-fennel

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/1152097

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=23

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-fennel.html

CSA WTF #1

CSA WTF #1- Bohemian Veggies

I thought I knew some things when I was 21; that I ate relatively good and that I knew my way around a grocery store. That all changed when I watched Food Inc. My son was still only months old, but I swear that movie changed our lives. That movie was the tipping point of my foodie education and research into eating right.

Granted, my mother did feed us well as children. We had outings to go pick blackberries and such at farms, knew how to make our own granola, ate carob and even had our own apple tree in the backyard that I readily abused. But we also knew top raw-men and hot dogs with mac and cheese and on request could tell our mom and dad which donuts to buy us at the local bakery.

Now that I have my own son and I am a little more educated on foods from the various amazing documentaries I have watched, my diet has dramatically changed from when I was a child.

My son doesn’t eat McDonald’s food. We ride by it and call it “dirty food”. I grew up with a toy-box we called “McDonald toys”.. because the whole box was acquired from happy meals purchases from my parents. Now, with my sons our version of top raw-men is soba noodles and grilled pork. So I say, things have changed a lot for me.

One thing that has not changed is my education of fruits and veggies. Going to a farmers market for me now is like a kid in a candy shop discovering new candies, for I always find a new veggie each time. I feel both uneducated and liberated each time I discover a new veggie or fruit to try. And the best part, is my son is right there with me, trying each new thing.

Here are a few unknowns to us, maybe known to you. That I discovered at the farmers market. They are certainly worth a try, and most of them are easy to grow at home in your garden. I will try and find recipes for all and the best pics, but I have personal experience with most of them so you will get my amazing photos of each in something.

Fun Veggies to Discover at the Farmers Market or in your CSA box

  • Stinging Nettles– iron content in nettles and dandelion are amazing! Use caution when purchasing stinging nettles fresh, wear gloves as to not get stung by the fibers all over the plant and the leaves. When you have some fresh, boil the leaves to make tea and save them for a replacement spinach in any spinach recipes.
stinging nettle and melissa
stinging nettle and melissa
green nettles herb drink
green nettles herb drink

http://www.livestrong.com/article/164690-nettle-root-for-iron-deficiency/#page=2

http://www.herballegacy.com/Vance_Medicinal.html

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/advantages-stinging-nettles-7521.html

http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/stinging-nettle-benefits-zmaz81mazkin.aspx

http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail107.php

http://consciouslifenews.com/29-nettle-tea-benefits-sipping-nettle-tea-better-health/

  • Dandelion- Dandelion salad is great, you can also use dandelion in your iron rich tea with some nettles and sweeten it up with some Melissa aka (lemon balm).
dandelion leaves before cooking
dandelion leaves before cooking

http://www.leaflady.org/health_benefits_of_dandelions.htm

http://www.naturalhealthmag.com.au/content/health-benefits-dandelion

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-dandelion.html

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-eating-dandelion-greens-4433.html

http://realfoodforlife.com/dandelion-root-health-benefits/

  • Lemon Balm- Oh my sweet Melissa. I love lemon balm tea, by itself boiled the leaves make a great tea, and you can also add it to any other medicinal blend such as dandelion and nettle to help make them taste better.
floral and nettle tea
floral and nettle tea

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melissa_officinalis

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-437-lemon%20balm.aspx?activeingredientid=437&activeingredientname=lemon%20balm

http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-lemon-balm.html

  • Green Sorrel- Sorrel and lemon balm have a very similar taste as they are both lemon tart. I love to freeze chopped green sorrel and add it to my eggs in the morning for a refreshing breakfast treat.
cooked greens and eggs
cooked greens and eggs
cooking greens and eggs
cooking greens and eggs

http://www.motherearthliving.com/gardening/herb-to-know-sorrel-rumex-scutatus-r-acetosa.aspx

http://gracelinks.org/2374/real-food-right-now-and-how-to-cook-it-sorrel

http://m.wisegeek.org/what-is-sorrel.htm

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/zesty-sorrel.aspx

  • See how to freeze herbs here:
chopped mint, greens and sorrel
chopped mint, greens and sorrel
green sorrel ice cube trays
green sorrel ice cube trays
freeze until use
freeze until use
nettles iced tea and mint ice cube
nettles iced tea and mint ice cube

http://www.simplycanning.com/freezing-herbs.html

http://www.food.com/recipe/herbal-ice-cubes-111461

http://www.thekitchn.com/freeze-herbs-in-olive-oil-173648

  • Mushrooms– Talk to your local mushroom grower about what variety to get and how to cook it, I have come to find that each variety had its each distinct flavor and needs to be cooked differently.

mushrooms close up
mushrooms close up
cauliflower mushroom
cauliflower mushroom
mushrooms in chopped salad
mushrooms in chopped salad
mushrooms and green beans
mushrooms and green beans

http://cal.spoonuniversity.com/food-thought/4-mushroom-varietals-buy-farmers-market/

  • Watermelon Radish- watermelon Radish is very tart, but pretty. If you like radish flavor, chop it up into a salad and try with a acidic dressing. Here are some pictures of watermelon radish.
raw watermelon radish
raw watermelon radish
root slaw salad with watermelon radish
root slaw salad with watermelon radish

http://www.livestrong.com/article/540838-the-nutrition-in-a-watermelon-radish/#page=1

http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2010/10/meet-watermelon-radish.html?m=1

http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Watermelon_Radish_1788.php

  • Yellow wax beans/Purple Beans- cook like you would green beans.
cooking long beans
cooking long beans
farmers market bounty, including purple green beans
farmers market bounty, including purple green beans

http://mycarolinakitchen.blogspot.com/2011/08/purple-french-heirloom-beans.html?m=1

http://cooklikeyourgrandmother.com/purple-bean-salad/

http://www.addictedtoveggies.com/2011/08/gourmet-purple-green-bean-nicoise.html?m=1

http://www.marthastewart.com/334122/in-season-wax-beans

http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Yellow_Wax_Beans_602.php

http://www.gardenbetty.com/2013/07/why-do-purple-beans-turn-green-after-cooking/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/467867-how-to-cook-fresh-purple-beans/#page=2

  • Purple Carrots- Purple carrots are so sweet. If you have the chance to grow some andbuy some do so, they will be the sweetest most vitamin packed carrots you have ever tried.Here is some information on purple carrots. there are also amazing purple bell pepper if you get the chance to find any.

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http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Purple_Holland_Bell_Peppers_805.php

http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/surprising-health-benefits-purple-carrots

  • Fava Beans- first you shuck them, then you shell them, then you cook them. These beans are a whole lot of work, but if your into making your own hummus and bean spreads, they are worth the try. Here are some pictures of Fava beans and some recipes to go with it.
cooking fava beans with garlic
cooking fava beans with garlic
fava beans surrounded by other market bounty
fava beans surrounded by other market bounty
shucked and shelled fava beans
shucked and shelled fava beans

http://www.saveur.com/article/-/Fava-Bean-Recipes

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/saute-of-fresh-fava-beans-onions-and-fennel-106490

http://www.food.com/recipe/gabriel-s-sauteed-fava-beans-117520

http://www.thekitchn.com/5-fantastic-ways-to-cook-fava-beans-190674

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/fettuccine-with-fresh-fava-beans-and-pancetta-recipe.html

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/1428426

http://theforestfeast.com/post/55275033732/purple-greenbean-salad

  • Red/Black Currants- I love baking with currants they taste like mini cranberries and are super great to cook with fresh or even dried like raisins.
red currant icing on banana cake
red currant icing on banana cake
  • Recipes for currants:

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3749957

http://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/g205/currant-recipes-0606/

http://leitesculinaria.com/4328/recipes-floating-islands-black-currant-sauce.html

http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/miscellaneous/mobile.php?rid=misc-floating-island

  • Kohlrabi – I am trying to fall in love with this veggie. Its taken a whole lotta work and a few interesting recipe fails to find that this marriage between turnip and cabbage.. isn’t one of my favorites.

    raw kholrabi
    raw kholrabi
steamed thinly sliced kholrabi
steamed thinly sliced kohlrabi
Kholrabi steamed with tomato tapanade
Kholrabi steamed with tomato tapanade

http://www.inspiralized.com/2013/10/31/how-to-spiralize-a-kohlrabikohlrabi-green-apple-noodle-arugula-salad-with-goat-cheese-dried-cranberries-walnuts-with-a-honey-dijon-dressing/

http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/2000s/2006/11/roasted-kohlrabi

http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Saveur-100-2011-Butter-Braised-Kohlrabi

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/stir-fried-rice-noodles-with-kohlrabi-and-basil

http://www.girlsgonechild.net/2011/01/eat-well-kohlrabi.html?m=1

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/health/nutrition/vegetarian-spring-rolls-with-shredded-kohlrabi-recipes-for-health.html?ref=nutrition&_r=0

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/well/2012/03/09/discovering-kohlrabi-its-a-vegetable/

http://www.gracelinks.org/485/real-food-right-now-and-how-to-cook-it-kohlrabi

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/1597114/slideshow/232716#slide-8

http://www.thekitchn.com/top-five-ways-to-prepare-kohlr-60321

close up Rhubarb
close up Rhubarb
rhubarb syrup
rhubarb syrup
making rhubarb syrup
making rhubarb syrup

Here are few recipes for rhubarb.

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/06/rhubarb-cobbler/

http://www.decotartelette.com/rhubarb-sweet-orange-meringue-tartelette/

http://thevanillabeanblog.com/2013/05/meringues-with-rhubarb-curd-and-rosehip.html

http://localkitchenblog.com/2011/06/07/cranberry-orange-rhubarb-popsicles/

  • Huckleberry- Huckleberry grow wild where I live now. So does salmon berry and blackberry. We use our huckleberry in jams such as this one and inside cobblers and pies like this one shown below with blueberries.
fresh huckleberry jam
fresh huckleberry jam
10943762_645003265611862_6332682542933403877_o
blueberry chia applesauce lattice whole wheat pie

http://www.whitefishwave.com/newsletter/juicy-facts-about-huckleberries/

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/benefits-of-huckleberry-8277.html

  • Squash Blossoms- Delicate little suckers, I bought some fresh and by the time that I got home they were wilted and I still stuffed them with a cheesy ricotta with steamed carrots, but it wasn’t easy. They are definitely a tasty alternative to regular party poppers and I brought them to a work party and they were gone in 15 min. here are a picture of my stuffed squash blossoms.
stuffed squash blossoms
stuffed squash blossoms

http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2010/07/12/market-watch-squash-blossoms/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/385150-nutritional-value-of-edible-flowers/#page=2

http://figgyandsprout.com/squash-blossom-salad/

there are also edible flowers like pansies and nasturtium.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/18/42-edible-flowers.aspx

http://www.diynatural.com/edible-flowers/

Science in the Kitchen #1- Ph balance and Natural food dyes

Science in the kitchen #1 …..pH balance and natural food dye in baking.

Its been years since I have been in a science class. Dissecting pig embryos and dissecting worms and crickets and frogs where never my cup of tea. And I hated identifying different plant parts, I only enjoyed drawing them. If there was one thing I wished I payed more attention to in science, and learned it would have been pH balance.

I am proud to say that I am finally learning some science as an adult, and its in the form of learning how to cook right. You wouldn’t believe the scientific research that simply goes into natural food dyes. You have to balance the pH level just right to achieve any color whilst baking.

I love color. Not just in my baked goods, I love fruity colored smoothies and I love biting into something that looks bright and colorful and finding it tastes incredible.

Now that I am all organic and we try not to eat anything labeled “natural”, we wouldn’t even dare touch the normal food dye that goes into processed food nowadays. Reading labels, the first thing I look for is the food dye red 40, yellow # whatever and blue # whatever. I avoid them at all costs. I revel in the products, sometimes even brand name cereals that use turmeric and annato in place of food dye. I also have a 5 yr old, who does go shopping with me. Who see’s the name brand “colored” products and sees the holiday dyed candies. I have to tell them they are dirty food and we can make clean food at home. Its actually better for my ease of mind to know each ingredient in the food he eats, as he is dairy free and has excema.

We make a lot of processed food at home. Here are some examples of some “colored products” I have made at home naturally. I am still trying to achieve certain colors but I have yellow, red and partial blue purple down…Do note that some items are “spotted with color” but I think any natural color is better then none. Can you imagine bland looking food, with no color? No, thanks! I will try and find recipes for each picture but as some of them are made up recipes of my own I cannot guarantee a recipe link for each one. And please try and bare with me as I am still figuring out hyperlinks on this Word Press.

  • Yellow/Orange– Tumeric, Annatto,Saffron, Squash, yellow beet:
honey turmeric chicken over rice
honey turmeric chicken over rice
turmeric chicken stir fry
turmeric chicken stir fry
naturally died easter eggs; coffee, tumeric and purple onion
naturally died easter eggs; coffee, tumeric and purple onion
  • Red/Pink- Rose hips, hibiscus, beet, red currants,cranberry, strawberry, Rasberry:
beet-carrot juice
beet-carrot juice
red currant cake
red currant cake

1932740_635110209934501_3544435335372614864_o

rosehip and hibiscus lemon meringue pie
rosehip and hibiscus lemon meringue pie
  • Blue/Purple– Blue corn flour, blueberry, purple cabbage, purple onion, blackberry, huckleberry,
purple corn flour zuchinni bread
purple corn flour zuchinni bread
chia applesauce blueberry pie
chia applesauce blueberry pie
blueberry lemon scones
blueberry lemon scones
  • Green- spinach, sorrel, wheat grass, chlorophyll, powdered vegetable greens, parsley,
cooked greens and eggs
cooked greens and eggs
carrot greens and pinapple juice
carrot greens and pinapple juice

Here are some lists of amazing articles that explain the natural pH balance of each natural food dye and how to make them yourself. These links will explain things like how to add baking soda to blueberries to retain blue for pH and how to add acid to red (like beets) for pH color variation.

http://wholenewmom.com/recipes/dairy-free-easter-fudge/

http://m.instructables.com/id/Blue-Foods-Colorful-cooking-without-artificial-dy/

http://wholenewmom.com/recipes/natural-blue-food-coloring-dye-just-in-time-for-easter/

http://www.networx.com/article/8-ways-to-make-organic-diy-food-coloring

http://www.growingagreenfamily.com/how-to-make-naturally-colored-organic-rainbow-cake/

Pie Crust 101

Pie Crust 101
Pie crust is as easy as 1,2,3!
I have figured out how to make pie crusts, apple pie, whole wheat blueberry pie, even chicken pot pie biscuit crust, I have a few pointers for those out there that are learning how to make pie crusts, and a few pictures that I hope can help with the learning process.

10855087_626909327421256_8442940102260221381_o
Step 1: measure your flour, sift it into a bowl add your dry ingredients as needed for recipes, more salt for biscuit crust and a small dash for regular pie, and baking powder for biscuit crust. you can use any kind of flour , whole wheat, or even gluten free.1795335_618587711586751_4775536311822800335_o

Step 2: cut in desired amount of butter, the more pastry the crust the more butter you use. For lemon meringue pie you use more butter. Using a pastry cutter or 2 butter knives, cut the butter into the flour until you create crumbs that look like small peas. if you are vegan you can use coconut butter for this step..10532334_586658934779629_6181112585823331983_o
Step 3: once your butter and flour are crumbled, slowly work in 2-3 tbs of water until you create a dough, do not over-knead, place ½ the dough on cutting board, and or parchment paper and with a small amount of flour dusted on, roll out to desired length, this half would be the bottom, place it in your buttered pie pan, fill your pie and do the same for the top half.

1606446_618082748303914_4218581866910827907_o 10562623_586658968112959_4889908728941253894_o 10841753_626826794096176_5773805349828548986_o

If you desire to make a fancy pie top, there are crust molds you can buy, and or you can cut your dough into strips and try lattice design like this,10535055_626826784096177_6911054348032918546_o 10943762_645003265611862_6332682542933403877_o10679844_586658998112956_7872447959758954570_o 10842303_626826764096179_2136056174515735728_o

or cut shapes into the top like this.

For chicken pot pie crust, brush egg whites over the top of it before you bake and its like “tanning lotion” for pie crusts. Your chicken pot pie will have a harder crust on top with a egg wash.10549270_671832662928922_5318494369214607536_o

Mom’s Organic Eating and Cooking tips #1

Food incorporated the movie, is the awakening moment that my family went organic and changed our eating habits for the better. Most of these tips I have developed over 4 years of trying to eat clean and teach my son to do so also. I hope they help you on your journey to eating more healthy, and having more organically sponsored fun in the kitchen.

1.Buy ingredients not food: If it comes out of a box, bag or is packaged already, somebody’s already processed your food. To buy more ingredients that you put into a produce or meat package yourself or watch a butcher do so, your eliminating that “processing” part of your food. Try to buy fresh grass fed organic pasture raised-rotated meat and eggs that is harvested locally. You are eating fresher then if your buying a prepackaged frozen meat from Tyson. Purchase local fruits and veggies from markets and get your grains and powders local and organic in the bulk section.
2.Buy Bulk: Grains, dried fruit, flours, sugars, cereals, and nuts are awesome purchased in bulk. Most stores have seasonal or monthly bulk sales so catch some things on sale. Fill at home with bulk products, like oatmeal, pastas, rice, flours and other such things like bulk tea ingredients and spices. Tea’s and spices and rubs should be packaged in bulk then put into small jars at home. I keep my jars filled with pantry items and my tea box is always full as well as my spice jars. I buy my rice in a 20 lb bag and all my sugars and flours in 4 lbs bags or larger. Specialty items like almonds, almond flour, goji berry are expensive most of the time, so if you catch them on sale stock up.
3.Stock your pantry:Having Jars of flours, sugars, oatmeal, pasta’s and dry beans and lentils ensures you cook your own food More often and actually learn how to cook better by working with more pantry items, we learn more how to cook fresh. Having fresh rice with beans is a meal and if you always have them handy you will not need to stock up on canned goods as much.
4.Plan your meals: I have a little formula for having balanced meals in my house. We stock the freezer in the beginning of the month and it really helps for less “what to do for dinner” stress. We always have our bulk pantry stocked so that’s protein and carbs down between pantry rice, noodles or potatoes and meat. I base my meals on what meat we choose for the night and then pair a carb with it then from advice from the USDA.gov my plate website, I fill the other half of our plates with vegetables and fruit. Every meal half our plate should be fruit and veggies. But in order not to break the bank while shopping for fresh produce, you should move on to #5.
5.Get to know your local farmers:Find a Local farm that offers a CSA or discounted veggies at the end of the farmers market. I used to get a basket of fruit and veggies donated each week from the farmers and sometimes even bartered for goods. When you get to know your local farmers, you can also ask them questions about how to cook their produce and get great cooking advice. I have discovered a great many recipes for odd fruits and veggies from farmers at the market. Which brings me to #6.
6.Try new things: sauteed salsify with garlic, stuffed squash blossoms, tomatillo salsa, burdock tea, watermelon radish salad, sorrel and eggs, kale and sunflower seed pesto. Be open to trying new produce and recipes, I discovered from being open at the market that I absolutely love the taste of fresh stinging nettle and lemon balm tea… who knew? I never did, until I discovered being more open to new things at the farmers market.
7. Have fun and get creative: Just because you cannot find a printed recipe for it, doesn’t mean that its a bad idea. I have tried some crazy ideas and end up loving the process of learning what not to do, as well as some things that worked fine. I couldn’t find a recipe for stuffed heirloom tomatoes but I have stuffed them with everything, and I have never even seen a stuffed beet in a cookbook, but I stuffed it with potatoes au gratin. Some ideas have been the best thing I have ever done and experimented with and half the fun of learning is getting it wrong. I never thought that I would invent recipes But after long and strenuous fun and experimentation I invented peanut butter and jelly pop tarts and they are a huge success. So do yourself a favor, and have fun and get creative.
8.Find a specialty: Don’t try to perfect the whole menu at once. Try one skill at a time and perfect it before you try another thing. Start with something simple, like dicing potatoes or onions well, then move on to more harder things like perfecting the over easy egg or caramelizing onions. I personally just got pie crust skill perfected and I have had over easy eggs for a while, but I take it easy on myself and learn one thing at time.

How to survive being a Mom

If there is one thing I wish I had when my son was born is a book on how to be a good mother, learning as I go I wanted to share some tips I have learned to keep my sanity, hope they help, its quite a learning experience being a mom. =)
1. Prepare coffee the night before: their is no better satisfaction after whatever life brings you with a child then having fresh hot coffee when they wake you up at 6 am. So have your percolator, machine or French press ready because the moment you wake up, its go-juice time. Same goes for tea or Yerba mate if you roll that way, get it ready. And if you have a machine on a timer that makes it ready for you in the am, I envy you.
2. Your shower is your sanctuary: The moment that curtain closes, you better start meditating because is the quietest moments of your day.( that is if you get to shower alone.) Put the shower fan on and your at a spa far away at the beach in another country, drowning out the sounds of your home. Don’t let the mommy anxiety get to you, we all know that dad and child could potentially burn the house down and make a colossal mess for you to clean whilst your meditating in the shower, but most Likely they are not and all is well and you are fine to relax, so do it.
3. Do your dishes: Ain’t nothing like waking up to a clean kitchen, if all you do is take your garbage out and do your dishes before bed every night, you will thank me. And it will feel better each time you wake up and have to start cooking while your half asleep waiting for coffee to brew, because your kitchen is clean.
4. Plan, Plan, Plan,: the more you prepare the better you’ll be. Preparing a outing bag for a child really helps even after they graduate from diapers, my son takes at least 1 toy and book everywhere to stay entertained. Planning food is essential with children, plan they will snack, so buy snacks for the month. Planning your meals and dividing bulk packages of meat is essential for feeding a growing child and a great way not to go crazy. Being a mom is 80% planning and 20 % having fun while doing it.
5. Save for the future: Save $ by cutting coupons, find store coupons and manufacture coupons and save even more. Shop seasonal sales and even subscribe to sale emails online, you can save a lot of money. Shop the discounted day old section at stores and bakeries and more importantly you can save $ by buying bulk and buying ingredients not food. Save all your recyclables, egg cartons, milk jugs and toilet paper rolls all come in handy when you have a child.
6.Get creative: You cannot be a great mom without using a whole lot of creativity and imagination. How to convince a 4 yr old to clean his room? Get creative. How to occupy him while you have guests over? Get creative. Got a whole lot of veggies to cook? Get creative. Rainy day everyone’s sick and nothing to do? Get creative. Activity books and kids game books really help to get things started.
7.Have a dream desk: the biggest thing us mothers tend to do is get lost in our families and always self sacrificing for our families happiness, security or comfort. A dream desk is where you shelter your individuality, for me its my art desk, for others I could just be a nook in the house, where your inner creative child to be safe and grow to be a stronger woman. Without the “safe” place we cannot grow and be stronger for our families and be a better MoM. Nurture your self, keep your individuality safe and be confident in asserting your amazing uniqueness. Your dream desk should help to give you that confidence.
8.Know your role: I don’t mean to sound so old school But as a mother we should have responsibilities to our family and shouldn’t break them to try and be more ourselves. Their is a fine line between being a confident role model mother and being a confident single childless woman. We need to have respect for ourselves. For people to respect us, we need to respect ourselves. Dancing all night in clubs is given up when your a mother, you have a ‘role’ and you should want respect, you made another human and are raising it to be a respectful one, right?! Respect thyself, so know your role.
9.Never stop dancing: I know what I said in the last one. Dancing in clubs is unacceptable, But blasting music all day for 5 years and dancing with your toddler around the house before they go to school is perfectly fine, in fact its encouraged. Don’t smother your own happiness, dance with your children.
10.Keep your romance alive: Last but not least, love your man. If you have one. They gave your children and do what you can to keep things brewing in between diaper changes. I know its hard But seeing a happy mommy and daddy is better then the opposite.
Oh and prepare to get dirty, your in for one messy bumpy ride.. have fun.