Yummy Pulled Pork Soup

Caveman pulled pork (So yummy! Best pulled pork that I have ever made)

1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion

2 carrots

2 sticks of celery

2 cloves garlic

1 can tomato sauce

bunch of spinach 

cup of corn

 

After cooking pork refrigerate some portion of it with the juices left over from the CrockPot. (My pork sat in the fridge for three days.)

Saute onion in olive oil (over low heat) until the onion is caramelized. This takes about 20 minutes.

Add carrots and celery to the pot and stir well. Saute for about 5 more minutes. Add garlic, tomato sauce and 3 cups of water.

Simmer for about 20 minutes. 

Add pork and all of the pork juices. Let simmer for another 15 minutes, until everything is warm. Add corn and spinach and serve.

 

Kyson added avocado to his. The rest of us consumed this yummy soup with nothing added. It was delish!

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Sunday Night Dinner featuring Bacon and Chicken

It’s Tuesday and I have been contemplating this post for two days.  Better, get to writing it out so that I can move on to the next thing.

 

My husband and my oldest son are both traveling around the world right now.  My son is in the Caribbean and my husband is in Colorado.  That leaves the  Littles going it alone with me: Paleo style.  This is very challenging, mostly for my youngest who is only part time Paleo at this point.  I try to make appetizing meals, but when you eliminate sugar and wheat and introduce more veggies, he revolts.  My challenge for myself for the week is to make kid friendly Paleo meals.  Sunday’s dinner was my first try and it was a resounding success.  My very picky 6-year-old ate three helpings.  To me that’s as good as it gets, especially when scrounging around the kitchen looking for dinner.  The recipe:

Chicken Bacon Bake:

2 chicken breasts

4 slices of bacon

¼ onion

Fresh time

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cut chicken breast into small cubes.  Cut bacon into small squares.  Chop onion (I make the onion bits larger so that I can sort them out later because the kids don’t like them but I do).  Mix and place in glass baking dish.  Place fresh thyme on top.  I used enough the top of the chicken bacon mixture.  Cover and bake for 15-20 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 10 minutes or so.

It was Yummy.  Did I mention that my 6 year old had three helpings?  What’s better?  He ate the veggies too!  Green beans my way.  Recipe:

Ingredients:

Green Beans

Butter (I use 4 tablespoons)

Sliced almonds (about ½ cup)

Steam green beans.  Melt butter in saucepan.  Add almonds and cook for approx. 5 minutes, until the almonds are nice, soft, and a little brown.  Place green beans in serving dish and pour almond butter sauce on top.

The almonds make the green beans a bit sweeter and you can never go wrong with butter.  We ate to our heart’s content and then I used the leftovers today for a yummy new dish.  I will post that recipe later

 

A different perspective

An acquaintance of mine at Motherhood and More wrote a post that I want to address. She is referring to MLK day and race issues in this country and she brings out several points that I often write  about. I’ll start with a quote:

How easy would it be, even subconsciously, for “I’m glad I’m white” to gradually morph into “It’s better that I’m white” and eventually to “I’m better because I’m white” if there wasn’t a strong message to counter that?

 

It sounds like a person who really wants to educate their children and overcome the pitfall of racial prejudice. Here’s a question. Is it possible that a black person could feel the same way? “ I am better because I am black.” Well here’s another quote:

But maybe there’s another layer to it that I have – in my white ignorance, perhaps – never considered. If a white child thinks “I’m glad I’m white,” could a black child think, “It sucks that I’m black?”

 

The white kid feels superior while the black kid feels inferior?   Yes I think some black kids come away with the message that black is inferior, but I also think that comes from the reinforcement of that idea that they get from society. The people who look at them and feel pity because they are buying into memes spread through the culture. I could take the same idea and apply it to women…should all women feel inferior because their history is littered with oppression? Should my daughter feel inferior because the 19th Amendment didn’t happen until 1920? I don’t think so.

My point is that if there is a black child who feels inferior the problem likely comes from teaching methods and societal reinforcement. If someone spent 50% of your day telling you that you had to fight for your rights and that you were a slave you might also feel inferior, but the problem with the picture is that the people telling these stories are not telling the whole story. They toss around the idea of the poor black slave, poor kids of black slaves…

This is exactly the sort of crap that pisses me off. The entire focus of the discussion is set up to reinforce negative notions of poor black kids whose ancestors were slaves.

The idea that the black kid would watch Dr. Kings speech and conclude that they do not want to be black, might be true to some extent, but it misses the big picture. There are many, many black people who grew up proud of who they were and where they came from. Kids who grew up in this time period with educated parents who focused on what all Americans at the time focused on; education and equality. These people, including my grandparents, never felt inferior and did not teach their kids the inferiority complex. Their children did not go to public schools and did not learn to the inferiority complex that you mention in your post.  No one talks about this in schools, but as an educator you have more freedom to give your kids the truth.  Give them a real education by providing information about these kids and parents who are forgotten by history because they do not fit the common narrative. Here is my suggestion: Next year instead of watching Dr. King and reinforcing an inaccurate, but mainstream meme, try listening to Extraordinary Ordinary People  and give your kids a gift of real understanding instead of reinforcing an old and tired stereotype that is both inaccurate and offensive.

Birthdays

In the house we have some rather odd birthday traditions. Kyson, 6 as of today, spends the week before his birthday planning an elaborate birthday feast.  He plans, breakfast, lunch and dinner and spends his day eating himself into birthday oblivion. Today he chose pancakes for breakfast (circumvented by Grandpa kidnapping him for birthday breakfast of burritos, coke and horchata ) followed by crepes for lunch, and rounding it off it paneer masala for dinner. For dessert he ordered chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting and chocolate chips inside. This basically translates to one, or both, of his parents spending the day in the kitchen with a five-year old overlord making impossible demands as we sweat, beg and plead for a break from the kitchen while he laughs and orders more food. He looks forward to his birthday, it his day to feast on power and food.

Lilith, on the other hand, usually orders a healthy (meaning lots of veggies in soup) dinner followed by an elaborate cake. Each year she spends countless hours planning a cake that is some combination of her favorite tastes for the year and her favorite color of the year. We get weird mixes like white cake with lemon frosting and blueberries and blackberries on top. One year she ordered a  chocolate cake with lemon chocolate frosting and every year she refuses to eat the cake. She tastes it, dislikes it, and starts planning next year’s cake while we look on and figure out how to get rid of the cake that no one wants to eat.

Daniel eats the same meal every year on his birthday. Kyle started making it when he was six and he is still making it 10 years later. Same dinner, same cake, chocolate with chocolate icing. He spends twice as much time planning and plotting gifts. He never asks for anything, but around this time of year he starts dropping hints about the coolest “x” or how he needs a little more money and he will be able to afford “y”.  We generally respond by getting ‘z’, which he always loves and is never expecting.

I love celebrating birthdays because they are a time when we get to celebrate the person. I love spending the day appreciating and focusing on the beauty and individuality of each person in this house. I think my kids are pretty cool, and I love taking time to celebrate their individuality.

House full of sick kids + crazy cooking mom = yummy chicken soup and turkey rolls

Sick people in the house today, sore throats and stuffy noses all around. I am the only person who feels great and I am really excited because I get to feed sick people!  I love feeding sick people, probably the nurturing side of me rearing its ugly head.  I have a standard chicken soup recipe that I use whenever anyone in the house gets sick. It starts with making a good chicken broth. My chicken broth recipe is pretty easy, it involves taking a chicken (whole chicken including livers and hearts) and placing it in a pot along with onion, garlic, carrots and celery and cooking it on low for 6 to 8 hours.  I like to cook for 24 hours, but since I usually make the soup when someone in the house is sick 8 hours is the max cooking time.  While the broth was cooking I had the challenge of feeding a very picky sick 5 year old lunch. He skipped breakfast because he did not want eggs and I can understand. So I had to make something for lunch that he could not resist. I made turkey, avocado, bacon rolls and he loved it. His dad and sister also thought they were pretty yummy so I thought I would share the recipe.

Turkey avocado rolls

Turkey slices

1 avocado

3 slices bacon

Tomato

Cheddar Cheese (for Lilith)

Take turkey slice, place avocado, tomato and bacon in center. Roll turkey slice with yummy ingredients inside .  Serve with mustard.

How easy is that! Paleo lunch everyone is happy and I am done!

Going Paleo and Shirred Eggs

So we have been dabbling in Paleo for the better part of the past five years. We inconsistently followed the principles, but had a hard time committing. Partly because I hate being bossed  and for some reason following one specific way of eating translated into someone telling me how to eat which translates into someone telling me how to live my life. I would not say that I have overcome this weird idiosyncrasy; it’s more that I have noticed what happens when I follow the Paleo diet for a few weeks and then stop.  I don’t feel good. I am going to take this as my body communicating that it likes the Paleo lifestyle and that I should stick with it.  My husband does not have the same quirk about following a sound diet plan, but he LOVES bread and sweets.  This has been our struggle and the thing that prevented us from moving forward and following the Paleo diet.

About 6 months ago both of us became pretty fed up with the current state of our health so we decided to commit to being 100% Paleo this year.  We are 15 days into it and I love it. My favorite part is trying new recipes. The food is yummy and I love the challenge of making meals that fit the Paleo lifestyle and also fit our various tastes. A family of five is hard to feed, and eliminating sugar, grain, and wheat is a huge challenge, but so far so good. I am going to chronicle this journey and share recipes while I’m at it.  I made this today, for brunch. It is super easy to make pretty tasty to.

Shirred Eggs

Butter

4 Eggs

4 teaspoons minced Shallots

3 or four slices of uncured Ham (not lunchmeat, real ham)

4 custard cups

Preheat oven to 350

Spread butter around custard cup. Place remaining butter on bottom of casserole. Place scallions, followed by ham on the bottom of the casserole. Break an egg on top of the ham. Place the custard cups on baking sheet in oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and flip contents onto a plate.

Enjoy!

unschooling

I remember the day that Lil got a favorite color.  Someone asked her what her favorite color was.  She replied that she likes several different colors and did not have a favorite.  The very opinionated person explained that everyone has to have a favorite.  It’s part of being human.  Lilith was wearing pink that day so she decided that her favorite color was pink.  I was very annoyed with the person for pressing her and for presenting opinion as fact.  The fact that Lil chose pink only added insult to injury since it was obviously gender stereotyping that I did not appreciate.  Lilith was happy to be a participant in a social custom that was new to her, she was also happy with pink.  We both survived the moment and over the next year Lilith learned to appreciate several different shades of pink.  She settled on a vibrant hot pink as her absolute favorite.  I thought I was stuck with this color for the next ten years.  I was quite surprised the next when she announced her new favorite color.  Red.  Over the next year, we spent time discovering and noticing shades of red everywhere in the world around us.  Maroon, bright red, brick red, by the end of the year a very dark maroon won out as the color of the year.  This year started out blue. The color of clouds.  It has evolved to teal, more closely related to green than blue, but in the same family. I love the journey into color exploration and I have taken a serious lesson away from this experience.

When the person presented the idea of favorite color to Lilith I was annoyed with their creating a social box for her to live in.  I did not realize what was actually happening.  The person was displaying a box for me to step out of.  My perspective was stuck in a set of ideas that I have.  I assumed that Lil would live in the same box, but in actuality the person only presented a more in-depth exploration of color for her and for me.  I don’t think the person did it on purpose.  I think that unschooling creates a system for receiving information and interpreting in a way that leads to more exploration.  Instead of receiving information and assimilating it into your being (this process ends when you become an adult or finish your “education”), unschooling means receiving information and exploring the details, unencumbered by a prerequisite set of rules given by a teacher or parent.

My period is late…

This is not a pregnancy announcement.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with me I will start with a brief history.  In the past three years, I have had 1 stillbirth and two miscarriages.  My doctors assure me that I am perfectly healthy and they have no idea why this is happening to me.  The first positive pregnancy test after his death was tremendously exciting.  It gave me hope. I was determined to do everything right in order to ensure that this baby would join our family and be in my arms.  Imagine my dismay when I had a miscarriage four months into the pregnancy. Grief multiplied by two. A year later, another pregnancy, this time filled with anxiety and fear from day one. I was not surprised when I miscarried.  It just confirmed what I already knew.  I was never going to have another baby.  I have spent the better part of the last year reconciling myself to that idea.  I have three beautiful, healthy, smart kids, a husband who I love dearly and who is the perfect partner for me. It’s dumb to complain about not having four kids right? I mean who wants 4 kids nowadays? No one. Okay, I am sad at the same time every month, but other than that life is good.  I need to get over myself and enjoy my beautiful life.

Then the idea strikes me. What if I am infertile? I am ok with that as an eventuality, but at 36 I am just not ok with the idea that I can no longer have children. It makes me sad. It makes me feel as if I have failed somehow.  And what about my husband?  We married with the idea of having a big family. If I cannot give that to him, then shouldn’t he move on to someone who can?  It isn’t fair that his dream has to die with mine. Of course I am not brave enough to mention this to him. I mean if he hasn’t noticed, I am not going to be the person to bring it up. I am pretty sure that makes me infertile AND evil. I can live with that.  I have to live with that.

Then, about 2 months ago an amazing thing happened.  The opportunity for TWO kids to join our family. I was beyond excited. We talked to our kids about and they were immediately excited about having more siblings. My youngest even made plans for how he would teach his new little sister math.  Now everything seems to be coming together. I will have 5 kids, not four. Obviously this is why I have been through the past few years of hell right. It is so that I would have even more love to give to my children, no matter if they grew inside me or inside someone else. It was a big lesson learned and I spent many nights being thankful for the opportunity to grow and for finally getting the opportunity to have the big family that I have always wanted.

Then, a few weeks later the ball dropped and I had to swallow the fact that my two additions to the family were not going to join us after all.  It’s good news really, since the solution is much better for their overall wellbeing, but now I have to deal with the fact that I am down to three kids again. I am sad, but it’s ok.

And now my period is late. What does that mean?  I  am not happy. I am worried.

The ride of terror

We started our day in Dinosaurland, also known as Vernal, Utah. We explored fossils, visited a dinosaur museum where we excavated a Utahraptor and took pictures with a Stegosaurus. We also watched a pterosaur being painted. We tried to have a conversation with the painters, distinguishing between the Pteranodon and the Pterodactyl has always been a bit challenging for me (I know it’s something about the crest), and I thought that the painters would be able to help out with that. I was wrong,. We left Vernal near one, still contemplating our wonderful morning of paleontological discovery.

Three hours later we entered the Uinta National Forrest, truly the most beautiful spot in the US. The strawberry pinnacles are amazing.  Imagine green hills and mountains covered with neon green grass and conifer trees.  I fell in love and we started talking about moving to this part of the country, starting a farm and just enjoying our days in paradise.  The entire drive into Salt Lake City was filled with stunning scenery and wonderful conversation about family farming.  Salt Lake City was not very impressive after that drive and Lilith decided that she did not like the city at all because it is just so ugly. She thinks that laws should be passed to prevent people from building ugly buildings in beautiful places.  I at least agree that people should not put ugly buildings in pretty places.

We were not impressed with the area around Salt Lake City.  The original plan was to stop in Elko for the night, but it was another ugly town.  Just pulling in to the town made me want to take a shower. I decided to just pick up dinner and find a prettier place to sleep.  We picked up dinner at KFC,  and after smelling the place we decided to eat in the car.  After picking up our order, I spent some time getting the kids organized before starting the next part of the drive.  As I walked around the car, the wind picked up and dark clouds were looming so I decided to get outta there before the weather prevented departure, it was early evening and I felt sure that we could get to the next town by 9pm which is still good timing.  We had half a tank of gas and I decided that should be enough to get to the next town and I did not want to stop for gas in this dusty little Nevada town.  There was a little old lady with luggage and a hitchhiking thumb up. We flew by her at 65mph. I totally understand why you would want to get out of Elko, I couldn’t get out fast enough.

I drove along, appreciating the beautiful desert sunset when I noticed another cloud in the distance. I saw lightning and assumed that we were heading into a storm, not the first storm of the trip and no big deal since we would likely drive through it rather quickly.  The sun set, I am coasting at 80mph and I notice fog in the distance.  I look to the right and see a cloud abruptly interfering with my mountain view.  It is pretty dark now and I am not looking forward to a drive in a dark, foggy, and unfamiliar area.  It’s nice that I am not alone on the road, and after a few minutes I notice a truck sneaking up behind me. I speed up because I don’t like driving near huge trucks and I notice that I am only going 55mph, the speed limit is 75 so I put on the gas.  The next thing that I know the truck puts on the gas too, he is gaining on me and I don’t like it, but I am not worried because we are going uphill and the truck speed limit is much lower than the car speed limit. I keep driving, he keeps gaining. I start feeling uncomfortable because a monster truck in the foggy dessert is chasing me after dark.  Did he notice that I am driving alone with my kids?  I speed up, I am now pushing 80 and this truck will not get off my ass.  I refuse to slow down or stop because I don’t want to be killed by the maniac driving the truck that’s chasing me. This goes on for 10 minutes and I am almost in a panic. I can’t see, there is a truck chasing me, and I notice that the gas hand is lower than I would like it to be.

At this point  a drop of rain hits the windshield. I am happy to see rain because it means that the fog will start to clear.  Soon there is another drop and another.  I have to slow down because I cannot see. I turn the windshield wipers on in the hope that it will help and I will be able to escape the killer truck chasing me.  The windshield wiper starts and what I thought was raindrops spreads across the windshield. I realize that the rainstorm is a bug storm and now I have smeared bug parts all across my windshield.  I am now nauseous, there are dead bugs all over the window so I cannot see, and there is a killer truck chasing me.  In a panic I decide to just slow down and face my fate…hopefully death will come quickly.

The killer driver passed us, I am pretty sure I saw him smirking as he passed.  We finally reached the next town and I pulled over to find a hotel, thinking this was enough excitement for one night.  The thermometer reads 90 and it’s still foggy so I am ready to get inside a room and take a shower.  We exit the freeway and discover that this  town is so small that it has no hotels. No problem, I will just get gas and keep going. As I pull into the gas station I see another guy squinting as he gets gas. Odd, but whatever. I get out of the car to discover that the fog stings. It’s like pumping gas while looking into a steaming pot of water. The fog is steamy. It stings. It sticks. Not fun and still no hotel.  We keep driving for another hour. I am tired and at this point I really do not care what the town or hotel looks like as long as it has a bed.  We eventually arrive in Fernley, Nevada where some genius just built a nice new Comfort Inn and Suites. The room cost 89 bucks…I would have paid more….it was clean and nice. I kissed the ground, thanked the gods for another day of life and decided that I seriously hate Nevada. Reno would have to be the city of gold to overcome this day.

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