Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Week 2 of Gluten-Free Rawness

So... Week two.
Not as easy as week one.
There was a lot of grace on week one.
In week two, my family realized their usual fare hadn't been tasted in a while.
They noticed there had been no bread for far longer than they were comfortable with.
They didn't like this.
One bit.

On Sunday, I had it with We haven't had a slice of bread in a million yeeeeears!
Just one piece of toast PLEEEEEEASE!
I just want a real meal!
What are you trying to do to us?!
My kids had a hard time with the food changes, too.

So I made them (gluten-free, un-raw) quesadillas and I fixed myself a lonely plate of vegetable slices with tahini and a jar of Black Sesame Jewel for lunch and sat in a corner to be left with my raw decision in peace and solitude.

Wouldn't you know it?  Our two-year-old sat next to me, grabbed a carrot, dipped it into tahini and ate.
And proceeded to eat most of the carrots and all of my tahini.

Yes, I took a picture.  It was momentous.

Then our four-year-old stole the rest of my carrots.  I wouldn't be lying if I said my eyes got a little tearish.  The miracles kept coming.  Our son asked for some of my drink and loved it.  And the crowning moment was when my husband even had a glass and liked it.

This was nothing short of divine intervention.  Jesus loves me, this I know!
Little did they know it just fanned the flame of rawness in my heart for the whole next week...

We tried a lot of Ani's "mylks."  Let me tell you, we loved 90% of them.  And let me also tell you that "we" really does mean the whole family.

Made in Mexico Mylk was amazing.

I love the texture vanilla beans bring to these mylks.

But to my surprise, the most favorite of all so far was the Beautifying Pumpkin Mylk.

The frothy head made it feel like a latte-esque treat, and since we were growing tired of everything tasting like dates, I used grade B maple syrup to sweeten the drink instead.

I dabbled into Ani's "Save the Chick" dishes.  They are incredibly attractive, but since we are a pro-egg family and my kids will take no substitute, we will stick with the real (cooked) kind.  If I ever go to another raw food party, I think I'll bring a dish of this to share:

Spanish Scramble
This week I also learned that most raw dishes are named as an imitation of a traditional dish.  My kids don't buy it.  Especially when it comes to pudding.  If it doesn't taste or feel like the pudding they are familiar with, it isn't pudding.  I respect that.  I learned this after serving the cacao pudding and my kids emotionally informed me that is was  not pudding.  So, the following day I called the Luscious Lemon Pudding Lemony Breakfast.  They bought it.  And even liked it!  Tonight we tried the Carob Pudding (only I used cacao.  Carob has no place here) and called it Chocolate Banana Pudding since it's only made of avocados, bananas, and cacao powder (when I make it), but only half of the brood finished their bowls.  You win some, you lose some.

On a side note, I noticed a shaky, light-headedness right around 4:00 after the all-raw mornings and afternoons.  A craving of anything cooked or meaty comes over me, and if I don't do something about it, once I eat dinner two hours later, my blood sugar does a massive plummet and I have to sit and recover for next to an hour.  It was no good.  So I've begun to set out cheese and tortilla chips for our last snack before dinner and that seems to even things out.

As far as the un-raw but gluten-free dinners go, there was a dish I came up with last week that I wasn't sure how it would be received, but it quickly and surprisingly became a new family favorite.

The recipe, along with more pictures of it will be shared another day.
This mama is happy about bedtime.
The end.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Our Reasons for Raw and Gluten Free

When we had our first baby over nine years ago (it is craziness that it's been that long), I thought we were a pretty healthy family.  I made most of our food (with white flour and refined sugar), we used lots of canned beans and tomato sauce (can you say, BPA?), and we ate fresh fruits and veggies.  I hadn't done any reading on the importance of organic, but my cheap frugal side said ain't no way.

When I was 25 and pregnant with our third baby, I stumbled upon The Maker's Diet and life as we knew it started to change.  After several books and food staple changes later, we have become a real food, no-refined-anything family, and I can't tell you how many good changes I have personally experienced: weight loss (on a whole fat diet), boosted energy, better moods, less allergies and sickness...  You know the list.

Last month, our church hosted a Wellness Seminar that was so re-aligning.  I learned some new things and was reminded of very important information.  I agreed with 90% of what was said, which is happy.  There was a whole session dedicated to gluten.  I honestly haven't done that much research on it, so it was a welcome bit of input.  As the symptoms of what gluten sensitivity was listed, I immediately thought of what my son has been recently experiencing.  Irritability, bloatedness, digestion issues, fatigue...  It all started to make sense.  After the onslaught of refined holiday goodies and (whole grain) baked goods for breakfasts most every chilly winter morning, his mood and body had changed.  He told me his stomach hurt every night for two weeks.  His stomach looked totally distended at the end of the day, but his extremities looked really thin.  I knew he was getting lots of nutrition, but his body didn't seem to be absorbing it.  I soak most of our grains, nuts and seeds, so the needed phytase enzyme was being released.  What was left?  Gluten.  So, for the next couple months, our family is going off gluten.  As best as possible.  And to boost any missing enzymes and to help digestion, we are eating raw for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

It's been a week so far.  I am going through Ani's Raw Food Kitchen for the first two-thirds of the day.  The first breakfast we tried, Good Morning Muesli, was so pretty.  Jer and I liked it.  The kids?  Not so much.

It's helped (decrease the whining) to tell the kids we are going to taste test every recipe in the book and I need them to try it all so I can keep notes of what we want to eat again.  They have a job.  Taste-testing is a serious, esteemed role around here.

They're doing their part, I'm doing mine.  My copy of this book is getting massively scribbled on.  I might be the only one who understands the notes, though...

Since smoothies are the easiest way to get greens down my kids, they are used to every one looking, well, green.

Except for ones with cacao.  Carob Strawberry Bliss (substituted with raw cocoa powder because carob isn't chocolate.  Sorry.) was a huge hit.

We've tried some of the raw oatmeal, too.  The Almond Cinnamon one was a hit!

Surprisingly, the Banana Raisin Oatmeal (drizzled with grade B maple syrup)... wasn't.  I liked it, though.

It's been almost two weeks since we started this experiment.  After only five days, my son's stomach stopped hurting at night and his bloatedness has gone way down.  Personally, my, emm, muffin top-ishness has started to flatten.  This is oh so happy.  At the end of last week, we went to Chipotle with some friends and my son had a quesadilla with a white flour tortilla.  Wha?!  I missed that little hick-up.  Guess what?  His stomach hurt that night.

I'm hoping after this season of high-density nutrition, our son's body will be able to detox and then handle the occasional soaked/sprouted whole grain food without his stomach bothering him.  

In the meantime, I'll be checking in and sharing here about our findings.  One week down, seven to go...

I'm sharing this at Simple Lives Thursday.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Our son is turning seven.
Our son is rad.
I used raw cream and happy, naturally-dyed beeswax candles.
I am rad.

He wanted to have a sleepover to celebrate his birthday and, after living in a trailer for eight months, the opportunity to finally be able to host a sleepover is a big deal.  But our house is small, so he invited two of his friends over.  Let me just say that seven-year-old boy conversations are one of the funniest things I have ever eavesdropped on.  Oh, the many laughs that had to be stifled.

Now that it's 11:00pm and the boys are finally settling down for the night, I feel it necessary to share with you a few of the comments/conversations that took place tonight.  Disclaimer: if you follow me on Twitter, this is going to be redundant.

(While pillow fighting)
Let's be men!  Men take their shirts off!

Does your brother beat box?
My brother wears boxers.

(The lights go out, but the fire in the wood stove is still glowing.)
I feel like it's the 1970's.

Our sheep are going to get married and have lambs.
When will they get married?
In a year or something when they're older, but they're already in love.

{Friend} doesn't look like himself when he's sleeping.
I know.  I can't believe he's asleep.  We're having the time of our lives, man.

This might have been the most hilarious night of my life.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Trials & Triumphs ~ A Tale of Margret the Pullet

This is Margret. 
Margret is from Texas.
Margret was lovingly given to a friend, but these friends already had chickens, and their chickens didn't very much appreciate the Texan invasion.
So Margret was taken to the Riddle Ranch in hopes of a fresh start in California.
There was a little girl who fell in love with Margret and gave her more attention than she cared to receive.
Margret wasn't the only little pullet who traveled from Texas to California.
Margret had a friend named Fluffy.
But Fluffy was eaten.
By our dog.
We thought we lost Margret also.
She had disappeared for a day and a night.
The little girl was heartbroken and gutturally sobbed for two.  Straight.  Hours.
The next day, a blur and the sound of a chicken ran past the little girl.
Margret was running for her life.
From our dog.
The little girl went into hysterics at the surprising fact that Margret was still alive.
But she wouldn't be for long unless a person could get to her before the dog.
The little girl's mother, with he help of older siblings, rescued the young hen that still chirped instead of clucked.
Margret went straight into the little girl's squeezy arms and the weary chicken and elated girl danced and twirled and cuddled, and the little girl sang at the top of her lungs, Togeeeeeeeether!  Togeeeeeeether!  Together agaaaaain!

Now Margret (who now clucks instead of chirps) shares a patch of (protected) earth with two lambs, Shamrock and Blossom.

After a week of sharing life with the lambs, Margret has decided that she is, in fact, a lamb as well.
Shamrock and Blossom are her flock.
Now, Margret goes wherever Shamrock and Blossom go.
When the lambs nap, Margret naps.
When the lambs run, so does Margret.
When the lambs bottle feed, Margret gets very put out that she doesn't get a bottle of her own, and often, Margret flies atop the mother's back in angry protest as the mom tries to feed those lambs.
But Margret is safe now, with a very puppyish reminder of the dangers that anxiously await on the other side of the run.

So Margret stays with her flock of two lambs until March when we welcome a dozen chicks to the ranch.
Hopefully Margret won't try to ram them.

I'm sharing this at Simple Lives ThursdayBarn Hop, & Farm Girl Friday.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Before and After, a Virtual Housewarming Party

So, I kind of skipped the part of the story when we moved out of the trailer and into our cabin and went right into filling our pasture with livestock (kind of).  Things have settled down a bit (enough to slip in a little update, at least).  And now... welcome to our housewarming party.  We are going to jump back in time periodically so we can fully appreciate the transformation this tiny cabin underwent.  Before we start, let it me known that we used the cheapest materials we could find.  Because my husband has impeccable taste, it's safe to say things came together quite nicely.  Let's start at my favorite part of the house.  Remember this kitchen?

Well now it looks like this:

We kept the cabinets, painted them, and used new hardware.  Can you believe what a transformation that makes?  And the counter tops?  It's not granite.  Formica has come a long, long way.  As you can see, it is a working kitchen, and this is about as clean as it gets.

Next, let's move over to the dining area and the laundry room being built.  That window was added because there is a great view of a favorite peak of ours that can be seen through there.

And now...

We hung some curtains in front of the laundry/storage/utility area

because the laundry/storage/utility area looks like this:

How about the hot husband, er, bathroom?

And now (although there are aspects of the last picture I like far better than the new one *cat calls*):

If you have been noticing some unfinished aspects of the cabin, that is because there are some unfinished aspects about the cabin.  It's still a work in progress.

This was our bedroom,

And now this is our bedroom.  Only there is currently a bed in it.  This picture is a few weeks old.

The kids' room before:

and the kids' room today.

Lastly, the living room.  Then...


Do you want to know the most amazing part of this story?  We didn't just get here by living in a fifth-wheel for eight months.  There would be no way we would be living out our dreams on this little five-acre piece of earth without the tremendous gifts of encouragement and support by dear family and friends who stood by us and selflessly (and unexpectedly) invested into us financially and with hours of skilled labor.  We so feel our Father's amazing, graceful love towards us through the outrageously wonderful people he has placed in our lives.  This place is dedicated to His good pleasure.  We welcome Him here.  We open our hearts and homestead to His perfect plans.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


We have welcomed Shamrock's "wife" into the herd.  The herd of Shamrock.  Meet Blossom.

Isn't she perfectly gangly?

Shamrock looks like a giant compared to her.  After all, she is only three days old!

Have you noticed that all the pictures were taken outside?  That's because no more animals live in our home.  Sanity has returned to the Riddle homestead.

I'm sharing this at Farmgirl Friday.


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