Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Raw Walnut Cranberry Kefir Smoothies ~ A Recipe

Here we go.  Smoothie recipe number four.  I plan to share five kefir smoothie recipes so we can all enjoy a different smoothie for every day of the work week.  Although, there might be more than five as seasons change and different produce is available to play with.  Here's a cold-season recipe that is packed with probiotics, antioxidants, protein, fiber, and many other nutrients, specific to what our bodies need this time of year.

A note on homemade kefir
It won't look like store-bought kefir.  The longer you let it ferment, the more rich in probiotics it will be, the lumpier and thicker it will get, and the more watery whey will sink to the bottom.  It will also be more tart the longer you let it ferment because those good probiotics are eating away at the lactose (milk sugar), making it easier for our bodies to digest.  This tartness is why I never drink it plain and always use it in smoothies, dressings, or other recipes.  But!  It is way easier to to make than yogurt and it contains more strands of beneficial bacteria, so that's why I prefer kefir over yogurt.  Want to get your own kefir grains and watch a video that teaches you how to make it?  Click here.

Raw Cranberry Walnut Kefir Smoothies
Makes 5 cups
Blend all ingredients for 45-60 seconds, or until there are no more big chunks.

Other Riddlelove raw kefir smoothies:
Strawberry Cacao

Apple Pie
Blueberry Bliss

Monday, February 27, 2012

Five Firsts With Our Fifth

For this being our fifth baby, there are many firsts, making us almost feel like first-time parents again.  Almost.  

This is the first time we've been able to attempt a home birth.  We have practiced the Bradley Method for every birth and each one could have been born at home, but financially, it has always been cheaper to have a hospital birth.  Until now.  I can't tell you how much peace it brings to know that we won't have to make the nerve-wracking trip home from the hospital.  They are just so little in those car seats!  Personally, hardest part of a hospital birth is to wait until they release us.  It's torturous to crave contact with the rest of my family back home, to want to bond together with the new baby, to help everyone transition into their new roles, but to have to wait until the hospital decides to free us.  What a gift to have the whole process at home!

For the first time, we didn't find out the gender.  The planner that I am must be chilling out a bit.  I had to know what I was having with the other four babies so I could prepare a gender-specific layette.  So we would only need to choose one name.  Either a boy name or a girl name.  It just made sense.  This time around, it's fun to have such a mystery child, though I will admit at times I just wanted to get a pink or blue onsie or two.  But you know what?  This is exciting.

For the first time, we are waiting to name this baby after we meet it.  We've never had the luxury that a home birth brings to wait to name the baby.  I have a few ideas tucked away, but anticipating that moment where we study the baby, pray over him/her (some more), and decide a good name fit after meeting this little one feels so good.

The infant car seat won't be installed until after the birth.  This is most convenient since, thanks to the new California law, our six-year-old will still be in a booster seat for two more years.  This makes that back seat quite snug with three of them (with one in a booster) squeezed back there together.  Keeping that back seat less crowded for as long as possible is ideal.

This is the first pregnancy and newborn that will have the honor of professional photo shoots, thanks to a very generous photog friend.  This makes my heart happy, seeing as the youngest children of large families tend to have the least amount of pictures taken of them.

It is rather strange to have so many firsts with it being our fifth child.  But it feels adventurous, in a way.  I like it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Menu Plan #19 ~ So Basic, Even My Husband & Kids can Take Over

Seeing as baby could come anytime now, this week's menu has been made ASAP (As Simple As Possible) so my husband and kids could take over the reins, should baby decide to greet the world.

To do: Make sourdough English muffins, soak porridge, soak rice for Tuesday night
Snack:  Raw Cheese & Apple Slices

Breakfast:  Soaked Porridge & Eggs
Snack:  Fried Mush & Orange Slices

To do: Thaw chuck roast for Friday night
Lunch:  Nibble Trays
Snack: Leftovers from Nibble Trays
Dinner:  Gluten-Free Turkey Pesto Pasta & Brussels Sprouts (using Coconut Oil instead of olive oil & whole cane sugar instead of refined sugar)

Snack:  Raw Orange Julius (using Kefir instead of Milk)
Dinner:  French Onion Soup & Sourdough English Muffin Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

To do: Soak sourdough pancakes
Breakfast:  Soaked Porridge & Eggs
Snack:  Cranberry Walnut Kefir Smoothies (recipe coming soon!)
Lunch:  Baked Potatoes with Broccoli, Cheese, & Bits of Pastured Bacon
Snack:  Fried Mush & Mixed Crispy Nuts

Breakfast:  Pancake Bar
Snack:  Pumpkin Pie Kefir Smoothies (recipe coming soon!)
Lunch:  Pancake Sandwiches
Snack:  Raw Cheese & Apple Slices

To do:  Menu Plan
Snack:  Dates & Crispy Nuts
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Leftovers
(Sunday is my day off)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Pre-Spring Visit

If you came over for a visit today, you would probably find me in the kitchen, bulk-cooking away to pack that freezer full of easy things to eat once baby comes.  We'd sit at the kitchen table for a bit, maybe with some tea, where this happy orchid stands, a Valentine's pressy from the hubs.  I would tell you how I've always wanted an orchid and that I hope I don't kill it.

Then, we would step outside, and we'd look at the tulips, another flower I've always wanted but didn't have until now.  I might get a little giddy with anticipation for those daffodil blooms.

And then, we'd stop to admire the mint coming back from it's winter's sleep.

We would hear the buzzing of bees, zipping around the maple blossoms, and it would feel like spring really is around the corner.  One of my kids would probably ask to tap it for syrup and I would (again) remind them that sugar maples don't grow in our neck of the woods, and we would be a little sad for a minute.  We love maple syrple.

I would take a deep breath, and we would head down the hill as I start gasping for air after the first few steps.  It's called being full-term, folks.  We would glance at the grapevines, desperate for a good pruning, and I would want to stop and help them, but then just might collapse with exhaustion.  So we continue down the hill.

We would find my husband planting our six new apple trees, and most likely this guy would be with him, working as hard as his face shows (love ya, Graham).

I would start gushing about each kind of heirloom tree: one will have fruit with pink flesh, one is a dessert apple that hales from 1918 England, one will bear apples that taste like they have cinnamon in them, and that we will have apples for eating fresh, baking, and making cider.  You will be told you'll have to come over and harvest with us because sharing the harvest with friends is always sweeter.

Then, I would remember that I left the refried beans in the kitchen alone for too long and I might whimper a little about trudging this distended body back up the hill.  But then I would remember that movement is healthy, so up we would go, to tend to the beans.  We might talk about our plans for the upcoming spring, what we want to plant, a new tasty recipe we tried out, and some hilarious things the kids have said lately.  Before you could leave, my kids would talk your ear off, sharing all the latest and greatest in their lives.  You might catch every fourth word because they'd be talking all at once, and your car would never feel so peaceful as you drive home after four boisterous children have finished filling you in on their lives.

Thanks for visiting.  I'm glad you stopped by!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Blueberry Bliss ~ A Raw Kefir Smoothie Recipe

If you've ever taken a gander at our weekly menu plans, you know we drink a kefir smoothie every day for snack.  So far I've shared our strawberry cacao and apple pie raw kefir smoothie recipes, now on to our mainstay, the blueberry smoothie.  It's probably the most requested of all the smoothies in this house, which works for me because it only takes a couple minutes to whip up.

Raw Blueberry Kefir Smoothie
Makes 5 cups
Blend all ingredients on high for 45-60 seconds.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Menu Plan #18 ~ Simple & So Very Basic

It's the home stretch, ladies and gents.  Two more weeks until baby.  I.  Am.  Tired.  But always hungry.  So here comes another menu plan, as simple as I can get it without compromising our health.  Too much.

To do: Soak Sourdough English Muffins, thaw ground beef for Wednesday night
Breakfast:  Soaked Porridge & Eggs
Lunch:  Nibble Trays
Snack: Fried Mush
Dinner:  Winter Veggie Melt with Sausage

To do:  Make Sourdough English Muffins, thaw spaghetti sauce
Snack:  Raw cheese & Apple Slices
Dinner:  Slow Cooker Brisket

To do:  Thaw soup for Friday night
Breakfast:  Grain-Free Orange Muffins (freeze leftovers for after baby)
Snack:  Blueberry kefir smoothies
Lunch:  Hummus Flowers
Snack:  Leftovers from hummus flowers

To do:  Soak porridge, thaw ground beef for Saturday night
Snack:  kefir smoothies
Dinner:  Spaghetti with Rice Noodles & salad with Ranch Dressing

To do: Soak sourdough pancakes & rice & beans for Saturday night
Breakfast:  Soaked Porridge & Eggs
Snack:   kefir smoothies
Lunch:  Baked potatoes with Steamed Broccoli, Cheese Sauce, & Bits of Pastured Bacon
Snack:  Fried Mush

Breakfast:  Pancake Bar
Snack:  kefir smoothies
Lunch: Pancake Sandwiches 

To do:  Menu plan
Snack:  Orange & Raw Cheese Slices
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Leftovers
(Sunday is my day off)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Slow Cooker White Bean & Greens Soup ~ A Recipe

As I've said before, Tuesdays are my slow cooker dinner days, because Tuesdays can get crazy.  Here is a soup that takes 10 minutes to assemble, is super frugal, and any leftovers freeze well.  Not to mention it's GAPS-friendly and gluten-free and your family is getting a healthy amount of protein, iron, fiber, trace minerals, immune boosters, and tummy soothers.  According to my calculations (said in my nerdiest voice), each serving costs about $1.  If you really need to cut corners, skip the sausage.  That works with the ol' grocery budget, yes?

Slow Cooker White Bean & Greens Soup
Serves 10
  • 1 1/2 cups Navy beans, soaked
  • 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound sausage of choice, cooked and sliced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 bunches greens of choice (spinach, collard, chard, a mixture...)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Celtic sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. 12-24 hours before assembling soup, soak beans in lots of water and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar in a non-metalic bowl (the longer you can soak them, the better).  Cover.
  2. Rinse beans thoroughly and place in crock pot.  Add stock, sausage, thyme, red pepper flakes, vinegar, & greens.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
  3. Right before serving, stir in garlic, salt, and pepper.  Serve as-is (nice and chunky) or first blend with an immersion blender to consistency of choice (totally smooth, kinda chunky, or anywhere in between).  I do suggest spooning as many pieces of sausage out before blending and adding them in afterwards.  It's prettier and yummier.  Just trust me on this one.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A New Site to See

Hello, friends.  I just wanted to share with you a new-to-me website called Be @ Home.  They have a weekly "best of the web" post and they contacted us, requesting to feature Riddlelove!  If you're looking for fun inspiration, or have a blog and would like to be featured on their site, give 'em a look-see.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Simple Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Orange Muffins ~ A Recipe

There are oh so many reasons why I love this recipe.  Besides the gentle, pleasing taste and angel food cake likeness of the texture, these lovelies are quick to make and the clean-up is a breeze.  Oh, and they freeze beautifully, so they are being added to my freezer inventory before baby comes (in about three weeks!  Eek!).  Some of my kids don't enjoy other recipes I've made with coconut flour, but all four of them (and Jeremy!) enjoy these muffins.  Victory!

It almost feels wrong to call them muffins because they are so cake-like, but I don't want to feel badly about eating them for breakfast, so they are muffins.  However, if you top them with your favorite vanilla frosting and maybe decorate them with a sprinkling of finely grated orange zest, they would make amazing cupcakes.

Grain Free Orange Muffins
Prep time: 5 minutes, bake time: 25 minutes, makes 24 muffins
  1. Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease muffin cups or use muffin liners.  Place all ingredients in blender and blend on high for 45-60 seconds, or until well blended.  If it still doesn't look completely mixed, give it a stir with a spoon.
  2. Pour batter into muffin pans about 2/3 of the way full.  Bake for 25 minutes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day from the Riddles

The happiest of Valentines days to you and yours.  Today, I'm celebrating by officially being full term! Thanks to my sweet friend, Myriah Grubbs for taking my very first maternity shots right here on Riddlelove Ranch.  We love you sweet, mysterious baby, and greatly anticipate your arrival.

I'm sharing this at Farm Girl Friday, Gratutuesday.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Spinach & Bacon Oven Omelette ~ A Recipe

Some mornings call for something special.  Not necessarily because it's a weekend, usually because we just need a lil extra love to start our day on a happy note.  This is our favorite omelette.  It's hardy, packed full of flavor, protein, and iron, and perfect for an early spring morning before you head out into the cold to plant trees, prune, start an early garden, or just run around town like a crazy person.  This is a great dish to bring to a brunch.  It can be assembled the night before so you can throw it in the oven as soon as you wake up.  Also?  The leftovers heat up beautifully.

Spinach & Bacon Oven Omelette
Prep time: 10 minutes, Bake time: 50 minutes, Serves 10-12

  1. Heat oven to 350º.  Place butter in a 9x13 pan and stick in the oven to melt.  Meanwhile, beat eggs, creme fraiche, milk, cheese, onions, and salt.  Add bacon and mix briefly.
  2. Once the butter is melted in the pan, take it out of the oven and tilt it around to coat the bottom of the pan.  Place spinach in pan evenly.  Pour egg mixture over spinach.  Don't be alarmed if all the eggs go to the bottom; they'll puff up around the spinach as it bakes.  Return to oven and bake 50 minutes, or until slightly browned on the top.  Serve warm and grind some black pepper on top (optional).

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Real Food Menu Plan #17 ~ Valentine's Week!

It's a big week here on the homestead.  Not only is Tuesday Valentine's Day, I will also be officially full-term!  But the highlight of this week is our son's eighth birthday!  We let our kids choose their birthday menu, so Monday might look a little different than the rest of this simplified week.

Monday (Our son's 8th birthday!)
To do: soak sourdough pancakes & English muffins, thaw ground beef for Wednesday night
Breakfast: Grain-Free Waffles & Breakfast Sausage
Snack: Orange Julius (made with kefir instead of milk)
Snack:  Crispy Almonds
Dinner: Pepperoni Pizza with Sourdough Crust

Tuesday (Valentine's Day!)
To do: Make English muffins, soak porridge & kidney beans, that stew meat for Thursday
Breakfast: Pink Pancakes
Snack: Frozen Raspberries with a dollop of Creme Fraiche on top

To do: Thaw ground beef for Friday
Breakfast: Soaked Porridge & scrambled eggs
Snack:  Fried Mush
Dinner:  Simple Chili (freeze leftovers for after baby)

To do:  Soak porridge, thaw ground beef for Saturday
Snack: Blueberry Kefir Smoothies
Lunch:  Nibble Tray
Snack:  Leftover Nibble Tray

Breakfast:  Soaked Porridge & Scrambled Eggs
Snack:  Kefir Smoothies
Lunch:  Leftover Stew with Sourdough English Muffins
Snack:  Fried Mush
Dinner:  Bunless cheeseburgers over salad, potato wedges, gluten-free butterscotch pudding

Snack:  Leftover scones
Lunch:  Out with friends
Dinner:  Sour Cream Noodle Bake (using rice noodles & creme fraiche instead of sour cream)

Breakfast:  Scrambled eggs & pastured bacon
Snack:  Nixed nuts
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Leftovers
(Sunday is my day off)

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'm sharing this at Monday Mania, Real Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday.

Friday, February 10, 2012

So Close

Twenty-five more days, more or less.  That's all the time left before we become a family of seven.  Figuring it was time to unpack and clean all things baby, two of our daughters jump up on the bed, oohing and cooing over all the tiny pieces we fold and tuck away for stand-by.

I prepare a little basket full of wipes and a bottle of cleanser to set by our bed, ready and waiting to clean tiny buns.  A changing pad sits between the bed and dresser, standing at the ready.

Little hands help label what transforms into the baby's layette and we fill it up, accordingly.  It all begins to sink in.

Three dear friends have lost their precious babies in the womb while I've carried ours in mine.  Sometimes the pain is almost too much, watching our sweet friends in agony.  Those babies were to be friends with ours.  They were going to grow up together.  Without realizing it, there were many times I stopped allowing myself to enjoy this pregnancy.  Guilt had set in.  It's not right for those babies to leave us.  How can I celebrate and be so happy when my sweet friends are in such pain?  Now, at the end of this time when baby and I share my middle, I feel a slow, soft, gentle acceptance to allow the good feelings in.  To celebrate this amazing little life that's just about to greet the world.  To daydream, to plan, and to prepare for his or her arrival.  To be happy.  To be thankful.  To love.  To embrace.  To receive the love showered on baby and I from so many friends and family, without feeling badly about it.  To even take first-ever maternity shots offered by a very talented friend.  Learning to mourn loss and embrace life at the same time is hard, but I would hate to miss either one.

Sweet baby, I love you and can't wait to see you.

I'm sharing this at Gratituesday.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Real Food Valentines ~ Gluten-Free Pink Alfredo with Hearts

We've got our Valentine's breakfast menu, now let's get ready for dinner.  Did ya get yer beets yet?  We have great plans for them.  Our family loves eating this pink pasta for dinner every February the 14th.  I love special dinners that don't require more-than-usual prep.  Let's get right to it, shall we?

Pink Alfredo with Hearts
Prep time: 10 minutes, Bake time (for the beets): 40 minutes, serves 6-8
  • 3 small beets or 1-2 large ones
  • 1 package rice noodles of choice, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 1 cup cream (raw is preferred)
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375º.  Now cook pasta according to package.  As pasta cooks, cut tops off beets and poke a couple holes through them with a fork.  Place them top-down on a baking sheet or glass pan and bake smaller ones for about 25 minutes or larger ones for up to 1 hour.  You will know they're done when the peel easily slides off the beet using your fingers (be careful not to burn yourself!).
  2. Carefully peel the beets and cut beets in cylinders.  From the cylinders, use a butter knife to cut them into hearts.  Set aside.
  3. Once pasta is done cooking, drain and return to pot.  Add butter,  cream, and cheese & stir.  Add heart-shaped beets to make the sauce pink, as well as the nutmeg & pepper.  Stir gently.  Sprinkle extra parmesan cheese on top of each serving if desired.  Serve warm.


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