Saturday, October 11, 2014

Boozy Beany Bacon Chili

Rich hunts and I needed a good recipe to use up some of the deer meat we had in the freezer.  I found a venison chili recipe on that formed the base of this recipe.  It is a family favorite, and Lucy often asks for her deer chili.     This isn't your traditional chili flavor, but we adore it.  Don't worry about the wine with little ones, the alcohol cooks off while leaving a great flavor.

Boozy Beany Bacon Chili

1/2 large red onion, chopped
4 cloves minced garlic
3 Tbs maple syrup
1 1/2 cups red wine (like a cab)
4 Tbs red wine vinegar
6 oz can tomato paste
4 cups chicken or beef broth
2 tsp cumin
1 Tbs chili powder
2 tsp chipotle chili powder (optional)
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
salt to taste 
12 slices bacon
1- 1.5 lb ground meat (we use venison usually)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chili beans
1 can ranch style beans

Cook bacon and reserve about 1 TBS grease.  Set bacon aside and crumble when cool.  Brown ground meat in bacon grease.  Cook onion and garlic. I usually just do the ground meat, onion and garlic together in the skillet.

Add your cooked ground meat, onion, garlic mix to a large stockpot or Dutch oven.  Add the maple syrup, wine, vinegar, tomato paste, broth, spices, crumbled bacon and beans.  Heat over high til it gets bubbly, then turn down and simmer until the liquid has reduced to the thickness of chili you prefer.  I usually simmer for at least 45 minutes.  

Serve with your favorite chili fixings.  We like shredded cheese and fritos.  This can easily be made a day or more in advanced, as it tastes better after the flavors have had time to meld.  

The optional spices can make this pretty spicy so adjust accordingly to taste.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Hey I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything's right

Well maybe not everything, but close enough for today. This is me committing to the Little Rock half marathon 2015. For real this time.

The last year has had it's challenges and exercise has fallen way off even the back burner, and it is time to get back out there.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Combating Cold and Flu Season with Elderberry Syrup and Gummies

Elderberries have been shown to have antiviral and antibacterial properties, and to enhance our immune systems.  Here's a link to an abstract for one study, and another one.  There's quite a bit of info out there if you're the researching type.

Elderberry syrup can be purchased at most health food stores, some pharmacies and online.  However, it's super easy to make at home and Lucy thinks it's fun to help make "medicine."

I use the recipe from Wellness Mama, although I usually increase the spices a bit and always try to use fresh ginger.    You want to make sure and use local, raw honey, not the kind you buy in the cute bear at the grocery store.  Here's what you need- honey, dried elderberries (I like these), cinnamon, cloves (whole or powdered is fine), and fresh ginger.  If you're making gummies, you need a good quality gelatin like this one from Great Lakes.  A mold is fun but not necessary. You could always pour it into a jelly roll pan or baking dish and cut into squares.

You boil the elderberries and spices in the about 4 cups of water, and then reduce heat and simmer for about an hour.

Then you strain out the solids, make sure and smush the solids in the strainer to get all the liquid out.

Pour into a jar (reserving 1 cup if you want to go on to make gummies)

Take 1/2 - 1 tsp daily for kids, and 1 Tbs daily for adults. Increase that to every couple hours during an active infection.

If you're making gummies, use the cup of reserved syrup and follow the rest of Wellness Mama's directions.  I just poured the syrup, water and gelatin all into a bowl and whisked. It had a few clumps I had to pick out but otherwise worked well.  Put the mold on a cookie sheet, chill an hour or so and you've got germ-fighting candy!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Today I should be

 25 weeks pregnant, but I had a miscarriage at 8 weeks in May. Today I should be 8 weeks pregnant, but I had a miscarriage 2 weeks ago.

It seems that pregnancy loss is right up there with politics and religion on the list of things you don't talk about. But that is wrong. For any mother, or father, who has lost a potential baby it deserves to be spoken about. 

My two lost little ones each have a story, & I will tell them soon. But for today it is enough to acknowledge that they existed,  however briefly. 

I wish I had the ultrasound picture from this most recent little Nugget,  but the ultrasound tech did not offer and I didnt ask.  

My keepsakes from our May Nugget. 

I don't write this post so that anyone will feel sorry for me. I write this so that any other woman who is going through this or has experienced it will know that it is OK and not something to be ashamed of.  I am okay. I have beautiful family and a blessed life. I am strong and have a wonderful husband by my side. And Baby Morris #3? Time will tell.

Friday, September 19, 2014

From Vegan to Beef Heart

All the credit for the title goes to my friend Kendra. She was picking at me when I posted a pic of a beef heart on my Facebook.  

So as you may remember, I was vegetarian and actually almost completely vegan for awhile.  I had several reasons - concern for animal welfare, environmental impact of factory farming, health, and it was cheaper to boot.   This ended when I was pregnant with Fletcher.  With Lucy, I had a pretty strong aversion to meat, but with Fletcher I craved it.  I addressed my animal welfare and environmental concerns, as well as health concerns, by sourcing most our meat from local farmers.  I feel much better about eating a pig that I saw happily hanging out a few days earlier on the farmer's Facebook page.

After Fletcher was born, I started having some concerning health symptoms, as well as a worsening of some previously mild ones.  It's a long saga and I still have no diagnosis or competent help from my doctors, but I'll save that for another day.  My frustration with my care and my concern about my health sent me straight to the University of Google to earn my degree in What's Wrong With Me with a minor in How Can I Fix It.

Enter the Paleo Approach, and more specifically the Autoimmune Protocol, commonly known as AIP.  This book is intense.  I am not a total dummy, but I really had to focus and get my mind in study mode to read it.  The science is sound, and the author is brilliant.

  So what is it?  It's a very strict elimination diet based on the premise that autoimmune disease is largely impacted by the health of our digestive systems, and that what we eat or don't eat can exacerbate or ameliorate symptoms.   Basically you follow the plan until you feel better, then you slowly start reintroducing foods and see how you do with them.  I have put off doing this for a year, but in that year I've spent hours researching it and preparing in case I did end up needing to try it.  The reason I am hesitant is because my gut is great.  I don't suffer from GI issues, so it's hard to get on board with the train of thought that my gut could be causing or contributing to my overall health.  I'm finally ready to give it a shot.  Other than being difficult, it can't hurt and could potentially help.  Plus I'm never one to shy away from a challenge.  I've been following the plan about 85% all month, but in the next few weeks I'll be jumping in with both feet for a 100% compliant period of probably 60-90 days.

So the sad part (aka what I won't be eating)-
-seeds and seed based spices
-processed foods
-nightshades (peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants)
-vegetable oils (can have olive, coconut, palm oil)

Yeah, I know.  I'm not doing this for fun. I'm mourning the loss, at least temporarily, of pretty much everything "normal" and tasty to eat.

So what does that leave?  Lots of local pastured meat, seafood, vegetables, some fruit, and......that's pretty much it. Thankfully there are several cookbooks and lots of great AIP blogs for creative recipe ideas.  And where does the beef heart come in?  This plan calls for eating organ meat and offal (oh the irony of that term),  I have made burgers using beef heart.  And you know what? They were rich and delicious! I'm sure Rich wishes he had a normal southern wife that cooked him chicken spaghetti, ritz cracker chicken and the like but he's stuck with me.  Insert evil cackle here as I think about the beef tongue and oxtail in the freezer.

I'll keep you posted when I actually start the plan fully.  I plan to blog about what I'm eating and if it is making any difference.  Because if I feel the same after a few months of eating this way, you can bet your caboose I'll be back on the chocolate and tomatoes.   I'm skeptical, but hopeful.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dusting off the ole blog

So's been awhile.   I don't know where to start really.   I've been feeling like I need a voice, an outlet, and blogging seemed like a better option than annoying my friends and husband constantly so here I am.     What's new in the last 18 months?

There are 4 of us now.

I have more wrinkles, more gray hair, less sanity.  Rich just has less hair.  Lucy is brilliant, beautiful and amazing and I'm not at all biased.  Fletcher melts my heart and brings joy to my heart like I've never experienced before.

Otherwise, we're pretty much business as usual.  We are still in Maumelle.  I'm still a pharmacist, although I'm still not sure what I want to be when I grow up.  I run some, not much, not very far, but some.  I still cook weird stuff, although now it's more Paleo than Vegetarian/Vegan, for reasons I'll likely get into in another post.

There are a million more things to say, but this will do to break the fast.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

30 Days of Pinterest-Day 19: Vegan Banana-Nut Pancakes

I pinned this recipe for banana-nut waffles and realized that I actually had the cookbook it came from.  It is the Banana-Nut Waffles from Veganomicon, an awesome vegan cookbook, page 75.

I'm being lazy and not typing out the recipe, but it is in the first link.  I made these as pancakes instead of waffles. They turned out really good. You want to make sure and chop your nuts very fine unless you want large chunks in your pancakes.  I am going to freeze a batch of these because they're perfect to grab and send with Lucy for breakfast at daycare.