Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WW ~ Autumn Walk

Out for one of the last few walks we'll get before the season's change from warm browns, golds and reds of autumn to the cool whites and blues of winter.

NapTime MomTogand then, she {snapped}

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

GF/DF Lasagna with Butternut Squash Sauce

Cold weather brings on the cravings for comfort food, having a strong love of Italian foods has been one of our biggest challenges with our allergies. A few weeks ago Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows put up a post for her Vegan Lasagna with Basil Cashew Cheeze and I just had to try it and since we're not vegan, I went ahead and added in some ground beef, and I omitted the lemon juice.
We haven't had lasagna in over.four.years, it took a little experimenting to get a good pasta sauce down since none of us can have tomatoes, but I did it, and my family LOVES it. They've begged me quite a few times to make it, and it always disappears very quickly. The first batch I made with gold beets, the second was made with red beets. I think the red gave it more of a tomato sauce feel, either way it was YUMMY!

So thank you Angela for the inspiration and without further adieu. . .

Gluten Free Lasagna with Basil Cashew Cheese and Butternut Squash Meat Sauce.


1 package rice noodles. (We use Tinkyada Rice Pasta)
2-3 lb butternut squash
1.5 lb grassfed ground beef
7 generous sized garlic cloves
1/2 white onion, coarsely chopped
1 c. raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes 
1 T. dijon mustard
1/2 c. dried basil or 1.5c fresh basil
1/2 c. nutritional yeast
1/4 c. dried parsley or 3/4c fresh parsley
1/2 c. olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Diced veggies- of any kind.
Zucchini slices


Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise, clean out seeds and put the two halves with the rind up in a casserole dish with about an inch of water. Sprinkle 5 of the garlic cloves around the squash, cover with foil and bake for about an hour at 350 degrees.Chop or shred your veggies (we used carrots and beets this time) Brown the ground beef, mix in with the veggies and set aside.

While your waiting you can prepare the Basil Cashew Cheese sauce.

Put the cashews in a blender along with about 1/4-1/2 cup of the water they soaked in, add in the remaining two garlic cloves, dijon mustard, basil, yeast and salt and pepper. Blend until you get a nice thick consistency, about like ricotta cheese. If your sauce is too runny, add a bit more yeast until desired consistency is reached. Put into a bowl and set aside.

Begin to boil the noodles.

When the squash is soft, scoop it out of the rind and place into the blender, add the five garlic cloves from the pan, the chopped onion, parsley, and olive oil. Blend until creamy, and water if necessary to reach desired consistency.

Mix the butternut squash sauce in with the ground beef and veggies.

Drain the noodles and rinse in cold water, this keeps the rice noodles from sticking together.

Put a small amount of meat sauce in the bottom of a deep casserole dish, then place in noodles and begin to layer noodles, meat and cheese sauce. Continue until your out or you reach the top of the pan. For the last layer I place the zucchini slices on top and spray a bit of olive oil on them. Cover with foil and bake 350 degrees for an hour or until warm and bubbly.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Flavored Coffee

I love flavored coffee's, nothing helps you to feel more cozy on a cold day than waking up to a nice warm pot of {seasonal} flavored coffee and my house smelling divine. I however find that most flavored coffee makes me feel 'off'. The coffee labels don't really tell you what they use to get the flavor in your coffee, they tell you "Natural and Artificial Flavors", leading me to wonder what exactly are the natural and artificial flavors?

While doing some "googling", I ran across this article by Phil Lempert titled How Natural is "natural flavoring?" in the article he states that "The definition of “natural flavor” under the Code of Federal Regulations is: “the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional” (21CFR101.22). Any other added flavor therefore is artificial. (For the record, any monosodium glutamate, or MSG, used to flavor food must be declared on the label as such). Both artificial and natural flavors are made by “flavorists” in a laboratory by blending either “natural” chemicals or “synthetic” chemicals to create flavorings."

In this other article I found on Squidoo, it tells us that " A single natural or artificial flavor can contain many different ingredients; e.g. the artficial "strawberry" flavor contains 49 ingredients, most of which are difficult-to-pronounce chemical compounds." and that "The FDA does not require that flavor companies disclose ingredients as long as all the ingredients are considered "Generally Regarded as Safe." This policy allows flavor companies to protect their secret flavor formulas." GROSS. . .

Ok, that was just two articles I found while spending half an hour on this topic, I defiantly need to do some more research into this. I know that my boys are allergic to most "artificial flavors" and now I'm beginning to understand why, who really knows what goes into them and how can I know they are safe to put into my own body, let alone give to my children. 

Back to the coffee, this morning I created a masterpiece, and a stepping stone into my own world of flavored coffee without the additives. This morning I am drinking a homemade cinnamon spice coffee with almond milk and a hint of agave. My coffee is fair trade,  we do our best to buy Fair Trade whenever possible. Kristen over at Rage Against The Minivan has written a great piece on child slavery and our chocolate supply which you can find here if you are so inclined as to get a glimpse as to what "fair trade" really means, and why you should spend the extra money for it. But before you sit down to read that, you should make a pot of this exquisite coffee for yourself, because you deserve it, because it's easy to do, and because it's not only healthier for you but it really does taste better!

Cinnamon Spice Coffee
Start your coffee as your normally would, I fill my wire basket half full of my favorite fair trade, organic kona blend. Then comes the magic, add
1/2 tsp organic cinnamon
1/4 tsp organic cloves
a dash of organic nutmeg
a dash of organic ginger

Stir together, push the brew button and wallah, home made flavored coffee, and you know exactly what went into it! 

I hope you enjoy this, please, let me know. Also, if you have more information on natural and artificial flavors for me, I would love some reading material!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Organization - My Twelve Step Program - Step Two

October has come and gone, we've been working regularly on keeping up with our laundry, our set days and making sure things don't run together, J and D have been doing a great job with using the washer and dryer and I can only hope that one day their wives will be grateful.

Some days though, are harder than others, and sometimes a full day will slip by me before I realize what has happened. C has been a big mommy's boy the last month, and as he's getting a little older, he is becoming more clingy and attached to me. This includes nap times, I'm lucky if C gets in a full hour before waking back up, I love the attention from him, and I love the snuggles, but it has been leaving my house in a mess and some days leaves me feeling over touched and just worn out by the time he goes to bed.

I have my Ergo on order, and hopefully it will be delivered early this week, allowing me to start getting things done again while holding my boy close and making sure that he stays comfortable. I love my ring sling, but with my boy getting heaver and heaver, and the sling sitting on only one shoulder it has been giving me a ton of back pain.

So we will continue to work on step one this next month, while incorporating in step two, daily chores. We have started helper charts for the boys to know when their laundry day is, now I am going to add in one chore a day, per boy, that they can help around the house with.Here is what their schedules look like.

Monday - Scoop cat litter
Tuesday -Empty dishwasher
Wednesday - Empty downstairs trash
Thursday - Wash clothes and sheets and put away
Friday - Rinse and load dirty dishes
Saturday - Clean bedroom, vacuum floor
Sunday - Rest and play

Monday - Empty dishwasher
Tuesday - Empty upstairs trash
Wednesday - Wash clothes and sheets and put away
Thursday -Rinse and load dirty dishes
Friday - Scoop cat litter
Saturday - Clean bedroom, vacuum floor
Sunday - Rest and play

Perhaps this schedule can free up some time for me, so that I can enjoy more time with my family and less time worrying about things that need to be done around the house.

I'm looking forward to this, lets hope it brings some much needed help, organization and peace to our home.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkin Stuffed Meatloaf

This year Autumn has been absolutely beautiful in Colorado, we got to enjoy a full show of colors followed by the crunching of leaves and now in blows our snow. Winter in the Denver area is usually pretty nice, we'll get a big snowstorm that will leave us with 6-20 inches of beautiful white, sparkly powder all over creating a magical wonderland, only to have the next few days be sunny and warm enough to melt most of the snow, then the process will start all over again. Snowy days are beautiful, and one of my very favorite things along with pumpkins, and pumpkins are in abundance right now, they are great for snuggling with a hot pumpkin latte, baking pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, or our newest venture. . .Pumpkin stuffed meatloaf.

This was really quite easy and quick to throw together, it made the whole house smell so yummy!

1 two to three pound organic pie pumpkin
2 pounds of grassfed ground beef  (or meat of your choice)
1 cup shredded organic carrots
1/2 cup shredded organic zucchini
1 chopped organic yellow beet*
Season to taste

Cut your pumpkin in half, lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and the strings. You can save your seeds to roast.
In a separate bowl mix together the meat, veggies and seasoning with about 1/4 of water (depending on your altitude and the weather). Stuff the pumpkin with the mix, rub the top with a bit of olive oil. Cover with foil and bake 350 degrees for about an hour.

The grease softens the pumpkin and it scoops right out of the rind when you serve up your meatloaf. Not only makes for a yummy addition to normal meatloaf, but it also saves you a pan. My husband and kids LOVED this meal, even my picky boy ate (most of) his pumpkin!

Serve with a side of quinoa.

*Side note, Sam found organic yellow beets 
at the store and couldn't wait to bring them home to try. They tasted almost the same as a normal, red beet, but a little more mild. You could use a red beet in this and it would be just as good, and add in some fun color as well.