Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Candida Diet and Being Vegan

In this house we eat healthy or so I thought... I buy organic when we can afford it, whole grains, no processed foods etc. But when the hubby starts feeling tired all the time, feeling 'fuzzy' in the brain, and a load of other symptoms, then its time to call someone. There is a local natural doctor that came highly recommended so off we went to him. The diagnosis? Candida and to much of it!!!!

If you have ever read much about candida you can see we all have in in our systems, but to much of something isn't good. My hubby had an over load of it! So much so that his adrenals were shot and thyroid too. That explained why he was tired and fuzzy in the head for sure. So what to do?

The doctor gave him some drops to help kill it off but he had to change his diet. Woah... what now? We eat healthy! So I'm sure this was not a big deal.... but it was.
He had to get rid of some main things: Soy, sugar, peanuts, dairy and starch. There was a huge list he gave us of can and can't foods, I was at a loss. All my great recipes and menu planning for the week went out the window. (Side note: I am the vegan one he will eat vegan most of the time but will eat meat when we go out to dinner. But since I cook all the meals he essentially is vegan by association :)

Soy was a shocker to me, no tofu??? I love my tofu scramble and tofu in my Indian dishes. What now?? Substitute for beans or lentils, ok for the Indian food or other recipes but the tofu scramble was just gone. He was eating eggs instead and since they came from a local farm that was better then no eggs at all for him.

Sugar, it is in EVERYTHING!!! Really people?!!?!? A jar of tomato sauce, SUGAR. Pita chips, SUGAR. Crackers, SUGAR. Almond butter, SUGAR. And the list goes on....  I read labels before but this was crazy. It make me realize how much sugar we are ingesting and don't even know it. Its scary. My shopping trips were longer and more expensive then ever.

Peanuts, this was new to me. I was buying 2 giant jars of the beloved stuff at BJ's every 2 weeks and it was gone often times before that. Now he can't have it at all, no shakes with it, nothin! Why? They have a fungus. Did you know that? I didn't! So now we had to buy Almond Butter. It was way more then the peanut butter but if it helped the overall health of the family then I consider it an investment.

Dairy, not a problem! We never had cheese or milk products in the house anyways so this was a no brainer.

Starch, no white rice or potatoes or starchy/yeast filled breads. This was tough.... All my bakery fresh bread I bought became a no no. Now we are spending $5 a loaf on Ezekiel bread or food for life bread. There was no option. Brown rice was already in the house so that was not a big deal. I love my potatoes tho!!! Oh french fries how I have weakness for you! The poor hubby was now banned from the deep fried goodness.

In the middle of all this happening our oldest son (5.5yrs old) started throwing up on a regular basis, not the stomach flu I thought it was. It would come and go, he felt nauseous almost all the time. We were constantly on alert for him to vomit and never knew what kind of day we would have. It was frustrating for him and us and we didn't want to see our poor guy so miserable. He was skinny enough, thank his genes from me and his dad for that, so this was not helping that. After doing a food diary I realized it was a food allergy. But to what?? We took him to the same natural doctor that the hubby went to and he did some allergy testing on him. The conclusion? He was allergic to DAIRY and APPLES. Go figure!!! He told us to get him on pro-biotics and to kick out the dairy and apples in his diet. As well as limiting his sugar and peanut intake. Poor guy he loved his mac and cheese and his apples and peanut butter. So it looked like the whole family should just be on the Candida diet.

What has been the result? 
Hubby has never felt better! He has so much energy now and comes home ready to play with the kids instead of wanting to take a nap. His mood has improved and over all it was worth every penny.

Our oldest is back to his normal self, no throwing up and not a bit of nausea. Again worth the visits to the doctor and worth the diet changes.

I find the grocery bill to have changed but not so much that it breaks the bank, I am finding ways to get the things we need cheaper by buying online.

Since I do the cooking and making separate meals for the family is so much work I have just switched us all over to a candida type diet but vegan version. Can it be done? YES! All you need is to think 'substitutions'. "How can I change this recipe to match the candida diet?" You will see in my coming recipe posts the way I changed the recipe to be candida diet friendly. If you have any questions about any of this leave me a message below :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Running Postpartum: How to get back without hurting yourself

Every time I have a baby I feel like I start back at level 0 with running and exercise. Let me start by saying that I may not be the model of the typical "I just had a baby and can't lose the baby weight". For the most part my body bounces back pretty quickly with all 3 kids so far. So this is NOT about weight loss, this is more about getting my stride back and getting my routine back and regaining my running muscles back and restrengthening my core.

Lets be real here for a moment, women's bodies are amazing, they take 10 months (40 weeks) to grow and support another human life, your organs shift and take new places, your rib cage expands, your core muscles separate and you then give birth to this new life. So if you don't feel like you can go running 5 days postpartum, THAT IS OK!

Then once we have had the baby we are healing a wound inside us the size of a dinner plate. Yes I see you measuring that with your hands right now. Oh and we are then feeding this new little life with the milk we are producing. So our bodies are doing a lot!! Here are my tips on running postpartum.

Be easy on yourself!
Don't feel like you HAVE to get back to running, go back when you know you are ready. If you want to wait till your 6 week visit with your midwife or doctor to make sure you don't have diastasis recti, that might be wise. Any damage you do is harder to repair as opposed to just waiting for your body to recover. 

Enjoy the 'baby moon'
Your little squishy baby is only a newborn for a few weeks, you can't get that time back. The pavement will always be there, your running shoes aren't going to wither away. But your newborn baby will be little and need you for such a short time, enjoy it!! Cuddle, nurse, sleep and be a mom. Running can wait. 

Find your core...its in there somewhere
Strengthen your core muscles before you lace up your shoes. Your pelvic floor and core muscles have been through  A LOT! They need some help going back into place, some good tips on that can be found here

Do a plank everyday for just 1 minute a day to help regain your core. There are a TON of other exercises to do, but start out small. If the baby is napping you can plank for a minute, then do whatever you wanted to do. Sleep, eat, take a shower... ahh the simple things in life...

You know.. squat!
For those pelvic floor muscles, I love the quote from Ina May Gaskin “Squat 300 times a day, you’re going to give birth quickly.” 
So true!!! Granted you already gave birth by this point, what she is saying it build up those pelvic muscles and they will do their job. Post birth we can't see them like we can our flabby stomach or stretch marks on our thighs. But the are so very important!! You don't want to worry about running and realizing you can't control your bladder, or worse.

A great article I found on squats and how to do them propperly is here

Stop Doing Kegels: Real Pelvic Floor Advice For Women (and Men)

So, don't be intimidated by those moms who go running at 5 days postpartum, they are not you! You only have this baby once enjoy it. When you do go back to running take the baby in the stroller or leave them with dad, up to you! Just make sure your core and pelvic floor are tightened then hit that pavement with the confidence that you just gave birth to a baby so you can do anything!!!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Homeschooling with a toddler and a newborn

Yes you read that right! I am homeschooling our oldest who turned 5 in May and have my 3yr old underfoot and a newborn baby. Recipe for crazy? Maybe...

The good thing about all this is that I am not the first one to do this, other moms have done it and will do it in the future. And guess what? They lived! Granted the timing of having a newborn and it be the first year I start homeschool is not ideal, but we will make it work. I really loved reading about Raising Arrows experience on her blog, this lady is a pro! 8 kids and homeschools them all! I got some great ideas from her.

You may be asking:

We have a relaxing 'life is school' approach to school. Can you imagine having a five year old sit at a desk all day everyday and be asked to do book work? That is a recipe for disaster! As we all know boys have a ton of energy, asking them to bottle it up all day in our mind just seems stressful for the parents and torture for the child.

We do a lot of hands on activity work for the oldest. For example: we did a day at the local park brought frisbees, balls, excetera.. and while we were there we did some exploring. We found two snakeskins, cicatia shell and a ton of other bugs. Allowed them to touch, question and investigate these on their own, Science. We estimated the length of the snake skin and then measured it for real to see if their estimation was correct, Math.
When we got home we pulled out our animal encyclopedia and looked up all the things we found, Reading.
Watch videos online about snakes shedding their skin and that concluded our school day. Stressful? No! Educational? Yes!

We do some book work and hand writing too but I try to make it as enjoyable as possible for all. Along with that we use Reading Eggs for the 5yr old and ABC Mouse for the 3yr old.

But when the oldest is working on something that he can do on his own, like writing words or Reading Eggs. I focus on the younger one, maybe doing a puzzle or having him paint.

Keeping a 3yr old busy:
The busy box was one of the best ideas I saw! It's a collection of things that the younger kids can play with and keep busy with while I help the older one. This special box is only pulled out when it's school time, he thinks of it as his school box.
He also is learning how to write and read at the moment. I find that we can combine learning like they did in the days of the one room 'school house'. More on that later too...

The newborn:
We all know new babies sleep alot, I think it's a way to help the moms get used to managing the new dynamics in their family :) I wear the baby in a wrap or sling when I can. As he is getting bigger I can put him on a play mat in the school room too. There have been many days I'm nursing the baby while doing school! Hey its a science lesson!

We bake:
I like to cook if you could not tell.. Baking is my first love in the kitchen though. Once a week I do a baking project with the kids. They have to read the ingredients, follow the directions, measure, mix and I put it in the oven. I will be sharing those recipes soon....
I make them help with clean up too ;)
One day we measured everything in metric!! Talk about a well rounded education.

Why do we homeschool? This is strictly our thinking so please don't be offended if you don't share this thought. We are the parents, who better to teach them. We know them best, how they learn, what they like, what would motivate them. We constantly learn new things everyday, so do they. That is school, life is school. As they get older we will be adding  more structure into the school day,  making it longer if need be. But basically filling in where they need help and helping them excell in what they love.

And my favorite question...
"What about socializing?" 
We do! I promise!! These kids are far from socially awkward. We do play dates, have friends and do our ministry work too. So they get exposure to ones older and younger, knowing how to talk and interact with ones of various ages is important.
We also have a local homeschool group that we do field trips with. It's a large group of families that at least once a month we get together and do an educational field trip. They get to associate with ones that are older and younger than them in that group as well. Plus being able to be part of a school group and all wear matching t-shirts makes them feel special :)

Is homeschool for everyone?  No. But it works great for us and maybe will for you as well.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Review of Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen by Richa Hingle

Review of Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen by Richa Hingle

Let me just say first off that no one 'gave' me this book or was I funded to write this review, this is purely my own investment of funds to get it.

First the look: A very comfortable book, I loved the pictures and how inviting it was. I liked how each recipe was marked with a 'GF' for Gluten Free and 'E' for Easy, etc.... I of course went to the 'E' ones first on my first recipes that I tried out. It is a very comfortable and not pretentious at all.

The food: I have been looking for a Vegan Indian Cookbook for some time, but the idea of curry everything was a but much for my husband. I quickly learned that 'real' Indian cooking does NOT involve those jars of curry! The list of spices I would need are neatly found in the front of the book as well as list of other ingredients that would be good to have. Very convenient for when I went to the Indian store, walked in and handed them the page and said "I need these please". Most of those spices I dared not pronounce. Side note... 3 huge grocery bags full of spices only cost me $60!!
Mali Kofta

The recipes: I decided to try out 6 varying recipes and made sure they all were marked with a green 'E' for easy. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy they truly were! Most of the recipes in this book are just one page long for instructions and the ingredients list. Being a busy mom of 3 kids this was right up my alley, simple, delicious and healthy food for my family and in under an hour. All of the recipes I tried out came out fantastic! Her level of spices were just right, not to much and not to little. I think the true Indian spices made all the difference too. 
I liked how she suggested substitutions for ingredients too, that helped out a lot for days when I ran out of Tofu or other things. 

Indian Pot Pie

 Our family loves Indian food and eating it out all the time would make us go broke! But this book makes anyone happy to stay home and eat Indian whenever they want. If you have been looking for an Indian food cookbook and you are vegan then get this cookbook! You will be licking the Mango Curry off your lips before you know it and come back looking for more. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The tale of our OP home water birth baby (AKA baby #3)

I have been MIA for a while I know... but its all with good reason. We had our newest little one August 19th 2015. So here is his birth story and some pictures as well..... baby #3 was truly a different birth that is for sure, as you will see...

It all started the day before with a visit to our midwife Kaleen, from Tree of Life Birth Center. I was 39 weeks 3 days and so so ready for this baby to come. I had been trying to walk him out, since running was off the table. Spicy food, pressure points, chiropractor visits to make sure he was in line. Yet... nothing... I would get some strong contractions but nothing that stayed. This was my longest pregnancy too and my 5 foot 3inch frame was getting tired of the extra 30lbs I had put on. The other boys came at 38 weeks 6 days and 38 weeks 1 day, so to me this was torture. His head was hitting my pubic bone and I knew it! Every step was like a bowling ball hitting my pubic bone and it was getting to me, I. Had. Enough. So when we went on the Tuesday to visit Kaleen she asked if I wanted to be checked. I told her "Normally I say wait and the baby will come when he is ready, but yes go for it!"
Very quickly she started to chuckle "His head is RIGHT THERE! +1 station and 3cm." "Oh good!!" I said, "So anything we can do to speed this up?" She offered to sweep the membranes a little, this was not painful so I don't think it was as bad as everyone makes it sound. But she just did a little sweep and told me to go home rest and call her when it was time.

So we went home, and waited.... and waited.... and waited.... she send me a text that night around 6pm "Anything?". "Nope nothing significant" I replied, More waiting. I sent a text to a friend that had just had her baby a few days before and had her midwife do the same thing. "How long till you went into labor after you saw your midwife?" "about 3 hrs" she said. Here I am 6hrs later and nothing!!! Come on baby!!!

After dinner at my parents we went home, by the time we were going to bed I was getting uncomfortable and had some lower back pain. But nothing that made me think I was in real labor. So I was tossing and turning all night, but deep down I knew this was the beginnings of labor but I wasn't ready yet. My sister had to drive 2hrs to get here, it was 1 AM and I wanted to just sleep, nothing seemed lined up for this baby to come tonight. So I got my headphones, sat on the couch and listened some relaxing magazine articles and fell asleep. I woke up at 3am still with the back pain, and just tried to lay down or sleep on the couch recliner and wait to see what happened. Thankfully I fell back asleep till 6:30AM and woke up knowing this was it. It was a feeling of relief and excitement and joy that we would finally meet this baby, and soon. Bring it on!!

I told my husband that this was it and we are a go! He called my dad who he was going to work with that day and told him change of plans, baby is coming. I called my sister who for once in her life had a dead battery on her phone. Timing huh? So once I called her hubby's phone I told her "you may want to head on out here, this seems to be happening". They thankfully had bags packed weeks ago so they headed over on their 2hr trip. My labors before had a good record of being quick! So the need for speed was a real thing for them!!

The next phone call was to my midwife, who thankfully lived only 10-15 minutes away. She quickly dropped her kids off at school and came over. Once she got here I was sitting on an exercise ball to help the labor not come on as quickly, the moment I stood up or walked around all I could do was stop and focus on the pressure. So sitting it was. Kaleen checked for baby's position while I sat there. "I feel legs and knees, I think this is an OP baby" she said. OP means his back is against my back and not butt sticking out towards the front, the whole pregnancy he was in 'perfect position' with butt out and now you go and change?? She assured me he will come out either way so no need to worry about it. I quickly got on hands and knees to see if gravity would bring him around. But in looking back I think it was to late, I was in full on labor, he was in position and head was beyond engaged. But can't blame a girl for trying :)

My other boys were in 'butt out' position the for their birth, so with baby #3 he decided to be different. But it also explains why I was  having back pain! Back labor! Hello!!

My hubby got the tub blown up and ready before the midwife got here and once she was here I could hear the water going in while I labored on the ball in the living room. Once my mom and dad got here I was just getting in the tub. My sister was stuck in traffic! The major highway was shut down! Of all the days!!!! I tried not to let it bother me and just went into labor mode. Mind you this whole time I was talking and fine between contractions and was starting to doubt myself if this was really it. It was not that bad at all! I was eating, drinking, laughing and talking, like it was no big deal! There came a point though that a 'serious get down to business' hat came on and this was a go. My sister finally got there in time for me to really push.

With the last 2 labors I was able to 'breathe' the baby down and out. No real big pushing till maybe the last bit with the head. So I was doing the same thing for this one... but nothing was happening. I changed to hands and knees, tried again... nothing. Squatting... nothing. What is going on?? I remember asking at one point "Can you see the head yet?" "No, not yet." My midwife replied. What?!?! 

Thank goodness I had a history with my midwife and she knew me and how I normally labor and deliver. This one was going to be different, a tougher baby, and she knew it. After my unsuccessful changing of positions and nothing happening. She suggested I lean back on my hubby and pull my knees to my chest. That sounded so uncomfortable! But if it got him out and going then lets try it. His head needed to go under my pubic bone, all this time I had felt him hitting it but not going under. So he needed some direction on where to go. Once I got into the new position he was coming! My bag of waters were bulging and to get things moving my midwife offered to pop them with her fingers. Pop! All the fluid was clean! Good lets keep going. 

The pushing I had to do was the hardest I've ever had. I had those horrible thoughts run through my head 'He is not coming out' 'You will need to be transferred' ... I told all those negative thoughts to jump off a bridge!! Instead I told myself "you have done this before, you can do it again" "Your body was made to do this" "Trust your instincts". And I'm glad I listened to my positive thoughts! The crazy pushes and intense pressure was like nothing I'd had before. But I knew it was worth it. 

He came out facing up! OP baby for sure! It was head, forehead, face, and then he shot out facing up the whole way. Never turned or moved from that position at all! The crazy part was that with OP babies the widest part of their head it was comes out first, not the top crown of the head like most babies. I have a history of big kids too, he was no different, 14.5 inch head, 14 in chest, 9lbs and 22 inches long. This was NOT a small baby. No wonder he was a tough guy to get out! An hour of pushing total, but he came in 30min from the bag of waters being broken. 4 hours of labor total. My longest labor and longest pushing phase too. 

He came out crying and alert too! A beautiful baby boy covered in vernix and a nice little indentation on his forehead of where he kept hitting my pubic bone. It went away quickly though. We are so happy he is here and healthy :) He latched on right away and hasn't stopped eating since. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

What does real labor feel like?

We are getting closer, as I write this I am 39 weeks and 1 day. The longest I've been pregnant yet! My others came at 38 weeks 1 day and 38 weeks 6 days, so this feels like eternity to me!

So that question all first time moms have "What does real labor feel like?". Recently I was able to be a 'doula' (I'm not certified so I use that term loosely) for a good friend's labor and delivery. She was first time mom and we had that "what does labor feel like?" chat. Granted, everyone is different and every person's pain tolerance level is different. So what I felt may not be the same for you. But I hope my experiences can at least give you a good basis.

With our first I Googled that question, read every book I could on it and STILL in the throws of labor I wasn't sure it was the real thing. I learned very quickly my pain tolerance level is high! Woo hoo!!
With baby #1 I woke up to annoying back pains and put a heating pad on it and when back to sleep. Woke up an hour later and just couldn't get comfortable, took a hot shower and realized that when the ache went into my legs that this just may be it. But that wonderful break you get in between kept teasing me and making me think it was just more 'practice' contractions. Ether way I woke up the hubby and said "maybe call the midwife I think I might.... (pause for 1 min to give into contraction)..be in labor". Once he saw that he called her and woke her up, since it was 1A.M. We made our way to the birthing center, I walked in like it was no big deal and apologized to her up and down for dragging her out of bed. Stopping along the way to lean on the couch to have a contraction. She looked at me not sure if it was real or not, but said we would go and 'check'.

Once I settled into the big bed they had there she 'checked' me and started laughing. "You are complete! 10cm!! How did you not know!?!" We both had a good laugh about that.

So there you have it! Pains that went into my legs and ones that made me stop mid sentence and think of nothing else.

Baby #2
Again I doubt myself to much, this one was similar. We were out doing shopping for a friend's bridal shower and needed to run to Target too. While at the first store I had to stop the cart while we were shopping and give in to the feeling. But we kept going, I was not totally sure this was it and don't like to be thought of as a drama queen. So I told my husband "just keep looking for the dish towels they want then we can head out". Little did I know the 'head out' phrase was literal.

We got in the car to go to Target, only a 3 min drive, and once we got there I told my husband "you run in and I will wait here with little man in his car seat". In that short time it took him to get bananas and come back it suddenly hit me THIS WAS IT! I called him on his phone and told him "get back here we need to go home! NOW!". The intensity went from 'ok I can bear it'..... to... 'holy cow I am going to give birth in the car!' In only a few minutes too. By the time we got home the midwife was on her way and that tub needed to be set up in record time. That is a birth story for another time....

So baby #2, the hunching over on the cart to deal with the intense contractions and then the sudden ramp up in the intensity.

With baby #3 this is all yet to be determined, this one has given me those silly 'practice contractions' or Braxton Hicks for months now. The pressure has been there for weeks, so I am at a loss. My only thought is that they will get intense enough where I can't think of anything else. But we will see....

Friday, August 7, 2015

Preparing for a Home Birth

Home birth.... 2 words that when put together scare people still to this day. Why? We can all thank TV and Movies for that! Those horrible images of women screaming and cursing at who ever is in the room, doctors and nurses all at the other end of the woman poking and prodding and shouting at her to "PUSH" while she is laying on her back and feet at strapped to torture devices to keep her in optimal position so the doctor doesn't have to bend over. Poor doctor, we need to cater to him or her.....

Yeah I'd be scared to!! Maybe is a form of birth control for people? So when I tell people we are planning our 2nd home birth and 3rd out of hospital birth they give me the "Have fun with that (insert eye roll)" or the "What is wrong with you?" speech. I used to try to explain to them its not what you think, I'm not going to the woods with the wild animals to give birth. We WILL have a midwife there and she brings modern medical equipment. But by baby #3 I've changed my approach to "What do you think a home birth looks like?"

The answers can vary from people that are right spot on, to the out there ideas of chanting and incense with no help at all just the mom squatting in the woods next to a deer. Riiiight.....
From there I can better explain to them what really goes on!!!

 I like the comparison that Ina May Gaskin uses in in one of her books. Would you rather... have a bowl in the middle of the floor, be told to poop in there in front of a room of people, most who you don't know and have them all yelling at you to "POOP!!!" and do it quickly or else!! Or... would you rather have the privacy of your own home to do as you please, when and how you want, with the audience of your choice and with low or no lights and go when you feel ready. You tell me....

We are now at the safe zone of 37 weeks or more where a home birth is good to go! With that we also have to have some things on hand. Some items are needed other are just a personal preference. Also by baby #2 I realized its not so much the birth items you need as much as its the POST birth items!

So here a few my favorites:

  •  Coconut Water with Pineapple 
    great for during the birth for keeping electrolytes up and its just good an refreshing too! And After baby too its great to have while you are nursing.

  • Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera 
Its a life saver for post baby recovery!! Put some on a large over night pad and put it in the freezer, you have.... Padcicle! The greatest comfort to a recovering bottom.

  • Arnica

A great thing!!! You can use it with no affects to you or the baby. Its great for post birth with bruising and helping the uterus to contract down and help you not be in as much pain. Win win!!

  • Vitamin C

Keep those electrolytes up!! Its great for drinking while in labor to replenish lots electrolytes and keep energy up. I drink it now too even before the baby comes.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Vegan Cauliflower Gratin

Are you ready for this? Do you like comfort food? If you answered yes to at least one of those questions then prepare yourself for the yummy treat I am about to show you.

Level of difficulty: kids were at my feet the whole time, they could have helped too!

Time: 20min to prepare and 20min to cook

Vegan (yes Vegan) Cauliflower Gratin

4 lb (2 large heads) cauliflower florets
2 cups precooked brown rice
4 TBSP coconut oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 TBSP all purpose flour
3 cups non dairy milk (coconut, almond, soy) room temperature
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp dried Italian herbs (whatever you have on hand, I used oregano, basil and parsley)
1 cup nutritional yeast and 1/4 cup for topping
1 1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya) and 1/4 cup for topping (it was one bag for me)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

*make sure your brown rice is done before you start... we all know how long it takes to cook*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 pan with olive oil or use your coconut oil to grease it

Cut cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and steam for 7min. Combine the cauliflower and rice in a bowl and set to the side.

In a large pot (you will see why you need a large pot at the end), warm the coconut oil over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Saute until softened. Add the flower and cook for another minute. Slowly start adding the milk, stirring after each cup to combine. Turn the heat down to low and let thicken. Add the nutmeg, cayenne and Italian herbs, stir. Add in the nutritional yeast and vegan mozzarella, stir. Let it all melt, may need to turn the heat up to medium again. Now take that bowl of rice and cauliflower and add it to the large pot. (Glad I warned you about the large part right??) Add salt and pepper to taste, stir to combine and coat the rice and cauliflower in the yummy cheese sauce.

Pour into the 13 x 9 pan, even out and top with nutritional yeast, vegan mozzarella and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges start to bubble and you have a nice brown top on part of it. If you think the mixture looks to dry feel free to pour in some more of the milk in to it.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Where has this recipe been? I have been trying various tofu scramble recipes, some were so over loaded with spice that it was just to much. Others were boring.... this one takes the cake!

All credit goes to Vegicano... here is the link to his recipe

Tofuevos – Tofu Scramble
1 package of firm tofu – drained
2 TBS Soy Sauce
1 TBS Vegenaise
1 TBS Almond Milk (or non-dairy milk)
1 Heaping TBS of Nutritional Yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric (for color)
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
pinch of cumin
salt to taste
Canola oil – for lighly frying the tofu
1. Break up (drained) tofu with your hands (in smallish pieces) into a medium sized bowl.
2. Add the rest of your ingredients to the tofu.
3. Using a rubber spatula incorporate all of the ingredients thoroughly.
4. Taste your tofu. Adjust your salt level.
At this point your tofu as is should taste good. Salt to taste – If you need your adjust your seasonings to your liking this is when you should do it.
5. Heat Canola Oil in a skillet or rimmed pan. Add your tofu and cook until heated throughout.
This is when you decide how you want your tofu. For a harder ‘scramble’ allow tofu mixture to cook longer and brown evenly. For a softer scramble – heat throughout and eat!

Being Vegan and 35 Weeks Pregnant

Here we are, 35 weeks along and baby is growing healthy and big! We had the 28 week glucose test where they check your iron levels as well. Its interesting looking at the other 2 pregnancies and
I feel like with each pregnancy I am healthier and more aware of eating and living better. So waiting for the glucose and iron levels to come back I didn't have a doubt in my mind they would be ok.
Me on the left with another prego friend :)

With the first baby I was vegetarian and thought I was a healthy person and didn't  have much to worry about. The only issue I had was LOW iron levels! I had to take Floridix for my iron. But  it was ok after that. At that time I was still cleaning with some chemical cleaners in the house, wasn't making my own laundry soap, etc... I was walking a lot but not running yet.
Baby #1

Baby #2 I was all like "I got this!" No worries! I'm a runner! I eat clean and from our garden, more organic then not, made my own laundry soap, used my own cleaning products, did juicing the whole 9! I was vegetarian and on the verge of vegan by that point. Again a healthy pregnancy and no issues but some low iron levels for a short time, this time it wasn't as bad. The cure for the low iron was cooking in a cast iron pot and eating my greens with some citrus dressing. Also the molasses with cream of wheat was yummy too :)
baby #2 (37 weeks)
So come baby #3 life was pretty much the same as baby #2 but this time I was full on VEGAN! The crazy part is I wasn't trying to eat high iron foods but more of what my body wanted. It wasn't cravings so much as when I would go eat breakfast or lunch I would 'listen' to what my body wanted. Maybe one day it was a fruit salad, another day some leftovers from the night before, perhaps a tofu scramble... I found the best recipe for that!!! Will share it later....  but either way I was eating what my body wanted. It was satisfying and yet filling in the gaps of what my body needed. My running was much improved too! Right before baby #3 was decided on I had just finished my first half marathon.

My running had to be put on the back burner for a bit. This one decided to drop at 31 weeks and running with a baby that low is not comfortable at all. Picture a 25lb bowling ball sitting low in your pelvis, then run with that there... you get me??? Yeah so come post baby I am looking forward to getting my running shoes back on and getting back into a routine.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Review of the Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon by Sara Forte

This book is amazing! I was unaware of the Sprouted Kitchen and their other book before I got this book for review. So I would have to say I went into this book completely open minded and with no expectations.

First the Look and feel: I love a good cookbook that gives you a taste of the food via the pictures before you even get to actually taste them in person. This book did exactly that, the feel of the book was warm and inviting. No pretense for fancy dishes or high expectations, from you, the chef. 

The types of food: Let me warn you my fellow reader this is NOT a VEGAN book. There are a lot of recipes that are vegan or can easily be changed to be vegan. But don't think this is a 100% vegan book, its not, nor do the authors claim it to be one. There are some dishes that are made with lean meats but that can be changed to tofu or your meat substitute if you wish.

The recipes: I tried a variety of them on the family, from the Spanish Chopped Salad to the Slow Roasted Veggies and Soba to the Lentil and Rice bowl to the Hippie Bowl to the Ginger Apple Crisp. Every single one I would make again! That is rare.... I chose some recipes that were a weird combo of ingredients in my book and thought "this will be interesting...." but every time the flavors won us over. Even my super picky 5yr old tried the dishes and liked most of them, that was win in my book!

Time: The time some of these dishes take was a bit more then I was thinking, but its mostly just preparing different parts of it then placing them all together. I got wise to that fact after a couple of recipes, so I would make extra brown rice for another night. Or pre-cut some veggies for the next day. But over all once I got the idea of the book the recipes didn't take that long.

The verdict: 5 out of 5 forks!!!
I can't wait to try more from the book and see what their other book has as well

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review

Saturday, May 16, 2015

My review of The Chia Cookbook by Janie Hoffman

I tried to get into this book and had hoped it would help me with my aversion to chia seeds. The pictures are great! Recipes easy to follow and very diverse. The only issue I had was that no matter what I tried chia seeds still gave me the creeps. This has nothing to do with the book but is my own personal problem. It would have been a great book if I liked chia seeds...

I received this book from Blogging for Books, the opinions given are my own.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Cleaning a Pack and Play to save a few $$

I am always looking for ways to save a few dollars (or more), this was one of those times...

Pinterest oh how I have a love/hate relationship with you!  All these brilliant ideas and recipes, yet most sit in my pin board as gentle reminders of how busy I am and how I will never get around to doing most of them. Thanks... thanks....

Since baby #3 is coming along in August we took all the baby stuff we had left out of the attic the other day. One major thing was the Pack and Play, don't worry I checked to see if it had been recalled. Since it had not and this thing had been with us for over 5yrs now and NEVER had a good cleaning. It. Was. Time. You know how much poop, pee, spit up and dirt this thing has seen??? YUCK!

So the pins I saw said to soak it in the tub with HOT water, laundry soap, baking soda a vinegar. The amounts varied for each pin,  but I will tell you what I did.
  • 1 Cap full of laundry soap (I make it my self, if you want the recipe just let me know)
  • 2/3 cup of baking soda
  • 1-2 cups of vinegar
Then you let it soak for 30 minutes..... set the kitchen timer... flip it to the other side for 30 more minutes.
You will note from the pictures I didn't fill the tub up all the way, this was because our pack and play had a lot of extras on it that needed cleaning so I knew it would take 2 tub fulls. Why waste water right?

This was the first batch, main pad, the 2nd level basket thing and the accessory tray.
After you soak it for the 60 minutes total, quickly take it outside. I say quickly because it will drip everywhere!!! Then rinse it off with your hose and let the beautiful sunshine dry and 'bleach' it for you.

I'm so glad it was a sunny day because everything dried within a few hours and looked way better!

Sadly I didn't take any major before pictures of the whole thing, but once I was about to wash the main frame I took close up shots of the arms. So same procedure here too, hot water in the tub, laundry soap, vinegar and baking soda. 30min, flip 30min more. Rinse outside, dry.


After my experience I would recommend others try it as well!! It came out great! Considering the age and wear on our pack and play I thought that if I ruined it then no major loss. But this thing is a good a new and ready for the new baby.

*if you try it an ruin yours please don't come after me with an angry mob!*

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mellow Mushroom Sanford, FL Review

*This is my restaurant review for the new Mellow Mushroom in Sanford, FL. They did not pay me to write this, all of the thoughts are my own.*

Monday April 27, 2015 was an epic day. The long awaited opening of Mellow Mushroom in Sanford Florida. Very rarely can I find a restaurant that serves VEGAN food, let alone in Sanford or the surrounding area. This place is legit and will cater to the needs of a vegan and even the gluten free pizza dough is vegan! Score on all accounts for someone like me.

In the past the vegan cheese (soy based) the chain used was busted as not being 100% vegan, as it had casein in. But thankfully they have changed over time to Daiya brand cheese which is 100% vegan.  So vegans of Sanford rejoice!!

On to my review.... the night was in a summary 'a comedy of errors' you will soon see why.

We decided to go opening night, why not right? We arrived at 6:30pm The table wait for the 4.5 (baby is the 0.5) of us was 30 min and not bad we thought so we put our name down. They have a 'fancy' way of telling you when your table is ready by texting you and letting you know. Which it great when you have kids! That gave us time to go to the near by pet store and hang out for 30 minutes until the table was ready for us. Run around the store..... got the text and time to go back.

We were quickly seated out on the patio by a friendly host, out server Sam arrived and was very nice. We ordered out drinks while the kids played with the kids menus and the youngest colored on the table.... good thing its only crayon.

Our server came back in pretty good time and took our food order. I let the others go first since the 'vegan thing' has thrown off many waiters in the past. I ordered a pizza I had gotten in the past at another Mellow Mushroom and remembered liking it so lets see how the new guys do. The Thai Dye Pizza (Vegan version)
Olive oil and garlic base, curried tofu, Daiya mozzarella cheese, Roma tomatoes, onions. Topped with fresh basil, cucumbers and a sweet swirl of Thai chili sauce. And the vegan version has no butter on the crust or Parmesan cheese.
My partially eaten pizza below...
When I first told Sam the server I was Vegan, she immediately said "Ok great! My brother is vegan so I totally understand!" Which I have to tell you is nice, not having to explain your eating habits to a server is a nice break. Before I could explain the no butter etc... she told me "Ok so the Thai Dye with vegan cheese, tofu and I made a big note no butter or Parmesan cheese on the crust." Yes perfect! This may turn out to be a nice night after all! or was it......

So begins the comedy of errors... I understand it was the first official opening night to the public, but they were not that busy. Empty tables were here and there, no huge wait line out side and it was after all a Monday night. But we after we ordered our food we waited... and waited.... and waited.....

The server came by to check on us, reassured us it wouldn't be much longer, the head waitress (I assume) came by with her head set and asked if we had gotten our food. "No still waiting"
... its now been 45min since we placed our order, other tables have gotten their food, we sit hungry and waiting. The kids we really good thank goodness! That would have made the waiting worse!! Finally the kids got their food!! Still missing the oldest ones side dish but the head waitress, as I will call her, came out right after and said his side would be out. My pizza and my husband's was on its way as well. So more waiting....

The kids are enjoying their food, saying how good it is and yummy in their tummy.... while the baby in my belly is having a fit there is no food for him or her! Ah the server comes out with a pizza!!  For my husband.... (insert grumbling under my breath) what are we at now 1hr since we placed our order??

His pizza came and our server again apologized up and down and said my pizza was only 10 more minutes. Something happened in the kitchen with it, maybe it wasn't made to be vegan we aren't sure but the new one is in the oven and in 10 minutes it will be out. Ok, ok... its been an hour what is 10 more minutes.

Our server comes by again, "I am so sorry! I keep checking! This is crazy though I will get a manager over here, this is just to long to wait" I agree! I pull out the pregnancy card "Yeah it is a bit long to make a pregnant woman wait for her food" I say with a smile, as my hands rest on my stomach.

The manager comes to apologize and tells us he will comp my pizza and part of my husband's pizza since we have had such a long wait. He offers to bring me a salad which I quickly say "YES!" Salad comes, still no pizza....

By this point the kids are done, getting antsy and my hubby is half way done with his pizza. My pizza is still MIA! It's now an hour and a half and the salad is not enough. We need to get a to go box for my pizza because this is to much.

Here comes the server... empty handed. "Well you won't believe this, I was watching them make your pizza and they put butter and Parmesan cheese on the crust! I was so mad!! I yelled at them and told the cooks 'she is VEGAN!' so they have to make another one. It's going to be 15 more minutes". (if you are keeping track this is pizza #2 and now #3)

By this point I would have taken the pizza and just not eaten the crust, or eaten the pizza box.  But I did appreciate her looking out for me so I said "ok..... I guess I don't have a choice".
More waiting.......

The manager came over and told us how sorry he was and hands us this.
$15 gift card for all the problems we had, a nice gesture since my pizza was free and part of the hubby's pizza and now the gift card. He really did show he cared and wanted to make sure we came back and didn't leave as disgruntled customers.

So after the 15minutes of waiting for the RIGHT pizza we got it in a to go box and she gave us the 'bad' pizza they were going to toss that had the butter and Parmesan cheese on the crust.

I was so hungry and ready to go it was now 9pm and I still only had eaten a salad, the apples left by the littlest one and was ready to eat my pizza! We get in the car and I see this..... (not the missing pieces)
Do you see something different between these 2 pizzas??? They are both Thai Dye pizzas, the left one was my correct pizza without butter, but its missing quite a bit more the that. Curry tofu? Basil? Cucumbers? Thai Chili sauce??


But it was such a fiasco I just didn't care and we walked home with a couple of free pizzas.

In summary: We will go back, I will prepare the server for the problems we had and make SURE it doesn't happen again! The staff was great and really seemed to care, that made the difference in how we felt about the over all experience. I could have been mad and made a scene but it was their opening night so I will give Mellow Mushroom in Sanford a pass card this time. Good food, great location, fantastic vegan options.

Monday, April 20, 2015

One vegan mom's dislike of slow cooking

Slow cooking, not my strong suit. You think it would be! Mom + busy + home + healthy family = slow cooking simple
Think again... I have had a recipe for weeks that I bought all the ingredients for, got the recipe and had it on my menu for the week . It just sat there, waiting, staring at me. Why? You ask?

A typical night for dinner means I get my 'alone time' while cooking. Yes you read that right!! Once my hubby comes home I start thinking about what item on my menu I will cook tonight. Curry? Italian? Rice? I don't feel like cooking? So that means in under an hour dinner will be prepped, cooked and ready to eat. All in a relative silence of my kitchen while the kids and daddy play in another room.

Slow cookers on the other hand require me to start thinking about cooking around say noon, the peak of mommy and kid time. They get cranky for lunch, I'm breaking up fights, teaching how to share every 5 minutes and you want me to think about dinner too???? Right......

There sits my slow cooker, all by itself....

Don't get me wrong, I like the concept of having dinner done in plenty of time and making it in a large batch so that leftovers are a sure thing. But the time frame is what gets me! My days are busy enough and cooking/prepping a meal just does not fit there.

How can I change that? I want to be more 'ready' for dinner and not have to think about it. But I don't want to have to do it at lunch time or mid afternoon. For now the slow cooker is a game I won't play to often. I won't sell it at our next garage sale, but it sure is going to be lonely in the cabinet.

Friday, March 27, 2015

19 Weeks Run/walk

This baby has been different so far, they say the third one is a 'wild card' I never believed it... till now! Why is the 3rd one like that??

My energy levels are not as good and every day I feel different. One day I want to go for a run! do gardening! mow the lawn! Then the next day I can't imagine leaving the house... ugh! Maybe its because I have 2 other little boys who take my energy? Or I am older? Not sure... jury is still out on that one.

So on a good day just recently I felt like going for a run! Lets do this! Getting the kids ready is a chore in it self... that was another blog post.... so an hour after my bright idea we headed out. Me with the youngest in our Phil and Ted's stroller, the oldest on his bike and my hubby with the oldest making sure he doesn't wipe out.

It was a beautiful central Florida afternoon, light breeze, sunny sky about 80 degrees. Perfect day for the run and trip to the park. We headed out, the park is only 0.7miles from our house, it was going to be great! After a nice brisk walk with intermittent runs I felt great! This was what I was missing, a little bit of change and exercise. We got to the park and in classic florida fashion... it started raining, no pouring!!

There was no where to hide but the bathrooms, while we ducked for cover I pulled up my radar and there was a storm coming! Big one! With the ever familiar 'thunder storm warning' even. Guess that means we need to go home.... good thing the hubby came with and has a fantastic min/mile time. With his long legs and 7min per mile pace he ran home with the keys, grabbed the car and rescued us.

Lesson learned... check the radar before you go, no matter how good you feel.