Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Avery at Nineteen Months!

This is much delayed... Avery is now 20.5 months.  But we left our cameras in Kansas and had to wait for them to ship here.  Anyway, here it is!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Nourishing Beef Stew

So, your bone broth is ready and you want to make a stew with it.  Here's a delicious and nourishing recipe.  You will love this stew! 

First I will say, not everything below fits in the pot at once.  You can use two pots, or what I do is just put as much in as I can and then add more the next day after we eat some of it.


Your homemade bone broth, it's probably about a gallon? of liquid once you strain it
4 lbs (grassfed, preferably) beef (I use ground, but you can use stew meat or anything really)
2 onions
6-8 stalks of celery
6-8 carrots
2 sweet potatoes (not the orange yams; you can use regular potatoes too)
3 cups mushrooms
4 whole tomatoes
several sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
5-6 TBLS sea salt or more; to taste (I know this sounds like a lot, but you can really salt liberally since there is no salt in the broth yet; salt to taste, but this is about how much I use)
2 teaspoons ground pepper
1.5 cups red wine
1 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
several pieces of orange peel (optional)
your bone marrow (optional)
1 TBS gelatin (optional)


1. If you are using your bone marrow, which you set aside in the freezer while your broth was cooking, defrost/cook the marrow in a skillet.  A lot of fat will come out, as well as the marrow cooking.  Once it's no longer red or pink, add it into your stock pot, fat included.

2.  Brown your beef in a skillet.  I did 3 lbs, and then added the fourth the next day.

3. While your beef is browning, chop all your veggies, but start with about half of each veggie to see what fits in your pot.  You can add as much as will fit, and then add the rest the next day.  Everything else aside from the veggies, use the full amount.

4. Put everything in your pot and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer until the potatoes and carrots are soft.  About an hour should do it.  Cook it longer if you use stew meat cause it will take a while for the meat to soften up.  With ground beef it's already soft.

5. Serve and enjoy!  You will encounter some thyme sprigs and the orange peel.  Don't eat them, just pick them out as you find them.  You could put that stuff in a cheesecloth sachet before you add it to your stock so it's not floating around randomly and you can remove it easily, but if you don't have any or you are lazy like me you can just pick them out.

Let me know if you make this!

Monday, January 02, 2012

How to Make Beef Bone Broth

I made some bone broth last week and filmed the process so I could show you how to do it.  It's really easy!  And totally worth it.  I'll post the recipe for the beef stew tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What's new

Ahhh, well, the 18 month sleep regression did finally hit us.  Right after I started feeling like "phew!  maybe we won't be affected this time..." ahahahahahAAAA.  It just hit a bit late.  Right before Avery turned 19 months old (on Thanksgiving).  It's a perfect storm of teething and language developmental leap (I think... who knows?  I keep trying to figure her sleep out, but it's like trying to see one of those 3D images pop out of the pattern.  You keep staring and staring, and then you catch a glimpse, but then you look to hard again and it's gone...).  Her two molars on the bottom are coming through, and she is talking up a storm now.  I keep hoping she is going to snap out of it one of these days soon.  We're going on nearly a month now of seriously disrupted sleep.  And this after a blissful couple of months when she was sleeping SO WELL (for her).  It's just a phase; it's just a phase (I hope).

I don't know if it's exactly because of this regression and its effect on me - loss of sleep, loss of freedom at naptime and night - or if I'm just at a point in my life, or some combination of the two, but I have been in the WEIRDEST mood lately.  I can't say I have exactly been wishing for another life... I like the one I have pretty well.  But I've been thinking about the crossroad points in my past and the decisions I've made and wondering if I'd done something slightly different, where would I be now.  Maybe I'm having some kind of 1/3 life crisis or something?  It seems to be passing, kind of.  Or maybe I'm just distracted now by the holidays and our travel plans and Christmas shopping.

I can probably blame this nagging feeling for my change of heart about what Adam and I are planning to do when his detailing window comes up in March.  We've been scheming and dreaming about how we can get to Colorado Springs and get out of the military there, and buy a house and put down some roots.  But it came upon me one day that maybe part of my feeling (of vague dissatisfaction?) was looking back at how many adventures I've had and feeling like that's it, no more adventures.  I'm not ready to go sit on the porch and grow old.  And it occurred to me that we could still move around if Adam stayed in the military, and we could even try to get orders to Europe.  We were on the verge of going back to Germany in 2009, right before I got pregnant with Avery.  Adam was offered orders to Africa Command in Stuttgart, but we turned it down for a variety of reasons.  And I'm so glad we did.  It was the right choice to make at the time.  I'm not sure how I would have survived Avery's infancy being in such a weird transitional phase in my life (leaving work for full time motherhood), in a foreign country so far from family.  It was right to stay in Hawaii.  Though, we did that in part because I thought I might continue working after Avery was born, which I didn't.

Anyway, to get to the point, we are now thinking of - leaning towards, even - requesting orders to Germany or England after our time is done in Hawaii a year from now, and also staying in the Navy for the long haul.  I likely will not return to work for at least 5-10 years from now (considering a second baby at some point), so that reason for being somewhere for the long-term is gone.  And we could have more adventures!  I loved living in Europe as a young adult and would love to go back and travel with Adam.  I have my hesitations with it.  I think about how depressed and isolated and lonely I felt after Avery was born and I think maybe I am crazy to go to Germany where I will be potentially even more isolated and lonely than I was in Hawaii.  On the other hand, I'm used to the mommy gig now.  I'm over my shock, I guess.  I think even having a second child will not be as hard as it was for me going from working to full time motherhood.  And Avery will be older and easier to do stuff with and not as dependent on me.  We could wait until our time overseas is over or almost over to have another baby, and spend our time traveling and enjoying being a family of three.  (On the other hand, I'm no spring chicken, I'll be 36 by the time we leave there... is that tempting fate?  Maybe we should not wait to try for another since fertility declines sharply after age 35.  Oh, but people are having babies in their mid to late 30s all the time now! ..... See?  See how I just keep going around and around about this in my head?!)

So that's kind of where we are right now.  Just talking about all this ad nauseum until we get down to the wire and HAVE to make a decision.  At which point we will probably ask for Europe and let the fates (i.e., the detailer) decide.

Avery and I are in Vegas right now.  We are meeting up with Adam on Friday in Wichita to spend Christmas with his family.  They are so excited to have Avery this year for Christmas!  I think it will be a lot of fun for her.  Adam's dad is already planning on showing her all the animals, and since Adam has a big family there will be lots of kids around.  Avery LOVES other kids and babies!  I'm still not sure how two introverts ended up with such an extroverted social butterfly, but I think it's a good thing.

I had a couple of friends over a few weeks ago who have new babies, and I was holding one of them, and Avery kept saying, "bay-bee!" and patting her, and giving her kisses and trying to pick her up.  It was so dang cute.  She will love seeing her new cousin Gracen for the first time!

Avery loves her baby dolls.  Just today she came and said, "poo poo!" which usually means she just pooped in her diaper - we are working on that - but she wanted to go to the potty.  When we got there, she plopped her dolly down on the potty!  She then insisted that I take dolly's clothes off so she could poop.  Then Avery peed in the potty while dolly peed in a little bowl.  Haha.  Yes, it's adorable.  She also likes to push her babies around in the stroller or her shopping cart.  And she likes to feed them when she's eating, she offers them forkfuls of food and says, "Nummy-num!"

Now that she's starting to really talk more, she has lots of cute toddler-isms.  For example, she calls the stroller her "go-go".  I bought a toy nativity set for her and told her all about Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus; she calls them "May-may", "Jo-Jo" and "Dee-dshus".  Her favorite thing to say is "no" not surprisingly, and she says it so cutely you can't help but smile and/or laugh, which I'm sure only encourages her.   You ask her if she wants to do something and she says it kind of like "Nyo!" and shakes her head.  Do you want to put your shoes on?!  "Nyo!"  If she does something she shouldn't (like if she spills something) she'll point at it and solemnly say "Nyo, nyo, nyo." Which is what I say to her lol.  She also says "oh nooo!"

Her pronunciation is a bit lacking still, but she'll try to repeat just about anything you say, even stuff you don't think she is paying attention to.  If you are having a phone conversation that doesn't involve her and she's playing nearby, and you are getting ready to say goodbye, she will call out, "bai!" and go "mmmm-mah!" (giving kisses).  If you get on the phone with anyone - the credit card company, the doctor - she will come running over and say "HI!  HI!  HI!"  Anything that's shaped like a phone (or a "bone" as she calls it), she holds up to her ear and goes, "woh?" (hello) and then she talks gibberish into it like "unnnrrreemmuuhrrrr". 

She gives unprompted kisses and hugs, and she is so much fun and such a love.  This is really the best age!

Avery and Santa

We took Avery to visit Santa Claus on Monday!  We went to the same Santa in Town Square (Las Vegas) where we got such a great picture last year.  This year's was pretty cute too. 

Avery is excited about Santa... we point him out in her books and at the store when we are out.  She knows who he is, (Dan-dah!) and that he's exciting, though she's not quite clear on the finer details.  But in person, she wasn't sure she wanted anything to do with him.  Can we blame her?  To her he's just a fat, scary stranger!  Why would she want to go sit on his lap?!

When we first walked in, we asked her if she wanted to go sit with him and she said, "No!"  So we hung back and watched the next family come in and get their pictures taken.  After that she allowed us to sit her on a rocking horse in front of Santa, but the whole experience was just too overwhelming for her and she wouldn't smile.  After only a few minutes, she looked around at all the strangers in the room, bewildered by the giant flash of the camera, and started crying.  The end!  (Of course, we whisked her up right away and once she was in my arms she was ok again, and said "bai-baiieee!" to Santa on the way out the door.)  Overall a success.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Our Kauai Trip Video

Here's a little video montage I put together of our trip to Kauai.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Avery's 18 Month Video

In case you didn't see this on Facebook, I'm posting it here too!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Paleo (ish) Thanksgiving Feast!

We've been eating more or less paleo / primal / Weston A. Price around here lately and we didn't want to eat a bunch of stuff we don't normally eat, but we still wanted to have a delicious meal with all of our favorites! Luckily there are ways to adapt many recipes to make them paleo-friendly. Here's our beautiful table right before we dove in.

And here's our gorgeous turkey! I had never roasted a turkey before (though I've roasted plenty of chickens), so this was a new adventure for me. I followed Martha Stewart's recipe for turkey and gravy and it turned out fantastic! I definitely recommend this method of turkey roasting. Our bird was not dried out at all. Instead of traditional stuffing, I stuffed the bird with half and onion, half an apple and a few sprigs of thyme. I also don't truss the bird because it helps it cook faster and the breast doesn't get so dried out.
Along with our turkey we had these coconut flour drop biscuits. They are so yummy!  You seriously won't miss regular biscuits with these.

This is the recipe I used for my cranberry sauce.  Making your own is surprisingly easy.  This stuff is more tart than the canned stuff, but still delicious!
This is not exactly paleo, but way closer than normal pie.  It's my own creation, a pumpkin-pecan pie.  Pumpkin filling with a crumbled pecan topping.  I used this recipe for the pumpkin part (subbing butter for coconut oil in the crust; and I didn't use any coconut milk), and the topping is just butter, crushed pecans, almond flour and a little bit of brown sugar (about 1/6 cup of each almond flour and sugar).  It was SO YUMMY!  I actually prefer this to regular pie.  No, really.

Green beans.  Instead of the usual yuck-of-mushrooms in a can to make a green bean casserole, I just did mine with carmelized onions, mushrooms and tomatoes.  It's not quite the same, but still quite tasty.
Bird fresh out of the oven.  It was cooked perfectly! Hope your holidays were all as good!