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Hold on

It has been almost 3 months to the day that I have written anything.  I didn’t realize that in two days time of writing my last notes I was going to be having my son Miles.  I didn’t realize that for the next 3 months I would be dealing with Colic.  As I write this I am at one of my worst moments.  I have good days and bad days and I try not to look ahead too much.  George MacDonald said something about not looking ahead to the future too much.  If I look ahead with hope that Miles will get better soon I may be severely disappointed and deal with this until he’s 6 months instead of the typical 3 months that everyone says is how long Colic lasts.

The worst part about dealing with Colic is that it makes you feel all alone.  I don’t know if there is anything you can really do about this.  Nobody really knows what it is and the theories out there are abundant.  I can honestly say I have tried everything at this point and have realized that I must just endure this.  There are a few tricks to making life a bit easier.  I couldn’t just leave him and let him cry, it seemed that just because I couldn’t calm him, this wasn’t the solution.  Swaddling worked wonders in the beginning.  Mylicon sometimes works.  I resorted to making my own Gripe Water because I didn’t like the ingredients in what was commercially available.  It’s essentially a tea with chamomile, peppermint, fennel, anise, dill seed, and lavender.  I drink it and give it to Miles as well, however that hasn’t done much for him either.  I’ve ruled out most foods, though I believe there are times he hasn’t enjoyed the garlic I’ve had.  Wearing Miles is a sanity saver, but the downside is backaches and the pain from wearing an increasingly heavy baby.  The reality is my baby is just an angry baby, sensitive to most every change in his life.  When my husband sneezes or blows his nose Miles jumps and will start crying 50% of the time.

There are times I find my resolve and my typical good nature slipping.  Feeling like I’m sliding down in a dangerous spiral that I can’t control.  I have to walk away at times when I feel I may be a danger to Miles.  I know what that feels like and as the months go by it comes to the surface quicker then it did in the beginning.  I have good days, where I actually get a quick shower in and may have a few moments without having to wear a baby on me.  The rare occasion where if we go out to eat he actually happily stays in his car seat (which he hates with a passion heard in high pitch screams).  Then when you see me on the bad days my hair is dirty, unstyled, I am still wearing the same clothes for 3 days straight.  I wish this was an exaggeration.  I literally have no time to myself and I consider it a small victory if I can finish one meal all the way through, it’s a huge victory if I get to have that meal without holding a baby.

I love my child, however I do not enjoy him at this time.  I learned a valuable lesosn from my midwife though.  It’s not my job to make my baby happy.  Something we’re told differently and if our babies always crying he’s clearly not happy and we’re doing something wrong.  However even at this early age I am not in control of Miles’ emotions and if he’s not happy it’s not my fault or resonsibility.  At least there’s some freedom in that.

When this is all said and done I can only hope I have had an endurance built up in me that nothing can shake.  Please let these tear-filled moments stand for something.  Whatever lesson I am to take from this, whatever pain gathered be considered worthy.  Let none of this be in vain, because I feel in these days I have nothing left.  That fills me with utter sadness that I have so little left to give to my husband and daughter.  So if I endure this, what joy awaits me?

Shrimp, Coconut, Mango, & Chocolate Pudding?!

We had my cousin and his girlfriend over a few nights ago for dinner.  I love to entertain, I love an excuse to cook for people, I love to love through my cooking…did that make sense?  So without further ado let me show you what I made with love!

Shrimp in a Coconut-Mango Sauce (pictures to be added when I get back to my normal computer)

The inspiration for this meal comes from the Flying Mango in Des Moines.  An amazing local restaurant that is literally down the street from us.  They call it the Mango Shrimp Rundown.  It’s a base of coconut milk with mango nectar cooked with Shrimp.  It had some wonderful spice and they then spooned that over rice and cabbage.  I didn’t obviously have the recipe, so I had to get creative.  The flavor combination’s are out of this world, slightly sweet, creamy, and spicy.

Ingredient List (Sarah style*)

  • Shrimp (or Mahi-Mahi)
  • Cooked Brown Rice
  • Head of Cabbage
  • 1 can of Coconut Milk
  • 1 Mango
  • Lime
  • Stevia
  • Cayenne pepper
  • White pepper
  • Sea salt

To start off cook yourself up some brown rice.  To be honest this is the part that takes the longest.  At a minimum brown rice takes 45 minutes.  I typically cook mine closer to 2 hours if I am able.  Brown rice has the least amount of phytic acid compared to other grains, so it isn’t necessary to soak it the length you do others.  However it’s a wonderful texture if you cook it longer then most packages would suggest.  Put some coconut oil in the bottom of a decent sized pot and then if you so desire a few cardamom seeds for extra spice and flavor.  Let them sizzle a bit and then add either a cup or 2 cups of brown rice (depending on how many you’re serving).  Cook up the rice until milky and then add double the amount of water or chicken stock (it’s richer with the stock and healthier!).  Let come to full boil then reduce heat and cover lid.  Leave the lid in place for 1 1/2-2 hours.

The next component of this dish is the slightly steamed cabbage.  Cut it nice and thin, think Angel Hair pasta, then steam in a small amount of water.  Don’t let it overcook, you want it crispy still!  I’d go ahead and salt it while it’s in there too and maybe some nice white pepper as well.

Finally I mixed up in my VitaMix a combination of full fat coconut milk, 1 whole mango, a splash of lime juice, a dash of cayenne, a bit of stevia to bring out the sweetness (unless your mango is super sweet in which case you may not need it), salt and white pepper.  Give it a nice whirl so it’s smooth and creamy.  Poor into a baking dish and add your uncooked shrimp.  Now shrimp takes hardly any time to cook, most take 2-5 minutes.  You certainly don’t want it overcooked.  In this sauce I have averaged up to 10 minutes for a nice pink color.  I have also made this recipe with Mahi-Mahi with equal success and tastebud pleasure.

So to plate this, brown rice first, a generous helping of steamed cabbage, and finally the shrimp and sauce spooned over the top.  Beautiful, praise-worthy, something to make your mouth sing with delight!

Chocolate Pudding, with Avocado & Banana

This is not a new recipe, this is not a creation of mine, I’m not really sure anyone can lay claim to it on the internet to begin with.  I first heard about it through my Chiropractor/Doula.  A simple google search will yield many many variations of this dessert.  They all center around the idea of a fresh, raw, and fairly low-sugar (or unrefined if you prefer) dessert.  Avocado’s are a great fat and most everyone knows this, so that’s the base of this dessert.  Though I had leftover bananas and added those, there are plenty of recipes without bananas in them as well.  I am NOT going to share my ingredient list or proportions, I am NOT going to lay claim to anything for this dessert either.  I am just going to direct you to look it up yourself and get creative with your own needs and desires for this.   I will say that instead of all honey or agave I used a combination of Stevia, honey and coconut sugar.  I need to be a bit more careful with my sugar intake and bananas are high enough carb/sugar speaking for a diabetic.  However fat is a wonderful way to keep your sugars low (did you know they used to prescribe a high fat diet for diabetics before insulin?).

So try this dessert today and see if your family likes it!  It doesn’t take much time and isn’t unhealthy for you!  It was absolutely delicious and surprising in it’s consistency and flavor!  Who doesn’t like chocolate pudding?

* This is not my recipe, so I will not take credit for it.  So Sarah style is loose and with the idea that you will use your own creativity and skills in the kitchen to shape your own meal-time destiny.

Put the lime in the coconut

limecoconutHave you ever tried coconut juice?  I have tried a couple of varities and I have to say my favorite is Amy & Brian‘s brand.  They have a coconut juice with lime added that is to die for.  I have been getting various items ready for when I go into labor as I will be at home and so allowed to eat and drink.  An electrolyte drink was suggested for the last stages of my labor as it will be so intense it’s like running a marathon.  So I of course looked into something natural and still mild enough that I wouldn’t have any nausea.  I personally hate gatorade anyway so that was a no-go in my book.  So I ordered a couple of cans through Azure Standard and decided I would actually try one early.  Wow can I just say this is the best of the coconut juices I have tried so far.  I will have to order more for labor because these aren’t going to last.  Coconut juice is water from young coconuts and it’s naturally isotonic with potassium and electrolytes and it absorbs quickly into the body because it resembles plasma in it’s salt concentration.  Pretty neat?

I just love coconut, it has so many health benefits.  I have expanded my pantry to coconut flour (high in fiber low in carbs, perfect for the diabetic mother), coconut sugar (low glycemic index), coconut milk, dried coconut, coconut vinegar, coconut oil, and now coconut juice.  I use it in so much of my cooking in some form or another.  The Coconut Research Center website has some really interesting information about “the Tree of Life.”  You really need to look at the website and read the list of problems that coconut helps.  It’s why I have started to increase my coconut because of the diabetes.  In case you didn’t read the website link, here’s a few quotes to give the next paragraph some background.

“Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.”

“Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.”

I have to share a trick with you.  Even eating well, low-carb, 2-3 eggs and good grains I was having some issues with my blood sugars being over 120 for my breakfast and lunch meals.  This is not good.  This means big baby.  So I began to add cod liver oil and coconut oil in a small (think shot size) glass of warm water and shooting up to half an hour before I eat.  Breakfast I have to have it with food or I get sick.  The result?  Amazingly low blood sugars.  I mean amazingly low.  Granted I have still been eating carefully and low, but I will have them under 100 easily when I do this.  I could have a half a pita pocket in the past with salad and salmon and cheese and that one half pita (whole grain Ezekial mind you) would send me at least to 120 or more.  Well after that I was 68.  Unheard of.  I use about a teaspoon of coconut oil before each meal and then make sure that eating my meal I use it liberally in my cooking or on my food.

So that’s my tip for you, control your blood sugars with coconut oil, add the cod liver oil for a synergistic effect because you can’t go wrong with those two healthy oils!

Now sing it with me, “put the lime in the coconut, then you feel better!”

Fountain

I just finished up my most recent batch of beet kvass.  This is mostly a medicinal tonic, rather then a tasty beverage.  Beets have many many good qualities and beetschopping them up, adding some good quality sea salt and whey, fill with filtered water then let it sit out for 2 days to begin the lacto-fermenting that brings out the nutrients to the forefront.  It’s great for digestion, for the blood, and for the liver.  Beets are used in Europe for the treatment of cancer.  The Romans used it as a treatment for fever and constipation and they considered it an aphrodisiac.  Beetroot juice is also supposed to help lower blood pressure.  If you don’t much like the taste of beets, you probably won’t much like the taste of kvass.  It’s salty and earthy and I love it.

kvass

Kvass is a Russian beverage, originally made with sourdough rye bread and fermented, though not alcoholic like you might be thinking.  It has a short shelf life as it can quickly become TOO fermented!  Beer anyone?  Beet kvass is often used in Borscht.  Kombucha is also from Russia, but that is a post for another day.

So mine is still sitting out finishing up it’s fermenting process before I transfer it to the refrigerator and start drinking it.  I am eager to start because I’ve been out for a few weeks and I miss the taste.  I try to drink it morning and night, but usually only make it to 4 ounces or so in the morning.  Once I’m done with all the liquid in the bottle I fill it up with more filtered water and start drinking it all over again.