The Morning Container

There is a special red tin container that makes it's home on a shelf in the kitchen. It is the container that holds something quick to eat, usually in the morning, when appetites are high and energy is low. A hungry mama might find herself peeking in when she realizes it is 2:55pm and time to pick up the kids from school. She might have forgotten to eat while the baby was sleeping and she was working. From time to time a little girl, age 8, will sneak her favorite bar out of the container and put it away somewhere safe, so on chicken and roast vegetable night she has a back up plan. I'm a whole foods advocate. You know this. I prefer that we make at least 80% (or more) of our food ourselves. As someone living gluten-free it is tough to eat outside of the home. As a mama who wants her kids to understand the difference between healthy and junk, I get excited when I can fully support a product I believe in. Especially if it is something resembling what I am whipping up in the kitchen.

Recently I did a favorite things week and mentioned Larabars. I encourage my clients to keep one in their bag so that if they are out and the need for something quick hits, they won't go squealing into the drive-thru. And they are gluten-free.

Larabar would like to offer a giveaway on the blog with a really cool bag of mixed mini bars (about 50 bars in the bag). That would fill a morning container a few times over. The minis are only available in 3 flavors so this is a special treat for the winner as they will have lots of mini flavors arrive through the mail. Larabar also wants to add a t-shirt to the gift. I'm wearing mine now. It's a nice t-shirt. My daughter will steal it after it comes out of the wash and I will never wear it again. That girl loves Larabars, chocolate chip cookie dough is her favorite, if you were wondering.


To enter today's giveaway from the fabulous Larabar, tell us what your favorite flavor is, or what flavor you would create. Comments will close Tuesday, January 4th and the winner will be announced on the 5th.

Eli Ate It

I know I've mentioned that my kids love mushrooms. On pizza, in pasta or with fish they couldn't be happier. I have never tried it in soup for them until now. The pickiest of the three, Eli, ate it. Which means that I must share it with you. I added the beans in after he had 3 bowls of it. He does not like beans, thanks. I made this soup for myself one day as I was feeling a cold start to creep in. Typically I fight a cold or a flu or a bug of any kind. I imagine myself fighting with the invaders and it's always a losing battle. So I have switched tactics. I am lovingly nurturing anything that threatens to attack. That one shift in perception has made a difference. Instead of attacking,  you lovingly melt away or love up the invaders, and they change their tune. When I would get sick I would be angry and crabby, when in attack mode that would make sense. With the shift into nurture, the mood is able to shift and calm.

The energy inside of us is shift-able. We are our creation each day, each moment. It is a choice. So to fight or nurture, our choice makes an energy shift.

This soup was one of the ways I decided to nurture. Full of garlic and ginger, healing chicken broth and mushrooms, it will take you out of attack mode.

Portabello and Ginger Soup

1 small onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 tsp grated ginger 5 portebello mushroom caps, black inside removed (you can use a spoon and scrape it out), and chopped 2 celery stalks, finely diced 1-2Tb wheat free tamari soy sauce juice of 1/2 lemon 8 cups chicken stock

optional 1 can Eden Organic butter beans, rinsed 1/2 cup chopped parsley

Saute the onion, garlic, ginger until soft. Add mushrooms, celery, soy, lemon and stock and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add beans and parsley before serving.


Are you in attack mode when you start to feel sick?

What feelings come up for you when the blahs invade?

Shifting Seasons

I have been reading about the shifting of seasons and how it affects our moods, our daily routines and how we feel about our bodies. I am missing the sun and yet this time of year I become more creative and thoughtful of what I wish to accomplish and the things that I hold as my goals or intentions. One of the things I am working to do is preserve some of the summer food to eat in the fall and winter. My family picked about 8 pounds of peaches and most were eaten or frozen, a crumble was made for the e-cookbook I am working on and I decided one day after school to make the kids some Peach Honey Sauce (they love applesauce) to put over vanilla coconut milk ice cream.

As I prepared the peaches and thought of the generations of women who grew and preserved their food, season after season, I noticed a shift take place inside. It wasn't a dramatic shift, and yet it felt as though I was returning to something that was always waiting for me. How many seasons have I planned to can or freeze and then let it go because of excuses or lack of motivation? This time, before the Harvest Moon shone down on us I had accomplished much of the preserving I had been dreaming of. Apples, tomatoes and peaches...three beautiful foods to begin with.

This shift I was experiencing was from a full filled intention that brought me to a deeper connection with my food, my family and the femaleness that so many of us run away from. That woman in the kitchen with an apron, kids running around peeling apples and sweating from the heat of the canning. I love that woman, I love being that woman. I love that my husband was in the kitchen with me, peeling tomatoes.

So I am shifting with the season, as the leaves turn, as I take on more projects and set higher intentions for myself. I think about finding some places of quiet and balance to stay connected to the rhythm fall brings, as it asks us to slow down just a bit.

We have a bowl of acorns mixed into our white pebbles and swirly shells from the beach. The seasons meeting. How is the Autumn Season inspiring you?

Just seven peaches make this warm sauce...

Peach Honey Sauce

7 peaches, skin and pit removed removed* 1 cup water 1/2 cup honey squeeze of lemon tiny pinch of salt

Chop peaches, put into a medium saucepan. Add water and allow to come to a simmer and then reduce heat to low. Peaches will start to break down over the next hour, you can mash them a bit with a potato masher if you like. Add more water if it starts to stick. Stir in honey, lemon and salt and turn off heat. Allow to rest for 20 minutes, serve over some ice cream or as a topping to waffles and pancakes. The kids used it like a jam adding it to crackers and bread.

* Take a knife and score the bottom of the peaches with a small x. Place peaches whole into a pot of boiling water. Remove after 1 minute and place in an ice bath (bowl of water and ice). Take the skin off each peach and slice in half to remove the stone.

Kid Platter

I have a little boy who will eat cucumbers, celery, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, lentils, beans, hummus, most fruit and green olives, watch out! He is not yet 2. At some point he will turn 2 and then 2 1/2 and developmentally will hit a picky eating stage. Eli, now a month away from 5, used to eat quesadillas with brown rice, lentils and seaweed inside. The he turned 3 and wanted all his food separate. He hit his picky eating stage and for almost 3 years he has gone without a piece of lettuce entering his body. It has always been offered, available, but not eaten by this little boy. So he has had lots of steamed broccoli, roasted cauliflower, raw carrots, cucumber and celery and recently green smoothies. It seemed to me lettuce was just not his thing. He saw all of us eat it. He has planted it, picked it, purchased it at the farmer's markets and even helped make salads.

Imagine my surprise at his preschool the other day as the children sampled different parts of plants that you eat, he picks up a lettuce leave and says, "Mmm, I just love these juicy little lettuce leaves." Juicy little lettuce leaves! Going with the flow of our children can be so challenging. Feeding our family a beautiful and healthy meal that makes everyone happy can become a battle unless we simplify.

I have a guiding word for the year and it is simplify. Simplify. It is guiding me to find balance and get closer to the vision of what is important to my life. I have used simplify to guide my meals, which means keeping recipes to a minimum, using fresh foods as the centerpiece. I was a mama who would bribe for a child to eat 3 bites of food, I have even gone on dinner strike. Which means I refused to cook dinner because it felt so unrewarding to have kids turn up their noses to all the work you have just done. Learning that children eat differently takes some time. Bribing in my opinion is how to set up life long eating disorders and issues with food. Offering simple fresh foods that your children love, and some they can learn to love, is how to build a life long love and appreciation of the health that food can bring us. Try to look at food through your child's eyes. A bowl of chunky soup may seem really strange and foreign, but that same soup blended up with some crackers for dipping could be a lot of fun. Or perhaps a deconstructed soup or just the broth with some torn turkey lunch meat in it and cucumbers on the side. It takes some time to figure each of our children out. Once you do, planning meals gets much easier.

The other night, Patrick cooked up some sliced chicken in oil, salt and pepper and put it in the fridge until it was time to eat. I sliced strawberries, pulled out some arugula and baby lettuce from the fridge, made a quick dressing with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper and we all sat down to eat. Chloe wanted only green baby lettuce, strawberries and chicken. Eli had purple baby lettuce, strawberries and chicken. Lucas had everything and fed it all to the dog. Patrick and I made huge bowls full of greens topped with strawberry chicken salad. When Lucas started complaining, I pulled out a bag of frozen blueberries and that made all children happy while Patrick and I finished our salads.


Are there ways you can simplify your family meals?