pregnancy eats: strawberry honey butter

strawberrybutter

since we went strawberry picking last week i bet you know coulda guessed that this week’s pregnancy eats would be about strawberries. this blog has well documented my love of butter over the years. so when i came across this recipe on a regular blog read recently i knew i was 100% going to do this. and i did it. and it is amazing. pancakes are never going to be the same. i made a fresh batch of these biscuits today and if i were edmund in the lion, the witch and the wardrobe i would be saying “to hell with turkish delight. give me strawberry honey butter on a fresh biscuit, ye white witch devil!”

if you have designs of heading out to the fields for the last of the berries this week, set aside some for this project.

i also wanted to mention a little side project you can take on simultaneously with this one involving the strawberry tops.

first, don’t discard those strawberry tops!

you can boil them, green parts included, with some lemon juice, honey and about 1/4 cup of water to make a strawberry syrup for adding to lemonade or drizzling over ice cream and angel food cake.

but if you can only focus your energy on one of these…the butter wins. butter always wins.

{ps. above picture is not mine and was swiped from the original post which contains the recipe. i was too lazy and it was too overcast for me to snap pics of my own. nobody sue me.}

pregnancy eats

cantelope and raspberries

 

summertime pregnancy benefit = melon. alllllllll the melons.

i have been pretty crazy about the melons in the last week. this is the 3rd cantaloupe i’ve purchased in a week. coincidentally, we looked up how big the baby is for this week aaannnnnndddd, you guessed it, it’s the size of a cantaloupe. darla said that must be why i’m craving them so much. and they are pairing up with things very nicely. I’ve had cantaloupe with my yogurt and cottage cheese, added in raspberries, found a recipe for cucumber and cantaloupe salad and just a minute ago i tossed a couple of slices in the blender with some frozen strawberries and some raspberry lemonade as a base. it tastes like summer in smoothie form.

but seriously, melons are so good during late pregnancy.

pregnancy eats

juicing during pregnancy

pregnancy is probably not a good time to start a juice cleanse, right? i wish juice bars weren’t so damn expensive because i feel slightly addicted to fresh juices right now. i also feel a bit guilty at how wasteful juicing seems but then i take a sip and the sweet nectar hits my taste buds and washes away every bad feeling leaving pure joy. PURE JOY.

so this is only happening for me about once a week because of said financial commitment. and because i don’t really know more than one juice bar in town and it’s a little out of my way. Oh no! I just googled and found a new one that looks delicious and fun and probably where cool people hang out. i’m gonna have to go there tomorrow now…

anyway, so yeah, i don’t have to verbalize why juice is good during pregnancy because it’s juice and we all know it’s good. and it’s fresh. and so damn expensive.

can i get a juice bar to sponsor my third trimester please? 

a day in may

the first day of may was very picturesque here in columbus. today is starting off pretty grand as well. i like what you’re offering so far, may:

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our day included picnic in the park, my first load of laundry out on the line for the year, a prenatal meeting for my june clients, and popsicles and nail painting on the porch. that’s a lot of P activities and it wasn’t on purpose. can you tell darla talked me into letting her paint mine too?  i just had such a good time with her yesterday. it’s during these days that i say in my head “can we just always be this way? can she just stay with me and we’ll read books in the park and go on adventures and she won’t need school, we’ll learn together along the way?”  i guess we’ll find out the answers to those questions in their own time.

actually now that i’ve looked at it longer, sorry about that picture. it’s pretty gross. outdoor feet = funky feet.

may, i give you permission to let all days be just like may day.

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i’ll be posting a few more eco-friendly posts this week in honor of being in the running for Circle of Moms Top 25 Most Eco-Friendly Mom Blogs. If you would be so kind as to vote for me, click on through to the badge below. Thanks!

you make da popsicles!: a recipe

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it’s officially may and it’s 80 here today so that means i’m making more popsicles. I just threw these together and i thought i would share for any of you who are making your own.

I am not a recipe follower by nature so popsicles and smoothies are right up my alley. I basically threw all this into the blender:

2 small handfuls of spinach

3 big organic strawberries

1 handful of blueberries

1/2 a bag of frozen organic raspberries

sprinkled in a bit of flax-seed meal and a 3 count pour of all natural ohio maple syrup {because it has one of the lowest caloric counts of the natural sweeteners but any natural sweetener of your choice would do}

then i added some cherry juice until the juice reached about the halfway point of the rest of the ingredients.

blend until smooth and pour into your reusable popsicle molds and if you’re lucky you’ll have some left over as a smoothie. if you don’t have popsicle molds you can just do what i did as a kid and freeze them in ice-cube trays then eat them with a spoon out of a tumbler. this requires letting them freeze them putting them in the tumbler and leaving it to sit for about 5-10 minutes. You can see that you need a lot more patience for that method but it will do until you order your popsicle molds.

and if you are too impatient for that then…just enjoy it as a bodaciously excellent smoothie. you’re welcome.

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i’ll be posting a few more eco-friendly posts this week in honor of being in the running for Circle of Moms Top 25 Most Eco-Friendly Mom Blogs. If you would be so kind as to vote for me, click on through to the badge below. Thanks!

what’s inside your zero waste grocery tote?

Welcome to another installment of zero waste home management. I am your host, Elaine Tucker. 

Today we’re taking a look inside my tote bag. I carry this tote every time we hit the grocery.

Step 1: get a tote to hold totes. 

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^^^ As you can see everything you need will still fit inside the tote bag that you already take with you. you take totes to the grocery, right? ^^^

Step 2: put this stuff in it.

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^^^ so here’s the stash laid out. Various containers, bags & my important erasable crayon ^^^

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^^^ so here we can see two other totes that fold up inside the original tote. in the top left hand corner we have lightweight, plastic containers that come in 3 sizes and fit inside one another nicely when empty. these are my bulk item containers. i’ve used the same ones for at least 6 months now with washings in between store trips.  i procured them at market district because that’s where i do most of my bulk shopping but whole foods also has a bag system if you’d rather go that route. I think the plastic containers are easiest and stack in a pantry nicely. You can also see my produce bags peeking out but we’re not ready for you yet, friends  ^^^

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^^^ now we are! fabric produce bags top right hand corner, a saved produce bag does just as well, a reusable plastic bag delegated to rice items since we buy a lot of that at one time and my saved coffee bag for the self-serve whole bean department ^^^

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^^^ my take-out containers center stage. these are used at the deli for meats and cheeses and occasionally for bulk pasta and OLIVES! Bottom left-hand corner is my refillable liquids container for olive or canola oil or balsamic vinegar. i also have a refillable honey bear that didn’t make it into the pic ^^^

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^^^ and this little guy is my secret weapon. it’s my erasable crayon pen so i can write the PLU #s on the top of each container. I’m often letting others borrow it as there is always a shortage of pens in the bulk items section. Any washable marker would do ^^^

are you thinking this looks like a lot of work? like any other habit, once you’re used to it, it doesn’t take much extra time at all. in fact, i save time in the grocery now because i’m not going into the center aisles. everything i need is in the perimeter.

the workability of this systems lies somewhere between turning the car around when you forget the totes and saying “yes, i’ll take paper” when you’ve run out of room in the totes and have some overflow. i’m dedicated enough to make the effort but flexible enough to let it go if i need to use a plastic produce bag every once in a while. plus, you only forget the tote 2 times at the most. after that it’s engrained in your memory FOREVER.

and i didn’t make all these changes at once. i started small and kept adding measures gradually. if you don’t think you can do all of these then focus on the ones you can. I started with the reusable totes and containers for the deli counter and it has progressed from there. it’s about progress not perfection. i personally believe it’s my job as a consumer to make sure i’m making ethical choices. a whole lot of throw away plastic is not ethical for me. so i’ve made progress where and when I can.

have i inspired you yet? please feel free to leave a comment if you do your own zero waste grocery shopping. if anyone has an idea that i’ve left out please leave it in that comment section.

starting our garden: seedlings

we took advantage of that one spring day this weekend to start our spring planting. i’ve never started plants from seeds before so i’m crossing my fingers and darla gave the dirt special blessings and then turned to the window and prayed for hades to let persephone go back to demeter because “we just can’t have any more winter, you know.”

we’ve been boning up on our greek mythology.

i’ve got a nice plan, packets of seeds and garden materials ready to construct once the weather is done doing its thing. i’m sending out some earthy vibes hoping this little garden of ours comes to fruition and helps us on the way to meeting some zero waste goals for the year.

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1. yeah child labor!  2. repurposed egg trays  3. finally getting to use my cute herb spoons my SIL gifted me years ago  4. a nice little variety of plants, herbs and flowers on that tray.

kitchen projects

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did you enjoy your president’s day off? i assume you were out running lovely errands instead of sitting behind a work desk reading blogs on company time… {i love it when you do that}. soooooooo, i spent president’s day doing kitchen projects with darla. this is worthy of its own post because i don’t usually do kitchen projects. most of my cooking really consists of making soups. i am a soup master. everything else i just attempt once and go back to soup.

we made granola, which darla really got her hands into. pun! child labor pun! delicious fruit smoothie lunches and i even tried that coconut oil & baking soda face cleanser. when it worked wonderfully i made a batch to keep in the bathroom.

my last cooking creation was inspired by Honeykiss bakery’s president’s day special. i can’t wait until a special occasion to get my own honeykiss pie {cough, april 3 = 30th birthday, cough} but i was digging the white cheddar, apple and bacon combination and used it to come up with my own scone recipe. delicious! i would love to provide some kind of recipe but i was making it up on the fly.

however, below is a recipe for granola that my friendly friend provided me. this granola was so good, cheap and easy. gawh, want to make a good, cheap and easy joke so badly…never mind.

recipe here:

 The recipe is a bit freewheeling – use whatever you have on hand or whatever you feel like.  You will need whole rolled oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup, and oil.  The rest (nuts and fruit) is up to you.  This recipe sounds quite involved but the prep literally takes between 5 and 10 minutes before putting it in the oven.  Set it and forget it.  So easy.
3 heaping cups of rolled oats
Little less than 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
A crap ton of cinnamon (2 tsp? 1 tbsp?)
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup (plus a little splash more, maybe a tbsp) of canola/veggie oil
6-7 handfuls of almonds
6-7 handfuls of walnuts
As many handfuls of dried cranberries, dates, raisins, or other dried fruits that you want.
You can add seeds (flax, sesame, sunflower etc) or other nuts (pecans, peanuts, pistachios) etc.
Two very, very important things to remember no matter what goes in your granola:
First – do NOT NOT NOT mix your fruit in before baking – that goes in afterwards, unless you really miss your dentist and want to rush in for an emergency repair of a cracked a tooth (or someone else’s…)
Second – do NOT NOT NOT mix your fruit in before baking.  See above note.
–Preheat oven to 250
–Add brown sugar to dry oats and mix really well (I use my hands).
–Stir in nuts and/or seeds (and coconut, if you’d like) and mix
–Add cinnamon (the way I measure is this: I sprinkle cinnamon over the top until everything is covered in it)
–Add a healthy pinch of salt
–Mix everything together
–In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the 1/4 c of syrup first, then add the 1/4 cup(ish) oil to it (the oil will float so you will be able to clearly see how much of each you have).
–Pour over oat, nut, and spice mixture and stir very well until everything is coated.  This usually takes about a minute or so.  (NOTE: You will probably think you don’t have enough liquid.  You will mostly likely be wrong.  What you really want here is for everything to be lightly but thoroughly coated in the syrup/oil mixture.  Resist the temptation to add more liquid.  You don’t want any extra liquid at bottom or soggy oats.  If you really think you need more, add maybe a tablespoon of oil.)
–Pour out the mixture into a baking sheet with edges (some of these new-fangled modern ones are just a sheet with no edges, which will only cause you heartache as you watch your granola spill to the floor).  The granola should be stacked pretty thick in the sheet, maybe almost an inch in that pan coming up just slightly over the edges.
–Bake for one hour and fifteen minutes.  Yep, you heard that right – 1 hr 15 mins.  Some recipes say stir – I do not.  Too messy, too labor intensive.  Besides, I like the clumps that form.
–Remove from oven and carefully (carefully) break into pieces/chunks/bits into a large bowl with a spatula or wooden spoon.
–NOW add all the dried fruit your heart desires.
–Stir well and let cool completely before storing in a tightly sealed container.Just a note from my cooking experience:  the more “stuff” you add, the more maple syrup you might need if you like it more “chunky”…but not a lot more.
Enjoy!
ps. i also did a lemon juice and cayenne pepper detox shot. today i’m so skinny!  no. not really.

desert directive

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^^^^ i don’t even know where to begin ^^^

i guess i will start where this photo essay starts. the picture of ladies flowing from one space to another in brightly colored kaftans is what symbolizes this year’s Life(dot)next retreat for me. the locals thought we were a dance troupe.

i am longing to be back in that desert suspended in a space of self-improvement and introspection. there i was able to be california elaine. i was able to be desert elaine. i was able to be the elaine of my past and, hopefully, the elaine of my future. i was able to be warm. it’s cold here in ohio. reentry is not easy.

i’m finding it hard to write about this experience. there is so much i want to share with you, friends, but i am also feeling this deep, sacred bond and want to hold those events secret in my memory. in catchwords the weekend was filled with:

sun, warmth, laughter, windmills, torched smores, crafts, talismans, blanket forts, disco balls, kaftans, goddesses, vinho verde, connection, skill share, tutus, laugh-crying, hot tub confessions, origami fortune tellers, headbands, glow sticks, visualization meditation, exploration, walks, newness, cousins, MOUNTAINS & TACOS!!!

seriously, 75% of the meals i had while in palm springs were tacos.

for all of you fellow attendees- i fell head-over-heels in adoration of all of you. i’m forever thankful for all that you gave of yourself. that’s all we can ever give anyone.

already looking forward to the next one, whenever that may be, with much enthusiasm.

“if you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your life. there are no limits. there are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” – bruce lee