Biscuits and Vengeance with S.O.S

Okay so I’ve heard about the Post Punk Kitchen, but don’t consider myself post-punk (it’s a rock genre, too) nor much of a punk-kitchen-ish type.  It’s where vegans go and talk and tweak and read reviews, techniques, and recipes for super delish food.  I’m not armed with exotic kitchen skillz and though I recreationally read (oh, about 2 a week) cookbooks from cover to cover, I usually pick only one recipe to try out.  Here’s that one try! Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa-

I’m in love with biscuits.  I know I said I’m a potato girl, but biscuits are in close competition for second place on my list of yummy starchy foods.  I like biscuits for breakfast in all their pb&j glory, as well as using them for dipping into soups, substituting them for sandwich bread, and even for S.O.S.

What’s S.O.S. you ask?  In the layman’s language, it’s “shit on a shingle” or for the rest of non-foul mouthed America (does that exist, really?), it’s biscuits and gravy.  Or biscuits and sausage gravy.  Or the English folk like beans on toast. Or the most popular: creamed chipped beef on toast.  All of the above are s.o.s. and SO tasty.  Unless you’re vegan.  Strike out if you’re trying to get anything at a restaurant or beg your non-vegan mom to make it for you sans any meat/fat/dairy. Sad face.

So Isa Chandra Moskowitz has an easy biscuit recipe at the beginning (first chapter) of this cookbook. And it’s simple, easy, and way cheaper than buying a tube of Pilsbury at the store.  I remember making biscuits when I was little and it requiring lots of kneading and sitting or something.  No way, not at my house at least.  So we started with sifting the dry ingredients- flour, baking powder, some salt.  Then we cut in the shortening (Crisco) and vegan margarine (Earth’s Balance)- which I did the el-cheapo way; by using two butter knives.

Then I had to alter it- because the original recipe called for soy or rice milk but neither of those are to my or Sillyboy’s liking, so I used almond milk and it worked well.  Oh, and I guess I had another alteration way back in the dry ingredient add-in; we had half a cup of leftover wheat flour that I mixed in with some regular baking flour.  Maybe I’m more post punk kitchen-ish than I think?  Okay not.  After I added in the cold milk, I worked it into a dough with my hands, rolled it out and used a drinking glass to cut out pretty circles.

I placed them (about 16 small biscuits, half an inch thick) on a greased cookie sheet, then baked them for about 12 minutes at 450 degrees.  You can kind of see the wheat flecks in the biscuits up close- which I think made them a tad drier than I like, but they were SO yummy.  Sillyboy even asked for another one as we huddled by the oven eating freshly baked biscuits before the husband wandered through wondering what we were eating so late at night.  (Vegan is good anytime is what I say).

Before the baking part, I’d say the entire recipe took me about 5 minutes to make.  Maybe 6 if you include gathering the few ingredients.  I couldn’t find the actual recipe on the ppk site or online, but I’ll be sure to share it- because there are many variations of vegan biscuits that mostly try to replicate the good ol’ buttermilk ones -which aren’t necessary for what we eat them with.  But it was late at night, I was in a pinch, so I proceeded to heat up a can of Bush’s Baked Beans- the Vegetarian version rich in brown sugar but perfect and heats up in about 3 mins. I had s.o.s. for dinner and considering I had made homemade vegan biscuits, it was the best s.o.s.

Have you ever made biscuits from “scratch” or would you ever try to make the vegan version?  Do you happen to have your own version of s.o.s.?  I hear it’s different depending on which state you grew up in, but since I grew up on a military base it’s quite common for the creamed beefy version.

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Baby Led Weaning Round 1

BLW time here at casa de’ LunchingMom.  Bambina just hit the half-birthday mark and has been working on her sittin’ up skillz (skills with extra umph right there).  And since I’m a crazy potato girl (sweet potato that is, though I try to limit our nightshade veggie intake), I thought she might enjoy some roasted or sauteed sweet potatoes.  One of the goals of baby led weaning is that your child will eat with you, instead of eating before or after or not be present and part of the family meal time. Here’s a great essay that simplifies BLW in a nutshell from Mom365.com

I remember when Sillyboy was little, the husband and I thought we were so awesome at tag-teaming at meals.  Except one of us always had to reheat our food. No one wants to nuke a freshly prepared whole-food meal of goodness (see radio wave lunch here)!  So for two nights we had a sweet potato side with dinner- and no one minded at all.

I washed and peeled two organic sweet potatoes then sliced them up into sticks so Sillyboy could regard them as having fries for dinner, and Bambina would have a good size to hold and munch. Then sauteed them stove top in a pan with a touch of sesame oil (try it- because it’s an amazing compliment to the sweetness).

Most of the articles and videos I’ve watched recommend the bigger the better in slicing shapes for BLW.  Think spear shapes or potato wedges.  This way your baby has something to hold onto in either hand, and adequate area to gum the food. Once they get the pincer grasp down (8-10 months-ish) you can hit up the smaller slices.  A lot of U.K. families swear by leaving the peel on most fruits and veggies, which is really helpful when handling avocado (a first favorite here and abroad) and bananas.  Babies learn which side has the good flavors pretty quick.

Baby’s food and the fam’s food done at the SAME time= #win.  I placed about 3-4 sweet potato slices on her highchair tray (no plates  or utensils needed) and tried not to stare Bambina down intently just waiting to ooh and ah.  So we all said our dinner prayer and chowed down.  I did peek at her from the corner of my eye as did the boys- to keep an eye on her for fear of choking and/or taste-bud delight.  It could go either way, really.  Luckily she loved it!  She was really quick to grab a piece at a time and start gumming it.  She smeared it around, she threw some pieces on the floor (aka gave the dogs some snackage), but managed to chew a few pieces off- eat some and spit some out.  Every time she’d run out of big pieces, I just handed over more until she was totally not interested which was about when we were all done eating.  Then I had to clean.

Clean I did.  I cleaned the tray, the floor, the seat, and what?- How did sweet potato get smeared inside her onesie?! I didn’t realize until she was having her bath she had smeared it in her hair above her ear. wth.  I did purchase a fancy long sleeved bib cover I plan to use when we’re out and about (Ikea makes super cheap useful ones that you can purchase on Amazon, because Ikea doesn’t have online purchasing for most of their kid items, especially not to Missouri), but she gets a bath after dinner every night so it’s one less thing for me to wash.

I feel like it’s one more stepping stone on this different kind of food journey and I’ll try to keep you posted.  Have you tried anything like BLW before?  Do you stick to purees (homemade?) and just give baby a nosh every once in awhile of your food?

The Old Switcheroo

Getting green= by taking baby steps.  Here’s a quick and easy baby step for getting green and it involves your eyes.  Or, more accurately, making your eyes green.  No, that’s confusing, too.  I’m pulling the old switcheroo and suggesting that you pitch your old reliable mascara and try an organic one.

ImageIt’s not too crazy of an idea, because technically a tube of mascara should only last you about 3 or 4 months since the black goop gets dried out and harbors germs in there.  So you could try a tube of Physicians Formula (which can be found at Target, CVS, and Walgreens in the regular make-up aisle!) mascara and if you don’t like it, you could go back to your originating brand.  Why?—>

Physicians Formula Mascara is 100% organic, all-natural, and doesn’t test on animals in case that helps makes you feel warm and fuzzy about switching. 🙂  It doesn’t clump, it doesn’t flake, and it’s free of parabens (scary things your body actually absorbs), and the packaging all recyclable (double bonus).  I’ve been using mine for a week now, and the first thing I notice is that it’s super easy to put on with a slick, smooth formula.  It’s easier to take off in the evenings, and takes up the same amount of space in my makeup bag.  Easy peas-y.

Try it and let me know- are you game for taking the leap and trying an organic make-up product?  Most people are too chicken, and don’t want their money to be wasted.  After perusing a few make-up blogs, and some Youtube help (yes, they teach you to style your lashes with said product), every single person thought it worked out well.  What other daily organic products do you use?  How well do they compare to the chemical laced versions?

BLW aka Baby-Led-Weaning

DS, DD, SAHM, EBF, STTN, CIO and BLW.  Obviously, us moms love our acronyms and they come in handy when you are talking about the same things again and again.  The first 6 I’ve known for quiet awhile, especially with the help of Google and various mom/baby forums and boards over the years.  The way information travels these days, which is quicker than ever before, you can do all the paper and library book research you want, but the material could be totally outdated.  I did my library research, then hit up google and mom blogs after mom blogs, and Youtube actually helped the most!

Baby-Led Weaning is not new agey, but I’ve read it’s another cog in the “crunchy Mom” wheel that is so common these days.  It sounds like parents have realized that the way things were done when they were children- or their parents themselves were children- aren’t exactly raising the healthiest eaters each generation.  Companies are capitalizing on charging what they charge so it’s one less things for moms to learn/handle/do in general.  It was a big deal to go from small glass baby food jars, to plastic reusable ones, and then from that to these space-saving pouches.  It seems the original idea was the most green to begin with, because glass doesn’t leach chemicals and make many happy crafty projects when reused.  I digress.

BLW: Baby led weaning is simple= no mushed food, no purees.  Go.

You take what the rest of the family is having, and slice it up into adequate sizes (comparable to either a potato chip, or two fingers in size) and give it to your baby.  You don’t “help” at all! or shove food or do any extra work for baby.  Baby doesn’t need a plate or utensils.  You sit back and eat your food like a family should, together at mealtime.  It sounds so easy!  I keep reading that it’s messy, but since I made all the baby food for Sillyboy at 6 months (never before! please don’t listen to the riffraff or your mom on cereal in a bottle or other scary things), I’d take a mess over the mountains of peeling/slicing/steaming/pureeing/portioning months anytime.  We begin late next week.  Have you tried baby led weaning?  Something similar?  A combination?  RhodeyGirlTests and YoungHouseLove have both tried with differing results, but both of their kids eat real (i.e. not baby) food every day too.

P.S. by the way, DS= Dear Son, DD= Dear Daughter, SAHM= Stay at home mom, EBF= Exclusively breastfed, STTN= Sleeping through the night, CIO= Crying it out.

Green Machine Gets Smoothie

Okay, bear with me on this “add one more green thing” food excursion, because it’s just not as easy as it sounds.  So what we’re doing, it just having that one green thing until we get tired of it and then we plan to replace it with something more awesome that’s green.  And by “we” I mean Sillyboy and I.  The husband is just a observer because he’s not sure how long our little pact will last.

Juices are all the rage- or at least they were last year.  And now- history repeats itself and the smoothie is back ya’ll!  (Yes, I say ya’ll on a random basis- don’t hate, hater!).

I was skimming through either the latest issue of Babytalk or Parenting magazines and found a small recipe section for easy smoothies.  I’m all about easy- and easy to me is 5 ingredients/steps or less (think Claire Robinson).  I attempted to find the online version of the page, but since they are melded together on one site, I haven’t found it yet to share the official copy with you.  But share I will, because I totally tore out half the page and promptly stuck on the fridge.  Out of the 3 fruity recipes listed, only one met my criteria because it was both green and vegan (i.e. no yogurt or milk).  And it was awesome-sauce.  Except Sillyboy is freaked out by the bits-o-green that float around.  Back to juicing kale instead?

Here’s the supply breakdown:

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Green Machine Smoothie

1 cup organic kale (washed and chopped- no stems please!)

1/2 green apple (peeled and chopped)

1/2 banana (peeled and chopped)

1/2 cup of orange juice

3 ice cubes

And there you have it- stick all the ingredients into a blender for about 30 seconds- the Green Machine.  I used our Magic Bullet for the one-drink occasion.  This is NOT to be confused with Naked Juice’s green machine that contains seaweed and some other many green ingredients.  It is delish/sweet/not tangy/fresh/frothy goodness.  And a bit textured.  Just a tad.  If you’re the kind of person who can handle pulp in your orange juice, you wind mind the kale crumbles in there.  But if you can’t handle it and pulp makes you gag (like the husband), maybe pouring it through a piece of cheesecloth will work better (like for Sillyboy’s anti-pulp drinking case).

ImageYou get your fruit and green servings in there at the start of the day- which is helpful in case you decide to pig out on onion rings later when the kids are in bed.  We love us some late night greasy (albeit not often) trips to Sonic.  Viola!  Green is good.  have you figured out any other ways to fit some healthy green food options into your family’s meals?

Shopping with Coupons, green or not green?

It’s a guilty pleasure when I get to indulge in TLC’s shows like Toddlers & Tiaras and Extreme (extreme!) Couponing, but I can’t stop watching them.  You kind of learn things to do/not to do, and decide how much effort you would put towards things like that yourself. (i.e. not a lot for me, but I’m a people watcher at heart so that’s enough entertainment to keep me entertained).  They mention tips and tricks about coupons and talk about some online resources (Krazy Coupon Lady is #1 apparently) to get yourself started.

Some places take “preloaded” coupons so you can use a card and some places take clipped paper coupons. Green vs. not-green.  I figured I would try this, but at Walmart.  (yes, groan and groan- but who seriously has time to visit 3-4 supermarkets?!).  I made up a spreadsheet- and I Lurvvvveee to put anything on a spreadsheet- divided into four main categories: cold/frozen, aisles (boxed/canned/bagged), fruits/veggies, and HBA’s (health and beauty accessories) and then specifically searched for the coupons of products that we use.

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Usually, most people peruse the coupons and make your list from there.  But we end up with so/so brands of stuff we may or may not completely use and less waste – even from a big box store- is better for sure.  And my family has super sensitive skin and stomachs, so generic off-brands are just about a no-no 99% of the time.  I have to say the spreadsheet worked out well for me- and I highlighted the items I had coupons for in red.  I had 16 coupons that saved me about $14.  I think next time I’ll try it at Hyvee, since that’s where I go for our organic veggies and meat counter requests after the local farmer’s market.  Do you go extreme?  Or what’s your easy- breezy way to still get the best deals?

Small Salve Step

A friend of mine (who isn’t tired of my lengthy “green” fact-fests) asked what type of baby or small-steps she could take without freaking out and reading every label.  Over-analyzing our lives is already work itself, no need to complicate things, I agree.  While I was finishing up my morning routine, I found just the thing.  Replacing this petrolatum product with this green salve.

 

First difference: the size of the product.  How long do people hold onto a jar of Vaseline anyhow? I couldn’t find an expiration date on mine, which could be good or bad depending on your opinion of the twinkie effect.  You literally use a dab of the salve, without adding a thick layer of greasiness.  The smaller size makes it just the thing to toss in a purse or pocket- even for a quick trail hike.

 

Next: actual effectiveness.  The reviews are hands down 5 out of 5 stars attesting to the Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment.  You can use this for anything you would normally use petroleum jelly for- and more even, like bruises and poison ivy.  The natural oils are absorbed by your skin to help heal.  We have a strict “no blood, no band-aid” rule in our house.  It’s easy to think a band-aid can fix everything, but if a paper cut or a small knick is bothering Sillyboy- he can just dab this on himself.

 

And, of course: it’s green.  Green all around.  The salve comes in a small metal green tin.  The salve itself is dark green color. And the ingredients inside are green- the first two ingredients are sweet almond oil and olive oil.  The ingredients on Vaseline= petrolatum is the active ingredient, and… nothing else is listed.

 

All in all, just try this small salve step.  If you can’t remember how old your petroleum jelly is, toss it anyways.  After my experience with spraying ethanol around the house, that is one less product I need to slather on.  What other baby steps can you take to turn one thing in your life into something green?